Learn How to Read Food Labels

Reading and understanding food labels is essential if you want to maintain good health for you and your family. Most people look at food labels, and instead of making informed, reliable choices, they scratch their heads in befuddlement or consternation.

Placement of Nutrition Facts food labels on most food packaging has been legally mandated by the FDA since 1994. The Nutrition Facts are placed in close proximity to the ingredients list. People should look at packages and expect vertical, horizontal, or abbreviated orientations of the Nutrition Facts.

Master one section of the Nutrition Facts at a time, and it’s not so daunting. Then you’ll know precisely how to read food labels. Here’s a concise overview.

Serving Information

The serving information, positioned at the top of the label, is the precursor to understanding the nutrition facts underneath. What you’ll see are the serving size and the number of servings. The serving size is given in a common, familiar unit of measurement like a cup, tablespoon, or piece, followed by the equivalent metric quantity, i.e., 1 cup (228 grams)

The important thing to keep in mind is that the Nutrition Facts on a package are for a single serving of the food. It’s quite misleading because a person may think that the Nutrition Facts apply to the contents of the whole bag, when, in reality, it applies to only a serving of the food. That’s why it’s imperative to look at what constitutes a serving before looking into the Nutrition facts underneath. A good rule of thumb is to multiply the calories by the number of servings, and that is how much you’ll be getting.

Typical Food Label


Next, let’s peer into the strange, sometimes ominous, world of calories. Science has shown that too much caloric intake has been linked to weight gain and obesity. But how many calories do we really need? Calories are a measure of how much energy we get from food. Thus, nutritionists and weight loss experts have commended us to reduce energy intake (food) and expend more energy (exercise). Some foods actually cost more calories to digest than they give back to the body, i.e., apples and asparagus have negative calories. You can lose weight without doing anything. How many calories you need per day is dependent on your gender, height, energy expended per day, current weight, ideal weight, temperature and a host of other factors.

Online tools can help you reach an ideal weight by asking you these questions and then spitting out the answer of how many calories a day you should eat. If you’re using food labels to manage your weight loss program, avoid the empty calories present in sweets, soft drinks, white rice, margarine, shortening, pizza, tater tots, french fries, and other foods with plenty of energy potential but little or no body-building, cell-supporting nutrients.

Fat Free?

Furthermore, the recent fat-free food trend over the last 10 years has resulted in Americans becoming 33% fatter. Excess sugar is converted to fat, especially in people already overweight. So, in closing, multiply calories by the number of servings and gauge how much sugar there is.

A good answer to the dietary debacles of the modern age is to go back to a diet that made Americans the healthiest in world around the turn of the century. Various forms of this diet are out there, e.g., The Maker’s Diet, Nourishing Traditions, Weston A. Price, etc. and the best online learning library for intelligent nutritional information is at the Weston A Price Foundation website. You’ll never have to read food labels again!

Calories From Fat

So, you may be asking, what are calories from fat? Well, it’s no different from a protein calorie or carbohydrate calorie. They’re just units of energy. However, it’s important to know where calories originate because an excess of bad fats can have serious consequences in body. Most dietitians recommend that no more than 30% of your calories come from fat. That would mean that a 2,000 calorie diet would get 600 calories from fat per day. However, the Inuit of Alaska and Greenland have startlingly low levels of diabetes and heart disease despite a high-fat, high cholesterol diet. The paradox is explained in Sally Fallon’s ground-breaking nutrition treatise and cookbook, Nourishing Traditions.

Suggested Daily Requirements

Moving on, you’ll notice the measurements and recommended daily amounts (represented as a percentage) of fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Wise consumers avoid trans fats because of their devastating consequences for all bodily systems, and several political movements have erupted just to stop their use. Heart disease, cancers, high blood pressure, and stroke have been linked to over-consumption of the wrong fats, so, along with Sodium, these problem elements are prominently displayed. Sodium is not listed along with the other minerals below because most Americans eat way too much of it, and it exacerbates certain health problems.

As opposed to these nutrients you should limit and avoid, especially processed vegetable oil, you should look at the good nutrients on the label like dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Iron.

Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber slows the movement of sugar into the bloodstream and gives regular bowel movements.

Vitamins are organic micro-nutrients, or vital amines, that are essential in small quantities for the normal and healthy metabolism, growth, and repair of us humans!

Be sure to pay close attention to those food labels and what you eat and make sure you take in plenty enough fiber.

Artificial Vitamins and Minerals and a Connection to Cancer?

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

Artificial vitamins and minerals have actually been shown to cause cancer in recent research so I recommend a completely food-based source of vitamins and minerals called PhytoMatrix. All of these nutrients are bioavailable because they’re in a form that we normally find in food.

This article is too succinct to describe the many benefits of individual vitamins, but a very important book on the subject is Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, a fascinating book that chronicles the life of a dentist as he traveled to isolated tribes all over the world and analyzed their eating habits and diet compared to the incidences of cavities (he was a dentist), diseases, and facial structure. Although the diets were different and a result of region, culture, and scarcity, they all had the same amounts of fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins, and they were all in excess of a modern European or American diet.

The suggested daily requirements at the bottom of the food label are a good indication of what a person needs with a 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diet.

I hope this information has stimulated you to take control of your health, write your congressman, make websites, and spread the word about the insufficiency of food labels for determining proper nutrition!

Copyright 2007-2012 all rights reserved

Society and Culture

Against the Law to Grow Your Own Food?

Gardens of Crime: Does The Government Want To Punish Self-Sufficiency?

Vegetable gardens are something I always remember my grandparents having while I was growing up. Nothing tasted better than the tomatoes and bell peppers that were eaten fresh just moments after they were picked. Still warm from the sun, with all the flavor that nature intended. It is certainly much healthier than the stuff bought in the grocery store! And if you had told me then that there would be any cause for concern or legal ramifications for growing food on property, I would have said to go back to reading science fiction novels. However, some believe that the current laws in place regarding food production are leading this country into the hands of complete government control.

Some have been fined and even jailed for refusing to move their gardens in their own yards!

Home Grown Tomatoes

What on earth? This can’t be happening, this is America! However, while some of the hype is just that… hype… there are some real concerns now about having gardens at home. And of course, it is all done with the words ‘safety first’. Seems like the government likes to decide what is safe and what is not by hiding behind created laws that are based in some need to protect the American citizens from some kind of danger. The Patriot Act after September 11, 2001 was done for ‘our own safety’ and it has resulted in less requirements for search and seizure of properties and vehicles.

Along the same lines is the Food Modernization Act that was introduced two years ago and after a few changes, signed into law by President Obama in January of 2011. This was allegedly done in response to outbreaks of E-Coli that were related to the mishandling of food and food products. It was for our own safety.

All sounds good, doesn’t it? After all these years, we must know that if it sounds too good and it seems like the government cares too much – maybe we should be asking twice as many questions.

Food Safety Modernization Act

In 2009, a bill known as HR 875 was introduced to Congress. This bill, known as the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, was originally proposed by the Democratic Representative of Connecticut, Rosa L. DeLauro in response to the large food poisoning outbreaks of salmonella and E coli that had taken place in recent years. It would require any food production facility to fall under more rigid standards before any product was consumed.

A Food Safety Administration would be implemented within the ranks of the Department of Health and devote its time to the research and prevention of food-borne illness as well as stringent requirements before food passed government inspection. The bill in its original wording did not pass into law, however two modified versions were presented in 2010.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (SB 510) was signed on January 4, 2011 into law – and this has had many who question the government’s motives extremely concerned for the future of self-sufficient gardening.

Do Companies Such as Monsanto Stand to Gain from Laws Geared Toward Not Allowing Home Gardens?

Some of the concerns have been exaggerated, in particular the claim that DeLauro’s marriage to Stanley Greenberg, the CEO of Greenberg/Quinlan Research Inc. put her at odds with the nature of the bill. The speculation was that Monsanto, a huge food and agriculture corporation headquartered in Missouri, had business dealings with Greenberg and the ‘research facility’ was simply a smokescreen for direct dealings with Monsanto. This in turn leads to speculation that Monsanto has a vested interest in this bill to gain a food production monopoly. There is nothing that can conclusively prove this connection and all parties involved have denied having any business dealings for at least a decade. It has also been argued that there is no language in the bill that directly controls the production of organic and home gardening.

Or does it? Many believe that the law is the beginning of the end for the self-sufficient gardener. The fear is that the regulations on food production under this law will attempt to force people to buy only government approved produce. While some rumors of the law have been exaggerated, such as farmer’s market’s being forced to shut down due to impossible regulations (there is nothing whatsoever in the wording that refers to this), there are some legitimate concerns. Even more alarming is that since this law has introduced, real people having to face fines and prosecution.

Cases of Prosecution for Home Gardens

Michelle Obama (

In Oak Park, Michigan during July of 2011, a woman was charged for violating city ordinances by having a vegetable garden in her front yard. Now while many will argue that this is city issue, what was interesting is that in looking at the city ordinance laws, vegetable gardens, especially those neatly kept as this one was, are not in violation.

So are these minor city offenses going to be blown up out of proportion?

The case was dropped against this woman and she did not go to jail over her garden. She plans to continue growing her vegetables and truly believes that the public opinion swayed the DA’s office. People spoke up… because now they are realizing that the threat is not just the ramblings of the conspiracy theorists but rather a step to government control into how we take care of ourselves and our families.

After all, if Michelle Obama can plant vegetables in the front lawn of the White House to promote childhood health, why can’t everyone?

Another case in Georgia involved a man growing vegetables in his back yard. The city issued an ordinance violation, saying that his garden was ‘too large’. He was given a fine of $5,000 for the crime of growing his own food and selling the surplus. According to the ordinance, there is a ‘fine line’ between growing food commercially and growing for personal use. This happened in 2010, before the Food Safety Modernization Act became law, but during the time of the changes being made to the original legislation. Is it simply a coincidence that these cases are coming to light since its introduction?

The danger here is taking every case that is a city violation and stretching the circumstances to make it fit a conspiracy. But even more dangerous is simply putting our heads in the sand and saying that there is absolutely no connection and that the law does not have any real concern to self-sufficiency.

Anytime the government steps in for ‘our own good’, the guard should be up and we should question what is being done for our supposed protection.

Genuine Concerns About Growing Your Own Food

At this time, the only criminal charges for having a home garden have fallen under city ordinances that for some reason are being enforced now more than ever. The timing of that, if nothing else, has people in an uproar about the future of self-sufficiency. However, we must also be aware that there is more focus on those cases than there used to be because of this bill. And yes, it is very interesting that a highly publicized case of an attempt to prosecute a gardener came to light a mere six months after the bill had been signed into law, but if the law were not an issue – how far would the news have gotten? Are we looking too hard for examples?

The true concern with this law as it stands now is that the smaller farmer is going to be at a disadvantage financially. If only supplies and pesticides that are government approved are allowed for farming, what will happen to the organic farmer? Many of these food producers are not going to be in the same financial position to cover the costs and fees that will be in place to have an established government-approved farm. Some believe that this is simply a quiet, unassuming way to gain control and power over those who want to be as self sufficient as possible as well as putting the organic farmer out of business.

The voices from the government are whispering in our ears to ‘hush now – all is well and it is for your own good’. But how is a government agency being in that much power of food production a good thing?

Why are ordinances that have not been enforced in years suddenly a bigger priority?

And why does the safety of our country from foreign terrorists always factor in to the propaganda when it is hawked for approval?

Keeping rainwater in barrels is illegal in some states.

Saving seeds has come under intimidation. An example would be Monsanto not allowing the farmers in Missouri to save their soybean seeds, saying that it violated ‘seed privacy’.

And now a law that will only benefit large business food production while cracking down on the farmers who can’t pay to get around the loopholes.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2012

Improve Your Neighborhood! Plant a garden




Dangers of Over The Counter Medicines

Many of us have gone to the drugstore to pick up a pain reliever/fever reducer or cold medicine. After all, there’s no need to make a trip to the doctor if it’s just a common cold or headache, right?

For the most part, if properly used and not over-used, OTC’s can do the trick in a pinch, but it is important to note that it should never substitute for finding out what the problem is if symptoms continue. There are also concerns to be aware of with over the counter medication in regards to overdose and adverse effects.

One of the first legal decisions made about medicines happened in 1704 by the House Of Lords in Great Britain. This was in response to the College of Physicians having a monopoly on the medications that were dispensed, and the decision gave apothecaries (pharmacies) the right to sell medicine without the prescription of a doctor. This covered many medicines until 1860 when it was decided that the medicines which had the highest potential for addiction and harm would be regulated through medical doctors. However, this still left many medicines available over the counter.

Regulation of OTC’s in the United States is done by the FDA (Food and Drug administration) and it is required that all information about the drug including active and inactive ingredients as well as clearly marked age-appropriate doses. Drug warnings are also required to be listed. However, many people still mistake the term “over the counter” for being safe to take in higher doses, which could not be farther from the truth. There are also interactions with other drugs as well as certain foods that may be harmful. While it is not necessary to completely eliminate the use of non-prescription medicine, it is essential to be aware of potential dangers.

Adverse Effects With Over The Counter Medicines

Anything that is done in excess can cause a harmful reaction in the human body. This is especially true with medications.

Adverse effects that are associated with OTC’s are:

Over The Counter Medicines and Harmful Side Effects

Side effects happen with certain people and can keep the medication from achieving its desired effect.common side effect of allergy medication is drowsiness. Some are more inconvenient than harmful, but all should be taken seriously especially if the discomfort from the side effect outweighs the original illness.

Over The Counter Medicines and Interactions With Other Drugs

Drug to drug interactions are generally classified into three different types: alteration, duplication, and opposition. Alteration means that one drug affects the way another drug is absorbed into the bloodstream. An example of this would be antacids that affect the way certain antibiotics are absorbed. Duplication is especially a concern when combining cold medicines and pain relievers, as many have the same or similar ingredients, making a bigger risk for overdose.

Over The Counter Medicines and Interactions With Certain Foods

There is no real evidence of OTC’s interacting negatively with food, however it is important to follow the directions on the medicine label in regards to whether it should be taken on an empty stomach or directly after eating. Drugs differ in their absorption ability, and some work better when taken with food than others.

Over The Counter Medicines and Allergic Reactions

Something that is less common but still a great concern is the risk of an allergic reaction. This is another reason that the FDA requires that medicines have all active and inactive ingredients listed on the label to make sure the potential for allergic reaction is reduced. There are people who are at higher risk for adverse or allergic reactions, which will be
discussed next.

People At Higher Risk

So which groups have a potential for harmful adverse reactions? Obviously not everyone is in danger from OTC’s or no one would be buying them. While healthy people can have a bad reaction to something now and again, there are certain ages and conditions where there is a greater risk. This includes infants and young children, adults over the age of sixty, and people who are already taking prescription medicines. There are also conditions andchronic illnesses that can put a person in greater danger of adverse effects.

Some of the conditions that can put a person at a higher risk for a bad reaction to over the counter medicines include any type of bleeding disorder, which includes disorders that cause problems with blood clotting. Liver, kidney, and heart conditions can also cause adverse effects. People with asthma and other breathing difficulties should also be wary, especially if other medication is being taken. Anyone with an immune system disorder or central nervous system issues needs to take caution when using OTC’s.

Other diseases or disorders that should consult the doctor before even purchasing OTC’s are Parkinson’s, glaucoma, epilepsy, diabetes, thyroid issues and psychiatric problems. This is not to say that people with these conditions are prohibited altogether from taking over the counter medication. It does however mean that there are potential interactions and side effects that will have to be considered before taking them. Anyone that has a history of allergies or allergic reactions should always refer to a doctor first.

These are just some of the issues that can cause problems and adverse reactions with taking OTC’s. Even if there are no present problems, healthy people with no apparent medical concerns can still have bad side effects, and its important to be aware of them – and how to solve the problem if it happens.

What To Do

Two of the most common over the counter medications used today are antihistamines (for allergy/cold symptoms) and acetaminophen (pain reliever/fever reducer). These are also the ones that have the most potential for overdose. Acetaminophen side effects are usually attributed to taking more than the recommended dosage or continuing the dosages for a long period of time. The effects can range from mild discomfort (usually abdominal) to serious toxicity of the liver and kidneys. Nausea, vomiting, yellowing of the skin and abdominal pain are some signs to cause concern and worst cases can lead to heart failure and death.

There are many types of antihistamines available over the counter, two of the most common being brompheniramine and diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Most side effects are expected and can be dealt with such as sleepiness, blurred vision and dryness of the mouth. However, these types of drugs are especially harmful to those who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as Niamid or Drazine and should be avoided. Of course, as with any medicine, if the recommended dosage is exceeded, the chances of side effects increases.

The smartest thing to do when it comes to OTC’s is to use common sense and caution. People sometimes mistakenly believe that because a medicine can be purchased without a prescription that it is safe in any amount. This could not be further from the truth as a lot of harmful side effects are a direct result of overdose. Many cold medicines have acetaminophen in them as well, and taking Tylenol along with one of these can cause an overdose. Other things to consider are alcohol consumption, which affects the body’s ability to utilize the medication and will often increase the side effects of drowsiness or upset stomach.

Most important – always consult a doctor about all medications, including OTC’s. Your health may depend on it.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2011


Hidden Dangers: Be Aware Of Your Environment!

It will likely not come as a surprise to anyone that dangerous toxins are in the environment, both in the cities we live as well as our homes. We are careful to monitor where household chemicals are stored and do research on such toxins as carbon monoxide, lead and radon. What needs to be remembered is that there are many chemicals, dyes, and other potentially dangerous substances to examine as well.

These concerns have garnered controversy because many of these products have been deemed “safe”. However, the tests done by researchers indicate that at the very least there is cause for some caution. The good news is that more activists and groups are making people aware of what dangers exist. When there is awareness and education, changes can be made. Success in any type of production is reliant on consumers, and if enough consumers make their concerns known, changes can be made. Alternative products without harmful chemicals will become the higher demand.

We will be discussing some of the chemicals and additives that have been found to cause reactions as mild as a simple skin irritation to potential carcinogens, or cancer causing agents. Education about what is put into our environment will challenge those who are responsible to make changes as well as limit our exposure to these toxins when possible.

Air And Water Concerns

The Environmental Protection Agency has the job of locating and identifying superfund sites, or sites that are required to report their output of toxic chemicals. Cleanup requirements are monitored, and any violations are supposed to be reported and made public information. To find the chemical releases in any given area, simply go to the EPA website  and enter the zip code of the place in question. Click “go” to see a complete rundown of the toxic releases and offending sites.

According to the EPA, six pollutants fit the criteria for being toxic releases. These are sulfur dioxide, lead, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and volatile organic compounds (including ozone). Sulfur dioxide is most often found in areas of refineries, steel mills, and power plants fired by coal or other fuel. The biggest daily offender of carbon monoxide are the areas of heavily congested auto traffic. Any industry that has combustion processes exposes us to nitrogen dioxide, which is suspected to be toxic to development and the respiratory system. The ozone layer, which is essentially the major component in the smog caused by traffic congestion and factory pollutants, has been a concern for many years because of the potential damage to even healthy lungs and cardiovascular systems. Particulate matter from the air pollution comes in varying sizes, with the smaller particles having the easiest time breaking through our defenses.

Many of these toxins can be found in the soil and water as well as in the air we breathe. Lead is often found in old water pipes. It is known to have  many potential health effects, especially on the cardiovascular system, brain development, and the kidneys. Old homes and furniture may have lead based paint, which was especially a concern with parents using older baby cribs passed down from family members. While many of these toxins cannot be completely avoided, education in knowing where they are and what might be causing that rash or persistent cough is important. Education gives a community a voice that can enact change if enough people speak.

Check Around The House!

There are a lot of things that come to mind with household dangers, most of which are simple common sense. Make sure outlets are covered, make sure wiring is updated, keeping the kitchen and the bathroom areas clean, and always keep cleaning products stored away from small hands. However, it’s important to note some of the dangers that might not come as readily to mind. Small symptoms such as unexplained stomach discomfort or a rasping cough might be eased if the offending products are tended to or removed.

One commonly used household item that can be a potential danger is the cleaning sponge. The very thing that is meant to keep our kitchen and dishes clean can also be the perfect environment for germs and bacteria. It’s a good idea to make sure and replace kitchen and household sponges often. Mold is another hidden danger that may not be obvious unless professionally checked. Upon buying a new home, there should always be an inspection for hazards such as mold and proper upkeep and maintenance to keep mold from forming is essential to protect the family against this particular danger. Mold can cause serious physical reactions such as skin irritations, respiratory issues, and even neurological problems.

Even more important to know are the concerns about the products that are deemed “safe” and yet are under fire by many environmental groups. Food dyes such as Blue 1 and Red 40 have been found to cause allergic reactions in certain people. The studies have been conflicting as far as the carcinogenic dangers of these food dyes, but the acknowledgement of triggering allergic reaction is concerning enough. Another component in many baby bottles and other products made of polycarbonate plastic is bisphenola-A or BPA. It has been deemed safe, however the concerns are due to the incidents of early-onset puberty in girls and other dangers such as obesity and breast cancer. There is a strong effort to make all pending products of this nature BPA free.

What Can Be Done?

It can seem very overwhelming to think of what can cause harm right in our own homes or in the air we breathe and the water we drink. It’s important not to let that hinder the education that is needed. Being aware not only gives an edge in protection against these toxins, it lets the industries in question know that people are aware. Producers of these toxic chemicals will have to answer to more regulations if the people speak loudly enough. One thing that can be done is to keep up with the EPA website. They are constantly updating their data and will show what sites are superfund, or under regulation to report chemical outputs and means of disposal.

Prevention of such chemicals as BPA and food dyes/additives does require making sure that it is known exactly what is in  the products used at home. If plastic baby bottles and nipples are used, consider buying from some of the environmentally friendly stores and websites that offer BPA free products and natural rather than chemical dyes. Reading what is in the products around the house and researching their potential side effects is very important in knowing what is truly lurking in the cabinets and shelves.

Prevention of mold buildup in the home is greatly increased simply by making sure all appliances such as water heaters, washing machines and refrigerators are working and not  leaking anywhere. Mold thrives in wet, moist environments and the longer that it is unattended, the worse it will get. Rather than spend the money to clean and remove mold, prevention by simple household maintenance will go much farther in keeping the family safe.

We can’t live in a vacuum – at some point, we are going to be exposed to substances that can be harmful. The key is to reduce the chance of that exposure by knowing exactly what the dangers are and where they might be hiding in the home or environment.

For more information, check out the Environmental Protection Agency website at

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2011


Asperger Syndrome: Symptoms, Detection, Possible Causes and Therapies

It is true that we have become a world of politically correct speech and everything must have a name. However, it should also be noted that there truly are conditions which need to be understood. Autism is something that is having more education and awareness brought to the forefront of the medical community, and along with this education includes studying the spectrum of pervasive developmental disorders that fall into the autism scale. One of these conditions is known as Asperger Syndrome. To look at a child that has this condition, one would not see anything on the outside that indicates anything other than the norm. This is true with many of these psychological disorders that seem to have skyrocketed in diagnosis during the last half century. However, to look beyond the surface is to see a mind that is highly functioning and yet far from typical.

The term Asperger Syndrome, or Asperger Disorder, was first used in the early 1980’s by the psychiatrist Lorna Wing in a written case study. Dr. Wing is also the mother of an autistic child, so her interest in studying the symptoms and history of others who had previously studied was very strong. The name comes from one of the first pediatricians to actually start charting the behavior and study patterns of children that had atypical patterns of speech and social interaction – an Austrian doctor named Hans Asperger. One of his first studies was done during wartime in 1944. He wrote of four children who were patients of his that exhibited a sense of ‘disconnect’ with other children. They were unable to read simple body language cues and were often very uncoordinated physically.

By this time, autism had been recognized, and with no other condition that was comparable, Asperger referred to the disorder as ‘autistic psychopathy’. He also believed strongly that they not only had a place in society, but were indeed capable of great achievements under the right circumstance. The paper was not widely circulated and was written in German, but when Dr. Wing read it, she was inspired to write her own paper from this early study of high functioning autism. The official diagnostic name came about in 1992. Since then, more attention has been paid to Asperger Syndrome and how to detect the signs early on so therapies and treatments can begin.

Asperger Syndrome Symptoms and Early Detection

Asperger Syndrome often makes itself known to parents when their child starts any kind of pre-school or setting where peers are present. Children with Asperger’s are likely to have a lot of trouble adjusting and don’t interact well with others their age. There is a ‘blank’ effect when exposed to anyone else’s pain or discomfort – in other words, they lack any real empathy for others. They don’t react well to changes in routine and will often miss the cues of body language or a change in a person’s tone of voice. For example, if the child is misbehaving and the parent speaks in a firm, loud voice telling them to stop, the response will likely be to continue the behavior. They simply don’t ‘get’ that changes in tone can mean anything significant.

In a bit of a twist, while the child may not be developing at the typical rate socially, they often exceed in other areas. The speech of a child with Asperger’s is not the usual way children of their age group speak. They will often use old-fashioned, formal words that almost seem to be more appropriate for another time period. Rather than saying “I am here” they may say something such as “I have arrived”. Another aspect is the ‘one sided’ conversation. Children with Asperger’s will often be very knowledgeable on one particular thing such as space travel or a time in history. They will talk incessantly about that one subject, but when the attempt is made to divert the child’s attention, they will often stare blankly and not respond.

Motor skills in children with Asperger’s are often delayed. Simple tasks may take longer to learn such as handwriting and using food utensils, and the walking is often awkward and unbalanced. There is also the possibility that the child will have a more intense reaction to heightened stimulation such as bright lights or sudden loud sounds.

Possible Causes of Asperger Syndrome

When a parent hears that their child has any type of developmental delay, the first question is often “Why?” As with many pervasive developmental disorders, the actual cause is not known. There are many theories, one of the most prevalent being that there is a genetic link. When Hans Asperger was studying his patients that all had these similar traits, he also found that there were less obvious traits in family members, in particular the fathers. Research is being conducted daily, however at this time there has not been a specific gene determined that is a common link in children with Asperger’s. One of the reasons that the theory continues to be studied is because of the genetic links that have been found in some cases of autism spectrum disorder. While Asperger’s does fall into the spectrum of autism, it is considered unique in the way it manifests itself.

Along with the studies of genetic links, there are also the possible connection to teratogen exposure. These are the components that cause certain birth defects, usually within the first two months of conception. Environmental factors have also been theorized, but there is nothing conclusive at this time. The fact is, as much as we have learned about the brain and central nervous system, we are light years from truly understanding what can cause someone to be ‘wired’ differently. What is known is that it seems to show itself early on with speech and social development delays.

Until the answer of ‘why’ can be determined, what doctors and other medical professionals are focusing on is how to manage the disorder. Asperger’s children have their own unique set of challenges when dealing with the day to day routines. They will likely not share or play very well with others and will not react to another’s pain or happiness. Along with these challenges, many children with Asperger’s have areas where they not only excel, they can reach genius levels. Dr. Asperger noted that his students were ‘little professors’ and felt that they had every chance of success if given the right opportunities.

Asperger Syndrome Therapies and Management

Asperger’s Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals

What is important to note with those who have Asperger’s is that ‘natural’ social skills that come from typical child development need to be taught on a consistent basis. As with any pervasive psychological disorder, the earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better. There is no one way to treat Asperger’s as it varies from each individual. The important thing is to remain on a routine that a child feels comfortable with and with the right therapy, many of them grow up to be fully functioning adults capable of relationships and successful lives.

Occupational therapy as well as physical (if needed) and cognitive behavior therapies are done on a daily basis, with consistency and structured routine in the early years. Structured routine is not to be confused with the repetitive routine of some of the obsessive behaviors in Asperger’s children. These behaviors keep them from being able to focus on other things they need to be learning. Their obsessions, such as building, designing, or learning about one certain subject can be channeled in their favor, but only if it is met with a balance.

Medications are sometimes given to Asperger’s children, but only if there is another diagnosed issue such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or debilitating anxieties. Medication should be monitored closely and should never take the place of the extensive therapies needed. Most importantly, the child needs parental support and encouragement. The parents should be working along with the therapists to keep the routine consistent.

In these days of over-diagnosis, especially with children’s behavior disorders, it is important to remember that there was a time when anyone who did not fit in with the norm of how people were expected to act were often outcasts. Perhaps some of the misunderstood geniuses of the past had some of the same traits as what we now call Asperger’s. Most likely it is our own need to give a name to something… and to try to understand it further once it can be identified. In the long run, it is much better to overdo it than to not do anything at all.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2011

For more detailed information and resources about Asperger Syndrome:


Life and Money

The Salvation Army: A History Of Giving

As we hustle and bustle (does anyone actually ‘bustle’ anymore?) to get our holiday shopping done, we will see a familiar sight outside of many stores and businesses. Volunteers ringing a bell and standing in front of a red kettle with the emblem of the Salvation Army proudly displayed. This tradition is as familiar as the Christmas carols that come through the speakers in nearly every mall and store in operation.

I might be in a hurry, but I make a point of stopping and giving a bit, even if it is only a dollar or two. Regardless of the amount, I will likely get a smile and good holiday wishes from the one minding the kettle. There is something about that smile that is just as rewarding as the squeals and sighs I will hear on Christmas morning from the kids as they open their gifts. That smile represents thousands of families worldwide that benefit from the services provided by the Salvation Army – and it starts with every penny that goes in to those kettles.

The Salvation Army

By definition, the Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian based organization that offers social services, shelter, food, and clothing along with spiritual guidance. Founded in 1865 in England and originally referred to as the East London Christian Mission, the Salvation Army was coined by it’s founder, William Booth. When he was trying to dictate the purpose of the mission in a letter to his secretary, he reconsidered the sentence referring to them as a ‘volunteer army’. Booth was said to have an epiphany which he revealed aloud… that they were not volunteers, this was something that had become a regular part of their lives. The term “Salvation Army” refers to the emphasis on a person’s spiritual well-being as well as their material and physical needs.
William and Catherine Booth

The Salvation Army began as the East London Christian Mission in 1865 by William Booth, who at the time was a Methodist minister in England. Born in Sneinton, Nottingham April 10, 1829, he was the only surviving child of Samuel and Mary Booth. The family at one time had been quite self-sufficient, even wealthy – until bad investment decisions and his father’s alcoholism sent the family into severe poverty. At the age of 13, William was sent to live and work for a pawnbroker. During this same year, his father passed away. Two years later he was introduced to the Methodist sect of the Christian faith and began training to be a lay minister. He detested working in the pawn broking business, which he felt encouraged people in unhealthy and ‘ungodly’ behavior, so he focused on the lay ministry. Along with his studies, he also took to the streets, preaching in the open air for all who were able to hear.

Booth became a minister for the Methodist church, however he soon found that limitations kept him from truly spreading the message he wanted to get across. He felt that the churches were more sympathetic to those already living their lives for God rather than trying to save ones who were on a destructive path. He married his wife Catherine in 1865, and soon after was preaching on the streets for all to hear. Some of the missionaries outside of a public house heard him speaking and were impressed enough to invite him to speak in a series of tent meetings that were being planned. These meetings were held in the Whitechapel district of London, and focused on reaching the full masses, not just those who went to church on Sundays. From this, the idea of meeting the poor people of London’s physical needs such as food and shelter gave life to the ministry, preaching in deed as well as word.

It was 1878 that the idea for an ‘army’ was developed by Booth. He became the first ‘general’ or the overseer of the ministry. Other preachers held titles comparable to the military ‘officers’ and the lay-people were known as ‘soldiers’. William’s wife Catherine was also vital to the ministry. She became known in the area as the “mother of salvation” and while Booth would preach to the poor and the weary, Catherine would work at getting the financial backing from the people of means who believed in what they were doing.

Symbols and Services

The Salvation Army

The symbols for the Salvation Army are in line with their basic beliefs. The flag, which is a background of red with a blue border and gold starburst in the middle stand for the fight against social injustices and stigmas. The red signifies Christ’s blood shed for humanity, the blue represents the purity of God and the starburst represents the fire of the Holy Spirit. The crest, which has a crown with a set of symbols underneath is also significant to their basic message. The cross is at the forefront, which of course means the cross of Jesus. The “S” that is superimposed is for the salvation that Christians believe is obtainable through belief in Christ’s sacrificial death. The swords going through symbolize the belief of spiritual warfare, or a war between good and evil for human beings souls that Booth believed was being fought daily. The words “Blood and Fire” are emblazoned to further symbolize the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the fire of the Holy Spirit which Booth and his ministry believed would ultimately win out in the end.

The ministry went well beyond simple soup kitchens and shelters for the homeless. Disaster relief often comes from the Salvation Army, and was first done in the United States on a large scale for the hurricane victims of Galveston Texas in 1900 as well as victims of the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. The Army had come to the United States in 1880, and it was with these disasters that respect was truly earned for the hard working volunteers. Thrift stores and social service centers are now worldwide, helping anyone who needs a hand up. The red kettles at Christmas time have been a time honored tradition for years, with people even giving large donations of expensive jewelry or checks in the meager kettles to be re-distributed to the poor and needy.

Continuing the Legacy

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, while responsible for feeding and clothing thousands of needy people every year, is certainly not without its controversy. It has only been in the last decade that Salvation Army employees who are in domestic unions have been granted the same benefits as those who are married. Misappropriation of funds has been questioned in the United Kingdom and allegations of abuse within the Salvation Army shelters in Australia have been acknowledged. As in any organization, there are conflicts both inner and outer, that are present. Even still, it cannot be denied that many, many people have benefited from the assistance that is given.

From its humble beginnings in the East End of London, the Salvation Army has grown to a world-wide mission. There are currently 124 countries that have offices and the headquarters remain in London England where it all began. One has to wonder if Booth had any idea how far reaching his legacy would be and how many years it would continue. What started as a way to help others find ‘salvation’ through taking care of their needs as well as ministering to their hearts has grown regardless of any bumps in the road. It is now an international chain of hope and giving that shows no signs of slowing down.

So take a few minutes to stop by the red kettles that will be outside of the stores this holiday season. Times are tough these days, and the families that will benefit from these donations quite likely are ones that were in a position to do the donating in years past. Children will have toys under the tree that they would not have otherwise. People with no home will have a warm safe place to enjoy a holiday meal. More importantly, it is a testament to what the season is all about – the joy of giving so that others may receive.

Written by Angela Sangster. Copyright 2011


What Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

In the last couple of decades, we have been hearing more about the co-existence of chronic bronchitis and emphysema and the serious long term and sometimes fatal effects of these illnesses. The old adage that ‘smoking cigarettes is bad for your health’ is one that we all know, and sadly many don’t take seriously until there is no choice. While there are other causes that lead to COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, it cannot be argued that the number one offender is smoking. There are however other risk factors that will be discussed further in the article.

In simplest definitions, COPD is inclusive of both emphysema and recurring bronchitis constricting the airwaves and making it extremely difficult to breathe. Bronchitis is caused by a recurrent cough where there is over production of mucus in the lungs, causing the airwaves to become constricted. Emphysema is when the lungs have become so damaged that the air space walls become destroyed. Because of the lack of air getting through the passages, a person with these conditions are more susceptible to serious pulmonary infections as well as other illnesses. They will often complain of feeling tired or lethargic, as well as having deep, productive coughing spells along with periods of being very nearly unable to breathe. This is especially true after exercise or during periods of extreme stress. In contrast to other conditions of the air passages (such as asthma), COPD as a rule worsens rather than improves with time. The sad thing is, many blow off the symptoms to ‘smoker’s cough’ or simply having a worse than normal cold. For thousands of people worldwide, that choice is a fatal one.

The most important thing to remember if someone you know has COPD caused by smoking cigarettes – there is no need to constantly reiterate to them what caused their condition. Many end up being on oxygen which takes cigarettes out of the equation, and they are quite aware of what got them in this position. Of course, the obvious solution for many, many cases of COPD is to never have smoked in the first place, but to harp on that is not going to solve the issue at hand. As in all things, a little compassion goes a long way, and the important thing is to get diagnosed and take the steps to get better. The first step to that is to learn what the symptoms are.

Symptoms of COPD

Symptoms of COPD (Credit: Istockphoto/

Obviously, the number one sign that a person might be suffering from COPD is a chronic, productive cough. When there is simply something in the lungs that needs excised, a cough or two will get rid of it. However, in chronic bronchitis, the cough may be producing mucus, but the air passages have become so narrowed that it does not rid the lungs and instead builds up. This keeps exacerbating the problem, and the person is perpetually trying to cough up a never ending production of mucus.

Another symptom is a constant shortness of breath also known as dyspnea or ‘air hunger’. Chronic shortness of breath can occur over periods of weeks or even months. This can lead to acute exacerbation of the disease, which is when the ability to draw breath becomes so difficult that it becomes an emergency situation. This is often triggered by a bacterial infection.  Rattling of the lungs, also known as rhonci, is yet another symptom of COPD. This is when the breathing has a ‘rattling’ sound similar to snoring, that is constantly present.  If the flare-up is bad, it can cause a bluish discoloration to the lips.

If these symptoms are present, and medical attention is sought, one of the first things that will be done are pulmonary function tests. This will be to see how far the condition has progressed and if it is reversing or getting better as time goes on. If the condition gets progressively worse, with no signs of significant improvement, treatment for COPD is recommended. While it is true that the number one cause is cigarette smoking, there are also other risk factors which have to be taken into consideration. After all, you don’t want to assume that just because you don’t smoke cigarettes that there is no risk of having this disease.

Who Is At Higher Risk for COPD?

COPD was often referred to as ‘smoker’s cough’ because many of its sufferers are also smokers. The numbers are high – almost 90% – and the longer a person smokes, the more risk they put themselves for COPD. Smoking cigarettes has long been known to worsen pre-existing lung conditions, but COPD is thought by many in the medical field to actually be caused by smoking over a period of years. The high concentration of the many free radicals that are in tobacco smoke cause the air sacs to become damaged, and the overproduction of mucus to counteract the irritants compounds the problem.

While there is still long term research being conducted, there are indications that people living in urban areas where there is a lot of traffic congestion and factory smoke are more susceptible to contracting COPD than those who live in the country. There are significantly less cases from air pollution as well as occupational hazards (such as coal mining) than cigarettes, however the environment is a very real factor in cases of COPD, especially in non-smokers.

Genetics is another factor in cases of COPD, and it does once again come back to smoking. Quite simply, not everyone who smokes cigarettes gets this condition, and it is thought that there are genetic deficiencies which make the lungs more susceptible to the effects of tobacco smoke. Studies have shown that if the body makes an insufficient amount of the protein alpha 1 antitrypsin due to a genetic condition, it is possible that the lungs are more vulnerable to the effects of tobacco smoke.

Treatments and Living with COPDA

In the last ten years, there have been more treatments made available for COPD. Obviously, if smoking is the issue, then it is essential to quit.  Although COPD is a progressive disease, the flare-ups can be reduced with smoking cessation. There are also several medications that are now made for the treatment of recurring symptoms from chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Bronchodilators are most often used in the beginning, which act as a quick relief to narrowed air passages. Anticholinergic bronchodilaters relax the air passages, giving way for more ease in drawing breath. They come in the form of aerosol containers or ‘puffers’, Atrovent being one of the most widely prescribed.  Other types of treatment are antibiotics for bacterial infections that can result with a flare-up as well as oral bronchodilater therapy such as theophylline.

Less often, inhaled corticosteroids, most often used for asthma treatment, have been somewhat effective for COPD. Since there are side effects with any kind of steroid, this type of treatment is reserved for when regular bronchodilaters are not being effective. Oxygen maintenance is often used, especially in advanced cases of COPD. This is when oxygen is administered  in metered doses from one of three devices – oxygen concentrator, liquid system or a cylinder. This is done either on a constant basis or as needed. Some people only need oxygen when they are actively exercising, while others need more full-time maintenance.

As with many long-term illnesses, COPD is something that is treated rather than cured. Early diagnosis can lead to effective treatment that will delay the disease from going any further and if caught soon enough, can even reverse some of the damage done. Pay attention to any symptoms that include a deep, productive cough, periods of exhaustion from simple exercise, difficulty in taking a deep breath, and constant wheezing or ‘rattling’ in the lungs, most especially if you are a smoker. COPD has the potential to not only take away the quality of your lifestyle, but also to take life – at any age.

This article is dedicated to the memory of Karen Witusik-Morfu, who sadly passed away in October of 2011 from a pulmonary infection stemming from COPD just a few days shy of her 39th birthday. She left behind her husband and two beautiful children along with many family and friends who cherished her.

Please, take heed of any symptoms and get medical attention. Not later – now.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2011


Risks and Dangers of Antidepressants

“I don’t know what’s wrong. I just want to be left alone.”

These are words that can fill a parent with a sense of helplessness. It is expected that teenagers will have periods of up and down moods, but when the mood stays in a perpetual state of “down”, it can be very concerning. Articles on the subject are filled with the saddest stories of young lives interrupted by suicide, leaving devastated family and friends to decipher the reasons why.

Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of depression can range from agitation, fatigue, inability to focus or concentrate, a drastic change in sleeping or eating patterns, no interest in activities that were once enjoyed, or complete withdrawal from loved ones and friends. No parent wants to see their child succumb to this, and many seek medical attention. This often includes intense therapy and a complete physical, which may lead to prescribing an antidepressant medication.

According to statistics, at least 20% of teens will be diagnosed with depression at some point. Many of those teens will be prescribed an antidepressant, which is of course intended to alleviate the feelings of despair. Antidepressants are said to work by adjusting the body’s serotonin levels, or the transmitters that regulate moods. The lower these levels are, the more prone a person is thought to be toward depression.


There are many different types of antidepressants on the market today, which generally fall into one of three classes: SSRI’s, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, TCA’s (trycyclic antidepressants) and MAOI’s (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors–made in the 1950’s, these were one of the earliest forms of antidepressants.)

Fluoxetine – Prozac


The most common one prescribed to teenagers is fluoxetine, or Prozac. This falls under the SSRI class, in which the serotonin is inhibited from overloading in the presynaptic cell where it is first transmitted and is increased to the synaptic cleft of the brain. This is supposed to regulate the levels, and ideally keeps the mood on an even keel.

Fluoxetine and its derivatives are the only antidepressants that are approved for children between the ages of 5 and 18. For the cases where it is well-tolerated, there has been relief to some degree for these teens who are in the depths of despair. The problem is, very often cases of depression are over diagnosed, especially in teenagers. Under the best of circumstances, the teen years are filled with an upheaval of emotions and feelings that often overwhelm them. It is important not to mistake the normal ups and downs of growing up with an actual chemical imbalance.

Antidepressants Risks Dangers and Suicidal Thoughts

Considering there are many schools of thought that have serious doubts about their effectiveness when it is warranted, it is essential to make sure your child’s health is in the hands of someone that will exhaust all other possibilities and will do a complete physical exam with blood tests if indeed an antidepressant is prescribed. The reason this should be taken so seriously is because antidepressants have been found to have an extreme side effect in children and young adults. Suicidal thoughts and actions have increased in many of the patients taking them, especially those in their late teens and early twenties. The warning falls under the category of a “black box”, which requires this side effect to be listed plainly in bold print on the prescription itself.

How does it happen that a medication which is intended to treat a disorder that debilitates people to the point of being unable to function has such a horrible potential side effect? One of the reasons may be related to a specific genetic marker. Researchers have found that the serotonin receptor 5H2A has different variations in people. Common variations have been found in those that have ceased medication due to side effects, which may answer why some people experience problems with antidepressants making the problem


Giving antidepressants to anyone who is not actually suffering from depression can take a temporary upset and turn it into a full-blown problem.

A reputable doctor will be cautious in prescribing medications and perform all necessary tests before doing so. If medication is warranted, side effects should be monitored carefully. This holds true of all patients, but especially those between the ages of 15-25. Whatever the reason, be it genetically related or otherwise, the fact is that many people react as badly to the antidepressant as they do the depression – in some cases, much worse.

Even with fluoxetine being approved, the warnings are still plainly listed. It is a very serious side effect to consider – the possibility that this pill may cause a young person to want to commit suicide. Depression is a genuine illness and should receive medical attention without a doubt, however the presence of medication should always be seriously thought out, examined, and carefully monitored. Remember, the pharmaceutical companies are a business. They are set up to make money, and new “wonder pills” are produced daily for us to “make it all better”. This is why it is so important to research any medication prescribed as well as its side effects and how much time has been spent in clinical trials.

Antidepressants and Withdrawal Problems

Another danger in antidepressants is withdrawal. If side effects are present, it is not as simple as “stop taking it”. These medications build up in the body and to suddenly remove them will cause the side effects to become worse. If side effects are present, the physician needs to be contacted immediately so a carefully monitored withdrawal can take place. This usually involves reducing the medication slowly until the body is no longer dependent. There is also the factor of the time it takes for the medication to take effect once started. It takes a few weeks for an antidepressant to have noticeable results, and in the meantime, the person is still left feeling hopeless. This is another reason that therapy must be accompanied with medical treatment.

Should Antidepressants be Avoided?

Should antidepressants be avoided altogether? No, not necessarily. They have been lifesavers for some people, but the fact is there are far too many of these medications coming out that have not had enough time to go through the testing to determine what side effects they have or if indeed they will work at all. For this reason, there are no antidepressants that are approved for teenagers other than Fluoxetine to treat depression. Lexapro, another SSRI, is the exception as it has been approved to treat issues such as Social Anxiety or Obsessive/Compulsive disorders in younger people. Other SSRI’s, such as Paxil have not been approved – and yet doctors prescribed these medications to younger patients until 2003 when the FDA specifically stated that paroxetine (Paxil) was not to be prescribed to children and teens.

The fact is, a pill does not make life better. If needed, it is a tool to assist someone in the ability to see the dreams. It is still up to the person to achieve them.

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2011


Just Say "No" To Drugs (Unless of course we give them to you)



ADHD and Food Additives The Honest Information

Parents of children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are faced with many challenges. Often they have incredibly intelligent kids that won’t slow down, and behavior issues can make everyday life a battle of wills.

Far too often, medications such as Ritalin and Adderol are prescribed without first examining some basic dietary issues that possibly exacerbate the issue. One of these is food additives, in particular, food dyes.

ADHD and Food Additives The Honest Information

ADHD and Potential Dietary Connections

One of the possible causes or contributors to this behavior has been a child’s diet. Many parents have reported that certain foods seem to make the behavior and impulse control worse. There have been extensive studies done as to the effects of certain foods and especially food additives that may cause a child who is ADHD to have even more trouble paying attention and sitting still. While there is no definitive evidence that this is a cause for the disorder, the studies indicate that it does have a negative effect on the existing behavior.

Columbia University conducted a study in 2004 that examined and cross referenced the data from several controlled trials. The study couldn’t make specific recommendations due to lack of additional information about the test subjects, however it did show there was a distinct consistency with the responders and the research indicating artificial food colorings having a neurotoxic effect.

Food Dyes Are Bad!
Food Dyes Are Bad!

The food dyes in particular to avoid are FD&C Yellow No. 6 (also known as “sunset yellow”), FD&C Yellow No. 5 (or “tartrazine”), D&C Yellow No. 10, and FD&C Red No. 40. The best rule of thumb is to always read the labels for the ingredients and avoid an overabundance of food dyes altogether. The list continues to grow as to what is being tested, so the less processed food in the child’s diet, the better.

In another study done in 2007 at the UK’s University of Southampton showed in double blind placebo controlled testing that when sodium benzoate, a preservative in many processed foods was given to two different age groups, hyperactivity and inattentiveness increased. Considering the amount of processed foods in the modern diet, this is indeed a concern. Although this study indicates a particular preservative that may be making ADHD worse, more research is needed to determine what other food additives may have an adverse effect on behavior and impulse control. While it has not been determined at this time that these additives can actually cause this behavior, there is the possibility of pre-existing genetic factors that can make a child more prone to react adversely to these additives.

Another study done at Southampton in 2010 studied the effects of histamine degradation in test subjects of similar ages to the 2007 research. These genetic variations, which are still being researched, may contribute to the different reactions children have.


A Brief History of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ADHD

Written by Angela Sangster, Copyright 2011

Society and Culture

Driving While Talking on a Cell Phone is Stupid

Driving a Vehicle? Stay Off That Phone!

I was leaving the grocery store and nearly wrecked as I had to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting a car that pulled out directly in front on me. I was looking right at the car and the driver did not look in either direction, she never even glanced at all! What was she doing? She was talking on her cell phone! She came out of that parking lot without looking or even being aware that there was anyone else in the world besides her.

I drove on and less than a half a mile on farther down the road another driver, this time a man, made a right hand turn from a red light without stopping. He pulled out in front of us and if the left lane hadn’t been clear we would have had a collision. What was he doing? You may have already guessed that he was talking on a cell phone!

A little while later, maybe another mile and a half into our drive, a lady suddenly changed lanes almost right on top of us. I had to hit the brakes and swerve a little over into the median to avoid her. She was going down the 4 lane talking on her cell phone and was completely oblivious to the fact that she had changed lanes!

If You're Going to Drive Stay Off That Phone!
Hang Up That Phone And Drive!

Nearly everywhere you look people are on their cell phones. They cant seem to drive down the road, pump gas, shop, or do much of anything else without having that little phone pressed up to the side of their head! I wonder how many deaths and injuries have been caused by these people? More than a few I am sure.

Talking on a cell phone while driving is against the law in many states but not in Kentucky. However, it shouldn’t take a law for people to wake up and stop doing this! If you have to make a phone call then pull over somewhere! Better yet if you can’t stay off the phone then stay out of your vehicle or get someone else who has better sense to drive for you.

I will not apologize to anyone who is offended by this. It makes me so angry when I see things like this and someone driving a car while trying to text or talk on their cell phone. If that is you then please consider what you are doing before you end up killing yourself or someone else!

Copyright 2011