Category Archives: health

“…out of 122 hospitals, [only] 19 would actually give a price quote”

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Red#40 should be banned

“In Europe, Allura Red AC is not recommended for consumption by children. It is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France and Switzerland, and was also banned in Sweden until the country joined the European Union in 1994. The European Union approves Allura Red AC as a food colorant, but EU countries’ local laws banning food colorants are preserved.”

Add to that Yellow#5 and Yellow#6.

All three of these artifical colorings have been implicated in:

McCann D, Barrett A, Cooper A, et al. (November 2007). “Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial”. Lancet 370 (9598): 1560–7. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61306-3. PMID 17825405.

Food coloring, or color additive

My take on this is that, like with lots of different things, some people are fine with it, some people are not so fine, and some are really bad and must avoid completely. For example… here’s a quote I read:

“We cannot do Red 40 at all in our house. When our four year old has even the smallest amount it leads to diarrhea, mood swings, hyper activity, stuttering, night terrors, and it is a trigger for her absence seizures. When our two year old has even the smallest amount it leads to hyper activity, and full body hives. We have had to eliminate it entirely from our home and that includes things like medicine, toothpaste, and lip gloss even. I will never forget when our two year old licked some pink girlie lip gloss and got a rash on her face that made her look like the joker.”

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Filed under ADHD, food, health

Dear health insurance company…

Dear health insurance company… Your recent letter indicating that rates are “only” increasing 5% in 2013 is a joke. You realize the math, right? If inflation is ~3% currently/historically, then a 5% annual increase (effectively 2% in current year dollars) means that health insurance prices will DOUBLE in ~36 years (using the “rule of 72″). 1.02^36 ~= 2

Yeah, good luck with that working out everyone!

See also: or google “inflation historical”
– rule of 72 —

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Filed under health, health insurance, math

If you are pondering indoor air-quality…

If you are pondering indoor air-quality in your home… I urge you to look into the issue of flame-retardants in furniture — specifically in the foam used in mattresses and couches.

Here is an upsetting recent article on the topic PBDEs and chlorinated Tris (I knew about PBDEs, but hadn’t considered that (DUH!) the replacement would probably be just as bad or worse. And that they don’t even work!)

Some good practical advice here (if you are a millionaire)

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Filed under corporations, erik-green, green, health, HVAC, IAQ -- indoor air quality, passive house, science, superinsulation

Jane McGonigal TED talk: Gaming can make a better world

Watch this TED talk on using gaming to “save the world”. I think it’s quite compelling. Maybe the logic falls apart if one thinks about it more than 18 minutes, but I think there is A LOT of truth to this based on what I see with my own kids and their gaming.

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Filed under alternative education, collaboration, community, contrarian, energy, evidence-based, experiments, gamification, green, health, motivation, screen-time, social media, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, video games

Our Wall-E waistlines

Folks, Wall-E is not the future. It is now!

“…if trends continue, 83 percent of men and 72 percent of women are projected to be overweight or obese by 2020.”

Is that right? Wow.


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Filed under health, obesity

“High-fat, high-protein diets are also dangerous”…

This is old news, but I think it is worth a reminder! (Do your own research of course, but I think Joel Fuhrman’s advice–based on research of research–is quite sound. His books always include lots of supporting research references to studies one can read oneself on PubMed, etc. And exercise!)


This ill-advised “news”may heve been fit to print, but the diets surely are unfit to eat.
By Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

In July, The New York Times printed an article titled “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?” by Gary Taubes. Taubes states that the cause of the obesity problem in the U.S. is that Americans eat too many carbohydrates and that low-fat, high carb diets make you fat and lead to other diseases. His solution is the high-fat, high-protein diets advocated by Dr. Robert Atkins and others. After reading the article, I sent a letter to the editor, which the Times did not print. The information that follows was included in that letter.

The recent New York Times article by Gary Taubes perpetuates many of the nutritional myths spread by Dr. Robert Atkins and others. The fact that high-glycemic diets-rich in refined carbohydrates such as sugar, pasta, and other junk foods–are large contributors to the obesity epidemic and also to serious disease in no way justifies a recommendation to eat a diet that is rich in saturated fat. Without question, high-glycemic diets are dangerous, But diets rich in the highly saturated fat of animal products are also dangerous. Why debate which dangerous diet is worse?

Taube reiterated the false claim of authors like Atkins and Barry Sears that Americans are eating less fat than ever before but our obesity rate is skyrocketing. The truth is that because we are eating more calories than ever before, the percentage of fat in the diet has gone down. The total amount of fat in the American diet has changed very little.

Atkins recommends that you eat primarily high-fat, high-protein, fiberless, animal foods and attempt to eliminate carbohydrates from your diet. Analyses of the proposed menus show that animal products comprise more than 90 percent of calories in the diet. Hundreds of scientific studies have documented the link between animal products and various cancers, Increased consumption of animal products combined with the decreased consumption of fresh produce has the most powerful effect on increasing one’s risk for various kinds of cancer.

There are more than 3,500 scientific studies, involving more than 15,000 research scientists, reporting a relationship between the consumption of meats, poultry, eggs, and dairy products with heart disease, cancer, kidney failure, constipation, gallstones, diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids, just to name a few.

A meat-based diet like the one Atkins advocates (which includes little or no fruit, no starchy vegetables and no whole grains) could more than double your risk of certain cancers, especially of meat-sensitive cancers, such as epithelial cancers of the respiratory tract. A study conducted by the National Cancer Institute found that the relative risk of lung cancer was six fold greater in women in the highest fifth. Atkins devotees adopt a dietary pattern that is completely contrary to the one recommended by the world’s leading research scientists studying the link between diet and cancer.

There are numerous ways to lose weight. However “effective” they may be, some simply are not safe. No responsible person would advocate smoking cigarettes or snorting cocaine simply because these can be effective in promoting weight loss. Advocating a weight-loss program based on severe carbohydrate restriction also is irresponsible. following this advice can cost people their lives!

Diets that are designed to be low in refined carbohydrates, while rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, offer the greatest protection against cancer, and at the same time enable individuals to lose weight healthfully and permanently. My patients who follow a high-nutrient, high-fiber, low-glycemic, plant-based diet invariably achieve more substantial weight reduction, compared to patients who follow the meat-based diets irresponsibly supported by the recent article. Remember losing weight healthfully and permanently is the key to success.

Joel Fuhrman MD: Nearly Everyone Gets Cancer

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Filed under diabetes, erik-green, evidence-based, health, obesity