Wednesday, March 16, 2011


"Broken Promise-Fixed" by Betty Nobue Kano (1992-2005)
Betty Nobue Kano is a Berkeley based artist, born 3/11 in Sendai, Japan

Dear Readers:

My heart and compassion go out to the people of Japan. May our prayers and affirmations be with all our brothers and sisters throughout the world in this time of transformation. Natural catastrophes and modern technology can be a lethal mix. We must take every precaution necessary in order to keep ourselves safe, healthy and informed.

Many qualified people are sharing useful information about how to protect yourself from radiation contamination. And, eating clay or dirt, using baking soda and using magnesium sulfate, aka Epsom salt, are just three of many remedies that can be used.

Below are a few suggestions on natural and low-cost protection against nuclear contamination.

Every day our bodies are exposed to low-level radiation from natural and human-made sources. At low doses, cells are able to repair damage quickly. You may want to include a consistent regimen of herbs, foods and other treatments that prevents our bodies from storing radioactive particles.


Taking sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), diminishes the severity of damage to your kidneys from uranium (radioactive) contamination. The baking soda binds with uranium and flushes it from your body during excretion. Baking soda also makes your body ph more alkaline and less acidic during this time.

According to Dr. Sircus, “There is no better therapy for radiation sickness then intense sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and magnesium baths (Epsom salt) with the appropriate clay (bentonite) added in.”

Visit Dr. Sircus' blog for more information. Also read the article: Precautionary and restorative measures to take in the event of radioactive contamination.

NOTE: Please do your research and consult a health professional for dosage amounts.

Image of seaweed courtesy of The Green Sanctuary blogspot.

These foods help rid the body of heavy metals – a concern in radiation exposure – and protect the body against cancer by getting natural iodine into your system.
• Kelp
• Seaweed
• Spirulina
• Chlorella

You can purchase these items in bulk or pre-packaged at most natural health food stores. In Oakland, CA, The Food Mill sells them in bulk. You can also purchase them at Berkeley Bowl, Lhasa Karnak and Whole Foods.

The protective benefits of chorophyll rich foods, particularly spirulina, was used to help victims in Chernobyl. The passage below from Shirley’s Wellness Cafe also supports this fact.

"In Chernobyl, for instance, spirulina was used to help save many children from radiation poisoning. By taking 5 grams of spirulina a day for 45 days, the Institute of Radiation Medicine in Minsk even proved that children on this protocol experienced enhanced immune systems, T-cell counts and reduced radioactivity. Israeli scientists have since treated Chernobyl children with doses of natural beta-carotene from Dunaliella algae and proved that it helped normalize their blood chemistry. Chlorella algae, a known immune system builder and heavy metal detoxifier, has also shown radio protective effects. Because they bind heavy metals, algae should therefore be consumed after exposure to any type of radioactive contamination.”

Image courtesy of

Cilantro - removes heavy metals and toxic agents from the body

(read the article:
Rosemary Found to Offer Best Protection Against Radiation

Gingko Biloba - may help shield organs against radiation

Ginseng - protects digestive tract against radiation injury

Dandelion - antioxidant and anticancer properties; protects liver along with milk thistle

AND, Read this article from the site:
Radio protective Potential of Plants and Herbs against the Effects of Ionizing Radiation.


You know from the last blog post, that eating chalk or clay (bentonite) pulls toxins and heavy metals from your body while giving you much-needed minerals. Clay baths are a very effective way of removing heavy metals from the skin and body and increase one’s chances of survival if exposed to nuclear fallout. Russian nuclear workers slathered Bentonite clay on their skin before working with nuclear material.

Image courtesy of

The excerpt below is from the book, The Macrobiotic Diet by Michio Kushi, health educator and founder of Erewhon Natural Foods.

"At the time of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in 1945, Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D., was director of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Francis Hospital in Nagasaki. Most patients in the hospital, located one mile from the center of the blast, survived the initial effects of the bomb, but soon after came down with symptoms of radiation sickness from the radioactivity that had been released. Dr. Akizuki fed his staff and patients a strict macrobiotic diet of brown rice, miso and tamari soy sauce soup, wakame and other sea vegetables, Hokkaido pumpkin, and sea salt and prohibited the consumption of sugar and sweets. As a result, he saved everyone in his hospital, while many other survivors in the city perished from radiation sickness."


Herbalist Brigitte Mars recommends, “High-chlorophyll foods like wheatgrass and barley grass strengthen cells, transport oxygen, help to detoxify the blood and liver as well as help to neutralize polluting elements and stimulate RNA production. . . Sulfur-rich vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and mustard greens combine with heavy metals and help prevent free radical damage,”


Why should you take potassium iodide to protect your thyroid from radioactive contamination?

In the event of a nuclear power plant accident or detonation of a nuclear weapon, iodine-131 is released. Iodine-131 is a radioactive version of iodine that is created during nuclear reactions (fission). High doses of iodine-131 is very damaging to the human body. Like regular iodine, iodine-131 is absorbed into the human body and quickly concentrates in the one spot that uses it - the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce the hormones that regulates the body's energy and metabolism and cannot distinguish between iodine and radioactive iodine-131. The thyroid takes only as much iodine as it can use. If the thyroid is not full it will absorb whatever is available. Consuming iodine-containing tablets for the days following radiation release, during which exposure is greatest, the thyroid is saturated and will not take up much of the radioactive iodine.

Absorbing high doses of radioactive iodine-131 will create long-term health problems such as thyroid cancer and hypothyroidism. Damage can also be caused to the digestive system and increase aging in the body. Contracting thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure is particularly an issue in infants, young children, and fetuses (in pregnant women) whose cells are rapidly growing.

Health professionals advise: "Don’t take iodide unless and until you are exposed to elevated radiation levels. Don’t take more than the recommended dosage."
The Centers for Disease Control and the FDA recommend:
130 milligrams for adults
65 milligrams for children
Each 24 hours that one is exposed to radiation.

You can purchase potassium iodide tablets or liquid at natural food stores, drug stores and online. Consult a health professional for dosage and body absorption rates.
To learn more about potassium iodide visit the sites
and the EPA site on radiation

As always do your research, stay informed and consult a health professional.

Live Healthy, Michele E. Lee (aka Red Roots), author and manager of Working the Roots blog
For more in-depth information, visit the sites below and the ones listed above.

Healing Cancer Naturally

Natural Remedies for Radiation Exposure

Oasis of Health and Wellness: Fighting Radiation Exposure Naturally

Health Despite Oil: Remaining Healthy in a Toxic World, by Brigitte Mars

Disclaimer: Most of the information in this post is from renowned web sites and, is in no way intended to be a substitute for modern medical care. Do not self-treat any medical complaint without the guidance of a licensed health care provider.

Friday, March 4, 2011


IAKONKWE (Womankind) by John Fadden, 1981. Acrylic on canvas.

Many creation stories tell of humans being molded from clay or dirt. It's only fitting, that people all over the world have been known to eat dirt straight from the earth since the beginning of time. It's as natural and essential as drinking water.

Eating dirt, chalk or clay is one of the “old timey ways" that southerners practiced for health maintenance. It was widely practiced among enslaved Africans, mostly pregnant women, who historians say brought the tradition from Africa.

South African woman selling clay chips (dirt) for people to eat. Photo: Ahmad Nadalian ( or

Eating clay is also practiced in Native American and Appalachia communities as well as in India, Haiti, China – all over the globe. Today, the tradition is near forgotten and extinct in many rural southern communities in the U.S. But eating clay is alive and well today among alternative medicine and naturopathic advocates and anyone who takes responsibility for their own good health. If you’ve ever used colon cleansing products, then you’ve probably taken bentonite which is clay. Bentonite pulls toxins and heavy metals from your colon while giving your body much needed minerals.

So, what’s to this eating dirt or clay?

Eating clay is one of the best things humans can do for health maintenance. Its technical term is called Geophagy, and the craving for it is called pica. Clay absorbs toxins and heavy metals from your colon and its mineral content (which varies from region to region) contains high levels of calcium, iron, copper and magnesium, all essential for the human diet and critical during pregnancy. Good stuff! Montmorillonite clay or bentonite is the clay most often ingested and used for health benefits and colon cleansing.

Here’s how it works: “Living clay sweeps away pathogens, heavy metals, and toxins from your colon. The clay first absorbs toxins (heavy metals, free radicals, pesticides), attracting them to its extensive surface area and then taking them in like a sponge. The clay and toxins are removed with each bowel movement. Parasites are unable to reproduce in the presence of clay.” I use bentonite clay along with a bulk fiber like psyllium at least once a month to maintain good colon health. And, you need to drink plenty of water so you don’t get backed up.

Below are three excerpts from the book Working the Roots about eating clay. The first one is from Luisah Teish, born and raised in New Orleans, pictured in the center below. Luisah shared this remedy with Eveline Prayo-Bernard (l) and Bonita Sizemore (r) during a luncheon at the home of Yacine Bell in Oakland, CA, 1997.

Photo: Michele Lee, 1997

“They say as a child I used to eat red brick dust. That’s what scared my father about me. You know, Mississippi clay dirt is medicine when you pregnant. We used to feed women Mississippi clay dirt and I remember folks sendin for dirt from Mississippi and eat starch until they got it. I remember my Aunt Marybelle Reed, bless her heart. She was in that in between place. Because she knows all this root stuff and she’d also gone to nursing school so she had a foot in both worlds. Aunt Marybelle Reed would send for Mississippi clay dirt. And she would put it on a cookie sheet and run it in a slow oven sumtin like 250 degrees. And she would leave it in over night, pull it out and pound it and give pregnant women Mississippi clay dirt. For the mineral content.”
Luisah Teish, author, storyteller, and priestess of the Ifá/Orisha faith, 1997. (

The second excerpt about eating dirt is from Imani Ajaniku, a priestess in the Lucumi and Voudoun faith. Imani was raised in New York by parents from the south who migrated north for a better life. She is pictured below in her store, Botanica Ellegua, which she operated from 1996-2008 in Oakland, CA.

“The most vivid memory I have about being in the south is my grandfather going outside in the backyard, grabbing a chicken, wringing its neck, plucking it and serving it for dinner. The other thing I remember is the dirt. It is very red, and it’s very rich, and my mom used to eat it all the time. And, later in life, she would eat Argo Starch. I know there’s definitely a correlation between eating, the dirt and the starch.” Imani Ajaniku, 2008

Photo: Asual Aswad, 2008

The third and last excerpt about eating dirt is a personal memory that I have from my childhood and also a conversation between me (Michele Lee, aka Red Roots) and Nora Dockery, my former grandmother in-law from Laurel Hill, North Carolina.

As a child, growing up in Oakland, our backyard was literally a hill that lead up to a huge depression in the earth we called Devil’s Punchbowl. Today it is known as Merritt College. Devil’s Punchbowl was a hotspot for riding mini bikes, dirt bikes and pure adventure away from anyone of authority. Whenever it rained, the earth smelled so rich and looked delicious, almost like chunky dark chocolate. I’d put my nose close, inhale deep and then scoop some dirt to nibble on. It tasted so satisfying and primal.

For many years, I was too embarrassed to tell anyone that I relished eating dirt, wet dirt, and loved its smell. I never heard mention of it again until I was in my mid-thirties when I visited my former grandmother in-law, Nora Dockery (who everyone called Granny), in Laurel Hill, North Carolina. One afternoon Granny shares her craving for eating clay:

“I gots a hankerin to eat me some chalks from the side of the road.”

“Chalk? Like the kind you use on a blackboard?” I ask bewildered.

“No. Not the kind you use in the school house. . . the kind you gets from the road, down yonder, near Sneeds Grove,” Granny explains.

Red dirt from a southern hill side in Alabama

“Chalk on the road?” I was trying to visualize this place but drew a big blank. By now, Granny was real frustrated with my ignorance and her loss of words to explain to me what was so commonplace to southerners. She continues:

“I used to eat it when I was pregnant; women jus get a taste for it. We calls it chalk, but it’s really just dirt.”

“Oooohhh! I get it.” Finally, someone to share my dirt nibbling secret with, I thought in comfort."

Granny's house, aka Nora Dockery on Bunch Road. Laurel Hill, North Carolina, 1999. Photo: Michele Lee

If eating clay is a practice you'd like to include in your health regimen, do your research first. Visit your local health food store and/or consult a naturopathic practitioner before you rekindle what your ancestors have been doing for centuries. And be careful, not all dirt or clay from the earth is good to eat. People who have practiced this tradition go to the same location their ancestors have gone to for decades.

This post written by Michele Elizabeth Lee aka Red Roots for Working the Roots blog