Investing in Emotional Nourishment

depression-title-image_tcm7-188201I’ve been trying to come to grips with the recent suicide of a family member. He became depressed after separating from his wife some years ago. We all thought that he would eventually get over it. We were wrong.

Many of us have experienced the agony of breaking up with someone special and I, for one, can absolutely relate to the feeling of despair that sets in. But in my case, up to now, I was always able to pick myself up and find reasons to go on with life. So why can’t everyone do this?? As with all things human, there’s never a simple answer and depression is a particularly complex topic. While there may be some people who are so afflicted by depression that drugs or physical intervention are necessary, I think that most of us are somewhere in the middle of a large spectrum of levels of innate happiness. Kind of like a happiness or life gratification scale. Those on the low end see little point in going on and those at the high end have a tremendous enthusiasm for life. I believe that where we fall (on average) on this spectrum is part biology and part the choices we make in life. Of course I can’t help you with the biology part – you are born as you are. However, I do believe that it’s possible to take steps to nudge yourself up at least a bit on the happiness and life gratification scale.  Yet we’re almost never taught how. So here are a few of the methods that I’ve learned and apply in my own life, and which I’d like to share with you. And while some may sound easy, it’s the discipline of keeping them up that is the hard part.  Continue reading


Bullying the Anti-Vaxxers

Father and babyImagine reading an article about cutting-edge new treatments for breast cancer, only the story isn’t actually about the treatments. It’s about the selfishness of women who receive these new treatments without ever having donated to breast cancer research charities.   The article then suggests that these “free-loaders” bear some responsibility for the deaths of thousands of breast cancer victims who might have been saved by a new therapy that just needed a bit more funding. Could you imagine finding such an article in a prestigious journal like The Economist?

Continue reading


Media Bias and Censorship of Vaccine Reporting

censorshipShortly before my 3 year old son was born, I began researching vaccines. I quickly realized I had opened a Pandora’s box. There was a lot of controversy surrounding vaccines. Confused and wanting to get my thoughts organized, I blogged about what I learned in this post, which is now one of the most popular on my blog.

Since then, the debate has only intensified – especially in the wake of the California measles outbreak, which has triggered a slew of stories on the subject. Articles and editorials in outlets like The Washington Post, The New York Times, BBC News, Time MagazineThe Economist and many others vilify the unvaccinated and pro-choicers, portraying them as being ignorant and irresponsible. A few even suggest that the unvaccinated be sued and that doctors who support vaccine choice have their licenses revoked. But why haven’t I seen any stories that mention any of the concerns I raised in my post about the Vaccine Controversy, I wondered?  I decided to look into it and now I’m now horrified by what I have discovered. Continue reading


Paranoid About Poop? The Truth About Fecal Contamination & A Better Way to Reduce Your Risk of Illness

Milk shouldn’t be drunk raw because, well, look at where the cow’s udder is located – at the same end of the cow as her…<gulp>…”you know what!”

This is the message I heard a government official deliver in response to a presentation advocating raw milk by Sally Fallon Morell of the Weston A. Price Foundation. That official was Heidi Kassenborg, director of the Dairy & Food Inspection Division of Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

The venue was an open debate, put on by Harvard University’s Food Law Society. It’s been a year and a half since the debate, but I still can’t get out of my head  the cartoon image of the cow that  Kassenborg displayed so prominently in her presentation.  The implication was that it should be obvious to anyone, even a child, why milk shouldn’t be drunk raw.

This got me thinking more and more about poop/feces/manure/bodily waste or whatever you want to call it and whether it’s necessarily as dangerous and sickening as it’s made out to be. Not that I *want* to be consuming it, but how diligent must I be about ensuring that I or my child never come in contact with it? Is this even realistic? And is that a valid reason to think twice about drinking raw milk? Continue reading


The Problem With Our Food System: According to Wendell Berry

I could hardly contain my excitement when I came upon this powerful, astute and somehow poetic portrayal of the problems with our food system – a topic I love to write and debate about, although never so eloquently or succinctly. Therefore, I want to share with you this short excerpt from the book Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community. It is a series of essays written by the award-winning author and agricultural activist Wendell Berry. Continue reading


Why Consider Giving Birth Outside a Hospital?

Birthing Center

Photo courtesy of http://www.birthcenter.com.

It’s risky. It’s painful. It’s messy.  It may even cost you more out-of-pocket. Why, then, are some people choosing to forego the safety and convenience of a hospital birth and opting instead to labor without pain meds in a birthing center or at home?  And why did I eventually choose this option for myself?

Continue reading


Non-Toxic Deodorant & Antiperspirant that Really Works

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I have an underarm sweat and odor problem. I can’t tell you how many nice tops I’ve had to throw out because of sweat stains that I could never wash out. Finally I went to an endocrinologist and he diagnosed me with Hyperhidrosis. That’s medical lingo for sweating a lot. He went over various options, like prescription-strength antiperspirants and even surgery! But one of his recommendations combined with something else I discovered has been quite effective, so I thought I’d share the solution that has worked well for me. Continue reading


The Vaccine Controversy

Do you get flu shots? Is your tetanus shot up-to-date? Should you give all of the recommended vaccinations to your children? 98% of doctors will probably tell you yes. End of story. Did you even know that this was a controversial topic? I didn’t. At least not until a few weeks ago, when Frontline: The Vaccine War showed up in our Netflix queue. Continue reading


Book Review: Folks, This Ain’t Normal – by Joel Salatin

Ever meet a farmer who opposes farm subsidies? Or a Christian who’s against donating food to developing countries? Or an environmentalist who believes we have too many trees in the US?  How about a forward-thinking innovator who wants to do away with sewage plumbing and go back to a hole in the ground? What if all of this described one person, and that person had the nerve to publish a book accusing everyone else of not being normal?

Continue reading