Archive for March, 2011

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.


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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

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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

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Wanted: Geiger Counter

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

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