Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I had a reader today e-mail me because she was unable to leave a comment on the blog. Thank you very much to that reader! I was unaware of the issue (although I did wonder why no one was leaving comments). I did a little research and found that if I changed a setting the problem should be corrected. My wonderful reader helped me test the change, and it worked.

So, please leave comments. I love getting them, and your information not only helps me, but is often very valuable to other readers as well.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Allergic Contact Dermatitis?

I promised Abigail that when she turned 8, she could get her ears pierced. I dragged my feet as long as possible, but finally, this last June (her birthday was in February), I surprised her and took her to Claire's. All of her visits to Duke requiring skin prick tests and blood test have really given her nerves of steel, and she didn't flinch.

I chose the 14 karat gold earring option, she picked out the amethyst birthstones.  She was tickled and proudly showed off her new "big girl" look. 

Admiring her new earrings.
Her ears hurt.  At first, I thought it was normal.  She did a good job keeping them clean, but the holes stayed a little pink in color.  It hurt her to sleep on them, and she counted down the days till she could remove them at bed time.  After 6 weeks, we purchased sterling silver earrings so that she could start changing them.  We had a little difficulty getting the new earrings in, and they continued to ache, mostly at night, and when she pressed on her earlobes. They weren't really red or oozing significantly so I didn't think too much of it.

After 8 weeks, we felt it okay to take out the earrings and leave them out at night or for a day.  Her ears were still sensitive to touch.  She ended up taking them out and leaving them out for several days, and while you could feel a crusty substance inside the piercing, her ears stopped hurting.  Obviously, the sterling silver earrings were a problem.  I had saved 14 karat gold earrings from my childhood, and after having to re-punch through a thin layer of skin, she wore those for a couple of days.  The same thing happened.  Her ears starting aching again, and she wanted to take them out.  So, now they've been out for a week, and they are no longer sore to touch.  They are still a little crusty though.

I don't understand.  In my research, it looks like she might have allergic contact dermatitis.  What doesn't make sense though is that she wears all types of necklaces and bracelets with no problem.  Almost daily, she'll wear an inexpensive, nickel-plated necklace or bracelet to school, and she has a sterling silver cross that she wears to church.  We've never noted redness or a rash where the various chains and fasteners rub against her skin.

We haven't tried the inexpensive earrings.  It just stands to reason that if she can't wear the expensive pairs, she wouldn't be able to wear the cheap ones.  We should try them.  If those don't work, I'm afraid we don't have many more options.  I did find a brand called Concepts Earrings that might work.  I'm afraid though to even see how much those cost.

Sadly, Abigail's ears have bothered her so much, that she's no longer really interested in wearing earrings.  The pain is not worth the price of vanity in this case.  Having spent $48 to get her ears pierced, I'm not so sure I'm ready to give up on this.

Any opinions...ideas...experience?

Friday, September 23, 2011


I'm falling behind blogging....again. First it was a busy summer and the preparation for the start of a new school year. This time it's because we've purchased a house and are moving. We're leaving our community of 13 years and moving to z different county located 40 miles south of where we live. It's a full time job right now coordinating the move, packing and making sure the transition will be as smooth as possible for our kids.

In this last year we have put our house of 12 years on the market, sold it, moved to a rental, researched communities, house-hunted and purchased a home. The end of this state of limbo is in sight. One week from tonight we'll be exhausted but moved in.

And after that, hopefully some return to normalcy. First though, I've got to get Abigail situated in a new school. You know what that means, more meetings with the staff, more medical forms to complete, more Peanut Allergy Action Plans to prepare and possibly more allergy awareness to promote.

I've got a huge week ahead of me. Time for some rest. It's going to be another very busy day tomorrow.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"GMO Film Project"

Here's a link to a 6 minute preview of a movie currently untitled, but referenced as the "GMO Film Project." This short clip is quite impacting, and I hope you'll take the time to view it. How is it that the people of a 3rd world country devastated by an earthquake understand the dangers of GMOs, while the majority of the people in the US don't know and/or don't care? Here's the introduction summary:

THE GMO FILM PROJECT tells the story of a father's discovery of GMOs through the symbolic act of poor Haitian farmers burning seeds in defiance of Monsanto's gift of 475 tons of hybrid corn and vegetable seeds to Haiti shortly after the devastating earthquake of January 2010. After a journey to Haiti to learn why hungry farmers would burn seeds, the real awakening of what has happened to our food in the US, what we are feeding our families, and what is at stake for the global food supply unfolds in a trip across the United States and other countries in search of answers. Are we at a tipping point? Is it time to take back our food? The encroaching darkness of unknown health and environmental risks, seed take over, chemical toxins, and food monopoly meets with the light of a growing resistance of organic farmers, concerned citizens, and a burgeoning movement to take back what we have lost.

Today in the United States, by the simple act of feeding ourselves, we unwittingly participate in the largest experiment ever conducted on human beings. Massive agro-chemical companies like Monsanto (Agent Orange) and Dow (Napalm) are feeding us genetically-modified food, GMOs, that have never been fully tested and aren't labeled. This small handful of corporations is tightening their grip on the world's food supply—buying, modifying, and patenting seeds to ensure total control over everything we eat. We still have time to heal the planet, feed the world, and live sustainably. But we have to start now!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Healthy Lunches

I was reading an article in the Natural Awakenings Magazine recently about school lunch nutrition when I came across a staggering statistic. In an interview with Chef Ann, author of several books and advocate for improving student menu plans, I read that "some studies indicate that children born in 2000 may die at a younger age than their parents because of the food they eat."  Is that not a mouth-dropping statistic?

Apparently, it was a prognostication made by the Centers for Disease Control. I searched the CDC website last night, and couldn't find reference to the study. I would have liked to have read or least skimmed the study in its entirety.

Here's another statistic for us parents with young girls.  From Michigan State University, "girls eating a high-fat diet during puberty, even those who do not become overweight or obese, may be at a greater risk of developing breast cancer later in life."  What our kids eat now is definitely setting the foundation for their health as adults.

I've often joined Abigail for lunch and have seen what they serve in the cafeteria... pizza, nachos, mac 'n cheese, chicken patties, burgers, hot dogs, french fries, tater tots and chocolate milk.  I understand that for many children in this country, this is the best meal they're going to eat in a given day.  I also understand that it needs to be inexpensive.  But, does it have to be highly processed, high in fat, salt and sugar, full of genetically modified ingredients and additives?  These foods lead to cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes.  Should we not look hard at that statistic and invest in our children and their future?  We don't live in a 3rd world country. Why should our life expectancy be on the decline?

Now, in case you are sitting there thinking that you ate pizza, french fries and drank chocolate milk when you were in school and you are in good shape and healthy, let me just say that you ate real pizza and french fries and drank real milk.  That's the difference. There is nothing real about what is served in most cafeterias or packed in most lunchboxes.  1996 was the year that genetically modified/ engineered soy was introduced.  By the year 2000 (note the year), 54% of all soybeans harvested in the US were genetically modified up from 7% in 1996.  GMO corn made up 25% of the corn harvested in 2000.  That's up from 1.5% in 1996.  These numbers have done nothing but climb. Think high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil, canola & vegetable oil, modified food starch, maltodextrin, soy lecithin to name just a few.  All ingredients commonly found in our food, and unless organic, all derived from genetically modified crops.  Don't forget the milk and cheese.  1994 was the year rbST was introduced.  By 2000, approximately 1/3 of dairy cows were in herds supplemented with rbST.

I only let Abigail purchase lunch from the cafeteria one day a week. On that day I even encourage her to take her water bottle as opposed to purchasing a milk.  If I had my way, she wouldn't eat from the cafeteria at all.  Don't get me wrong, packing lunch is no picnic at our house either. Abigail has to pack the majority of it, and would go without rather than having to take the time to put together something of substance.

She would also live off of starches and carbohydrates if I let her.  Crackers, chips, snack bars, pretzels and pastas are about all she wants to eat.  That and dairy in the form of cheese and yogurt.  Per my insistence, a typical packed lunch consists of a slice or two of ham or pepperoni (both organic), cheese stick (rbST-free) and crackers (GMO/additive-free).  If I have dip she'll eat a couple of carrots so I make an organic ranch dip.  I also insist on a fruit and purchase fruit cups in natural juice with no color or sugar additives.  Snack is usually pretzels or crackers, cereal or fruit bars (also all GMO/additive-free). One day a week, I'll heat up mac 'n cheese or toast some mini-pizzas to send in a thermos.  I try to keep a lot of other options in the pantry and the fridge, but this is what she chooses day in and day out.  If she could, she'd eat the cafeteria food every day. She's not worried about breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease and the like.  That's my job.  Educate her now, condition her to eating healthy now in hopes of it becoming an adult practice.  And, that one day a week in the cafeteria?  It's my attempt to loosen the reins a bit and not create resentment over the contents (or lack of) in our pantry.

For more reading on GMO foods, rbST and healthy eating, check out the links on either side of the blog posts.  Here are links that I used to get my statistics on year 2000 usages of GMO foods and rbST.