A Ventography!

Just two moms letting off some steam


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It turns out that a lot of banned foods end up in our grocery cart, and contain hidden toxic chemicals that increase your risks of disease, hormone disruption, and obesity.

We hate to be the bearers of bad news but… every day, Americans eat tons of dangerous banned ingredients, and chances are you’re one of them.  Below is a list of the top 5 most toxic ingredients that probably make it on your dinner plate:

1) Ractopamine (in pork)

  • Banned in the European Union, China, and Taiwan.
  • Consumer Reports found this dangerous drug in 20% of all pork products in America.

2) rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone – in milk)

  • Banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and all European Union countries.
  • rBGH, a hormone used to increase cows’ milk product, is still used in all 50 states.
  • The use of rBGH increases the levels of insulin like growth factor – 1 (IGF-1) hormone in the milk by at least 6 folds, increasing risks of various cancers.

3) GMOs – Genetically Modified Organisms (in almost everything)

  • Over 50 countries require labeling of GMO foods, and many of them banned GMOs altogether.
  • In the US, GMO foods are NOT labeled – even if 91% of the population feels like they should be.
  • Because 90% of all soy, corn, canola and sugar (sugar beet) in the US is now GMO, Americans eat their weight in GMO foods each year.
  • The first-ever lifetime feeding study on the potential health risks of GMOs was published in September 2012. The results of feeding rats GMO corn for two years were frightening: some rats developed massive tumors that represent 25% of their body weight, liver damage was up to 5 times higher in the GMO group than in the non-GMO group, and female rats that ate GMOs had a 3X higher risk of premature death.

4) Potassium Bromate (in bread – brominated flour)

  • Banned from dozens of countries.
  • Called a cancer threat by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) since 1999
  • Used in bread as a dough conditioner and preservative.
  • When it combines with gluten it becomes even more toxic.

5) Chloramphenicol (in honey)

  • This is an antibiotic used on honey bees
  • It has been banned in the US for years, but can still be found in cheap supermarket honey (along with heavy metals) that comes from China.
  • A recent study found that 75% or more of all the honey in the U.S. may be Chinese honey sold as American honey.

Source: Nick Pineault, Author and investigator, The Truth About Fat Burning Foods




We have been talking about this topic since January of 2012 (click here for article). However, we were excited to see that today, 2 years later, the story has reached the mainstream media.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded from their study of 64,322 live-born children and mothers enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort during 1996-2002 that, “Maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk for Hyperkinetic Disorders (HKDs) and ADHD-like behaviors in children.”

This is not the first study to replicate the findings reported on by Dr. William Shaw two years ago. Dr. Shaw, in his recent newsletter, refers to a study reported on in the International Journal of Epidemiology between 1999 and 2008 on 48,631 children. They found that:

  • Exposure to acetaminophen for more than 28 days during fetal life increases the risk of adverse psychomotor and behavioral outcomes by almost 70%.
  • Exposure to acetaminophen doubles the risk of language problems in 3-year-old children.
  • In contrast they found no association between ibuprofen on the same neurodevelopmental outcomes, which suggests a specific effect of acetaminophen rather than a general effect of pain medicines.
  • Even short-term exposure (1-27 days) during pregnancy was associated with poor gross motor development.

Also in his recent newsletter, Dr. Shaw calls for a warning label be placed on all acetaminophen products intended for pregnant women and young children. His rationale for this is that acetaminophen has not just been linked to ADHD. It has been associated with:

  • increased rates of cancer
  • plausible causation of autism
  • plausible causation of brain damage (in vitro evidence associated with acetaminophen metabolites)
  • increased risks of testicular damage
  • asthma
  • allergy
  • language problems
  • adverse psychomotor and neurodevelopmental outcomes when used in pregnancy

To read more about the risks of acetaminophen, click here.



plaque teeth

Not Really Annie’s Teeth – But She Gets Plaque Build Up Like That

I hate to talk about this topic because it makes me feel like a bad mom. I know people judge me and think that I don’t teach my daughter proper oral hygiene. They probably think that I don’t brush her teeth at all.

But the truth is – even during the worst of times, when I used to have to wrestle my daughter to the ground to get her to brush her teeth because her sensory issues were so bad that a tooth-brush terrified her and made her have a tantrum, I made sure she brushed her teeth every day, at least twice a day. Even now, I still brush her teeth for her so that I know it is done thoroughly and correctly.

Regardless, she has unbelievable amounts of plaque on her bottom two teeth that can literally accumulate overnight. No joke – I scrape it off with my dental pick at night and by the next morning, it’s back like a bad dream!

I hope that I am not alone because I have noticed that several other (certainly not all) children with autism don’t have the pearly whites that we in America all strive for. I think this is due to the health issues sometimes associated with autism.

You may be wondering if Annie’s diet is to blame for her dental issues… thinking that maybe she eats sugary foods all day long. Let me assure you this is not the case. Annie is on a gluten-free, casein free, soy free, corn free, Paleo, organic, rotation, no sugar diet. She eats organic meats, lots of vegetables, fruits (not too much), and a few gluten-free grains. It is not sugar nor lack of nutrients that causes Annie’s mouth issues.

I know Annie’s ongoing mouth issues are linked to her remaining digestive and health issues. While her health has improved dramatically (along with her symptoms of autism – see Annie’s Recovery Story), her immune system is clearly still not one hundred percent. One of the ways her immune/digestive system deficiencies manifest is by creating plaque in her mouth and wearing away her tooth enamel.

“The mouth is a portal into the rest of the body,” said Dr. Donald Ratcliffe, chairman of the department of dental medicine at Staten Island University Hospital. Growing research shows “there’s a relationship between the bacteria — and the inflammation that bacteria cause in the mouth — [and] a lot of other diseases,” he said.

My daughter came home crying the other day because a boy at school had told her, in a rather not nice way, that she has tooth decay. She is now at the age (age 9) where she is aware that she is different and it hurts her. And that, in turn, hurts me. What am I supposed to do? How can I help her?

I talked to my homeopath about all of this and she helped me come up with a new plan that I am excited about. So far, it really seems to be keeping the plaque in check. I can’t say it has repaired her tooth enamel yet, but the plaque is so much better that I had to share! Here’s what we’re doing:

  1. Hyland’s Calcarea Fluorica 6x – this is to remineralize her teeth that have been so badly damaged by the chronic plaque build up.
  2. Essential Oxygen Organic Brushing Rinse (fluoride-free) – works for all oral issues including whitening, gum pockets and receding gums, tooth sensitivity, bad breath, tartar, canker sores and toxic morning mouth. It does not contain any of the following: Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Flourides, Glycerin. Alcohol, Chlorine Bleach, or Pesticides. This is what I use to brush Annie’s teeth after every meal. It is a pain because it is a liquid but she loves the taste and we have gotten used to it.
  3. Citrus Tooth Swish – I put some of this powder in Annie’s mouth after she eats. She swishes it in her mouth to mix it with her saliva for a minute or so and then spits it out. It helps to neutralize food acids, promote salivation and bathe teeth with 84 ionic/colloidal minerals and trace elements. They make an unflavored version as well as other flavors like peppermint if you prefer.
  4. Pekana Lactic Plus –  this homeopathic remedy helps to maintain the acid/alkaline balance in her mouth and body. Annie tends to be too acidic with causes tooth enamel to erode.
  5. I switched Annie to a Sonicare toothbrush that includes a UV sanitzer so that I would stop reinfecting her mouth with the same bacteria over and over again.

I’ll keep you posted about whether Annie is able to repair her tooth enamel and keep the plaque at bay. But in the mean time, if any of you parents out there have experienced dental issues and found ways to improve them, please write to me and let me know. I am desperate to figure this out for my daughter. Thanks in advance for your help and advice!


Other Reading:

Curing Tooth Decay Naturally from Crystal Child



ADHD book cover

Today, February 18th, 2014, a new book is being released entitled “ADHD Does Not Exist” by Richard Saul, M.D.

Molly saw the author interviewed yesterday on “The Doctors” television show and it got us researching to understand more about what the author is really saying. We knew the title would offend lots of people and ignite a firestorm of controversy. But we wanted to take the time to understand… was the doctor really saying ADHD does not exist? Or is he trying to get our attention in order to make another point?

Dr. Saul says the medical establishment’s mistake is defining ADHD by its symptoms — failure to pay attention, too much fidgeting or running around, fast talking, repetitive behavior — rather than what causes it. Said another way, Dr. Saul believes that ADHD is a set of symptoms and not a disease. This belief led to the title of his book. He is not denying that real and devastating symptoms do exist for millions of children diagnosed with ADHD.

His main point is to ask doctors and families to first rule out several other diseases that can lead to the same symptoms as ADHD. In fact, Dr. Saul lists 20 possible “true” diagnoses in his book that mimic the symptoms of ADHD. For example:

  • sleep disorders
  • problems with hearing or vision
  • learning disabilities like dyslexia
  • substance abuse
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • major psychiatric disorders such as depression
  • hard-to-detect seizure disorders (20 second epileptic seizures)
  • simply being gifted

Dr. Saul explains that he routinely administers a series of tests before making any recommendations, beginning with a blood work-up to eliminate problems such as:

  • hyperthyroidism
  • iron deficiency
  • hormone imbalance
  • lead toxicity

If none of these physical causes are at issue, Saul looks for stress-related psychological problems.

It is important to note that none of these 20 other disorders that mimic the symptoms of ADHD benefit from amphetamine-based medications such as Ritalin. Possible side of Ritalin according to the FDA’s website include: slowing of growth (height and weight) in children, seizures, eyesight changes/blurred vision, painful and prolonged erections (priapism), headache, decreased appetite, stomach ache, nervousness, trouble sleeping, and nausea. The inactive ingredients of Ritalin are: D&C Yellow No.10 (5-mg and 20-mg tablets), FD&C Green No.3 (10-mg tablets), lactose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, starch (5-mg and 10-mg tablets), sucrose, talc, and tragacanth (20-mg tablets). We point this out because, often times, children with ADHD are sensitive to dyes and lactose.

If these other diseases/disorders/health problems are ruled out, Dr. Saul admits that the child’s symptoms may need to be treated with Ritalin. Rather than calling the child’s symptoms ADHD, he names it Neurochemical Impulsive Distractive Disorder.

Whether or not you agree with everything Dr. Saul has to say, we hope his point gets across… that we shouldn’t be in such a rush (or allow ourselves to be pressured) to give Ritalin to our children with ADHD. Let’s slow down and take the time to rule out other diagnoses, nutritional deficiencies, and health issues first. Let’s try to get to the root cause of the ADHD symptoms.

As moms, we recognize that parents may not have the time to wait before trying Ritalin for their children. We have heard stories of schools saying that a child cannot return to school without a prescription, and we cannot imagine the pressure that puts on a family. We are not here to judge and we know there are times when Ritalin (or other prescription medications) is the best option for all involved. However, we are simply saying that if you have the time and money for testing to rule out other causes of ADHD symptoms, it may be in your child’s best interest to look into it.

Side Note:

This struck such a chord with us because it is so similar to what we believe about a subset of children with autism spectrum disorder. We believe some children with autism have chronic health issues as the root cause of their autism. As you treat the health issues, their symptoms go away. We are not trying to say that this is true for all children with autism. We recognize that some children with autism don’t even have health issues and that their autism is likely genetic. But with the “spectrum” being as broad as it is, health issues are the root cause of the disease for some children with autism. Here is a link to an article we wrote called Health Induced Autism.




For those of you who follow us, it’s that time of year again when we “try to get our groove back” AKA lose the “chicken wings” and tone the mom trouble zone which extends from the rib cage to the knees and then some.

Chicken Wing... not the good kind.

Chicken Wing… not the good kind.

Last year, we were really into Pilates and walking. We did well at keeping our commitment to working out until Leah went away for the summer.  For us, working out is a team sport. Solo work outs are not in the cards because we lack the discipline and trustworthiness required to follow through. We need another person to guilt us into working out and to hold us accountable. Otherwise, we would tell you we’re working out, but really we’re sitting on the couch, eating and watching our favorite tv shows.

This year, we wanted to look for something different to kick-start our workouts. We noticed that as we continue to age, it is getting harder and harder to tone that mom trouble zone. We knew we needed to up the ante, but we have other criteria that makes this difficult… we don’t like to sweat. And we need to be done in thirty minutes or less.  Is that too much to ask?

As it turns out – no!  While Leah was enjoying quality time with her family in the mountains, Molly spent the summer researching to find the perfect workout DVD. Enter Tracy Anderson’s “The Method for Beginners .” Don’t let the title fool you… we are so glad we got the beginner version. We couldn’t have survived a harder one.

Glad we’re doing this video… but we don’t enjoy it. Every minute is pure torture. However, we believe the suffering is worth it because we feel it is beginning to tone our trouble areas. It is the best video we’ve ever found for chicken wing arms. Plus, it is great for getting rid of cellulite on your butt and thighs. It doesn’t focus on the abs as much as we would like, but Tracy swears that your abs are still getting a work out. We hope she’s not fibbing!

So, we have our workouts rolling again. We are working on improving our diet. But now we are investigating why does cellulite form when you get older? Why did our cellulite used to be contained to the butt area and now it is spreading like a bad virus to the legs, arm pit area, and underarms? Here’s what know so far.

  • Your lymphatic system plays an integral role in the development of cellulite.
  • When everything is running smoothly, the lymph is taking away waste and toxins.
  • When things get clogged up and blood circulation decreases, this causes fluid to be retained. A decrease in lymph drainage causes the fluids that normally carry away waste to be trapped.

So we are on another quest. This time, we want to figure out how to make our lymphatic system work better, increase our circulation, and decrease the amount of toxins and fluid being retained by our skin. If we are actually able to accomplish this, will our cellulite go away or at least stop spreading? We’ll keep you posted!

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Yesterday we spoke about the importance of getting healthy from the inside out through digestion. Today, we thought we’d talk about the new way we’re trying to get healthy from the outside in… our new skin care obsession – Rafa Naturals!

Our friend Debbie received a gift basket of Rafa Naturals products from her sister for her birthday. It looked like this…

Tea, Sea, and "C" Gift Basket

Tea, Sea, and “C” Gift Basket

She told us how much she loved the texture and smell of the products. Plus, she could not believe how reasonably priced the products were. We immediately googled the company and fell in love with the all natural ingredients. We are visual creatures, so Rafa Naturals reeled us in. We loved the look of the product packaging and the website – clean and classy. The products look very high-end yet the prices are comparable to drug store brands!

Before we go any further… we know you are probably rolling your eyes thinking that we’re getting paid to plug this company. But we really aren’t. We just love these products due to their natural ingredients and cost effectiveness and we want to share what we’ve stumbled upon. For those of you in the anti-aging battle like us, we think these products are a great find.

We have very different issues with our skin. Leah has large, hideous pores (as she puts it). Her skin is oily and prone to break outs. Molly, on the other hand, is trying to undo her years of sunbathing with baby oil and a sun reflector – like this…

Molly circa 1980s

Molly circa 1980s

She needs to get rid of sun spots and prevent even more crow’s-feet. After reading all about the products online we went ahead and ordered a few products. Here’s the run down.

Leah’s Current Products:

  • Clarifying Cleanser – The Clarifying Cleanser is an incredibly refreshing foaming cleanser which is packed with extracts and vitamins to protect and nourish skin while the charcoal deeply cleans all the bacteria away. Essential Oils of Bergamot, Tea Tree, Roman Chamomile, & German Chamomile help eliminate break outs.  $15.00
  • Clarifying Astringent -This natural astringent is powerful and gentle all in one product. Fruit acids balance your skin tone while Alpha Hydroxies gently exfoliate. Black Willowbark provides naturally occurring salicylic acid to fight the causes of acne. DMAE gives the skin a tight and polished appearance while the essential oils get to the root cause of acne. $14.00
  • Clarifying Serum – This serum not only helps to prevent breakouts, but it also helps to reduce redness that often accompanies breakouts. Full of amazing ingredients like Rooibos Tea Extract to help calm the skin and Organic Green Tea Extract to fight the signs of premature aging. As an added bonus, it also helps fight the signs of aging with DMAE, MSM, & Hyaluronic Acid that all work together to reduce the appearance of fine lines and sagging skin. Also included is Tea Tree to help reduce breakouts and Helichrysum to repair scarring.  $18.00
  • Vitamin C Creme – Their top-selling crème for good reason. Vitamin C has received a lot of attention lately due to its ability to protect skin from free radicals, those nasty skin damaging molecules. Extracts like Wild Blueberry, Organic Bilberry, Organic Cranberry and Organic Citrus Fruits all work together to create a barrier against the assault your skin encounters on a daily basis from free radicals. Vitamin C is also thought to improve skin complexion, reduce fine lines, and prevent future lines from forming.  $20.00

Leah has noticed that she doesn’t need to use a lot of these products… a little goes a long way. Therefore, she feels she is getting a lot of bang for her buck. She has been using the products for 2 weeks now and loves the way it makes her skin feel soft and not greasy. In addition, she has noticed she has cleaner pores. She uses the cleanser morning and night, followed by the astringent, then the serum and lastly, the Vitamin C Creme. She still uses her old eye creme from a different company. But, as soon as she runs out, she plans to buy the Rafa Naturals Revitalizing Eye Creme. She loves the clean scent of all the products. She wishes this post had “smell-o-vision” so you could smell what she’s talking about… there is no overpowering, perfumey smell.

Molly’s Current Products:

  • AHA Creme – Alpha-hydroxy acid removes dead skin to reveal fresher, newer skin underneath. Over time, wrinkles diminish, skin tone is more even, and skin looks younger and more radiant. This moisturizer absorbs into skin very easily and contains 5% glycolic acid.  $20.00
  • Intensive Overnight Facial Oil – Let your skin experience the benefits of 11 different oils including Coconut, Olive, Avocado, Rosehip Seed, Argan, Pomegranate and Blackcurrant Seed. These oils help to increase oxygenation & cellular regeneration. Essential fatty acids from Argan increase skin suppleness & elasticity while the antioxidants in the Pomegranate oil fight free radicals & sooth irritate skin. Essential oils of Cistus, Myrtle, Neroli, Petitgrain & Frankincense help to tone & tighten skin. Surprisingly does not feel oily on the skin, but absorbs in rapidly, leaving skin silky soft. Will not clog pores. $24.00
  • Vitamin C Creme – Their top selling crème for good reason. Vitamin C has received a lot of attention lately due to its ability to protect skin from free radicals, those nasty skin damaging molecules. Extracts like Wild Blueberry, Organic Bilberry, Organic Cranberry and Organic Citrus Fruits all work together to create a barrier against the assault your skin encounters on a daily basis from free radicals. Vitamin C is also thought to improve skin complexion, reduce fine lines, and prevent future lines from forming.
  • Rosehip & Hibiscus Serum – Rosehip Seed Oil is a rich source of Omega-3, Omega-6 fatty acids & other Essential Fatty Acids that reduce inflammation & calm skin. Perfect for those with excessively dry skin, eczema & psoriasis. Hibiscus Extract with its antioxidant properties helps to prevent further oxidative stress to the skin. DMAE is added to tighten sagging skin while MSM increases collagen production reducing the appearance of fine lines. $18.00
  • Revitalizing Eye Creme – Peptides are getting a lot of attention lately due their ability to increase collagen production. Skin is made mostly of collagen. As we age, we lose collagen and thus see thinner, more wrinkled skin. Collagen is made up of amino acids, which in turn are made up of peptides. Peptides tell your skin to make more collagen, resulting in fewer wrinkles. Rice bran and soybean proteins do an amazing job of reducing dark circles and caffeine has been added to help reduce puffiness. A fast-absorbing crème that feels great. $15.00

For the past several months, Molly has used the AHA Creme all over and the Intensive Overnight Facial Oil around her eyes at night. She has noticed that she wakes up in the morning less blotchy, with more even skin tone. She doesn’t run to her makeup bag as quickly now. She is comfortable going to her morning work out and the grocery store without any makeup which she never would have done in the past! She loves the Revitalizing Eye Creme because she wakes up with puffy bags under her eyes and the creme immediately gets rid of the puffiness. She uses the Rosehip & Hibiscus Serum first followed by the Vitamin C Creme in the morning and it has eliminated her issues with dry skin. Her make up goes on smoother now and her crow’s-feet are less noticeable.

To change the subject… a quick shout out to the owner of Rafa Naturals… we saw on your website the recipe for homemade sunscreen balm.  However, we are too lazy to make it. We have looked FOREVER for a sunscreen that doesn’t poison our children. Can you please add this to your product line so that we can buy it for our children? And while you’re at it, how about making some tinted moisturizer!