Horror, absolute horror…AND the evils of aspartame and other additives…

I’d originally planned to do some myeloma-related research and writing this morning (finally, a bit of free time…that is, I had work to do, but I could take breaks, too), but that just didn’t happen. You see, a dear friend of mine, PK, sent me the link to a story that chilled me to the bone and pushed me into action: a few days ago, a group of hunters in northern Italy, near the city of Brescia, shot and killed thousands of migratory birds (including protected species) flying through “one of the most important migration corridors in the Southern Alps.” That is the San Zeno alpine pass, or Colle San Zeno, as it is known in Italian. 

You can read the article in English: http://goo.gl/H9Kkw and in Italian: http://goo.gl/PvdAo. As many of you know, Stefano and I are enthusiastic birdwatchers, which made this story a million times worse, if possible. I was so horrified and shocked and appalled that I posted links on Facebook to articles both in English and Italian, together with my own horrified commentaries.

But the most important thing I did was to write immediately to the new Italian Minister of the Environment, Mr. Corrado Clini: clini.corrado@minambiente.it (please “copy and paste” to use this address) and to Mr. Edoardo Stoppa, who is an Italian animals activist and also reporter for the popular Italian TV program called “Striscia la Notizia”: Edoardo@edoardostoppa.com I asked them to ACT. Of course, it’s too late to save all those lovely songbirds etc., but we can and should do SOMETHING to stop the same sort of thing from happening in the future…

And that is why I am calling upon all of you…all the birdwatchers and animal rights activists and anyone who loves animals. Let’s inundate Mr. Clini’s office, in particular, with e-mails in Italian or English. Language and citizenship don’t matter. My hope is that his office will receive truckloads of outraged messages from all over the world…

I would like to live in a country that protects animals, not in one that shoots and kills them for no reason whatsoever. I would like to live in a country where birdwatchers and nature lovers are welcome to wander around without fear of being shot at by some dumb hunter. What happened a few days ago must not happen again. 

Now for the second part of my post. This morning, thanks to a Facebook post by GM, I read about the very negative effects of aspartame, so I would like to warn everyone against using this dangerous sweetener in particular, or any other artificial crap, in general. According to the abstract (http://goo.gl/Pmm1j) , in addition to increasing the levels of IL-6, which is VERY bad news for a myeloma patient!, aspartame activates the process of angiogenesis, = one of myeloma’s best friends!, even at low doses. Aggggh!!! 

While I’m at it, here is a list (not in any order of importance, by the way) of additives and yucky stuff that we should avoid like the plague. This list was compiled by Dr. James Berenson, who is, among other things, the Medical & Scientific Director as well as the Chief Executive Officer of Oncotherapeutics and the IMBCR, or Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research. The words in italics are direct quotes from Dr. Berenson’s Facebook page, which you can go and “like,” by the way, as I have: 

  • An additive called MSG, a free glutamate amino acid, in the same group as hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, soy extracts, protein isolates and “natural flavorings.”
  • Food dyes: Yellow 5 (Tartrazine) used in gelatin desserts, candy and some baked goods is the 2nd most used food coloring. Known to trigger hyperactivity in adults and children and allergy-like symptoms in aspirin-sensitive people. Also thought to be carcinogenic.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer, division of the WHO concluded that caramel coloring, when produced with ammonia, contains contaminates that are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
  • Another hot topic for myeloma patients with neuropathy is eliminating or reducing nitrates in the diet. During the cooking process, especially under high heat, nitrites can combine with amines, naturally present in meat, to form N-nitroso compounds or Nitrosamines. These compounds have been shown to be carcinogenic.
  • Some science for you on the sweetener front. Although Sucralose is made from sugar, its chemical structure is significantly different. A molecule of the faux sweetener has the three chlorine atoms, whereas sugar has three pairs of oxygen and hydrogen atoms.
  • Look out for Acesulfame-K, Aspartame and Saccharin specifically. Each one of these have been tested positive for cancer in animals. Aha, our new angiogenic-activating enemy, Mr. Aspartame! 
  • Last but not least, Dr. Berenson writes: Myeloma patients ask what to eat and not eat. My #1 tip. Get rid of the artificial sweetners!


  1. Thanks, Margaret. My husband and I are also avid birders, and have done a little bit of “bird chasing” in Italy. I’ll send Mr. Clini a message about that very sad event.

    Great post, too, on the evils of artificial sweeteners–my family runs in the opposite direction when I step onto that soapbox, but I’ll continue to do so as long as it’s still on the market. Thanks for the reinforcement.

  2. Thank you so much for this Margaret. Both parts of the post are extremely valuable.
    I hope we can do something to prevent this appalling slaughter from happening again. It is a disgrace for something like this to occur in such a civilized country.
    As far as additives are concerned, I have only stopped buying diet drinks in the last year or so. However, I realised that MSG was having a severe effect on me nearly 5 years ago and I have done my best to avoid it since then. The smallest amounts of MSG make my head sweat and significant amounts cause my mouth and throat to swell and it can become difficult to breath. Unfortunately MSG is often used in Chinese food and now we specifically ask for it to be excluded when ordering a takeaway. For anyone else who experiences anaphylactic-type responses to MSG, I recommend keeping a supply of Taurine tablets since it can be a useful antidote.
    Thanks again for the post.

  3. Hi
    Margaret I am the person who brought this to PK’ attention!
    and I am indebted to you for your prompt re-action.
    I have put all on Facebook and no doubt the people power this will generate will add weight to our cause .
    Please everyone anywhere write as Margaret has to the new Italian Environment minister.
    Thanks a bundle

  4. Ciao Margaret,
    non solo gli uccelli sono in pericolo !!

    Gatti neri in pericolo: sacrifici a Satana, sette sataniche
    60000 gatti neri scompaiono ogni anno solo in Italia, un fenomeno legato alle sette esoteriche sataniche. I gatti neri vengono sacrificati a Satana quotidianamente all’interno di messe nere e riti esoterici.


    A leading animal rights group has estimated that 60,000 black cats are killed every year by Italians who believe that they bring bad luck.

    read more..

    Millions of animals are killed every year

  5. Poaching meats and fish is a good way to avoid frying and the problems frying causes.
    Using frozen organic broccoli, blueberries, raspberries can avoid pesticides as well as the freezing seems to avoid vitamin losses.
    Stevia is a good sweetener.

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