Mandatory Vaccinations: The Choice Should Be Yours...

The vaccination-autism debate is a lightening rod that became further energized by the case of Hannah Poling, of Athens, Georgia. Hannah was developing normally until 2000 when at the age of 19 months she received five shots against nine infectious diseases.

Soon thereafter Hannah’s behavior began spiraling downward, until she was eventually diagnosed with autism in 2001. Then late last year the government reached a settlement with the Poling family on the theory that the vaccinations she received might have aggravated an underlying mitochondrial condition, thus contributing to Hannah’s autism.

Although the case has been touted as proof that vaccines contribute to autism, public health experts and vaccine advocates disagree.

“Scientific evidence has failed to confirm any link between vaccination and various disorders, including but not limited to autism,” explains Tara C. Smith of Aetiology, “Studies have shown again and again that any risk that comes from vaccines is negligible compared to the risk of contracting the infectious agent.”

But the case has nonetheless fueled parents’ concerns about having their kids vaccinated.

“I feel vaccines contribute to autism…The vaccine schedule is driven by profits the pharmaceutical companies make by convincing parents and physicians that they must vaccinate their kids,” explains one mother of a child with autism living in Clinton, New Jersey.

And the recent push to make the HPV and flu vaccine mandatory only feeds the worry and criticism. So, as public concern and outcry continues to build, shouldn’t parents have the right to decide exactly what their child does or does not get stuck with?

“Like all medications, immunizations are not without risks and the risk-benefit ratio has to be considered for each individual and each immunization individually, in a rational attempt to reduce overall risk,” explains Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Eat For Health and Disease-Proof Your Child.

“My philosophy has always been to teach and inform, so patients can make decisions they feel most comfortable with. This also includes allowing individuals to make choices that I might not always agree with,” said Dr. Fuhrman.

Now, to public health experts the prospect of an unvaccinated population is unfair.

“People think of measles and chicken pox as these benign childhood diseases…But obviously kids who’ve died from them aren’t around to lend their voices to the debate,” said Tara C. Smith. “These parents say they won’t ‘sacrifice’ their children to the ‘greater good,’ so instead they put all our children at risk.”

But for others the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and public officials creates concern.

“In 2001 the Homeland Security Act introduced a provision to protect drug manufacturers from liability should any of their vaccines ever be proven to cause harm…This is basically acknowledging that there is harm,” said Robyn O’Brien, founder of

That’s why Mrs. O’Brien encourages parents to obtain the package insert from the vaccine manufacturer that comes in the box of vaccines delivered to the pediatrician’s office, before you inject your child with anything. These inserts list all the risks of a particular vaccine. (An online listing of vaccine inserts can be found at The Institute for Vaccine Safety).

Mrs. O’Brien feels most pediatricians are so busy seeing patients that they don’t have time to familiarize themselves with the information on the insert, so, it’s up to parents to seek out all relevant information.

Maureen Drummond, founder and spokeswomen for The 6108032618 Coalition for Vaccination Choice (6108032618CVC) offered this piece of advice. “Don’t be motivated by fear…Pull out all the stops to gather that information before you vaccinate. Go beyond what public health, doctors, and manufacturers put out there. Look for that package insert!”

The 6108032618CVC supports the passage of legislation that will provide a conscientious belief exemption to mandatory vaccinations. “A ‘Conscientious Exemption’ acknowledges that every individual needs to reserve the right to refuse any procedure, including vaccinations that carry the risk of injury or death,” explains Mrs. Drummond.

Currently most parents rely on religious exemptions to avoid having their children vaccinated. However, a religious exemption requires a doctor’s support and is commonly challenged by school nurses. Conscientious Exemptions would alleviate the need to claim belief in a higher power and would allow a rightful exemption based solely on parental decision.

With valuable information merely a keystroke away, parents and caregivers are better educated than in years past, so if they’re willing to do their homework and make an informed decision, shouldn’t they be rewarded with the right to vaccinate or not to vaccinate?
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Eating to Live on the Outside: Girasole

As a card-carrying member of Italian-American society, I think I’m pretty qualified to examine Girasole for this week’s Eating to Live on the Outside, and, a good friend of mine asked me to do it. So, let’s see if this Italian kitchen passes the test.

Actually, it’s pretty bad. I just scanned through the lunch and dinner menu and both menus don’t offer much for the discerning nutritarian. I kind of expected it. As an Italian guy, I can tell you firsthand, since I started eating a vegetable-based nutrient-dense diet. I’ve cut out A LOT of traditional Italian favorites; things like pizza, chicken parmesan, lasagna, antipasto, and meatballs.

Sure, now I’m the black sheep at family get-togethers, but that doesn’t bother me. I’ve been crazy for years. So eating lots of fruits and vegetables and doing Yoga is pretty tame for me. Okay, enough about me, back to the Girasole’s menu.

Okay, I’ll start with the appetizers. Well, there’s a whole mess of them—mess being the operative word—lots of gooey cheese, sausage, and prosciutto. Yeah, not exactly health-promoting, but, there are two menu items I could roll with.

The first is the Funghi Trifolati. It’s made with Portabello mushrooms, domestic mushrooms, sautéed white wine, herbs, garlic, and bread crumbs. Not perfect, I know. But comparatively speaking, it’s not bad. The sautéing and the bread crumbs are a concession, but mushrooms are great and so is garlic—right?

Next up is the Vongole in Bianco or Rosso. Relax you don’t need to know Italian. It’s prepared with clams, and your choice of white wine and garlic broth, marinara, or far diavolo sauce. This one is certainly iffy. According to Oceans Alive clams have some contamination issues. So, even if I ordered them with the marinara sauce—which I would—I’d still have to deal with the typical seafood concession.

Alright, truth be told. I probably wouldn’t eat either of these appetizers, but in a pinch and if for some reason I HAD to order an appetizer. I’d go with Funghi Trifolati. Hey, let’s just move onto the salads!

Now, the Insalate is not the slam dunk it can sometimes be. For example, consider the Mozzarella Fresca e Pomodoro. It’s hardly a salad—this is actually a pretty common Italian food—its just mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. Not exactly a salad packed with phyonutrients—egad!

As for the real salads, I like the Tre Colori—in fact, I think this is the best option overall—it’s prepared with arugula, radicchio, Belgian endive, and lemon vinaigrette. Nothing too bad here, just order the vinaigrette on the side and you should be all set—agreed?

At first the Capricciosa caught my eye, until I looked closely. The lead ingredient is organic greens—GREAT—right? But it quickly gets a whole lot worse; provolone cheese, olives, and salami. I saw that stuff and all I could say was, “Feets don’t fail me now!” No thanks.

And that’s it folks. I don’t see anything else I’d consider ordering. There are pasta dishes, but I hardly eat pasta anymore and none of Girasole’s are worth taking the refined pasta hit. Like I said, when you’re an Italian nutritarian a lot of your traditional ethnic food goes out the window.

Alright, now it’s your turn. Perhaps I’m in a stupor. Maybe Girasole really is a great place for nutritarians to grab a meal. So do me a favor, check out Girasole’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat wisely! Peace.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Island Flavors

I guess it’s only fitting that it’s a warm sunny day out and I’ve got Bob Marley on the stereo, because today, Eating to Live on the Outside heads to Island Flavors for a taste of “Authentic Caribbean Cuisine.” Does it hold up? Only one way to find out!

Right away we’re off to a promising start. The salads are up first and I see two I like. Let’s start with the easier one, the Reggae Salad; prepared with seasonal fruits, paradise dressing, tropical spring mix (I’m guessing veggies), and mango bread. Not perfect, but not bad either. The fruits and veggies are great, the dressing doesn’t bother me that much and I could take or leave the mango bread—although I’m curious to try it. How about you?

Now, the Tropical Jerk Chicken Salad—relax, I know there’s chicken in it! We’ll deal with that in a second, but first, check this out. It’s made with FOUR different lettuces; green leaf, Romaine, iceberg, and radicchio. That’s cool! It gets better. This tropical salad also comes with cucumbers, tomato, mango, pineapple, dressing, and of course, the jerk chicken. Okay, I love the fruits and veggies, but the spiciness of that chicken terrifies me. If I eat jerk ANYTHING, you’ll have to jerk me off the toilet all night, so, I’ll pass on the chicken, and, order that dressing on the side.

Moving on, the sandwiches and wraps are next. The Grab and Go Fish Sandwich has potential—just as long as the fish is an Eco-Best—it’s made with fresh fish, spices, roti skin, lettuce, tomato, and mango-papaya salsa. I know what you’re thinking, what the heck is a roti skin? Roti skin is basically a flatbread, which makes it a concession, but I can live with it. The sautéing makes me nervous, but I could handle it in a pinch—although I like to water sauté my veggies.

The Caribbean Vegetable Wrap is also a nice choice. Like the name says, it comes with a lot of veggies; carrots, zucchini, Portobello mushrooms, yellow squash, red peppers, onions, fresh basil, roti skin, and fried plantains. I like everything, but the fried plantains. I’ve got nothing against plantains. It’s the frying I can do without. Oh, and you’ll have to come to grips with the sautéing here too.

Veggie Style is a really good place for a discerning nutritarian to check out. I see three things I’d order; Curry Vegetables, Plantain Special, and the Dreaddie Special. Combined these dishes are made with garden vegetables, curry sauce, plantains, rice, peas, salad, and spicy or mild sauce. Hard to argue with these, maybe the rice makes you a little apprehensive, but I don’t eat rice very often—and when I do its usually brown rice—so I can handle it.

Alright, to finish up our digital trip to the Caribbean, here are some miscellaneous menu items that might strike your fancy. The Curry Veggie Roti; carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sugar snap peas, curry sauce, greens, and plantains. Now, I like all of this, my only concern is if that curry sauce contains cream, is so, NO THANKS! A side of steamed cabbage is a nice option to consider and finally, the carrot juice is a surprising winner. Here’s why, from Dr. Fuhrman’s Food Scoring Guide:

Hooray for carrot juice! Okay, I think someone eating a nutrient-dense vegetable-based diet could certainly find refuge at Island Flavors—there are plenty of workable fruit and veggie inspired dishes to soothe the savage beast. Well, my Bob Marley CD is nearing an end, so it’s your turn. Check out Island Flavor’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat well! Peace.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Ma Soba

Okay, last week we had a hard time with Jackson's Sports Grill, but no worries, this week is a little more palatable. We’re heading to Boston to grab a bite to eat at Ma Soba. An Asian restaurant with plenty of veggie inspired goodies. Let’s have a look!

Now before we start going through the menu. We should remember one thing. While it’s true that many Asian restaurants serve up lots of Fuhrman-friendly food choices. Asian food usually comes with a price, salt. So, we’ll do our best, but we’ll probably hit a snag or two.

Alright, I see a couple entrees I could roll with. The Tofu and Chinese Eggplant Stew is prepared with two kinds of tofu, sliced eggplant, rice, and a soy and wine sauce. Soy sauce, yup there’s a concession! I’d probably ditch the sauce or at least order it on the side. Now rice isn’t exactly nutrient dense, but I can deal with it—trust me, it could be worse.

Next up is the Grilled Salmon Filet. Along with the fish you get mango salsa, mashed sweet potatoes, and stir-fried vegetables. Provided the salmon isn’t Atlantic salmon, I’ll cool with it. Perhaps the bigger hit is the stir-fried vegetables. The veggies are great, but the frying part, not so much, might be a good idea to inquire about steamed veggies instead.

Ma Soba also serves sushi. I like sushi, but I don’t eat it very often and usually—for the sake of safety—I stick with salmon. Ma Soba does serve salmon sushi, so I’d probably go with that, but if I was in the mood for sushi rolls, it wouldn’t be my first choice. Here’s why.

Check out the maki rolls. Ma Soba has got some great VEGGIE sushi options. Now, I like sushi, but I LOVE veggie sushi. These four are great. From Ma Soba’s menu:

I would pass on any soy dipping sauce, but as for the rice these rolls are prepared with, I can live with it. White rice doesn’t scare me that much, but if do feel a little guilty about eating some, I’ll just run an extra mile at gym or maybe hold a Yoga a little longer than I normally would.

Let’s move onto the “others” section of the menu—kind of a funny name, but there’s some good stuff here. Like the edamame and steamed tofu appetizers. I probably eat steamed edamame beans once a week. Beans in general are great foods—musical too!

Perhaps even better than these appetizers are the salads, in fact, I’d say the salads are the BEST options on the menu. I went ahead and marked them on the menu. Take a look:

For either of these salads I’d ask for the dressing on the side. Now, the seaweed salad looks tempting and green seaweed is wonderful, but seaweed salads are usually LOADED with salt, so, got to skip it—darn!

To close out our digital visit to Ma Soba, I think the Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings and Sauteed Asian Vegetables are okay options too—no great, but not horrible. Neither of them would be my first choice and if I were to order one of them, I’d make sure to keep close tabs on my diet over the next couple of days, just to keep myself from tripping.

So there you have it, another restaurant onto the ever-growing pile of Eating to Live on the Outside, but, we’re not finished yet! It’s your turn. Check out Ma Soba’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat well! Peace.

Eating to Live on the Outside: Jackson's Sports Grill

“I see the bad moon arising. I see trouble on the way. I see earthquakes and lightning. I see bad times today.” Maybe John Fogerty was singing about this week’s Eating to Live on the Outside—BECAUSE IT’S BAD! Jackson’s Sports Grill is a ROUGH mission.

Most of the menu is totally off limits. I mean I’m no dietician, but I hardly think meat pizzas, cheesecake, Buffalo wings, onion rings, Italian sausage, fried shrimp, and patty melts are nutrient-dense—right? Yeah, this isn’t going to be easy.

Okay, let’s see what—if anything—we can do with this menu. Well, the appetizers are out and so are the wings, pizzas, and desserts. So, I’ll just jump right to the salads. I see two I like, but they’re not without problems.

First, the Mandarin Chicken Salad; made with salad greens, green peppers, tomatoes, green onions, pineapple, mandarin oranges, Asian noodles, sesame seeds, sesame seed dressing, and grilled chicken breast. Okay, if you wanted to keep the chicken—I guess you could—but I’m ditching it, I’m also nixing the noodles and ordering the dressing on the side.

The next option is the Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad; prepared with Romaine lettuce, mandarin oranges, raspberry vinaigrette, grilled chicken breast, and shaved roasted almonds. Pretty much the same deal here; keep the chicken if you want to and order the dressing on the side.

Moving on, the sandwiches, wraps, and specialties are no man’s land—or should I say no nutritarian’s land. There are a couple fish dishes that you’d THINK would be a decent, but, in both cases the poor fish has been deep-fried to death—yeah, pass!

Now, below Jackson’s specialties are the sides; coleslaw, salad, Caesar salad, collage cheese, corn, green beans almondine, onion rings, mashed potatoes & gravy, French fries, seasoned curly fries, and fresh-fried potato chips. Okay, most of these are junk, but I could certainly make a nice meal out of the corn, green beans, and salad—good idea?

Lastly, there’s a workable option under burgers, The Veggie Burger. According to the menu it’s made from all vegetables. Now, earlier in the week I blogged about veggie burgers; sure, they are meatless, but they’re hardly super foods. They’re loaded with salt. Maybe Jackson’s veggie burgers are different. Personally, I wouldn’t risk it. I’ll stick with a salad.

That’s that! Another lousy standard American restaurant bites the dust. It’s sad. So many restaurants are just dumping stations for the standard American diet—very depressing. Alright, maybe I’m slipping, maybe you can do better. Check out Jackson’s Sports Grill’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat healthfully! Peace.