Category Archives: sustainable living

Frackman the movie


The main reason I have no time to organise Astrotas meetings is I am renovating an old house. It’s lovely but if he knew then what we know now do you think Gramps would have used lead paint and asbestos?

Dayne Pratsky will be available for q&a at the Tasmanian screenings of his movie on fracking in australia. For session times and venues ( burnie, devonport,hobart ) please see the what’s on page or

Fracking suffers from being a newish process where everyone seems to be “making it up as they go along” – to quote Jolynn Minnar, director of “Unearthed

Considering the mess and colateral damage oil wells, coal and gold mines, not to mention nuclear power companies manage to make with the existing technologies, I conclude a coal seam gas well disaster is merely a matter of time and Murphy’s Law.  To quote the detractors of the movie –

..actual well integrity failures are very rare. Well integrity failure is where all barriers fail and a leak is possible. True well integrity failures are two to three orders of magnitude lower than single barrier failure rates –

ie: leaks are very rare but NOT ZERO. So certain are we that Murphy’s law applies to petroleum companies, Tasmania has The Penguin Jumpers Project Over 15,000 Penguin sized little woolies stored in Oil Spill Response Kits. In the case of a major oil spill, these jumpers will be used to help rehabilitate Little penguins (Eudyptula minor) that have been oil affected.

The only real question is do we want another method of fecking up the environment to add to those we already have?

The Hemp Solution


Astrotas is pleased to announce a screening of the Hemp Solution, an australian documentary, at the next meeting on Sep 20th 10:30 am before the main feature Microbirth at 2pm/6pm

THE HEMP SOLUTION – FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE, 93mins plus 16 mins of extras, is the updated and expanded version of THE HEMP REVOLUTION. It explores all aspects of Cannabis Sativa – its thousands of industrial and medical uses, its potential to solve modern environmental problems, and the effects of and controversy around marijuana and its prohibition.Featuring: Dr Andrew Weil, Dr Lester Grinspoon, Dr Kate Short, Terence McKenna, Prof. Peter Dale Scott, Dr Andrew Katelaris and more… including a Tasmanian lady – Patsy Hansen, who was the first to grow industrial non-psychoactive strains of hemp in this state


…powerful…fascinating and intelligent…
should be seen by anyone interested in the psyche of the Western world and the future of the planet”
“expert and multi-layered”

The producer, Sol Ramana-Clarke, has graciously allowed this free of additional public screening rights charges. We have a few DVD’s at a special price of $10 ( contact me below)

Tasmanian food grade hemp oil and hemp meal as well as hemp garden mulch are available from Hemp Australia .


Hemp food is legally consumed in every industrialised economy, with the exception of Australia. Even in the United States, where hemp food is legal, it is all imported (mostly from Canada) because growing industrial hemp in the U.S. is illegal. –

Microbiome – friends with benefits


Title of this post stolen from a youtube lecture I’ve just watched here . Been doing a little research ahead of our September screening of “Microbirth” (see next meeting for details) and guilt tripping over the way the kids were raised!  However they made it to adulthood ok so maybe I need a chill pill containing L. reuteri NCIMB 30242  – Micropharma’s flagship probiotic which restores metabolism of bile acids. Bile acids properly metabolised not only lower cholesterol but are anti inflammatory, and perhaps loss of the right gut bugs contributes to inflammatory bowel diseases. I think they found it with this nifty wee ‘fantastic voyager’ programable robotic device that can sample the gut wall after you swallow it.

The microbiome is assembled and shaped between the ages of 0-4 years old and it has been shown recently to be negatively affected by C-section delivery4, insufficient breastfeeding18, antibiotic use6, an overly hygienic environment19, and poor diet7. The health of your microbiome is largely a result of your childhood and diet, but is also the result of environmental factors such as the use of oral antibiotic and the presence of disease6, 20, 21.

The Microbiome of people with cardiovascular disease22, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)10, irritable bowel disease (IBD)13, low vitamin D23 and osteoporosis24, and other diseases such as obesity25, liver disease26, and type two diabetes mellitus (T2DM)27 are notably different from those who are considered to be healthy.

Ok so what’s going on inside my gut is not actually any different to what happens to food scraps outside the body! Fermented food is awesome because of course it has a whole bunch of symbiotic wild organisms no pure culture can match. I’m guessing in part it’s due to the swapping of genes that goes on in the wild, including inside a gut. The genetic difference between e coli from two different people is like 40% while the genetic difference between the hosts is less than 1%. Because they can adapt quickly they can help us to adapt as well –

Gut bacteria in Japanese people borrowed sushi-digesting genes from ocean bacteria

My composting efforts have always been FAIL, even the worm farm – Tassie is cooold. Speed up the composting process with EM Bokashi – a mold that is easy to cultivate by anaerobic fermentation, and start a home compost or industrial scale composting at school with NO STINK ( if it’s done right !) You can buy the ready made Bokashi kit from Bunnings but the DIY instructions are online. Maybe I will have another go at composting:

For every health guru there is an equal and opposite guru


Day 5 Thyroid summit

Its was a BIG day with Dr Greg Emmerson who is 6’7″ and Dr Steven Hotze from Houston, where everything is just BIGGER.

I found this pair were so inspirational – men of action, no whinging, go out and change it if you don’t agree types. Dr Emmerson has a food is your medicine approach, and since he thinks modern food has had the medicines increasingly bred out of it, he grows his own on a permaculture farm on the gold coast.  He’s a fan of dandelion tea and weeds in general. I am a dreadful gardener so I have had to learn to eat the weeds and love them . But the ideas he kept mentioning of  ‘medicine’  ‘mycotoxin’ I think is better thought of in terms of dose and situation – Bechamp’s terroir theory . After all one person’s weed is another’s cottage herb. Toxins and medicines are two sides of same coin. There’s a theory that humans don’t like bitter tastes to avoid poisoning in pregnancy and childhood. Being small I have had a few accidents with green leafies that really actually don’t want to be eaten ( buckwheat sprouts), and the purgative properties of violet leaves. Bug resistant plants like weeds are basically full of  natural pesticides – which we can label medicine or toxin  if we can’t metabolise them, and that is an individual genomic thing.

Dr Ray Peat phd, who incidentally is the man who inspired Dr Lee MD, who inspired Dr Hotze MD, on the wider therapeutic uses of bioidentical progesterone, thinks only the below ground parts of plants, or ripe fruit, is fit plant matter for human consumption. He doesn’t like green leafies.

So in 1978 I attended a meeting, actually I was giving a talk on hypoglycemia and Linus Pauling was there giving a talk on Vitamin C, when Dr. Ray Peat, a Ph.D. from Oregon was there giving a talk to doctors challenging them, saying, “why aren’t you all using progesterone, the second female hormone? It’s readily available, they can make it from yams, they can make it from soy, they can make it from 5000 different plants, it’s identical to what the humans make, it’s been out for 30 years in face creams, cosmetics, it’s wonderful for the skin, it’s available, the FDA can’t find anything wrong with it, why are you using only estrogen for post-menopausal ladies?

He has an interesting idea on using raw carrot as a between meal cleanse and for hormone balancing! that Dr Emmerson might like. Dr Peat says root crops are naturally rich in antifungals since they are surrounded by moisture all the time in soil,   “The carrot salad improves the ratio of progesterone to estrogen and cortisol”

Confession: I found Ray Peat’s work while looking for a diet that allows white sugar daily. Recently both the bitter and the sweet receptors have been linked to our immune system in the upper airways. University of Pennsylvania researchers say “Bitter taste receptors (T2Rs) in the human airway detect harmful compounds, including secreted bacterial products.” If  something smells bitter we secrete antimicrobial peptides into the airways. When the sweet taste receptors of the nose are activated this is shutdown. Score one for aromatherapy and quitting sugar, but alas for diabetics, who have more sugar in their nasal mucus.

I agree with Dr Emmerson that the pace of modern inventions is moving uncomfortably fast for gross mammalian adaptation, so we should take a step back. But I can’t imagine living like our ancestors – full on paleo no way – just have a look at the experience of this month’s speaker Tracy Hohnke who was blasted back to 1800’s with her family for 4 months on the living history show ‘the Colony’. At least chocolate had been invented! Perhaps we have a better chance of keeping up than we realise since most of our cells are ‘not self’ but ‘other’ in a personal unique microbiome. I wonder how much of our health is thanks to exotic DNA?  Who knows what buttons we can push epigenetically?

Detox: Create a Virtual rainforest:

Absolutely agree with Dr Emmerson that yoga is fantastic, and that we should be out in the rainforest, but preferably at a Byron hinterland spa with all mod cons. (My mum and aunt were fans of the Swami Sarasvati show. Swami had lots of painful impossible poses for us every morning. I never imagined it was spiritual or relaxing until I stumbled across Haven Yoga special stretch and breath version while putting up Astrotas posters 🙂 It crossed my mind Dr E should have an aversion for nature after catching a horrid parasite that ruined his health in Papua New Guinea. Perhaps it was a case of terroir since his family history is one of  thyroid issues. I’m not big on camping. Dr Horowitz will scare us all out of the forest on Day 6 of the thyroid summit with his talk on Lyme disease.

How generous is youtube with hours of free music videos for meditation and yoga – lets put one on the big television and nebulise a little eucalyptus oil to complete the illusion 

Dr Emmerson talked on the importance of minimising and removing environmental toxins like mould to which he is allergic. Depending on genetic MTHFR status of  an individual detoxifying can need a little extra help.  Zeolite he reccomends does sound like an excellent choice as it binds ammonia, which is problematic for us MTHFR A1298C mutants. also see CBS pathway from day 1 but the potential benefit is probably more than cancelled out since aluminium in zeolite is itself a detox problem! Zeolite is an aluminium compound shown in the animal feeding test mentioned on Dr Ray Sahelian’s excellent website to cause accumulation of the metal in bone and cartilage.

Where to Get Dessicated Natural Thyroid – compounds slow release natural whole dessicated thyroid. has list and helpful notes about various dessicated thyroid suppliers – including several supplying australians does not need prescription. is in Sydney.

Forest Labs prescribing notes for Armour Thyroid are a useful read

hotze heart infection

Dr Hotze – this guy is utterly fearless! He doesn’t fart about with saliva or blood tests for any hormones – he just treats the patient on a good old clinical diagnosis. He is sueing the govt over Obamacare!

He started looking at natural therapies when his father almost died on the table undergoing a balloon angioplasty. Hotze senior, an engineer, reasoned that this was in fact a violation of basic engineering principals to stretch a calcified stiffened tube and not expect it to burst, and asked his son to go look into vitamins after reading a newsletter on heart disease from Dr Julian Whitaker.

I’m a fan of Linus Pauling’s metabolic draino recipe which will simultaneously stomp out inflammation, rebuild collagen and pull off the Lipoprotein(a) mentioned as being rather hard to treat with high dose niacin; equal parts sodium ascorbate and lysine powder eg. 6 grams of each divided into three doses. (the only caveat being I would suggest testing copper levels. I am a small labrat. On megadose vit c after months I did find it is possible to drop your copper levels if your diet/gut is suboptimal, both also bad for collagen. The FBC will show a neutropenia. Other than that the earliest side effects were all good – losing stretch marks, varicose veins and the old lady swollen ankles 😉

Fire Water: Australia’s Industrial Fluoridation Disgrace


Talk about thyroid health and you talk about two elements – fluoride and iodine. Both are on the same period of the periodic table of elements and this is why one, fluorine – which is not needed for any bodily function, can interfere with the other, iodine – without which we cannot live.

Lucy Herron talked about flouride on day 3 of the thyroid summit. She is a kiwi – and was warned before moving to Australia that we do things a bit funny in Tasmania, the little southern island state that keeps getting left off the map. Tasmania was going to add iodine to the water apparently but we lobbied to get flouride instead, …. and won!

Australian water has flouride added at levels in all States and Territories, other than the Northern Territory ( who set optimal at 0.6 mg/l) :
Optimally Fluoridated” = The level is more than 0.7 mg/l.
Suboptimal Fluoridated” = The level is between 0.3 and 0.7 mg/l. Please seek advice from your dental advisor.
Not Fluoridated” = The level is less than 0.3 mg/l.

Note: mg/l is the same as ppm ( parts per milllion ) which you may see on water analysis. source – fluoride map of australia

Altered thyroid function is associated with fluoride intakes as low as 0.05-0.1 mg fluoride per kilogram body weight per day (mg/kg/day), or 0.03 mg/kg/day with iodine deficiency. Increased prevalence of goiter (>20 percent) is associated with fluoride intakes of 0.07-0.13 mg/kg/day, or 0.01 mg/kg/day with iodine deficiency.4

Drinking water, reconstituted baby formula or fruit juices, other foods made with water from a municipal supply like soups, rice and pasta, those which concentrate water like jams – you add all of this up and work out how much poison you are ingesting! Kids of course are at risk as they eat and drink more per kg of body weight than an adult but have less tolerance for fluoride.

Firewater is a free online film about the issues of  water flouridation in Australia

But what about cavities?

Cavities are due to calcium deficiency, vitamin C and D defficiency, a mineral deficient acidic diet, or malabsorbtion as in coeliac disease – not lack of flouride.

In her careful experiments, Dr May Mellanby demonstrated that the same nutritional conditions that support development of strong, well mineralized teeth, also support the arrest of dental decay, development of reparative dentin and tooth remineralization.  That is, optimal supplementation of vitamin D, together with adequate calcium and phosphorus and a calcifying diet with restricted intake of sugar and cereal grains. Dr Weston Price found even better results when vitamin K2 was also supplemented. ~

There are non-toxic proven alternatives to topical flouride to prevent and reverse tooth decay. Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (CPP-ACP) as Recaldent from Melbourne university the recaldent chewing gum is really nice, the mousse not so much but effective.) How about theobromine from chocolate in the toothpaste? (hoping to try this soon) or the orthomolecular tooth hardener nano calcium hydroxyapatite  in Apagard, a japanese toothpaste which has been available for 30 years ( tested this too and its nice!)

Access to pure water – only for the rich?

removing flouride ( and chlorine) is incredibly hard. A few filters will do it as cost of around 20c a litre and on my wishlist the Bear Gryll’s tough British Berkfield My children had the luxury of growing up in a semi rural area with rainwater tanks. Now they are renting they can’t have the option of showering in flouride free water.

NZ residents of Hastings have come up with another solution – tapping directly into the city’s bore supplies to stockpile untreated water Just don’t use that water to make tea – Tea, particularly with lower quality older leaves, contain high levels of fluoride.

Had enough? Join the International Fluoride Free Teleconference

(Australia/Sydney): Sunday, Jun 15, 2014 07:00 – 09.00 am

A monthly teleconference of activists from around the world sharing information and experiences to increase the effectiveness of local, state, and national campaigns. Register Here