What You Need to Know About the Toxins in Your Groceries
What You Need to Know About the Toxins in Your Groceries
1. Pesticides in fruits and vegetables. Three studies published in 2011 found that women who ate fruits and vegetables which had been treated with pesticides had contaminated urine and umbilical blood. Prenatal development is a critical time when organs, vessels, membranes and systems are woven together. The umbilical cord carries not only the building blocks of life, but also whatever other exposures the mother has suffered. Industrial chemicals, pollutants, and pesticides are transferred as readily as cigarettes and alcohol. This contamination could trigger the onset of ADHD/ADD in children. These three studies were conducted by the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, the University of Berkeley's School of Public Health and Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, published in Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Linked to Diminished IQ: Some Popular Fruits and Vegetables Contain Highest Levels.
2. Cleaning products. Products such as the Comet Disinfectant Powder Cleanser ® contains Formaldehyde (1,4,9), Acetaldehyde (1,2,3), Benzene (3,4,5), and Chloroform (1,2,8), a potent mix of proven carcinogens and neurotoxins. Other cleaning agents such as bleach and dishwasher detergents release dangerous chemicals that often react with other chemicals to form more potent compounds. The truth is that mild soap and hot water are the best methods for preventing disease. Anti-bacterial disinfectants are based on a misunderstanding of “germs”. Take a look at Digestive Health Ann Arbor's January newsletter on the importance of probiotics and bacteria.
3. Cosmetics. Scientists from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York released a report in January 2011 that identified a common ingredient found in numerous cosmetics and fragrances as a possible cause of ADHD/ADD. The ingredient is known as low molecular weight (LMW) phthalate metabolites. This chemical can be absorbed through the mother's skin and transmitted to her unborn fetus.
4. Household products such as carpets and furniture. Children that were exposed to flame-retardants such as polychlorinated biphenyl were 76% more likely to suffer ADHD compared with those who had the lowest exposure, in a study conducted by Sagiv S.K. and colleagues from Harvard School of Public Health. Polychlorinated biphenyl was banned, but its remnants persist in the environment. The newest flame retardant used in carpets and furniture, polybrominated biphenyl, may have the same affects as its predecessor.
5. Artificial food additives and genetically modified organisms (GMO's). Artificial food additives (such as colors and preservatives) and hyperactivity were first linked by Ben Feingold, MD, Chief of Allergy at San Francisco Kaiser Permanent Medical Center. Author of books such as Why Your Child is Hyperactive (1975) and Feingold Cookbook for Hyperactive Children (1979), Dr. Feingold championed dietary changes and achieved high success rates among children diagnosed with ADHD/ADD. He was often quoted as saying: "Any compound, natural or synthetic, can induce an adverse reaction if the individual has the appropriate genetic profile, i.e., disposition." By removing potential aggravates such as synthetic additives and produce that has been genetically modified, we can help our children's brain biochemistry return to normal.
6. Undetected food allergies. Dr. Rapp was a pediatric allergist who noticed a drastic physical and behavioral change among children exposed to certain foods. The children were labeled violent, aggressive, distracted and hyper, often burdened with an alphabet soup of prescriptive medications. Removing certain foods, specific to each child, resulted in behavioral, mental and physical improvements. Dr. Rapp quickly realized that undetected food allergies may be causing the ADHD/ADD symptoms in many of the children in her practice.
7. Sugar. Though sugar may not be a direct cause of ADHD/ADD, it still robs a child's body of vitamins, minerals and enzymes and increases blood sugar levels. If your child suffers from ADHD/ADD, removing or restricting sugar intake is a good place to start. Unfortunately, much of the foods marketed for children contain an unbelievable amount of sugar. Paul Pestano, MS, and research analyst at the Environmental Working Group, stated that in a recent study on cereals marketed towards children, “three cereals have more sugar than a Twinkie” and “forty-four others have more sugar in one cup than three Chips Ahoy cookies.” The three Twinkie-trouncing cereals are Kellogg's Honey Smacks, Post Golden Crisps, and General Mills Wheaties FUEL.
How Food Can Turn Our Children's Bodies Against Them
Though our nation may be one of the wealthiest in the world, our children are still not safe from epidemics such as Type II diabetes, obesity, and food allergies. Since 1998, there has been a 265% increase in hospitalizations related to food allergies among children under 18, according to a 2008 CDC report. With an 18% increase in food allergies between 1997 and 2007, an unbelievable 3 million children now have food allergies. Unfortunately, these trends are not merely related to a general population increase. It is the very food we feed our families that is turning their immune systems against them.
A “Typical” Breakfast Leads to A Child's Hospitalization
Robyn O'Brien, a former food industry analyst and mother of four, admits she had not given a lot of thought to what was in the food they ate. Like many busy moms, she raised her kids on a typical American breakfast of Eggo waffles, blue yogurt, and scrambled eggs. “And then one morning,” she says quietly, “over breakfast, life changed.” Her youngest child suffered an acute, allergic reaction and O'Brien rushed her to the hospital. When the doctors announced that her daughter had food allergies, O'Brien channeled her energy towards raising awareness about these health issues. She now has her own website, gives speeches, and interviews with Fox News and the New York Times. Thankfully, O'Brien's daughter has thrived, but O'Brien's confidence in America's supermarkets has not.
The First Question O'Brien Asked: “What is a food allergy?”
O'Brien invested her self-described Type-A personality into understanding how food affects human physiology. She was astonished to learn that 70% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract. This means that a lot of what determines our health depends on how our food is digested and absorbed. Food not digested or absorbed properly affects the entire body. A food allergy is triggered when the body somehow perceives a food protein as a foreign invader – the immune system then attacks. The most common allergens can be harmless substances such as peanuts, eggs, wheat or milk. But why the sudden rise in food allergies? O'Brien recalls that very few people had food allergies when she was a child. “Is there something foreign in our foods that wasn't there when we were kids?,” she asked herself.
Something Foreign in the Food?
In fact, there is. Processed foods, which account for a large portion of the standard American diet, contribute to allergies in a number of ways. Most processed foods contain food colorings, preservatives and genetically engineered proteins that were never present in Grandmother's baked lasagna. If the saying “you are what you eat” holds any weight, then it is unsurprising that these frankenfoods are waging war in our digestive tract. Processed foods can lead to obesity (they have an intentionally large caloric content) and Type II diabetes (processed foods are notoriously sopped in high fructose corn syrup, a sugar derivative), and food allergies (foreign proteins can trigger an autoimmune reaction), among other complications.
The Rise of GM Crops: Where Have all the Mom and Pop Farmers Gone?
Since the mid-1990s, new food proteins were engineered into our food supply. This was done to maximize profits for the commercial food industry. Each new protein makes more money for the labs that develop them and companies that patent and produce them. Agriculture took an even greater step in the direction of biotechnology, leaving many Mom and Pop farms scrambling to make ends meet. Farms that did not purchase the newest technologically advanced seeds, pesticides and harvesting equipment struggled to keep afloat in a market increasingly interested in profits rather than healthful food. As a market analyst, O'Brien admits the scenario made perfect sense to her. However, as a mother, she was incensed to learn that agricultural scientists, or agriscientists, did not conduct a single human trial to check for potential side effects. Agriculture is the backbone of a healthy society. While technology is certainly the wave of the future, shouldn't our citizen's health be a national priority?
Currently Commercialized GM Crops in the U.S.:
As of May 2010, the Institute for Responsible Technology reported the following percentages (in parenthesis) of these standard crops were genetically modified:
Soy (91%) Cotton (71%) Canola (88%) Corn (85%) Sugar Beets (90%) Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%) Alfalfa (at Supreme Court), Zucchini and Yellow Squash (small amount) Tobacco (Quest® brand)
Other Sources of GMO:
· Dairy products from cows injected with the GM hormone rbGH
· Food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®) and rennet used to make hard cheeses
· Meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed
· Honey and bee pollen that may have GM sources of pollen
· Contamination or pollination caused by GM seeds or pollen
3 Case Studies: Milk, Corn and Soy
1. Milk: It Doesn't Always Do A Body Good
According to CNN and the Wall Street Journal, milk is the most common of all food allergens. This seems unsurprising when examined alongside the dairy industry's chemical make-over 15 years ago. In 1994, scientists created a new synthetic growth hormone, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to help cows produce more milk. Unfortunately, it also made the cows sick. Besides growing at a monstrous rate and falling under the weight of their own udders, dairy cows also developed ovarian cysts, skin disorders, and udder infections. But the cows produced much more milk. So, despite the obvious pain and illness caused by these hormones, the dairy industry continued (and continues) with this practice. To get a few more years out of the chronically ill cow's life, industrial dairy farmers decided to feed the cows a steady diet of antibiotics, too.
“How many sippy cups have I filled with this milk?!”
This procedure isn't only dangerous for cows - it's also extremely detrimental for humans. According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition, rBGH milk significantly increases consumers risk of developing breast, colon and prostate cancer. Exposure to the low-grade antibiotics found in milk is also linked to the development of allergies, autoimmune disorders and super bugs (bacteria that are impervious to even the strongest of antibiotics). Despite these dangers, Monsanto Co., the manufacturer of rBGH, has strong-armed U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into permitting the sale of unlabeled rBGH milk. The corporation has also tried to bribe investigative reporters from a Fox News station in Florida who researched the issue of rBGH milk. When the reporters did not accept the money, they were fired by Fox. As Robyn O'Brien uncovered more and more stories about the toxicity of industrial milk, she decided to purge her kitchen, wondering in alarm, “how many sippy cups have I filled with this milk?!”
2. GM Corn No Longer Classified as a Vegetable, but a Pesticide
Industrial plants are now engineered to sustain increasing increments of weed killer. The weed killer is needed because of a recent rise in plant parasites. Many scientists believe the plant parasite boom relates to a monoculture style of farming, where one kind of plant crop is grown on vast plots of land, land often severely depleted of soil nutrients. As concerns rose over pesticide sprays in the 1990s, agriscientists developed genetically modified plants which imbedded pesticide-like chemicals in their very DNA. One such example is the corn product, StarLink™ .
StarLink™ is a genetically engineered variety of yellow corn which releases the protein Cry9C, a toxic substance for various insect pests. During the 1990s, its registering corporation, Aventis Agroscience, Inc., received approval by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to produce the corn as livestock feed. Presumably, this poisoned food product was supposed to calm our fears over chemical pesticides released into the air. It doesn't feel very reassuring to find out it was regulated by the EPA as a pesticide. Though Aventis Agroscience, Inc. promised to use the corn product exclusively for animal feed, traces of it were soon found in taco shells. Since it was never conclusively determined whether or not StarLink™ was harmful for humans, regulatory authorities removed it from the market.
Foreign markets refused (and continue to refuse) to accept GM corn and other food products from the U.S. Though StarLink™ got the boot by the EPA, plenty other frankenfoods feed our animals and stock our market shelves.
3. GM Soy Affects Reproduction, Growth
In a study published in July 2010, Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov investigated if Monsanto's genetically modified soy lead to problems in growth or reproduction. Backed by Surov's Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Association for Gene Security, the study found that three generations of hamsters fed for 2 years on a GM diet showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to reproduce. They also grew more slowly, had a high infant mortality rate, and strangely developed patches of hair inside their mouths.
The Institute of Responsible Technology reports that cooked GM soy contains as much as 7 times the amount of a known soy allergen, and that soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced.
A Concerned Mother asks, “What are the Effects?”
O'Brien was astounded by the food industry's complete and utter lack of consideration for consumers. Having already witnessed some shocking results in her own children, O'Brien asked, “what other effects are we seeing now in the American public?”
O'Brien noticed a huge increase in cancer rates in the United States. In fact, a consultation with a variety of cancer NGOs confirmed that the U.S. has some of the highest rates of cancer in the world. What has caused this cancer epidemic? Dr. Stanley Ewen, consultant histopathologist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, says GM foods could be the culprit. He points to the fact that GM foods serve as a “growth factor” in the stomach and colon, encouraging the rapid proliferation of polyps. Apparently, the faster and bigger the polyps grow, the more likely it is they will be malignant. This risk is not limited to direct human consumption, either. Dr. Ewen's studies show that eating livestock which has eaten GM foods can also lead to increased cancer risk. Dr. Ewen urges a ban on GM crops until their safety is sufficiently tested.
Though scientists agree dairy products exacerbate asthma because they encourage the development of mucus, it is now believed that an allergic reaction to dairy itself can cause asthma. Dr. Frank Osky, the Chief of Pediatrics at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, believes that 50% of all school children may be allergic to milk, though many of them remain undiagnosed. Dairy allergies are now considered one of the leading causes of asthma in America.
Dr. Rapp, Pediatric Allergist and champion of Environmental Medicine, devotes her life to treating children with behavioral issues like ADD/ADHD. She believes that most hyperactive, aggressive or easily distracted children have some undetected food allergy affecting their biochemistry. Many of her patients see drastic results after slight diet modification.
There is a high prevalence of food allergies among autistic children. Some scientists predict that autistic children lack an enzyme which helps digest the proteins in milk (casein) or in bread-like products (gluten). It could be these very foods which prevent children from developing normally. Many parents report staggering success when removing these foods from their children's diets.
Chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis, and many more, are linked to food allergies and GM crops.
Other Developed Nations Reject GM Foods: “Unsafe for Citizens”
Canada, Japan and 23 other European countries now ban GM foods. If these technologically advanced foods were really superior to what humans have been eating for the past 200,000 years, wouldn't the whole developed world be jumping at the chance to import or produce them themselves?
Tax Payer Dollars Support GM Crops: Who Supports our Skyrocketing Health Bill?
As rates of food allergies, cancer and other chronic illnesses skyrocket, the amount of money needed to manage these diseases skyrockets, too. According to a 2009 World Health Organization (WHO) report, the U.S. spends 16% of it's Gross National Product (GNP) on healthcare costs, more than any other nation on the planet. Even countries with government-funded healthcare systems are still paying less than the United States. This doesn't only affect our pocketbooks, but our role as a player in the international marketplace.
3 Steps: Take a Stand for Your Families Health
In her closing remarks in her video conference, O'Brien conceded that though she is no foodie, addressing the industrial food system is vital for our nation's well-being, in fact “there is nothing more patriotic that we could be doing.” Here are a few small and reasonable changes that we can all make to keep our families healthy and safe:
1. Support local farmers
Small-scale and organic farmers are often targeted by the United States Farm Bill, the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. They are charged fees to prove their crops are grown without chemicals or GM seeds, more fees to label their crop a certain way, and denied subsidies - it's tough to make ends meet. By supporting local farmer's markets and purchasing with the seasons we can help build a healthier community.
2. Demand Changes from Large Corporations
Kraft, Coca Cola, and Walmart all have international branches. How have they dealt with the rejection of GM foods in their stores? By not selling them. These large corporations have listened to consumer demand and formulated their products differently to not include GM ingredients. Even Whole Foods sells products that contain GM ingredients in it's non-organic products. We must demand that large corporations protect our families and communities. Avoid purchasing items from stores or companies that don't care how their product may be effecting your family's health.
3. Learn the 15 Signs and Symptoms of Food Allergies
1. Tiredness, drowsiness, no energy.
2. Frequent headache or migraines.
3. Stomach bloating, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence.
4. GI disorders including, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis & IBS
5. Mouth Ulcers.
6. Chronic cough, bronchitis, asthma, colds and 'flu'.
7. Eczema, psoriasis, and chronic skin problems.
8. Aching joints, backache.
9. Gradual weight change.
10. Tinea or Yeast (Candida) infections.
11. Clumsiness, lack of coordination.
12. Miscarriage, infertility.
13. Hemorrhoids and Ear pain.
14. Cravings, addictions.
15. ADHD/ADD, behavioral problems
New Beginnings at Digestive Health Ann Arbor
Biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute alerts us that “children are the most likely to be adversely affected by toxins and other dietary problems” related to GM foods. The lack of clinical human trials means our nation's children are in fact “the experimental animals.” Monitoring your child's health is imperative. Though facing a food allergy or a related condition can be daunting, we must heed the body's messages and remember that there is hope. After slight modification to our diets and lifestyles, and taking appropriate supplements as needed, our bodies can heal. If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of a compromised digestive system, make an appointment with one of the experts at Digestive Health Ann Arbor.
Please call 734-222-8210 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we provide professional and compassionate care guiding people towards a comprehensive and holistic strategy of healing. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life. Please visit our website at www.digestivehealth-annarbor.com.
To read or see more about Robyn O'Brien, check out the following links:
On Fox News:
In the New York Times:
Her personal webpage, with a link to her video conference:
The Truth About Supermarkets
Supermarkets are comfortable places. The automatic doors open into a familiar, air-conditioned world where everything has its designated place. Predictably organized produce nestled in neat pyramids, shiny cuts of meat glisten behind glass, and troughs of dairy products strike poses in their colorful packages.
In the United States we have become what Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, calls “industrial eaters.” We demand pineapple, avocados and other tropical delights. We want apple sauce in a plastic pouch and yogurt in plastic tubes. We want dinners of pre-made meals and raspberries in the winter. There is so much seeming abundance and uniformity in our grocery stores- how can it possibly be anything but good? Isn't this evidence of the benefits of living in a globalized world, where food is one of many currencies?
Unfortunately, the ease and calm of our grocery stores does not display the whole picture. A This week’s newsletter will discuss why these large-scale systems are detrimental, explain the benefits of eating local, organic produce, and offer suggestions for how you can get started.
The Benefits of Eating Local: Health, Economy, Environment
Eating local, organic food is healthier for your body and the environment, supports the local economy and tastes better, too.
5 Health Reasons To Eat Local and Organic
1. Organic produce packs a stronger nutritional punch than conventional produce.
Organic crops feature higher levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as significantly less nitrates than often found in conventional crops. Nitrates, which are found in most meat and vegetables, have been linked to higher rates of cancer. Luckily for us “locavores,” it has been shown that nitrates are not harmful when paired with vitamin C and other antioxidants.
2. Organic farmers do not use harmful pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers.
These chemicals are detrimental to human health. Acute exposure can kills us, and over-exposure causes symptoms that range from burning eyes to severe vomiting. Chronic exposure to pesticides can cause neurological damage and lead to Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. Agricultural chemicals are endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with our endocrine (hormonal) system. This interference can lead to cancer.
3. Organic crops are not produced from Genetically Modified Organisms.
Ok, this is a big one so we will break it down into three bullet points:
•Agribusinesses claim that GM (Genetically Modified) seeds reduce food production costs due to decreased mechanical and chemical needs in planting, maintenance and harvest. This is certainly true, since GM seeds are made to be resistant to herbicides and pesticides sprayed over large crop fields. However, GM seeds are only required in industrial systems where the scale of the operation necessitates the use of herbicides. On small-scale farms where weeds are easily removed, the need for pesticides, and therefore GM seeds, become obsolete.
•Agribusinesses also claim that these foods are more nutrient-dense, since scientists can insert supplementary vitamins and minerals into the seed. This claim is actually not true, and avoids the question of why synthetically-produced nutrients are necessary in the first place. If we stopped relying on an industrial food system which creates chemical-soaked, nutrient-devoid produce, it wouldn't be necessary to genetically infuse seeds with supplements. This is akin to eating a strict bread diet, and downing a series of multi-vitamins to get all the nutrients that bread leaves out. Doesn't it make sense to just eat healthier to begin with?
•Internationally, GM seeds have been touted as a method for ameliorating starvation and health-related problems due to diet deficiencies. Agribusinesses claim that blindness, disease and infection can all be circumvented by exporting these nutrient-infused seeds. Again, this is a band-aid solution to a much bigger problem. Often the reason these public health concerns exist in developing nations is because agricultural systems in places like India and Peru are becoming increasingly commercialized. Unlike citizens of affluent nations, many people in developing countries struggle to finance balanced, nutrient-rich diets in industrialized and homogenized food systems.
4. Eating organic and local produce cuts future healthcare costs.
Investing in quality food may be more expensive up front, but we end up saving money by preventing chronic health problems. In the United States we currently spend around $2 trillion every year on health care. Over 75% of this massive amount of money goes towards treating chronic health issues such as Type II diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Practically all of the obesity and Type II diabetes, 80% of the cardiovascular disease and a third of the cancer could be prevented by a change in diet.
5. It's fun!
Did you know that strawberries grow in vines on the ground, or that tomato plants produce yellow flowers? How about munching on fried squash blossoms, or slathering home-made baba ghanoush over a warm piece of toast? The possibilities for fun, innovative and easy recipes abound, and with the most fresh and delicious ingredients the creation is bound to turn out delicious!
3 Economic Reasons To Eat Local and Organic
1. Spending money at the farmers markets supports local farmers. Money talks. If we spend money in the supermarket, it gets sucked out of our pockets and sent to big business farmers that are likely located far away from our homes. A number of research studies show that of every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 comes back into the community. That's compared to only a $14 return when we shop at a chain grocery store. By supporting local organic farmers, more money stays within our community. It also sends a message to these large, corporate farms that our health and environment are important to us.
2. Spending money at the farmers markets supports local businesses. Additionally, these local farmers are likely to purchase equipment and raw materials from local suppliers. Thus, supporting the growth of local farmers can also support the development of local businesses.
3. Spending money at the farmers markets creates jobs for community members.The Union of Concerned Scientists, academics and researchers who advocate policy changes for more sustainable agriculture, posit that “modest public funding for 100 to 500 otherwise-unsuccessful farmers markets a year could create as many as 13,500 jobs over a five-year period.” Developing our farmers markets creates not only a fun, family-friendly atmosphere, but plenty of jobs for community members.
3 Environmental Reasons to Eat Local and Organic
1. Local, organic farmers usually do not use pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. There are severe health and environmental detriments to using chemicals on our crops. Chemicals can drift far and are often found in our ground water and air, thousands of miles from where they were originally sprayed. Once in our ground water, these chemicals can cause great harm to animals, plants and soil. Additionally, persistent reliance on chemicals yields fewer crops, diminished soil fertility, and heightened susceptibility for pest and disease attack.
2. Eating local, organic produce diminishes our carbon footprint. Did you know that most food travels an average of 1500 miles from where it is grown to our plates? That tomato you are eating in January was trucked from Mexico to arrive at the supermarket bedraggled and mealy. It's not just an exhausting trip for the tomato, but a whole lot of energy consumed to satisfy an industrial eater's whims.
3. Local farmers take care of the soil and surrounding environment. Small local farms generally practice crop rotation, where crops are planted on different parts of the farm every year. This creates a richer, nutrient-dense soil. Additionally, local, organic farmers tend to invest in the surrounding land by removing invasive plant species, and protecting nature preserves from development.
How can I get involved and eat more locally?
The popularity of farmers markets, organic food suppliers, and restaurants that feature local produce, is growing each year. The Union of Concerned Scientists states that in 1970 there were only 340 markets in the United States, and now there are more than 7,000 today! Here are some easy ways become a “locavore”:
1. Visit a Farmers Market:
315 Detroit Street (734) 794-6255
Wednesday 7am - 3pm
Saturday 7am - 3pm
Depot Town Farmer's Market (at the Freighthouse in Historic Depot Town)
Saturdays 8 am- 1 pm
The Market Opens May 1 and will go through October 30, 2010
Downtown Ypsilanti Farmer's Market (at Michigan Ave & Hamilton)
Key Bank Parking Lot
Tuesdays 2 pm- 6 pm
2. Eat at a restaurant that purchases produce from local, organic food sources:
Arbor Brewing Company
Marks Carts: The Lunch Room
Silvio's Organic Pizza
Red Pepper Deli, at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market every Wednesday 4:30-8:30 until September 30.
3. Visit a farm:
Most farms love having visitors if you give them a heads-up. They might not be able to stop and chat for very long- there's lots of weeding to do! But if you want to spend some time pulling up carrots or rooting around for potatoes, they would love the help!
Back Forty Acres
Black Oak Farms
Dry Bucket Farm
Ferris Organic Farm
Frog Holler Organic Farm
Gibb's Berry Farm
Green Things Farm
Miller Amish Poultry
Nature and Nurture, LLC
The Chef's Garden
Todosciuk Farms and Greenhouses
Westwind Milling Company
New Beginnings at Digestive Health Ann Arbor
Eating local, organic food is a great start, but there are other factors that contribute to wellness. Sometimes we develop food allergies or intolerances that disable our bodies absorptive abilities. Though the old adage states “you are what you eat,” the truth is actually more complicated- “you are what you absorb.” If you or a loved one is experiencing discomfort or pain,a simple food allergy blood test will quickly and easily answer most unsolved digestive issues.
Please call 734-222-8210 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life. Please visit our website at www.digestivehealth-annarbor.com.
How can I Find Out More?
For more information, come to a workshop! Upcoming workshop dates in September:
Health Your Digestive System – Health Your Life
A healthy digestive system is essential to a health life. The saying “you are what you eat” is not true. You are what you absorb. Sixty percent of our body’s immune system lives in our digestive tract. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 4 people has a food allergy or sensitivity. The number of children and infants with food allergies is increasing. Sixty percent of people with food allergies do not have digestive problems. Problems like Autism, ADD, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, allergies, Gluten intolerance, psoriasis and eczema, sinus conditions, acid reflux, allergies and asthma are directly influenced by a comprised digestive system.
This workshop will explore the basic strategies of healing our digestive and immune systems. Topics of discussion will include the use of food allergy testing, testing for Gluten sensitivities, elimination diets, repairing a leaky gut, the use of digestive enzymes, healthy eating life styles, probiotics, essential fatty acids and vitamin D. Come and learn how.
Dates, Times & Locations:
September 21st- 7 to 9 pm at Brighton Community Education (810) 299-3818
850 Spencer Road, Brighton, MI 48116
September 29th - 7 to 9 pm at Chelsea Community Education (734) 633-2208, ext. 6001
500 Washington Street, Chelsea, MI 48118.
September 28th- 7 to 9 pm at Ann Arbor Rec & Ed Department (734) 994-2300, ext. 53203
1515 S. Seventh, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
October 5th - 7 to 9pm at Dexter Community Services and Athletics (734) 426-9515
7714 Ann Arbor St., Dexter, MI 48130
Digestive Health Ann Arbor Announces the addition of 2 new Gluten Free baking classes:
Gluten-Free Baking Classes
Having food allergies doesn’t mean you are sentenced to eating brick-like baked goods. These classes will offer information and tasty recipes for accommodating gluten, dairy, and other food allergies. Come find joy and passion in your kitchen!
Baking to Accommodate Gluten and other Food Allergies
Saturday, October 22, 9.a.m. – 11 a.m.
Allergy-Free Holiday Baking
Saturday, November 12, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Location: Aprill Wellness Center, 107 Aprill Drive, Suite 4, Ann Arbor
$30 per class/ $50 for both
Classes taught by Judy Sauer, author of Footloose and Gluten-Free: Baking Hints and Recipes from a Multiple-Allergy Family.
Call (734)761-8193 to register or for more information.
In previous articles we have defined food allergies, discussed how they develop, and given a general overview of symptoms. In this article we will cover the process of digestion in greater depth, and talk more specifically about IBS symptoms.
Digestion Basics: What Everyone Should Know
Our digestive tract is a 30 foot long muscular tube that begins at our mouth and ends at our anus. Its 3 main functions are:
1. Transform food into absorbable nourishment.
2. Fend off invading organisms and toxins.
3. Expel waste products.
Ingested food travels down the digestive tract through a process called peristalsis, a wave-like muscle contraction. During peristalsis different enzymes, bacteria and acids critical to digestion are secreted in a highly specialized and coordinated process. Only when the food is completely broken down should it pass through the digestive tract's tissue wall to be absorbed by our bodies’ cells.
The Immune System in our Digestive Tract
Around 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Its primary role is to decide whether to “ok” or attack a food we ingest. When our immune system doesn't like something in our tube, it fights with inflammation and excess mucus. If the immune system is constantly on the offensive, these reactions can damage our digestive tract. Inflammation deteriorates the intestinal lining, resulting in something called “Leaky Gut syndrome.”
IBS Symptoms: A Closer Look
Constipation: Indicates a traffic back-up in your small intestine and colon. When bowel movements are difficult to pass, extremely firm, pellet-like, include bloating, distension, abdominal pain or a sense of incomplete evacuation, you may be constipated. There are three major side effects of constipation:
1. Malabsorption of nutrients, leading to many health problems.
2. Delayed waste removal, which sometimes causes the reabsorption of waste products.
3. Painful passing because of drier and harder stools.
Diarrhea: Indicates that too much water is being retained, and not absorbed, in the digestive tract.
There are three potential causes:
1. Food may be moving through the tube too quickly for the formation of solid stools. This happens when the peristalsis speeds up in order to expel a perceived threat. Either the food goes up (vomit) or comes down (diarrhea)
2. An immune response which causes irritation or inflammation of the intestines.
3. Toxins in the digestive tract can force the water flow into the tube rather than being absorbed.
Regardless of the cause, a loss of water that should be absorbed leads to dehydration and poor absorption of nutrients.
Gas & Bloating: A natural and normal by-product of food processing, excessive or odorous gas indicates faulty digestion. This is most likely because of a food allergy or a bacterial imbalance in your digestive tract.
Why Medication Fails
If you suffer from IBS or IBD, you have probably been introduced to a long and ever-growing list of medications. Unfortunately, drugs treat individual symptoms and not the cause. Additionally, many of the drugs have detrimental side effects.
6 types of drugs to treat IBS symptoms:
1. Bowel movement speed modifiers (Zelnorm, Lotronex, Calmactin)
2. Laxatives for constipation (MiraLax, Perdiem, Ex-Lax, Milk of Magnesia)
3. Antidiarrheal (Imodium, Lomotil)
4. Abdominal cramp pain relievers (Donnatal, Levsin, Levbid, NuLev, Bentyl, Pro-Banthine)
5. Antidepressants (Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil, Elavil)
6. Narcotic analgesics (Vicodin, Demerol, Xanax)
As you can see, none of these is an IBS “cure” because no such medical cure exists. You may feel relief temporarily, but this is because of a forced biochemical modification, not a permanent resolution. Once you stop using the medications, the symptoms will return. With over 20 million Americans diagnosed with IBS currently, it is time to address this disease with honesty and transparency. Many doctors and scientists agree- we must assess food allergies and digestion in order to transform our health once and for all.
What can we do if we suspect we have an allergy?
There is good news. We can successfully eliminate the symptoms by discovering what foods serve as our triggers. By excluding the trigger food from our diet, the intestinal inflammation quickly recedes and the symptoms disappear.
The Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay panel (ELISA) is a blood test that examines 96 of the most common foods. The food categories tested include: animal products, dairy, meat and fowl, grains, nuts, vegetable, seafood and fruits By undergoing the ELISA test, patients are able to measure both IgE, IgA and IgG immune responses. Ann Arbor Holistic Health provides a simple means that combines both tests.
2. Supplements and Vitamins
Vitamin D, essential fatty acids, and probiotics are recommended supplements that help speed up our recovery process. Supplements such as quercetin and curcumin are plant-based herbs that lessen inflammation and ease our symptoms. Once we know what food is causing us problems, we can jump start our healing with some of these natural remedies.
Most doctors offer a IgE blood test called RAST (short for radioallergosorbent test). Though this method is extremely accurate in determining IgE based food allergies, it does not address the issue of non-IgE allergies at all. The ELISA food allergy food allergy test offered at Ann Arbor Holistic Health also tests for IgE food allergies.
4. Elimination Diets
Though elimination diets are accurate and cost-effective, they involve a long and arduous process. Most food intolerances are caused by the following foods: Dairy, wheat, egg, soy, peanuts, shellfish, and tree nuts. Removing one of the above from your diet can theoretically indicate the allergen, but as we have seen with Leaky Gut Syndrome, we often have more than one allergen due to years and years of damaging inflammation. Testing for multiple-allergens is very difficult to do with this method.
5. Stool Samples
Stool samples are excellent barometers of human health. Since the majority of the body's immune cells are present in the intestinal tract, a stool sample is the best place to search for evidence of food allergies. However, stool samples are messy and unpleasant.
6. Skin Prick Tests
Skin prick tests, one of the most common methods for IgE immune responses, can be painful and do not detect non-IgE food allergies. They can also be inaccurate with a high level of false positives.
“You are what you eat. Or, even more accurately, you are what you absorb,” says Dr. John Wycoff, an osteopath based out of East Lansing who believes hormonal balance, allergies and diet are integral to health. As reactionary medicine and over-usage of prescribed chemicals fail to alleviate our pain and discomfort, more and more physicians are embracing holistic approaches to healing. Through a deeper understanding of what our bodies do and do not absorb, and how these physiological responses affect us, we can take charge of our wellness and move towards a brighter, more fulfilling future. If you are experiencing any of the listed symptoms, please give us a call today.
We offer a comprehensive holistic approach to helping people facilitate the natural and instinctive healing process of the human body. Using state of the art testing we can diagnose those conditions that arise from a compromised digestive system and begin your journey of healing today.
Digestive Health Ann Arbor | 230 Collingwood Drive, Suite 150, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103, United States