Ask Michelle Obama to Help Girl Scouts Save Rainforest​s

It’s been almost a month since Girl Scouts Madi & Rhiannon asked for your help in their campaign to remove rainforest destroying palm oil from Girl Scout cookies.

After receiving a stunning 70,000 letters, Girl Scouts USA is now issuing a stock reply that lets us know they are paying attention, but their response contains only baby steps in the right direction. While still refusing to meet with Madi & Rhiannon, their spokeswoman recently stated, “we all want the girls to stand up for what they believe in. They’re trying to make changes, and we applaud them for that.”

Unfortunately, applauding won’t protect rainforests, CEO Cloninger. We think it’s time for an intervention by Girl Scouts USA Honorary President Michelle Obama.

Will you join us in asking Michelle Obama to use her influence as Honorary President of Girl Scouts USA to make Girl Scout cookies rainforest friendly by next cookie season?

For Earth Day 2010, Michelle Obama told a group of children that the Obama household is “trying to save the tigers,” a request her daughter Malia frequently makes of her father.

The critically endangered Sumatran tiger is at risk of extinction. Logging to grow the palm oil now found in nearly every Girl Scout cookie, is largely to blame. The connections between industrial-scale palm oil plantations, tiger extinction and Girl Scout cookies are clear.

For Earth Day 2011, help us turn up the volume on our message to Girl Scouts USA by asking Michelle Obama to demand Girl Scout cookies be rainforest safe.

Thanks for your help getting controversial palm oil linked to tiger extinction out of Girl Scout cookies!

For the forests,

Ashley Schaeffer

Rainforest Agribusiness Campaigner

Twitter: @probwithpalmoil

Medicare:Broken Contract

For decades, Americans have counted on a basic promise: A secure retirement is the reward for a lifetime of labor. Yet last Friday, House Republicans voted almost unanimously to break one of America’s most sacred promises that the cost of health care will not bankrupt seniors and their families once they enter retirement. Less than one year after Republicans hurled misleading claims that the Affordable Care Act‘s provisions to make Medicare more efficient would somehow deprive seniors of care, the House GOP passed a budget that will phase out Medicare and leave seniors entirely at the mercy of the large health insurance companies (ironically, while still keeping many of the Medicare cuts they once criticized). And just one year after Republicans peppered the airwaves with claims that Democrats were ramming major changes to the health system through Congress by spending just one year debating health reform, the GOP-controlled House took only two weeks to debate and pass their plan to eliminate Medicare. If the Republican budget ever becomes law, it will shred America’s contract with seniors who worked every day of their lives knowing that Medicare would be there for them in their retirement.

THE END OF MEDICARE, PERIOD: The GOP budget does not “reform” Medicare. It does not provide seniors with the same coverage Members of Congress receive. And it does not end Medicare “as we know it.” The GOP budget ends Medicare, period. The centerpiece of the House Republicans’ plan is a proposal that repeals traditional Medicare and replaces it with a health insurance voucher that loses its value over time. Because the value of the Republicans’ privatized Medicare replacement does not keep up with the cost of health care, their plan will gradually phase out Medicare as its increasingly worthless vouchers will eventually only cover a very tiny fraction of the cost of a health insurance plan. Worse, as President Obama told the nation last week, the GOP budget immediately fritters away much of the savings from eliminating Medicare with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans. The rich get richer, and America’s seniors are tossed out into the cold.

THE PATH TO MEDICARE REPEAL: Although the GOP budget phases out Medicare gradually over many years, it will deal a body blow to America’s seniors the minute it goes into effect. The GOP plan eliminates traditional Medicare and forces seniors into the private insurance market. But health insurers have substantially higher administrative costs than traditional Medicare, and they lack Medicare’s ability to negotiate lower rates from doctors and hospitals. As a result, seniors will pay more for less as soon as the GOP plan becomes a reality. According to the CBO, total health care expenditures for a typical 65-year-old “would be almost 40 percent higher with private coverage under the GOP plan than they would be with a continuation of traditional Medicare” in the very first year that the GOP plan goes into effect. As a clear sign that the GOP understands that seniors will not stand for losing their access to traditional Medicare, Republicans claim that Americans over age 55 will not lose their access to the nation’s most successful health care program, but this claim is also misleading. The GOP’s plan will shunt younger, healthier seniors into privatized plans, leaving traditional Medicare with an ever diminishing pool of the very oldest beneficiaries, and stealing away Medicare’s power to drive a hard bargain with health providers. Moreover, it’s not even clear that many health insurance companies will even be willing to offer private plans to seniors, who represent the “oldest, sickest, and least profitable demographic.”

THE GOP’S WAR ON HEALTH CARE: Lest there be any doubt, the GOP plan to end Medicare is just one part of a full-scale assault on America’s health care safety net. The GOP budget does not simply kill Medicare, it guts Medicaid, forcing states to either cap enrollment, cut eligibility, slash benefits, lower payments to doctors or somehow dig up additional funds to pay for their newly starved health care system. This assault on Medicaid deals another body blow to seniors, as Medicaid pays for nearly half of all long term care costs in the United States. Nor is the GOP’s war on the health care safety net anything new. The GOP lined up in near-unanimous opposition to the landmark Affordable Care Act, and they just as resoundingly embraced the utterly meritless notion that health reform violates the Constitution. Many GOP lawmakers go even further, claiming that Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and any other federal health care programs are unconstitutional. And the GOP’s last campaign for the White House was built upon a plan to gut state laws protecting health insurance consumers and leave them to the mercy of the insurance industry. In other words, it’s clear that the Republican Party has wanted to dismantle the nation’s health care contract with all Americans for many years — they just finally got the votes to pass this radical agenda through the House.

By Lisa D. Ellis

Reviewed by QualityHealth’s Medical Advisory Board

If you suffer from asthma, it may be in your best interest to avoid certain foods, according to research out of National Jewish Health, a Denver, CO hospital that focuses on respiratory health.

The scientists from the study conducted a comprehensive study on food allergies. They looked at blood serum levels among children and adults to determine their sensitivity to some common foods. Among their findings, which were published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in fall 2010, was the fact that people diagnosed with asthma have a much higher risk of experiencing food allergies than their counterparts. Additionally, the more severe the asthma, the more likely the food allergy risk.

Which Comes First?

While the link between food allergies and asthma is clear, researchers weren’t able to determine which comes first or whether a person was more prone to one condition than the other. And exactly what trigger food allergies and asthma varies from person to person.

Common Foods that Exacerbate Asthma

For this research effort, scientists focused their attention on four of the most common allergy triggers:

1.Shrimp. An allergy to shrimp and shellfish is a widespread concern that affects people of all ages. If you’re highly sensitive to this allergen, even breathing in air near the shellfish is cooking can trigger a reaction to the protein released in the steam.

2.Peanuts. Peanut allergies have been on the rise in recent years, and children are at an increased risk for this problem. Avoiding peanut products can be challenging, since peanuts are used in many popular foods and dishes and their presence isn’t always obvious. This ingredient can also be found in everything from salad dressings, puddings, sauces, and cookies to some vegetarian meat substitutes. Cross-contamination in the manufacturing process can even put you at risk for reacting to non-peanut products.

3.Milk: Milk allergies are much more common in children than in adults. However, if you do suffer from a milk allergy, you’ll need to be on the lookout for hidden sources of this trigger, such as meats and canned tuna fish that have a milk protein as a binder, and restaurants that use butter to grill steaks. In addition, deli meats may be sliced using the same equipment. Therefore, be sure to read labels and ask lots of questions when shopping or eating out.

4.Eggs. Gelatin, yeast, and baking powder are viable egg substitutes for some recipes. But you’ll also need to be on the lookout for hidden eggs sources. Some specialty drinks, baked goods, pastas, egg substitutes, and even pretzels can sometimes be made with eggs. Therefore, read labels before you eat. Also, keep in mind that the influenza vaccine often contains a small amount of egg protein, so you’ll need to ask your doctor if this is safe for you to receive.


If you’re an avid coffee drinker, you may be looking for ways to kick the habit. But before you put down that mug for good, there’s something you should know: This caffeinated beverage may actually…

By Laurie Saloman

Reviewed by QualityHealth’s Medical Advisory Board

It’s one of life’s ironies that the shiny, oily skin you battled in your youth tends to get dry and flaky as you sail toward midlife. Some drying is a natural consequence of agingéafter all, the hormones responsible for seeing you through puberty (and supplying you with teenage acne) thankfully have died down. And dry skin isn’t only a facial problem-rough, flaky skin can appear anywhere on our bodies. Often our habits and lifestyle worsen the problem. Here’s how to combat it:

Don’t be a bathing beauty. According to the Mayo Clinic, the longer you lie in a hot bath or stand under a steamy shower, the more oils are lost from your skin. Try to be in and out in less than 15 minutes, and use warm, not hot, water.

Choose facial soap carefully. Skip the harsh soap you use on the rest of your body. Pick a soap especially formulated for facial skin, such as a cleansing cream or gel. If your skin feels tight after using a cleanser, find another one.

Apply a moisturizer. Your skin emits water, causing dryness, but moisturizers seal it in. Look for a thicker moisturizer if your problem is severe, or choose makeup that contains a moisturizer and wear it over your regular facial moisturizer. You can even apply a little oil to your skin if you don’t have a problem with acne. The best time to moisturize? Right after you wash your face or step out of the shower. Pat or blot your skin dry-harsh rubbing will remove too much moisture-and apply your moisturizer all over to seal water inside the surface cells of your skin.