In my previous post, besides other things, I discussed antioxidants like Vitamin C and their radiation protective properties (aka radioprotective). Ionizing radiation like the kind leaked from Fukushima can set off a free radical chain reaction in human tissue. Unattached Oxygen molecules start bouncing around as if they were the ball in a pin ball game leaving cellular damage all along it’s destructive path. This process is called oxidation and creates bad guys called free radicals. Hence, antioxidants reduce the toxic effects of free radical damage from radiation by neutralizing them.
Vitamin C and her sister, Vitamin E, work together in a synergistic manner, which actually increases the antioxidant power of this free radical scavenger team. It’s like one plus one equals three.
Some foods high in Vitamin E and its anti oxidant properties are nuts and seeds as well as the oils derived from them. Almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds and hazelnuts are all packed with Vitamin E. But the King Of All Nuts, or King Nut, are walnuts. Their antioxidants are both higher quality and more healthful than all other nuts. That’s not just me saying this. In a scientific study just published on March 27, 2011 at the American Chemical Society Annual Meeting, it was reported that walnuts have over twice as many antioxidants than any other nut.
Dr. Vinson, from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania stated that raw nuts have more antioxidants than roasted ones, since heat destroys some nutrients. He said that all it takes is seven raw walnuts a day to get the most health benefits.
Other foods high in Vitamin E are wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and oils such as walnut, safflower and corn. Spinach, broccoli and mangoes are good choices as well.
Radioprotective properties have been discovered in members of the Allium vegetable family. The Allium family includes garlic, onions, leeks, scallions and chives to name a few. An Indian study reported garlic showed significant radio protective effects on irradiated test animals. They noted that the animals fed garlic had remarkably reduced mortality as well as increased protection against tissue damaging irradiation.
Check out Julie and I discussing garlic and other foods taped in January 2001.

Here’s my recipe for today using only organic ingredients. I am a big picture guy so you need to figure out your own quantities.
Food To The Rescue Vegetable Overture
Lightly sauté garlic, onions and leeks in safflower oil. Do not over cook. Add gently blanched broccoli and fresh spinach. Once the spinach starts to wilt remove from the flame and add some dulse (a seaweed). Sprinkle raw walnuts and sunflower seeds. For dessert serve mango and orange slices.
Julie and I purchased all of these ingredients yesterday at our local farmers market. Everything is organic at this particular one. We add fresh asparagus, tomatoes with basil and rosemary topping off the whole dish with sunflower sprouts.
Ounce for ounce this is one power packed potion for Nuke Protection. Antioxidant rich fresh organic vegetables and fruits should play a central role in your health plan.

In our over forty years of natural and organic foods experience as organic farmers, health food store owners and nutrition counselors, Julie and I have always had consistent messages about health: Food First, Food as Medicine, Foods Heal. And of coarse the 60’s favorite message, everybody, now, say it together: You are what you eat!!! And so, we hear many folks asking, “what can we eat to protect ourselves from the radioactive fall-out of the Fukushima reactor disaster?”

Since I strongly believe in Food First, that is our first line of defense against radiation. We know that the healthier a person is, the better her/his ability is to fight the ravages of toxins, be they radioactive or chemical, as in pesticides. So the main goal is to increase an individual’s health on a holistic basis. The stronger the immune system is, the increased ability to defend against the damage caused by toxins.

Foods that protect us from radiation damage are called radio protective foods. These radio protective foods are bursting with antioxidants, free radical scavengers, phyto-nutrients, and much more. I am talking nutrition powerhouses.

The Queen of all antioxidants is Vitamin C. Some people choose to get their Vitamin C from supplements, but I am a Food First kind of guy. Some foods high in Vitamin C are tomatoes, citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, rose hip tea, kale and cauliflower to name a few. Choose organic when possible. Since C breaks down from heat it is a good idea to eat these foods as close to their raw state as possible. Steaming broccoli, kale and cauliflower helps to retain vital nutrients. In a preliminary study published in August 2010, a group of scientists in Ankara, Turkey concluded that Vitamin C might play a protective role against detrimental effects of mobile phone radiation in the brain.

I know that mobile phone radiation is completely different from the radiation being released in Japan and other nuclear events. However, my point is, since all radiation causes free radical damage and Vitamin C has radio protective properties that helps defend against free radical damage, go ahead and enjoy that organic orange!

It is an unfortunate quirk of fate that Japan is the only country to ever experience atom bomb attacks and now a nuclear power plant accident. It turns out, there were people who survived the horrible effects of radiation toxicity after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In Michio Kushi’s 1977 book, The Book of Macrobiotics, he describes how Dr. Tatsuichiro Akizuki, director of a hospital in Nagasaki one mile from the epicenter directed his staff to protect themselves and patients by consuming miso (soybean paste), brown rice, seaweed, sea salt, soy sauce and other macrobiotic foods. He did not allow any sweets. Dr. Akizuki observed that many survivors in the city succumbed to radiation toxicity, and yet, everyone in the hospital was saved.

Miso, wakame and other seaweeds, brown rice and tamari soy sauce may have radio protective properties. These foods are all from the traditional Japanese diet, made famous by George Ohsawa and then his student, Michio Kushi. They called their regime The Macrobiotic Diet.

Michio goes on in his book, about a study conducted by scientists at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. The scientists observed a large reduction in the absorption of radioactive strontium in mice fed the seaweed, kelp. These scientists were looking for a way to protect against nuclear fallout.

Current supplies of these Asian foods are available at organic and natural food stores. US manufactured miso is readily available so that is not such a big problem. Seaweeds are another story. The current inventories of seaweed on store shelves are fine, but much of it comes from Japan. Stores and distributors will sell out their current inventory and then need to replenish from producers in Japan. That is when we will probably not see any more imported Japanese seaweed for a while. A good substitute without sacrificing quality is seaweed gathered from the Maine coast. Organic brown rice is grown in the US and should be readily available. Kelp capsules are sold in Health Food Stores.

So enjoy that wonderful organic orange and strawberry fruit salad. Also, learn how to consume seaweed, they’re pretty good.

In conclusion, I would like to leave you with the following words:
I Get By With A Little KELP From My Friends!!!

COMING…Cousin Richie’s Nuke Protection Medicine Chest…Part 2…FOODS TO THE RESCUE
NEWS UPDATE…ordered Geiger counters and they have been shipped…will keep you posted

Consult a healthcare professional before taking any products mentioned or recommended. Pregnant and nursing women should consult their healthcare professionals. Kelp and other seaweeds contain iodine. Any person with hypersensitivity to iodine, hyperthyroidism or are taking a prescribed iodine medication should avoid Kelp, Wakame and other seaweed.

It was 32 years ago today the worst nuclear accident in US history occurred at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. We are still experiencing problems caused by this unprecedented release of radioactive material on US soil.
With the growing problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant in Japan, it is time for all humanity to pause in our nuclear folly.
Join me in a moment of reflection.

Below is the post I did two years ago on the 30th Anniversary of Three Mile Island.


I can’t believe it was 30 years ago today that there was a meltdown in the core of the Three Mile Island Nuclear-Power Plant. March 28, 1979 will go down as a day of infamy for all time. The nations worst commercial nuclear accident and not such a good day for Julie and Richie either.

At the time we were living peacefully on our organic farm in rural Maine far away from any dense population centers. Julie and I moved from Brooklyn, New York to get away from all the problems that city life presents and live close to the land in an unpolluted idyllic environment. We moved to rural Maine to grow our own organic vegetables and live the good life.

On March 28, 1979 a partial meltdown of the core of Unit 2 of the Three Mile Island Generating Station occurred and a large plume of this toxic material traveled north over Maine. We did not know about the toxic plume at the time so there was nothing we could do to protect ourselves. Luckily it happened early in the morning so we were in the house at the time. It shows that we are all interconnected and that pollution somewhere hundreds or even thousands of miles away can seriously affect us innocents downstream.

I was so angry. I wrote a song, Radiation, in 1979 to vent this anger and frustration. You can listen to my song below. It is a protest song expressing my anger. I wrote the words and music right after the incident. I got a few musician friends together and went into a small recording studio in Waterville, Maine. The song’s message is still right on target even after 30 years.

Ep-Bee-Log: The cause of the meltdown was attributed to both technical malfunctions and human error. Here we were away from it all on our organic farm in rural Maine and yet the toxic plumes found us. It goes to show that you can’t run or hide from nuclear contamination, even if it is not in your backyard.

COMING TOMORROW…Cousin Richie’s Nuke Protection Medicine Chest

Two if by sea…Three if by food…

Nuclear radiation, aka nukes, is coming our way. In fact it has already been detected in places far from Japan. Last Friday it was reported that “miniscule amounts” of radioactive elements so small that they “pose no health concern” were found in samples taken in San Francisco, Seattle and Anaheim.

On Wednesday, March 25, 2011, tiny traces of nuclear fallout reached Iceland and were expected to reach Europe shortly. Both French and German authorities were expecting miniscule amounts of radioactive fallout some time on Wednesday. Austrian officials said weather conditions could bring more radioactive material inland rather than out into the Pacific. Looks like nuclear containment is easier said than done.

The pollution is in the air and on the move both near and far depending on the wind currents and other weather factors. The fallout knows no geographic or political boundaries and it never goes away. Once the nukes are in the air they may eventually find their tiny destructive way back to Mother Earth. What goes up must come down. Nuclear pollution may fall into the oceans, rivers, streams and lakes; spreading contamination to our fish, seafood, seaweeds, hatcheries and reefs.  Nukes may settle on our cities, towns, and rural communities in the countryside and on farms. Fallout may settle on our food.

People living close to the Fukushima disaster area may have many health and other concerns to deal with. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Japanese people who are most impacted in dealing with this unprecedented human tragedy.

Because only small amounts of radioactive mater have been released the immediate danger is not great. But on the other hand, these small releases have in fact increased the total amount of global radiation we will all be living with. Fukushima has increased the global background radiation levels forever. The levels can only go up from here. This is now the new global radiation baseline. The new starting point. Our children, grandchildren and all of the world’s flora and fauna will inherit the results of our nuclear folly.

Different geographical regions will be exposed to different radiation levels. In some areas radiation readings will be higher than other areas. While there will be places experiencing virtually no impact at all. We will all be at the mercy of Lady Luck.

Besides geographical regions we also have a multitude of other factors, which influence the specific levels of radiation in any given area. It will be impossible to check every place for answers to questions like, when the radioactive plume was over your location did it rain? Snow? Dew? What was the barometric pressure at the time? Was the plume over a city? Over crops? Did it settle on beehives? Pollinating bees? Children out in the schoolyard playing? And on and on.

So when you hear someone say the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima catastrophe will not have much impact, we must in return ask; what are the long-term health and environmental consequences of Fukushima? The weakness with our question is we will not see many negative health and environmental issues surface for 10, 20 or more years. Even then, at the rate humanity is going, we will not have enough brains to link the increased rates of cancer and other diseases to this increase of background radiation.

The more I think about the title of this post it becomes more and more obvious the title is totally inaccurate. The Nukes are Coming…The Nukes are Coming…should read:

The Nukes Are Here…The Nukes Are Here…


This Monday, March 28, 2011 will be the 32nd anniversary of the Three Mile Island Disaster.

Please read my blog post from two years ago, on the 30th anniversary of Three Mile Island

COMING…Cousin Richie’s Nuke Protection Medicine Chest

With all the issues facing Japan and the world regarding radiation spreading globally I wanted to have a way to check my produce and groceries for any traces of radiation contamination before bringing it home. No one wants his or her Romaine lettuce contaminated with radiation, no matter how miniscule. Being an ex-grocer, that’s just how I think. For me, the answer is using a Geiger Counter, GC for short.  Allow me to explain why I think it’s essential for everyone to own one and how to use it.

These noisy instruments can come in handy at a time like this. A GC measures radiation. Unfortunately, right now, it’s very difficult to find one. So I would place the ad on an Internet or Social Networking site to find a GC.

My classified ad would read like this:

Wanted: Hand Held Geiger Counter. Looking to purchase six portable hand held Geiger Counters. Must be small, about the size of a deck of cards, easily fits into a pocket. Must have way to shut off sound.

Once I’m lucky enough to find and then purchase said instrument, I can then set about checking any food items I may want to get. Here’s my quiet plan. Carry my GC into a grocery store with the sound off. Very discretely check the products I am interested in purchasing. Romaine, tomatoes, kale, garlic, apples will each be tested in my secretive way. Low radiation levels:buy. High levels:bye bye! In this way I can be an informed consumer and watch out for my family. All information is between me and my GC. I would always follow the prime directive: never bring attention to me or my Geiger Counter.

If you think you may be interested in following my footsteps, there’s a bit more Geiger Counter info you need to know about. Specs are pretty simple, about the size of a deck of cards and small enough to fit into a pocket. Must have sound control with digital or needle gauge. If no earphone jack, then it needs a volume shut off. Price: $ 200- $500.

To be even safer, I would suggest food stores also get their own GCs and test their food deliveries. The food distribution warehouses should immediately start monitoring produce on the loading docks. The earlier in the distribution pipeline the better. Before the warehouse accepts a delivery, a GC must be used to scan the pallet. If it passes, accept delivery. If it fails, refuse it right there on the dock. Label the produce: Certified Geiger Counter Tested. Look for the CGCT label (I just invented this new certification term, what do you think?). I would buy produce with this new label. The CGCT label would become a way to communicate that the produce has been tested and is free of any radioactive materials.

This is not crazy stuff. Reuters reports that an upscale Japanese restaurant in Taiwan is offering radiation checks for its diners

Finally, we come to the end of my GC wanted ad:

Price not to exceed $500 including freight.

Motivated Buyer

By Richie Gerber

solar_farm“Don’t it always seem to go. That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. They paved paradise. And put up a parking lot.” Famous lyrics from the song Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell. How do these lyrics relate to Solar Farms you might be asking yourself?

Whenever we hear solar power brought up we all burst out in green Goosebumps because it is touted as a clean and sustainable energy source. As a mater of fact much of the new energy legislation being pushed by government relies heavily on solar power. I would like to shed some light on the dark side of Solar Power since nobody is really talking about this. Even environmentalists are split on this one.

Let The Sunshine

Most of the big money and interest in solar power is being bet on huge solar farms.  Enormous government dollars are being given to big players in the Solar Farm industry. Billions of our dollars are going to big energy corporations invested in this technology. Many solar farm projects are being considered to be located on government land. But there are lots of other projects slated for private land as well. Most are in remote areas such as the Mojave Desert. Just to see how huge this is, the Bureau of Land Management in California is reviewing applications for permits utilizing over 1 million acres in the Mojave Desert for solar farms alone. There are hundreds of projects for huge solar farms around the US as well as Canada. They are mostly in remote areas and take up vast amounts of land since the solar arrays are designed to have the largest amount of surface area to increase efficiency.

I’ve been to the Desert on a Horse with no Name

Let’s take the Mojave Desert for an example. Most people hear the word desert and think it is barren and junky land, of no useful value. Most folks don’t realize that it is a wonderful and diverse eco system, which has evolved over millions of years. It has a multitude of animals, plants and other living things adapted to this unique environment. Since it is not very hospitable to humans, which diminishes its ability to be developed, we have labeled it as junk land. Just like here in Florida, at one time some called the Florida Everglades a swamp, not realizing its diverse eco system that also provides water to the entire South Florida Region.

When Sunny Get’s Blue

In a Solar Farm the dozers come in and make roads to the remote tracts. Then they scrape the huge land areas and smooth out the surfaces. So now vast tracts of virgin land have been changed for all time forward. Metal racks are erected to hold the solar arrays. These solar panels absorb sunlight but also give shade to the land underneath them. Now we have millions of acres of historically sun caressed land put into the shade. This must have an enormous effect on the sensitive and diverse eco system. Now repeat this scenario hundreds of times all over the country.

I Am a Lineman for the County

In order to deliver the power from these remote regions to the population centers large transmission lines must be constructed through these remote areas. Huge amounts of water are needed as well to help cool the turbines, which convert the sun’s heat into electricity. Remember that some of these areas like the Mojave Dessert do not have that much water to spare. That’s why it is named the Mojave Dessert! If this is not a shock to the environment then I don’t know what is. All we talk about is global warming and carbon footprint while sometimes missing the larger picture that sometimes the cure is as bad or worse than the problem.

One Man’s Ceiling is Another Mans Floor

Even the governor of California has shown his lack of sophistication on this subject by not realizing the value of the Mojave Dessert. Governor Schwarzenegger said in a speech last year at a Yale University climate-change conference: “If we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave Desert, I don’t know where the hell we can put it.” Maybe he will start to understand that even this desolate dessert is a unique and valuable eco system, which needs protection. Even Governor Ah-nold doesn’t have a clue.

Epp-Bee-Log: I don’t want to appear that I am a negatively charged electron with no ideas. So I would like to tell you my positively charged proton plan in my next posting. I call it: Cousin Richie’s Here Comes The Sun Solar Power Plan. So let’s not Take Paradise and put up a Solar Farm until you hear me out.

Do Nothin’ Til You Hear From Me


farmed fishThe waiter opens with, “Tonight’s seafood special is a fillet of lightly grilled Organic Maine Salmon in a USDA Organic Reduction Sauce consisting of the essence of Organic Lemon and Organic Artisanal Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the Messina region of north east Sicily and finished in the oven…” I stopped listening at the Organic Salmon part. “What is Organic Salmon and who says its Organic?” I ask. He replies, “our highly renowned fishmonger, of course”. I placed my order for the “Organic Salmon” all the while questioning myself on how a fish could be certified as organic.

So what really is “Organic Salmon”? And who besides this “highly renowned fishmonger” certifies that this Salmon is organic? Please note that I have been involved in the organic movement since owning an organic farm in Maine in the 70’s. Then in the 80’s-90’s I owned the Bread of Life Natural Foods Markets, which evolved into the largest Natural and Organic Supermarket in the Southeast U.S. My Plantation, Florida store was voted Store of the Year in 1996 by Whole Foods Business Magazine. I ultimately sold my three stores to Whole Foods Markets in the late 90’s and remained on as the Regional Vice President for several years. This gives me some street cred when it comes to all things organic.

All of us are very familiar with the green and white circle USDA Organic Seal on many products. It is an outgrowth of the Natural Organic Program (NOP) created by congress in the 1990’s. In 2002 only agricultural products that were grown following verifiable organic methods and certified by a qualified certifier were permitted to use the USDA Organic Seal.  This is no child’s play either; the law was very strict which made me happy. I did not want to see scammers getting into the biz trying to make a quick buck and destroying the movement’s credibility. As a matter of fact the law had some very sharp teeth, “A civil penalty of up to $11,000 for each offense can be levied on any person who knowingly sells or labels as organic a product that is not produced and handled in accordance with the National Organics Program’s regulations.” These standards applied to produce, meat and poultry, not seafood. In other words there is no USDA organic standard for fish and seafood. Something is starting to smell fishy to me!!! How about you?

Most of the Salmon today is farmed raised. Fish farms. Aquaculture, the fish version of agriculture is the largest producer of commercial salmon.  So what are these fish farms like and what’s the problem? The first problem I see is the physical properties of a fish farm. They consist of large pens in the ocean that keeps the salmon inside. It keeps predators out as well.  Picture thousands of salmon all living in a pen in the ocean. They are constantly eating and pooping. Some say that the currents flush out the debris from the pen. It looks s like it needs lots of flushing. Since there are so many fish together in one concentrated area the farmers feed them feed pellets that are laced with antibiotics in order to prevent a bacterial infection or sea lice from wiping out the crop of fish like a Salmon Flu. Some of these farmed fish escape from their pens which can cause harm to the wild salmon population.

 Most of the pellet food the salmon is fed is not organic. Take for comparison organic chicken. They must be fed exclusively organic feed. Antibiotics are not permitted in the feed. The birds must have access to open areas, the so-called free-range organic chicken. When fish are raised in pens one realizes the lack of sustainability in the system. Although the pens are moved from one area to another there is still toxic effluent left in the wake. The pollution can be devastating to whole areas of the ocean as well as other fish and fauna.

Again I ask you, “What is an Organic Salmon?” Is it a fish that is fed pellets of non-organic feed possibly laced with antibiotics?  Does it spend its entire life closed in a pen, squished in with thousands of genetically alike fish? Is it raised in a small concentrated pen teeming with bacteria and other possible toxins? Well here is my answer to the pressing question, “what is organic salmon?” THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ORGANIC SALMON. PERIOD!!! This beast does not exist yet. It is a marketing ploy and has the potential to harm the great work of the current organic standards that exist under the NOP. It can only add confusion. The term “Organic Salmon” must not be used until the USDA creates standards under the NOP.

Take note that farmed raised salmon appears very red in the fish case at the store. At first you may think this means it is better or fresher than the less red wild caught. In fact, wild caught salmon has a natural red color whereas farm raised salmon  gets it red color from red food dyes because farm raised is naturally very pale. The deep reds you see in the fish case at the store is because the producers add red food color to the farm raised fish to make them more marketable to customers since customers relate red to salmon. I am not a fan of additives to mask things. Many shoppers select salmon because of its healthful omega friendly fats. In fact, the farm raised salmon has very low levels of these healthy oils, which are found in high quantities in wild salmon.

Wild Salmon is a much better choice in my humble opinion. It contains high levels of the healthy omega-3 fish oils, which everyone is looking for these days. It was not fed some antibiotic feed pellets. It does not have any red dye food color to enhance its appearance. So when I am at the store I try to go to the wild side and avoid the “Organic” hype in the fish case.

Epp-BEE-Log: If you remember three things you will never be thought of as gullible or dumb. 1) There is no Santa Clause. 2) There is no Tooth Fairy. 3) And there ain’t no such thing as “Organic Salmon”.