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Can Biodiversity and Agriculture Coexist? How Super Metrics Made Wildlife Enemy #1 on the Farm (Day 4)

29. September 2009

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Can Biodiversity and Agriculture Coexist?  How Super Metrics Made Wildlife Enemy #1 on the Farm (Day 4)

Think back to a time before agriculture existed. Hawks pounced on squirrels, coyotes chased field mice and bison roamed the Great Plains. Then came Homo sapien. As super hunters, we first decimated the populations of any large animals we found in Africa. It's from that background we begin to examine a tough question – can biodiversity exist in a world of monocrop staples like corn and rice, amphibian crushing pesticides, and food safety protocols that explicitly make farmers keep sterile fields free of small animals? The answers are varied from those we have spoken to on the Nutrition Wonderland Tour of America.

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Is the Strawberry the Future of American Agriculture? (Day 1)

22. September 2009

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Is the Strawberry the Future of American Agriculture?  (Day 1)

Nutrition Wonderland's first stop of the journey is an exceptionally beautiful place called Oxnard, California. It anchors a rapidly growing area but more importantly, it is the principal city in the Oxnard Plain – one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world. Known as the Strawberry Capital of the World, Oxnard also grows cucumbers, peppers, herbs, oranges, lemons, tomatoes, lima beans – the list goes on. As it turns out, a delicately crafted piece of legislation and high yield crops are all that stands between the region turning into a concrete jungle like formerly agricultural Orange County. Read on to understand the pressures being faced there.

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Nutrition Wonderland’s Tour of America Begins in California

21. September 2009

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Nutrition Wonderland’s Tour of America Begins in California

Nutrition Wonderland's 2009 Tour of America has begun! We are now in California, visiting with a host of organizations that are changing how agriculture and medicine are practiced. If you want to know more about our tour, check out an overview of our mission on this tour. See our stops in the interactive map after the jump...

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Plastic Troubles: Brominated Flame Retardants (PBDEs)

3. September 2009

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Plastic Troubles: Brominated Flame Retardants (PBDEs)

Almost all pure plastics are inherently flammable. When exposed to heat and flame, the polymers in plastics split into smaller, more volatile pieces. The only thing that keeps most plastics from going up in smoke are the flame retardants mixed into the plastics themselves. But at what cost? (Thanks to dominicspics on flickr for the shot)

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Plastic Troubles: Phthalates and Plasticizers

31. August 2009

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Plastic Troubles: Phthalates and Plasticizers

Plastic is a buzzword lately but mostly for the wrong reasons. Medical studies have lined up against the ubiquitous substance and the seas have filled with the jetsam and flotsam of our plastic society. Yet, if there was one compound responsible for this situation more than any other, phthalates might just wear the crown. Photo by adriagarcia on flickr.

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Plastic Troubles: Bisphenol A

21. August 2009

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Plastic Troubles: Bisphenol A

From grocery bags to drinking bottles, IV bags to the teflon on non-stick pans, plastics really do make everything possible. They're incredibly versatile: the final product can very in hardness, be shaped in almost any way imaginable, and is chemically inert, all for a bargain basement price. Really, it's a magical substance. Unfortunately, the very properties which make it so useful in so many industries are the same properties which make it one of the worst physical pollutant in the world.T hanks to flickr user billaday for the cool shot.

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Major Issue Series: Plastic Trouble

19. August 2009

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Major Issue Series: Plastic Trouble

Nutrition Wonderland is launching a new little mini-series about the world of plastics we are calling 'Plastic Troubles'. And trouble there is. From environmental degradation to an ever growing assortment health problems, plastics keep creeping into the health equation. Emerging theories on the subject suggest that plastics may play a central role in a variety of obscure health problems including autoimmune disorders, cancer and endocrine dysfunction. We will explain the health dimension of the most dangerous chemicals, how they came to be in our everyday environments and alternative ways to deal with their presence. Tomorrow, we will publish the first installment covering bisphenol a.

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Nutrition Wonderland’s 2009 Tour of America

11. August 2009

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Nutrition Wonderland’s 2009 Tour of America

Nutrition Wonderland is taking to the road this Fall to cover the newest developments in the worlds of integrative medicine, nutrition and sustainable agriculture. We are beginning our survey out in Los Angeles on the West Coast in late September and continue across the United States' desert southwest into Texas by early October, up through America's breadbasket in the Great Plains in time for Halloween, examine the hotbed of organic agriculture in the upper Midwest and then head back towards the East Coast and Washington, DC by mid-late November. We should cover roughly 4,000 miles (6K/km) and talk with numerous people and organizations at the forefront of the radical changes going on in medicine and agriculture. If you follow our coverage the whole way, you will begin to see the synergies between the fields and the new way forward they are lighting.

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New Study Connects Leptin to Dopamine

10. August 2009

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New Study Connects Leptin to Dopamine

As I've been writing the "Understanding Our Bodies: The Physiology of Nutrition" series, I've tried to explain how the various chemical systems in our bodies relate to how and what we eat. For example, two of the biggest hormones that affect our eating habits - Leptin, the fullness hormone, and Dopamine, the brain's reward hormone - seem to have very different and unrelated effects on our bodies. But every day science is discovering just how interwoven and related our bodies different systems are. Just this week, for example, after explaining everything I could find about how dopamine relates to eating, scientists from the University of Michigan have discovered a new way that leptin regulates dopamine levels.

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Understanding our Bodies: Dopamine and Its Rewards

31. July 2009

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Understanding our Bodies: Dopamine and Its Rewards

As much as we’d like to deny it, there’s a lot more involved in our decision making when it comes to food than just the advice of our inner and outer nutritionists. For the most part, we know that we should be eating. Yet time and time again when a friend asks us if we [...]

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