Skip navigation

More Sun/Light Might Be All It Takes to Keep Children’s Eyes Healthy (Chicago Tribune)

One-third of the world’s population is likely to have myopia by the end of this decade. What’s behind the rise? It looks like our mothers were right. Researchers point to people spending too much time indoors focused on books and screens in low light.

Mothers’ Exercise May Lower Heart Risks in Newborns, Study Suggests (NYT)

When the animals delivered their pups, the older mothers that had run had far fewer young with heart problems than did older sedentary mice. In fact, their risk was equivalent to that of young mice.

Study: The maternal-age-associated risk of congenital heart disease is modifiable

Exercise During Pregnancy Boosts a Newborn Baby’s Brain Capacity for Life (National Post)

University of Montreal researchers found that the brains of babies born to women who exercised moderately throughout their pregnancies appeared to mature more rapidly. Eight-day-old newborns had brains as active as those of eight-month-olds.

The Right Dose of Exercise for a Longer Life (NYT)

The sweet spot for exercise benefits . . . came among those who tripled the recommended level of exercise, working out moderately, mostly by walking, for 450 minutes per week, or a little more than an hour per day.

Household Bleach Tied to Respiratory Illness in Children (NYT)

The use of bleach in homes at least once a week increased the risk of respiratory infections by 18 percent over all.

Study: Domestic use of bleach and infections in children: a multicentre cross-sectional study

It’s Time to Ensure Medications Are Safe for Children in Canada (GM)

“You might be surprised to learn that Canada does not require drug manufacturers to test prescription medications on children for safety or efficacy.”

Breast Milk Sold Online May Contain Cow’s Milk (GM)

“When you combine these results with our 2013 study that showed a high level of bacterial contamination in milk bought online, we conclude that milk purchased on the Internet is unsafe.”

Skim Milk Is Healthier Than Whole Milk, Right? Maybe Not (TIME)

“Children who drank skim milk and 1% were heavier than those who drank 2% and whole.” –Dr. Mark Daniel DeBoer, associate professor of pediatric endocrinology

Boy’s Severe Peanut, Fish Allergies Traced to Blood Transfusion (CBC)

An eight-year-old boy developed an anaphylactic allergy to fish and peanuts after receiving a blood transfusion, a rare case that illustrates why parents and doctors should be aware of the possibility following a transfusion, Canadian researchers say.

Ultrasound Images of Fetal Movements Show How Smoking Affects a Baby in The Womb (NP)

“After studying their scans at 24, 28, 32 and 36 weeks, she detected that fetuses whose mothers smoked continued to show significantly higher rates of mouth movement and self-touching than those carried by non-smokers.”

I Lost Weight by Eating Lots of Bacon and Cream; Here’s a Scientific Explanation (Vox)

“Even the foods I regularly ate got a fat supercharge: I coated steak in thick coat of grass-fed butter, salads were drowned in olive oil, and my morning green tea got a big dollop of coconut oil.”

Cash-Strapped Farmers Feed Candy to Cows (CNN)

“As the price of corn has climbed, farmers either sold off their pigs and cattle, or they found alternative feeds,” said Mike Yoder, a dairy farmer in Middlebury, Ind. He feeds his 400 cows bits of candy, hot chocolate mix, crumbled cookies, breakfast cereal, trail mix, dried cranberries, orange peelings and ice cream sprinkles, which are blended into more traditional forms of feed, like hay.

Editorial: “Heads of the dairy cattle industry demonstrate the severe lack of care regarding the actual health of you and your family.”–Anthony Gucciardi, Founding Director, Natural Society

Eggs Don’t Cause Heart Attacks — Sugar Does (Dr. Mark Hyman)

Most of us don’t know that a serving of tomato sauce has more sugar than a serving of Oreo cookies, or that fruit yogurt has more sugar than a Coke, or that most breakfast cereals — even those made with whole grain — are 75% sugar. That’s not breakfast, it’s dessert!

Sugar, Not Fat, Exposed as Deadly Villain in Obesity Epidemic (Guardian)

“We [in the US] feed them corn and the reason is twofold – one, we don’t have enough land and, two, when you feed them corn they fatten up. It usually takes 18 months to get a cow from birth to slaughter. Today it takes six weeks and you get all that marbling in the meat. That’s muscle insulin resistance. That animal has the same disease we do, it’s just that we slaughter them before they get sick.”–Dr. Robert Lustig, Pediatric Endocrinologist

Ottawa Seeks Overhaul of How Food Labels Measure Sugar Intake (GM)

Health Minister Rona Ambrose . . . said parents want better information about the kinds of food their children are eating in order to make healthier choices.  “They wanted, for example, more information about sugar…. Especially when it comes to what people refer to as hidden sugars or added sugars in food. Especially when buying food for their kids.”

“Sugar in ‘Health Foods’ Almost Killed Me” (Body and Soul)

On day 18, a clinical pathologist ran a check-up and told me, “Your liver cells are dying. I’ve never seen fatty liver develop in such a short time. Your liver went from being in the healthiest 10 per cent to the worst in just three weeks.”

Salt Consumption Has a Sweet Spot: Too Little and Too Much are Both Harmful (McMaster University)

“PURE is the largest international study to study sodium intake and health outcomes, and adds considerable strength to the contention that moderate sodium intake is optimal.”

Sea Salt vs. Table Salt: What’s The Difference? (Global News)

“Sea salt has more taste than table salt, depending on its trace minerals.”

Many Teas Contain Enough Lead to Be Dangerous for Pregnant and Nursing Women (NP)

Even very small amounts of the heavy metal are considered a risk to the neurological development of fetuses, whose under-developed brains are particularly susceptible to foreign substances. The analysis of commonly sold tea bags suggested that teas from China were more tainted with metals than others.

Study: The Benefits and Risks of Consuming Brewed Tea: Beware of Toxic Element Contamination (University of Alberta)

Pesticide Traces in Some Tea Exceed Allowable Limits (CBC)

Using an accredited lab, CBC used the testing method employed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to test pesticide residues in dry tea leaves. Half of the teas tested contained pesticide residues above the allowable limits in Canada. And eight of the 10 brands tested contained multiple chemicals, with one brand containing residues of 22 different pesticides. Results

Canada’s Organic Food Certification System ‘Little More Than an Extortion Racket’ (NP)

“The greatest perversion lies in the fact that most CFIA-accredited organic certifiers also collect ‘royalties’ of between 1% and 3% on their clients’ gross revenue,” the Frontier Centre report says. “So, a certifier really has no incentive whatsoever to crack down on a client who might be breaking the rules.”

Has ‘Local’ Food Gone Too Far? (The Tyee)

“The new definition is totally nonsensical to me,” says Nelson-area farmer Nettie Lack. “Local means the community. It means the neighbourhood. This is about the big boys getting in on the act and using ‘local’ as a form of marketing.” She’s referring to grocery chains like Loblaws, Safeway, and Save-on Foods, all of which, simultaneously with the CFIA’s change of definition, began marketing province-wide food as “local.”

Diabetes Prevention: The Insulin Resistance Test

“blood sugar is the last thing to increase … so for many people, a fasting glucose test detects diabetes too late. Long before your blood sugar rises, your insulin spikes. High insulin levels are the first sign that can precede type 2 diabetes by decades.”–Dr. Mark Hyman

Hidden Inflammation: The CRP Test

“The next time you visit your doctor for blood work, make sure that along with your lipid profile you request a C-reactive protein (CRP) test. CRP measures the degree of hidden inflammation in your body. . . . Besides obesity and type 2 diabetes, inflammation contributes to almost every modern disease including heart disease, cancer. . .”–Dr. Mark Hyman


Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar

Dr. Robert Lustig

Robert H. Lustig, M.D. has spent the past sixteen years treating childhood obesity and studying the effects of sugar on the central nervous system and metabolism. He is the Director of the UCSF Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Program and also a member of the Obesity Task Force of the Endocrine Society.

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health

Jo Robinson

“I have mined the scientific literature for information about how we’ve diminished the nutrient content of our diet, when and why we did it, and how we can recoup the losses by making more informed choices at the supermarket, farmers market, and in seed catalogs.”

The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

Nina Teicholz

“The investigative journalist spent the last decade on a painstaking quest to take down the prevailing wisdom that demonizes these essential, health-dense nutrients, anointing them the villainous culprits behind heart disease. Taking a magnifying glass to 80 years of scientific literature, Teicholz’s gripping, 480-page book (Simon & Schuster) turns everything we know — or thought we knew — about diet, nutrition and healthy eating — on its head.” –Michele Henry, Toronto Star


Mommy Robin and Daddy Robin with Baby Robin After First Flight

What are the chances of this happening? Both the parents just happen to be around so they can see their baby immediately after its first flight — and both just happen to have worms ready to feed it. 🙂

I call this picture “Looking Out for Number One.” I think it would be a great baby shower gift. A framed picture of the little robin family would be perfect on the wall of a nursery.

It’s also an inspired example from nature of good parenting by being present for your child’s “firsts.” Whenever your child has an important occasion in its life, be there. Presence is the ultimate present.

The story behind the picture

I didn’t know much about robins. I still don’t. I’ve only seen them bouncing around the lawn, especially after the rain, hunting for worms. But one day I opened the back door of my house and saw a robin with pieces of straw between its beak.

Hmmm. This looks suspicious. Where is the nest? Is the robin looking at me just because I saw her? Or am I in its path to the nest?

I went back inside and soon noticed the robin flying close to the back door. In fact, just outside the door, on top of an outdoor speaker, seven feet off the ground, the robin was building a nest.

Construction was quick. Within a few days the nest was built and ready so the mother robin could move in and lay her eggs. She laid four eggs and all four hatched.

Then I watched as the mother would shuttle back and forth to the nest with worms to look after her little ones. As they grew up it was interesting to see their fast physical growth and quick psychological development.

I can still remember how one day they behaved like curious babies and the next they acted like nervous “young adults.” It seemed as if their instincts suddenly developed to where they just knew there was a reason to fear and they had to be cautious.

Three Young Robins in Nest

Three Young Robins in Nest

As an amateur photographer, or at least a person with a camera, naturally there were two kinds of pictures I wanted to capture next: 1) the mother feeding her babies; and, 2) the babies’ first flight.

Robin with Her Four Chicks

Robin with Her Four Chicks

After a few weeks, the little robins were all grown up. They were crowding the nest and getting restless. One would sit on the edge of the nest, peer out towards the world, and think about leaving.


One evening, the restless fledgling robin was getting more agitated than usual. Beside its three siblings, it would sit on the edge, flap its wings a bit, and then started chirping.

"Get me out of here!"

“Get me out of here!”

I had my camera ready. I was sitting and watching. Batteries were good and I was ready to go. But before I could snap the shot, the bird had flown the coop and landed in the soft grass.

It was a very unique flight. The little robin’s first flight was much slower than any bird flight I’d seen before. It flapped a lot but only moved a little. It almost looked like slow motion – it was kind of cute! 🙂 The path was straight but the beginner flyer must have had its wings at the wrong angle. Not a big problem at all. The first flight was successful, and there was no injury.

I was a little disappointed I had failed to capture the flight with my camera, but happy to experience a special moment of nature. That disappointment, however, quickly faded when both parents showed up, and kept still long enough for the picture at the top. 🙂

I had no idea one let alone both parents would show up. Most of the time they were gone, out of sight, looking for worms.

Male Robin

The daddy robin liked to be the “sentry,” watching from the top of a fence, making a noise whenever it detected danger.

babyrobinfallsNot all the robins were successful flying on their first attempt. One tried to fly but pretty much fell like a rock, straight down, onto a sheet of cardboard below.

Robin Recovers After Crash Landing

Robin Recovers After Crash Landing

Fortunately it suffered no injury. It gathered itself, tried again, and flew away.


Even the mother didn’t fly perfectly when she wanted to feed her chick after it had landed following its first flight. Her feet scraped its wings! The chick must have wondered what on earth was going on. 🙂

It’s quite tricky trying to fly through the small space between the vertical bars at that sharp angle; the mother probably got distracted when she was focusing on getting through without damaging her own wings. Luckily, she didn’t hurt herself and the baby’s wings were okay, too.