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Sep. 7th, 2007

38 Non-organic Ingredients Approved for “USDA Organic” Seal

Please do not shoot the messenger, but apparently you and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may have very different definitions for what is considered to be organic. Recently, despite receiving more than 10,000 opposing comments from consumers and family farmers, USDA has approved a rule that will let 38 new non-organic ingredients to be allowed in products bearing the “USDA Organic” seal. The USDA's passage of this proposal has resulted, among other things, in the following:

  • Anheuser Busch will be allowed to sell its "Organic Wild Hops Beer" without using any organic hops at all.

  • Sausages, brats, and breakfast links labeled as "USDA Organic" are now allowed to contain intestines from factory farmed animals raised on chemically grown feed, synthetic hormones, and antibiotics.

  • Products labeled as "USDA Organic" and containing fish oil may contain toxins such as PCBs and mercury.

It is believed that foods labeled as 100% organic will still be 100% organic. So, in coming months, look for “100% Organic” labels, and as always, whenever possible, try to buy your produce from local family farmers.

Aug. 2nd, 2007

Clean environment is a must for good health

Most naturopathic doctors (NDs) emphasize the role of environment in our health and wellbeing, and they usually incorporate some form of environmental medicine in their practices. Often, naturopathic doctors are strong environmental advocates as well. I always encourage my patients to buy locally grown organic food whenever possible. In the US, on average, food travels for about 1,500 miles before it gets on our tables, which leads to a significant energy consumption. I recommend buying products with minimal packaging. I prefer biodegradable cleaners and disposables (e.g. paper plates and cups instead of plastic ones). Please reuse and recycle as much as you can. Plastic (e.g. plastic bags) is one of the worst environmental hazards – it will outlive your grand grand children. I also recommend doing business with local merchants and service providers – craigslist.org and helptohire.com can help you find them.

Jul. 24th, 2007

On terminology…

Often my patients tell me that they do not particularly care what kind of doctor I am as long as I am helping them. Perhaps they are right, but I also believe it is important for my patients to know that I am a naturopathic doctor, and to understand what this really means. Naturopathic doctors have a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND or NMD) degree from a four-year graduate level naturopathic medical school. They are trained to be the doctors first seen by the patient for general and preventative health care, as well as for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic conditions. While many practitioners may recommend natural therapies such as vitamins and herbs, that by itself does NOT make them naturopathic doctors. Naturopathic medicine is a distinct branch of healthcare, and the term should NOT be used vaguely to describe anything "natural' or "drug-free". Finally, although naturopathic doctors use homeopathy quite extensively, the terms "naturopathic" and "homeopathic" do NOT mean the same thing.

Jul. 3rd, 2007

For starters…

This journal will be dedicated to naturopathic medicine, the medicine I practice and the medicine I love. I find many people to be very interested in the subject, but I also see a fair amount of confusion and misinformation surrounding it. I am also very passionate and opinionated about the US health care system in general. I believe it is rather inferior, and I often think about how to make it better.

September 2007



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