SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

January 19, 2018

Obama, an ‘Early’ talk on his roots

 

Young Obama explaining his “roots”

Living through this past and now current year with distrust, disgust and even disparaging grief with the side-show in Washington and being helpless to ignore it as the unrecognizable GOP stands by, allowing and enabling almost all that we the people of America has built and paid for – – to be wasted, cut and eliminated – – through cowardly, myopic self-interest rather than doing their job of serving the needs of ALL THE PEOPLE and defending our beloved country – – and it’s laws and foundations;   one can become disheartened. 

When my son suggested I catch David Letterman (beard and all) having President Obama as his guest on Netflix recently, I was simply overjoyed to see his calm, smiling demeanor engaged in frank, open discussion for an hour which so uplifted me.  It reminded me how simple, good and normal life used to be.  And how much was accomplished. . including the improved economic landscape – having inherited many discouraging problems.  How the laws and regulations had been improved for the safety and benefit of all in our land.  So many firsts President Obama had brought to us or improved upon.  Leading by example.  Protecting individual rights and freedoms.

Today, I stumbled onto the following video of a much younger version of  Obama delivering a presentation wherein he discusses issues and elements of his growth process of figuring out his mixed-race status, relevance and learning how to live with it.  Was poignant.  Tho he doesn’t say,  it must have been painful.   These were written about in his book regarding ‘Dreams of his Father’ who wasn’t present in his life.  Beautiful dialog on blackness, awareness and coming to terms.  I so loved it,  hope you like it too.                 Jan

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBzDb8UB8yA

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January 17, 2018

Reclaim USA, nix Gerrymandering

GERRYMANDERING – UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

This affects us all as it distorts voting before we do it

The following is from “Common Cause” who serves the ‘common good’ in all they do, was excited because something like this has never happened before.  A federal court has stricken down Gerrymandering as being unconstitutional.  This occured in North Carolina and is blissful to all of us who are fed-up to the gills with this awful, partisan technique.  Much work ahead, but there is every reason to hope – that we just might have a chance at justice working for us again.     

This has been a mystery to me since I first learned how widespread,  dangerous and evil it is . . almost defeating the purpose of voting – – it’s rigged to go one way,  the way the ‘in’ party wants it,  as it is in Ohio.  This state is so rigged – entirely GOP, legislature,  and from the Governor on down.  Everything coming off the books reflects this harsh Republican bias even tho the state has a largely Democratic  (underpaid) population.  Many  just don’t fight it anymore as it seems useless.  Much bragging about how forward thinking Ohio is and how good it is for business, etc.,.  But wages aren’t keeping up, the educational system hasn’t been one of equality  – – discriminating and falling short over decades.  Has been many lawsuits over it.  The charade of Charter schools has been costly and a total failure.   And ECOT is done for all those reasons.

Health care standards here are flat out bad, uncaring and  has an inordinately high loss of infant lives with a very high number not making it a year.  It’s not exactly ‘stone-age’ rule — but nothing to be proud of.  Our Opiod death rate is off the charts – we are ranked as one of the worst states for this. When ya look,  no need to wonder why .  .  .  .     .

Reflection on the lack of attention to the needs of the people (ethnicity, education, blatant incarcerations and it’s endless cycle,  ultra-limited health care facilities [especially for women’s health and the loss of accessible ‘choice’ issues].    When our underclasses are disrespected  – – kinda like we do with factory cattle, and have  little or no education, clustered badly in neighborhoods with inadequate markets to even get food at fair prices and quality . . . well, there is little chance for “a normal life” as many would call it. People aren’t being  seen as worthy of training, education or equipt for that normal life – –  so other elements enter;   life is dangerous; too many die young, wasted and slain.  Drugs are one of those problems, gangs  – – we all need someone.  No mystery there,  but little has changed over the years — how could it?  With substandard living conditions;  limited, poor educational  facilities to possibly inspire drive and lack of jobs for unskilled aspirants. 

But, all is not lost in Ohio.  One of our two Senators is Sherrod Brown, a Dem, and an Icon.  Across the nation, the Democratic party is ‘fired up” and ready to go.  Any republican running against Sherrod, (no matter how rich he is, or his devious  money),  nor the fact that  the buffoon in the White House is pushing him to run against Sherrod Brown, will be able to quell the hunger people are feeling here for some honest, American justice based on  fairness, equality – – a fair shot for the working class.  The rich have already been made so much richer while the underbelly is chafed raw and bleeding now. 

We have a great slate of such desirable candidates for our upcoming Governor’s race. . . I’m literally torn to choose between Cordray (whom I adore and respect) and Dennis Kucinich I have beaten the drum for for years.  Some think he’s a bit weird, but I was all in for Bernie Sanders and still am.  What can I say?  Kucinich is an unabashed progressive and America is gonna need a huge dose of that if we are ever going to gain back some of which the thief in the White House has stolen away from us.  Really liked a woman too,but she withdrew and cast her support behind Cordray. I don’t blame her,  but I was seriously considering her as my choice among the women (who are all quite good and experienced with much to offer.)  Glad I needn’t choose now. . still have a few months to consider.

So if we can get a Dem Governor and a 2nd Senator, Ohio will have a better shot at unravelling the crippling GERRYMANDERING which rules all in our state.  Our Republican AG, Mike DeWine who is also running for Governor, wouldn’t even join the multitude of other AG’s who were trying to fight to protect Net Neutrality – – so typical of the rigidity of the GOP lock on everything here. First we have to pay attention – be aware,   then we have to VOTE . . if we would have a chance for change. 

Now for the article this post is about – the good news.   Started a week ago, but haven’t been able to get back to, sorry. I sent a minor contribution, just to show I care and if it matters to any of you who anguish for state improvement due to Gerrymandering damage and limitations, ya might dig around for a spare buck or two also.  They obviously are gonna need some help to get the job done. Thanx     Jan

 

Common Cause v. Rucho lawsuit

Jan,

I couldn’t be more excited to share this news with you — just moments ago we saw a MAJOR win in our Common Cause v. Rucho lawsuit;    A federal court sided with us entirely, striking down the state’s blatantly gerrymandered congressional map as unconstitutional.1

This is a MAJOR step towards ending partisan gerrymandering — not just in North Carolina, but nationwide. And it couldn’t have happened without the support of Common Cause Members like you.

Now, with the North Carolina legislature promising to appeal this case, we must be prepared to argue this case before the Supreme Court — and win there too.

This could be the moment we’ve been waiting for to end partisan gerrymandering for good and ensure Fair Maps for all voters. We have decisive evidence of the North Carolina GOP’s ill intent — Republican state lawmakers are on the record that they drew congressional districts for partisan advantage. We have the legal talent and policy expertise to litigate this case before the Supreme Court. And we have the grassroots political power we’ll need to seize on this opportunity to enact lasting, nonpartisan solutions that ensure fair redistricting in all 50 states.

Now, we’ve demonstrated that the Constitution is on our side, but this fight is far from over, and we must be ready for what comes next. Arguing and winning Common Cause v. Rucho before the Supreme Court will take a MASSIVE infusion of resources, and we can’t afford to wait a single moment.

That’s why I’m asking you to pitch in to our Common Cause v. Rucho Emergency Fund right now, and help us end gerrymandering for good.

Voters should be able to choose their politicians, not the other way around. But unfortunately, that is exactly what partisan gerrymandering does — letting politicians pick their voters by drawing legislative districts to benefit themselves, and box out the competition.

Frankly, today’s decision is the closest we’ve come yet to ending this shameful practice for good. I can’t remember a more decisive legal win in the fight for fair redistricting than this one. The court’s ruling backs up every single one of our constitutional claims across the board. And more importantly, this decision is the first time courts have struck down Congressional maps as unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering — which we can use to fight gerrymanders in all 50 states.

That’s why I’m asking the Common Cause team to put everything we have behind fighting and winning this potentially landmark legal battle. I hope you’ll agree — the stakes are too high to do anything less.

Please make your contribution to our Common Cause v. Rucho Emergency Fund today — and help us ensure that fair representation is the law of the land.

This is a major step forward in an ongoing battle — and we’ll be sure to keep you updated as this case develops.

Thank you for your immediate response.

Karen Hobert Flynn, President

and the team at Common Cause

P.S. Help spread the word about this big win against gerrymandering by watching and sharing our video about the case.

1) http://www.commoncause.org/issues/voting-and-elections/redistricting/common-cause-v-rucho/memorandum-opinion-in-common-cause-rucho.pdf

January 9, 2018

All ya need 2 Know re: STEVIA

About Sugar, Sweetness and Joy

I don’t keep sugar in my abode – don’t use it – for years.  Had to purchase a bag to make KOMBUCHA, along with a ton of black organic tea.  I love Kombucha.  The process in Kombucha is amazing;  the sugar doesn’t enter our body to hurt us as the bacteria devours the sugar during its process of making this bacterial fermented health-generating drink my family love. (I had quit all that during the ‘Fruit thing’ I tried).  But am once again, back to making K, so had to buy sugar again.  But I don’t knowingly ingest sugar.   If I needed “sweet” for my tea, I used to use honey . .  .  hi mineral, and safe, forgivable  calories.  (Have done a post on How I make Kombucha. . “Tried Kombucha? well, ya should (7-12-17).

Tried Stevia, but  had never found anything I could live with that was both kinda sweet, was natural – with no chemicals or fillers.  Had bought a few brands of  Stevia powder and tried to make my own “Stevia”  The ‘How-tos” mostly differ in their approach, felt kinda lost. Nothing worked as I had hoped.   Eventually, was finally blessed with satisfaction in trying – one more time, a Stevia, 4 oz  for about $15.00 from Nuts.com.  The company offered much info in the way of written documentation  showing how and why.   It is great and I was and remain happy with it.   I use less than 1/4 tsp – maybe a tad more than 1/8th tsp  to a BIG cup of tea.   !/4 tsp was way too sweet for my taste.  It does what I wanted, is organic.  Problem solved.   Found this spectacular article by Dr Josh Axe last year and loved it.  Where had he been when I needed all this info?  But because he left no stone unturned, I downloaded  it.   Came across it recently and vowed to post it, because, I surely can’t be the only one who could use a lotta help in this choice. 

Bet ya didn’t know it can lower HBP,   help to improve quite a few other things.  This has been a medicinal herb used for centuries in parts of the world.  But you can read all about it from Dr Axe’s article which follows.  My download didn’t pick up all the lovely  illustrations he displayed, but you maybe could find it still on his site which would be worth the effort if you want to give it a go. 

This is not life changing stuff, but if one has a certain hankering or sense of sweetness desire, now and then- – this can add a bit of JOY. . totally guilt-free as it’s also health promoting.   Jan

DR AXE – – The LOW-DOWN  on S T E V I A

The stevia plant has been used for more than 1,500 years by the Guaraní people of Brazil and Paraguay, who refer to stevia as ka’a he’ê, which means “sweet herb.” These native South Americans love using this non-caloric natural sweetener in their yerba mate tea, as medicine and as a sweet treat. (1) In these South American countries, stevia has also been used specifically as a traditional medicine for burns, stomach problems, colic and even as a form of contraception. So if it’s such a sweet treat, are there stevia side effects that may make it bad for you?

Stevia extract is typically about 200 times sweeter than sugar. When it comes to using stevia, you only need a tiny bit at a time to sweeten your morning tea or next batch of healthy baked goods. So stevia side effects are typically not common, especially if you choose the right stevia product.

FREE Guide: Click Here For Your Quick Guide To Stevia

I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about stevia lately and have seen several articles and other sources online claiming that there may be some negative stevia side effects. Isn’t stevia an herb? And aren’t herbs supposed to be good for us? If so, then why all the fuss? I’m going to answer all of your questions in this article and lay out for you both the good and the bad about how stevia side effects affect your health.

What Is Stevia Really?

There are approximately 200-plus species of stevia that grow in South America. What is stevia? It’s an herbal plant that belongs to the Asteraceaefamily so it’s related to ragweed, chrysanthemums and marigoldsStevia rebaudiana is the most prized variety of stevia.

In 1931, chemists M. Bridel and R. Lavielle isolated the two glycosides that make stevia leaves sweet: stevioside and rebaudioside. Stevioside is sweet but also has a bitter aftertaste that many complain about when using stevia, while rebaudioside is better tasting, sweet and less bitter.

Most raw and less processed stevia products contain both sweeteners, whereas most highly processed forms of stevia, like Truvia, only contain the rebaudioside, the sweetest part of the stevia leaf. Rebiana or rebaudioside A is is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is used as an artificial sweetener in foods and beverages. (2) This is not a form of stevia I recommend.

As you’re about to see in the research, using the whole stevia leaf that also contains stevioside has some great health benefits, but using certain brands of stevia that have been processed and added to is not a good or health-promoting option.

Is Stevia Safe? Are There Stevia Side Effects?

Most people do well with stevia, but listen to your body because stevia is an herb and everyone’s body may react differently to it. The benefits and possible stevia side effects really depend upon what stevia you choose to consume.

Highly refined varieties of stevia are considered by the FDA to be generally recognized as safe. Since highly processed stevia starts as a natural substance but gets so significantly refined, the FDA finds it hard to label stevia products like Truvia. It labels highly processed types of stevia as novel sweeteners. Novel sweeteners are combinations of various types of sweeteners. (3)

The FDA has not approved whole-leaf stevia or crude stevia extracts as GRAS, although they’re much more natural than the stevia products it’s given its stamp of approval. With whole-leaf and crude extracts, benefits are greater and negative stevia side effects are less likely.

When it comes to the stevia options available today, it’s vital to know that not all stevia is created equal. You should be aware of the three main categories of stevia, including green leaf stevia, stevia extracts and altered stevia (like Truvia).

Green leaf stevia is the least processed of the stevia types. The leaves are basically just dried and ground into powder form. This is the type of stevia that’s been used in South America and Japan for centuries as a natural sweetener and health remedy. This type of stevia is about 30–40 times sweeter than sugar.

Some brands that make stevia extracts extract the sweeter and less bitter part of the stevia leaf (rebaudioside), which doesn’t have the health benefits found in stevioside. This type of stevia may be a better option than other regular sweeteners, but there aren’t many studies available yet showing its effects.

The worst option is altered and overly processed “stevia” like Truvia. It’s really not stevia at all by time a product like Truvia goes through a 42-step process to make this processed sweetener. First, the rebaudioside is extracted from the stevia leaf, and then chemical solvents are added, including acetonitrile, which is toxic to the liver and is a carcinogen. Then the producers add in a GMO corn derivative called erythritol. (4) Truvia or rebaudioside stevia products are about 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar. (5)

Negative Stevia Side Effects

This point cannot be stressed enough: Not all stevia products are created equal. There is a HUGE difference between consuming real stevia and chemically processed stevia products like Truvia.

Truvia only contains less than 1 percent stevia. (6) Yes, you read that correctly — LESS THAN 1 PERCENT! Truvia is really barely a stevia product, but people unfortunately believe that this sweetener is natural and harmless. If you avoid Truvia and choose the right stevia product, then dangerous stevia side effects are basically nonexistent — unless, of course, you have a ragweed allergy (more on that later).

A 1999 study indicates stevia decreases the fertility of male animal subjects. The amount of stevia is not specified, but it was administered for 60 days. The concern is that stevia extracts could affect hormones because its glycosides have a similar structure to plant hormones like gibberellin. (7) But many herbs, including ginkgo biloba, also have this natural component,  and if consumed in moderation, it’s a non-issue. Follow-up studies have also found that stevia has no effect on hormones.

5 Health Benefits of Stevia

Regarding the good stuff, we have found that there are several studies (477 stevia studies as of this writing to be exact, and that number is ever-increasing) evaluating stevia’s ability to be used as a natural remedy. There are medicinal properties in the plant itself that lend to its incredible healing and disease-fighting effects.

1. Anticancer Abilities

In 2012, Nutrition and Cancer highlighted a groundbreaking study that, for the first time ever, connected stevia consumption to breast cancer reduction. It was observed that stevioside enhances cancer apoptosis (cell death) and decreases certain stress pathways in the body that contribute to cancer growth. (8)

The journal Food Chemistry published a study out of Croatia showing that when stevia is added to natural colon cancer killing mixtures, such as blackberry leaf, antioxidant levels soar. (9) Together, these studies show stevia’s potential as a natural cancer treatment.

2. Sweet News for Diabetics

Using stevia instead of white sugar can be extremely helpful to diabetics who need to avoid conventional sugar as much as possible on a diabetic diet plan. But they also shouldn’t have artificial chemical sweeteners. Human and animal studies have demonstrated that artificial sweeteners can raise your blood sugar levels even more than if you consumed the real stuff (table sugar). (10) Now that should make you think twice before picking up that next diet soda.

Enter stevia. An article published in Journal of Dietary Supplements evaluated how stevia affects diabetic rats. It was discovered that rats treated with 250 and 500 milligrams every day “significantly” reduced fasting blood sugar levels and balanced insulin resistance, triglycerides and alkaline phosphatase, which is raised in cancer patients. (11)

Another study of human female and male subjects found that having stevia before a meal reduced post-meal blood glucose and insulin levels. These effects appear to be independent of reductions in caloric intake. This research demonstrates how stevia can possibly assist with glucose regulation. (12)

3. Helps Weight Loss

Consuming added sugars has been shown to contribute an average of 16 percent of the total calories in the American diet. (13) This high sugar intake has been linked to weight gain and adverse effects on blood sugar, two things that can have serious negative impacts on health.

Stevia is a plant-based, zero-calorie sweetener. If you choose to replace health-hazardous table sugar with a high-quality stevia extract and use it in moderation, it helps you decrease not only your overall daily sugar intake, but also your caloric intake. By keeping your sugar and calorie intake in a healthy range, you can help fend off obesity as well as many health problems linked with obesity, like diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

4. Improves Cholesterol Levels

Results of a 2009 study showed that stevia extract had “positive and encouraging effects” on overall cholesterol profiles. It’s important to note that researchers also found that there were no adverse stevia side effects on the health status of the subjects involved in this stevia study. Researchers concluded that stevia extract effectively decreases elevated serum cholesterol levels, including triglycerides and LDL (“bad cholesterol”) ,while increasing good HDL cholesterol. (14) You could say stevia results in the best of both worlds when it comes to cholesterol numbers.

5. Lowers High Blood Pressure

“Available research is promising for the use of stevia in hypertension,” says Catherine Ulbricht, senior pharmacist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and co-founder of Natural Standard Research Collaboration, which reviews scientific evidence on herbs and supplements. Ulbricht said Natural Standard gave stevia a “grade B for efficacy” in reducing blood pressure. (15)

Certain glycosides in stevia extract have been found to dilate blood vessels and increase sodium excretion, two things that are very helpful to keeping blood pressure at a healthy level. Evaluation of two long-term studies (one and two years in length, respectively) gives hope that stevia may be effective in lowering blood pressure in hypertensive patients. However, data from shorter studies (one to three months) did not support these findings. (16)

Types of Stevia

1. Green Leaf Stevia

  • Least processed of all types of stevia
  • Unique because most natural sweeteners contain calories and sugar (like honey), but green leaf stevia has no calories or sugar
  • Used in Japan and South America for centuries as a natural sweetener and health remedy
  • Tastes sweet, slightly bitter and isn’t quite as potent as most stevia products
  • 30–40 times sweeter than sugar
  • Has been shown to benefit blood sugar levels, cancer, cholesterol, high blood pressure and weight loss
  • Best option, but still should be used in moderation

2. Stevia Extracts 

  • Most brands extract the sweeter and less bitter part of the stevia leaf (rebaudioside), which doesn’t have the health benefits found in stevioside
  • No calories or sugar
  • Tastes sweeter than green leaf stevia
  • About 200 times sweeter than sugar

3. Altered/Barely Stevia-Like Truvia

  • Extensive processing and added ingredients make the end product barely stevia at all
  • Contains GMO ingredients
  • No calories or sugar
  • Truvia or rebaudioside stevia products are about 200–400 times sweeter than sugar
  • Avoid, worst option
  • Side effects like gastrointestinal problems

 

 

Organic Stevia vs. Non-Organic Stevia

Organic Stevia

  • Made from organically grown stevia
  • Typically non-GMO
  • No glycemic impact
  • Gluten-free

Unfortunately, even some organic stevia contains fillers. Some aren’t truly pure stevia so you always have to read labels if you’re looking for a 100 percent stevia product. For example, one brand of organic stevia is actually a blend of organic stevia and organic blue agave inulin. Agave inulin is a highly processed fiber derivative from the blue agave plant. While this filler is not as concerning as a GMO ingredient, it’s still a filler.

Non-Organic Stevia

  • Biggest difference: It does not have to be made from organically grown stevia
  • Also tends to be non-GMO unless it’s a highly processed stevia
  • No glycemic impact
  • Typically gluten-free

Stevia Leaf Powder vs. Stevia Leaf Liquid Extracts

  • Products vary, but in general, stevia leaf extracts are 200–300 times sweeter than table sugar
  • Powder and liquid stevia extracts are much sweeter than crude stevia leaves or green herbal stevia powder that are anywhere from 10–40 times sweeter than table sugar
  • Whole-leaf stevia or crude stevia extracts aren’t FDA-approved
  • Liquid stevia can contain alcohol so look for alcohol-free versions
  • Liquid stevia extracts now come in flavors like vanilla and hazelnut
  • You can get stevia leaf extract in convenient packet form
  • Some powdered stevia products contain inulin fiber, which is a naturally occurring plant fiber

Stevia vs. Sugar vs. Splenda

Stevia

  • Zero calories and zero grams of sugar
  • Depending on what you brand you pick, can be very minimally processed from its original leaf state
  • No common adverse stevia side effects
  • Can purchase the pure dried leaves online and grind them up using a spice grinder (or mortar and pestle)
  • Straight stevia leaves are only 30–40 times sweeter than sugar vs. 200 times using stevia extract

Sugar

  • One teaspoon of a typical table sugar contains 16 calories and 4.2 grams of sugar (17)
  • Typical table sugar is highly processed compared to its original state as sugar cane
  • Overconsumption of sugar can also lead to the dangerous buildup of fat on the inside that we can’t see
  • This fat around vital organs can cause serious disease in the future, like weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers (18)

Sucralose (Splenda) 

  • Although derived from sugar, more specifically sucralose, the chemical structure has been significantly changed
  • Highly processed
  • Originally was going to be a pesticide
  • Zero calories and zero grams sugar per serving
  • 600 times sweeter than sugar (19)
  • Is heat-stable, meaning that it doesn’t break down when cooked or baked
  • Used in many diet foods and drinks, chewing gum, frozen dairy desserts, fruit juices, and gelatin
  • Many common negative side effects, including migraines, dizziness, intestinal cramping, rashes, acne, headaches, bloating, chest pain, tinnitus, gum bleeding and more

Best Place to Find and How to Use Stevia

You can find a good stevia option at your local health store or online. Make sure to buy stevia without additives and one that has been less processed. I recommend green stevia as the best option.

If you want to try green stevia powder, I recommend Organic Traditions. Another good brand of stevia that tastes great and you can find it pretty much any health food store is SweetLeaf® stevia. SweetLeaf® has zero calories, zero carbs, a non-glycemic response and no artificial sweeteners.

You can also buy ground stevia leaf online, and a huge bag lasts a long time. You can buy whole dried leaves as well and ground them yourself. If you purchase products already sweetened with stevia, make sure “whole leaf stevia” is on the ingredient label.

You can use stevia powder or liquid stevia extract in place of sugar in your coffee or tea. You can also use it in baking recipes or any other recipe that recommends sugar. It’s important to realize that a little bit of stevia goes SUCH a long way. You need so much less stevia in comparison to sugar. Conversions vary depending on your specific stevia product.

Helpful general conversions using a stevia product are as follows: (20)

  • 1 teaspoon sugar = 1/2 packet or 1/8 teaspoon powdered stevia = 5 drops liquid
  • 1 tablespoon sugar = 1.5 packets or 1/3 teaspoon powdered stevia = 15 drops liquid stevia
  • 1 cup of sugar = 24 packets or 2 tablespoons powdered stevia = 2 teaspoons liquid stevia

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for caramelization in a dessert, stevia does not brown like regular sugar.

Stevia Side Effects and Precautions

Stevia safety is generally good, but if you have a ragweed allergy then it’s highly possible that you could have an allergic reaction to stevia and products that contain stevia. Signs of an oral allergic reaction include swelling and itching of the lips, mouth, tongue and throat; hives; abdominal pain; nausea; vomiting; and a tingling sensation in the mouth and throat. Discontinue use if this occurs, and seek medical attention if symptoms are serious.

Some people find that stevia can have a metallic aftertaste. No general stevia contraindications or adverse reactions have been identified. If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, stevia safety information is unfortunately lacking. You can check with your doctor, but it’s probably best you avoid stevia, especially since whole stevia leaves have traditionally been used as contraceptives.

In general, seek medical advice before using stevia if you have an ongoing medical conditions or take other medications.

Final Thoughts on Stevia and Stevia Side Effects

Using stevia in place of white sugar means getting rid of one of the primary dietary causes of chronic and deadly health problems like diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.

As more companies use stevia or some synthetic version of it in their products, you’re probably going to hear more negative press about it. this is especially true for products that are marketed as natural when they truthfully only contain less than a percent of stevia. It’s pretty unbelievable what companies can get away with. You just have to make sure that you choose a good brand that includes no harmful fillers, use it only in small amounts and listen to your body. 

January 4, 2018

CT Scan notation, not to worry

Benign mucus plugging

Dr Roach does a fine job of allaying the fears of this querent with what I am sure is sound advice per medical standards.  Tho I have no “Hot New thing” to offer on the subject,   I do have a different springboard from which I evaluate and draw conclusions – following. Jan

Dr. Keith Roach: Should ‘benign mucus plugging’ prompt pulmonologist visit?

DEAR DR. ROACH: I had a CT scan in July as part of my follow-up care for grade 1 chondrosarcoma. My scans were good, showing no cancer issues; however, one item that was noted said, “scattered areas of benign mucus plugging.” This was the first time that particular issue had been noted. My orthopedic oncologist did not mention this at all, and the only reason that I have taken note of it is because another member of the chondrosarcoma support group I belong to mentioned that she had them noted on her scan, and asked if other people had seen it as well.

I contacted my primary care physician to ask what it means, and she said that the note saying they were benign indicates that there isn’t anything necessarily to worry about, but said she could refer me to a pulmonologist if I would like a referral. I really don’t want to have any additional specialist visits if there is no need, but I still don’t understand what it means. I tried to look it up online, but it was mostly referring to people with asthma, cystic fibrosis and COPD. I do not have any of those conditions. I quit smoking in 1987. My question really is if I should ask for a referral to a pulmonologist, or if this is something that can be ignored. I am a retired 65-year-old woman in good health, and I exercise on a recumbent bike and treadmill almost every day for at least an hour. I have not noticed any breathing difficulties while I am exercising. — T.M.H.

ANSWER: The lining of the lung is protected by cells producing mucus, and cilia (small, hairlike projections on the cells lining the airways) continuously clear the mucus. Occasionally the mucus gets too thick, and literally can plug a small airway. This can be removed with a forceful cough.

Mucus plugs certainly can be found in people with no lung problems. I think they probably have nothing to do with the chondrosarcoma, a malignant tumor of cartilage (usually on a bone), which can spread to the lung (the CT scan is to look for tumor). It’s possible you have some distant residual damage from smoking years ago or that you have asthma that is so mild you haven’t noticed it. However, since you are able to exercise without problems (congratulations on keeping so active), I agree with your primary care doctor that further evaluation probably is unnecessary.

My thoughts on the matter: 

So what’s the mucus doing there in the first place?  Is this considered the norm to have mucus hanging out – anywhere? 

What’s causing the mucus?

Mucus is not a healthy passtime for the body to have to be dealing with as it handles all  it’s regular functions. What it is, is the body’s attempt to protect itself as it defends against the intruder of an unwelcome (and unneeded) food we Americans (as well as many foreign cousins) are prone to do.   I speak of Dairy in any of it glorious, delicious and tantalizing forms.  Among our classification as animals, humans are the only form to continue ingesting MILK after weaning  from mommy’s breast.  [Count  me among those who love/crave  dairy].  Milk in all it’s beautiful forms. . cheeses, ice creams,  cheesecake, sour cream, yogurts,  (pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches  – anything with cheese in it will do).  So Good!  We can’t help ourselves – – but why worry?. . it’s so good for us!  Seems all say Dairy is healthy and we need it.  Doctors even prescribe Calcium meds to be taken to insure against fractures, but ‘that’ doesn’t work out so well. They say Dairy is our rich source of calcium.  But other, larger animals  with huge, healthy bones get their calcium [all they need] — from the grasses, JUST  LIKE  WE SHOULD BE DOING!  How much is conjecture?  Where’s the truth?  What to do?  Who to believe?

Well, let’s take a look at what doctors, investigators and some natural healing paths have found.  (Have an enviable collection of books so it won’t be too hard to isolate a few concepts from them for the purpose of thinking about milk),. kinda off-the-cuff, throw at you, if you’re interested.     My thought – from the top — Dairy (MILK), is a major allergen and deterrent to health in many different ways.  And it has been shone that ‘that’ which we deeply crave and cave to are in fact the very things we’re probably allergic to.  . . so yeah, I really get that! But we’re not a slave to our taste buds/cravings. . we have a mind which is broader, deeper and more powerful than a taste bud.  In knowing that, we are able to choose dependable, good health over a momentary ‘want’. . . it IS up to us. (Says the smoker who was a non-smoker 20 of the forty years of trying to quit).  I’m not judging – have no room to, but I’m just sayin’ .  .      .      .

We start young (innocently), cuz it’s just what people do

Cow’s milk is not the same as human milk. Both serve the same purpose obviously, but the baby receiving the two forms are radically different. Cow’s milk is much higher in PROTEIN (4 X), and minerals (6 X), and fats (not Omega 3’s), to enable the calf to grow to 300 – 500 pounds in a year. Cows have a much greater enzyme capacity to digest and handle it’s milk. . . but is a burden to the human form which has way less, and type to use, and that only until age 2 to 4,  while presumably nursing.  Therefore, cow’s milk cause babies to suffer digestive problems and mucus congestion in the sinus cavities, lungs, brain and ears.  Many types of allergies are created from excessive congestion that started with cow milk conception.  Sadly, many babies are not being nursed by mommy, but fed cows milk and other synthetic formula – often 20 X more concentrated than cow’s milk.   After age 3 or 4, kids lose the enzymes that digest milk, especially lactase, which breaks down the lactose — the main sugar in milk. (Nature’s programming – we should be weaned by then.) Thereafter, lacking the proper enzymatic function to break down milk, we get an increased mucus production;  which is highly irritating to  the GI tract — which causes even more mucus.   This mucus mixed with starch can cause a heavy mucoid plaque to build up on the intestinal walls (impacted fecal matter in the bowels).  (Famed John Wayne we’re told had 50#’s in his bowels when he died.) Such impactions cause inflammation, pocketing (diverticulum), and tissue weakness in the intestinal wall. This leads to bowel restrictions, ulcerations lesions and cancers.   

Adults cannot digest milk at all and develop deeper congestive problems as  they get older.  Cow’s milk is low in Essential Fatty Acids which are vital to humans  in the production of systemic cholesterol, steroids, brain and nerve tissue, etc.  Raw cow’s milk is for skeletal/muscle growth,   whereas human milk feeds brain and nerve growth.     

Culled from years of grappling with this issue, I’ve had to conclude that milk causes phlegm, sinus activity, headache, mucus in all kinds of places it shouldn’t be;   leads to tumors both benign and cancerous anywhere it finds a comfy spot. Ingesting Dairy subjects us to all or any of this.  It’s a crap-shoot – will it get me or can I get away with it?    Ya pays your money and ya take your shot.  Choose.

 

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