If you haven’t already done so, make the switch to organic animal products (dairy, eggs, and meat). It’s a little more expensive, but well worth the cost if you can spare it. I see people insisting on organic produce, which is great, too. But if cost is a concern, organic animal products are the better health investment. Sure, regular veggies might have some pesticides, but regular animal products almost always contain those same pesticides, along with antibiotics, hormones, chemicals, infectious bacteria and pus. Yes. You read that correctly.
You can wash contaminants off a bell pepper. I’m not sure how to accomplish that with milk.
Go on, make the switch right now!
Why eat tuna when you could eat…Tuno? That’s what Peta is hoping you’ll want to do. They offer 10 reasons to eschew eating all our dear fish friends, from tuna to salmon (here’s the clickativity).
In actuality, they offer two reasons, five different ways (human health, fish feel pain). I get a little peeved by this kind of repetitive illogic. Just make your two reasons convincing!
That said, I don’t really have anything against Peta, or against vegetarians. My wife and son have both tried vegetarianism in different forms over the years. I’ve never really understood the people who have an actual problem with vegetarians’ motives. While I personally believe eating fish and meat is healthy and natural, and I think Tuno is just plain ridiculous, I’m stumped by the anger I see at times. Call vegetarianism sentimental or unnatural if you like, but think about it: “I’m gonna get really riled up about the fact that you’re trying to be…nice.” I just don’t see how vegheads are threatening, but then, I also know real men aren’t afraid of salad.
As far as Tuno is concerned, I do want to suggest that you avoid mock-meats or faux-fish in whatever latest incarnation you see. While mercury toxicity is a concern if you eat a lot of fish, particularly tropical-water fish, let’s think about the alternatives being prescribed. Eating a processed soy- or grain-based artificial food is hardly a reasonable alternative.
Here’s an incredibly easy rule of thumb: did the food start this way? An apple started as an apple. A filet of fish started as fish. Foods people typically think are “healthy”, such as fruit leather, protein bars, and now Tuno, really aren’t much better for you than what you’d find in your local middle school vending machine (now there’s another peeve!). Though there are a few exceptions, I will say that any food that is highly-processed and generally unrecognizable from where it started is not fuel fit for consumption. Really.
Two easy solutions to the mercury concerns:
1) Eat mostly cold-water fish, such as Alaskan salmon and Arctic cod.
2) Supplement with an Rx-quality, filtered fish oil.
Just like our beloved eggs (oh, what a nutritional ball of goodness), nuts are victimized by painful puns: Get Nutty! We’re Nuts about Nuts! You’re Nuts if You Don’t Eat Them!
We don’t do that here. Nuts are a Smart Fuel deserving of some smart words. Here’s why we think nuts are great for your health. Just don’t go…crazy…with the portions. (Whew – that was close!)
- Excellent fats that boost mental clarity, love your liver, and help your heart.
- Protein and fiber
- Selenium. This handy mineral activates an antioxidant called glutathione peroxidase. You don’t have to remember that, just know it’s really, really good at helping fight free radical oxidation in the body. Some studies suggest selenium might even help fight cancer.
- Antioxidant E and vitamin A. Since these are fat-soluble vitamins (meaning they only work with fat), nuts are nature’s perfectly engineered delivery systems.
The best nuts:
- Hazelnuts, filberts, walnuts, almonds
Less-nutritious (but sort of decent) nuts:
- Peanuts (not actually a nut), pine nuts, cashews
About an ounce a day is a reasonable portion size – think one small handful.
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The Harvard School of Public Health has announced the results of a painstaking 20-year study: fat does not make you fat, or sick, or anything else we’ve been taught about fat. In fact, a high-fat, high-protein diet does not contribute to heart disease. This is a mammoth issue in health right now, but the debate has been building behind the scenes of the drug, medical and food industries since the 1940s. I’ll be addressing it frequently.
For now, bear in mind, I have to stress that I am talking good fats (fish, avocados, nuts and the like). This is not a license to gorge on bacon (though I don’t think saturated fat is the health monster it’s been made out to be).
For those who have a hankering for some clickativity, the article as printed in Time this week.
I can’t tell you how furious I am about what I feel is the meat industry’s blatant disregard for human health. While I’m no vegetarian, I saw this study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, and let’s just say, I’m not buying the “Happy Cows” line.
The researchers looked at 90,000 women. That’s a huge study. They compared US and UK women, and here’s what they found:
Eating more than 1.5 servings of meat daily doubles a young woman’s risk of breast cancer. What concerns me is the type of cancer which had double the risk: hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. To me, that says something pretty sobering about the meat industry’s production habits.
Both the study, and the BBC News article that covered it, are cautious to merely “suggest” a link between eating red meat and increasing – doubling – the risk of breast cancer. It doesn’t take much to read between the lines here.
The reason I think this study is really important to highlight is not because I hope to bandy a statistic like “double the risk!” about. (Remember the Statistics Game: always consider context and relative risk or results.) It’s important because the women who ate high amounts of red meat had double the risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. That is a big issue, namely, because the American meat industry uses growth hormone like it’s manna from Heaven. Growth hormone helps the animals get bigger, faster, which translates more profit – but I’m pretty skeptical about how this practice could possibly be in the interest of public health. I just wonder how these people sleep at night knowing their profits come at the expense of other human beings.
Personally, I believe it’s clear that human physiology supports being omnivorous. No culture anywhere at any time has done without some sort of animal flesh, whether it’s fish, beef or reindeer. So I’m not “anti-meat”. However, I am strongly opposed to the way meat is produced in this country: quickly, unethically, with little regard for the animals or the people eating the animals. That’s why I only buy meat that is free-range, local, organic and definitely hormone-free.
The researchers were careful not to draw any ultimate conclusions. I think we can probably begin to draw our own, with some additional critical considerations:
1) Processed meats generally contain a chemical known as heterocyclic acid, which has been shown to cause cancer;
2) Red meat, of course, contains iron, which can sometimes encourage the growth of some types of tumors (though this isn’t a significant concern, likely);
3) The standard line: “The biggest risk factors for breast cancer remain gender and increasing age.” This from specialist Maria Leadbeater, quoted in the BBC article. Fair enough.
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