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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey


Common Foods Aren’t Always Common Sense

Aug 30, 2023 07:43PM ● By Joe Dunne

For the last 50+ years I have noticed red, green and blue dyes being added to our drinks, foods and snacks. To me it’s just common sense, but it does not feel right to be putting these and other chemicals on my skin, hair and in my body. What is now in milk to enable an expiration date a month after we buy it? Why do we continue distribution of products, drinks and foods in the USA that have been rejected by Europe because they contain banned chemicals, some even linked to cancer?

To me, it’s common sense that natural and organic is healthier than chemically treated. Homegrown is preferred. Growing fruits and vegetables here in America is more desirable—the more local, the better—as is seasonal rather than year-around from all over the world. It fractures my mind to think that preservatives are in my best interests.   

My beliefs and thoughts have led me to understand that everything is still my responsibility. My health is one of the most important aspects of living, and yes, it’s my responsibility.  

Having open heart surgery at the age of 47 triggered a process of learning. I became a vegetarian for over 12 years, then went to chicken as my only meat, then back to vegetarian. Now, a plant-based diet is what I follow. After reading the China Study I became convinced that my diet, what I put into my body, must be tied to facts and good common sense. For the most part, I think I have taken good care of myself, though improving is always the driver.  

What I haven’t paid enough attention to is sugar. I knew to watch it, but it’s hidden in everything, so it’s somewhat challenging to track. On the edge of diabetes, I am now focused and committed to paying attention to sugar, empty carbohydrates and eating with intention. 

I continue to study the effects of sugar and where it hides in my dietary choices to make common sense adjustments. Sugar is a hook—who doesn’t like sweet? But the amount of sugar in our everyday diet, in most cases, is over the top. Who eats a quarter cup of cereal? I am shocked at how much sugar or added sugar yogurt with fruit contains, bread, juice, soda (I do not drink), the sheer amount we consume in a day, a week and a month. The facts are in, and it’s clear our society is on the wrong path. 

As I approach January and my 80th year, my health is paramount to my goal of living a disease-free life. It just makes common sense to me to stick around as long as I can, and in order to make that goal, I must be responsible to me and for me. To reach my goal of 102 in good shape and tootling around in my Google-driven car, good health is the key. 

In peace, love and laughter,

Joe Dunne, Publisher

Tick Talk

Spring officially sprung on March 21. We have turned our clocks ahead. We are looking forward to warm winds, sunny skies and the smell of fresh cut grass. The daffodils and tulips have recently bloomed and we are just starting with the yard work that comes with the warmer weather.  Sadly, another season has started ramping up.  Tick season.

•             The best form of protection is prevention. Educating oneself about tick activity and how our behaviors overlap with tick habitats is the first step.

•             According to the NJ DOH, in 2022 Hunterdon County led the state with a Lyme disease incidence rate of 426 cases per 100,000 people. The fact is ticks spend approximately 90% of their lives not on a host but aggressively searching for one, molting to their next stage or over-wintering. This is why a tick remediation program should be implemented on school grounds where NJ DOH deems high risk for tick exposure and subsequent attachment to human hosts.

•             Governor Murphy has signed a bill that mandates tick education in NJ public schools. See this for the details.  Tick education must now be incorporated into K-12 school curriculum. See link:

•             May is a great month to remind the public that tick activity is in full swing. In New Jersey, there are many tickborne diseases that affect residents, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan, and Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis.

•             For years, the focus has mainly been about protecting ourselves from Lyme disease. But other tick-borne diseases are on the rise in Central Jersey. An increase of incidence of Babesia and Anaplasma are sidelining people too. These two pathogens are scary because they effect our blood cells. Babesia affects the red blood cells and Anaplasma effects the white blood cells.

•             Ticks can be infected with more than one pathogen. When you contract Lyme it is possible to contract more than just that one disease. This is called a co-infection. It is super important to pay attention to your symptoms. See link.

A good resource from the State:


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