Wednesday, September 30, 2009

REVIEW: BrainToniq organic energy drink

You've probably been seeing all the energy drinks out there--Red Bull, etc.--and wondering if there's an organic way to go. Most of the commercial drinks are basically water, dyes, additives, sugar (or artificial sweeteners) and a bootload of caffeine.

I tried this BrainToniq to see if it might help me through my afternoon slumps. The taste is not bad (better if you chill it) and I did get a slight pick me up (n.b., there's NO caffeine in this), and two other writers I consulted said it was "helpful"--one friend, a poet, says he has a BrainToniq as part of his writing routine, so there you go.

I normally don't do well with ginseng, but I didn't feel jittery at all on this.

The ingredients are basically Rhodiola root, Choline Siberian Ginseng, and wild-harvested Blue Green Algae. It's sweetened by agave syrup, which is low glycemic (n.b. herbalist Susun Weed suggests staying away from agave in early pregnancy) and basically only has things that are good for you, so why not give it a try? You might be able to get rid of the afternoon latte, who knows?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

RECALL of Tylenol

I'm not a big fan of Tylenol--it slows down Phae II liver detox (hey, look in the warnings, it's right there) and is a leading source of liver damage. If you want to offload your shelves (via the AP):

NEW YORK – Johnson & Johnson's McNeil unit is voluntarily recalling 57 lots of infants' and children's liquid Tylenol products because of possible bacterial contamination.

The products being recalled were made between April and June and include nearly two dozen varieties, including Children's Tylenol Suspension 4 oz. Grape, Infants' Tylenol Grape Suspension Drops 1/4 oz. and Children's Tylenol Plus Cold/Allergy 4 oz. Bubble Gum.

Johnson & Johnson said late Thursday it has contacted wholesalers and retailers about the recall. An inactive ingredient didn't meet internal testing requirements, the company said, and B. cepacia bacteria were detected in a portion of raw material that went unused in the finished product.

Read more here

Friday, September 25, 2009

Water in schools in all 50 states toxic

CUTLER, Calif. – Over the last decade, the drinking water at thousands of schools across the country has been found to contain unsafe levels of lead, pesticides and dozens of other toxins.

An Associated Press investigation found that contaminants have surfaced at public and private schools in all 50 states — in small towns and inner cities alike.

But the problem has gone largely unmonitored by the federal government, even as the number of water safety violations has multiplied.

"It's an outrage," said Marc Edwards, an engineer at Virginia Tech who has been honored for his work on water quality. "If a landlord doesn't tell a tenant about lead paint in an apartment, he can go to jail. But we have no system to make people follow the rules to keep school children safe?"

read more here.

You can get pregnant...When you're pregnant!

What a weird story--this woman conceived ANOTHER kid 2.5 weeks after she became pregnant. It's called "superfetation," and I guess it happens... not only can you get pregnant while on your period, etc., I guess you can get pregnant ANYTIME.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Where Physician Completed Obstetrical Residency May Provide Quality of Care Indicator

How well do you make choices of your OB GYN? From what Aunt Emma recommends? If the doc seems "nice"? There may be some empirical help.

From Newswise, the journalists'-only site via the Journal of the American Medical Association:

Released: 9/17/2009 5:00 PM EDT
Embargo expired: 9/22/2009 4:00 PM EDT
Source: American Medical Association (AMA)

Newswise — A ranking of obstetrics and gynecology training programs based on the maternal complication rates of their graduates’ patients found these rankings consistent across individual types of complications, suggesting that these rates may reflect measures of overall quality, according to a study in the September 23/30 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on medical education....

“These results may have important implications for patients,” they add. “If these findings are confirmed and refined, women might select obstetricians in part by where they were trained. The general consistency in programs’ rankings despite different measures of quality supports the validity of the measures and also suggests that top programs may be likely to produce physicians who are better in unmeasured ways as well.”

(JAMA. 2009;302[12]:1277-1283.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tibetan Nannies New Trend

This is a new twist. Asian adoption, why not a Tibetan nanny to go with the colorful prayer flags in your yard? via


Tibetan nannies: Parents’ new status symbol?

Popularity of caregivers of certain ethnicities raises uncomfortable issues

By Susan Gregory Thomas contributor
updated 8:00 a.m. ET Sept. 21, 2009

When $800 strollers hit the market a few years ago, it looked as if baby status symbols had reached a new odd, capitalist apex. Now, according to a growing number of parents and experts, the primo credentials trade in a different kind of capital: nannies.

In American cities that draw domestic workers from around the world, the nanny pool is incredibly diverse, with women from the Philippines, Jamaica and the West Indies, Nepal, Russia, Poland and more. In some families, the ethnic background of a nanny carries a certain cachet — and entrenched stereotypes.

read more here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Can pregnancy tests be wrong?

Interestingly, it seems like HPTs and even blood tests for pregnancy can be wrong! I am reading this great book (review to come) about a woman who was 6 months pregnant before doctors figured out what was going on (they kept telling her she had a cancerous cyst, it was all in her head--and that she should drink more wine, etc., incredible!).

A quick Google search unearthed 4-5 stories like this (mostly in response to women wondering why they have pregnancy symptoms but negative tests)!

Welllllll.... haha.. I got a negative blood test and SEVERAL negative HPT's... And.. I was definatly preggers... My daughter is 3.5 yrs now.. So.. Blood or urine... No test is ever 100%... (sorry).. haha
Makes you wonder.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Why Take care of your urinary tract health when there might be a vaccine?

There are a number of ways this "no apparent cause" might happen--not wiping front-to-back on the toilet can cause migration of fecal bacteria (ditto for wearing thongs). Peeing immediately after sex can be helpful, as is staying hydrated.

Now, why would you want to get a vaccine for a condition that may be painful but is hardly life threatening, when cranberry juice is apparently pretty effective (read here about scientific studies that back up this age-old folklore)? Oh, wait, there's no money in cranberry juice.

Fom Newswise:
Vaccine for Urinary Tract Infections Shows Early Promise

Released: 9/17/2009 8:30 PM EDT

Newswise — Urinary tract infections are painful and recur all too often with no apparent cause: Ask any woman who has missed days of work due to one, or had to find emergency treatment while on vacation.

University of Michigan scientists have made an important step toward what could become the first effective vaccine to prevent urinary tract infections, if the robust immunity achieved in mice can be reproduced in humans.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sigg Bottles suck (Nalgene, too)

When you shop at places like Whole Foods, you often assume what's "green" is also "healthy." That's not the case. I've been railing against Nalgene and Sigg bottles forever, and everyone thinks I'm crazy--what could be wrong with thise cute, reusable bottles? Well, they contain BPAs, which are ENDOCRINE disruptors.

Studies conducted at the University of Cincinnati several years ago found some rather disturbing results in regards to the low-level impacts of BPA. In fact, Dr. Belcher said, while high doses cause little effect, analysis of cellular and molecular markers of estrogen signaling revealed that near-maximal effects of BPA on rat brain neurons not only occurred "at surprisingly low" doses of 0.23 parts per trillion, they also happened in a matter of minutes.

"From other studies it's clear that these low concentrations are in line with human fetal exposures, and at levels one might even see in the water supply," said Dr. Belcher.

From our friends at Science Daily:

(June 12, 2009) — Exposure during pregnancy to the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, found in many common plastic household items, is known to cause a fertility defect in the mother's offspring in animal studies, and now researchers have found how the defect occurs. The results of the new study will be presented June 13 at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Sigg is backpedaling on their insistence that Sigg bottles are "safe" but admitted they are NOT BPA free and you can exchange them for some other bottle with a new, green "Eco liner." Here's a letter from SIGG's CEO to consumer:

I have learned much over the past 2 weeks. I learned that many of you purchased SIGG bottles - not just because they were free from leaching and safe - but because you believed that SIGGs contained no BPA. I learned that, although SIGG never marketed the former liner as “BPA Free” we should have done a better job of both clearly communicating about our liner as well as policing others who may have misunderstood the SIGG message.

For over 100 years, SIGG has earned a reputation for quality products and service – and we do not take that for granted. From the day we made our announcement last month, we made a commitment consistent with SIGG values that we would offer anyone who is concerned about BPA an opportunity to swap their old SIGGs for new SIGGs with the new EcoCare liner. Today, I am announcing that this voluntary Exchange Program will be in place until October 31, 2009 to ensure that our customers have ample time to send their former liner bottles back to us should they choose to do so.
What is in this new "eco liner" is anyone's guess. The FertilityBitch's advice to keep your waterbottle BPA free? Just like that old adage, the only way to make sure you don't get pregnant is to not have sex, well, if you don't want BPAs, use an old glass bottle, or go stainless. I like New Wave Enviro stainless steel bottle.

Simple and clean, and you can even get a stainless cap to go with it and really eliminate all the plastics from your life! Plus, these bottles don't dent as easily as the SIGG's (made of--ugh--aluminum).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meds Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer but Increase Risk of Adverse Effects

Instead of taking drugs, it's probably easier, cheaper, and with beneficial side effect to clean up the diet, reduce toxins, etc.

From Newswise:

Newswise — Three drugs, including tamoxifen, reduce a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer, but each drug carries distinct potential harms of its own, according to a new report from HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Drugs to reduce the risk of breast cancer can be prescribed to women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, but prescribing practices vary widely. The comparative effectiveness review found that all three drugs — tamoxifen, raloxifene, and tibolone — significantly reduce invasive breast cancer in midlife and older women but that benefits and adverse effects can vary depending on the drug and the patient.

“Taking medicine to avoid breast cancer in the first place is an attractive notion, but the decision to do so must be made by patients in consultation with their clinicians with benefit of the best evidence available,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. “These drugs are not necessarily for everyone. This report sheds important light on their advantages and potential harms.”

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dangers of Plastic

Still to come...why Sigg bottles suck!

How Moms and Minorities are Deceived About Dangers of Plastic
Posted by: Dr. Mercola
September 12 2009

BPA, baby bottle, mom, minorityIn June, food and chemical lobbyists met in Washington, DC to save the toxic plastic chemical BPA. Their internal meeting memos revealed a dangerous and unethical strategy to keep your family eating and drinking from BPA-laden containers, despite the mounting scientific evidence that exposure to even extremely low levels of BPA can impact health, particularly during early infancy.

Notes from the meeting included a statement that, “Attendees believe a balance of legislative and grassroots outreach (to young mothers ages 21-35 and students) is imperative to the stability of their industry.” The notetaker added that, “Their 'holy grail' spokesperson would be a pregnant young mother who would be willing to speak around the country about the benefits of BPA.”

The notes went on to suggest that fear tactics regarding access to baby food would be a good ploy to use.

The lobbyists also decided that “focusing on the impact of BPA bans on minorities (Hispanic and African American) and poor is also important.”

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not recommend discontinuing the use of products that contain BPA, The National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report in September 2008 concluding that there was cause for "some concern for effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures."

USA Today October 29, 2008

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

SPAM apologies.

..and by the way, yes I AM annoyed by all the SPAM. GreenFertility's all about openness and free exchange, but I feel like I'm spending a good part of my day deleting inappropriate posts for viagra even though I recently, sadly, instituted the word recognition screening (has hardly quelled the tide) so apologies for some of this visual junk.

p.s. I am not apologizing to the makers of the actual meat, SPAM, because it's something people shouldn't be eating, anyway.

Orwellian Greenspeak, here we come!

Hm, this reminds me when I saw BANANAS at a farmers market in Minneapolis. Read this old post about Walmart, the world's skeeviest company.

From our friends at

Move over Greenwashing, local washing has arrived!
by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York on 09. 7.09

wal mart localwashing photo
Yup, that's the 'local' produce section in Wal-Mart. Photos via Grist

We're all plenty familiar with the advertising trend where marketers seek to portray products and services from a 'green' angle, regardless of their actual environmental impact. Well, perhaps such greenwashing campaigns have proved so successful (some 98% of 'eco-labeled' products were greenwashed last year) that marketers are following its lead to exploit another growing environmental trend--this time, it's "localwashing." Here are some pictures of the worst ads by big companies pretending to be local in order to cash in on conscious consumers.

Grist put together an informative/appalling/hilarious slideshow that demonstrates how big corporations--from the Venezuelan oil company Citgo to Starbucks to Lay's--have launched marketing campaigns attempting to portray their businesses as 'local' to cash in on the positive trend of buying and eating local.

read more here.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Why do we as Americans just accept the illogical and crappy and unhealthful as "normal" health "care"?

Wow, seems like these rural Peruvians are smarter healthcare consumers than we are--they stand up for their rights and won't use a facility until it conforms to what they want/need.

I love how they object to being forced to wear an ugly hospital johnny, giving birth lying down, etc. So who has the best healthcare in the world?

Pregnancy: Clinic in Rural Peru Draws More Women by Following Local Childbirth Traditions

Published: September 7, 2009

Rural parts of Ayacucho, Peru, have had some of the country’s highest death rates in pregnancy and childbirth. As in many poor countries, most of the deaths occur because women give birth at home, and those trying to help do not know how to deliver a baby safely and prevent or treat hemorrhage, infection and other deadly complications. In 1999 in the Santillana district, part of the Ayacucho region, only 6 percent of births took place at a clinic.

Health workers set out to change that. They started by asking people in the community about traditional ways of giving birth, and about what the clinic was doing wrong. They got an earful. Workers at the clinic did not speak the local language, Quechua. They treated patients brusquely, and barred husbands and other relatives from the delivery room. They forced women to wear hospital gowns instead of their own clothes, and made them give birth lying on a table instead of squatting. They threw away the placenta instead of giving it to the family to bury in a warm place.

Working with local people, members of a nongovernmental group, Health Unlimited, changed delivery services at a clinic in the Santillana district. They made sure Quechua was spoken, let relatives stay and help, set up delivery rooms so that women could squat and made other changes based on local traditions.

Read more here.

Mark Hyman, MD

Wow, I am not familiar with Dr. Hyman's work, but his article, Why Current Thinking about Autism Is Wrong, is eminently sensible...getting beyond the old blindered it's the genes! It's the parents! ideas behind autism and considering what might be REALLY behind this epidemic. Check out his theories and what we can do to prevent further harm to our kids.

Also, it appeared on the Huffington Post, which is fairly mainstream, so that's also exciting.

We watched this video last night, The Beautiful Truth, and while its execution was a little silly, it brought together many of the strands of healthful thinking that is now informing our family health. It was about cancer (which J has had) and not autism...but it's all part of the same vector, as you'll see.

Haha, it also explores MSG--I recently got in a fight at an academic conference over the MSG headache as a "cultural construct." When I tried to argue MSG is a real neurotoxin...well, I got my own headache from people yelling at me and telling me my problem was that I was a health alarmist and didn't enjoy life and needed to eat MORE MSG and all my problems would be solved. It was all a little hostile, and mean, like these debates about alternative health seem to get...but I'm happy and grateful our son's example has basically pushed us to rethink our lifestyles, which we thought were pretty darn healthy. There you go.

Netflix it! See the trailer here.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Become my Fan on Facebook!

If you want to follow some of my "other" (i.e., non health/fertility writing) or just goof around, please become my fan on Facebook.

Click here.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How's your Baby CHI?

Hello! Hope everyone had a great summer. I have a piece today in on how to improve your fertility (and your life) with FENG SHUI: click here.