Gracious Goodness

Food As Medicine: True Story

Written by Alisha M. Forrester Scott

Up until November 2012, I was living well below the poverty line in the toxic industrial wasteland that is Fruitvale, East Oakland, California.  Granted, I was living in community at Vulcan Studios with a couple hundred of the most interesting people that I have ever imagined, and was arguably happy.

During a Thanksgiving 2012 visit to my hometown, Arizona, I had the opportunity to visit the home office of holistic nurse practitioner, Brandi Owens.  I had decided that I needed to find out what was going on with my health.  Within a few months prior, I had noticed a change in my skin tone and eye color, and unwanted hair and weight loss.

Click here for a related post.

During my visit to Brandi, and up until the moment that we reviewed the results of my thermographic scan, it is my opinion that I had been eating and drinking like a normal American (irresponsibly).  Poor quality meats, a ton of inexpensive and internationally-imported produce, and regularly drinking unfiltered water in an area that was known for water toxicity.

The results of my thermographic scan were, in a word, “severe”.  My kidney was in “severe” peril.  My circulation was showing reversal in several areas around my body, and increased fever in my abdomen indicated bacterial infection and potential food allergies.  And so that day, I flew back to northern California feeling thankful but confused, and determined to reverse the serious condition of my health.

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Back at home in the bay area,  I found myself working with multiple practitioners to determine the best course of healing action.  I quickly moved out of my toxic residence, and In my conversation and research, I was pointed in the direction of using food as medicine to detoxify my blood.  Specifically, I was referred to a book and diet called “Eat Right For (4) Your Type” by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo with Catherine Whitney.  My blood type is in the A category, and the book is very specific about the types of foods that affect my blood, and how.

Within 30 days of eating only the foods and types of water that wholly nourished my body, my recovery was becoming more physically evident.  My eyes were clearer, my hair had stopped falling out, my skin tone evened, and my weight loss had stopped, reversed, and regulated itself.

Within 60 days of eating the foods that nourished my body, and by taking whole food and nutritional supplements, I felt great!  I was noticeably more confident and felt less depressed, and I even felt my mind perk-up.  (Overall, my daily energy levels lifted-off the charts!)

Habitual Importance

Having moved to Albuquerque in April 2013 to work on the BeeSWeek 2013 project, my environment was new, and filled with fun people and tasty temptation.  Within just three weeks of arriving in-town, I ultimately wavered and then crashed from my success in dietary consistency.

Within 30 days of moving away from my health-conscious routine, I felt less happy and more frustrated.  My weight was staying the same, but the shape of my arms and shape of my lower body seemed to be changing.

Within 60 days of eating and drinking irresponsibly, just like my old, regular American self, I was fully distressed and having a hard time falling asleep.  I felt depressed, and my personal frustrations began to turn towards anger.

Positive Influence

I observe that I am deeply influenced by my environment and community.  And so, when I am able to live amongst others who value internal physical health, I feel supported and encouraged to continue making healthy food choices.

This week marks my fourth week being “back on” my nourishing diet.  Although, I still occasionally find myself thinking of cheating on my self with cane and beat sugars, crazy-delicious carbohydrates and gluten, the way that my body is currently feeling is giving me the confidence to stay progressive.  I believe that I can personally develop a permanent dietary habit that will provide long-term benefits.  Simply said, I am doing the work to stay consistent in my daily dietary practice.

Saving The Bees to Save My Own Self

My diet is primarily vegetarian.  This simple truth indeed humbles me.  And, I am grateful for the many types of bees that provide pollination of the fruits, vegetables, nuts, and spices that I eat in order to stay healthy.

Here’s an online petition to ban the Neonicotinoid chemicals that are killing bees, if you are interested:  https://secure.avaaz.org/en/usa_save_the_bees/?deXMSdb

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Honey beekeeper Tomas Urrea © 2013

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New Report from Friends of the Earth

Written by Alisha M. Forrester Scott

You are in a Home Depot, Lowe’s or other major garden center, and you decide to purchase some new “bee-friendly” plants for your yard.  You pick out your favorite varieties, take them home, and plant them.  You step back from your planting work, and feel pleased to be helping keep bees and pollinators happy, by purchasing plants to attract them.  End of story?  Sadly, no.

Today, an international network of environmental organizations in 74 countries called Friends of the Earth, announced the results of a “new” and “first-of-its-kind pilot study” which showed that 54% of “bee-friendly” plants sold at garden centers nationwide have been pre-treated with bee-toxic pesticides.  A Friends of the Earth Facebook post simply read: “many “bee friendly” home garden plants sold at Home Depot, Lowe’s and other leading garden centers have been pre-treated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees.”  The plants that were studies were purchased from major garden retail centers in the Bay Area of northern California, Washington, D.C., and the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

According to Friends of the Earth, they conducted the pilot study “to determine the extent of neonicotinoid contamination of common nursery plants purchased at retail garden centers in cities across the U.S. This is the first investigation of neonicotinoid insecticide concentrations in “bee-friendly” nursery plants sold to consumers at garden centers in cities across America. The findings indicate that bee-friendly nursery plants sold at U.S. retailers may contain systemic pesticides at levels that are high enough to cause adverse effects on bees and other pollinators — with no warning to consumers.”

The Friends of the Earth report was written by Timothy Brown, PhD, Pesticide Research Institute; Susan Kegley, PhD, Pesticide Research Institute; and Lisa Archer, Friends of the Earth-US.  Two handfuls of individuals reviewed the report prior to its release: Professor Jim Frazier, PhD, Pennsylvania State University; Nichelle Harriott, PhD, Beyond Pesticides; Professor Vera Krischik, PhD, University of Minnesota; Stacy Malkan, Communications Consultant, Friends of the Earth; Scott Hoffman Black, PhD, and Jennifer Hopwood, PhD, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; Dr. Pierre Mineau, Pierre Mineau Consulting; Judy Wu, Graduate Fellow, University of Minnesota; Larissa Walker, Center for Food Safety; and Paul Towers and Emily Marquez, PhD, Pesticide Action Network.

The report details ways to keep pollinators safe and include point-by-point instructions specifically laid out for garden retailers, wholesale nursery operations supplying retailers, home gardeners and institutional purchasers, cities, counties, and states, Congress, consumers, and even the United States Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.), who has yet to officially determine the safety of Neonicotinoids usage.

If you are a patron (spend money) of any national garden retail center, and especially if you purchase plants from them, please take the time to educate yourself on these devastating findings by clicking through the links below.

Important Story Links

Download the report from the Friends of the Earth websitehttp://libcloud.s3.amazonaws.com/93/07/d/3118/Gardeners_beware_report_8-13-13-acknts.pdf

Download the press release from the Friends of the Earth website – http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2013-08-bee-die-offs-new-tests-find-bee-killing-pesticides

Visit the Friends of the Earth website – http://www.foe.org/beeaction

“Send a letter to the CEOs of Home Depot and Lowe’s asking them to stop selling bee-killing pesticides”http://www.foe.org/beeaction#sthash.oPtgKVfq.dpufhttp://action.foe.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13389

“Tell Congress to stand up for bees and support the Save America’s Pollinators Act”http://action.foe.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=13977

PSM Official Launch Sticker

PSM 2012 Official Launch Sticker © Pollinator Support Movement

FB Milestone + New Bee Info

Written by Alisha “Bee” Forrester Scott
Founder, Pollinator Support Movement

It is with pleasure that I thank each of the 1001 other online community members of Pollinator Support Movement (PSM) for their ongoing support of pollinators and their spirit of community action.  On Monday, August 12, after 13 months of dedicated promotion by many, the PSM page at Facebook reached the 1000 Likes milestone.  The next official FB goal is 1111 Likes.

To celebrate this milestone, I am re-posting a new plea from The Xerces Society that I received this morning by E-Mail, entitled “Act Now to Save Bees: Support the Saving America’s Pollinator Act”.  Kindly consider reviewing this information and get involved by clicking on the links contained in the plea.

❤ Bees and Bee-ple. ❤

Click here to visit The Xerces Society on Facebook.

Pollinator Support Movement logo by Alisha © 2013 Alisha Forrester Scott

Pollinator Support Movement logo © 2013 Alisha Forrester Scott

ACT NOW TO SAVE BEES

Support the Saving America’s Pollinator Act, from The Xerces Society

Eight weeks ago, a drama unfurled in a Portland suburb. Thousands of dead and dying bumble bees carpeted the tarmac below linden trees that lined the parking lot of a big-box store. Linden are a known bee magnet and sometimes the nectar is toxic — but could this many dead bees be a natural phenomenon?

Investigators from the Oregon Department of Agriculture provided the answer: No. Lab tests demonstrated that the deaths were caused by dinotefuran, an insecticide applied to the trees to control aphids, whose honeydew was dripping on cars below. Dinotefuran is a neonicotinoid, the most widely used group of insecticides and ones that are implicated in bee die-offs the world over. An estimated 50,000 bumble bees died on those trees.

Much progress to prevent future bee kills has been made in the weeks following this tragedy. The ODA has declared a 180-day ban on the use of dinotefuran in Oregon. Some independent garden centers have removed neonicotinoids from their shelves, an action initiated by Portland’s Garden Fever store. And the Saving America’s Pollinators Act has been introduced into the U.S. Congress.

The Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 2692) suspends certain uses of neonicotinoids, providing a time-out for these insecticides until the EPA can determine if they are safe to use on crops that are visited by bees. Xerces scientists helped write the act, which was introduced into Congress on July 16 by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.).

Most neonicotinoids were banned in Europe this spring. It’s time for America to do the same thing — but we need your help to make the act the law. If you haven’t yet added your voice to the growing clamor for change, do it now.

  • Contact your member of Congress to urge him or her to support the Saving America’s Pollinators Act. Find out how to contact your representative here.
  • Show Representatives Blumenauer and Conyers that they have your support by signing the petition on Credo.

You can also take direct action to reduce the threat from neonicotinoids: Check your own garage or garden shed for neonicotinoid products, and stop using them. For more information, see the brochure “Protecting Bees from Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Your Garden” and the recent Wings article “Neonicotinoids in Your Garden.” Both are available at www.xerces.org/pesticides.

Urgent Reprint: update on Neonicotinoids usage

Historical PSM Official Launch Sticker © 2012 Pollinator Support Movement

Historical PSM Official Launch Sticker © 2012 Pollinator Support Movement

 

The following is a forwarded message. Reprinted from:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2013/aug/05/neonicotinoids-ddt-pesticides-nature.

For images included in the original published online version (The Guardian, UK), please visit the link above.

Neonicotinoids are the new DDT killing the natural world

UK is collaborating in peddling the corporate line that neonicotinoid pesticides are safe to use – they are anything but

A farmer spraying crops with insecticide in Bedfordshire. Photograph: David Wootton/Alamy

It’s the new DDT: a class of poisons licensed for widespread use before they had been properly tested, which are now ripping the natural world apart. And it’s another demonstration of the old truth that those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.

It is only now, when neonicotinoids are already the world’s most widely deployed insecticides, that we are beginning to understand how extensive their impacts are. Just as the manufacturers did for DDT, the corporations which make these toxins claimed that they were harmless to species other than the pests they targeted. Just as they did for DDT, they have threatened people who have raised concerns, published misleading claims and done all they can to bamboozle the public. And, as if to ensure that the story sticks to the old script, some governments have collaborated in this effort. Among the most culpable is the government of the United Kingdom.

As Prof Dave Goulson shows in his review of the impacts of these pesticides, we still know almost nothing about how most lifeforms are affected. But as the evidence has begun to accumulate, scientists have started discovering impacts across a vast range of wildlife.

Neonicotinoids are already known as a major cause of the decline of bees and other pollinators. These pesticides can be applied to the seeds of crops, and they remain in the plant as it grows, killing the insects which eat it. The quantities required to destroy insect life are astonishingly small: by volume these poisons are 10,000 times as powerful as DDT. When honeybees are exposed to just 5 nanogrammes of neonicotinoids, half of them will die. As bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths, beetles and other pollinators feed from the flowers of treated crops, they are, it seems, able to absorb enough of the pesticide to compromise their survival.

But only a tiny proportion of the neonicotinoids that farmers use enter the pollen or nectar of the flower. Studies conducted so far suggest that only between 1.6% and 20% of the pesticide used for dressing seeds is actually absorbed by the crop: a far lower rate even than when toxins are sprayed onto leaves. Some of the residue blows off as dust, which is likely to wreak havoc among the populations of many species of insects in hedgerows and surrounding habitats. But the great majority – Goulson says “typically more than 90%” – of the pesticide applied to the seeds enters the soil.

A bee collects pollen from a sunflower. Neonicotinoid containing insecticides used in gardens and fields have proved fatal for the bee population, which has a knock-on effect on the wider ecology.

In other words, the reality is a world apart from the impression created by the manufacturers, which keep describing the dressing of seeds with pesticides as “precise” and “targeted”.

Neonicotinoids are highly persistent chemicals, lasting (according to the few studies published so far) for up to 19 years in the soil. Because they are persistent, they are likely to accumulate: with every year of application the soil will become more toxic.

What these pesticides do once they are in the soil, no one knows, as sufficient research has not been conducted. But – deadly to all insects and possibly other species at tiny concentrations – they are likely to wipe out a high proportion of the soil fauna. Does this include earthworms? Or the birds and mammals that eat earthworms? Or for that matter, the birds and mammals that eat insects or treated seeds? We don’t yet know enough to say.

This is the story you’ll keep hearing about these pesticides: we have gone into it blind. Our governments have approved their use without the faintest idea of what the consequences are likely to be.

A dead pike on the River Kennet. Photograph: Adrian Arbib/Alamy

You may have the impression that neonicotinoids have been banned by the European Union. They have not. The use of a few of these pesticides has beensuspended for two years, but only for certain purposes. Listening to the legislators, you could be forgiven for believing that the only species which might be affected is honeybees, and the only way in which they can be killed is through the flowers of plants whose seeds were dressed.

But neonicotinoids are also sprayed onto the leaves of a wide variety of crop plants. They are also spread over pastures and parks in granules, in order to kill insects that live in the soil and eat the roots of the grass. These applications, and many others, remain legal in the EU, even though we don’t know how severe the wider impacts are. We do, however, know enough to conclude that they are likely to be bad.

Of course, not all the neonicotinoids entering the soil stay there indefinitely. You’ll be relieved to hear that some of them are washed out, whereupon … ah yes, they end up in groundwater or in the rivers. What happens there? Who knows? Neonicotinoids are not even listed among the substances that must be monitored under the EU’s water framework directive, so we have no clear picture of what their concentrations are in the water that we and many other species use.

But a study conducted in the Netherlands shows that some of the water leaving horticultural areas is so heavily contaminated with these pesticides that it could be used to treat lice. The same study shows that even at much lower concentrations – no greater than the limits set by the EU – the neonicotinoids entering river systems wipe out half the invertebrate species you would expect to find in the water. That’s another way of saying erasing much of the foodweb.

I was prompted to write this article by the horrible news from the River Kennet in southern England: a highly protected ecosystem that is listed among the few dozen true chalk streams on Earth. In July, someone – farmer or householder, no one yet knows – flushed another kind of pesticide, chlorpyrifos, down their sink. The amount was equivalent – in pure form – to two teaspoonsful. It passed through Marlborough sewage works and wiped out most of the invertebrates in 15 miles of the river.

The news hit me like a bereavement. The best job I ever had was working, during a summer vacation from university, as temporary waterkeeper on the section of the Kennet owned by the Sutton estate. The incumbent had died suddenly. It was a difficult job and, for the most part, I made a mess of it.

But I came to know and love that stretch of river, and to marvel at the astonishing profusion of life the clear water contained. Up to my chest in it for much of the day, I immersed myself in the ecology, and spent far more time than I should have done watching watervoles and kingfishers; giant chub fanning their fins in the shade of the trees; great spotted trout so loyal to their posts that they had brushed white the gravel of the river bed beneath their tails; native crayfish; dragonflies; mayflies; caddis larvae; freshwater shrimps and all the other teeming creatures of the benthos.

In the evenings, wanting company and fascinated in equal measure by the protest and the remarkable people it attracted, I would stop at the peace camp outside the gates of the Greenham Common nuclear base. I’ve told the strange story that unfolded during my visits in another post.

Campaigners seeking to protect the river have described how, after the contamination, the river stank from the carcasses of the decaying insects and shrimps. Without insects and shrimps to feed on, the fish, birds and amphibians that use the river are likely to fade away and die.

After absorbing this news, I remembered the Dutch study, and it struck me that neonicotinoid pesticides are likely, in many places, to be reducing the life of the rivers they enter to a similar extent: not once, but for as long as they are deployed on the surrounding land.

Richard Benyon, the minister supposed to be in charge of protecting wildlife and biodiversity, who happens to own the fishing rights on part of the River Kennet, and to represent a constituency through which it passes, expressed his “anger” about the chlorpyrifos poisoning. Should he not also be expressing his anger at the routine poisoning of rivers by neonicotinoids?

Were he to do so, he would find himself in serious trouble with his boss. Just as they are systematically poisoning our ecosystems, neonicotinoids have also poisoned the policies (admittedly pretty toxic already) of the department supposed to be regulating them. In April, the Observer published a letter sent by the minister in charge of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Owen Paterson, to Syngenta, which manufactures some of these pesticides. Paterson promised the company that his efforts to prevent its products from being banned “will continue and intensify in the coming days”.

And sure enough, the UK refused to support the temporary bans proposed by the commission both in April and in July, despite the massive petitions and the 80,000 emails on the subject that Paterson received. When Paterson and his department “Deathra” were faced with a choice between the survival of natural world and the profits of the pesticides companies, there was not much doubt about how they would jump. Fortunately they failed.

Their attempt to justify their votes led to one of the most disgraceful episodes in the sorry record of this government. The government’s new chief scientist, Sir Mark Walport, championed a “study” Deathra had commissioned, which purported to show that neonicotinoids do not kill bees. It was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, nor could it be, as any self-respecting scientist, let alone the government’s chief scientist, should have been able to see in a moment that it was complete junk. Among many other problems, the controls were hopelessly contaminated with the pesticide whose impacts the trial was supposed to be testing. The “study” was later ripped apart by the European Food Safety Authority.

But Walport did still worse, making wildly misleading statements about the science, and using scare tactics and emotional blackmail to try to prevent the pesticides from being banned, on behalf of his new masters.

It is hard to emphasise sufficiently the importance of this moment or the dangers it contains: the total failure of the government’s primary source of scientific advice, right at the beginning of his tenure. The chief scientist is not meant to be a toadying boot-licker, but someone who stands up for the facts and the principles of science against political pressure. Walport disgraced his post, betrayed the scientific community and sold the natural world down the river, apparently to please his employers.

Last week, as if to remind us of the extent of the capture of this government by the corporations it is supposed to be regulating, the scientist who led the worthless trials that Walport and Paterson cited as their excuse left the government to take up a new post at … Syngenta. It seems to me that she was, in effect, working for them already.

So here we have a department staggering around like a drunkard with a loaded machine gun, assuring us that “it’sh perfectly shafe.” The people who should be defending the natural world have conspired with the manufacturers of wide-spectrum biocides to permit levels of destruction which we can only guess. In doing so they appear to be engineering another silent spring.

Monbiot.com

Pollinator Support Movement (PSM) and Alisha Bee are asking you to volunteer your abilities, resale of your products for fundraising purposes, and brokering your services for commissionable fee for fundraising purposes.  Abilities include all creative services including publishing, media relations, and artist management.  Musicians, we need you to help us, too!  Contact Alisha Bee at alishatheexplorer@gmail.com to become a part of the Pollinator Support Movement, to help your community save bees and your local food supply chain.

“Thank You for your support of the bees as an integral part of our collective human existence!” Alisha M. Forrester Scott, Founder of Pollinator Support Movement (PSM)

Worse fates than honey fate

Blessed honey drips © 2013 Alisha Forrester Scott

Blessed honey drips © 2013 Alisha Forrester Scott

Written by Alisha M. Forrester Scott

Honey is the only natural food that will not spoil (rot).  It is considered a perfect and helpful food.

With all of the energy and discussion at BeeSWeek 2013 this past June in Albuquerque, I now understand the skinny on the state of our planet’s food-pollinating Honey bees: failure and collapse are imminent.  (If our communities don’t do a thing to save the Honey bees, real honey will certainly become too expensive for those that do not keep Honey bees.)

And so, when I was recently gifted a honey stick snack, I was pleased.  The plastic tube holding the honey inside the honey stick is sealed at both ends.  I put one end of the plastic tube in between my teeth to tear a hole in it.

My plan fails, and the pressure from my clinched teeth makes the tube of honey explode out the opposite end.

I look down, and a trail of golden honey drips down my summer top, over my summer shorts, and onto my leg.  For a brief moment, taste bud paradise was found.  I sincerely enjoyed each moment of licking the dots of honey off of my shirt.  Finger painting fun was had, as I smeared honey onto my finger from my shorts and legs.

Click here for a related post that contains an image of another honey-related sensory experience that I enjoyed.

Click here to visit my SoundCloud profile page to listen to a song concept that I wrote about honey disappearing, called “Honey B Sweet”.