Monday, October 29, 2012

The Most Dangerous “Food” with which your child may be being poisoned

You'll notice my use of the word food in parenthesis in the title. For the product I bring to your attention today I use the word food only in the sense that it is commonly used as an edible substance. You won't find this on any of the top 10 lists of most harmful foods, foods to avoid or any others that caution about the adverse effects of a so-called food. The dangerous product that I speak of is Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes.

The package states that it is an “Everyday Classic” and uses the trademark “farm-fresh goodness”. It touts “Made with Real Milk & Butter” which I am sure is to give you the sense of the healthfulness and “goodness” of this product. Implicit in the term good is moral excellence. The universal moral is to do no harm. Thus, something that exudes goodness must do no harm. Additionally, it should be near the pinnacle of morality and have the essence of being beneficial.

In turning the package over and looking at the regulated portion of the labeling we see just what Bob Evans considers to be goodness – trans fats, artificial flavours and artificial colours. Artificial colours? What has Bob Evans done to adulterate a potato so much as to need to artificially colour it back to white?

The almost 5 ounce serving – the size of a tennis ball – contains 150 calories and 1/6 of the recommended intake limit each of sodium and saturated fat per day for an adult human. It actually contains more artificial colour than it does sodium!

Arthur Agatston, MD – creator of the Southbeach Diet – is a well known preventative cardiologist who is a consultant to the National institutes of Health and is an associate professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. I have long said that people choose to have the diseases and ailments that they have. Dr Agatston agrees simply stating that heart attacks can be prevented. His treatments methods focus on what he calls a 'heart healthy lifestyle' which primarily consists of eating wholesome foods and exercising.

When it comes to trans fats which are in “any products that contain partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil” he says “there is no healthy level”. Bob Evans doesn't stop there. Just to ensure that his product harms you he has added artificial dyes and flavours. These have been suspect or proven in a wide range of effects, especially in children, from ADHD and lowered IQ to brain cancer. This is what Bob Evans wants you to consume everyday.

Brain cancer is dangerous and so is a heart attack. Those are both enough that the Consumer Product Safety Commission should remove this product from the shelves. Which won't happen because the FDA receives funding from certifying these hazardous chemicals. But those aren't what makes Bob Evans dangerous. The danger is in the misconception that this insidious mastermind projects. “Farm fresh goodness”? Where is the farm where Bob grows these artificial colourings and flavourings? Or hydrogenated oils. What is a hydrogenated oil plant anyway?

The labeling doesn't tell the entire truth about trans fats. You may have noticed that some similar products have serving sizes that may differ by as much as a complete serving of the smaller size, 4 cookies v 2 cookies. That is to hide the trans fats from the labeling. The FDA rules allow a food processor to claim “no trans fats” if the amount per serving is less than one half of a gram. So if the product disguised as food contains 2 grams of trans fats per pound then you will find that the serving size is about four ounces.

Bob Evans restaurants offer these products in an atmosphere purposefully intended to not arouse suspicion of what they truly are – a disguised fast food restaurant like McDonald's. In reality McDonald's offers more healthful products than what Bob Evans does. That's the danger – the perception that you are getting wholesome food when what you are getting is something closer to gasoline than food.

Anyone who consumes these products and their synthetic additives is choosing to have the ailments that will accompany that action. These have been known for nearly a generation now. In his 1993 book – The Healing Power of Foods – Dr Michael T Murray advised against consuming any of these synthetic additives because of their link to depression, asthma, hyperactivity, learning disabilities and migraine headaches. Yet since that time we have seen increased rates of these ailments in children.

What parents do to themselves is their own business but when it comes to providing these toxins to children it becomes abuse. For a child who is subject to a child custody order it becomes a factor specifically enumerated under Indiana Code 31-17-2-8 for divorced parents or 31-14-13-2 for paternity actions. This creates the basis for an action for modification of a custody or parenting time order, especially if the child is experiencing any of the known associated ailments including obesity. Because the expression of nearly every ailment or disease is wholly associated with lifestyle and diet it is necessary that children be placed under the care, custody and control of a parent who will not endanger the child through supplying these toxins.

Obtaining the evidence of abuse can be obtained through seeking purchase histories maintained by grocers using the parents' loyalty or rewards card data. I have previously written about that here. While purchase histories are limited in their weight as circumstantial more direct evidence can be obtained in other ways. This includes a forensic examination of the garbage set at curbside of the offending parents' home. This is a very valuable service that I have performed that can also produce surprise findings about other lifestyle activities. Having a third-party expert witness testify about the findings in the garbage can substantially impact a court proceeding, especially when use to impeach prior testimony.

If you are engaged in a child custody battle – particularly high conflict – don't be lulled into thinking that thrusting synthetic additives into your child is acceptable because the Food and drug Administration has labeled them as safe. In 1962 Rachel Carson detailed the full hazards of DDT in Silent Spring yet the federal government didn't ban its use until 1973, knowingly exposing consumers to another 10 years of this deadly toxin. It took 15 deaths during 1983 to 1985 related to the use of sulfites [a food cosmetic] for the federal government to agree to review their use. The result was a ban on their application to fresh produce on grocery shelves and salad bars and labeling on other products. Clearly, the federal government does not act in the interest of protecting consumers from these toxins. It takes an informed and attentive consumer to see through the cloud of confusion and misdirection created by the marketers of adulterated food, like Bob Evans.

Saying that Bob Evans products are “farm fresh goodness” is like saying that gasoline is a healthy and environmentally friendly stove top cleaner specially formulated for gas ranges.

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©2008, 2012 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why Richard Mourdock is correct on his position regarding a rape exemption to terminate the life of an unborn child.

At the onset it is important to mention that the US Supreme Court was incorrect in the application of constitutional law to reproductive rights in the Roe v Wade decision. As reproductive activity, particularly terminating the life of an unborn child, is not specifically enumerated as a power provided to the federal government through the United States Constitution it is then properly addressed to the individual states as proscribed by the Tenth Amendment to said constitution. Thus it is a question appropriate for state legislators, not federal.

While I am very much supportive of reproductive rights, and actually feel that there should be legislation at the state level to expand those rights, I do support Mourdock's stance on the abortion issue. While Mourdock bases his stance on a religious foundation, mine is much more pragmatic. As an intensely spiritual person I have a natural abhorrence for organized religion, theocracy, and thus I would not allow religion to enter into a policy position. Mourdock states that his religious convictions provide that a child conceived, regardless of the circumstances, is Gods' will.

I take a much different view. My belief is more towards deism or dystheism -- that while, at best, there could be a logical conception of evidence of a creator there is no evidence of a monotheistic god who is altruistic and directs all actions. Stephen Hawkings has asserted that since time does not have a start or end point that this then leaves out the possibility of a creator god. That would be a whole other posting though.

Recognition of Truth reveals that man is solely responsible for his actions. So, instead my policy position would derive itself from inalienable rights, personal responsibility, contract law and custodial duties.

In the debate Mourdock was speaking as to his personal feelings on terminating the life of an unborn child based upon his religious convictions. He is correct, based upon his religious convictions, as to his position on rape and abortion. As for me I am not going to allow my decisions to be guided by some mythical stories created by ancient shamans and politicians.

If it came to a policy decision in which terminating the life of an unborn child was made unlawful then I could not support a rape exemption unless some key questions were first established in such legislation.

1. Definition of rape? Current criminal code definition, more restrictive, less restrictive.
2. What is the reporting period? 24 hours, prior to request to terminate life, none.
3. What is the burden of proof? Positive rape kit test, arrest, conviction, naming or identification of alleged perpetrator, dna evidence.
4. Are the costs borne by the state through the victims compensation fund?

If these questions can be sufficiently addressed in a manner that ensures that only actual victims of rape receive an exemption and that no requirement could induce or encourage a false allegation then I would support such an exemption. Finding a balance that protects the offended person while at the same time ensuring that the falsely accused does not suffer the harms of the accusation has been difficult.

I have written numerous pieces of legislation, been a consultant to legislators on crafting language for legislation, participated in conference committee to merge Senate and House bills into one and advised other state policy makers on policy language. I have seen the protracted debate and argument that goes into things as seemingly simple as the definition of “late” or “family member”. I have worked with these policy makers and legislators on trying to do the same with the more complex issues of domestic violence laws and the Civil Protection Order statute. These are two areas in which judges readily acknowledge that false allegations are routinely made and that numerous parents and the children suffer the consequences of the false allegations.

I do not want to see the life of any unborn child taken as I believe protecting children is the ultimate responsibility for both individuals and society as a whole. I also want to see our reproductive rights maintained and expanded. I have some difficulty with the concept of compelling parents who wish death upon their own child to, under force of law, carry through with bringing the child into the post-uterine world.

In my life when it comes to reproductive rights I have encountered few people that hold such a broad pro-choice stance as myself. Contrary to the perceptions that many may hold about the Nazis it was actually Indiana which became the first government in the world to round up it's own citizens during a forced eugenics program. Sterilizations based upon guidelines set by our state legislature is wrong. There has also been raised the proposition of forced castration for those convicted of rape – another reproductive rights restriction that I oppose. The one that I have failed to hear the so-called “pro-choice” community raise is modification to the age of consent laws. In Indiana the state legislature has determined that persons under the age of 16 years have no legal right to determine their reproductive activities. Just as I believe that the alcohol consumption age restriction should be scrapped in favour of competency testing so should the age of consent – but based upon biological and competency standards.

When considering any policy that includes within its spectrum – rape – keep one thing in mind: efforts of The Innocence Project has led to the release of numerous convicted rapist who, based upon substantiated evidence [including some admissions by “victims” that no rape occurred], did not commit a rape.

If you are involved in a child custody battle and want to position yourself for the best outcome then please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2012 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.