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Archive for the ‘Health & Alternative Medicine’ Category

Help Save Three Bells Go Fund Me Hawaii Dog

Coconut Girl Wireless was partially named after my love, my life, my everything Malamute Chow Chow grrl dog Three Bells (though I always say I’m her dog). She’d look at you sideways if you threw a stick and expected her to fetch it – the only thing she’d ever fetch were coconuts! She’d run around the beach with coco’s twice the size of her head.

About two months ago she started coughing and gagging. I thought she had a doggie cold / kennel cough and was waiting for it to pass, but it only got worse. It ended up being Idiopathic Chylothorax, a not very common condition in dogs (it’s more typical in young small or over-weight large dogs). It was possibly caused by an injury or perhaps a fungus. Without getting into too much detail it causes the lymphatic fluid to fill her cheat cavity until her lungs partially collapse and she isn’t able to breath. We have to knock her out and drain her (half a gallon of fluid) but it only lasts a week until she’s uncomfortable again. We tried a diet change to low fat foods and many supplements without much success, and we need to act fast or it can cause fibrosis of the pericardium. She’s more weak after each draining, and the prognosis without surgery is not good.

Bells hob-nobs with local surf stars like Bethany Hamilton

Bells hob-nobs with local surf stars like Bethany Hamilton

Bells needs a Thoractic Duct Ligation, Pericardectomy and will have a tube inserted to help drain her chest cavity, which will cost around $7-8,000, not including other diagnostics (X-Rays, ultrasound, echocardiogram, testing of the fluids…). We’ve already spent thousands, but because this happened so quickly – and they offer no payment plan – we just weren’t prepared. Because there are no surgeons who can perform this on Kauai, we had to fly her to Oahu, (and all that entails).

Bells loves her paddleboard cruises up Kauai rivers

Bells loves her paddleboard cruises up Kauai rivers

The success rate for these surgeries is now around 80%, so if all goes well we’re hoping she can get back soon to what she loves most: swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, making people smile, and playing with kids on the beach!

We started a fundraiser to help with her bills. If you can help, it will be greatly appreciated. Include your address on our GoFundMe page http://www.gofundme.com/Help-Save-Three-Bells and we’ll send you some CoconutGirlWireless stickers! Mahalo nui loa for your kokua.

p.s. If anyone in Hawaii has an furry friend with Chylothorax feel free to contact us, so we can share our experience and hopefully save you time (it was a long road trying to figure this out!). Gentle Vets in Hawai’i Kai on Oahu (thanks Dr. Edhlund!) has a visiting board certified surgeon, Dr. Peter Vogel, VMD, Diplomate, who has 23 years experience and is very familiar with this type of surgery. Mahalo as well to our local barefoot country doc Scott Sims, for diagnosing Bells and relieving her symptoms; and Dr. Basko for helping with diet and nutrition issues.

bells swim2

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Only those who live near a GMO field can really express what it’s like to get sprayed by chemicals day and night. In Hawai’i, with our increased growing seasons, these biotech chemical corporations typically douse the land with 2-4 times the amounts sprayed on GE crops in other parts of the U.S. – 18 TONS of restricted use pesticides each year. It took a lawsuit in order to even find out this information, because the companies would not disclose it to the residents. And so we have learned that they have been lying about the types of pesticides, the amounts, and have indeed not been following the labeling. Doctors and nurses from the South side Kauai – where these faux-farms surround communities, schools and businesses – are testifying, kids are getting sick. These corporations have been putting residents lives at risk for a decade, and only plan to increase their operations to contaminate more of the island (GE crop fields already cover the  West, South, and center of the island of Kauai). The chemicals they use damage the fragile ecosystems here, from the land, air, water, reefs. It’s a small island, and many pesticides travel hundreds of miles in the rain – and it rains here a lot. From the mountains to the sea… so it goes. All the islands of Hawai’i are uniting against these companies to stop risking our lives for their bad business practices.

This is why we are doing it – Kauai Youth Speak Out About Spraying Pesticides Around their Homes & Schools:

MANA MARCH: STOP POISONING PARADISE – IN SUPPORT OF BILL 2491 • SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 12PM 

We will be gathering at the Vidinha Stadium in Lihue for an 11:30 pule and a 12:00 start. The March will start from the stadium and precede down Hoolako St turning right at Ace Hardware onto Rice St. As we were during the Poipu march, we will be escorted by the Kaua’i Police Department through Rice St. to the Council Chambers where we will rally in support of Bill 2491 being PASSED into LAW!

This will likely be the BIGGEST MARCH IN KAUA’I HISTORY!

John Cruz, Makana, Shiloh Pa, Kepa Kruse to perform!

Read more: www.stoppoisoningparadise.org

Give our Council Members the courage to do the right thing – to protect our children from the risks of pesticide exposure. Remind our Council that: The Hawaii State Constitution and case law impose a LEGAL DUTY on our County to protect the health and safety of our people.

Submit testimony: http://www.stoppoisoningparadise.org/#!testimony-pesticides-kauai-249/c3to

Be a CITIZEN REPORTER for the march and help us go viral! Use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and CNN iReport (set up your iReport prior to the march). On every update, tweet, post, story, video or photo… use the following hashtags:  #kauai #manamarch and include “Stop Poisoning Paradise” and “Protect Kauai” in your messaging.

Bring Your March Gear!: This will be the biggest march in Kauai’s history, followed by music and celebration — so bring colorful signs with Aloha messages in support of Bill 2491, flags, banners, comfortable walking shoes, water, drums of all kinds, pareos for sitting, and wear red and yellow or your hui shirt.

SHOW OUR DIVERSITY, so make banners that state your hui – i.e., “Nurses for Bill 2491,” “Teachers Support Bill 2491,” “Moms Support 2491,” “Ag Workers for 2491,” etc.”

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Despite the rain and wind, close to two thousand [not "hundreds" as per The Garden Island] showed up yesterday at the March in March to Evict Monsanto (and friends) in Poipu, Kauai, to protest the invasion of GMOs on Kauai and throughout Hawai’i. Energy was amazing, and the march led into a party at Poipu Park with live music and heaping platters of local non-GMO foods. The above slideshow of the event and related imagery was taken from a variety of sources including: Regenerations International Botanical Garden / Mac James; Carol Ann DavisSamuel Morgan ShawJamey KauaiDanny Hashimoto; Carol Ann Davis; Justin Zern; Forest Shomer; Geoff Morris; Bill Collins.*

This is a ripe moment, at least in the initial step of labeling GMOs in Hawai’i, as the labeling bill HB174 has made it through the House, and is now waiting on the Senate. Sure at this de-evolved stage the bill will now only label imported GE produce (essentially useless), but to keep optimistic we’ll consider it a symbolic beginning. And there are a number of important related bills on the table that range from pesticide usage, genetically modified organism quarantine, and water rights. We will soon learn if our representatives are indeed there to represent the people or the chemical companies. Hawai’i residents are watching, taking names, and no one’s vote will go unnoticed.  

At the same time, the heavily sprayed GMO fields are spreading from the West side of Kauai all the way into Lihue and the East side of the island (with similar pandemic scenarios occurring on all the islands). The Syngenta herbacide Atrazine (aka the 21st Century’s DDT), which is sprayed on all the GMO corn, has saturated the groundwater and is now present in the drinking water of Waimea. At a recent community meeting on the subject they discussed a few of the issues:

“If you are a male exposed to Atrazine, your testosterone goes away, so you’re demasculinized, or chemically castrated…. And you’re also feminized because you’re making estrogen, which you should not be doing as a male…. We know that the sperm goes away when you give a fish Atrazine, when you give a frog Atrazine, when you give a reptile Atrazine, when you give a bird Atrazine, when you give a rat Atrazine. Testosterone goes down and the sperm goes away and now this correlation says there’s an association in humans as well.” –Tyrone Hayes, Atrazine expert, Biology Professor UC Berkeley (Syngenta actually paid him to do studies, then tried to pressure him not to release them)

It’s also associated with birth defects, low birth rates, premature births, and the Atrazine legacy apparently carries on for generations. One might think it was necessary, but corn yields have gone up in Germany and Italy since it was banned in 1991. Swisse-based Syngenta can’t even use it in their homeland, as it’s been banned across the entire EU. Watch Huffington Post Investigative Fund’s: “How Safe is Atrazine”.

Even if you don’t drink the tap water, it’s in your shower (activated charcoal filters are necessary to remove it), you’re watering your garden with it, it’s in the rivers your kids swim in and the waves we all surf, and certainly some of the local fish we eat. Atrazine also evaporates quite well into the atmosphere in what they call volatilization drift:

After drifting, it comes back into our waterways via rainfall. Atrazine has been found in rainwater more than 180 miles from the nearest application area.

There ya go North Shore Kauai. Add to that mess some Round-up, 2.4.D Herbacide… and who knows what else, to what degree, and how they interact.

Thus far Synergenta, Monsanto, Dow, Pioneer, Dupont have limitless and unregulated dominion, and the islands are ripe for their rape and pillage. They are still maneuvering to gain control of the water on Kauai – seeds and food first, water next = dependency for all. (Click here to read about the cozy situation between State Senator Donna Mercado Kim, Senator Malama Solomon, Monsanto Lobbyist Alan Takemoto, the Commission on Water Resource Management, etc.).

These crops aren’t a part of some sustainability for the islands, as most of them are test crops / foods that are exported from Kauai. In fact, GMO seed is now the most valuable crop in the state (exceeding flowers, aquaculture, coffee, veggies and taro combined!). No, it doesn’t benefit the state as much as one might think, as like any good corporation they finagle their way around paying taxes:

About half the land used for GMO production on Kauai are public lands upon which zero property tax is paid.  But they refuse to disclose to the public what they are growing or what they are spraying on these public lands.  These large transnational corporations transfer their end products to related subsidiaries, benefit from Enterprise Zone and other GET exemptions and consequently pay zero GET tax on the products they produce. –former State Senator, current County Councilmember Gary Hooser

And despite what they want people to believe, these chemical companies import many of their field labor and specialists.

Biotech companies are operating on prime agricultural land without producing an edible crop, in a state that currently imports 85 percent of its food. ‘These crops employ a small number of biotech specialists and a somewhat larger number of field workers who could just as easily be employed growing food that we can eat,” says Paul Achitoff, a lawyer with Earth Justice. –Honolulu Weekly, “Bos GMO”

Locals who do work for them have to have a sit-down with their soul and ask themselves if a business immersed in poisoning the environment and unleashing seeds modified with viruses, bacteria and chemicals in open field propagation is worth their own personal gain. The term sell-out has never been more apropos.

Thanks to Dustin Barca, Walter Ritte, Ohana O’ Kauai, GMO-Free Kauai, Babes Against Biotech and everyone involved. Click here for the schedule of the upcoming marches scheduled consecutive Saturdays of the month on Big Island, Maui and Moloka’i. A`ole GMOs!

Dogs Animals GMOs Kauai Poipu

Don’t mess with a chow chow, or her food. Dogs don’t needs GMOs either! GMOs Bite!

Check out Leslie Larsen’s video of the event:

* We tried to credit each photo but because it’s in slideshow mode the specific credits only show up in the Google searches – if you’d like your image removed simply let us know. Mahalo!

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Mac Nut Hawaii 2

Mac Nut Trees Typically Drop Nuts From May Through December

What’s a girl to do when the guy at the farmer’s market has a couple bunches of basil left that he practically wants to give to you (sometimes it pays to arrive late). Well, if you’re a girl in Hawai’i with a mac nut tree that just won’t quit, you rush home to make a batch of Mac Nut Pesto.

Here’s our quick un-recipe (measuring cups be damned):

  • 2 bunches o’ basil
  • 2 cloves garlic. (Heck, I’d add even more if it was just for me. What, I’m obsessed!)
  • 20 mac nuts
  • Organic Oils

So in a nut shell, the hardest part of this recipe is the nut shell.

If you don’t have a mac nut tree, it’s good to buy your nuts in the shell. They last longer and are less likely to be rancid. Order online from Monika’s Mac Nuts in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawai’i – they send them to you ready to crack. But cracking takes some finesse – we’ll get to that in a bit.

Hawaii Mac Nuts MK Wares Pottery

If you have tree access, don’t pick the nuts directly off of it. Instead, wait ’til they fall in their soft green husk. And though it’s recommended that you harvest the nut within a day or two after it has fallen, we often don’t get to it ’til the nut is part way or completely out of the husk. Cons: Potential mold, heat respiration, creatures nibbling on your nuts. Pros: less work, the unused nuts becoming natural compost for the tree. On the side of the tree that gets more shade, the nuts are sometimes moldy, but otherwise they’re typically fine.

Once you have the nuts de-husked, you want them to dry out a bit inside the shell. That allows it to lose some moisture content and shrink; making space between the nut and the shell. After that it’s easier to crack and separate.

Typically I put them in a flat bowl and for a month keep them in the window sill that gets some afternoon sun (it’s difficult to get things to dry in high humidity, especially if you live in areas with less sun and wind exposure). You can also use a food dehydrator over the course of a few days.

Give this job to your boyfriend or husband or someone with patience & muscles

Give this job to your boyfriend or husband or someone with patience & muscles

This time though I grabbed them right off the ground and wanted to use them as soon as I could. Solution? Stick them in the oven at a very low temp for a few hours. The idea is to try to keep it as “raw” as possible and not heat the oils. Sure, it’s not enough time to really dry and shrink the nut much but it sure makes the shell easier to crack. And though you’ll still have to nudge the meat out, in this case, keeping it whole isn’t a priority anyway.

Though hammers work, I splurged on a $20 Australian Crack-A-Mac from Monika’s. Tip: Crack it on the little dot that appears on the shell.

Once you de-husk and de-shell it’s pretty simple: throw it all in the food processor.

It got a little ADD when it came to choosing the oil and I ended up including a splash of: Dr. Bronner’s* Coconut, Epicurean Organics Olive, Udos, and Nutiva’s* Hemp (sign up for Nutiva’s newsletters – they have amazing Tuesday sales).

Mac Nut Pesto

Use whatever oil you have – even more Mac Nut – but you gotta have some olive oil for that Mediterranean flavor. Look for organic, cold pressing, extra virgin, and for the light sensitive oils always get them in a darker glass. Also because the mac nuts have a good amount of Omega 3, you’ll maintain a decent balance even if you are adding oils that are high in Omega 6.

Our mac nut pesto came out yummy – ate it on pasta, sprouted breads, crackers, added to more oil to make a salad dressing. Eventually got reconstructed into a cream cheese salmon spread for a few wayward poppyseed spelt bagels.

Mac Nut Pesto Toast

Cheap, yummy and healthy – what’s not to luv

* support companies who don’t use GMOs and helped fight for GMO labeling!

Note: If you want to grow your own mac nuts, they do prefer a decent amount of rainfall. Check out this video.

Quick plug, the cute lavender / blue / green stoneware in two of the above photos is from MK Wares who makes the most beautiful pottery. Check them out.

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Bloodletting by PhysicianAfter injuring oneself to the point it will likely swell, most of us fall to the doctor recommended RICE technique: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate.

Today we’re going to simply add a few things to the concept, which will aid in the healing but will not spell an easy recall acronym. Anyway, sticking a big ‘ole “B” for bloodletting into the mix wouldn’t really spell anything worthwhile, and might just confuse matters.

Ice is great for reducing inflammation, it’s just that sometimes people either don’t use it soon enough after the injury, and the swelling has already happened and/or most use it for too long post-injury. While one to two days should be adequate, during the initial recovery phase you can apply ice after activity if the affected area gets more irritated (which usually means you shouldn’t be using it strenuously yet) or preferably in hydrotherapy types of treatments where you alter hot and cold to stimulate healing of the area.

Ultimately you will have to use your best judgment, but simply relying on ice alone for extended periods keeps the muscles stiff and slows down the body’s natural healing process. Initially it keeps the blood from moving into and reduces pain and swelling but the downside is that it also keeps the oxygen and nutrients from moving in and the Anatomical Bloodlettingacids and waste from moving out; scar tissue forms and overall it seems to take a longer time to repair with full function.

Followers of ancient healing traditions believe there is never good reason for using ice on an injury. The other side counters that these traditionalists are just following ideas based on “the olden days” when ice was more difficult to procure and therefore not a readily available option. Traditional Chinese Medicine World (www.tcmworld.org) elaborates on the wisdom behind the no-ice theory:

Any kind of injury…involves blood stagnation. In order to help the blood flow you need to increase the flow of energy (Qi), so acupuncture and herbs are used for treatment. Most important, don’t use ice! In the martial arts, most of the time ice is not used; heat is used on sports injuries. Ice will keep everything in the area frozen, making the circulation worse. The use of ice can cause arthritis later on. In the short term, using ice may be better than heat because you will feel immediate relief from the pain, but good treatment—good acupuncture, good acupressure—is much more effective than ice because it treats the root cause of the problem.”matsu

Although the RICE technique is typically utilized for accident related injuries, as opposed to muscle over-exertion, there are similarities in treatment. And it’s interesting to look at how ice is used as therapy to better understand its effectiveness.

Lots of athletes like to overdo the ice, so they can numb an area and “get back in the ring” so to speak. And despite traditional teachings, even many martial arts organizations utilize ice and topical “icy hot” sprays these days to better compete during tournaments. But many sports are starting to reevaluate the procedure. For example, there has been some debate over whether the Red Sox’ million dollar wonder, Japanese pitcher Matsuzaka, ices his arm after the games; he doesn’t seem to rely on it like American players do. People are starting to wonder, could that have something to do with his “superhuman” ability to throw longer, harder, faster and finish more games than most American pitchers?

Dick Mills on his blog The Baseball Pitching Rebel has been writing about baseball pitcher’s “ice abuse” problem for years now. Finally he has a tangible source to offer his readership. A 2006 study by Howatson, G., van Someren, D. A., Hortobagyi, T. very clearly concludes, “Ice massage [is] ineffective in promoting muscle function recovery following exercise-induced muscle damage.” “Pitchers,” Dick insists, “would be better off to do some running [or swimming] for twenty minutes or so while keeping their arms moving to aid flushing the waste products that build up around the joints after pitching.” He goes on to add that despite some slowly evolving protocol most ignore the recent findings. “So why do major league pitchers [continue to] wrap their arms in ice after games?” he deliberates. “Because they ‘believe’ it works. It appears that icing after games works about as well to aid performance and reduce injury as eating a favorite food before a game. It’s mostly superstition.”

In a sport that has a comparable rate of injury and surgery to the NFL, gymnasts are often berated into continuing their training despite over-exertion, lack of sustenance and even broken bones. They rely on heavy doses of anti-inflammatory drugs and ice baths to essentially help them ignore the problems. The goal of and result of an ice bath is not healing, but to get them through the competition; to get them to Olympic Gold. Quick cure vs. real cure. For these athletes, unfortunately, their ill-health, pain and physical disabilities will be dealt with…later (likely for the rest of their lives.)

Personally I have found a way that seems to utilize the benefits of both RICE and TCM theory after an injury. A technique that deals with the pain and inflammation and also stimulate the body to heal quickly. The element I add is based on the Theory of Counteractivity. I looked online for anything on the subject, which I learned about years ago from a book by Arya Nielsen entitled Gua Sha: A Traditional Technique for Modern Practice (my copy presently in storage.) Even in the beta “Scholarly” Google Search Engine this “Theory” is not to be found and possibly goes under some other scientific names, but since it’s pretty simple, we’ll do the layman summarization.

med006b-saved-the-foot.jpgI like to equate it to the saying “Things can always get worse” – which sounds negative but we’ll try to turn it into a positive. Imagine, you have a hangnail, and it’s driving you crazy. Where are your nail clippers! You’re in bed and it’s brushing against the sheets as you try to fall asleep, or gets snagged as you put your sock on in the morning. It bothers you until… dang, you bang your knee on the coffee table, and it friggin’ hurts. You no longer notice or care about your hangnail, instead you focus on your knee that is starting to swell. You know what the best cure for that is? Well, at this rate one can assume a bullet to the chest will give your mind and body more important issues to fixate upon. Okay, quite superfluous, but that’s the basic idea. (And the “positive”  of the equation is of course that your hangnail no longer bothers you!)

Physiologically speaking, the body will focus on the greater issue at hand, while the more minor issues become secondary. On top of that, the body’s priority is to focus first and foremost on areas closest to the heart. The torso, with all those major organs, is the priority, and after that comes one’s head and then limbs (i.e. you can survive without your legs or arms, and we see many a “brain dead” person live on, but you’re pretty worthless without a torso).

How does this play into treatment of injury? Well, instead of waiting for chance and circumstance, you can cause such an incident. Create a new irritation that is above the injury so the body will focus on it instead. If there is an infection or swelling at the site of your original injury, you could do something that brings the body’s attention to another area and essentially stop the blood from pooling and stagnating at the initial site. How can this be done? Let’s first look historically….

In the last few years there has been some discussion in the scientific community about why bloodletting may have actually worked. It mainly focuses on a time in history without antibiotics an the prevalence of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or simply “staph”, which needed “heme iron” found in blood to survive. Bloodletting decreased the iron it needed and therefore could realistically prevent the bacteria from thriving.

But there is another aspect to bloodletting which is less often discussed yet is well-documented. This historic therapy supposedly began 3000 years ago with the Egyptians (though who knows exactly when the Mayans first began utilizing obsidian blades and stingray spines; granted their use was possibly skewed towards ritual and sacrifice. And the discovery of ancient bian stone in China has provided powerful evidence that acupuncture/bloodletting originated early in that primitive society’s late New Stone Age). Bloodletting had its heyday in the 19th Century, ultimately becoming the foundation of modern medicine and surgery, yet today it is commonly discarded as archaic quackery. Many people don’t realize bloodletting was still utilized as a common treatment not very long ago, and that versions of it exist today, throughout the world. But perhaps some of the confusion (and outright disdain for the treatment) stems from lack of knowledge regarded its benefits and the different versions of the technique. There is general bloodletting, which includes venesection and arteriotomy (you know, slice a vein or artery and let it flow) and local bloodletting, which includes leeches and scarification with wet cupping (there is also dry cupping and therapies of a similar nature which imitate the action by simply drawing blood to the surface of the skin).instruments

In his article “Bloodletting Over the Centuries” (New York State Journal of Medicine, December, 1980) author Gilbert R. Seigworth, M.D. discusses the concept of this “localized bloodletting”:

Cupping may be wet or dry. Dry cupping is the application of a suction cup over an area of intact skin. The idea was to draw underlying blood and fluid away from the area of inflammation to the surface of the skin. This method relieved the congestion from the inflamed area, but did not remove fluid from the body…. Wet cupping involved scarification of the skin so that blood and fluid could be extracted. … Bloodletting counteracted the redness, heat, and swelling by relieving the vascular congestion.

Though the original hypothesis was that bloodletting would release evil spirits from the body via the blood and balance the “humors”, later it was used to cure nervous disorders, hypertension, and relieve abscess and swelling. The following quotation from Watson and Condie’s Practice of Physic (1858) gives more insight to the premise:

The main object of general blood letting is to diminish the whole quantity of blood in the system, and thus to lessen the force of the heart’s action. The object of local bleeding is, in most instances, that of emptying the gorged and loaded capillaries of the inflamed part. Sometimes the blood is thus taken directly from the turgid vessels themselves; more often, I fancy, topical bloodletting produces its effect by diverting the flow of blood from the affected part, and giving it a new direction, and so indirectly relieving the inflammatory congestion.

There was logic to the treatment, even though the hypothesis on which it was based might have been incorrect, it seems inappropriate to discard the whole therapy when proper use of certain techniques can induce beneficial effects. And though there have been obvious influences of Western Medicine upon modern East Asian Medicine, you can still find acupuncturists who utilize the benefits of bloodletting in their therapy.

Skya Abbate, executive director of Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, New Mexico writes in her Acupuncture Today article “Bleeding Techniques: Ancient Treatments for Acupuncture Physicians” (2003):

An ancient Chinese treatment technique that … the modern-day practitioner may be hesitant to use in his or her treatment plan is bloodletting. Perhaps there is reluctance to use this method due to the drawing of blood, which can transmit blood-borne pathogens; there may also be some concern about causing the patient potential discomfort. However, bleeding is a specialized technique for specific conditions that can produce effective and dramatic results when the patient’s condition is diagnosed properly and the bleeding method expertly executed.

For this technique regular acupuncture needles and lancets are used. But typically today acupuncturists utilize cupping and needling (without the deliberate bleeding) to create a similar affect. My favorite of this category though is the non-invasive, simple, easy to learn, overwhelmingly efficient aforementioned Gua Sha (pronounced gwa saw). Gua Sha is another Asian healing method, and so common a home remedy it’s like Chicken Soup, going by a number different names around the world (including Cao Yio, Kerik, Khoud Lam and Coin Rubbing). The idea is that you’re pulling the cold (wind) out of the muscles, bringing blood to the surface, increasing circulation and allowing whatever was stuck in the contracted muscles to leave through the blood. An excerpt of Arya’s book:

Gua Sha involves palpation and cutaneous stimulation where the skin is pressured, in strokes, by a round-edged instrument; that results in the appearance of small red petechiae called ‘sha’, that will fade in 2 to 3 days. Raising Sha removes blood stagnation considered pathogenic, promoting normal circulation and metabolic processes. The patient experiences immediate relief from pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, nausea, and so on. Gua Sha is valuable in the prevention and treatment of acute infectious illness, upper respiratory and digestive problems, and many other acute or chronic disorders.

whatis_r2_c2_f3.gifGua Sha not only has the benefits of removing blood stagnation but it also draws attention from other areas to it. The idea being that instead of needing to utilize the  bloodletting to distract areas from congesting and swelling and encourage the body’s blood to flow and injuries to heal, we have optional techniques with similarly positive results.

Ultimately, when we get down to it, the most difficult thing is taking care of ourselves after we get hurt. So in order to more easily tend to our own injuries or those of our loved ones, we need to keep it simple. I have come up with a solution that is easy to explain to someone, but depending upon one’s conditions, can be just as easy to do for oneself. The idea again is to create a simple “counteraction” that will cause your body to pay attention to and bring blood into an area other than and just above the injury, which we will assume is starting to swell. The answer? Heat! Well, more specifically it’s the combination of cold and heat at the same time.

The ice pack goes on the injury itself, while the heat, creating the counteraction, goes about six inches above it. I know it sounds simple, perhaps too obvious…it is! Though I couldn’t come up with a good acronym, we can still use RICE, as you take a clean cotton tube sock, fill it with uncooked rice and knot up the open end. Then if you get injured, you stick this sock in the microwave for a couple minutes and there’s the heat portion of your RICE therapy.

So now that you understand the theory behind it we can tie this all together….the more in-depth but still easy steps to best heal an injury:

#1) Immediately use ice (if it’s an open wound and/or there is bleeding, tend to that first. Use gauze if needed to protect from ice or I prefer a soft ice pack.) Keep area elevated; apply compression.

#2) Take homeopathic arnica pills if available (advisable to keep in every emergency kit and in purse). Topically apply arnica gel if there’s no open wound.

#3) Place a heat pack on the area just above your injury. Use either the kind you can boil to heat, an electric moist heat pad (if you can, invest in a Thermophore – just not the one with the automatic switch cause those have been known to break), or use the disposable Therma-Care (Costco has the best price) or Moxa. This heat should be act as the “counteraction” (but if not you can have someone punch you somewhere above the wound…or if you happen to have a bottle of leeches try those).  Note: If a hematoma is forming just above your injury, put the heat at least six inches above the hematoma.

#4) If you have access to acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, lymphatic massage, cupping or gua sha – take advantage! If not, keep your blood flowing somehow. Elevation and/or little toe point-and-flex or ankle rotations can bring circulation through the legs for example (as long as it doesn’t do more damage, as perhaps with a torn ligament). Or get someone who loves you enough to rub your feet, hands, whatever needs da rubbin’. (Locals, this is when the availability of noni can come in handy, as the fruit packed on the body does heat to the bone, as well you can wrap the injury with noni leaves).

#5) Try to avoid those pain killers. You’re just going to feel it more the next day, and have to take more drugs. If you need to, pop an Advil or something that brings down swelling. But if you can handle, have someone get you a nice quality “no sulfites added”, organic red wine and sip a glass before going to bed.

#6) As you are improving use hydrotherapy. Alternating hot / cold therapies speeds up the healing time. These can be dunks, plunges, or with hot / cold packs (caution to diabetics).

#7) Post recover, discover ways in which you can strengthen your body, it terms of nutrition, balancing of one’s yin/yang, building muscles to help stabilize the weakened area.

Be safe, be prepared, and hopefully you don’t have to try these techniques out too soon.

Note: This article is obviously not meant to replace the advice of your physician. These are opinions and should be read with caution and at own risk, etc. Bloodletting is best done by a professional. ;) Ultimately the best medicine believes first and foremost there is a reason for every injury, and that often (even in cases of accidents) the area injured is already deficient or there is poor blood/energy flow which makes one more susceptible. As I am utilizing my heat and ice as we speak, with time to mull while recovering from the after-effects of a strangely torqued knee after trying (and painfully succeeding) to stall in the barrel of a nice glassy wave, I have reason to believe it true. Anyway, the idea here is that there are many ways to find relief from pain or panacea to avoid the root cause of one’s afflictions. But the ultimate cure comes from within, beginning with an awareness that there is more behind the injury then the injury itself. It is only when we tune into the higher essence that we can find balance and become truly whole. Yeah, well, in the meantime… I’ll just write about it.

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The spirit of marijuana is female. She is alluring, very seductive. In her presence time passes almost without one noticing. Her sweet fragrance intoxicates the senses and uplifts the mind. She is delighted by heroic men and sensual women. When a couple shares marijuana, they are allowing her participation in their relationship. Accepting their invitation, the spirit of marijuana adds spontaneity and humor, and also acts as a potent initiator. By bringing the couple into her dimension, the spirit of marijuana exalts and magnifies both love and sensitivity. – “The Pleasure of Pot and Sex“, High Times Magazine

420girls1

An insightful friend once mentioned to me why marijuana was so alluring to men. “It’s female,” he said, “the spirit of the plant is a woman. That’s why so many male pot smokers can’t maintain an intimate relationship with another women – because they already have a woman in their life who they are devoted to.”

Besides the initial youthful foray, I never desired smoking much. I wouldn’t buy it, and if I was given some it would either dry up sitting in my jewelry box, or would become a sort of emergency stash for friends. Commonplace for the Hawaii surfer, sometimes you join in when the waves are small, and a little creative inspiration to boost ones imagination helps alter reality enough to make the session more fun (or challenging). Really though, unless in a relationship with a smoker, rarely do I partake. Though it obviously heightens certain attributes, overall pakalolo doesn’t work well with my constitution and doesn’t make me perform at my best. Instead it seems to lower my metabolism and make me socially dysfunctional, hungry, and sleepy; while realistically I’d prefer to be awake, aware and able to hold elaborate conversations without losing the thread (somewhat of an anomaly in many surfing circles).

I’m certainly not trying to disregard the benefits (though many of those are found in more infrequent use – or in cases of serious illness). It is the ultimate first step mind opener… it’s just once the mind is opened, users habitually go back to the step of putting the key in the door, instead of actively utilizing what it’s already showing you. It’s obviously a better option than other more available hardcore drugs, as observed in Hawai’i, where we have the largest number of “ice” users per capita (which has evolved hand-in-hand with big dolla’ federally subsidized marijuana enforcement). Unlike meth, pot doesn’t seem to make one want to beat their kids, or spouses, or spend the rent money to get high, or rob their neighbor (despite what conservatives of the refer madness generation may want you to believe). And personally, I’ve had positive experience with the benefits of utilizing marijuana medically. In my case, to ween myself off stronger drugs; prescribed pain killers that were, post-debilitating-trauma, necessary for daily function – but certainly ate more brain-cells and created a more psychotic mentality than pakalolo ever did. That said….

As rasta as some want to be, as much as one convinces themselves there are no side-effects to smoking, it’s ignorant to believe. Sure it varies with each individual, with the amount and consistency of use, including when and why you use it. Most obviously, unfortunately, you can become less inspired. It’s similar to when one has too much sex, or masturbates too often – as if they can’t figure out how to capitalize on their energy, so they release it, so they can be in a relaxed state. There are deeper connections with sexuality and pot, which helps explain why more men regularly use, and rely upon it, then women.

* * * * *

I smoke my weed, I love my weed, I eat my weed, it’s Sickening
I smoke my weed, I love my weed, I sleep with my weed, it’s Sickening
— “It’s Sickening” by Classified

We have all heard the studies, opinions, diatribes from both sides of the legalization debate, discussing whether or not pot is addictive (marijuana being illegal simply indicative of a government’s arrogant, controlling nature). Whatever. Doesn’t really matter. Call it what you will, users may deny addiction but certainly feel the need to partake in their daily dose. I’ve never heard the (above quoted) song, but even if there are some women who relate to pot this way – odds are, 99% of the time, this is the mentality of a man and his relationship with weed, not a woman talking about hers. Of course there are better writings than a chorus to express the depth of the desire, like these excerpts from “Ganja” from Deep Spirit & Great Heart: Living in Marijuana Consciousness:

June 9, 1993

My wings take me a place where the sky is green and the earth is blue. Naked women appear before me, holding thorn apples in their left hands, marijuana buds in their right hands, speaking words of truth and passion whether I be on earth or in heaven, and radiating bliss from their musk scented thighs.

June 14, 1993

You do not know me, but I am your lover. Take this message to yourself. You, being space, are female, and I, being time, am male, and you and I are everywhere. No matter where I walk, the path leads to you, where the Light of Light resides in the shrine of your heart, emitting illumination to all of creation, and showering me with the bliss to be found in joy and happiness.

December 2, 1993

Closing my eyes, I see myself sitting beside a pond with water lilies and blue green algae floating on its surface. I ask for help to make it through life’s journey, and she takes my hand. I weep, and she comes to my side. I listen for singing, and she fills my ears with the lilting sounds of her voice. I pine for love, and she takes me within her. I wish to return to the body in which I was born, and she leads me beyond time into eternity.

Though the symbolism is up to interpretation, and from what I understand these are from a dying man who was dosing medicinally, still, in these marijuana meanderings the connecting with the female is quite prominent. This plant, which ironically reproduces sexually, seems immersed with a sexual mood and a history in sexual culture.

* * * * *

Folk medicines in 19th century Serbia relied on cannabis preparations, which they called nasha. Female virgins were given mixtures of lamb’s fat and cannabis on their wedding nights, to decrease the pain of their first intercourse. Such use echoes modern practices in India, where newlyweds drink bhang beverages and eat bhang candy. Indian prostitutes are reported to eat lots of bhang sherbet, which helps them feel sexually aroused even when their customers are fat, ugly and stupid. -Cannabis Culture

enjoy sex marijuana

Guys are oft eager to share their pot with girls, because it offers an “in”, so to speak. A girl slightly high might find herself a little less able to control her faculties, and there is a chance she might be more “amenable”. Certainly, some women want that experience, because they feel more able to let go when they are a little drunk or stoned. And sensitivities are heightened to the point greater pleasure and intimacy seems to be achieved — but there are the down sides.

In an article regarding sex and drugs on the informational web site About.com, it gives some Western facts and figures on the subject:

* In a study, 75 percent of men said that marijuana increased sexual pleasure and satisfaction, 68 percent reported that it enhanced their orgasm, and 39 percent found that it increased the duration of intercourse.

* Women are even more likely than men to report enhanced sexual desire with marijuana use. In one study, 90 percent of women reported that marijuana increased feelings of sexual pleasure and satisfaction to varying degrees, and 40 percent of women reported that marijuana increased the quality of their orgasm.

The Bottom Line: While we don’t know why marijuana has positive effects on sexual satisfaction in men and women, research and anecdotal evidence consistently show that in small doses, there are perceived positive effects.

Then we see, with increased intake, over a greater period of time, results from the studies change dramatically.

Using marijuana more regularly or habitually is related in men to increased risk of erectile dysfunction, and in men and women it may be linked to overall reduced interest in sex. Marijuana, in higher doses, has detrimental effects on fertility and even in smaller doses can have negative impacts during pregnancy for the fetus. Also, because sex is more than just a physiological process, drugs may impact your psychological and social experience of sex in unpredictable ways.

weeds mary louise parker

Sexually, marijuana interferes with sex hormones, cuts testosterone levels, and depletes the ability to produce healthy sperm. And while it may make one feel hornier at the onset, unfortunately this is actually a sign one’s sexual essence is being exhausted (though less so for those who practice tantric sex). Those who habitually use become drained, as they are tapping into -and releasing- their life force (and combined with sex, ultimately draining it even more). At the same time, the act of sex becomes, in part, an effort to tap into the source of their partner’s life force.

* * * * *

The “it’s all good” mentality of a smoker might keep them from ever pondering possible consequences. Smoking da herb – it’s all good. Even the obvious negative effects of the smoke itself is often defended. For the surfer, especially when paddling out on a good-sized day, we require all the lung-power we can muster. In those scenarios -cardio interspersed with a need to hold one’s breath underwater- the rolled joint verses the vaporizer is no longer a question: the vaporizer, which produces less smoke, is a much better choice! Still, no matter how you inhale, there are risks.

Scientists have identified more than 150 chemicals in marijuana smoke and tar. Marijuana smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals such as benzopyrene, which occur 70 percent more in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke. Examinations of human lung tissue exposed to continuous marijuana smoke in laboratory testing show precancerous cellular change. In laboratory tests, the tars from marijuana smoke produce tumors when applied to animal skin. These studies suggest that prolonged marijuana use causes cancer. Through studies like these, scientists have learned that exposure to marijuana smoke interferes with the work of white blood cells. White blood cells in lung tissue remove debris from the lungs. When exposed to marijuana smoke, these cells cannot remove bacteria and other debris. Smoking marijuana significantly reduces lung functions. -Narcanon

But that’s a Narcanon perspective – seems you can always find “studies”, or at least theories, to prove the opposite. So I asked my acupuncturist his opinions about pot… though he has a personal preference that differs from the traditional Chinese applications, he explains:

Pot is an oil-based toxin. The liver deals with any oil-based toxins. It seems to raise blood pressure on a lot of people – I think due to the vascular constriction caused by almost any smoke. Most people in Chinese medicine are down on smoking pot. I have my permit for my back pain, and I enjoy it, and it doesn’t seem to cause me any problems that I notice. We use the hemp seeds in Chinese medicine mainly for constipation.

Actually, I got a more classic rendition via this comment from a practitioner, found on a TCM forum online, regarding the harmful effects of any smoke entering the lungs:

When hot smoke is inhaled it instantly starts to affect the lung qi and yin. At the same time the liver becomes stagnant over time because of the overload of toxins. These are the first organs to become affected by smoking herb. As time goes on, that damage to the lung qi begins to reach the spleen qi, weakening the body’s defenses and digestive capabilities, and the heat from the smoke doesn’t only damage the lung yin, but also begins to affect the kidney yin. This is evident in some chronic (no pun intended) smokers who suddenly wake up with night sweats.

I’ve tried to explain to male users -especially those who are already on their way to considering the Kelly Slater buzz cut- that adding fire into their the body might not be the best idea. The excess heat rises -as heat is apt to do- exiting through the top of the head, frying not just the brain cells but singing the hair follicles (adding more heat via smoke is also a concern for “hot-heads”, alcoholics, fire-signs, those prone to shingles or eczema, and anyone who challenges their liver daily). While DNA plays the overwhelming role in baldness, there are certainly ways and means to speed up the process.

* * * * *

Every drug has its own nature. It has a unique set of properties that can be described by a very specific curve of benefits and drawbacks. Marijuana’s benefit curve, whether you take it by prescription or otherwise, will at first seem to give you more than it takes. Over time, though, this curve reverses, and it will begin to take more than it gives you. If you’re addicted to marijuana during its taking phase, your high will get weirder and emptier every time you take it. It will also take you longer and longer to recover from it. psychedelic marijuana leafThat’s part of the process of developing tolerance for marijuana. It’s also when long-term damage begins. Your Kidney System is responsible for your long-term health. By the time marijuana affects the level of your Kidney System, it is altering the course of your life in a serious way. – “The Physical Effects of Marijuana, from the Perspective of TCM”

Sure, a little toke now and again, could inspire a new vision or perspective. Unfortunately, the one thing that seems consistent with habitual drug users, is the ability to live in some sense of denial. Whether it be denial that they are overdoing it (that they “don’t smoke that much”…at least compared to their friends), that there are any ill-effects (to themselves or those around them), or that their drug of choice is often used as a means to smooth over the rough edges and assist in avoiding the things in life that they don’t want to deal with. They may lose quality attributes, like unconsciously covering up behaviors and actions with an innate proficiency in rewriting reality to suit their needs. If you are the sober one, speaking to the marijuana smoker (male or female) about serious concerns, it becomes difficult to relate. What once seemed a heightened awareness, superhuman powers of creative insight, and a deeper connection to the spiritual and unknown, often slowly manifests into a dulled impotence, and a loss of connection and motivation to excel to one’s potential. As with anything, there are exceptions, like the strong constitution / spiritually advanced / high IQ types who are actively pursuing knowledge. Still, constant efforts must be made to keep the body/mind in balance. Typically the end-game result is a weakening of the kidneys, mental acuity is diminished, communication becoming garbled. The user may find their a little too burnt out to deal with their loved ones fully and completely.

When marijuana’s beginning to claim your Kidney System you’ll experience a loss of memory. This often takes the form of impaired or reduced short-term memory, and impaired or reduced comprehension of what’s happening in your world. You’ll also lose your ability to listen effectively. Marijuana can so damage your learning and attention skills over time that you may wind up with no ability to get back from the place it’s taken you to.

When marijuana first begins to burn up your Kidney Yin it will make things seem hysterically funny to you. As your Kidney Yin gets more depleted, the funniness will end and paranoia will begin. Depending on your constitution, your burning Kidney Yin may leave you feeling speedy or sleepy.

When marijuana is affecting your Kidney System on a more profound level things seem like they’re happening in slow motion. Time seems to go on forever. What’s really happening is your perceptions are moving very fast. This is when marijuana is burning up your Jing Sexual Essence. When marijuana’s Toxic Heat spends your energy and deep Yin Fluids at this level it creates very substantial damage to your long-term health and wellbeing.

…The Chinese medical classics state that Jing Sexual Essence, Qi and Blood are the physical foundations of your mind and Spirit. Traditional Chinese Medicine views the body as if it’s an amazingly intricate alchemical cauldron. This cauldron distills the substances you eat and breathe into concentrated subtle essences. Your body continually refines these essences into higher qualities of matter and energy. Your physiology then uses them to support its different functions. Jing is the highest level of physical refinement in this system….a storehouse for your life potential…your reserves. Itmarijuana addition determines the quality of your life experience and possibly even the length of your life as well. You may be trading a portion of your life potential for your relationship with marijuana. – “The Physical Effects of Marijuana, from the Perspective of TCM”

* * * * *

So back to the initial concept, of the man and his love marijuana. All I’m saying girls, is that you may want to think twice when deciding to be with a guy who makes smoking a regular part of his life. At least keep in mind the reoccurring themes that may continually come into play, including that he is: already immersed in another serious “relationship”, exhausting his energy (you may get the leftovers), often exposing to the world a mellow personality but may find himself prone to “snapping”, unable to deal emotionally, unable to recall conversations, and otherwise may only be partially available for another person. If you decide to make an intimate connection with this guy, you might as well do it fully aware of the situation, that Ms. Sativa is a controlling woman, and will only let you into the manage a tois on her terms. Ultimately it seems, in order for the relationship to work, if your man is a dedicated smoker, you must also make a commitment to her. Otherwise you may find you’re having an affair with a man who is already committed to another woman.

Perhaps it’s better summed up in the article “Marijuana and Sex: A Classic Combination on the web site Cannabis.com, where an anthropologist notes the philosophy of cannabis religions on the metaphysical potential of the female cannabis plant:

Cultures with sacred cannabis use tend to be cultures which recognize the ‘goddess’. That could mean mother earth, yin, or female beauty and virtues. People who bring marijuana inside themselves are engaging in a type of sexual union with the plant. It is a very sexual act to have a molecule of THC implant itself into your brain.

Since cannabis is associated with female deities like Kali, we could say that when you use marijuana sexually, you are bringing a very special ‘woman’ into your bed. Make sure you’re ready for that relationship!

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Thought this an interesting way to advertise health insurance to those who surf; direct-marketed to me on MySpace. So I curiously clicked, and found the Platinum Kaiser Plan is just $195.00 a month (!), for an average Hawaii surfer, who might like swimming with sharks (I’m assuming the sharks in the ocean, not the sharks in the medical insurance industry).

Health Insurance for Surfers

annual death causes

Actually, it is the same story for many shark attack victims – if they’re lucky they deal with a deductible, but a large number who have no coverage are ill-prepared to experience the second stage of the feeding frenzy: bill collectors coming after them for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. The helicopter ride alone can cost nearly $10,000 (depending on location/remoteness and many plans do not cover medical evacuations). And typical policies don’t often cover needed prosthetics either (a cause Bethany Hamilton has championed – and a bill mandating coverage is nearing passage). It doesn’t have to be a shark attack obviously, surfers get themselves in many other predicaments: from reef to the head to close encounters with a donkey on a longboard. And we need efficient, specific surfer coverage, because it’s not like a car accident – there is no personal info exchanged at the scene, no 1-800 numbers to call. When you’re injured surfing and you’re out for a week, a month, a year -your fault or no-fault- even if you have regular medical insurance it won’t pay the rest of your bills!

So, for the living in the moment surfer, is it worth it to be cautious and protected?

At the very least you want some form of emergency or “catastrophic coverage – which doesn’t include regular doctor visits -or has a huge deductible- but does include major hospital and medical expenses. And if you’re on a surf-safari, especially to a foreign country (for that trip you’re taking this hurricane season to Indo or the Mentawais), it’s worth the peace of mind to get yourself some traveler’s insurance (yes, even on top of your medical – as many insurance companies won’t cover you abroad, and don’t include all the things that can go wrong when traveling). Even many pro-surfers neglect the obvious – and they’re regularly touring around the world, continuously introducing themselves to lovely new forms of bacteria their bodies are not used to. For example, sweet-styley goofy-foot pro Ryan Carlson had to learn the hard way via some staph courtesy of a Puerto Rican sea urchin… and the sh*t-load of bills that came with it.

You’d think pros could afford top-notch health insurance (or perhaps some surfing association would cover them), but unless you’re in the tippy-top rung, often you’re only scoring free gear and some spattering of contest money. Luckily -at least for those well-known in the sport- they seem to be able to rely on the compassion of other surfers, who help out with benefits, surf contests, and other fund-raising efforts. But us regular Joes, usually there’s no big benefit concert waiting for us when we get home from the hospital.

And though many surfers are actually functional citizens, there are a few, ehem, beach bums out there. Those who would opt to spend their last buck on a bar of surf wax before buying a box of band-aids. Many surfers, and athletes in general, rely on the fact that they are decently healthy and fit – yet that doesn’t necessarily protect you from unforeseen. Aussie surfer Richie Lovett had insurance – but with limits (read that fine print), which left him with over $200,000 in bills. Many surfers, like four-time cancer survivor and pro Dean Randazzo, have discovered this the hard way. He started the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation to help surfers with or without medical insurance who have to deal with cancer and its side effects – it’s hard to focus on your fight for survival while the bills are mounting up.

It’s not just skin cancers, suffered by pro Rowen Barrett and pro-mom Jeannie Chesser- we see many with rare bone cancers as well. The skin cancers seem obvious and common side-effects; surfers feel impervious. It’s almost as if they have to – it’s not like they can stay out of the sun while enjoying the sport (and for some reason many wrongly believe their sunscreen lasts more than an hour without reapplying!). For those who get cancer that causes pain in the hip, leg or, like Jason Bogle, their back, often they don’t get it checked out right away, as our mind opts to associate it with some past surf injury, over-exertion, or the joys of trying to bust the moves while getting a lil’ bit older. And since early detection is essential – that’s not a good thing.

Though the medical insurance list of “injuries people are at risk for” includes drowning and shark attacks, it doesn’t include what may be much more of a hazard for surfers, and that is polluted water. Sure, us surfers like to think of our sport as cleansing -and spiritually it always is- but in reality, physically, it really depends on the spot we surf. Often surf breaks occur in run-off zones laden with fertilizers, pesticides, sewage, and all the bacteria the environmental imbalances create, which obviously puts more than 1 in 64,453 -or a yearly total of 64- surfers at risk. If a company were to offer an efficient insurance plan that was specifically designed for surfers, it would have to be a complete package which would include the wide-range of factors surfers contend with every day we go out in the water, wherever we decide to safari. Though there are some companies in Australia and Britain that seem to better understand the coverage needs of the sports enthusiast, for now America is laggin’ behind.

If the life experiences of the surfers who came before us can be a lesson, don’t leave it up to fate. If you surf enough, if you take chances (if the people surfing around you take chances), you’re eventually going to get injured. Surfers consider it part of ‘paying your dues’. Hopefully you’re not faced with a major accident or illness, but if so, the bedridden dreams of getting back into the waves may inspire you to recover in record time, better than you were before. Odds are you won’t need insurance if “the big one bites” but chances are you may find yourself in a situation where you’ll be absolutely stoked you’re covered.

* * * * *

Since plans vary depending depending upon individual needs, age, location…you need to search out what is best for you. Here are a few added links to possibly help – plus some that include alternative therapies. If you are a student there are additional options you should research.:

• If you are a regular surfer in the UK you should consider membership in the BPSA, full membership at 20 pounds a year includes Personal Accident Insurance +£5,000,000 Public Liability Insurance.

• American Specialty Medical Networks My Life Plan Alternative Care Discounts for those with Blue Shield of California

Blue Cross – types of coverage (includes options for international travel) The Blue Cross Health Care Bank a reader mentioned in the comments section.

USA Health Insurance, ehealth insurance, insure me – brokers give you multiple quotes (not available in all states).

International Health Insurance (out of U.S.)

Alternative Insurance (Health Care broker for Cali and Il.) – includes discount card for alternative medicine tratment and services from participating practitioners..

• Check out Benefits Check-up to see if you qualify for benefits in your state.

[Note: if you have a favorite alternative care practitioner, ask what insurance they accept, and then look into those.

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wahines luv o.n.e. coconut waterDespite the absolutely obscene cost of living, Hawai’i does have some economic advantages. I mean, if you’re starving, you can always climb a coconut tree  – preferably a short Samoan – or even find a nut that has fallen (without crackin’) and machete it open (okay, power drills and a straw work great too!). Drink the sweet juice, especially of the young coconut, and feel that fresh electrolyte buzz.

There are certain foods and drinks that, when you’re feeling a little low: tired between sessions, trying to snap out of stoned, getting over a bug… absolutely revitalize you. Thing is, we are rarely able to get the same kind of quality and essence in the processedONE Coconut Water product as we find within the living one.

As for this one, O.N.E. Coconut Water keeps the processing to a minimum. There’s nothing in the list of ingredients that you can’t figure out: 100% natural coconut water – makes sense it’s title translating to “One Natural Experience”. Thing is, it tastes like it. Offering it up to some of the local wahines here – surfer girls who grew up drinking the real thing – they all agreed (“yum!”) it tastes just like the fresh juice.

We can thank the great advancements in the production process over the past decade. Previous to that, minimal options included the old Thailand canned version (high-temp pasteurization, lost nutritional qualities, lotsa preservatives and a weird flavor), or even the first versions of cold-processed microfiltration (still not perfected, with added ingredients like sucrose).

Most important thing is that the packaged product doesn’t just taste great, but it has the qualities that make coconut water so healthy, hydrating, and beneficial to the body. O.N.E. lists off their health benefits as:

ONE coconut water health benefits

O.N.E. was kind enough to send us a case, so I was able see how this product might benefit a surfer. Drinking a container before and after each session, I felt as if I could stay out longer. And the aprés surf dose was sweetly quenching. Even though surfers easily get dehydrated after a typical two-hour session, many of us don’t drink much water immediately after, especially when it’s overcast or we’re chilly or feeling water-logged. Electrolyte drinks tend to be more satisfying – one reason we recommend our Surfer-Girl Lemonade recipe… but sometimes it’s just not convenient. Thing is, an 11oz container of O.N.E. is supposed to hydrate similarly to a liter of water. And it tastes so satisfying, you start to crave it. And you feel so good after drinking it, you’re practically ready to paddle back out.

Coconut water, as a holistically complete, biologically pure, natural isotonic beverage, is the ultimate hydrator. I mean, what other nature-made unprocessed substance can be used as an alternative IV to human blood plasma!? What other unprocessed fluid is, good-to-go, the next best thing to breast milk when you’ve just plum run out?

These coconuts are from Brazil, but that’s okay with me. I mean, personally, I don’t see why Hawai’i doesn’t have their own coconut water production going by now, but powers-that-be here seem more devoted to turning all agricultural lands into housing/ commercial/ tourism opportunities (for their friends, family, and themselves). Of course, these are the same people that lease-out our ag tetra packaginglands to chemical co.’s like Monsanto to help them cover the aina with GMOs and pharm-crops and contaminate our fragile eco-system. Fact is, since we can’t seem to help ourselves, we might as well help support the Amazon Rainforest – as products like this helps to provide sustainability for said region.

And you can’t go wrong with the packaging either. If you must utilize something other than glass, these Tetra-Paks are created with little waste (totally foldable design) and are recyclable. Haven’t researched it but hopefully the lining isn’t as bad as typical plastics.

Still, coconut water – similar to the young “jelly” fruit – can be an acquired taste, especially for those born in areasfalling coconuts where palm trees bare no fruit. But once you do get into it, it becomes a healthy craving. Those lucky enough to enjoy tropical island goodness, you can not only climb a tree, but you can buy coconuts ice cold at any farmer’s market or fruit stands found on the side of the road, which have coolers full of ice-cold coconuts for a few bucks. But if those options aren’t available – or you’re a surfer who wants to make certain you’re going to have some quality refueling available – then I’d seriously stock up on coconut water and make it a delicious part of your re-hydration process.

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Q: Can someone please recommend a good sunblock I can use while I surf that is waterproof and DOESN’T cause breakouts?
A: I use AcneEyeStingSlipperyHands, SPF WashStraightOff, but I’m thinking about changing.

Mexican SunscreenAfter scanning the numerous “comments” sections of varying websites where everyone is asking everyone else what the heck is the best sunscreen out there, the above (actual quote I found) may be one of the more humorous yet right-on answers you get. Because we all know, no matter how good a sunscreen is, you still burn, still have to reapply, still ponder the ingredients, still aren’t sure if what you’re rubbing all over your skin isn’t worse than getting a little bit of sun.

There has been much debate over whether or not the studies that claim there has been an increase in skin cancers since the heavy marketing of sunscreens over the past few decades is a) because the ingredients can cause cancer, or b) because people are staying in the sun longer because they wrongly assume they are protected. And if we are going to waste our money on and time applying all these products, we’d like to think that what we are using actually works!

There are many people out there who love buying product (okay, I don’t as I’m still meandering in a financially… um… transitional phase, but many functional members of society do). And most savvy consumers are forever looking for the next best miracle cure; products to make everything smooth, smelly, shiny, supple, shapely, soft, sexy… (no idea why all these words started with an “S” but had to run with it). Anyway, when it comes to Sunscreens, you can look, shop, research ’til you’re… red in the face… and still never find the perfect skin protection that’s just right for you. Now as a surfer girl with a surfer-kine website (and every surfer needs some protection), we gotta eventually touch on the topic – especially my skewed view.

This three-part piece includes Part One: Skin Care – The Best Natural Sunscreen; Part Two: The Difficult Task of Recommending a Sunscreen; and Part Three: Why Your Sunscreen May Not Work. I believe part one is the most important of the three, so let’s get started.

ADVICE FOR ALL SEASONS

Though this might seem oddly timed as we head into winter, it’s always summer in Hawai’i… and fact is, this is when an even more pale breed of tourist, who likely lives in an area that has four distinct seasons, are enjoying their winter vacations either to the slopes or to areas, like Hawai’i, that are close to the equator (meaning they are in prime condition to burn). And since UV rays can get you anywhere, any time of the year, much of these tips can be utilized in one’s day-to-day lifestyle. We’ll start off real basic…

THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE SOAP

“The skin is the largest organ of our body, therefore it makes sense to feed it with nature’s pure ingredients and not bombard it with chemical preservatives, additives, and artificial ingredients.”

Dr. Bronners Real SoapI copy and pasted that from somewhere – sounds logical. But considering the relatively simple concept, it amazes me what people put on their skin, especially harsh/ perfumey soaps, detergents, creams…. So before we start gobbing on the goop, let’s see where we stand with care of the skin first, as I believe that has much to do with the positive and negative effects sun and sunscreens have on it.

I remember as a kid, mom always bought Dove or Neutrogena brand soap, Phisoderm for the face and Lubriderm skin lotion – all those big brands marketed as being most gentle and of course “doctor recommended” – and how I would spend every night before going to bed itching (well, throw in super-chlorinated water, Tide-kine laundry detergent and fragrant Bounce sheets and you got a nice chemical overload for anyone with dry, sensitive skin. It’s all hard to avoid as the past few generations have been brainwashed via advertising by the chemical corporates that these products are necessary and good for us.). The discovery and availability of eco/healthy alternatives changed the quality of my life to be certain. But a major moment was actually when my friend told me how he never uses soap on his body; I was at first disgusted, then tried it and rarely itched again!

It’s not that I never use soap, but often opt for dry brushing before showering and – girl-kine fun – blend up a few natural body scrubs with varying ingredients like natural oils, shea/mango/cocoa butter, papaya seeds or ground coffee, essential oils… and whatnot). Many natural soaps use pure oils including olive, hemp and coconut as its base; Dr. Bronner‘s included, though the hippies that use it, especially the ones here in Puna, give it a bad rap, leading many to assume it doesn’t work (thought that’s likely because many of these particular “hippies” bathe less often and don’t quite grasp the concept of washing their clothes after each use).

But as far as soaps go, Dr. Bronner’s doesn’t seem to bother my skin. And you can check their web site to get more info on why, especially their amusing video Soap, Drugs, and Rock and Roll, which features the misadventures of one of my fave Ben Is Dead Magazine staff writers and Germs drummer Don Bolles. Don (who never particularly shied away from drug use) was pulled over and arrested for a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s found in his car, which tested positive for the “date rape drug” GHB. (The idea of why someone wouldn’t want GHB in one’s soap was never explained — but it is kinda ironic his punk rock band was called the Germs and he was arrested for having soap) Anyway, in this video, David Bronner, president of the company and Dr. Bronner’s grandson, goes off on how the Police NarcoPouch drug test kit can be used to prove “real soaps” like Bronner’s, Tom’s of Maine, and Pangea come up testing positive, while “detergent soaps” like Dial, Soft Soap, Nature’s Gate “Organics” (all chemical, nothing organic), EO, Kiss My Face, even Jason Organics (“Pure, Natural, Organics” is not pure, natural or organic) have not a molecule of real soap but are actually synthetic petroleum-based detergents - hmmm.

natural soaps 2“Our testing shows that real soaps which are made using the ecological time-honored process of saponification of vegetable oil will always test positive for GHB, while complicated synthetic detergent-based so-called ‘liquid soaps’ test negative,” said David Bronner, with the necessary sense of humor not only regarding the faux-organic labeling being done by questionable companies, but of the police and their psuedo-science which could have easily convicted an innocent person and that despite this fact the Police Department stated they have no intention of changing their testing procedure.

There are some non-soap cleansers that I use and like and are made from all-natural ingredients; it’s just you have to read the labels carefully, because as we see, even buying them from our health food store doesn’tirish spring guarantee they’re “natural” (yes, there are conflicting ideas on the term “natural” as the lack of FDA regulations and people abusing the term, but click link above for logical understanding of terminology).

Besides the weird perfumes used (often even in supposedly “unscented” varieties – re: new Dove formulation), it may be that these chemical “soaps” are giving real “soap” a bad rap. See, detergent-based soaps strip the lipids from the skin. When Hawaiian Bath and Body -located on the North Shore of Oahu in the cute former Waialua Sugar Mill- was asked “What makes your soaps different than those you find in the grocery stores? They answered,

The majority of “soaps” that you find in your local grocery store are actually detergents. Detergents are a group of man-made chemicals that were created for industrial cleaning. Imagine using something that is used to de-grease your dishes or remove stains from your laundry on your skin! Most people use these detergents on their skin everyday without realizing how damaging and harsh this product is for their skin. … Your skin is thrown out of balance every time you use a detergent. Because your skin is out of balance, it frantically tries to replace the sebum that has been stripped away and it also struggles with dehydration because the missing sebum plays a large part in helping your skin retain moisture. The most common problems associated with using detergent-based soaps are overly dry, flaky skin, rashes, itching; or sometimes the skin becomes so imbalanced it can produce too much oil trying to re-balance itself!’

There are also other reasons why most soaps suck. In a piece entitled Chemistry 101: Big Giant Soap Myths Exposed the author give some explanation as to why companies give us bunk soaps and the effects caused by our use of them:

The big retail brands rarely contain soap, and the ones that do usually suck out the naturally occurring glycerine to sell as a by-product to other industries because they can make more money than by just leaving it in, where it draws moisture from the air into your skin. Instead, they use chemicals, foaming agents and petrochemicals, which are the leftovers from the manufacture of gasoline and motor oil…. This is also why the big brands are so cheap…. Look for natural oils because they absorb readily into the skin, unlike petrochemicals which just sit on top of the skin, and leave it either greasy-feeling or dried out. Because they just sit on top of the skin, petrochemicals are also believed to act as a barrier that prevents your skin… from doing its other job aside from protecting and keeping your innards in: eliminating toxins and wastes from the system.

Another question to ask yourself is, are you mistakingly using antibacterial soaps? Maybe you are and don’t know it, as now 76% of liquid and 30% of bar soaps contain anti-bacterials. I know the “fighting evil germs and diseases” campaigning was balls-out but it never seemed like a good idea to me so I always avoided the stuff – relying more on pure soap and lotsa scrubbing. Besides irritating skin, clogging pores, there are other more serious reasons to stay clear, like exposing oneself to harmful chemicals, and by killing our beneficial bacteria leaving us susceptible to the more harmful ones. Some of the other cons to its use can be found in articles like “Anti-Bacterial Equals Anti-Health” on the NatureClean website.

What does this have to do with sunscreen? Okay, be patient, stick with me here. Our first piece to this puzzle is what we are doing to our skin that is causing it to be more susceptible to the sun’s rays, and that is stripping it of its natural oils; leaving the organ with no protective barrier. As far as soaps go, read your labels closely. Though with faux-natural and major brands there is no reason to necessarily trust they list everything that goes in it (as with the broad umbrella terms like “fragrances” or items unlisted because they are considered “trade secrets”), or that you will understand what makes up those strangely-named ingredients. At least try to find those that are less harsh on the skin. (Skin Deep reviews products for toxicity, as does the Green Guide, and Debra’s List links you with environment and health conscious companies). One thing’s for certain, if the soap says “deodorant bar” or “cleansing bar” etc., you can likely be certain it’s not an all-natural product (and an environmental no-no to be using it at your beach shower).

skin care

THE IMPORTANCE OF FACIAL CLEANSING (& WHEN NOT TO!)

As far as facial cleansing goes, there may not only be kinder products, but better methods. Sure we have to wash our face, get the dirt off, but I also think there is a disservice one is doing by always scrubbing/lathering off all the natural oils and replacing them with expensive (often synthetic lotions). While most do it to prevent the effects of aging skin, I believe done too often and at the wrong times of the day it has the opposite results; leaving one more exposed to the elements. People need to shift their focus, from products they buy to protect their skin, to equally supporting the body’s natural efforts to protect one’s skin.

HUMAN SEBUM ROCKS!henna sunblock

So here’s my tip of the day and the impetus for this article: The best moisturizer and sunblock -first and foremost- are the skin’s natural oils! As far as I can tell, after many years in the sun, the best sunscreen I have ever used is the one secreted by my skin. And the best thing one can do to take advantage of them, is to not scrub these oils off one’s skin before going out into the sun! Yes, I am saying do not wash your face -or even your body- before you go surf. Sure, if they could bottle human sebum they would and people would buy it; but hey, it’s free! Human Sebum has an SPF of 6-8! Try it, you’ll like it!

So sitting at the coffee shop, almost done writing this piece, while still searching for the SPF of sebum, which was strangely difficult to find, it thankful led me to this report in the Canada Medical Association Journal by Dr. Ralph Douglas Wilkinson entitled, “The Xerotic Nephrologist” which not only gave me the answer, but supported my completely unscientific theory regarding proper care of the skin before sun exposure:

Homo erectus existed for over a million years using the cool-water, no-soap system. The earth’s general fauna still use this system, which removes sweat without disturbing the waxy barrier. Housing and clothing have afforded us much protection, and our lipid layer has become somewhat expendable. A duck, however, would sink without its waxed feathers. For older people, preteens and people with very dry skin, emollients in the form of oils, lotions or creams may offer some help. If necessary, lotions without potential irritants such as perfumes, dispersants and preservatives can be used. Human sebum has a tendency to oxidize to a brownish hue, much like earwax. It is the “ring around the collar.” Sebum has a sunblock action estimated to be about SPF 6–8. Its removal may lead to cleaner collars, but it leaves the skin at higher risk for sun damage. The sun can cause skin damage on bald spots, which are sebum poor. The incidence of skin cancer on the head and face is high in North America. So is the use of soap and shampoo. Are they causally related? Sun damage in the child may be more severe than in the adult. Is this due in part to the absence of sebum in the pre-adolescent? My advice: wash with cool water, minimize or eliminate the use of soap, and wear a hat!

sebum sweatHe also mentions eccrine sweat and salty/acidic residue on face which, if it occurs after washing when the skin is no longer protected by its waxy barrier, can be very irritating… Yes, you may feel you’re successfully removing the sweat by scrubbing with soap and hot water, but the imbalance is that it can return in seconds, while sebum can take hours. Even hot water alone can cause sebum breakdown – sebum melts at 30°C. And where is a surfer most likely to get burned?: face, neck, shoulders, upper arms, back… all places we soap, scrub, and which receives the most impact from the shower jet.girl in hot bath

When a surfer wakes up in the morning, they should wait to wash their face – and body – with anything more than cool water until after their surf session. At night utilize your light facial cleansers, gentle scrubs, masks. Though Dr. Wilkinson recommends avoiding hot water – especially if you’re experiencing skin problems that could be instigated by over-washing – there are essentials like hot baths, jacuzzi’s and saunas (that are great muscle relaxers for surfers); but keep ‘em natural (no bubbles! no colors!) and enjoy them at night. Also preferably in the evening, an occasional steaming – for oily or dry skin – or a super soft hot washcloth placed on the face feels as sweet as it does at the Japanese restaurant. However you like to cleanse, simply search out and invest in the best quality, most pure, least irritating variety for you (best to avoid the regular grocery store for such a purchase) and make the impetus of the cleansing occur later in the day or when you will not be exposing yourself to the elements. If you must bathe morning or afternoon, replace the natural oil with moisturizers that will best mimic sebum (read on) and avoid the sun for at least a few hours afterwards.

MOISTURIZERS

UmbrellaMy too-sensitive skin -and eyes- can’t handle most popular moisturizers, so I’ll opt for light serums and creams by Zia, John Masters, Pangea, some of the MyChelle Dermaceuticals. I most often mix my own creams or more often “butters”, which usually contain a mix of cocoa, shea, mango. As well, I keep on hand refreshing sprays for the face and body, as it seems to keep one from having to constantly wash the face – especially in humid locales like Hawai’i, which can oft leave you feeling sticky and dirty. They are also nice to cool off with and vital for hydrating the skin during plane travel! Rose Water (Heritage Products is the least expensive -$3 for a 4oz bottle), Caudalie Grape Water (yum! If you’re in Hawaii best to buy it from Sephora while on Oahu because of the bottle design Caudalie can only ship it ground), and finally MyChelle’s Fruit Enzyme Mist “a hydrating, anti-inflammatory, age defying toner with heavy water and phospholipids for all skin types” – whatever, it works. I also try to dab off oils ‘n’ dirt as much as possible; like the beautifully-skinned Asian women, keep those tissue paper blotters handy, instead of washing to curb the shine (in a pinch or on a budget, toilet seat covers work, no really).

BODY CARE AND MOISTURIZINGCaudalie

“Oil instead of soap was used to remove dirt and grime.”

That was one of historical consultant Jonathan Stamp’s factoids displayed in the text embellishments for HBO’s awesome television series Rome (episode entitled “Utica” where Titus Pullo is being bathed) – oooof, I miss that show!

I surprised my friend the other day with coconut oil’s ability to clean the skin – took motor oil off a grease monkey in just a few wipes! It’s simply an amazing cleanser, which (as mentioned previously) is why real soap is based around it, but it’s also one of my favorite “skin creams” for dry legs (no matter that it’s thick and considered “comedogenic” – that’s why you blend it). As well it makes (again blended) a lovely massage oil and, FYI, the most awesome natural lube!

jojobaBesides Argan (which can have a iffy scent) my other fave skin and hair oil is Jojoba (Hawai’i people should get those on the mainland with Trader Joe’s access to ship you a box). Jojoba isn’t actually an oil but a wax. It has great healing qualities including being antibacterial, anti-oxidant, soothing, conditioning. It contains protein, minerals, and a waxy substance that mimics collagen. Unlike most vegetable oils it is chemically similar to human sebum, so it actually penetrates because the skin accepts it as a sebum, while at the same time it will not clog pores. These qualities are great for acne-prone/rosacea type skin, as well as rehab from negative effects of the sun. It works for all skin types: as a matter of fact, if your skin has an over production of sebum it will dissolve clogged pores and restore the skin to its natural PH. There is scientific research proving that “jojoba can increase skin softness by up to 37%, reduces superficial lines and wrinkles up to 25% upon application and up to 11% after 8 hours. (And hey, it’s a lot more cheap, simple and pure than concocted products that’ll make such claims).

Lots of high-end products tout their use of Squalene – derived from olive pits – which may be considered the closest comparable ingredient to human sebum, and with its natural emollients, gives the velvety feel that soothes the skin while replacing the necessary oil. Other oils that act like those naturally produced by the human skin includes: Macadamia Nut, Sweet Almond (similar to baby’s sebum), Sesame Oil, Shea Butter…and most seem to have an SPF of at least 4.

Oh, and in case you want to check your favorite oils, Moose Creek Bath and Body has a good list of the clogging probability of oils and ingredients. Since the term “non-comedogenic” is not regulated by the FDA or any other organization, a cosmetics company can make this claim regardless of proof or substantiation of any kind.

PRODUCTS THAT HELP YOU BURN

Citrus Body ScrubOne thing I’ve noticed in many products is the use of essential oils that are photosensitizing – meaning when applied they make your skin more susceptible or sensitive to the influence of ultraviolet light. Some may wrongly assume this will help them tan faster, similar to lemon on the hair causing it to bleach, but in this case it will only cause burning: reactions ranging from mild reddening to severe sunburn, often followed by hyperpigmentation. The obvious culprits are citrus oils but the list includes: angelica, bergamot, orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, yuzu. Some recommend avoiding the sun when using carrot oil – as in Retinoid and other Vitamin A skin treatments – though because it’s acts as a preservative it is often found in face creams and some sunscreens ironically enough. If you like creams with such active ingredients, use them later in the day or at night. Some products like Proactiv® and dermatologist prescriptions for acne and rosasea can cause more skin problems if you don’t completely avoid the sun while using them. Ask your doctor!

As well, with more and more people indulging in massage/spa treatments, if there is any potential for sun exposure after, you’re best to ask if there are any photo-sensitizing oils in their products. Massage therapists are usually aware and use such oils only late afternoon and evening or tell their clients to keep covered or wash off before they go in the sun (for the most part they should evaporate within a few hours, though many recommend waiting to sun bathe for at least 12 hours after the massage).

THE CATCH-22 OF MAKE-UP:

bare minerals make-upI know a lot of people have to wash more often because they wear make-up. And people often wear make-up because make-up has played a part in ruining the quality of their skin, so they need to cover it up; a never-ending cycle. I’ve always just avoided the heavy stuff – foundation looks horrible on me and my skin hates it; it actually makes it look as if it can’t breathe. If you can, try to avoid liquid foundation, perhaps only use cover-up or clay-based whitening-pens on dark spots, and instead try a light natural mineral powder. They’re less irritating for most skin types; though it’s important to make certain you keep the tools (brushes) clean. On top of that, the mineral powders – containing minerals like zinc and titanium – are an efficient sunblock; many of these mineral facial and body powders are actually marketed specifically as sunscreens. A few things to watch out for: 1) Titanium is sketchy. Research it first. I prefer non-nano-size zinc. 2) Watch out for all the cheap fillers added to powders. For example, I can not comprehend why major cosmetic companies still use / customers still purchase talc. We’ve known for a long while now that talc’s structure is very similar to asbestos and is best to avoid when there are more safe alternatives.

Responding to this evidence in 1973, the FDA drafted a resolution that would limit the amount of asbestos-like fibers in cosmetic grade talc. However, no ruling has ever been made and today, cosmetic grade talc remains non-regulated by the federal government. This inaction ignores a 1993 National Toxicology Program report which found that cosmetic grade talc, without any asbestos-like fibers, caused tumors in animal subjects. Clearly with or without asbestos-like fibers, cosmetic grade talcum powder is a carcinogen.) … Since the early 1980s, records show that several thousand infants each year have died or become seriously ill following accidental inhalation of baby powder. Exposing children to this carcinogen is unnecessary and dangerous.

On the Cancer.gov web site it explains:

Talc is a “finely-powdered native hydrous magnesium silicate” and that “when administered into the pleural space, talc initiates an inflammatory reaction, resulting in adhesion of the visceral pleura to the parietal pleura and fibrosis, thereby effectively closing the pleural space.”

Fact is, I’d avoid breathing in the dust of any minerals. Regardless of whether a proper scientific study has been done or not, when small dust particles get into the lungs, the lungs don’t like it. So, even while applying the most “natural” of these mineral-based powders, make an effort not to inhale.

The Green Guide goes into detail about the use of minerals in cosmetics and their actual ingredients.

As there is no set definition for the term “mineral makeup,” any product that contains minerals as a primary ingredient may be touted as such, although it may also contain some unhealthy chemicals.

Some companies are conscious of people’s concerns. Check out ElyOrganics whose line utilizes zinc and claims: “No nano-particles, no dimethecone coatings and no titanium dioxide is ever used in Miessence mineral based cosmetic products.”

LUBING UP THE SKIN & INTERNAL SUNSCREENS

Coconut Oil Skin CareAnd finally, there’s something to be said regarding the foods we consume as part of our skin care regime. We’ve heard too often that we need to include natural – high omega – oils in our diet. I fiend for Greek olives, adore olive oil, and wonder if my Sicilian instincts don’t kick in some when it comes to providing extra protection for my “olive” skin. I certainly think most salad dressings are junk considering you could take advantage and get your natural oils easily in your dressing (flax seed oil, mix in some coconut vinegar and shoyu and you’ve got salad dressing in under 30 seconds). Or for the even more eternally lazy, mix some flax, hemp or extra virgin organic olive oil into your regular dressing. Including steamed fish into the mix works. I like poached salmon salad (simply steam it), adding arugula, avocado, fresh goat cheese, pine nuts or hemp seeds – surprisingly quick and easy to make. Though those close to me know I am a butter (ghee) whore, a good way to get healthy fat is dipping one’s bread in some high quality oil too. Any way you can consume some virgin coconut oil will be a plus.

Yes, healthy oils are the way to go. I wouldn’t be surprised to find some scientific correlation to people eating hydrogenated fats, and/or avoiding and cutting out healthy fats from their diet to making them more susceptible to the sun, cancer and wrinkles. It’s strange the pharmaceutical industry are producing -and people are buying- such weight loss drugs like “Alli”, which pulls the fat out of your meals, causing involuntarily explosive oily bowel movements; leaving one to try to digest an imbalanced mix of carbs and proteins (and without any fatty oils left, I imagine what remains in your colon is some serious constipation). Also, we know -don’t we?- that avoiding fat keeps one hungry and prone to eating more. And studies done on the weight lose results for those taking these pills is not positive. Though you see all the commentary and reports on the “good” and “bad” fats, diet-obsessed America seems ingrained with the notion that by eating fat they will become fat. I guess it supports the obsessive/compulsive, indulge/avoid, right/wrong mentality… not superfoodsto mention fodder for many AA meetings and psychology sessions and best selling books on the next best weight lose plan. Common sense – and a sense of how you feel when eating specific foods – should dictate.

Supplementations and consumption of foods that supply proper nutrition/vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that support skin and bones seem intelligent choices. Foods might include so-called “superfoods” and fruits (with high phytonutrient content) like: gogi berries, blackberries, pomegranate, acai, raw chocolate, chlorella, spirulina, to boost your skin’s natural UV protection. Antioxidants like a natural Vitamin C should be utilized daily. As well supplements like: Vitamin D (especially during winter, or times when you are not getting some daily sun exposure), astaxanthin (takes about 30 days of nutrition to boost skin levels) and MSM (magical stuff makes skin more permeable and pliant; preventative and promotes faster healing from sunburn) [for info on noni healing sunburn/blisters click here]. Magnesium (preferably transdermal) and silica (colloidal) are magic. Try yogurt, acidophilous, herbs and/or foods that help regulate colon function (after a good cleanse if needed) as your skin often seems to offer a visual on the health of your colon and liver. As well, stress and sleep deprivation makes one not only unhappy, unhealthy, and unproductive, it also keeps thatdrinking kava sallow, unglowing complexion that can’t easily withstand elemental factors; try Vitamin B (sublingual) for the stress, and Kava or Valerian Root (herb blends) at night to enhance relaxation naturally. A

Obvious as it is, drinking tons of pure water just can’t be beat for hydrating and protecting the skin. And of course the opposite holds true, so best to mellow out on anything too dehydrating like sodas, caffeine, alcohol and high sugar beverages when enjoying those outdoor activities. All of these things will hopefully give you an advantage, so you aren’t relying solely on topical sunscreen products and find yourself dismayed when they continually let you down. That said, utilizing the info in this article AND finding a eco-conscious natural sunscreen (and a big beach hat) will keep your skin happier and healthier. Let’s look hot surfing into our ’90s – well, why not try!


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lemon

Though I appreciate Google, when it becomes your main reference library, no matter how efficient a “surfer” you are, you can’t deny your researching deficiencies. I remember when my good friend used to let me sneak into Reason Magazine and use their Lexis/Nexis search engine while fact-checking our book “Retro Hell” (we didn’t care so much about our information being factual, as for us it was more of a psychological reminiscence, but stuffy Little, Brown & Co. – our publishers – had a figurative stick up their you-know-what about the whole thing).

Anyway, it’s a personal goal I have, that someday I’ll be rich enough to subscribe. Of course, you never know for sure how things might go, and on the off chance I someday find myself on the other end of the spectrum, say per chance in an Hawai’i jail, I have learned (via Google) that there are some positive perks.

A company whose extensive database… is used mostly by legal offices, schools and libraries has attracted a new type of subscriber: prisons. The service from LexisNexis enables prisons to provide required access to legal information while banishing law books, which are more expensive, quickly outdated and easily damaged…. LexisNexis…has installed computer kiosks resistant to damage in four prisons and jails in Hawaii and five in California. The kiosk consists of a touch-screen computer monitor covered in shatterproof glass inside a steel box bolted to a wall.

girl juggling fruitSo, I’m not sure whether to blame it on growing up on sugar cereals, watching TV while doing homework, using drugs while trying to think, or some undiagnosed ADD-like syndrome succumbed to on a daily basis, but it has proven difficult to not let thoughts meander to all potentially relatable subheadings and tangents. This is just the beginning of the article, and gotta make our way back to the original idea: salt and lemons, and the finalé being a delicious nutritious lemonade recipe… of the sort you can not find on Lexis/Nexis!

But before we go there (or while we’re on our way), I must give in to one more interruption in continuity, the unnerving realization that perchance my parents had it right when they said I should marry a doctor. Yes, every Jewish mom and dad tells their daughter (if she’s not going to be a doctor) to marry one. But it’s not for the potentially secure lifestyle ($) that now makes me reconsider the idea. And in actuality it is more the idea of a “doctor”; the omnipotent philosopher who would know the answer to my every question. A kind of doctor / nutritionist / intellectual / researcher / scientist. Someone I could crawl into bed with, kiss on the neck, and whisper into his ear, “Hey honey, why do surfers need to supplement with salt and citrus?” And I don’t expect common-sense conclusions that I can imagine myself, about electrolytes and exercise, but specifics and studies and theories that take me a little beyond… beyond pseudo-research on a free search engine.

But that’s not the world I live in, and with not so many Mensa members in my midst, I can only pose the question to myself, and conclude with my erratic simpleton logic, rich life experience, erratic schooling in biology and nutrition, combined with hours of determined Google-ing… all to share with you, my dear readers (you’re so kind).

Unless sweat losses are replaced during exercise, an athlete will become dehydrated. Most of us know that severe levels of dehydration have a dramatic effect on exercise performance. But even small fluid losses reduce performance and increase your feeling of effort. Of course the effects at lower levels of dehydration are more subtle… however, well before the effects seem obvious, your output has dropped and your skills and concentration have deteriorated. In an ideal world an athlete would drink enough fluid to cover all sweat losses during their event. However in the real world of sport this is not usually practical or possible. At best, most athletes only replace 50 per cent of their fluid losses during the event so there is plenty of room for improvement. [Ocean to Outback]

surfer girl sofiaSurfers sweat more than they realize. Similar to swimmers, being in the water there’s little awareness as to the extent to which we sweat. Though you can use accurate scale weigh-ins pre and post session to get an idea (surfers just aren’t as fanatical about that kind of info as other athletes are; maybe when surfing becomes an Olympic sport perhaps?). But if indeed you are unsure, a simple way to tell if you are dehydrated is if your pee is dark yellow/orange; that shows your body is releasing the wastes but retaining the water because it can’t afford to lose any more. In addition, often we’re exposed to the sun – surfing occurring outdoors during daylight hours. Guaranteed even winter overcast there’s some sweating going on in those new fangled rubber wet suits.

And unlike most who exercise for extended periods, we often do not do the obvious: drink enough water! Just think, a bicyclist may be riding for a few hours, but he’s squirting water and energy drinks in his mouth all along the way; while we may be out in the water for hours with no access to fluids besides the accidental salty/gunky gulp we inhaled as we got pounded on the inside.

Those who do compensate with fluids might not be replacing their salt as well; and athletes need increased salt intake to properly hydrate the cells and reduce the risk of dehydration or hyponatremia. Most studies on this subject seem to focus on marathon runners though, not surfers.

How many of us end up with cramps while out in the water? Aches in our back? Pain in our joints? Jelly arms? Burns from the sun? Even end-of-the-session injuries because we are spent? Many of these symptoms (in combination with nutritional issues and a lack of adequate warm-up and post-session stretch) can often be attributed in part to our water and salt deficiencies and imbalances.

Salt Waiting to be picked up

Science and medicine have tried to define the precise roles of salt in the healthy and diseased human organism. Blood, sweat, and tears all contain salt, and both the skin and the eyes are protected from infectious germs by the anti-bacterial effect of salt. When salt is added to a liquid, particles with opposite charges are formed: a positively charged sodium ion and a negatively charged chloride ion. This is the basis of osmosis which regulates fluid pressure within living cells and protects the body against excessive water loss. Sodium and chloride ions, as well as potassium ions, create a measurable difference in potential across cell membranes. This ensures that the fluid inside living cells remains separate from that outside. Thus, although the human body consists mainly of water, our “inner ocean” does not flow away or evaporate. Sodium ions create a high pressure of liquid in the kidneys and thus regulate their metabolic function. [Shirley's Wellness Cafe]

Water and saltMore of salt’s endless list of therapeutic properties, as comprised in Dr. Barbara Hendel’s book “Water and Salt – The Essence of Life”, include: stabilizing irregular heartbeats; regulation of blood pressure; extraction of excess acidity from the cells in the body; generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in the body; absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract; clearance of the lungs of mucus, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis; clearing up congestion of the sinuses (a strong natural antihistamine); essential for the prevention of muscle cramps; making the structure of bones firm; sleep regulation; a needed element in the treatment of diabetics; vital for maintaining sexuality and libido; vital for preventing varicose veins and spider veins on the legs and thighs; vital to the communication and information processing of nerve cells the entire time that the brain cells work, from the moment of conception to death (oh, is that all…). Actually, drinking Sole (a mix of water and crystal salt) is also said to help dissolve and eliminate impurities and built up toxins which lead to kidney and gall stones.components of seawater

To truly understand the function of salt, we need to look to the sea, witness the high level of health of its creatures and compare its composition to that of human body fluids.

Dehydrated sea water contains over 80 elements, most required for the maintenance of the human body. While all salt originates from the sea, refined table salt and almost all sea salts sold in health food stores have none of these elements left. Even in the “natural” salts, refining, washing, boiling or kiln drying has stripped away almost all traces of these minerals. That’s why it is white and dry.

Any untreated, natural, whole salt will stubbornly hold on to part of its original water unless kiln or vacuum-pan dried. Even by drying naturally in the sun, salt crystals will not give up all of their moisture. True “natural” sun dried salt ranges from light gray or beige to pale pink in color. [Alternative Medical Angel]

NaCl Sodium Chloride molecule structureFact is, table salt, or sodium chloride, is a refined, adulterated version of what was once considered “salt”, similar to the way natural sugar is refined into white sugar. Even most commercial “sea salt” has little resemblance to salt that has come from the sea. In the 1940s, major salt producers in the US began to dry salt at intense temperatures degrading the salt’s structure while removing all the complimentary minerals and nutrients, leaving us with foremostly sodium chloride.pure salt

Sodium chloride is an aggressive substance, which biochemically is perpetually seeking an equalizing counterpart so that the body’s pH can always remain neutral. Sodium chloride needs its natural counterpart in order for it to produce its effect. The natural counterparts, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals and trace elements, demonstrate, from a biophysical standpoint, specific frequency patterns. These patterns ensure the geometric structures in our body. When these structures are missing, we are without energy and are lifeless. Salt should not be used just to add flavour to our food, but for its vibration pattern, which is similar to our body! … The body recognizes table salt as an aggressive cellular poison, an unnatural substance, and wants to eliminate it as quickly as possible in order to protect itself. This causes a constant overburden on our organs of excretion. [Himalayan Crystal Salt]

Since our salt craving didn’t change with the advancements of technology, we are left with a confused body which, no matter how much sodium it consumes, is still craving real salt. As we need a precarious balance of salts in our body, this may lead a person to consume even more sodium chloride, and in turn more food, as the body tries to satisfy its needs, hoping to garner the aforementioned therapeutic benefits, but unfortunately generating the opposite results.morton salt wacky pack

For example, even on Morton’s Salt site, they recommend NOT using their salt for aquariums because the salt does not include necessary trace minerals fish need. And, though they don’t mention it, commercial salts often include additives that fish – and people – don’t need including: free flowing agents, inorganic/ potassium iodide (added to the salt to avoid iodine deficiency disease of thyroid gland (I prefer getting mine from RealSalt™ and seaweed), dextrose, bleaching agents, sugar (added to stabilize iodine and as an anti-caking chemical), and our Alzheimer compatriot aluminum silicate. That whole concept of limiting salt intake to prevent high blood pressure… has been proven to be, by and large, hooey! And one eight year study even showed stressed out New Yorkers on a low-salt diet had four times as many heart attacks than those on a normal sodium diet. Okay, we all need to watch our excesses of anything, but in a typical diet, it’s more likely processed salt, especially found in processed foods, that you need to limit.

“Lemonade” by Chokebore

Chandra fucked my loneliness away, at least for a minute or two, lemonade. I just fucked my loneliness away, it helped me for a minute or two, a lemonade. I just beat my loneliness away, it helped me for a minute or two, a lemonade….

And why lemonade? First of all, unlike casual sex for the addict, the benefits last more than a minute or two – or the time it takes to drink a glass of lemonade. Though, for myself, these sweet and sour urges modify to include other fruit, EmergenC™ packets, even li hing mui lollipops (mmmm!). Other times, depending on what’s available, and how careful I am being about eating right, these desires can adulterate to junkier compensations.

french friesOur cravings, often mutated by the brain into veiled indulgences, express the needs of the body. Even when we bolt from the beach to buy some french fries, processed meat-something, and a soda to quench the urge, there are reasons for it: the salt in the french fries; the protein in the meat; the quickly available sugar and carbohydrates in the soda. We may not be paying attention to whether the salt is natural, or the sugar whole, or the protein digestible, etc. Depending upon our personal awareness, there is a realization that proper choices keep us feeling healthier (and proffer us the ability to surf longer sessions and more often – and not having to pass out after lunch). Eventually, through years of trial and error, conscious beings eventually wake up to the fact that there are natural solutions that better comply to our body’s intrinsic desires.

So it’s conceivable, when we have a tangy thirst after surfing, our bodies could be wanting of hydrating fluids – like that found via citrus drinks – and unknowingly yearning for the benefits of lemons. These benefits more specifically include: being a great source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants; supporting the immune system, neutralizing free radicals; helping to prevent inflammation / swelling in the body; offering worthy doses of B6, iron, potassium, calcium, folic acid, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients, phytonutrients, flavonoids (that have been proven to stop cell division in many cancer cell lines); limonins, which help fight cancers of skin and other organs and remain in the system much longer than the phenols in green tea and chocolate; and antiviral and antibiotic properties. Lemons have also been known to act as a blood purifier, improving the body’s ability to release toxins, and are an oft utilized ingredient in detox cleanses. They are also considered to tonify the kidneys.

Though there is some debate over whether lemonade should be consumed to hasten kidney stone development (they found orange juice to work better; and though I love OJ too, it’s kinda harsh on da belly and gets me into a diabetic coma quicker) it doesn’t negate lemon’s holistic support of kidney function, especially in the case of certain deficiencies. Lots of surfing can put a strain on the back: the muscles, the spine, draining the adrenals (hey, we’re goin’ for the dopa-high), and can weaken the kidneys. Kidney depletion is often found in those indulging in the water element; too much water puts out the fire. The sour/bitter flavor, like that of the lemon, is considered in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a remedy to correct that imbalance.

There is an interesting correlation between the lemons and the salts. As well the link between electrolytes and positively and negatively charged ions. Of course, being that I didn’t become nor marry a doctor / chemist / natropath / nutritionist, and never made batteries out of lemons or sodium chloride in science class, beyond logic and instinct I honestly have little specific knowledge about their connection. But I imagine there to be succinct science-based reasoning and potentially elaborate experimentation possibilities exposing the principles as to why sugar and salt and lemons and lots and lots of surfing mix so well together. And some smarter folk have contributed their two cents on the matter….

On page 19 of A.F. Beddoe’s book “Biological Ionization in Human Nutrition,” he states that:

“Man does not live off the food he eats but off of the energy that is produced from the food he eats. The energy you get from your food comes from the atoms and molecules of energy in your food. A reaction takes place as cationic food enters the digestive tract and encounters anionic digestive enzymes. To explain further, an ion is part of a molecule con-atom or a group of atoms that carry an electrical charge. Ions which carry negative charges are ‘anions’.

“Lemons are considered to be anionic, having more anions (negatively charged ions) of energy as compared to cations (positively charged ions) in their atomic structure. Saliva, hydrochloric acid, bile and the stomach’s other digestive juices are also anionic. Lemon is one of the only foods on the planet that has more anions than cations in its atomic structure. When considering the electromagnetic properties of food…all foods are considered cationic with the exception of fresh, raw lemon juice. Some have suggested that the reason fresh lemon juice is similar to digestive enzymes is due to the low amount of sulfur in lemons. It should be noted that pasteurized and packaged lemon juice is cationic and, therefore, ineffective as a health remedy.” [EMR Labs]

This may be why we get a buzz off fresh lemons; a buzz that is not like, for example, the sugary high we get off most sweet and sour soft beverages, fruits or candy. And when we add lemon juice to water, with the balance of sugars and electrolytes, it creates a sum greater than its parts, especially when it comes down to hydrating a dehydrated surfer.

Though hydration with H20 before and after exercise is important, plain water can actually suppress one’s thirst and cause bloating - all athletes know that feeling! (And if you drink water after you’re already dehydrated you get cramps!) It has been shown that the body absorbs fluids better and retains them longer if there are some dissolved solids (approx. 6% carbs/electrolytes) in the mix; ergo the sports drink. These are recommended especially for those who are working out for over one hour; and definitely vital for those who are not refueling while working-out!!!sports drinks

And what is a sports drink actually? Usually it’s a mixture of water, fruit juice or sugar water. Cheap brands include corn syrups, additives and artificial colorings. Expensive brands typically include the same things as the cheap but add more polymers and chemicals that many who critique the sports supplement industry consider unnecessary, as well as the blockbuster ingredient: salt (the electrolyte portion of the drink for which you are paying the big bucks). What’s so special about salt, kidneys, and your electrolyte drink? On the web site Essential Wellness Hilde Bschorr explains:

Salt has a very unique property – its atomic structure is not molecular, it’s electrical. The benefit we receive from salt is it’s electrical charge, the salt itself actually still remains in its original form…. This electrical charge is essential to the life functions in our bodies. So basic is this electrical function, that salt is one of a group of elements called “electrolytes”. These are made up of ions, which are groups of atoms that carry a positive or negative electric charge.

Sodium is positively charged and chloride is negatively charged, so they attract each other and bond tightly. Our bodies also contain other electrolytes, including potassium (+), calcium (+), magnesium (+), bicarbonate (-), phosphate (-), and sulfate (-). Electrolytes are essential because our cells use them to transfer liquids, nutrients, and wastes across their membranes and to carry electrical impulses through nerves and muscles to communicate with other cells.

The kidneys work to keep electrolyte concentrations in your blood constant when your body changes. When your body perspires (from exercise or high temperature), for example, electrolytes are lost in the sweat and must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant.

But salt in lemonade? Hey, I’m not chef but there are culinary (and sensual?) concepts as to why it works:pure salt lick

…True, we do consume a wide variety of other minerals: both the so-called “bulk” minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, as well as “trace” minerals like iron, copper and zinc. Yet the human body take[s] those in via organic middlemen like fruits, vegetables and meats. Salt is the only inorganic substance we dig out of the ground and put straight into our mouths. It is critical to our health (and in fact the health of all living things), the greatest testament to which is the fact that our tongues have receptors specifically designed to detect it.

Yet if simple utility were all there were to our relationship with salt, we’d probably just carry salt licks around with us in our pockets…. Like so many life-critical human functions (sex springs to mind), our experience of salt has been inextricably bound up with pleasure. And it’s evolution we have to thank.

How else to explain the effect that salt has on the foods we eat? Yes, the conventional line states that salt “accents foods”, that it helps them taste “more like themselves” or “excites the taste buds”. But what is it that’s really going on here? The unfortunate answer is that nobody yet knows, though some very interesting recent science has provided us with a window into just what function the salt sense serves in the overall sensation of taste.

Studies conducted at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Pennsylvania … have shown that in addition to stimulating our “salty” taste receptors themselves, salt also acts on other receptors in the mouth, notably the “bitter” receptors. Especially when administered in a triple-play with a sweet-tasting sample, it’s been found that salt actually suppresses bitter sensations — far more effectively than sweetness does by itself. … More than simply turning up the volume on flavors we do like, it also turns the volume down on flavors we don’t. [Joe Pastry]

Additional chemical magic includes the fact that both salt and fresh lemons contribute to creating a more alkaline state (lemons, like grapefruit, turn alkaline once they hit the digestive system) which might be useful when the body -especially that of a devout surfer- is pushed and there comes a need to balance the PH of the blood and tissues. Plus, we need a more alkaline state to keep microorganisms in check: that would include one well-known to Hawai’i surfers - the fun-lovin’ staph infection!

Active athletes also need to replace our glucose to keep our blood sugar levels up and reduce fatigue. Dr. Sears (AskDr.Sears.com), suggests “the best time for your sports drinks is during exercise, since the carbs in the drink do not cause high blood sugar fluctuations because insulin is not secreted during exercise. While drinking a high-sugar drink prior to exercise may trigger insulin and lead to hypoglycemia in the middle of the game.” Good thing salt and lemons also have the added benefit of regulating blood sugar!

So, if you’re going to drink something before exercise or immediately after, as us surfers need to do, my lemonade recipe should supply you with a healthy and balanced natural, homemade and certainly less expensive option (though I recommend for those who stay out in the water a long time and/or notice a dramatic drop in performance while surfing that they tie on their leash string or attach to a key pocket a fuel packet like the now 90% organic and all-natural CLIF Shot® clif shot(oooh, with Litter Leash packaging) and suck on it mid-session. Ingredients in their vanilla for example include: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Oxide; with 40mg Sodium, 30mg Potassium, 25mg of Carbs and 8g of Sugar.

Carbohydrate is stored as glucose in the liver and muscles and is the most efficient source of energy as it requires less oxygen to be burnt than either protein or fat. The normal body stores of carbohydrate in a typical athlete are: • 70kg male athlete: liver glycogen 90g and muscle glycogen 400g • 60kg female athlete: liver glycogen 70g and muscle glycogen 300g. During hard exercise, carbohydrate can be depleted at a rate of 3-4 grams per minute. If this is sustained for 2 hours or more, a very large fraction of the total body carbohydrate stores will be exhausted and if not checked will result in reduced performance. Recovery of the muscle and liver glycogen stores after exercise will normally require 24-48 hours for complete recovery.

During exercise, there is in an increased uptake of blood glucose by the muscles and to prevent blood glucose levels falling the liver produces glucose from the liver stores. Consuming carbohydrate before, during and after exercise will help prevent blood glucose levels falling too low and help maintain the body’s glycogen stores. Many athletes cannot consume food before or during exercise and therefore a formulated drink that will provide carbohydrate is required. [BrainMac Sports Coach]

If you’re avoiding sweets or got enough elsewhere, and basic hydration is what you’re after, try a more watered down version of the recipe, or simple Lemon Water (pure water, squeeze lemon into and add a few slices with a dash of salt). Penta, Essentia water, CellFood™, trace minerals, and coconut water are also great for hydrating.

The balance of our cells reflects the balance of our life. And as imbalanced as we may get, sometimes it’s those little things that get us back to center… like relaxing on the lanai swing chair, enjoying the trade breeze on a sweet summer day, sipping a nice tall glass of fresh squeezed electrolyte-laden lemonade.

For thousands of years salt has been known as a panacea. Alchemists called it “the fifth element”—besides water, earth, air and fire—because its qualities were comparable only to ether, the actual fifth element. Why are we so drawn to the ocean? Because our subconscious mind instinctively wants to return to the specific vibrational state of the ocean from which we once emerged. This is where we can return to recharge our batteries and regenerate. [Himalayan Crystal Salt]

Yup, something us surfers are doing all the time. So it makes sense, to try to accomplish it inside and out!

lemon tree

Coconut Girl’s Revitalizing Surfer Lemonade

Okay, sticking with my 15-min-or-less “cooking” method, this lemonade is quick and easy to prepare, and if you want to add the “boosters” it’ll only take a few more minutes. My recipe is infinitely easier when mom’s lemon tree is going off and I suggest that if you have a tree or a neighbor has one – take advantage (you can freeze excess juice for later use if you don’t want any to go to waste). And sure they’d luv it if you offered to bring them back a jar (always save your glass fruit juice containers). For this recipe we’re basically filling one 32oz jar so for larger batches adjust accordingly….

I pick 2-3 of the biggest, most yellow lemons off the tree. Roll them on the wood cutting board or counter top so they’re easier to juice. Throw in a lime if you have one too.

• In saucepan, with approximately one cup of purified water, medium heat, add approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of raw coconut sugar (coconut syrup also works). Essentially you are heating at the lowest temp needed so the sugar dissolves while stirring.

• Cut lemons in half. Using a citrus juicer (cheap electric ones work fine, though if you’re rich go use your fancy industrial strength citrus press), juice all 4-6 halves (if your lemons are small add one more and/or one small lime for flavor). Should take all of two minutes!

• As for the sugar mixture, add a few ice cubes, preferably made from filtered water to cool it down. Pour it into a glass measuring cup. Then mix in a healthy pinch of Real Salt™, Himalayan Crystal Salt or pure sea salt (Hawaiian Salt also works). Once it’s blended add a handful more ice cubes to cool it to approximately room temp.

• It’s important to not heat the lemon juice! So, pour the juice into an empty glass jar or pitcher. Add some cold or room temp purified water, then add the sugar water / syrup water you made. Then fill the rest of the jar with more water to taste. Chill.

lemonade and salt

• The Extras: Add a bit of ginger. Most recipes for ginger lemonade call for adding sliced ginger pieces into the cooking sugar water, but ginger’s got a more killa kick if you avoid heating it, and the body will benefit more from its healing properties. So I suggest, grating about 1/2 teaspoon of ginger (with a ginger grater, if can, small sized grater otherwise) and simply adding it to the jar. Shake/stir well! * Be your own barhand…add a little zest! (of course we’re using organic lemons so all good there…) * If you read my noni article and/or have some noni juice prepared and are in need of its benefits, add a tablespoon or two to a cup of lemonade for your morning elixir… or if drained in the middle of the day and you really want to get another surf session in… talk about energizing! * You can add a splash of coconut water (as in the Big Island favorite found in the local health food stores “Tahitian Limeade” yum!) or some aloe (which also supports digestion, kidneys, and skin). * Party option is cutting some lemon, orange and/or lime slices and adding them into the pitcher, then filling with ice and serving.

That’s it! Obvious but never forget it: coffee, soda, sun, surf, alcohol… all dehydrating. Try to respond to your body’s cravings in ways that make you stronger. Spend a little bit more time helping your body stay happy and balanced so you can surf longer: that is, longer sessions and for decades to come… xo

lemonhead

…and hey, since pure salt is good for brain function perhaps if I start using only the right salts I will get my IQ back up enough to where I won’t feel I need a brainiac scientist husband to explain this chit to me…


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noniIt is assumed that Noni (“Aspirin of the Ancients”) originated in Southeast Asia (Indonesia) and was brought, approximately 2000 years ago, by ancient peoples of French Polynesia to the islands of the South Pacific. Captain Cook recorded it’s use in Tahiti (Nono) in the 1700s, and later documents show its use in Fiji (Kura), Samoa, Roratonga, Australia (Cheesefruit), Guam (Lada), Caribbean Islands (Painkiller Tree), Africa (Bumbo), India (Indian Mulberry)…. Its hardy seeds have the ability to float which has also contributed to its distribution throughout seacoasts in the South Pacific region. In Hawai’i (Noni – Morinda citrifolia) it is a common medicine. Depending upon latitude, it grows 0-2600ft, though Hawai’ian noni seems to thrive in rainforest lava rock nearest to the ocean. But while some here utilize it for any ailment, and noni producers sometimes swipe up (too) much of the fresh fruit off public trees, there are still many who live here who don’t seem to take advantage of its availability. At the same time, across the mainland and around the world, people are spending upwards of $40 a bottle, as it’s being packaged for consumption, from health food stores to Costco, as yet another “miracle cure”…perhaps the only popular miracle cure that is concurrently being debated as “the foulest liquid ever tasted.”noni and bee mandala

It is pretty stank, though bees like it, and the smell grows on you, as you become recipient of its benefits. Yet, I can imagine if one is taking these noni tonics and not noticing immediate results, they might easily write it off as another supplement marketing rip-off. Personally, most of the “manufactured” noni I’ve tried didn’t seem to do much. But there’s always something that happens from the fresh fruit to the processed product, and surely quality varies depending upon each company’s methods and their ability to best capture the medicinal qualities. All I can tell ya is this, drinking the fresh juice or pureé or soaking in the fruit is a whole different story, and you can’t deny its effects, because you feel them immediately.

Noni is likely one of the most powerful natural medicines I have ever tried. Part of being able to experience it properly is having easy access to the plant, as it grows in abundance in many areas of Hawai’i. Secondly, that Hawai’i is a breeding ground for so many ailments in which the noni can have obvious beneficial results; things like staph and skin infections, diabetes, a slew of surf injuries :) ….

Some use noni in a casual manner, but to others it is a powerful plant that is not intended for daily use. Similar to people who take kava to sleep, for many kava involves a ceremony and spiritual relationship with the plant. There are traditional beliefs regarding plants considered “sacred” by native peoples who have utilized them for generations. For those attuned to or interested in the knowledge, that is a righteous endeavor, because we often look too simply at the gifts of the earth. But personally, I don’t believe those who have a limited comprehension of the spiritual aspects disavow themselves from attaining positive results (its use alone might inevitably bring about an understanding leading one on that journey of awareness).

Noni has various chemical constituents. First, it has an impressive array of terpene compounds, three of which—L. Asperuloside, aucubin, and glucose—have been identified by their actyl derivatives. Both caproic and caprylic acids have been isolated. Second, bushfruits, a category of which noni fruit is a member, are also considered a good source of vitamin C. Third, Hawaiin noni has been linked to the synthesis of xeronine in the body which has significant and widespread health implications. Last, the alkaloid content of the noni fruit is thought to be responsible for its therapeutic actions. Alkaloids exhibit a wide range of pharmacological and biological activities in the human body. They are nitrogen-containing organic compounds which can react with acids to form salts and which are the basis of many medicines.

noni fermentingThe traditional method (though there are many variations) seems to be picking yellow fruit (as opposed to the too young green), allowing the fruit to ferment by placing it in a bottle and letting it stew for a week, a month, some let it go for a year in the sun (though many agree at least two days is needed). The fruit is then squeezed/filtered. Since gases build up during the fermentation process, many do not use airtight lids but those with anoni process fermenting fermentation lock or some other homemade device. Most producers of noni agree glass is preferred over plastic as some plastics can leach into the finished product and affect its quality. Though it’ll smell rotten to anyone unfamiliar with the scent, there is a particular odor of good fermented noni and bad (kinda like making fine wine). If you’re going to get technical, you can test the juice’s PH with a cheap PH test strip kit; noni should read at 3.5 or less (anything higher may be contaminated or have undesirable organisms). Aged, fermented noni juice (dark in color) can be stored at room temperature indefinitely, while the fresh (light in color) needs to be refrigerated.

My favorite way to drink noni is fresh super ripe fruit (kinda fermenting in the skin) squeezed through a cheese cloth into a homemade lemon or limeade (two cups of purified water, add 2-3 heaping tablespoons raw sugar, heat ’til crystals dissolve, cool some, add 1 tablespoon of raw coconut syrup or crystals, stir, add ice to cool more, mix in juice of 2-3 lemons, add juice of one very ripe noni, add water to taste, stirring well – should make a small pitcher). And the effects, dependent on your condition beforehand: warmth through the veins, clear head, energy, vitality. Usually I find it preferable to drink on an empty stomach for the best results, like a morning elixir or when I’m crashing in the afternoon, and wait half hour before consuming food, coffee or medications, etc.noni processing

I imagine the more fermented the noni the more potent its effects, especially good for use for more chronic, debilitating medical conditions. While the lighter and more sweet fresh fruit can benefit as a daily elixir for those with general constitution building or specific short-term ailments, such as a cold, infections, tiredness, headache, etc. The list of claimed benefits of noni (via the leaf, the flower, the bark, the root, the fruit) seems to be never ending: laxative, inflammation of joints, astringent, emollient, emmenagogue, sedative, hypotension (lowers blood pressure), blood purifier, tonic, immune system modulator, pesticide poisoning, parasitic, delayed menstruation, arthritis, boils, aphrodisiac, eye inflamation (flowers), malaria (bark), E. Coli, Asthma, Diarrhea, Colic, Autism….

In addition, a compound found in the fruit called damnacanthol is believed to help inhibit certain viruses and cellular mutations involved in cancer. [Phase One of a cancer study has already taken place]… Recent surveys have suggested that noni fruit exerts antioxidant [and] antibiotic action. In fact, a variety of compounds which have antibacterial properties (such as aucubin) have been identified in the fruit. Constituents found in the fruit portion have exhibited antimicrobial action amino acids…. Because proteins and enzymes have so many varied roles within cell processes, the normalization of these proteins with noni supplementation could initiate a very wide variety of body responses and treat many disease conditions.

noni plantI have enjoyed playing with it, feeling it out, and utilizing the plant when it seems to call to me. Because of that, I’ve had a few unique experiences with noni. One that I never read about is that it is the ultimate sunburn cure. It sounds unappealing, to put a strong fruit on one’s skin after it’s been burned. Aloe is typically the more obvious plant to use in such instances, and it seems a more soothing solution. But one day, when on antibiotics, I got severely burned while surfing in the strong Kona sun. It was actually an antibiotic eye drop I was taking because I had had Lasik surgery, and they kinda drained into the sinus cavity leaving me more photosensitive. Of course, I wasn’t thinking eyedrops would get into my system enough to affect my ability to handle the sun, but I ended up with small blisters all over my upper back and chest; hundreds of them. Aloe wasn’t working; nothing was. Being that I only burn on rare occasion I didn’t know what to do, besides the aloe and drinking lots of water. By the second day I was so frustrated I was willing to try anything. I had some noni which I’d found on one of the few noni trees located in the lava rock/desert ecosystem of Kailua-Kona’s Pine Trees (before it was surely uprooted as the family-oriented surf spot was churning into yet another high-end golf course and fulfilling the important fifth home market for the rich and oblivious mainlanders). For some reason I decided to rub it all over the blistered area. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking, but within one hour it was as if the blisters got sucked into my body. They literally disappeared before my very eyes.

Of course, noni on its own can burn too. I learned that because I used to soak in the rotten fruit my aunty would bring me. I’d make a bed: plastic garbage bag with towel over it and then a sort of old person diaper/pee pad that you can find at Longs atop that and mush about 3-5 super ripe noni atop it and lie in it for hours and hours to help heal some broken bones, relax muscles, sooth sore hips. It was the only thing, besides hideous pain killers, that allowed me to exist, even walk around, pain-free. When you break a bone here, that’s the first thing your auntie will bring over; noni juice, noni fruit, noni leaves. And how does it work? Fug if I know, we’ll leave some things a mystery, but the fruit will create a heat that deeply penetrates the body and brings healing to the area. Anyway, my auntie usually uses a sarong on the skin and the noni above or wrapped within the sarong, covered with noni leaves, so the fruit isn’t actually touching the skin. Then she recommends lying in the sun, to allow the sun to add more heat and generate more potent affect of the noni. All I have to say is don’t use plastic wrap as I did one day out of convenience; it surely would have been fine for the intended hour, but I fell asleep with it on and ended up with some serious degree burn.

Since it’s so easy to end up with Staph here, as the moist climate seems to breed it in the body and on the land, it’s important to have solutions that don’t lead to antibiotic use. One reef cut and a slightly off PH/sugary environment and you’ll easily find the infection spreading. You have to stay on top of it here, as many who’ve let it go untreated realized the hard way: in the hospital getting chunks of their body cut out. The most simple and immediate cure? Wash boo-boo with hot water, grab a piece of the fresh ripe noni fruit and simply place a chunk on the cut. If you smooth it in place it will actually stay there and create a seal and if it does fall off just apply again. This will help the cut disinfect and protect it as well. Then you take a more concentrate shot of noni juice at least once a day for up to two weeks.

The leaves are usually used for swelling, inflammation, arthritis, cuts, bruises rashes and boils. Heat/steam the leaves to soften them up for use, then place the side of the leaf that faces the sun on the body. You can place young leaves directly on the body as they are softer and have a more sticky quality. Some even throw leaves in a warm bath to release the healing oils.

As far as usage, everyone is different. But like any strong medicine, which has an effect of cleansing/detoxing one’s body, you should take a break between dosages. It’s strong, and overuse can be draining, and deplete organs instead of building them. Of course, it’s always best to confer with a physician and adequately trained herbalist or Hawaiian healer.noni fruit leather

So if you’re not in Hawai’i but you want to try noni, there are many companies out there that want to supply it to you. Yet, because of all the variables, I can not recommend any – you need to search out your own and see what works best for you. Though I’ve tried a few, from juice to tinctures, none have had any of same effects as my own processing of the fresh fruit off the tree. Though out of those I did try, strangely enough, it wasn’t the juice but the noni fruit leather that seemed the most potent. And if you’re a Hawai’i Island local and don’t have time to pick and prepare your own, Abundant Life makes their own Noni Puree which is nice. Otherwise, all I can say is this: look for non-pasteurized unadulterated juice packaged preferably noni bookin dark glass bottles. And call and ask to talk with the owner; usually you’ll get a vibe of where they’re coming from. If they’re too big to talk or email with individual customers, maybe they’re too big to pay much attention to quality. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to experience the beneficial effects of quality noni and decide for yourself whether it’s a stinky “miracle cure” or not.

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Sites to check out:

The Noni Website/University of Hawai’i

Truth Be Known: Noni

Noni: Prize Herb of Hawai’i and the South Pacific

Books:

Noni by Diana Fairechild (a stewardess with pesticide poisoning and her journey of healing through noni)

News:

Noni Shows Cancer Promise

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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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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 ContaminatedSo 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 it 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. Did you know that? 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. Brown Cow yogurt – 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 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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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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tarington smokeby contributing writer Ms. Reef Rash

I remember when I started smoking cigarettes. It was 1977 and I was in the 4th grade. I started this bad habit so early on in life because my older sister –who my parents always had me tag along with– turned me on to everything fun. Back then, we could walk through the neighborhood, up to the hospital and put our parent’s quarters into the vending machine on the second floor and simply pull the handle. It was that easy.

We started out with Bel-Air because we liked that package the most, but as we aged and got more cool we switched Marlboro Lights and later Marlboro Reds and Camels. I loved to smoke and had a pack a day habit by the time I was 16. At this time, I tried my first bong hit and life became so rosy. For those who believe in gateway drugs, don’t even go there, I was destined to be a smoker due to the fact that my mother never breastfed me and there was always something artificial shoved in my mouth. Also, believe it or not, I was a good student and quite athletic as well, playing center and wing for the high school soccer and field hockey teams.

When I moved to healthy/hippy-afflicted Hawaii and got married at 25 to a full-on pothead, pack-a-day smoker, I became more healthy in my smoking habit. I started smoking American Spirits which at least were not full of the filthy chemicals found in the Phillip Morris brand of smokes.

wilma smokingYes, life was good, until I got sick of being in a house with three pack-a-day smokers (three because my stoner husband never moved out of his mom’s house). Why would I ever want to light up if I was breathing everyone else’s smoke on a constant basis? And how the hell was I going to be able to quit when I had been trying off and on for years to kick the habit.

Well, for those of you who have tried and failed and are searching for the way, here was my solution – I started smoking pot; lots of pot. Every time I wanted a cigarette, I would roll a joint. And if that made me want to smoke a cigarette as Mary Jane usually did, I’d roll another joint. Life became really good and after some time I was even able to cut down on the pot smoking – maybe once a week to once…or twice…a day.

I had been cigarette-free for 10 years and finally decided to become pot-free as well because I thought it was making me too tired. I was going good for a couple of weeks, until one fateful night when I went out for drinks with a girlfriend and instead of going to another bar as I would have liked, she made me walk across the parking lot to our local Wal-Mart, so she could walk off her buzz and drive home.

Well, I grudgingly made my way with her to the land of fluorescent lighting and cheap Chinese goods that I would normally boycott. My buzz was pretty good though, and before long I had gotten into the spirit and chosen some cute panties and a cowgirl beach hat. When we got to the jeans on sale for $9, there was no resisting. I dropped all my selections and my purse right there in the middle of the store and slipped my legs (high heels first) into the pants and pulled them up under my dress and checked them in the mirror. Looking good! Then we picked up all our stuff and checked the swimsuits… There was a cute white bikini with peacock adornments – but not for me. “Hey girlfriend, how about this top, it would look great on you! Try it on.” Random silly girl fun like that, but finally we had finished that place off. As we headed to the checkout line, I went to get my wallet out and holy cripes, my purse was not in the mess of things I was holding.

Quickly we went running back to the ladies department and scanned the floors and racks, but no luck. Using my girlfriend’s cell, we called and called and called my phone. The ringer went from the four rings-to-message to straight-to-message; someone had turned it off! We notified the store personal and they broadcast a message for people to keep a lookout for a purse. Wow, that was a lot of help. I let my girlfriend run around to check everywhere we had been, while I sat at the front door and watched the people leave, looking for any strange bulges in their attire.

Now, I don’t know what Wal-Mart is like in your town, but in my town at 10:30 at night the only people in there are surely the swarthiest dregs of society (myself excluded?). Parents on ice with their screaming kids that just want to sleep, drunks and thieves looking to shoplift or prey upon the others who look (drunk enough to be) victim-worthy. When I sat at the door watching everyone check out and leave, I was seriously shocked to see the number of people with strange bumps coming out from their layers of fat under their shirts and on their backsides – was that my purse hiding in there? There was no way I could pick one of them to be the culprit. Finally, the police had come and done nothing, and everyone had left the store and they made me leave the store too.

So, there we were at midnight in the Wal-Mart parking lot where those without enough money to go out have decided is the perfect party zone. We had called a tow truck and were waiting for them to come take me and my car home since my keys had been in my purse and I didn’t want my car stolen. It could have been anyone among the scurvy cast of characters still hanging out, waiting for everyone to leave so they could find my car. Hoping the thief took my money and tossed the purse, my girlfriend was now driving up and down the lot looking to see if she could find it while I was standing on the curb, feeling so frustrated by the whole shebang I could have cried.

That’s when I noticed a group of girls hanging out in the lot smoking cigarettes. I couldn’t keep myself from bothering them. Before I knew it, I had bummed a menthol off one. The first hit gave me such a rush that I exclaimed to the girl “Damn, you smoke these things?!” and then sucked down the entire stick without turning back…wishing I had just begun when I dropped the butt to the ground. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it.

The next day I couldn’t believe what I had done. How could I give up all those years of saying “no” so easily? If I smoked a Camel again, would I be sucked back into the habit? Well, I put that question to the test when a couple of nights later another girlfriend lit up a Camel and I took a pull. Yuck! Thank god! Then the next week, my farrier happened to take a smoke break and it was menthol. Uh oh, yum!

Now, I haven’t bought a pack yet… but I have smoked two more cigarettes since, one a month… and I’m calling myself a non-smoker as I think this title still pertains to me. I’m really not looking to have the habit again, especially since they aren’t just a few quarters anymore. But it is obvious that I have a great desire to inhale something smoke-like. I’m sure I’m not the only person that feels this way, but I just don’t understand…why can’t there be a cigarette that is actually good for you, smells nice and doesn’t make you want to nap?! I suppose until that happens, I’m left cautiously teetering between the worlds of smoker and non-smoker.

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