NHT News Vol. 11 No. 1 July, 2015

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NHT News Vol. 11 No. 1 July, 2015

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In This Issue:  

  • From the Desk of Dr. Moffat: 2014 Black Friday Special was a huge hit
  • Health in the News: Improvest Vaccines. COOL Law Repealed
  • Ask Dr. Moffat: Amounts of raw dark leafy greens to eat
  • Client Testimonials: Forgiveness work really helped!  Snoring is better.
  • Inspiration & Perspective: Five simple ways to be happy
  • What’s New at Our House? The Buzzz on Bees, Flow Hives, Bee Hut, Bottle Chapel Foundation started, Organic Dairy, Butter, Birdhouses, Sugar Bush, Food Forest and Permaculture Orchard, Pruning, Community tree order, Mountain Ash Circle of Friends and Witch Hazel

(Please note that full names are never used in this newsletter or on my website without the full consent of the sender or client. Some cases also encompass groupings of cases with similar symptoms and suggestions for healing in an attempt to educate the general public.) 

From the Desk of Dr. Moffat:

The Black Friday Special was a huge hit this last time around. I processed 298 consults during the special and gave away thousands of dollars in services. It was a great deal for everyone. Last year I mailed out 1216 items. Like wow. I was busy. Yes, we’ll be doing the sale again this year. Thank you so much for your support.

Health in the News:

Improvest Vaccine

This is old news but revisited from a recent interview with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms (https://www.polyfacefarms.com/ ). Apparently the FDA approved use of a vaccine called Improvest in 2011 in the swine industry. As an “incomplete version of a growth regulator vaccine” Improvest is a 2ml, 2-dose vaccine which temporarily suppresses testicular function prior to slaughter by blocking the pig’s growth hormone released via the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal endocrine axis.

Improvest, also called Improvac in other countries, has now been used in 60 other countries and has been in use for over 10 years in the United States. The purpose of the vaccine is to decrease the boarish flavor of androstenone and skatole (a foul-smelling crystalline compound) in the meat of uncastrated mature male hogs. These flavors apparently present themselves in the meat starting at 4-6 months of age.

Early castration of the piglets prevents this flavoring taint in the meat, but then the pigs don’t grow as quickly, don’t retain as much water in the muscle tissue and the hog farmer makes more money overall by using the vaccine. Additionally, in nature the sow weans her young around 13 weeks of age, but in confinement the piglets are weaned at 10 days of age. The extra stress of early weaning also diminishes grow rates but done because the sow can be rebred sooner. What a factory mentality, eh?

When I lived on a swine farm for two years in my pre-veterinary days, we castrated all the male piglets on day 3-7 of age. This didn’t take long, the piglets seemed to get over the pain of the procedure by the next day (mostly I think they just didn’t want to be restrained for the procedure  although the castration must have hurt like heck) and in all my time there, I didn’t see any infection from this procedure and no piglet deaths from castration.

The meat produced from Improvest vaccinated pigs is supposedly safe for humans to eat BUT the vaccine is contraindicated in intact male pigs intended for breeding as it “disrupts reproductive function”. In addition, pregnant women should never administer the vaccine and women of child bearing age should be extra cautious says the vaccine insert given out by the company. If accidentally stabbed by the vaccine needle you would never be able to give same vaccine ever again (or any vaccine like it).

Gee, this doesn’t sound so safe to me.

Now I’m sure some of you are asking who would be so stupid to accidentally vaccinate themselves. Let me tell you as a veterinarian-–things happen. The Bangs vaccine is another one of those tricky vaccines you don’t want to accidentally inject yourself with but it happens too. As for myself, I doubt I’ll ever get parvo or feline leukemia in my lifetime. Ouch! Lucky it wasn’t a full dose I guess.

Animal safety studies included only 30 animals which were divided into three groups—so 20 animals actually got two different strengths of vaccine and ten were controls. Side effects therefore were only evaluated in 20 animals. Seems a bit low doesn’t it?–Especially when millions of pigs are grown for food every year.

On the other hand, a study using 767 consumers sensitive to tainted meat flavor was done to determine which meat they felt had better taste—the vaccine treated pork or uncastrated pig meat on the basis of aroma and flavor. Pork from castrated males were not included in the taste comparison.

I can understand why you wouldn’t want to eat ‘gamey’ meat, but at the time of slaughter these pigs are only 5-6 months old. It’s not like you’re eating five year old boar meat. That meat would be so tough it would probably end up somewhere else. Right? Michael Pollan’s article (link below) states that over 75% of all pork is processed to make other pork type of products. I’d like to know what kinds of tests were done to determine the statement from the company, “There are no residues in the meat from Improvest-managed pigs that could affect human health.”

The Improvest vaccine is conjugated with diphtheria toxoid. It has been said diphtheria vaccine has been “determined as safe since the 1930s” but what makes it safe when the consumer is eating pork many times a month? We only get vaccinated for diphtheria how many times in our life? Wouldn’t it make sense that constant exposure to something we are rarely exposed to could disrupt something in our bodies?

If they now label milk as growth hormone free, why can’t they label pork as Improvest free? Why can’t we know what is in our food?

As a side note, the veterinary profession has been working on chemical castration for years also thinking that it would be much less invasive to give a dog or feral cat a shot to sterilize it than to perform the more invasive surgical procedures. Of course in companion animal medicine we wouldn’t really know by looking at a pet if they were sterile or not if there was a vaccine that would do this. The testicles in most cases would still be visible. Much discussion over the years has been centered around implanting fake testicles so that the animals would still feel macho (or maybe the owner would feel better about seeing a set of testicles and not feel badly for having them neutered). Anyway, it’s still a hot topic of discussion in our field.

Farmers wishing to use the Improvest vaccine must go through a stringent training program viewing web based training, learning how to use the special equipment and biosecurity protocols. They are taught “professional behavior” (I wonder what this means), worker safety and they are taught how to use the Improvest Platform with Global VetLink. All information is uploaded through a Smartphone and this program is linked to a GPS to track pig location and movement for every pig vaccinated.

Gee, this sounds kind of like what they are doing with the Gardasil (human) vaccine as well. Sort of George Orwell 1984, don’t you think?

Well I don’t know about you all, but I’d rather know that the meat that I do eat is fed food that it would normally eat out in the wild (not soy), forage that has not been sprayed with anything (Roundup), that the animal was not pushed with some kind of vaccine to gain weight with and that the meat was safe to eat in that it not contain antibiotics or arsenic or some kind of chemical that would disrupt my endocrine system. I’m all for the Just Label It idea. Other countries do this. Why can’t we?

Helpful Links and References for Improvest Vaccines:

COOL Law Repealed:

It’s official. As of 6/11/15 the US House voted to repeal the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law so that when we purchase meat or poultry at our local grocery stores we don’t know which country it originally came from or where it was slaughtered. Both republicans and democrats were in on the repeal votes. I’m not politically savvy, but it appears that if the law was not appealed that $3.6 billion in potential retaliatory tariffs sought by Canada and Mexico would take effect.

I think the best thing to do if you are concerned about this at all is to raise your own meat or purchase it from someone you know. Know your farmer! Yes, you’ll be able to probably purchase meat cheaper when it comes from other countries, but REALLY? Why can’t we just know what is in our food and where it came from? Polls show that 90% of the public wants this. Why is our government not responding to what the public wants? How many more farmers/ranchers will be put out of business as we see repercussions from this?

Michael and I grow much of our own food here on our farm. This week we’re watering our plants in 90-95 degree weather. It’s hard work! Farmers need to be paid for their time and labor. Can’t we support our own country by purchasing locally? Read more: https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2015/06/house-votes-to-repeal-country-of-origin-labeling-for-meat/#.VZWeQBHbKUk

Ask Dr. Moffat:

Amounts of raw dark leafy greens to eat: 

Dr. Moffat: I always feel so happy after we speak! (Your healing energy.) You’re very encouraging and you always seem to help me remember, “You’re doing okay”. I forget this notion when left to my own head! And my day picked up after talking to you. . . some new patients. . . new energy once I reconnected with you reminding me “you’re a healer!” (Now if I can only STAY at that vibration!!)

On the greens.. I know you told me in the past not to have too many goitrogen types of veggies per week because of my hypothyroid issue (but also you want me to have them for hemoglobin etc.), so I just wanna make sure I know the exact amounts I’m allowed; how much TOTAL raw kale/ spinach/ week? How much cooked kale or spinach/ week? Thanks for being you 🙂 Stacy

Stacy: Thanks for the kudos! I try to be a good cheerleader. Now, in general you’ll want to eat all the colors of the rainbow that you can, but most people need to limit their raw goitrogens to no more than 4 cups/week. Cooking inactivates the enzymes that hurt the thyroid though so if you still feel the need to eat more greens (or want them) you can cook them and eat away. Raw kale is so popular these days in smoothies that all the healers and the medical system are seeing more people come in who are hypothyroid and some of this is because of all the raw goitrogens they are adding into their smoothies. For liver and brain issue, stay more with the dark leafy green stuff (goitrogen or not, but cooked but 4 cups/week raw as well). 

Lacinato (Dinosaur or Tuscano) Kale

Lacinato (Dinosaur or Tuscano) Kale

Client Testimonials:  

Forgiveness work really helped!  Denice, I meant to tell you, I saw my father last Friday—sat next to him. I was so uncomfortable, but I did it. I gave him an AA cake for supposedly being 10 years sober. He is the same, simply older with no money and therefore more humble (but not really). Doing the “work” really paid off. Thank you. Now I just need to forgive my mother and sister. JS

Hi Denice! I’ve been thinking of you for months! We’re doing well! Sophie pretty much doesn’t snore anymore! Her tonsils still look big but our new doctor here in California wasn’t concerned at all (she’s an MD and an anthroposophical doctor. Thank you and blessings! Laura

Inspiration & Perspective:

Five simple ways to be happy.

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in.  Our goal is to deposit memories of happiness. Here are 5 simple rules to be happy:

  1. Free your heart from hatred
  2. Free your mind from worries
  3. Live simply
  4. Give more
  5. Expect less

Related Story: https://naturalhealthtechniques.com/your-bank-account/ 

What’s New at Our House?  

Bee Hives! Three years ago we ordered a set of honey bees. They did OK, but our farm wasn’t quite ready for them (plant wise). We had some trials and tribulations with not being prepared, not having an optimal place for them to overwinter, using used hives, not knowing what the heck we were doing and of course being afraid of them! We learned bunches with that first batch. They did survive the winter only to be chased away by the Twilight Zone yellow jacket experience two years ago.

This year we’re jumping in with 4 feet (Michael is now on board with the bee thing), so we’ve made the extra effort to welcome them with a better set up. Below are Garden Hives from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. We ordered the pre-assembled parts because we didn’t think we’d have enough time to put them together and varnish them AND let the paint cure for 30 days (so it wouldn’t be toxic to them). We also dove in and ordered a Flow Hive which is coming in December just in time for the 2016 bee season. We still haven’t conquered our fears yet but this will be the year. We’re doing this.

Garden Bee Hives

Garden Bee Hives

In January I made a commitment to change over to organic dairy products as much as possible. I began with purchasing raw milk from a neighbor of ours. Well, each half gallon of fresh milk has about 2 cups of cream floating on the top. Since I wasn’t used to full fat milk, I skimmed the cream off and made butter! I read a couple recipe books and put the cream in a mixing bowl. What a mess. It kept blending and blending and what was supposed to be a 20-40 minute project ended up taking 2 hours and 44 minutes! I finally went to Google and read some articles on how to make butter. “Don’t use the blender. It spatters everywhere” I read as I looked down and saw little spatters on the entire front of my body and in my hair. Duh. I was so tired I thought of tossing the stuff to the chickens! But it ended up being butter eventually. I tried the butter making adventure again two months later with much better and faster results.

They say if you drink the milk and eat the butter that you get all the components you need to be healthy (including vitamin D and the Wulzen Anti Stiffness Factor which helps heal arthritis). I noticed right away that drinking raw milk did not cause the phlegm that is usually associated with pasteurized/homogenized milk.

I tried making yogurt a few times as well. The first batch was great, but the second, third and fourth batches were a disaster. One batch ended up being some kind of sour Ricotta cheese type stuff.  I thought about converting that to cheesecake but then growing/planting season started and I ran out of time. There is definitely a learning curve to this. One of our egg-buying clients also gets milk from the same place as I do and she makes cheese with it. In her last batch she used a handful of our dill weed in it and it was delicious! I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the cheese making level of utilizing raw milk, but maybe someday. . .

Homemade organic butter!

Homemade organic butter!

Michael and I built 13 birdhouses on Valentine’s Day, put copper roofs on them all and got those all hung up around the fenced part of our property. We saw a couple blue birds checking them but eventually bluebirds, house wrens and barn swallows (our first on the farm) inhabited the boxes. We’ve been completing projects around the farm in coordination with egg laying/hatching activities in those boxes.  The Red-Winged blackbirds were going crazy with mating songs and the Blue Jays and their one Grey Jay friend that comes with them each year are emptying the bird feeders every day. Organic bug control we call it. We can hear the turkeys and grouse doing their mating calls (it sounds like someone is trying to start a lawn mower which almost catches then stops).

Birdhouse with clematis.

Birdhouse with clematis.

We planted our sugar bush. During this 90-degree weather season I have to fill a water tank and drive it around the perimeter stopping every 20 feet or so to fill a 5-gallon bucket to water them about every 10 days or so. Hopefully they will be established by 2017 and we’ll no longer have to do that.

Our Food Forest and Permaculture Orchards are shaping up. In 20-30 years we’ll be able to tap the maple trees to make maple syrup, our fruit orchard and fodder tree canopies will be touching and we’ll have enough food to feed about a million bees and a bunch of families if necessary. We’re planning for the future as you can tell. The learning curve for taking optimal care of things is rather steep right now but we spend lots of winter hours reading.

We spent time this spring pruning most of the berries and fruit trees. I think it’s going to work better for us and the stone fruits to prune them in the late summer and fall. I’ve been learning some French pruning tips that are intriguing and I’ll be painting the trunks of the trees with diluted latex paint soon to protect them from the summer sun and temperature changes. Last year we set out about 140 bales of straw in place to pre-rot for spreading this year. We’ll repeat that again with another 200 bales. Of all our farm tasks, mulching is the most tedious and tiring for the both of us but we’re doing a pretty good job of it and the soil has benefitted quite a bit. Michael planted King Stropharia mushroom spares two years back and we had a booming crop of them this year.

Our raspberry patch in February.

Our raspberry patch in February.

We built a Bee Hut to protect our honey bees that arrived in April. Can you tell we’re excited?

Building the Bee Hut 4-5-15.

Building the Bee Hut 4-5-15.

The hut is now FULL!

Our Bee Hut is full 6-30-15.

Our Bee Hut is full 6-30-15.

Some of you have been reading about our bee adventures on our Farm Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elk-Meadow-Farm-Nursery/209184999104914  What a learning curve! One thing is for sure—the honey we eventually harvest from our bees will have more variety of flowers in it than any other honey in the country! We even planted Beebee trees (Tetradium daniellii) for them to help extend the nectar season. 

Community tree order. We put out an invitation to order trees for local people so they could take advantage of our nursery license and got 19 takers! All totaling, we ended up ordering 231 fruit trees (peach, nectarine, apricot, apple, cherry, plum and pear). We drove over to Wenatchee, met my brother and sister-in-law, picked up the trees and jetted over to the nearest park to sort them out. They took their few trees and we drove right home to plant and distribute the rest of them. We ended up planting over 60 of them on our own farm in Permaculture Orchard fashion. We also added in about 15 nut trees this year. The nut trees are difficult to keep going in the beginning so we keep trying but this year we actually have almonds for the first time. This was a very fun project for us and we feel blessed to be supported by so many of my clients for this project.

Sorting trees at the park for our community tree order.

Sorting trees at the park for our community tree order.

I started digging the foundation ditch for my bottle chapel finally. The local recycling center has been saving blue bottles for me for about 3 years now. We found it was way cheaper and easier on our own bodies to just provide them with trays of cookies than is was to drink whatever is inside any blue bottles! We pick whatever they have collected up whenever we get to town (about twice a month) and now have hundreds in the barn—many of them made into bottle bricks already. 

Bottle Chapel foundation digging has begun.

Bottle Chapel foundation digging has begun.

After growing Mountain Ash seedling from seed for 3 1/2 years, we finally got them planted (well, I did donate 50 or so to the local garden club for their spring sale). I’ve been enamored with a Pooktre idea for a few years so we planted ours in a circle. We’re calling it our Circle of Friends. We’ll set up a fence this fall and I’ll graft them together in the spring. Eventually they will look like tree people with a space for one human to hold hands to complete the circle. I’ve never grafted before so this will be an adventure. 

Pooktre Circle of Friends 5-13-15.

Pooktre Circle of Friends 5-13-15.

Well, that’s it for this month. A little long on the What’s New at Our House section, but I hope you enjoyed it. Stay cool and drink lots of water in this crazy heat! One last photo of our Witch Hazel blooming February 27. Ahh the first flowers of the year. I’d never seen Witch Hazel flowers before we planted this tree. I think it flowers too early to entice honey bees to it (they would freeze leaving the hive during this time of the year) but I’ve planted some I grew from seed closer to the hive. Be well. Denice

Witch Hazel Flowers 2-27-15.

Witch Hazel Flowers 2-27-15.