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The Nutritional Luddite

Yesterday's page was one more example of my poor teaching skills, by which I assume to much. So many of my daily routines, like the mudras, kriyas, breathing are so ingrained that I do not think about them. For me writing these pages is akin to teaching someone how to drive an automobile over the internet. I tend to leave out basic information.

For example: GU, from Geneva, wrote in...."Stupid question perhaps, but what is the liquid you use with you cocoa powder? I would probably use milk, but many people do recommend avoiding milk products."

My response: "It was my stupid omission. I use water. If you had a good supply of low fat milk go ahead. But I do not trust boxed milk, because the dairy farmers that I talk to recieve more per liter for the raw milk than you pay for a liter of boxed milk. The processors remove many parts to sell before you get the left overs in a box. I think we need small amounts of dairy and we buy goat cheese from a local producer. It is actually half goat milk, half cow milk."

Milk in Europe is sold in one liter boxes. In North America it is in plastic jugs. I may seem to be a nutritional Luddite but I trust milk from a cow more than I trust milk from a factory, or any factory food, for that matter.

One aspect of our tendency to gain weight is being explored by researchers, who are exploring whether exposure to common chemicals during early development could set us up for a lifetime battle with the bulge. Animal studies in recent years raise the possibility that prenatal exposure to minuscule amounts of common chemicals - found in everything from baby bottles to toys to plastic soft drink bottles, to plastic milk containers- could predispose a body to a life of weight gain. The chemicals, known as endocrine disrupters, mimic natural hormones that help regulate, for example, how many fat cells a body makes and how much fat to store in them.

These findings have led some scientists to put forth a provocative argument: They say diet and too little exercise clearly are key reasons for the worldwide rise in obesity in the past 20 years, but they may not be the only ones. Food intake and exercise just haven't changed that much in that period, they argue. And while genetics obviously play a role - just think of someone you know who can eat three Big Macs a day and never gain an ounce - these researchers say it would be impossible to see such widespread genetic change in just two decades, giving them more reason to suspect the environment.

Thousands of chemicals have come on the market in the past 30 years, and some of them are showing up in people's bodies in low levels. Scientists studying obesity are focusing on endocrine disrupters - which have already been linked to reproductive problems in animals and humans - because they have become so common in the environment and are known to affect fat cells.

A recent US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that about 93 percent of the US population had bisphenol A, a chemical that can be found in canned goods and in hard, clear plastic items such as baby bottles and hiking containers, in their body.

Bisphenol A is only one of the chemicals scientists are studying. They have also studied tributyltin, an endocrine disrupter that is used as an antifungal agent in agriculture and in marine paints to keep ship hulls free of barnacles. Female mollusks exposed to the chemical were seen to grow male sex organs. Lab mice exposed to tiny levels of tributyltin during prenatal development became fatter adults than those not given the chemical.

Any questions??