Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Mom Thinks I'm Crazy

Note: This is a post I thoroughly enjoyed from Karol Gayda of Ridiculously Extraordinary. Thought you'd enjoy it too...

Needs vs. Wants
OR My Mom Thinks I’m Crazy
OR How To Be Congruent

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve bought a lot of stupid things I thought I needed over the years.

I thought I needed a BMW. So I bought one. I thought I needed a 2,500 square foot house. So I bought one. (I’m single with no children*, what did I think I needed 4 bedrooms for?!)

I didn’t see a problem writing a check for a luxury car (I may have been stupid, but at least I bought used and didn’t finance it), but I’d eat horrible, cheap, unhealthy boxed mac & cheese or WalMart pasta every day.


Spending $3 per pound for apples or oranges seemed outrageous to me.

Do you see the disconnect?

I didn’t at the time.

Cars, big houses, things, they’re all wants.

Quality, nutritious, food is a need.

A couple years ago (the beginning of my Drastic Life Change, which I’m still trying to put down into coherent words) it finally hit me:

Wants are dictated by outside influences.

TV, friends, family, books, magazines, Web sites, and countless other inputs.

Needs are dictated by biology.

Food, water, shelter. I’ll also throw in creative pursuits and exercise because eating, drinking, and sitting in a house all day isn’t healthy. Yes, I know from experience.

Be Congruent

In other words, do what you want based on what you need.

I understand needing a car to get around. But an extravagant car won’t make you happier than a car that runs well.

BMWs are great cars, but mine provided no more happiness than my old 1989 Grand Prix I got as a hand me down from my Brother (thanks man!).

I let myself be conditioned to believe that since I was making a decent amount of money I should drive a really nice car. My personality is more low key than that.

I wasn’t being congruent.

It’s not about cheap vs expensive.

I bought a really nice Gibson SG Standard guitar a few years ago for about $1,200. I’d wanted this guitar since I started playing 15 years ago. Playing guitar isn’t just a sometimes hobby for me. If I don’t play regularly I don’t feel right. (Which means I never pass up a guitar shop while on the road!)

A quality guitar plays better and sounds better than a cheaply made guitar (usually). My happiness was legitimately improved by playing a higher quality instrument.

Buying a quality guitar was congruent to my personality and, as a result, brought me happiness day in and day out. But I’m mindful of dependency (that dirty word dependency, more on her in the future) and sold my SG before embarking on my travels. It’s of no use to me sitting in storage.

Do you notice any of these patterns in your own life? You buy something you think you need, but after the initial elation is over you don’t feel any different?

So let’s try something different.

Instead of keeping up with the Joneses why not keep up with ourselves?

“Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to yourself.” – Henry Rollins

How To Break The Cycle

Getting out of this constant cycle of doing what we think we’re supposed to do and buying what we think we’re supposed to buy is simple.

1) Figure out what is congruent for you.


2) Stick to your convictions in the face of society’s pressures.

You will get unsolicited opinions and advice, but nobody can tell you what is right for you but you.

You can even disregard everything I’ve written because it’s my opinion and advice.

Challenge everything and everyone.

If you think living your life the way others choose for you is fine then who am I to tell you otherwise?

But based on the fact that you’re a Ridiculously Extraordinary Reader you probably don’t want to be like everybody else, do you? Thank you for that. :)

How To Be Congruent

Enough talk. Let’s get down to it.

If people around you know you’re serious about your convictions it helps keep them off your back.

For example, when I stopped eating animals my Mom said I was crazy. Every time I’d speak with her she’d ask if I was still being crazy. After a few months she realized it wasn’t a diet, but a lifestyle.

Diets don’t last. Lifestyle changes do. Now she doesn’t ask, she knows.

1) Be Clear About Your Convictions
When someone questions why you’re doing something, be succint and direct. This is not a time to be wishy-washy. Stake your claim and hold to it.

When people used to ask me why I ate a vegan diet I’d babble a long and unconvincingly boring string of sentences.

So I changed it to: “Out of respect for animals.”

Which I more recently updated to: “Out of respect for animals and my health.”

No room for interpretation there. 8 words. 2 seconds. They understand it’s not up for debate.

2) There Is No Step 2.

Being congruent is about being your true self, figuring out what you need, no matter what.

* No known children anyway. BOOYA! I kid, I kid. ;) I just ruined this whole article with that, didn’t I?


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Get the Picture? (The Bigger Picture, That Is...)

I am not under any illusions that you will take the time to research all these studies! However, the sheer volume of information can give anyone pause...and question. Check it out:

From Dr. Mercola's website:

Most of these are from GenerationRescue.org and Fourteenstudies.org’s websites, which are great resources as they provide copies of the full studies so you can review all the evidence for yourself:

1.Environmental Health Perspectives, August, 2005

Fourteenstudies.org states: “This study demonstrates clearly and unequivocally that ethyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in vaccines, not only ends up in your brain, but leaves double the amount of inorganic mercury as methyl mercury, the kind of mercury found in fish.

This work is groundbreaking because little is known about ethyl mercury, and many health authorities have asserted that the mercury found in vaccines is the "safe kind."

This study also delivers a strong rebuke of the Institute of Medicine's recommendation in 2004 to no longer pursue the mercury-autism connection. Excerpt:

"A recently published IOM review (IOM 2004) appears to have abandoned the earlier recommendation [of studying mercury and autism] as well as back away from the American Academy of Pediatrics goal [of removing mercury from vaccines].

This approach is difficult to understand, given our current limited knowledge of the toxicokinetics and developmental neurotoxicity of thimerosal, a compound that has been (and will continue to be) injected in millions of newborns and infants."

2.Cell Biology and Toxicology April 9, 2009 [Epub Ahead of Print]

Exerpt: “In conclusion, MT-1 and MT-3 mRNAs but not MT-2 mRNA are easily expressed in the cerebellum rather than in the cerebrum by the injection of low-dose thimerosal. It is thought that the cerebellum is a sensitive organ against thimerosal.

As a result of the present findings, in combination with the brain pathology observed in patients diagnosed with autism, the present study helps to support the possible biological plausibility for how low-dose exposure to mercury from thimerosal-containing vaccines may be associated with autism.”

3.Annals of Epidemiology September 2009: 19(9);659

Male infants who received thimerosal-containing hepatitis-B vaccinations had a three-fold risk of developing autism.

4.Neurotoxicology October 1, 2009

The above findings are confirmed in this study wherein infant primates injected with just ONE dose of thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccine manifested significant developmental delays.

5.Brain Research September 9, 2009 [Epub Ahead of Print]

Study concluded that injecting thimerosal into suckling infant rats, and adult rats, impairs sensitivity to pain, apparently due to activation the endogenous opioid system.

6.Toxicology & Environmental Chemistry September-October 2008: 90(5);997-1008

Male infants who received thimerosal-containing hepatitis-B vaccinations were nine times as likely to be receiving special education services

7.Generation Rescue Survey of 9,000 boys, aged 4-17, in California and Oregon, found that vaccinated boys had a 155 percent greater chance of having a neurological disorder than unvaccinated boys. Vaccinated boys were 224 percent more likely to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and 61 percent more likely to have autism.

For boys in the 11-17 age bracket, the results were even more pronounced. Vaccinated boys were 158 percent more likely to have a neurological disorder, 317 percent more likely to have ADHD, and 112 percent more likely to have autism.

8.Report to the Legislature on the Principle Findings from The Epidemiology of Autism in California: A Comprehensive Pilot Study by the MIND Institute, October 2002, concluded that the rise in autism cannot be explained by better diagnosis and expanded diagnostic criteria, but rather is a real event, likely propelled by “environmental exposures to substances such as mercury; viral exposures; autoimmune disorders; and childhood vaccinations."

9.Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 2006: 214; 99-108

This French study used a new, sophisticated measurement for environmental toxicity by assessing porphyrin levels in autistic children. It provides clear and unequivocal evidence that children with autism spectrum disorders are significantly more toxic than their neurotypical peers.

10.Journal of American Physicians and Surgeon, 2003

Exerpt: "The data from this study, along with emerging epidemiological data showing a link between increasing mercury doses from childhood vaccines and childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, increases the likelihood that mercury is one of the main factors leading to the large increase in the rate of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. It is hoped that removing thimerosal from all childhood vaccines will contribute to a decline in the numbers of new cases of autistic spectrum disorders."

11.Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health 2007: 70; 837-851

This study reviewed the case histories and medical profiles of nine autistic children and concluded that eight of the nine children were mercury toxic and this toxicity manifested itself in a manner consistent with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

12.Neuropediatrics, August 2006

Exerpt: "There was significant difference in blood mercury levels between cases and controls, which persists after adjustment for age, gender and parental occupational status. The geometric mean blood mercury level was also significantly higher in children with inattentive and combined subtypes of ADHD. CONCLUSION: High blood mercury level was associated with ADHD. Whether the relationship is causal requires further studies."

13.International Journal of Toxicology 2003: 22; 277-285

Fourteenstudies.org states: “This recent study demonstrates that the levels of mercury in the birth hair of autistic children were significantly lower than their control peers. While this may at first appear contradictory, it highlights one of the critical insights to understanding mercury poisoning and autistic children: many autistic children are non-excretors of mercury. This means their capacity to excrete mercury is significantly lower than their neurotypical peers and contributes to their condition.”

14.Journal of Pediatrics, May 2000: 136; 679-681

This study measured mercury levels in infants before and after the administration of a Hepatitis B vaccine containing thimerosal and found that a "comparison of pre and post-vaccination mercury levels showed a significant increase in both preterm and term infants after vaccination."

15.Neurotoxicology January 2005: 26; 1-8

Study demonstrates that thimerosal lowers or inhibits your body's ability to produce glutathione, an antioxidant and your body's primary cellular-level defense against mercury.

Excerpt: "Thimerosal-induced cytotoxicity was associated with depletion of intracellular Glutathione in both cell lines...The potential effect of Glutathione or N-acetylcysteine against mercury toxicity warrants further research as possible adjunct therapy to individuals still receiving Thimerosal-containing vaccines."

16.Environmental Health Perspectives, July 2006

Study demonstrates that very low-levels of Thimerosal can contribute to immune system disregulation.

17.Molecular Psychiatry July 2004; 1-13

Study demonstrates how thimerosal inhibits methylation, a central driver of cellular communication and development.

Exerpt: "The potent inhibition of this pathway [methylation] by ethanol, lead, mercury, aluminum, and thimerosal suggests it may be an important target of neurodevelopmental toxins."

18.Molecular Psychiatry September 2004; 1-13

Fouteenstudies.org states: “This work by Columbia University Doctors explores whether genes are important in determining if mercury exposures akin to those in childhood immunizations can disrupt brain development and function.

It is the first known scientific study done specifically on ethlymercury administered in a way similar to the vaccine schedule. Dr. Hornig discussed the study before Congress in September 2004.”

Excerpt: "The premise of our research is that if mercury in vaccines creates risk for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, genetic differences are likely to contribute to that risk. Earlier studies, however, did not use the form of mercury present in vaccines, known as thimerosal, and did not consider whether intramuscular, repetitive administration during early postnatal development, when the brain and immune systems are still maturing, might intensify toxicity.

Our predictions were confirmed. Using thimerosal dosages and timing that approximated the childhood immunization schedule, our model of postnatal thimerosal neurotoxicity demonstrated that the genes in mice that predict mercury-related immunotoxicity also predicted nuerodevelopmental damage. Features reminiscent of those observed in autism occurred in the mice of the genetically sensitive strain."

19.Toxicological Sciences 2003: 74

Study demonstrates the potent toxicity of thimerosal on brain cells.

20.Autoimmunity Reviews June 2005: 4(5):270-275

Study demonstrates the clear link between ethylmercury [from thimerosal] and autoimmune responses.

21.Congressional Record - Extensions of Remarks by Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN), Committee on Government Reform, May 21, 2003

Fouteenstudies.org states: “This extensive report was prepared by the staff of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Wellness and was the result of a three-year investigation. The Committee on Government Reform, chaired by Congressman Dan Burton, initiated the investigation and compiled the testimony of hundreds of researchers and physicians, as well as representatives from the FDA and CDC, who presented to the committee.”

Excerpt: "Mercury is hazardous to humans. Its use in medicinal products is undesirable, unnecessary and should be minimized or eliminated entirely. Manufacturers of vaccines and thimerosal, (an ethlymercury compound used in vaccines), have never conducted adequate testing on the safety of thimerosal. The FDA has never required manufacturers to conduct adequate safety testing on thimerosal and ethlymercury compounds...

Thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines is likely related to the autism epidemic. This epidemic in all probability may have been prevented or curtailed had the FDA not been asleep at the switch regarding injected thimerosal and the sharp rise of infant exposure to this known neurotoxin. Our public health agencies' failure to act is indicative of institutional malfeasance for self-protection and misplaced protectionism of the pharmaceutical industry."


Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 2006; 11(1); 8-13

Upon analysis of the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), researchers reported significantly increased odds ratios for autism, speech disorders, mental retardation and thinking abnormalities following vaccination with thimerosal-containing vaccines (DTP and Hib), compared to children who received a vaccine containing half the amount of thimerosal (DTPH).

The American Academy of Pediatrics decided that this study was flawed because it relied on VAERS data, which as a “passive surveillance system” is no intended to be used for proving hypotheses.

I could go on, but by now I’m sure you get the picture.

Defend Mercury As Safe. It's Not That Bad, Really...

"What's a little mercury in your shot anyway? Ignore these inconvenient facts: A typical flu vaccine shot solution is 50,000 parts per billion of mercury. The EPA classifies any substance with more than 200 parts per billion as hazardous waste. (The EPA limit in drinking water is 2 parts per billion.) Thus, the mercury density in a vaccine is 25,000% higher than the level required to be considered hazardous waste. This is injected directly into the bloodstream of infants, children, expectant mothers and senior citizens. What could possibly be dangerous about that?"

That's just one excerpt from Mike Adams, a.k.a. The Health Ranger. (http://www.naturalnews.com/)

Obviously Mike Adams has strong feelings about the mercury in vaccines. But is the information true? Let's find out.

The Center for Disease Control & Prevention has a page specifically addressing concerns about mercury and thimerasol. (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/updates/thimerosal_faqs_mercury.htm)

It states, "Several federal agencies, including the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registries (ATSDR), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have established guidelines for levels of mercury exposure that are thought to be safe. Federal safety standards for mercury are based on research performed on methylmercury.
More information is available about methylmercury than about a related form called ethylmercury because methylmercury binds to tissue more easily than ethylmercury, and remains there a longer time. Methylmercury is also believed to be more toxic than ethylmercury (Magos, 2001) and is the form of mercury of greatest public health concern (Mahaffey, 1999)."

Further down, the CDC states:

"The nervous system is very sensitive to all forms of mercury."

"Effects on brain functioning may include irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, attention, language, and memory problems."

"Unborn babies (developing fetus) are more sensitive to the effects of many chemicals, including mercury."

"Children may be at higher risk of mercury exposure than are adults because they eat more per pound of body weight and because they may be inherently more sensitive than adults, since their nervous systems are still developing."

"Mercury in the mother's body passes to the fetus and can pass to a nursing infant through breast milk."

"If a pregnant woman ingests mercury (no mention of mercury being injected into her bloodstream) at high levels, harmful effects that may be passed from the mother to the developing fetus include brain damage, mental retardation, lack of coordination, blindness, seizures, and an inability to speak."

"Children poisoned by mercury may develop nervous and digestive system problems and kidney damage."

I think we got the picture. Mercury is BAD.

Now, we shift to Thimerosal. The CDC says "Thimerosal is a very effective preservative that has been used in some vaccines and other products since the 1930s. Thimerosal contains approximately 49% ethylmercury. There is no convincing scientific evidence of harm caused by the low doses of thimerosal in vaccines, except for minor reactions like redness and swelling at the injection site. However, in July 1999 the Public Health Service agencies, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers agreed that thimerosal should be reduced or eliminated in vaccines as a precautionary measure."

My thoughts run along these lines: Mercury (Thimerosal) levels in vaccinations are based on safety guidelines for methylmercury, because more scientific information is available about methylmercury than ethylmercury. Does that make me nervous? YES. If ethylmercury in Thimerosal has been considered safe since the 1930's, then why in the world don't we have MORE clinical research on this form of mercury?

Moving on.

Dr. Joseph Mercola, a leading figure in the health & wellness world, published in his October 17 newsletter:

"As reported by the Seattle Times, Washington's Department of Health (DOH) has decided to suspend the rule that limits the amount of thimerosal in vaccines that can be administered to pregnant women and infants under the age of three."

Why? According to Health Secretary Mary Selecky, “pregnant women and young children are considered at high risk for swine flu, and lifting the mercury limits will give them quicker access to the vaccine.”

Is it just me, or does this make very little sense? The CDC itself states numerous times on its public website that unborn babies, young children, and pregnant women are the most vulnerable populations to mercury exposure.

(I am including in a separate post a bibliography Dr. Mercola has compiled with numerous studies regarding mercury testing & safety. It is so long I can't even fit it in this blog!)

Moving on.

Also taken from Dr. Mercola's website (sources: Seattle Times September 29, 2009, The Scientist September 23, 2009,ABC News October 14, 2009)

"Five biopharmaceutical companies have been awarded massive contracts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for development and production of more than 195 million doses of swine flu vaccine.

The companies -- Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, Australian drug maker CSL, and Sanofi-Pasteur -- will likely make a great deal of money.
Drug companies have sold $1.5 billion worth of swine flu shots, in addition to the $1 billion for seasonal flu they booked earlier this year.

These inoculations are part of a much wider and rapidly growing $20 billion global vaccine market.

"The vaccine market is booming," says Bruce Carlson, spokesperson at market research firm Kalorama, which publishes an annual survey of the vaccine industry. "It's an enormous growth area for pharmaceuticals at a time when other areas are not doing so well," he says, noting that the pipeline for more traditional blockbuster drugs such as Lipitor and Nexium has thinned.

"As always with pandemic flus, taxpayers are footing the $1.5 billion check for the 250 million swine flu vaccines that the government has ordered so far and will be distributing free to doctors, pharmacies and schools. (emphasis mine) In addition, Congress has set aside more than $10 billion this year to research flu viruses, monitor H1N1's progress and educate the public about prevention.

"Drugmakers pocket most of the revenues from flu sales, with Sanofi-Pasteur, Glaxo Smith Kline and Novartis cornering most of the market."

So, where does that leave us in our flu shot discussion?

Let me just say this: I'll give my youngsters a flu vaccine when the drug companies give them away for free. Not the government, not with my family's tax dollars. Until then, no thanks.

Next post, we'll talk about ways to help build your body's immune system naturally.

Please take a moment and post your comments; I am very interested in my reader's feedback. Thank you!