Month: April 2007

Did You Know We Eat Petroleum?

Did you know that the federal government allows oil to be added to foods? Not the vegetable kind of oil, either – I’m talking about that oil. The oil that runs your car, lubricates machinery, and gets made into clothes and computers and cars and containers. The same oil that is made into makeup and lotion and shampoo and occasionally pet food.

Environmental concerns aside, why is anybody adding oil to foods? It’s known by its common name, mineral oil. Evidently, adding mineral oil is a very common practice in processed and prepared foods because – drum roll – mineral oil doesn’t go rancid like vegetable oil. The reason mineral oil doesn’t go rancid is because it’s not a food.

The disinformation rumor mill frequently buzzes with conspiracy theories about petroleum products causing cancer, behavior disorders, and all sorts of public health concerns. The debate centers on mineral oil used in skincare products and cosmetics. I’m neither a petroleum researcher nor a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t exactly warm to the thought of petroleum being in my food, either. I have no opinion either way about the health of using petroleum-based personal care products. But food? That ain’t right.

If you’re also not a fan of consuming the stuff that comes from a substance used to make bottles, mattresses and other household items that won’t decompose until you-know-where freezes over, then you’ll want to consider avoiding these items – or at least check the ingredients panel:

1. Candy

2. Packaged baked goods

3. Mints and breath sprays

4. Laxatives

5. Many snack foods such as chips and crackers

6. Any product with Olestra, which is an indigestible plastic similar to regular old mineral oil. (Remember anal leakage? This toxic ingredient didn’t go anywhere – the FDA simply let food makers drop the warning label. Nice.)

If you’re aware of further oil-in-food research or happen to have a handy resource available, please send it my way. (And here’s what the WHO says. And the FDA. And MS experts.)

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[tags]petrolium, oils, snack foods, candy, packaged baked goods, Olestra, mineral oil[/tags]

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The Real Reason We Don’t Exercise

Are you sick of hearing the same old lectures about the need to exercise? Tired of reading list after list of reasons why you really should work out? So over sifting through tip upon tip suggesting how to motivate yourself? The nation’s collective “Move Thy Buns!” shout has been getting consistently noisier for a few decades now, and yet, despite all our best efforts, desire, and intentions, most people just don’t exercise enough. If at all. End of story. Strange, because we know exercise is not only great, but actually necessary. I don’t believe there’s a single person alive right now who doesn’t know that exercise will help them lose weight, or live longer, or reduce stress, or just feel better. Whether you’re a gym rat, or are simply maintaining a decent standard of fitness, or are a regulation couch potato, I’d like to offer a thought as to why exercise, for the most part, just won’t stick. The reason is because the baby boomer generation is the first generation to learn about the need for exercise. Our parents didn’t exercise. Sure, there were the Saturday rounds on the links for Dad and Mom played tennis with the ladies at the country club from time to time. Or there was the occasional evening constitutional or family camping trip. But exercise as a way of life? A daily habit? A necessity? It just wasn’t in people’s consciousness. Take a look at old male and female movie stars whose bodies were adored in their time – John Wayne didn’t have a six-pack. Miss Monroe had plenty of curvaceous heft. The silhouette was enough – nobody was sculpting, toning and defining back then. Sports were for fun, walks were for digestion, and activity was for stress relief, but the thought of daily exercise? Unheard of. It makes sense to me. Our parents’ generation was really the first to be fully “modern” – ladies keeping house in middle-class suburbia and office-going gentlemen in the ubiquitous gray flannel suits. These are huge generalities, of course, but I think they’re largely true. It wasn’t uncommon at all for our parents to have been raised on a farm – until the 1930s, most families were still connected to agriculture or heavy labor in some way. But our parents weren’t farmers, and even a blue collar union job at GM was fairly mechanized. We simply weren’t raised to be active. So, the Boomers are the product of at least one generation that didn’t work out. It’s taken us a few generations to realize that the hard labor Gramps put in on the family farm was probably really good for him. We don’t live that way anymore, so yes, we do need the gyms and fitness videos and exercise gear. And change is hard. Really hard. I’m obviously a huge proponent of exercise. I work out 5 or 6 times a week and many of you know that I’m a retired athlete. I think everyone ought to work out … Continue reading “The Real Reason We Don’t Exercise”

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Healthy Tastes Great!

Brussels Sprouts with Apples & Toasted Walnuts

(More Apples! Try using walnut oil instead of butter for this tasty recipe.)

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Never Fails to Inspire

Have you gotten to know this little nutrition buddy brought to you by the FDA? If not, I think you ought to reconsider:

– Like many of the processed foods we enjoy in this great country, the exact nature of Labelman’s, er, origin, is difficult to ascertain. Is he a popsicle? A hot dog, perhaps? Maybe a tofu pup? I can’t stand it! I have to know!

– Fans need to know: Does Labelman work out? (If only we could all get muscles like that.) What is Labelman’s favorite shampoo? And is it true that Labelman is courting Zipperedtopgirl?

– Labelman decimates the burgeoning belief that the American government has become cynical and corrupt when it comes to health and nutrition. It doesn’t take a genius to see the level of creative sweat and tears that were clearly poured into this original, inspiring, visually dazzling creation! Like, duh! Even the unique and catchy name – Labelman – belies a sincerity and intensity of concern only our federal government is capable of.

I ask you, dear readers, if the Fuming Fuji met this vision of nutritional inspiration and personality (such brio!), what would happen? The world may soon find out…

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m totally disappointed by this half-hearted offering of nutritional guidance. I’m pretty sure even my pets could come up with something better. I mean, seriously – this is the best they can do with our tax dollars?

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Healthy Tastes Great!

Apple and Three Bean Salad

(Use honey and olive oil in place of sugar and vegetable oil and you will have one appetizing apple treat!)

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Essential Arrogance

Last month, the Bees posted a news bite about the amazing new “chocolate vitamin”, epicatechin, which has the very startling potential of addressing 4 out of 5 of the significant public health issues we face today. That’s huge. As you’d expect, researchers are hopping all over this like chaos theory circa 1970. As you’d expect, the major media would rather delve infinitely deeper into the Anna Nicole Smith saga than investigate things like the elimination of every major current health problem facing Western humanity.

Thank goodness for rational, objective journalistic media. It’s horrifying to think where would we be with all these amateur, biased bloggers who are certainly incapable of rational enquiry into serious matters.

You’ll have to pardon my sarcasm. If I were a better man I’d rise to the level of mere sardonic wit, but I’m feeling pretty angry about the presumption, ignorance and – most of all – arrogance that are parading around society with all the dazzle and spice of a trio-appetizer sampler from [insert chain restaurant of choice here]. Like the samplers, this attitude is toxic and full of…well, you know.

I bring up arrogance because of a paragraph in the above news bite that discusses the possibility that epicatechin may in fact be an essential vitamin for human existence. Miss this vit, and major health problems ensue. It’s a good hypothesis. It may get thrown out, as most new scientific hypotheses do, but so far, it’s very compelling. At any rate, it highlights the trouble with arrogance. Mainstream medicine and the government have been quick to discount any new discovery that might challenge the holy grail of “13 essential vitamins and minerals”. I wish that I had the luxury of simply being baffled by this persistent intransigence, but human lives are truly at stake. Who determines essential? Why should we be so arrogant as to assume that we know all there is to know about nutrition? If we really only need 13 “essential” vitamins, or, if the modern diet really is supplying all our nutritional needs, where’s the glowing good health to reflect this bedrock assertion?

Epicatechin is simply the latest – and possibly greatest – discovery to make things a little uncomfortable for those who have an investment in the status quo. By no means do I think we ought to welcome every new “wonder drug” or “miracle nutrient” with open arms. We ought to be skeptical. But there’s a terrific difference between healthy scientific skepticism and essential arrogance.

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[tags]chocolate vitamin, arrogance, epicatechin, wonder drug[/tags]

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