Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Real Risk of Getting Botulism from Home Canned Goods

by M. J. Joachim

Botulism is a rare toxin that affects nerve cells resulting in various health problems including paralysis and death. According to the Center for Disease Control, there are 145 annual cases of botulism reported each year, only 15% of which are food related - that’s an average of 22 cases of food related botulism (worldwide) annually.

Botulism spreads through decomposing animal tissue and plant material, creating a toxin in the food source. The Department of Environmental Conservation states that botulism is a type of food poisoning that affects animals that have ingested another animal or substance affected by the toxin. Therefore, in order to be infected by the toxin, an animal or person must ingest decaying, decomposing food that is infected with botulism, or carries the spores that will grow in the right environment.

Most botulism is found in birds, poultry and fowl, many of which die off well before they ever have a chance of being hunted and making it to the food supply. Many of the birds infected aren’t even considered suitable meat that people would choose to eat.

Fish also can carry botulism. Some species include small mouth bass, rock bass, catfish and sturgeon. If these fish have consumed rotting food in their diets, they are susceptible to carrying and passing on the botulism toxin, which can expose humans to the toxin if they eat contaminated fish.

“Most botulism in cattle occurs in South Africa and South America, where a combination of extensive agriculture, phosphorous deficiency in soil and C botulinum type D in animals creates conditions ideal for the disease." (merckmanuals.com) “This type of botulism is rare in the USA.”

Hot water bath home canning has taken a hit, because of the scare of botulism. Rather than blaming the consumption of botulism on material infected with decaying food affected by the toxin, the USDA has gone to great lengths to blame home canners without providing the necessary back story, that the material being canned was previously infected because it had died and was in the process of decaying, thereby making it unsuitable for consumption in the first place.

On average, there are only 110 cases of botulism reported in the US annually. Only 9 of those cases on average are associated with home canning, most of which are limited to the Alaska Native population where wild fishing and hunting are necessary for survival to the average citizen there.

Apparently some Alaska Natives found a beached whale they decided to harvest and can. The whale was infected with botulism, making it unsuitable for consumption, and several people who ate the home canned whale got sick, because their original food source (the whale) had been contaminated with the botulism toxin while it was decaying on the beach. The people canned a dead, decomposing and decaying whale and got sick from it.

Approximately 25 people are infected by restaurant related incidents, where the source of contamination is detected somewhere along the chain of supply, many cases which end up being traced back to a single food source that has been distributed and marketed to a larger audience.

“Big bale silage and haylage seem to be a particular risk (in the US) and result in botulism problems if fermentation fails to produce a low and stable ph (<4.5).” (merckmanuals.com)

Arizona had a large incident rate of botulism cases among some of its incarcerated citizens in recent years. A few of them got together and created a hidden distillery from the guards. Their grain was apparently contaminated. One can only wonder who and what the source of the grain was, and suspect its contamination should have been expected, considering prisoners had access to the necessary supplies to make a distillery in the first place. Well, a bunch of inmates got sick, the distillery was discovered and ultimately shut down.

Far be it from me to suggest that a bunch of government employees might have been forced to eat home canned goods, prepared by a mother with less than tasty recipes, when they were young. For all we know, they probably fed their food to the dog under the table too.

Using limited information and resources, home canners are being warned of the dangers of growing and passing on the botulism toxin in their hot water bath canned goods, particularly if they can meat and vegetables which don’t meet a certain ph level. It’s not true, but to be on the safest side possible, hot water bath home canners can always add crushed up Vitamin C tablets to their recipes - either that or they can pickle their meat and veggie recipes to bring up the acid levels.

Normal precautions apply. Jars and lids must be sterilized. Food must be of highest quality - no decaying food allowed. If you purchase your food from a certified distributor like the grocery store or any business allowed to distribute food, please remember that they go through a rigorous government process to be allowed to distribute food to the public, thereby making your chances of purchasing contaminated goods that much less likely. Proper sealing is also a must, and it must be ensured. When in doubt, refrigerate, reprocess or dispose of any and all questionable foods.

Can and eat at your own risk. If you do it right, botulism shouldn’t be an issue or concern for you at all.

Thanks for stopping by today,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Clostridium botulinum, CDC Public Health Image Library, PD-US

National Public Television - http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/08/02/157777834/canning-history-when-propaganda-encouraged-patriotic-preserves

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Exploring Some Long Term Effects of Abuse

by M. J. Joachim

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. All those abuse survivors, the ones who have moved on and made a different life for themselves. As much as they’re past it and are not in that space anymore, they’re rarely completely free from what happened to them. 

The mind is a powerful thing, allowing dreams and nightmares to help those who have been abused work through what happened to them. The body manages stress, often depositing it in different places, getting it to react in numerous ways. Maybe it’s a sound or place trigger that causes the body to react, get tense or shut down and pull the covers up and over, to hide from whatever monsters might be lurking in the shadows.

Then there’s the physical ramifications people suffer. Not being beaten anymore doesn’t mean the beatings didn’t take their toll on the body. Even if no bones were broken in the incidents, physical ailments can and often do happen long after the beatings have stopped. It might be ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, traumatic brain injury or even early onset arthritis that gets diagnosed, not necessarily because it was inevitable, but rather because bodies aren’t used to being thrown around like rag dolls. Nor should they be!

There needn’t be any research to back this up. Simple common sense will do the trick. People getting thrown or bashed on a continuous basis for any length of time, are bound to pay the price for years to come. It’s traumatic and it doesn’t go away just because the victim is no longer in danger.

Thank you for visiting Effectively Human today. I wish you well,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Cycle of Abuse Power & Control Issues, moggs ocean lane, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Giving Yourself Permission Not to Care

by M. J. Joachim

Some hurts take a lifetime to heal. Lines get crossed that can never be uncrossed, and all that’s left is heartbreak. It’s best not to let it turn into resentment and bitterness. Heartbreak is tough for people. There is no cure, and though time has a way of soothing its pain on good days, it’s not the cure to make heartbreak go away for good.

At some point, you just have to accept things for what they are, not because you want to, but because the alternative is so much worse. When you live with things for a long time, like abuse victims do, it’s not easy to forgive the abusers and get over it, just because so many years have passed and you’ve been safe for most of them now.

How does one get past being beaten, ridiculed and degraded consistently for an extended period of time? I’m not sure it’s possible, especially if the victim is further victimized by other’s siding with the abuser in an effort to maintain the peace. I’m picturing a really bad boss, where no one wants to be the next target here, or a family member where it’s too hard to take sides.

Distance helps. So does giving yourself permission to not care. If you’ve been abused and have moved on, you don’t have to care about the person who hurt you. You won’t go to hell for not loving your enemies. Jesus really does understand what you’ve been through, and He’s not going to cast you aside for being human and dealing with it the best way you can.

For those reading this blog who aren’t religious, get off your own back. You’ve been hurt enough and not caring doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human, dealing with things the best way you know how, because you deserve to be okay, and if not caring makes you okay, then don’t care.

Thanks for stopping by, dear people. I’m wishing you a very peaceful and wonderful day!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: William or Frederick Starmer, “I Don’t Care,” PD-US

Monday, October 20, 2014

Thinking, Thinking and Thinking Some More

by M. J. Joachim

I’m a thinker. I think about everything, and then I think some more. Lots of people do this, especially before making a decision and taking an action. Thinking is a good thing, as it helps us make sound decisions we can live with, which ultimately make our lives better in some way. At least that’s the plan when we think, decide and do.

The catch comes in when we don’t think, opting to react instead. Sometimes it’s very necessary to react, like when a pot is boiling over on the stove, or someone swerves into our lane while driving. Reflexes can be very helpful to minimize consequences of harmful situations, so we all should be grateful to have them. However, it is true enough that reflexes have been know to get people into more trouble too.

Thinking is not about instinct or reflex, however. It’s about making conscious thoughts for the best purpose. So why do so many of us second guess those very same thoughts, once a decision and act based on those thoughts, has already been made?

Thanks for stopping by today!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Le Penseur, Daniel Stockman, Creative Commons - Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lighting Up the Darkness

by M. J. Joachim

One day I woke up and declared, “I’m tired! I don’t want to live in this dark place anymore!” That’s when I decided the world can be anything I want it to be. I have the power to turn the lights on in the darkness. I have the knowledge to change the way things are.

It’s exhausting being human sometimes. We don’t even need any special circumstances to make it so, because life naturally has a way of wearing us out sometimes. Thus the importance of listening to our spirits, hearing what our bodies and minds truly are telling us, and responding in such a way that any and all negativity is banished from our sight, all because we have the courage to turn on the light in the darkness.

Thanks for visiting Effectively Human today. Wishing you all a brilliantly shiny day!

M. J.

© 2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Luz en Movimiento, GNU Free Documentation License

Friday, May 16, 2014

Have You Ever? The Games People Play because They Can

by M. J. Joachim

Have you ever turned on your computer, performed an Internet search and wondered who’s tracking or staring back at you?

Have you ever held your cell phone a little further from your ear or put it on speaker, because it might cause health problems?

Have you ever watched your smart t.v. and wondered if it monitors your viewing habits?

Have you ever taken prescription drugs to treat symptoms, without worrying about the side effects?

Have you ever donated to cancer research, believing your donation could be the final amount that would actually find the cure?

Have you ever eaten fast food and believed there were any health benefits in it at all?

Have you ever scratched that bug bite on your arm, looked up similar pictures on the web, and decided you were bitten by a rare bug that could wreak havoc on your health, for months and possibly even years to come?

Have you ever visited medical web sites to query your “symptoms” and told your doctor what you think might be wrong with you, so he could follow your lead, instead of researching his own theories?

Have you ever become enraged or extremely concerned by a web posting being spread around, only to find out it was a hoax?

Have you ever been afraid to keep moving forward, because you’re inundated with so much information that stops you dead to rights in your tracks?

Have you ever eaten a fast food meal without thinking about the extra, useless pounds of fat, you were adding to your waistline?

Have you ever felt like something must be done about everything, because there’s so much wrong with everything else?

Have you ever asked about taking medicine, because you heard it had some possible miracle solutions you might need?

Have you ever muted a medicine commercial, because once you actually listened to all the possible adverse side-effects, you knew you’d be better off drinking a bottle of poison instead?

Have you ever multi-tasked on two or more Internet connected devices simultaneously, because it was easier to get everything done that way?

Have you ever searched the web for basic information that you probably already know, if you’d just take the time to think about it for a second?

Have you ever saved files, scanned for viruses and problems, updated software, downloaded apps, liked, commented or shared a post or status, and wished there was an easier way to stay informed and be in-tuned with society?

If you have answered yes to more than a few of these questions, you are socially & technologically up to date. I think I’ll go to a local park and sit on a swing for a while right now.

Thank you for visiting and commenting on Effectively Human today. 

Now turn off the screen, box, pad or whatever it is and find out what the weather is really like outside, without pressing the app button that will readily tell you, before you even take time to look out the window.

M. J. 

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: Marlon Felippe, Impact of water in a water surface, GNU Free Documentation License

It’s about us, and some of us might just be missing the boat on a few things, while others are swimming in some pretty deep waters. There are times to swim with sharks. There are also times to wade in the shallow end or float on top of the water.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

M. J. Unplugged…about Feelings, Current Events, Politics, Global Warming etc. etc. etc.

by M. J. Joachim

Emotions and feelings make it difficult to communicate sometimes. We all have them, buried deep within the confines of politically correct aspirations. Few people make a concerted effort to offend others. Yet, we do, and there’s not a whole lot we can do to avoid it. 

I’m not a huge fan of sugar-coating things. I pretty much tell it like it is, and when it comes to being politically correct, well, even if I work really hard at it, I doubt I could pull it off very well. Yup, not a big game player either, and not one to stroke a bunch of over-inflated egos, even if it might help pave the path to where I’m going. 

Brass tacks, telling it like it is - this is much more my style. Still, there is no room for the bull in the china shop, and broken china turns into quite a big mess in a hurry. 

I’m not sure where the rest of this post is going, so I’ll just keep typing until I feel it has nowhere else to go. 

The sad thing is when emotions get the better of us, and feelings control our world, often influencing our decisions to the point of losing boundaries, or neglecting our responsibility to be educated when we make them. Looking at the bigger picture, taking as much into account as possible, considering the repercussions of our choices not only for ourselves, but for those who might be affected in the ripple effect that always happens. 

We are not an island, and no one carries the world on their shoulders alone. That’s why drama turns me off so bad. It’s not about taking sides and having compassion, as much as it is about being reasonable and realizing that we’re all in this together. We all have so much to offer, and we all need each other and depend on each other to keep moving forward in this life. 

No one person carries the torch or lights the olympic flame. It takes a group effort, and that group effort is symbolic of the human race as a whole. It takes all of us to keep moving forward in a positive direction, so for anyone to assume or try to take control is a wasted battle for those taking sides and playing to win or lose on one of them.

The battle lines have been drawn for so many things. Look at Ukraine and Russia. Look at oppressed women and girls who get kidnapped for going to school. Look at WWII and the holocaust, or POW camps throughout history. Look at parents dominating, as opposed to raising their children. Look at rapists, terrorists and those guilty of treason (whether they’ve been caught for it or not). Look at kids disrespecting authority to the point of bringing harm on themselves, without even realizing that’s what they’re doing. Look at global warming - or is it just the cycle of the earth doing what the cycle of the earth does? Who really believes they can control the ebbs and flows of ocean tides or temperatures in summer and winter? Who really believes they can prevent droughts by making it rain, or create an ideal climate where blizzards don’t happen and extreme heat in summer is a faux pas?

I listen to all the arguments in favor and against things and shake my head sometimes, because all I hear is a battle for control based on fear. Fear of what, I wonder? That the world will end, or the Internet will crash? That a massive pandemic of some viral illness will wipe out half the people on the planet, all because they didn’t sign up for Obamacare or some other ascribed to socialized medical plan? 

I don’t get scared very easily anymore? Some of the things that scared me most in recent years are that my kids might have been abducted, because too many pedophiles had rights, and were being released on our streets. The government also scares me, because some of those officials sure know how to campaign, but when it comes to being honest and above reproach, too many of them have proven to be downright nightmares, especially when they’re secrets start getting exposed, and you know we never hear the full story on those. I’m also scared of privacy invasion. When a computer is all you need for spies to enter your home and track your every move, it’s a little unnerving. When a cell phone can be tracked and the government can spy on all your communication, to make sure you’re not a threat to society, it’s just flat out wrong. 

I’m not saying we should give up proper security measures, but shouldn’t we make educated decisions on how and when to implement them? Shouldn’t we allow average, law-abiding citizens to live their lives in peace, without monitoring their ever action, tracking every time they go to the doctor, capturing their every thought - innocent or not? Shouldn’t we make a list of pros, cons and everything else, before writing a blank check to minimize our freedom and/or guilt? It’s not exactly pressing the easy button, I know, but it sure sounds a whole lot smarter than throwing out the baby with the bath water, if you ask me.

Thanks for bearing with me as I share a whole lot of things that have been randomly filtering through my mind. They’re public knowledge now, and you never know, I might be deemed a threat by some for voicing them. Then again, I might have a whole bunch of people nodding their heads and saying, “You go girl!” too. Ah life, and then we get analyzed and judged by the masses.

M. J. 

©2014 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: U. S. Air Force, Lightening over Las Cruces, New Mexico, Public Domain