Category Archives: Environment

2013 Mount Timpanogos Hike

So July 27th I climbed Mount Timpanogos for the third time and the beauty of the mountain never fails to impress me.  This time was special because my 16 year old daughter hiked the mountain with me this time.  I was concerned that she wouldn’t make it but she was incredible and made it all the way to the top, along with two of her friends.

We Started out at just before 6 am and started the hike at 6:20.

Here we are at the first waterfall.  With the dry year it is quite a bit smaller then usual but it still is amazing.

2013-07-27 07.07.01Here are few of my favorite views of the canyon as you first start up the canyon.

So after hiking for about 3 hours we got out of the canyon and this is where it flattens out and the actual hiking is not so strenuous.  This is where we found the wildlife & flowers with all the meadows.

Here are some of the pictures that we got of the mountain goats:

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The meadows are so scenic.   I could spend hours with a good book and a picnic basket.

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Then we started the third and final part of the hike.  While the rock fields was probably the worst, I think the fact that our bodies were worn out made it worse.

We finally made it to the top!!  The view from both the saddle and from the peak are amazing!

It was a great hike and I can’t wait until next year!!

I had to include there pictures from my daughter’s friend.  The are pretty amazing!!

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Disappointment turns out to be a pleasure!

So I workout in my basement and that is usually the only place I do.  But this morning my 16 year old daughter and her friend were asleep in my workout spot and my son and his cousin were sleeping in my back up spot.  So I was a little upset with the situation but did that stop me?  Heck no!  I grabbed a laptop and headed outside and what a blast.  I am going to take some speakers out so I have better sound but I will be working outside again for sure!!


Is Anyone Having Mutant Fish Tonight?!?

In an attempt to grow fish faster AquaBounty Technology has developed a the AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon egg.  This fish will develop faster and will better meet the world demand for seafood.  Would you eat genetically engineered fish?



Critics say they may sue to stop what they see as a potential danger to people who eat GMO salmon and to the environment.

A controversial genetically engineered salmon has moved a step closer to the consumer’s dining table after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday the fish didn’t appear likely to pose a threat to the environment or to humans who eat it.

AquAdvantage salmon eggs would produce fish with the potential to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon. It would be the first food from a transgenic animal — one whose genome has been altered — that has been approved by the FDA.

In a draft environmental assessment Friday, the FDA affirmed earlier findings that the biotech salmon was not likely to be harmful. It said it would take comments from the public on its report for 60 days before making a final decision.

AquaBounty officials said they were caught by surprise by the FDA’s news that it was closer to approval, as years of controversy had followed the company’s application for the go-ahead from the regulator.

“We are encouraged that the environmental assessment is being released and hope the government continues the science-based regulatory process,” said AquaBounty CEO Ronald Stotish.

Critics say the new salmon is a “dangerous experiment” and have pressured the FDA to reject the genetically engineered salmon.

They said Friday they may file a lawsuit to prevent what they fear could be imminent approval of the engineered fish on the grounds that the FDA has failed to conduct a thorough assessment and because it wasn’t clear if the fish would pose a threat to people who eat it or to wild fish.

They were also concerned the FDA wouldn’t require the fish to be labeled.

“Congress can still keep FDA from unleashing this dangerous experiment,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, a consumer advocacy group. “Although this latest FDA decision is a blow to consumer confidence, we encourage everyone to contact their members of Congress and demand this reckless decision be overturned.”

The Center for Food Safety, another nonprofit consumer protection group, was highly critical of the FDA report, and officials said they might sue the regulator over the issue.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Obama Administration continues to push approval of this dangerous and unnecessary product,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for Center for Food Safety. “The GE salmon has no socially redeeming value. It’s bad for the consumer, bad for the salmon industry and bad for the environment.”

FDA spokeswoman Morgan Liscinsky said no final decisions had been made on labeling or on the application for approval.

“The release of these materials is not a decision on whether food from AquAdvantage Salmon requires additional labeling; nor is it a decision on the new animal drug application currently under review. It also does not provide a final food safety determination,” Liscinsky said.

STRESS!!! Who needs it?

The holiday season is upon us and as we didn’t have enough stress already, now we get parties, family, presents, shopping, wrapping, etc…  It doesn’t see to ever stop.  Here is an article built to help with the stresses of everyday.

Ways to Relieve Your Stress

By Sarah Stevenson

Back in Paleolithic times, stress and its associated hormone release was an important survival tool. Things like adrenaline gave us the juice we needed to dodge a famished cheetah, while cortisol helped out should that cheetah decide to pursue us for a long, long time.


The problem is, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Prolonged exposure to stress and its merry band of hormones can lead to all kinds of problems, including inflammation, fatigue, and many modern ailments, such as fibromyalgia and IBS.

In our busy, always on, always online world, it’s like we’re all being chased by cheetahs every single day. So it’s time to take that cat by the whiskers and let stress know who’s boss. Here are 30 quick tips to help you release stress in a matter of moments:

  1. Smile. When you smile, feel-good chemicals are released into the bloodstream, taking the place of stressful chemicals.1So smile and watch the world smile back at you.
  2. Take a deep breath. The act of deep breathing allows your mind to focus on the present moment and stop the worry train. Take a deep inhalation through your nose, allowing your lungs to fill up completely, and as you exhale through your nose, allow your lungs to empty entirely.
  3. Calm music. Relaxing music’s long, slow, spaced-out beats require less energy for the brain to process, and its predictive structure can be almost meditative.
  4. Man CallingCall a friend. Research suggests that people who have close ties with friends and family are all around happier, healthier people. Hearing the comforting sound of a loved one can help make a stressful situation less so.2
  5. Visualize. Whether you take a few minutes to visualize a serene setting that you’d love to be in, or imagine what the life of your dreams looks like, visualization gives your mind a break from the stress you’re feeling.
  6. Scream. This is a quick, harmless way to relieve pressure that has built up. When you are all plugged up, sometimes all you need is to let your steam out. So be a little teapot short and stout; when you get all steamed up, give it a shout.
  7. Make to-do lists. Knowing what needs to be done can help you navigate what you need to do for the day, and it allows you to focus on the tasks at hand and not on remembering all of them. As you finish them, check them off. At the end of the day, you’ll see how much you have really accomplished. Making this list the night before can even lead to a less stressful morning.
  8. Focus on the positive. Someresearchers believe that your thoughts can affect your physical body. Anxious, sad, and angry thoughts can make your entire body feel more stressed because they cause the brain to release the stress hormones, while pleasant, peaceful thoughts can make the body feel less stressed because they can cause the brain to release the pleasure hormones dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin.
  9. Relax your muscles. Focus on one muscle at a time; tense it for a few seconds then relax it and notice that sensation of relaxing. Begin at the top of your body and work your way all the way down until your body is completely relaxed.
  10. People Playing GamesPlay a game. Getting together with a group of friends to play catch, engage in a board game, or jam out on Rock Band®will take your mind off what’s causing you stress, at least for a little while.
  11. Aromatherapy. Research has proven that lavender, chamomile, and sage all have stress relieving properties when taken in through the olfactory system. Burn a scented candle, use an oil diffuser, drink some tea, or bring those herbs into your space to lower your blood pressure.3
  12. Laugh. Laughing gets endorphins and dopamine coursing through the bloodstream. These feel-good chemicals will help you feel happy and relaxed.4
  13. Get a good night’s sleep. Staying up too late can cause one to wake tired and depleted, and even everyday tasks will take more time and energy. Having trouble getting a great night’s sleep?
  14. Imagine them in their undies. If people stress you out, why not try the age-old idea of imagining them in their underwear? How intimidating is a person walking around in their skivvies?
  15. Journal. Mental health professionals currently promote journaling as a proper behavioral technique to reducing stress. Get the anxiety and negative emotions going on inside your brain onto paper. That way it doesn’t weigh the mind down.5
  16. Cup of  TeaHave a cup of tea. Chamomile tea to be exact. Chamomile tea has calming agents that can relax the body both through breathing them in and drinking them.
  17. Take a hot bath. Soaking in a hot bath relaxes the muscles that tense up every time stress hits the body. Ease them by slipping into a warm tub for a half hour or more.
  18. Go for a walk. When it’s too much, step away from it and get some fresh air into your lungs. Even a short, five-minute walk can help give you a fresh perspective and relieve stress.
  19. Have a good cry. Being brave and keeping a tough exterior can create a pressure cooker effect. Seeing a sad movie, listening to a touching song, or just allowing emotions to flow when faced with something sad can help give your body the release it occasionally needs.
  20. Plan something fun for the future. When you’re under a lot of pressure, this can give you a light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to. Just don’t make planning this stressful too.
  21. Get sweaty. Exercise relieves stress. Research even says that if you have a hard workout right before bed, you’ll get longer, more restorative sleep.6
  22. Couple KissingBe affectionate. People who kiss, touch, and hug produce less stress hormone and more feel-good chemicals than those who do not. When we are touched, our pre-frontal lobe gets a signal that we have another “carrying the load.” Our body then gets the “OK” to relax.8,9
  23. Tell a joke. Step away from the seriousness of the stress you’re under and share a joke with someone else. You’ll improve his or her day and you’ll get the satisfaction of bringing joy to someone else.
  24. Drink less caffeine. I know that’s just mean, right? But it’s true. If the body is all jacked up on caffeine, it has more energy but is also in a very reactive state, which can lead to mega stress.
  25. Create a mantra. Negative self-talk can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Create a positive mantra instead such as: “I live in a loving, peaceful world” or “It feels like a lot, but I can handle it. I’ve done it before and I can do it again.”
  26. Have a dance party. Pump up the volume and break out any move that feels good. You might feel silly, but the combination of exercise and feel-good music will put you in a better frame of mind.
  27. Tony StretchingStretch. When you are faced with a stressful situation, your body tenses up immediately and quite often does not relax unless you consciously make an effort to relax it. Stretching is a great way to relax those tense muscles. Stretch several times a day. Your body will thank you.
  28. Play with your pet. Research suggests that people with animals live longer, happier lives. Dogs love to lavish you with bouncy attention and some cats are content to rest in your lap for hours. Either way, their unconditional love will ease your stress.11


  2. Scherer, K. R. (2003). Vocal communication of emotion: A review of research paradigms. Speech communication, 40(1), 227-256.
  3. Motomura N, Sakurai A, Yotsuya Y. Reduction of mental stress with lavender odorant. Percept Mot Skills. 2001 Dec;93(3):713-8.
  4. Bennett MP, Zeller JM, Rosenberg L, McCann J. The Effect of Mirthful Laughter on Stress and Natural Killer Cell Activity. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, March-April 2003
  5. Richardson, K. M., & Rothstein, H. R. (2008). Effects of occupational stress management intervention programs: a meta-analysis. Journal of occupational health psychology, 13(1), 69.
  7. Carey, B. (2010). Evidence that little touches do mean so much. The New York Times.
  8. Harlow, H.F. The nature of love. American Psychologist, 1958, 13, 673-685.
  9. Brody, S. (2006). Blood pressure reactivity to stress is better for people who recently had penile–vaginal intercourse than for people who had other or no sexual activity. Biological Psychology, 71(2), 214-222.

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Does This Chemical Make Me Look Fat? ‘Obesogens’ Lurk All Around Us

Researchers are finding connections between everyday chemicals and the bulging-belt-line epidemic.

By Leah ZerbeRODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—There’s more to the obesity epidemic than eating too many hot wings and excess sitting. Certainly, poor food choices, particularly too much sugar and sweeteners, and a lack of exercise are major pieces of the obesity puzzle.But a landmark 2002 study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found the obesity epidemic paralleled the increase of industrial chemicals in the environment. Now researchers are finding that exposures to certain common endocrine-disrupting chemicals—not just lifestyle choices—could be programming us for weight gain, diabetes, and related problems. “We have to acknowledge the fact that obesity is not just about will power, that it’s not just all someone’s fault,” says developmental biologist Retha Newbold, MS, CT, of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Animal studies suggest that exposure to certain substances—found in everything from shampoos and soaps to vinyl flooring and pesticides—during fetal development or early in life can disrupt the normal development of an organism’s hormonal system, promoting the development of fat cells and hampering the body’s ability to send and receive signals that allow it to operate in good health. This sets the stage for metabolic diseases like diabetes as well as a lifetime of weight problems.

Which is why attention to reducing pre-natal exposure is so important. A new study just published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found suspected obesogens in the bodies of many pregnant women, who can pass them along to their developing fetuses. Young children may also be vulnerable to the effects. “It appears that exposure to certain chemicals during critical windows of fetal and early development could permanently program a person for obesity or diabetes, which may not show up for decades down the line,” says Newbold. “We’re talking about different modes of action. Chemicals could be interacting with the brain, pancreas, or liver, or the fat cells themselves. The end result is going to be obesity.”

Suspected obsoegens come in many different forms—here are some of them.

Previous studies have found an increased rate of diabetes among farmers and pesticide applicators, but it appears that even the low doses that the general public encounters can mess with our hormones. For instance, organochlorine pesticides, such as DDT (now banned, but its harmful breakdown product is persistent in the environment) have been linked to obesity, along with organophosphate pesticides and carbamates (the popular household insecticide Sevin is a carbamate pesticide).”Pesticides are designed to interfere with a lot of hormonal processes that insects require to replace themselves,” explains world-renowned researcher Theo Colborn, PhD, president of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange. “The same chemicals that affect insects affect us.”

How to avoid exposure:

Eat organic! Researchers have found that it takes just five days of eating organic to rid the body of virtually all pesticide residues. If the obesity link isn’t compelling enough to go organic, consider that other pesticides have been linked to certain cancers, ADHD, autism, Parkinson’s disease, and other health issues. And instead of using foggers and insecticide to combat household bug issues, adopt natural pest-control measures in your home.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

Studies in the lab find that BPA has the ability to accelerate fat-cell differentiation, disrupt pancreatic functioning, and cause insulin resistance, leading to obesity problems. In addition, other studies have linked BPA exposure to neurological development problems and sexual reproductive problems, including male infertility, in humans.

How to avoid exposure:

Scientists still don’t know the number one exposure source of BPA, but because the chemical is produced in such high volumes, it’s been found virtually everywhere. Until more data is collected about how BPA gets into our bodies, one prudent step to take is to minimize your handling of cash-register receipts—some have a high BPA content—so tell cashiers you don’t need a receipt for minor purchases. Also, choose food that’s fresh, frozen, or sold in glass jars over canned food, since most metal cans contain varying levels of BPA.

Personal care products

Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals tied to obesity, and they are ubiquitous in the personal-care product industry, particularly due to the chemicals’ use in synthetically fragranced products. A 2010 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that children with higher phthalate levels in their bodies experienced stunted growth.

How to avoid exposure:

Avoid personal care products that list “fragrance” or “parfum” as an ingredient, and nix air fresheners and scented candles. They are likely laced with phthalates and a host of other hazardous materials. (Choose beeswax if you need candles.)


Chemicals in vinyl chloride plastics called organotins persist in the environment, and are strongly linked to obesity. Exposure of mice to the organotin tributyltin (used on ship exteriors to prevent the buildup of crustaceans) before birth created permanent changes that pre-disposed the animals to weight problems. PVC plastics, such as pipes, vinyl flooring, and other vinyl products, contain dibutyltin, another organotin. Adding insult to injury, vinyl is also laced with phthalates, an obesogen listed above.

How to avoid exposure:

Avoid bringing vinyl products, including flooring, shades, purses, and shower curtains, into your home, and practice effective cleaning—PVC breaks down and can lurk in household dust.

Nonstick products

In a 2010 review article of published literature on the subject, Newbold links IDs perfluoroctanoic acid (PFOA) to obesity. PFOA (sometimes called Teflon) is used in many nonstick cookwareand kitchenware lines, along with stainproof coatings on furniture, greaseproof food wrappers, microwavable popcorn bags, and waterproof materials.

How to avoid exposure:

If you already own nonstick kitchenware, don’t freak out. But when you start to see scratches and chips, replace it with American-made cast iron or untreated stainless steel cookware.


Polybrominated biphenyls (PCBs) were used widely as flame retardants in the electricity industry, but they’re no longer made because of the compound’s environmental and health effects. Newbold says the obesity-inducing mechanism of PCBs could be similar to that of BPA and some pesticides, working through estrogen receptor pathways. (The same company that made the bulk of PCBs is now behind the push for a chemical farming system and genetically engineered food.)

How to avoid exposure:

Since people are exposed to PCBs by eating contaminated fish, meat, and dairy products, eating lower on the food chain more often can help reduce your exposure. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to go completely vegan, but you could ease into a more plant-based diet by giving Meatless Mondays a try.


Soy is low in fat, but it’s also a phytoestrogen, meaning it has plant-based estrogenic properties. Doses comparable to those eaten in the Western diet have been shown to promote fat-cell growth. Newbold says parents should be especially wary of feeding soy to babies or children. “Studies have shown that kids on soy formula have a tendency to gain weight,” explains Newbold, who notes that soy affects developing children differently than adults. Babies born small for their gestational age who are put on high-calorie “catch-up diets” also face an increased risk of obesity later in life.

How to avoid exposure:

Since developing babies and young children seem to be most sensitive to soy, Newbold suggests that women breastfeed, if possible, and parent avoid giving young kids soy products.


Not only do babies born to mothers who smoked throughout pregnancy face an increased risk of being born prematurely and underweight, but strong research also suggests that those same babies face an increased risk of being obese as they grow older. Nicotine (or nicotine plus some other component of cigarette smoke) could tinker with the child’s metabolic system; researchers just aren’t sure yet of the mechanism. Perhaps compounding the problem, low-birth-weight babies born to smokers could also be put on a “catch-up diet” referenced above, further increasing their risk of obesity later in life.

How to avoid exposure:

Don’t smoke if you’re pregnant, and do your best to eliminate second- and third-hand smoke.

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