Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The fact is there is a growing problem with "food fraud" and it reaches clear across the processed food pyramid. A recent article Know what you're eating? Fight against food fraud grows touches on this very subject and it's disturbing indeed, but at the same time it only strengthens the argument for local organic farmers; a subject my wife and I feel very strongly about and support regularly.
The article mentions a number of cases from cheese to honey to sea food... "The expensive "sheep's milk" cheese in a Manhattan market was really made from cow's milk. And a jar of "Sturgeon caviar" was, in fact, Mississippi paddlefish... Some honey makers dilute their honey with sugar beets or corn syrup, their competitors say, but still market it as 100 percent pure at a premium price." It doesn't stop there though; "Food fraud has been documented in fruit juice, olive oil, spices, vinegar, wine, spirits and maple syrup, and appears to pose a significant problem in the seafood industry."
This is where the importance of local organic farming comes into play; it's an experience you can only get with a way of life that is deeply rooted in belief and pride rather than the all might dollar that drives the corporate machine that is our processed food industry.
When we (my wife and I) get our beef or chicken from our local organic grass-fed/free-grazed farmers it's more like stopping over a friend's house rather than a grocery store. You talk a bit; ask them how business is or even take a little walk around the place and see for yourself. Local organic farmers love what they do for a living and are always eager to talk about it and educate you, if you're willing to learn that is. There's been times when I have stopped at the beef farm to stock up on meat and had to wonder out to the barn or to one of the pastures, because everyone was busy making a very respectable living. I've seen the cattle grazing that eventually become my dinner, and I've seen how they are raised and the quality of their life for as long as their alive, and it makes you proud to be a part of something that's much bigger than you or me.
The same goes for the raw organic honey we get from a local organic farmer, or the organic vineyard we frequent, or the organic coffee house, or the organic lavender farm... the list is endless but the end result remains the same.
I'm proud to be a part of this movement and it's comforting and an enormous relief to actually know what it is my family and I are eating.
Monday, March 29, 2010
There is just one problem with that, everything!
Cereals, along with breads and pastas, are among the top offenders when it comes to overly processed concoctions that once resembled food, and unfortunately thanks to this processing what's left is a tasteless, colorless, nutrientless impostor full of refined flowers grains and sugars.
So how then does a government feed a hungry nation without ultimately depriving its people of nutrients, synthetic fortified vitamins and minerals. Simple enough right?
The problem is there is nothing simple about nature. Humans are not simple organism, in fact we're quite complex. Wikipedia describes us as "Complex systems of chemical compounds which, through interaction with each other and the environment, play a wide variety of roles... In multicellular life the word organism usually describes the whole hierarchical assemblage of systems (for example circulatory, digestive or reproductive) themselves collections of organs; these are, in turn, collections of tissues, which are themselves made of cells."
Where am I going with all this, and how does it relate to the fortified nutrients in that bowl of cereal you ask? I don't think it's a far leap to infer that a complex organism requires complex foods to sustain life, and food by nature, in it's raw organic natural state, is complex; Fresh Organic Fruits and Vegetables, Natural Whole Grains and Legumes, Unrefined Sea Salt, Unrefined (or minimally refined) Sugar. What makes these foods complex is that they are all packed with a precise amount of vitamins minerals amino acids antioxidants and other crucial nutrients and anutrients, all of which are lost during processing. Simple carbs and simple sugars and simple salts do nothing but create holes in an otherwise complete food, leaving in its wake refined white flower or rice (lacking B-complex vitamins among others) or white refined sugar (lacking phosphorus and other mineral), or refined salt (lacking basically all trace minerals).
The resent headline Is your breakfast giving you cancer? is a good example of what happens when man tries to compensate for his meddling in what mother nature does so well. When the FDA realized, that this country's food supply was lacking nutrients, or got so much flack finally decided to take some sort of action, they began to fortify these foods with synthetic vitamins and minerals, but only those they felt were lacking without any basic understanding of the complex make-up of food.
Because vitamins and minerals work together one can infer that nutrients themselves are complex, so when only a select few are added back into food that has been depleted of nearly all, you get a simple food leaving you, well, simply malnourished.
Do yourself a favor and embrace the complexity that is the human body and don't deprive it of what it needs, instead reap the beautiful and COMPLEX "fruits" nature has to bear.
Friday, March 26, 2010
We are exposed to tons of environmental hazards every day, many of which are unavoidable, not to mention toxins from household chemicals or industrial chemical based products which are avoidable (research "Green" or "Biodegradable" products), but few people consider the hygiene or cosmetic products that they use so religiously as harmful. Maybe this is because these products are marketed as something that will enhance our look or improve our overall state of being in some way or another, but it's important to remember who these products are manufactured by and the ingredients listed on the label should be a dead giveaway. Not only are these so called "health and beauty products" full of unpronounceable chemical based ingredients, but they are undoubtedly unhealthy and basically toxic to your health; if they weren't they wouldn't have "Seek immediate medical attention if swallowed" listed at the top of a paragraph of warnings.
I've read that you should never put anything on your body (skin and hair) that you wouldn't put in your mouth, and I believe that statement couldn't be more true. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it absorbs most everything you put on it, and that includes moisturizers, soaps and cleansers, sun screens, or any other skin "health and beauty" product out there. So if these products contain mostly chemicals that are "harmful if swallowed" then that says that these creams and soaps and such are not healthy for the inside of our bodies (there words not mine), and if your skin absorbs (in some quantities) anything that is applied to it then where do you think the final destination is... Under the skin, in the blood stream, to the rest of your organs, and eventually to every cell in your body. And what about oral hygiene products such as tooth paste; if you look at that tube of toothpaste in your cabinet you will find somewhere on the container listed under warnings, "Seek immediate medical attention if swallowed" and this is a product that is designed to be put in the mouth.
Consider this, if you can taste it then your body is absorbing some quantity of it, and that means into the blood stream it goes...
There is an interesting article I found Medicines washing down the shower that talks about how the chemicals that we are putting on us (health care skin products) or consuming (prescription and over the counter drugs) are ultimately coming out of our pores and into our water system; polluting it!
I hope this comes as an eye opening shocking and hopefully disturbing piece of news, because it deserves your immediate attention. When you consider putting something on your skin or in your mouth consider where it is ending up, and then consider Organic when making your purchase.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
As a country the average diet is poor at best, with processed foods and fast foods topping the list. An empty over calorie'd diet high in fat, sugar, sodium, and chemicals in the form of additives and fillers, and lacking in just about all that is healthy is taking its toll on something that should come so natural (sleep). These over processed foods high in simple carbs, simple sugars, and simple salts do nothing but make blood sugar levels spike leaving you hungry again sooner than later, sends cholesterol levels through the roof and waistlines through the "belt", not to mention have caused a drastic shift in the body's healthy Omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) to Omega-6(promote inflammation) ratio .
There are many symptoms due to poor diet (inflammation in all its forms, chronic pain, stress and anxiety...) that are the popular targets for the billion dollar industry of quelling a sleepless nation, but
as I've preached many times before, address the cause not the symptom.
Eating the right foods equals a healthy diet, and a healthy diet equals a healthy lifestyle. Wouldn't you prefer to experience the symptoms of a healthy diet... No more pain and inflammation, no more depression and anxiety, a body that can actually deal with stress instead of going into stress overload, and ultimately SLEEP!
Focusing on the long term solution of eating a healthy diet consisting of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, natural whole grains and legumes, and grass-fed beef free-grazed poultry and eggs and wild caught fish will no doubt over time address all of the 'poor diet symptoms' mentioned above, but in the mean time trying some of these "Evening friendly foods" may help those eyes stay shut and minds quite during the night.
"So eating more anti-inflammatory foods and reducing or eliminating highly processed foods.... will help you sleep.
The amino acid tryptophan is used by the body to produce serotonin and serotonin plus dark produces melatonin and melatonin regulates sleep. To get more tryptophan to enter brain add a fast digesting carb (honey, mashed potatoes) to protein in supper to stimulate the release of insulin that allows tryptophan to enter brain. Examples of this are: turkey and potatoes, warm milk and honey (heat enhances tryptophan effect of foods), turkey on whole grain bread, a banana, a handful of nuts, or a slice of cheese.
Oatmeal, whole grain cereals and breads complex carbs increase production of serotonin."See Causes of Sleep Problems for more information.
Monday, March 22, 2010
A recent headline "FDA warns of muscle risk from statin drugs" sheds some disturbing light on an already hot topic. It seems the increasingly growing number of weary patients, when it comes to these cholesterol lowering drugs and their many side effects, are finally getting some attention.
As a result of all the headlines that cholesterol and statins receive, *whole grains have been getting more and more news worthy attention and for good reason. The important thing, as a health conscious community, is to determine what information is coming from trust worthy sources. I can make this detective work a whole lot easier by saying any information gained from the packaging of any of the popular brands of processed foods that line the shelves at your local grocery store should be considered suspect.
*Based on what I have recently learned (over the past 6mo or so) regarding grain consumption within modern day factory or industrial farming societies, and its adverse effects on human health ultimately leading to many of the illnesses and diseases affecting Americans in epic proportions, I have changed my stance on the importance of such monocrops (grains and legumes) within a healthy human diet. The human digestive system was not designed nor has it evolved to a point to effectively digest such foods like grains and legumes without the body suffering from its harmful side effects; inflammation and damage to the gut. Since evidence shows inefficient digestion and inflammation are the root cause for nearly all human diseases be it heart disease, diabetes, cancer, crohn's disease, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammatory disorders in all its forms, a healthy diet should promote a healthy gut (fermented foods) and be anti-inflammatory based (grass-fed meats and eggs, wild caught fish, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds) instead of high in foods promoting inflammation such as grains, legumes, and factory farmed meats, poultry, fish, and eggs.
Rest assured though if you're one of the many who are already relying on natural remedies for high cholesterol then you are on the right track, but now it's time to get the facts you'll need to put these cholesterol worries behind you. Nothing beats a healthy diet when it comes to remedying any health issue; Organic Fruits and Vegetables,
Eat Smart and Live Healthy!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I say this because humans, as a species, have one major flaw... many flaws actually, but I'm going to focus on this one for now. People get so attached to their memories (both bad and good) that they often let these past events run their current lives. Whether it's never quite getting closure over a sad event, or being haunted daily by a horrible event, or tightly holding onto what we perceive as a "good memory"; so much so that it becomes unhealthy to us in the present. This is the one I would like to talk about because this one in particular can directly affect your diet, which will directly affect your health.
I, like most of us, have many childhood memories attached to unhealthy food, but I unlike many of us choose to cherish the memory and not the food. Every time I pass a Friendlies I can remember how much I enjoyed going there as a child. They're known for their ice cream deserts and I absolutely loved the fribble... their version of a vanilla milk shake. As much as I consider these to be good memories, I would never consider eating their again for old times' sake.
I also am not immune to the childhood memories of the big Mickey D's, let's face it I did grow up in America. I can remember the one or two times a month that my parents would go out for an adults only evening, which always resulted in the kids getting McDonald's for dinner, and let me tell you my brother sister and I loved those nights! Even with that memory being so strong and clear in my mind, never do I pass by one of these fast food death traps and say to myself, "What's one more time anyway..."
And let us not forget the many childhood birthday memories... Still fresh in my mind are the many outings to Red Lobster where my parents would often treat us for a birthday dinner, but never, not even for a second do I miss the fried butter saturated artery clogging food.
If you grew up in this country then you more than likely have some fond memory of unhealthy food attached to your childhood, but it's important to understand that our memories should not run our lives. Cherish the memory; pull it down from the shelf every once in a while, dust if off and reminisce if you must, but then put it back on that shelf. The memory is not the unhealthy thing here, after all the events that make up these memories are the events that have molded us into what we are today, but when we hold onto these memories and revisit them (literally) we let a "good" memory turn into a bad unhealthy decision.
If I knew then what I know now I would have made different choices, and I'm sure my parents would have as well, but like most American families we did not. This is not true today however, there has been plenty of research done and there has been plenty of literature written on the subject. All it requires is for us to care enough about ours and our family's health to educate ourselves on the truth, and then live it. So do the healthy thing and eat right, because an unhealthy diet equals an unhealthy life.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Although I have no formal education on the subject, I've had my own idea of what may be happening and finally there seems to be scientists connecting the same dots.
There has been an abundance of research detailing the health benefits of organically grown food in comparison to that of which is grown using chemical fertilizers due to the higher levels of nutrients and anutrients in organically grown food. New research is showing that this lack of nutrients in non-organic foods is not only having a negative effect on us, but appears to be detrimental to the plant itself as well. By now many people know that such anutrients such as polyphenols are extremely beneficial to our immune systems, but most people don't consider how beneficial these chemical substances may be to the plants immune (or defense) system. Research now shows that polyphenols may actually be responsible for acting as a sort of natural pesticide, but because the use of chemical fertilizers promotes over farming of land due to its ability to replenish the soil with high quantities of nitrogen, and not much else, what your left with is a very nutrient deficient earth.
This in turn causes extremely malnourished crops that are becoming increasingly more and more dependent upon toxic chemical pesticides poisoning plants and people alike, only now in my opinion it's taking its effect on our busy little bee friends, and why not? If the fruits of these plants are lacking the nutrients and anutrients that keep us healthy (and the plants), what's to say the pollen isn't nutrient deficient as well? It would only make sense then that this potentially nutrient deficient pollen would affect the world's leading pollinators... The Bees!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
It was an episode of "Dirty Jobs" and, well, the dirty job was animal rendering. They were on location at some animal rendering facility, which is basically a place where they recycle dead animals for use in a verity of commonly used products. The most common animals were cows that were picked up from the many beef farms in the area, all of which supposedly died from natural causes, only in my opinion there is nothing natural about it.
I know that the majority of beef farms in this country are not organic grass fed farms, instead they are large over crowded corporations whose commodity is beef; and to insure the best return for their dollar, they do whatever necessary to produce the biggest fattest cows possible in the shortest time. This means corn is on the menu, and as I've mentioned in the past corn to a ruminants anatomy is like poison. A ruminant (the cow) has four stomachs which allows it to very efficiently turn grass into protein, but what it doesn't do very well is digest grains (corn or soy). So when cows are fed grains they becomes sick over time, many kept alive just long enough to be brought to slaughter by the veterinary staff on premise, but unfortunately some don't survive and this is where the rendering comes in.
At this rendering facility the cow is %100 recycled, skinned, ground up, boiled, and compacted. The hides go to leather manufactures, the oils get used in products such as motor oils, candles, and cosmetics, and the ground up meat and bones becomes chicken feed or pig feed. And at one time it was added to cows feed but then came Mad Cows disease and they put a stop to that...
So anyway this is where the sick twisted story starts all over again, because at these large over crowded corporations whose commodity is chicken or pig, profit remains the driving force. Bigger fatter chickens equals more money, and in order to maximize their return they do whatever is necessary; and in this case it's feed the birds a cheap protein overloaded diet consisting of rendered cow parts.
As a result you eat an unhealthy diet of chicken, from a bird that ate an unhealthy diet of beef, from cows that were fed an unhealthy diet of corn.
So I ask you again, how's that beef-fed chicken taste?
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The answers are probably no, to both questions, but if you're eating a diet high in processed foods or even if you're eating some processed foods and those foods are not organic, than you may want to look into it. One of the top headlines in today's health news reads "Tainted ingredient sold after salmonella found", and guess what that ingredient is... you guessed it Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein.
It turns out that this Las Vegas based company Basic Food Flavors Inc. continued to distribute the HVP (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein) on contaminated equipment, even after knowing about the tainted equipment. This has caused 100s of products to be recalled due to salmonella contamination.
So what is HVP (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein)? Maybe you would recognize it better by its more widely know name... MSG! This flavor enhancer, derived from corn, soy, wheat, peanuts, or cottonseed is used in the majority of processed foods including beef and poultry to help bring back some of the flavor the food once had before the processing removed it all.
This startling headline caused my wife to check the small amount of processed foods we do eat, only to quickly take solace in seeing that there is no HVP in the foods we eat. This is no coincidence; all the credit has to go to a healthy diet.
So if the majority of your diet consists of fresh organic fruits, vegetables, natural whole grains, and free-grazed beef poultry and eggs (from local organic farmers), with the small amount of processed foods being organic with minimal ingredients then HVP and other additives preservatives and fillers are nowhere to be found.
Be smart... Eat healthy and leave the worrying to those who don't!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Finally scientific research is revealing what the N.D. Holistic and Natural Healing experts have known for some time, and that is the importance of Vitamin D in regards to our immune system. A recent article "Scientists Find Why Sunshine Vit D is Crucial" touches on this very subject and the main idea of the article is the very point I would like to shed some much needed light on.
Most of the article focuses on the research and its findings...
"The researchers found that immune systems' killer cells, known as T cells, rely on vitamin D to become active and remain dormant and unaware of the possibility of threat from an infection or pathogen if vitamin D is lacking in the blood. "When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device or 'antenna' known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it searches for vitamin D," said Carsten Geisler of Copenhagen University's department of international health, immunology and microbiology, who led the study. "This means the T cell must have vitamin D or activation of the cell will cease. If the T cells cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won't even begin to mobilize"
I have left out the conclusion of the article because as is the case with most of the essential nutrients that our society is lacking and the RDA set forth by the so called "experts" for which the medical community strictly follows, they consistently falls short on the amounts we truly need. We do not live in a perfect toxic free environment, and even those with the healthiest of diets are exposed to millions of unavoidable environmental toxins. Combine that with a poor diet, lack of sunshine exposure, and the increased exposure of toxins in packaged processed foods and other commonly used products, our body's are in desperate need of these core nutrients.
Don't take my word for it though, I urge you to do your own research; preferably from any of the tons of literature available written by someone following a more natural approach to health and wellness.
Monday, March 8, 2010
The article, titled "Fat epidemic linked to chemicals run amok", is claiming that a recent discovery of natural and synthetic chemicals, being referred to as obesogens (how clever), could be to blame for this countries obesity problem as well as the many obesity related diseases. There is actually a sub heading to this article that reads "Fast food not solely to blame for obesity, new research suggests."
At first glance I began to think here we go again, blaming everything but an unhealthy diet for this countries many health related problems that have all reached epidemic proportions, but the meat of the article takes on a very interesting subject which puts a lot of long overdue blame where it belongs; on toxic chemicals both environmental as well as in this countries mainstream food supply and commonly used products. I have listed a few examples below, from the article, to help drive home a point I've been posting about for some time.
- The dangers of pesticides in our fruits and vegetables... "Every day the average American is exposed to an estimated 10 to 13 different pesticides and/or their metabolites (breakdown products) through food, beverages, and drinking water.Some of those chemicals can mimic estrogen during development, which can lead to weight gain later in life. Others can spur unnecessary fat-cell formation at any age."
The solution... "According to the Environmental Working Group, you can reduce your pesticide exposure by nearly 80 percent simply by choosing organic versions of the 12 fruits and vegetables shown in its tests to contain the highest pesticide load."
- Hormones steroids and antibiotics in our beef supply may be disrupting the way our own body's hormone system operates.
The solution... "Organic beef has none of the weight-promoting steroid hormones of conventional beef, while grass-fed beef has been found to have more omega-3s and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is a fatty-acid mixture that's been linked to protection against cardiovascular disease and diabetes; it can also help you lose weight, according to a meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."
- The dangers of Soy and Corn which is being fed to all of the non-free grazed meat being sold in this country, and is found in all processed foods as fillers preservatives and proteins (SOY) or as sugar (High Fructose CORN Syrup).
In other words... "The result of all that extra soy could be — get ready for it — more fat. This is particularly true for people who were given soy-based formula as infants. You see, soy contains two naturally occurring chemicals, genistein and daidzein, both of which are estrogenics, which can spur the formation of fat cells... High-fructose corn syrup, too, has been fingered by some experts as a possible player in the obesity crisis. HFCS is found in countless items, from bread to ketchup to Life Savers to cough medicine. Recent research indicates that a diet high in HFCS may trick your brain into craving more food even when you don't need it."
What we eat means everything, so make the right choice and eat health... Fresh Organic fruits and vegetables, natural whole grains and legumes, free grazed beef poultry and eggs, wild caught fish, and very little processed foods.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Proper diet has to be what all else is centered around, along proper supplementation under the guidance of a health professional; I see a kinesiologist for my unique personalized supplemental nutritional needs, but there are a handful of other options out there. Because our bodies are affected differently by what they are exposed to, you can’t simply take some multi vitamin concoction (be it in pill or liquid form) designed for a generalized lifestyle (for the “active man” or “woman”), or for a generalized ailment or nutritional deficiency, and expect to be getting the level of quality nutrients that YOUR body needs. Whether or not these “good-for-one” “good- for-all” products contain high levels of antioxidants vitamins and minerals or other nutrients and annutrients is irrelevant, because they will not have the same effect on everyone.
I suffered from severe tendonitis in most of my joints for 10+ years (when I thought I was living and eating healthy) and never found relief from any medical doctor, anything they prescribed, and or any cookie-cutter nutritional supplement out there. Only when I finally learned what a healthy diet really is (fresh organic foods), and learned about the dangers of many of the commonly sold hygiene products and household products (due to their levels of poisons and toxins), and started focusing on my body’s nutritional needs did I finally find relief.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
"What if you could be fat but avoid heart disease or diabetes? Scientists trying to break the fat-and-disease link increasingly say inflammation is the key. In the quest to prove it, a major study is under way testing whether an anti-inflammatory drug — an old, cheap cousin of aspirin — can fight the Type 2 diabetes spurred by obesity… Solving that mystery could point to more targeted treatments for obesity's threats than today's effective but hard-to-follow advice to lose weight."
...and as i read it I shake my head thinking, here we go again! It's seems like another case of trying to get around this countries poor health problem without actually addressing the number one cause, a poor diet.
I agree with only one part of this article and that's the severity of inflammation and its link as a possible underlying cause of many of the health issues plaguing our society. That of course is where my agreeing stops, because anti-inflammatory medication (prescription or over-the-counter) is not and will never be the correct approach to addressing this problem.
Society's poor health is a direct effect of today's poor diet choices. This is not something we should leave for some scientist in a lab to solve, unless you want that solution to be a drug manufactured by one of the many money hungry profit driven pharmaceutical companies. It is our responsibility as a society and as concerned individuals to educate ourselves on healthy living and healthy eating.
It is a fact that corn fed beef (the beef you find at any and all grocery stores) is high in Omega-6 and low in Omega-3, and this goes for non-free-grazed chickens and eggs, and farm raised fish as well.
It is a fact that generations of eating this poor unhealthy food has resulted in a society with its Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio to be extremely lopsided; 10:1 to in some cases 20:1 instead of a more balanced 1:1.
It is a fact that Omega-3 is an anti-inflammatory while Omega-6 promotes inflammation, which can only lead to one reasonable conclusion. Our society suffers from chronic inflammation because our poor diets promote this.
So let me give you my solution... Eat organic grass-fed beef, free-grazed chickens and eggs, and wild caught fish, and you may actually find that if you stop promoting chronic inflammation you may actually stop suffering from it.