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Archive for May, 2007

By feature contributor Ms. Reef Rashbreastfeed jesus

For the most part, I appreciated the article by Cecil Adams (“The Straight Dope”, May 5-18, which appeared in the Hawai’i Island Journal … and is published in many alternative weekly papers around the country) in favor of breastfeeding for healthier babies, but I couldn’t stop myself from focusing on how he (and we as a society) continue to reinforce the rationale of many in our country that formula feeding is acceptable. This will only change as we all become more informed and help to support breastfeeding and breastfeeding mothers, and as our media stops making counter-productive statements.

Cecil’s statement that “newborns occasionally fed formula will survive,” is one case in point. The fact is that babies exclusively fed breast milk for the first six months of life have fewer illnesses and less severe illnesses. And yes, I’m not a breastfeeding Nazi… I can see that a baby who is fed formula on occasion will not die, but why take tgoddess isis nursing horushe risk of formula feeding at all which will increase the risk of SIDS, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, asthma, high cholesterol, allergy, vision deficits and more (nevermind the mother/child bond intrinsic to the process). For the very small percentage of women that are unable to or think they are unable to breastfeed, there is help for them in the form of medications and herbs to enable production of milk or to enhance production of milk, lactation consultants that can help women through the hard times, and the resource of milk banks which can ship breast milk to anyone, anywhere, with a doctor’s prescription. The WHO states that breastfeeding is best, the second choice is the mother’s own milk expressed and given to the infant in some way, the third is the milk of another human and the fourth and last choice is artificial baby milk.

If a multinational company developed a product that was a nutritionally balanced and delicious food, a wonder drug that both prevented and treated disease, cost almost nothing to produce and could be delivered in quantities controlled by the consumers’ needs, the very announcement of their find would send their shares rocketing to the top of the stock market. The scientists who developed the product would win prizes and the wealth and influence of everyone involved would increase dramatically. Women have been producing such a miraculous substance, breast milk, since the beginning of human existence… –Gabrielle Palmer, in The Politics of Breastfeeding, London: Pandora Press, 1988

Cecil further reinforces formula-feeding by telling women “good luck trying to solely breastfeed and hold down a job.” While for some it may be harder to express milk and bring it home from the office, it is by no means impossible. I know a woman who works in the forest fencing out pigs in Pohakuloa Reserve that took her cooler and breast pump with her into the field and would stop during her hikes at the appropriate fullness and express her milk, bringing it home later just to make sure that her children had the best she could give them. It is not impossible, it just takes determination. There are many resources available on the internet if you need help along the way – a good one is my sister’s site at thebfclinic.com .internation breastfeeding logo

Formula feeding is the longest lasting uncontrolled experiment lacking informed consent in the history of medicine. — Frank Oski, M.D., retired editor, Journal of Pediatrics

Cecil failed to mention the reason that the rate of breastfeeding in the ’50s “had dropped to 20%” was due to the newly developing formula industry and the pressure put upon women through the physicians and hospitals in those times, which (despite a slight reintroduction to breastfeeding) are still prevalent today. Formula companies constantly push their products on doctors and hospitals in the form of freebies to be the first to market themselves to the parents. Formulas are made to be cost-effective for the formula industry and are full of hydrogenated/low-quality oils, poorly absorbed nutrients, intestinal irritants and micro-deficiencies, not to mention based on dairy and soy which are two of the most common allergens for children, but also the cheapest most available source. (As well there are legitimate concerns with hormones, estrogens, and other factors which render the substitutes improper replacements). Breast milk, however, is a dynamic fluid with over 1000 different nutrients (specific to human beings), and it changes in composition throughout the day and throughout the course of lactation. It provides for the baby the specific nutrients that are needed at each age and in each situation. Formula will never be able to compete with that!

Would you go to the bathroom to eat your lunch?…As a rule, if you have a right to be somewhere with your baby, you have a right to breastfeed,” says Elizabeth Baldwin, a Florida attorney and La Leche League leader who is a national expert on breastfeeding and the law.

breastfeeding baby talk cover

Cecil also says that “you risk society’s wrath if you publicly suckle your kid.” Wow…if that doesn’t help reinforce the fear of breastfeeding, I’m not sure what does. Potential mothers that haven’t yet been through this process, let me reassure you now. I breastfed both of my children (for three years each) in public as needed, without anyone ever even looking at me funny. Maybe I just never cared enough to notice other’s attitudes. Yes, there may be the few who are uniformed, uncomfortable, or those with problems with their own sexuality, that may look on in disgust or even make rude comments, but why emphasize fear that society is truly against breastfeeding mothers (“society’s wrath…”)? This perpetuates the promotion of the breast as sex object while downplaying it’s proper purpose as the method for our children’s healthiest start in life. If a woman has modesty issues due to our country’s fascination with breasts, then they have the option to make themselves more discreet and wear a shawl or remove themselves from public view – but mothers have the right to breastfeed anywhere and should stand up for themselves if anyone tells them otherwise and feel supported by society to do the right thing!

breastfeeding protest hilo libraryThis week, our nursing mothers in Hilo went to have a “nurse-in” at the Hilo Public Library, which recently got some press when a librarian told a mother to go somewhere else to nurse, as there were young boys nearby that may be distracted. Despite Hawaii Law stating one can not discriminate against nursing mothers, the library’s position prior to the nurse-in was that they allow mothers to breastfeed but only if they breastfeed discreetly (i.e. hide in a corner somewhere or go to the bathroom — like every breastfeeding mom is just dying to pop one out and show the world). But after public response to their public position starting filtering in, the library soon changed their tune and their policy. It’s interesting that in this day and age mothers around the country -from the YMCA to Starbucks- (and even around the Americanized world) still have to protest for such a simple right.breastfeeding ad only six months

It is high time that society changes its social attitudes and explains away breastfeeding myths. Why are kids distracted by a breast in the first place? As one Hilo mother put it, “It’s time to heal our breast-repressed, breast-obsessed culture.” Breast-feeding is the most healthy option for our children. It is also a self-sustainable action, with no bottles, containers, washing or waste (unless you pump and bottle feed which may increase the need for dental work in the future, but at least save in doctor’s expenses with healthier constitutions). It saves over $1000 per baby in just the first year in feeding costs. And it can be done anywhere, at any time, without any preparation. Let’s start to make things right by being informed when we speak and then saying the right things to help women instead of perpetuating the repression.

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surfer girl hairWith search engines leading people who are trying to get “Surfer Girl Hair” to my article essentially detailing how to avoid it (“Secret Hair Tips for the Surfer Girl”), I decided I might as well publish my own recipe for the look. Likely a “How To” appeared on some trendy web site inflicting fads on experimental youth. Surfer girls whose hair turns dry and brittle from the daily effects of salt and sun may not understand those who want to purposefully put their hair through such abuse. And similarly, like the new tanning salon that opened up in our little Hawai’i town, I would find it absurd for anyone who has sun/ocean access to try to capitalize on one piece of the puzzle, going for “the look” instead of the experience and the multitude of benefits one can enjoys from surfing, swimming, etc. But I do have sympathy for those who simply can’t get the look the natural way – because of location, finances, etc. – and I’d do anything to help you avoid harsh bleaches and chemical hair products!

SophiaNaturally, my hair is so dark brown it’s almost black, but as a surfer it lightens up with highlights that go all the way to bright blonde (as opposed to lemon juice natural sun and sea coloring seems to skip the icky orangy phase). It’s the combination of the salt and sun that creates the look. Ocean water is on average 3.5% salt – though salinity is effected by evaporation, precipitation, and ground water or river water entering into it. I know the more salty and sunny the surf spot, the quicker my hair fries. On the East sides of the Hawai’i islands, with its abundance of river mouth breaks and more rain and clouds to block the sun, the condition of my hair doesn’t get quite so affected. On the West side though, with less fresh water and more desert-style environment, I can get “Surfer Girl Hair” in just a few sessions.ocean water salinity map

Ingredients (approximate):

* Sea Salt – 2 heaping tablespoons

* Water – 2 cups

* Oil (olive or coconut or whatever you have lying around) – 1 tablespoon

Heat water on the stove; pour in the salt and stir. Turn off heat, let cool to warm. Shampoo your hair (do not use conditioner) and it dry. Pour solution over hair (if you have long hair, saturate it as much as possible by first dunking hair into a bowl of the solution). Do not rinse; towel dry. If you have curly or slightly thick or dry hair that can handle some oil, put roughly one tablespoon of the oil into your palm, rub hands together, then cover outer layer of hair (avoid bangs or you’ll get zit-faced). Oil attracts sun rays and holds in heat and helps cook it better.

blue crush hairIf you don’t have access to a xenon lamp (ehem), simply go out in the sun (do not put hair in a rubber band if you can avoid it). Even if it’s overcast, some rays that provide general light are coming through. The closer to the equator the better. but the goal is to try to get as much sun as you can. Though it may take longer than your average Hawai’i surfer girl, you should see the effects. If you are going to be lying out in the sun at all (wear natural zinc sunscreen), then splay your hair out as much as possible. The hair that dries fastest and gets the most exposure seems to be the hair that bleaches out the most. And after it dries, wet hair again with a spray bottle that contains some salt water mix. Stop once you get the streaks/highlights you want and invest in some good conditioners. Also, as this is all designed to destroy the hair ;) we recommend adding some omega/flax oils to your diet, which seems to help keep hair flaxen!

There are also a bunch of products that have come on the market recently, which can add to the look: goops and sprays designed to give you that “sexy, salty, wind-styled texture”. No dough for new product? Use a little of your conditioner or gel mixed with a touch of jojoba, argan, coconut or other oil you happen to have in the kitchen. If you simply don’t wash your locks too often and let it get a little gunky,Chelsea Charges Surf throw in a dash of sand, stick your head out the car window – be creative – you can achieve your own carefree surfer look. (Disclaimer: once it crosses the line into rastafari dreds we can’t helpya.)

So, that’s it. But hey, if you ever decide to cruise Hawai’i to charge some waves and go for the natural surfer girl style… give us a buzz!

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mocha kittyYou or your loved one enjoy a mocha in the morning? Ready to score some points while saving some of the excess cash you’re spending for your “specialty” coffee at the local coffeehouse? Instead, maybe it’s time to use that money towards creating your own quality coffeehouse right in your kitchen. Here’s a recipe to get you started; a Hawai’i-style gourmet brew without too much hassle (don’t be scared off by the amount of type; it’s simple but I’m certifiably long-winded).

Ingredients:

* Dark Organic Coffee Beans – Even if you could care less if you get some concentrated chemicals in your coffee mug every morning, buy organic because it improves the ecosystems of farms, increases biodiversity, and preserves water quality. And any surfer knows how much it sucks surfing in agricultural residues after a nice rain. Why dark? Those who like mochas usually appreciate the rich flavor found in dark “French” roasts. Despite what most people think, dark coffee is less acidic. Try to avoid the over-cooked Starbucks brand coffee beans that are roasted to bitter. If you can’t find good beans locally (Kona purchased anywhere but in Kona can be quite expensive, yes?), there are many organic coffee growers/roasters online (look for Certified Fair Trade -meaning no slave labor- and Shade Grown). Purchasing whole beans direct from a reputable roaster means you will get it fresh with the most flavor. Better yet get green beans and roast yourself. Of course never buy pre-ground coffee -organic coffee bag coffee grinders are cheap but can demolish and heat the beans. Splurge on a burr grinder if you can, or if you’re broke-ass just grind as needed at your local store. I think the old hand grinders are cute and sometimes way more efficient.

nativas cacao* Raw CacaoNavitas Naturals organic cacao is delicious and processed at low temperatures to maintain nutrients and vitamins. Cacao is high in magnesium, vitamin C, and higher in anti-oxidants than red wine and green tea. This company is committed to social and environmental business practices, working directly with farming communities and supporting native organic farmers and farming methods. (Sure, you can also get some Ghiradelli.)

* Raw Sugar – Look for sugars, like Coconut Secret, that are not heat processed.

* Coconut Milk – Available at most grocery stores. Check the Asian Foods section for unsweetened, premium, first pressing, organic. Avoid the low-fat version. If you’re in Hawai’i or have some spare coconuts lying around, you can make your own fresh coconut milk.

coconut fresh* Rice Milk – (I like vanilla; organic will keep you GMO-free). Only problem is isn’t doesn’t froth well. The new Hemp milks are yummy and nutritious, but shake well – they have a tendency to separate and bead up and don’t look as appealing in the mug. Probably the most rich option is almond milk. They spray almonds with LOTS of pesticides, so definitely look for organic!

* “Pumpkin Pie” spices. 

* Filtered water for coffee brewing is best

Make two shots of espresso or a strong coffee. Though the process of making coffee is ultimately important, that’s another recipe for another time. Many “Mr. Coffee”-kine coffee makers suck and with the advent of much better machines for a decent price it’s silly to not spend more on something you use every day. Many swear by the tried and true cowboy coffee. Others love the French Press. Still others prefer vacuum or cold brew for a no-acid coffee that’s kind to the belly. I like the stove-top percolators or espresso machines. But one thing’s for certain, if your coffee sucks, you’re going to end up back at the coffeehouse.

Mocha CreamWhichever you decide, while the coffee is brewing, fill a saucepan with approximately 1 cup rice/hemp milk, couple tablespoons whipping cream or half and half, couple tablespoons of coconut milk (per mug) – I’m firmly opposed to measuring; just eyeball it. A big mug is important. Put approximately one full teaspoon of raw sugar (sweeten to taste), and a full teaspoon of cacao in your mug. Add a small amount of hot coffee into the mug while stirring; mix well! Then add the remaining espresso or coffee to 1/2 to 3/4 full, and fill the rest of the mug with the hot milk mixture. Top it off with whipped cream. Dash with pumpkin pie spice, or better yet grate some nutmeg and cinnamon yourself. The spices have a warming quality that are great pre-surf – and compensate a little for coffee’s tendency to deplete one’s Protective Qi, which can cause one to get cold more easily (just don’t use cinnamon every day as too much can irritate the stomach). You can also top off with some shredded coconut, chocolate syrup or shaved cacao.

That’s it. So now, get on it – surprise your loved one with a mug of this yumminess in the morning. Just make sure to go surf… or whatever you do… to burn off that crazy buzz! xo

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GIDGETYou know, before Gidget came out in the late ’50s, there were supposedly only 5,000 surfers in the world. With that and the beach blanket bingo era to follow, by 1962 it’s been estimated a whopping 100,000 took to the waves. Today how many might there be? Millions?

My first bit of interest in surfing came in the form of a Flipside Magazine (hi Al, miss you) borrowed from some high-school surf punks as well as paddling out being my only other option besides waiting for hours on the beach gossiping with my girlfriends while our boyfriends surfed (yuck!). Yet, I will never deny the inner girly-tomboy inspiration acquired from the Gidget character, especially Sally Field’s TV version. Heck, the first spot I ever surfed (or got tossed around by waves at) as a teenie-bopper was Malibu and every once in a while I’ll disturb myself by unconsciously verbalizing words like “Toodles.”

But do we really need another major motion picture about the subject? After Blue Crush, can the water get any more crowded? (hmm, interesting to note, some of the most popular surf movies in history are about women – whassup with that?) How many more over-commercialized surf flicks does the universe need created by non-surfers in Hollywood trying to cash in?surf’s up

“Okay. I get it. This is where you tell me that “locals rule”, and that Yuppie insects like me shouldn’t be surfing the break, right?”

Capitalizing on the public’s love of computer animation and cute animals (Lilo & Stitch, Happy Feet, March of the Penguins) and promoted happily by certainly well-paid surf industry powerhouses (Kelly Slater and Rob Machado who provided lead voices), the consumer public is supposed to embrace Surf’s Up! as the movie to take the kids to this summer. But this animated feature that “goes behind the scenes of the high-octane world of competitive penguin surfing” and is based on the concept that (move over dolphins) “penguins invented surfing”… is not the new surf movie I’m talking about.

“You’re sayin’ the FBI’s gonna pay me to learn to surf?”

point break two

Point Break screenwriter Peter Iliff has found the only way to get a director’s credit is to write a script with his directing job tagged onto the contract. To the casual dismay of Point Break fanatics, this means a Point Break 2. In this 20-years-later scenario we will see (so far as it’s been reported) Bodhi indeed not dead, and has been instead playing bad boy and surfing, no doubt, hurricanes in the Asian Pacific (can’t you just picture him doing tow-ins with Laird). Patrick Swayze, with star power draining accordingly over time, doesn’t have a lot of other projects lined-up and is tentatively committed to this one. But there will be no “Johnny Utah” (and no James Cameron producing) – the flick will be funded and filmed in Asia and star a largely Asian cast. And the new lead character is supposed to be a ex-pro surfer turned Navy Seal tracking down a “criminal gang” and star a new Keanu. As reported in Variety:

It is really important that this film stands on its own two feet and we will be looking for a young male action star at the same stage in his career as Keanu (Reeves) was….

“Young, dumb and full of cum”

While you’re waiting for Point Break 2 to come out, you might be able to experience the ultimate ride “Point Break Live!” (a play based on the movie which I believe originated in Seattle many years ago, but has been showing as recently as a few weeks ago in New York). A new Keanu is picked every time, and the message on their MySpace better explains the qualities one must possess to play such a role like the dynamic Reeves:

To represent Keanu Reeves, an actor must be untrained and unrehearsed. He must be pushed from place to place by production assistants. He must read his lines (not seen until the play’s in progress) from cue cards. Only thus can that irresistible Reeves vacancy be emulated.

kalani robbOh, my. Well, in my personal opinion, if they’re going to make this work, I think they should hire retired pro goofy-footer Kalani Robb, as he’s always seemed to me a cuter Keanu. Plus he won’t need to be trained how to surf, has an Asian-Hawaiian look (like Keanu), and the absolute worse case scenario can act as well as Keanu… and I love him. Oh Rob, remember that day you were jogging down the beach with your dog..and I had my dog… and you barely paid any attention to me… sigh… and then that time, out in the water, at Pupukea, you were so mellow letting me catch as many waves as I wanted..even though you probably didn’t even notice I was there… what, oh, you did notice me…you wanna go grab some sushi…well, sure… mmm…. Oh, sorry, daydreaming again…. Rob even has a filmography and likely an Actor’s Guild card and, ah, shoots, he’s staring in a surf/horror movie coming out this year called Pipeline (“the water is filled with limbs…”). Well, out of all the surf movies coming soon to a theater near me, that’s one I’ll go see.

“Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.”

Now the question is, will Point Break fans flock to the potentially B-grade flick in hopes the writing might include genius one-liners like the ones weaved throughout the original. Or should we avoid the movie and preserve our imagination. That we don’t know if Bodhi died or somehow survived the huge waves at “Bell’s Beach” – and is possibly out there, somewhere, bullying for truth and the human spirit and manifesting the adequate funding required to live the ultimate surfer lifestyle (of course, today one would have to rob a lot more banks to stay afloat as a beach bum with a healthy quiver). Though there is little controversy about the matter, maybe people are just afraid to admit to their caring either way about the film’s legacy. One reviewer did go on the record, “Sounds like an all-around bad idea to me.” Yeah, “Part Two”‘s have the power to be such a bummer, dude.

“If you want the ultimate rush, you gotta be willing to pay the ultimate price….”

As far as more surf movies go, we can only hope for the best. Often the pure essence is only found in the well-produced small, independent variety, made by people who live to surf, and surf to live. Do all surf movies have the potential to increase the number of surfers in the water? Sure, very likely. Then again, we can all be greedy over the waves. But when you see the look on the face of a kid who just rode a wave for the first time in his or her life, you don’t mind so much. We know aloha is part of sharing it with the rest of the world. And perhaps the future core of conservation and environmental consciousness will be inspired by the fresh generation of groms who connect with the ocean and have a deep desire to keep it healthy (maybe throw in a few engineers to make some successfully breaking artificial reefs to satisfy the growing surfer communities – and encourage growing sea life). So, ultimately, I don’t mind the flux of surf movies – but if filmmakers are throwing so much money at it my only request is that they please make some that are really good too.

“Surfing’s the source man… it’ll change your life, swear to God.”

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Dog Food RestaurantThough animals of all smells tug at my heart-strings, I am officially one of those cat-people who one day turned into a dog-lover; even the title Coconut Girl being a dedication to my girl dog, who looks absolutely ridiculous running around the beach with a coconut twice the size of her head clutched in her chops. But almost like a new mother worried whether she’s taking proper care of her newborn, it seems I know very little in terms of exact specifics regarding proper dietary care of doggies, relying foremostly upon instincts and smiles. For example, I don’t believe any creature should subsist solely on processed foods (e.g. packaged dog foods) – they don’t do it in the wild – though expert thoughts on the matter seem to insist otherwise. I’m not into encouraging begging, but sharing my burger with my dog makes us both happy and sometimes we both need a little fresh meat (though hormone-free hamburger cooked rare may be best for her). On the other hand, I thought avocado -a favorite treat for dogs here in Hawai’i as it’s found in such abundance- would be nice for her fur. So it was kinda a bummer when, experimenting with Stumble! (and realizing it is a cool tool for exploring undiscovered web sites), it sent me stumbling upon a page called Moore’s Haven and their list of “Bad Foods For Dogs”. Low and behold, amongst the first few entries, there it is, avocado:

Avocado contains a toxic element called persin which can damage heart, lung and other tissue in many animals. Avocados are high in fat content and can trigger an upset stomach, vomiting or even pancreatitis. The seed pit is also toxic and if swallowed can become lodged in the intestinal tract where it may cause a severe blockage which will have to be removed surgically. Since avocado is the main ingredient in guacamole, be sure and keep your dog out of the dip.

Hope the Dog Food Isn’t ContaminatedTypically this is only an issue if you happen to live next to an avo tree and your dogs are gorging on the fruit, otherwise a little added to meals here and there are recommended by the best doggie naturopaths and nutritionists.

So with that, a little more research, and some inspiration from the recent pet food recall, we give you the top ten ways in which you might be innocently poisoning your doggy with bad food choices:

1) Avocado (as previously mentioned)

2) Baby food and Onions. I used to give baby food to my cat when she was getting older and it was hard for her to eat/digest regular cat food. On occasion, thinking she might like it, I’d give some of the organic chicken variety to my doggie. Ooops. Dogs can not eat onion powder. Onions can cause hemolytic anemia destroying a dog’s red blood cells and causing lethargy and breathing difficulties (check for pale gums). Fortunately, toxins will pass but in large doses could require a blood transfusion. Garlic isn’t recommended either but since it’s used in smaller amounts problems are less often noticed.

3) Dairy Products. My girl is an Atkins dog; preferring her fats and proteins. For treats, she loves a saucer of creme every once in a while. Organic yogurt or kefir – yum! We eat bread only when covered in cheese or butter. Even last night while watching The Sopranos where Tony kills Christopher (man oh man… fun having a TV while house-sitting), we enjoyed some high quality Monterey Jack together. Now I know I can’t handle too much dairy, but didn’t realize she couldn’t either; assuming that hard-core tummy that comes pre-installed on these beasts can break down most any food it can swallow. It’s the lack of the lactose digesting enzyme, lactase. Seems cheese and yogurt require less of it so limit minimal dairy consumption to those.

4) Chocolate. That’s the one food most everyone knows dogs shouldn’t have, but don’t know exactly why. Ill effects are caused by theobromine, a cardiac stimulant, which can make the dog hyperactive, increase heart rate, and cause death especially when combined with exercise. It also acts as a diuretic which can lead to dehydration. How much chocolate can equate to an overdose? Depending upon the dog’s size, even an ounce or two can be fatal! And note: cocoa powder and cooking chocolate (dark as opposed to milk) contains more of said substance and is therefore more toxic. Sickness might not come on immediately, but death can follow within 24-hours.Dog Eating Avo

5) Bones. This is another one most people know about, but it is hard to prevent your pooch from sniffing out barbecue remnants at the beach or park. Many think it’s only the chicken bones because they splinter. But all cooked bones are hazardous because they become brittle and splinter and have sharp edges. One vet told me he’s had to put his hand down the throat of hundreds of dogs over the years, to get the full piece of short-rib bone that easily becomes lodged. Though raw bones (completely uncooked, which you can usually find in the refrigerated section at a feed or pet store) are typically considered safe and beneficial to the dog’s teeth (not to mention their disposition) too many might cause constipation due to high calcium content.

6) Cat Food. Every once in a while my dog just won’t eat her food. I try to switch it up, between formulas she prefers, usually the ones that have lamb as the first ingredient and rice instead of wheat. But once in a while I’ll feed her some kitty food. Doesn’t seem too bad if that’s not what the dog is subsiding on. The main issue seems to be that it does not supply an adequate formulation to satisfy a dog’s nutritional requirements, as well being too high in protein and fats and potentially contributing to added weight gain for the pet.

7) Macadamia Nuts. Another food common in Hawai’i, therefore can be a big concern. On many occasions I’ve had to warn people to not give my dog MacNut Crusted Mahi-Mahi or Ono leftovers (since my Mama Udy makes the best!). As few as six nuts can cause elevated temperature, accelerated heartbeat, tremors, even paralysis. Best to avoid nuts in general, because their high phosphorus content may lead to bladder stones.

8) Liver. Another one I wouldn’t assume, especially as many dog foods and treats contain it. It’s just a caution about eating too much, the reason being its high Vitamin A content. Fatty Meats are also usually the scraps we indulge our pet with; what’s wrong with those? Well, they may love us with all their heart for it…but it’s bad for their heart! As well, excess may cause loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis and gastroenteritis (specific clues include whimpering or restlessness).

9) Moldy or Spoiled Foods. Dogs are the ones who usually get the leftovers we no longer want. But when the foods sit in the fridge awhile, we usually assume it’s still fine for the animal. But don’t let it get too old! It seems mold contains toxins that can cause tremors or seizures in which case medical treatment is required. Spoiled foods can cause food poisoning which might lead to vomiting, diarrhea and shock.

10) Commercial Dog Food. Yes, the very food made especially for dogs can be killing your dog. And it’s not just the cheap dog foods found in grocery stores, the so-called “premium”, “gourmet”, “natural” or “preservative-free” (often produced by these same companies) can be just as bad. The recent recall should be warning enough about the limited controls of byproducts and industrial chemicals in pet foods (Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine which is studying the foods because of this incident says they are finding more things in the pet food that shouldn’t be there, “but identifying what they are is a long process”).

Iams PosterWhen we look at the history, commercial dog food came into existence in the 1930s with cereal companies looking for something to do with their rejected grain – wheat, rice and corn that failed USDA inspection because of mold, rancidity, and other contaminants (disregarding the fact dogs digestive systems aren’t built to break down grains of any sort and that they usually have some allergic reactions). With the meat industry facing a similar dilemma (mainly the 4D meat – diseased, disabled, dying or dead, but also including capitalization of road kill, euthanized animals [collars and all], plastic and styrofoam wrapping of spoiled grocery store meats, urine, feces, hair, feathers, beaks, etc…), the idea of mixing the rejects together and calling it “pet food” was born. Reminding one of the promotion for formula over breast milk, disregarding the consumers best health interests, marketing firms took it from there.

Dog Food SecretsFor more info check out Dog Live, which recommends feeding homemade dog foods for your loving companion. A few other sites worth checking out: The Dog Bowl, Shirley’s Wellness Cafe, Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance, The BARF Diet, RawFeed, and Better Way Health (these include raw food diets to purchase or prepare fresh for dogs). A few ways to help clean up the industry: The Petition for Pet Food Reform, another Petition to Hold the Pet Food Companies Accountable, and Peta’s Iams Cruelty site. You can also write to The Center for Veterinary Medicine and FDA about your concerns. To learn more about the pet food recall, check in with the FDA’s site which provides info on all pet food companies involved and the Timeline of the Pet Food Crisis on Wikipedia which includes corporate cover-up, varying causes of recall, and recent release for human consumption animals who were fed this tainted food.

Finally, besides a proper, high quality diet for you and your pet, to live happy and healthy make certain you get plenty of exercise, water, and most importantly, cuddles! xo

9/21/08 Update: This link for Peta, with updated info… Another Pet Food Recall – Is Yours on the List? Another example, of why, if you truly luv your dog or cat, you pay a little extra $/attention to what you are feeding them. Find a reliable, socially responsible, pet-loving company who makes food that is healthy and that your pet loves!

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good bad kittyI’m housesitting. It’s a nice and needed respite because I’ve been living in a tent in a rat-infested plantation house with termites to the extent that every once in a while you notice the wall crumbling to dust. Despite the sound of it, I am forever grateful to my friend for making his home available to me, because homelessness sucks even if you are in Hawai’i (the concept of “living on the beach”: coconut tree, beach shack…kinda lost in this modern world). And the nights I did have to sleep in my little putt-putt with my broken back were uncomfortable reinforcements of pain killer psychosis and suicidal tendencies.

See, this ungrounded state is a result of an injury which left me unable to work for much of a year (sure, sure, the symbolic, astrological, spiritualized purpose of the accident itself has much deeper roots…but rhyme or reason aside, the event leaves you in disarray). If you aren’t from a rich family or have a chunky savings account, and after you quickly, effortlessly run through all your resources, you soon realize the impossibility of living on $400 a month plus $240 in food stamps. What can one buy with $400 exactly? Rent? You’re lucky if you find a room for that much – and if you do your options here usually include a basement or trash-can frat house or some ramshackled cabin in the boonies. And then you have not one more penny for, god-forbid, medical bills, rehabilitation… never mind regular expenses like car, phone, utilities, pet food, credit card bills…. As far as food expenses go, anyone who lives in or has visited Hawai’i comprehends the futility of discount shopping when, for example, a carton of orange juice costs upwards of $8 (fatal when calculating in organic, non-GMO vices and desired satisfaction of cravings) – no, there are no Trader Joe’s and they don’t take food stamps at most of the farmer’s markets either.

But enough of this negative thinking – people just don’t want to hear it, even if it is the truth. Today there is an avoidance of anything that smells of negativity. Boy, all us realists are just percolating, waiting for The Secret* backlash that will surely come, as bottled up “negativity” finds no friendly place to exist in this “all-good” world. It’s like when the “politically correct” thing first became big late ’80s, and your dictionary had to change and quick or you were looked down upon, sued, fired, hated…. I recall one occasion, for example, reacting aloud to someone with the pre-p.c. common adage You’re so gay (okay, valley girl-common but none-the-less). Anyway a gay acquaintance in our group became mortified and reacted in a very aggressive way. How dare you! Now, he knew many of my friends were gay (I was in San Francisco visiting them for cryin’ out loud), that I’m not homophobic, but he was so tuned-up to react to keywords that the reality was besides the point. Maybe other people used that saying to round-aboutly demean gay people (I get offended when people use “girl” to put down guys for example – though on that note perhaps he should have been offended by people calling homosexuals “gay” at all). Personally, I never once thought the saying had anything to do with “gay” people. I wouldn’t be able to replace the word “gay” in the phrase (e.g. You’re soo homosexual). And since when did one group earn the right to words like “gay” to the point you have to tippy-toe around your own vocabulary? Heck, homosexuals can use whatever word they want, make up new words to describe themselves uniquely, but “gay” is a common word with many definitions in the dictionary before you get to “homosexual”.

All I’m saying before I so rudely rambled away with my thoughts is that, like P.C. then, we’re getting a little S.C. (secretly correct) and perhaps going a little overboard with the whole no negative campaign. Because people individually and as a social collective are emotionally (not rationally) determining just what is negative or bad and what is not, and the range seems to opt towards extremes. And I’d hate to say something and be interpreted incorrectly or not related to or totally dismissed, because people have a neurotic need to block out or close themselves off to anything that can be deciphered as remotely negative. Now that, to me, feels bad. Trends like this always seems to go too far. My friend’s kitty is a perfect example.

See, kitty-sitting comes with the two-week housesit. The meow meow is barely a speck, a shadow, a puff that can sit in the palm of your hand. My friend recently found this kitty at her house and took her in, ’til it peed on her bed, but essentially she now takes care of the kitty and therefore claims the self-entitled human right to name said kitty. And taking personality and behavioral issues into account – the peeing, clawing and otherwise rowdy behavior – she named the kitty “Bad Kitty.” When she told me, I didn’t even question the matter; Bad Kitty seemed like a perfectly understandable even adorable name for a cat. But she explained that she was having some resistance from people around her, as far as them calling her kitty by her proper name. Somehow the word “bad” just isn’t positive enough or “S.C.” One of the tenants that rents from this friend seemed dramatically disturbed by the whole thing. “No, no, nooo,” the girl whined with her air-head boppin’ side-to-side, “you can’t call her Baaad Kitty, you have to call her Gooood Kitty.” “But her name is Bad Kitty,” my friend declared in response. Trying to maneuver the scenario with a more upbeat twist, my friend then elaborated, “my kitty is bad-ass!” The girl thought for a minute, going through the motions of wholesome contemplation but twas useless, ultimately her mind was made up. “No, no, no” she repeated, “Gooood Kitty.”

So I’m thinking it’s just this tripped-out hippie who avoids “bad” vibes like the shower, but my friend said she brought her new kitty to the local vet and no one at the vet’s office – vet included – would call the kitty by its name. “They call her BK” my friend told me, kinda perturbed but at a loss. They insinuated her needing to rename her kitty, but since she resisted they simply did it for her. BK, I thought, isn’t that short for Burger King? (hmm, the last burger I got from there was pretty negative!)

Right now as I type, Bad Kitty is being especially “bad”, jumping on my head, on my keyboard, adding lines and spaces and distracting my focus. I toss her here and there but she’s back in a poof, a shadowy black flash, and is indeed bad-ass. And I’m in this nice house and for a moment my environment isn’t reflective of or aggravating my negative state. Maybe a few of these double negatives are actually joining together, in a transformative alchemy, to create some more positives. Surely we need these fucked up, shitty, horrible, evil, rotten, lame, boring, stupid, bad, bad-ass words and feelings and events and even people for any of the positive ones to truly exist; perhaps consciousness and understanding and even a lighthearted sense of humor makes them not so baaad. I was never looking for perfection in my life, just a healthy balance, sure, of positive and negative I suppose. I’m not worried, cause if a little blip, a dot, a dusky happy-go-lucky ruffian like Bad Kitty can overcome or transcend the negativity in her life, then I surely can too.

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* the “it” film and book of the moment, with it’s semi-new age no-negativity campaign and Da Vinci code aesthetic providing your answer to the Secret (secret laws and principles to the universe – foremostly the laws of attraction or as some critics state a re-packaging of “The Power of Positive Thinking”) and how to use them to have “everything you’ve ever wanted…living life to the absolute fullest. That means happiness, health, and total abundance and freedom, every day.” Basically sold as the answer to having the life all rich, successful, happy people knowingly lead. The essence of this solution stemming from the idea that one must think and visualize good thoughts; avoid bad ones.

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food poisoning benefitsThe other day, this guy mentioned how he’s had food poisoning twice in his life and how awful it was. He was going through the gory details as if he thought maybe I wouldn’t understand. All I was thinking was, twice in your life?! You’re so lucky! I’ve probably had it twice in the past year! So, maybe I do have a sensitive stomach. If there were a way in which it wouldn’t cause utter hideous pain, I could get big bucks using this stomach of mine as, perhaps, a device to test restaurant food quality or sanitary environment or something. The scale could range from amount of cramping, how many hours or days it lasted, how many times I yelled, “Get the #$&% out of here!” to anyone in the house who asked through the bathroom door, “are you okay?”…etc….

The California Department of Health Services gets close to 27,000 reported cases of food poisoning each year. Because there are many more cases of food poisoning that are never reported, the actual number of food poisoning cases per year is unknown. The annual incidence of food poisoning nation wide is estimated to be as high as 80 million cases, with 300,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 or more deaths annually.bunny barfing

The only time in my life I had an official hospital stay – meaning not some stitchable cut or contusion or broken bone sports-related visit to the ER – was the after-effects of eating a BLT at the House of Pancakes in Agoura, California. I was maybe ten-years-old but recall the day: my team winning our soccer game, the drive to the after-game family meal, ordering and eating my food…and then it fades to black. I was out for about a week, they told me I almost died, and the only part of the actual hospital stay I remember was how absolutely stoked I was to wake up to the gift of a Mattel Handheld Electronic Soccer game. By the time I left the hospital I fit into my four-years-younger sister’s pants (my mom having grabbed the wrong ones).

There are important differences in terms of food process hazard control among the three phrases that describe the various forms of foodborne illness, which are: 1) food poisoning (a chemical poison or natural toxin in the food, not made by a microorganism), 2) food infection (food containing living, vegetative pathogenic microorganisms that multiply in the body to cause diarrhea as well as other forms of illness such as vomiting, fever, etc.), and 3) food intoxication (specifically, either Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, or Clostridium botulinum multiplying in the food, thus making toxins).

mattel soccer

I always remember where I got the food and what bathroom I ended up in. And despite wisps o’ wisdom from numerous folk regurgitating ol’ wive’s tales that it takes at least 12-24 hours before you feel the effects - it’s certainly not always the case (for me rarely the case). Depending on the bacteria or toxin involved, I almost always feel it very shortly after eating the food. The last few incidents: Costco (already cooked) crab – it’s a risk I no longer take; Caesar’s salad – seems innocent enough, ’til I ate one at that cute little pizza place in Volcano Village – recommend trying the pasta instead. It always feels like you’re dying, or maybe the closest a non-birther might get to the feeling of giving birth – one of those extremes. Usually they are smaller bouts of course – and likely go under the more accurate title of foodborne illness. Like the one today. What was I thinking ordering fast-food chili, fries and a chocolate malt? I’m learning though. I know now that one of the worst things one can do is try to keep it down. Just like when one has been “inflicted” with a bad case of alcohol poisoning. The minute you know you went too far, that the world feels as if it’s spinning at a variablefood bacteria and tilt inconsistent with reality and your body can’t handle the turmoil…you need to throw it up! To get the poison out of your system A.S.A.P. The sooner it’s expelled the better you will feel. So I did it, went to the bathroom, swallowed a couple charcoal pills with as much water as I could manage and within minutes all good.

Most cases of gastrointestinal symptoms are due to viral infections and are not true cases of food poisoning. Diagnosis of true food poisoning is difficult because of the many organisms found in different kinds of foods and varying incubation periods. The delay between consumption and appearance of the first symptoms is called the incubation period. This ranges from hours to days (and rarely months or even years causing certain diseases), depending on the agent, and on how much was consumed. If symptoms occur within 1–6 hours after eating the food, it suggests that it is caused by a bacterial toxin or a chemical rather than live bacteria. After eating food contaminated with bacteria, it multiplies in the stomach and the bowels. Some bacteria give off a toxin when they multiply. Vomiting and diarrhea are the body’s way of eliminating the toxin.

I mean I felt really good. Even though the cramps hurt and I hate that feeling of the uncontrollable cold sweat, in some respects the end results of this toxic elimination are something similar to a cleanse. I mean, people are spending hundreds of dollars for colonics, thousands on detox retreats, downing Master Cleanses, popping herbal remedies, choking on irritating icky-tasting psyllium fiber…. Just like “medicines” that act as poisons in large doses but cure in low ones, contaminated foods that don’t injure the body might in fact offer some benefits. Maybe purposefully eating foods that induce a purge or flush can be seen as similar to a cat (well, my cat-like dog does it too) who eats grass to cause them to throw-up their hair-balls. An unconventional nutritionist friend of mine used to actually tell me it was good to eat raunchy food every once in a while – that the body actually craved it. Perhaps “raunchy” can even be added to the controversial list of “flavors”: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, astringent/umami, pungent/spicy, kokumi/”mouthfulness”, the newly added “fatty” [maybe the last two are related]. From Aristotle to modern and alternative medicines, there are varying perspectives as to the types of flavors, their effects and how often and in what proportion they should be ingested. Why not raunchy as a flavor that has digestive and purification indications. And what if raunchy was turned into an actual “spice”, to be added to your food let’s say once a month, just enough to run it through the system. Like a fuel treatment or Drano, something that blows out all the piping. Used too much it could damage, but once in a while, in small amounts, clears up any clogs!

An estimated 55% of food poisoning cases are caused by improper cooking and storage of foods, and 24% by poor hygiene (not washing hands before handling food). Only 3% of cases are from an unsafe food source. About 20 organisms can cause foodborne illness.

six tastesAccording to Ayurvedic beliefs, we’re supposed to “allow our unique constitution to determine the proportion of tastes we eat. The body naturally desires tastes that balance its doshic makeup and shuns tastes of an aggravating nature. In this sense, things are made pretty easy for us: If we simply follow our natural inclinations, we are led to the proper foods.” What if I made that u-turn to Kozmic Kones because subconsciously my craving was for the raunchy flavor that my current constitution desired. Maybe I was constipated and didn’t know it. Perhaps other bacteria or virus, an on-coming stomach flu let’s say (though most “stomach flu” is really a “food poisoning”), was breeding in my gut, and this expelled the lot of it. Surely every situation is unique, but if we were better clued-in to our personal, physical needs, might we realize a small bout of food poisoning could have positive results? So, maybe sometimes it’s not so bad to leave your food out a little longer than recommended. On occasion you could try your chances at a beef enchilada from the cheap, grimy local Mexican place. Maybe just a few bites though, keep it regulated, and always know where the nearest bathroom is!

Not all food poisoning organisms cause vomiting as a symptom but almost all organisms cause diarrhea. Blood in the stool is seen in several types of food poisoning and is considered a serious symptom. Abdominal cramps are common, even if vomiting is not present. Fever is infrequent but may be seen. Contact a physician if a fever or bloody stools are present.

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Warning: Please consult your doctor before giving yourself food poisoning or eating at places where food poisoning is likely. Comprehension of sarcasm will help you with this process. Throw up at the first sign of an unhappy tummy. Keep charcoal on hand. Food poisoning is not a joke; diarrhea is a killer. Make certain you rehydrate, replace electrolytes and reintroduce healthy bacteria (acidophilus). • Whatcha might try if truly clogged up but don’t want a the full purge experience: hemp seeds, flax seeds (buy whole and crush in coffee grinder and add to smoothie or atop salad – eat your greens!), flax oil, slightly green bananas, slippery elm bark (pills or tea) or as far as pills go the one that seems least harsh and most effective are rhubarb (great if you’re constipated because of medication you are taking, and/or when traveling -instead of opting for the Montezuma’s Revenge – even we won’t go there!)…. And don’t forget what every momma knows – rub da belly! Chi Ni Tsang!

 

 

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