Tag: big agra

Dear Mark: Hydroponic vs. Regular Vegetables; Lowering Blood Pressure Without Meds

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two questions. First up, do the nutrient contents of hydroponic produce differ from soil-grown produce? If so, in what way? Then I give a few (somehwat unprompted) tips for lowering blood pressure without meds. While meds can and do help people overcome or mitigate hypertension, we should apply other options. What are these possibilities?

Let’s go:

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A Brief History of U.S. Dietary Guidelines

Prior to 1980, how in the world did anyone know how to eat? When you think of all the centuries, the millennia of human existence, how did the species manage to survive bumbling their way through day after day of undirected eating patterns? I’m guessing those of you who know me expected a few irreverent remarks when you read the title of today’s post. Still, I’ll try to keep myself on a short leash today. It’s a legitimate and even, in some regards, culturally (and probably politically) significant question: why were government dietary guidelines ever put in place—and what was the backstory of their uses and modifications over time? Finally, what perspective can it bring to our understanding of embracing a “niche” dietary model like the Primal Blueprint?

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Is Conventional Wisdom About GMO Safety Correct?

Conventional wisdom demands skepticism. Whether it’s the official stance on high-fat diets (“they’ll give you heart disease, don’t work, or do work but not for long!”), exercise (“you must jog at a moderate pace for an hour a day, four days a week!”), organic food (“it’s nutritionally identical to conventionally-grown food!”), or sun exposure (“you must always wear sunblock!”), I always question conventional wisdom. And when it’s lacking (as is often the case), I rightly skewer it.

I’m going to do something a little different today. I’m going to look critically at conventional wisdom, but of a different sort: the kind espoused by the alternative health crowd.

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The Power of Your Food Dollars

First off, let?s make no mistake. Americans are still binging on junk food. No one is declaring the end of fast food. Financial trends show as much, as does a casual look around. That said, there?s plenty to suggest that we find ourselves at an interesting junction these days when it comes to the food economy.

We?re seeing big packaged food giants, who lost four billion dollars of the market share last year, initiate ?healthy? or sustainable changes they hope will drive consumers back to their product lines. Several fast food chains are doing the same. It?s all part of a ?Big Food versus Granola Startup? movement, as described by a recent Fortune Magazine analysis of the food industry, a review that highlights the increasing role of health goals and smaller sourcing as well as questions the ability of large food companies to maintain their market share, particularly without heeding the alternative writing on the wall.

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Change Coming to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans?

It’s about that time again, folks. The sixth meeting of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recently drawn to a close. Just one more meeting remains until the absolute final word on how to eat healthily and stave off chronic disease, obesity, and early death forever becomes available for public consumption. Isn’t it grand? We can all just sit back, turn off our brains, close down the PubMed tab, and receive premier nutritional recommendations that do all the work for us. I’m serious. Stop thinking so much. The impending recommendations come from high up: a Committee composed of Important People and Experts with your best interests in mind.

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Why I Don’t Trust the Acceptable Daily Intake Levels for Pesticides

The supernaturally rational adherents to the Skeptic religion irk me. And it’s not because I disagree with all their stances. On many issues, they’re right. But the systematic, overarching, a priori denial of the viability of anything that even sniffs of “alternative” health is ridiculous. I’m not even annoyed at how they deride the ancestral health movement. What really gets me is their flippant dismissal of the potential risks of agricultural pesticides.

One article in particular, from Slate in 2012, exemplifies the sloppy, dangerous thinking on the subject. On the surface, it’s quite reasonable, persuasive, and it hits all the marks.

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Dear Mark: Bone Broth Nutrients and Alternatives to Agriculture

Today’s edition of Dear Mark is a two-parter. First, I dig a bit deeper into the nutrients found in bone broth. A reader’s come across some startling nutritional data that seems to call into question the legitimacy of our community’s collective love affair with hot bone water. Find out if we’ve been overselling the benefits. Then, I discuss humankind’s tendency to (try to) tame, quell, counteract, and otherwise improve on nature’s mysterious workings. Can we come up with a viable alternative to agriculture, often characterized as our most egregious offense?

Let’s go:

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Amber Waves of Shame

The following passage is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Denise Minger’s riveting new book Death by Food Pyramid. Order your copy of Death by Food Pyramid by December 31 and get free gifts plus a chance to win Primal prizes valued at $1,800. Learn all the details here.

On a spring night in 1968, thousands of Americans witnessed the televised death of an infant, body no bigger than a toy doll, lying limp as he took his last breath beneath the unflinching gaze of the camera. “This baby is dying of starvation,” the narrator’s voice boomed. “He was an American. Now he is dead.”1

The gut-wrenching footage was part of a CBS documentary called Hunger in America—an expose? on the nation’s hidden plague of starvation. From the backwaters of Alabama to the dusty Navajo reservations of the Southwest, the program pulled viewers into a world of struggle and pain, sending shockwaves throughout the country. Under the nation’s rippling flag of freedom lay a shadow few knew existed: deep poverty and malnutrition in a land that prided itself on abundance.

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What You Should Know About Beef Production Claims

I’m grateful to have our friend David Maren of Tendergrass Farms back to pen today’s guest post. This is the last post in a three part series on the assertions that retailers make about the way their poultry, pork, and beef is raised. And don’t miss the free grass fed steak coupon code that he’s generously provided at the end of the post!

This is the third and final post in my series about animal production claims. In the previous two posts I’ve endeavored to expose some of the confusing and deceptive claims that marketers make about the way that their chickens, turkeys, and pigs are raised. Today my goal is to help you better understand the options you’re presented with when you want to purchase beef. In a previous post, Mark gave an overview of the differences between grass fed and grain fed beef where he touched on everything from taste to nutritional profiles and even pricing and availability.  This post has a much narrower goal of helping you figure out what exactly you’re being offered, whether it claims to be grass fed, grain fed, pasture raised, free range, all natural, or organic. Mark’s verdict in his post was that while you need to be eating lots of good beef, grass fed beef isn’t always going to be available or affordable for everyone. This post will help you understand the whole spectrum of beef options that you have to choose from whether or not grass fed is what you’re going for.

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What You Should Know About Poultry Production Claims

I’m grateful to have our friend David Maren of Tendergrass Farms pen today’s guest post. This is the first post in a three part series on the assertions that retailers make about the way their poultry, pork, and beef is raised.

Every year in the United States the average person eats about 66 pounds of poultry, comprised of about 53 pounds of chicken and 13 pounds of turkey.1 Nearly every pound of poultry sold in the US is raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s) but the poultry industry is very aware of the growing demand for naturally raised alternatives. Americans spend more than $50 Billion on chicken and turkey annually2 so the financial incentive for them to cater to this shifting demand is gigantic. A few independent farms have opted to actually change the way they raise their birds but improving poultry production practices, especially raising poultry outdoors on pasture, raises the labor costs of production dramatically. For this reason many companies have decided to turn to clever marketing techniques to meet the demand for alternatives instead of actually changing the highly profitable CAFO-style system in which their birds are raised. Today, poultry production claims that boast about the superiority of certain brands’ “organic,” “cage free,” “hormone free,” or “free range” poultry can be seen almost everywhere from poultry labels in grocery stores to restaurant menus and even online meat shops’ product descriptions. Tragically, these poultry production claims are often relatively meaningless. They’re designed to paint a picture of what the customer wants to buy without requiring significant changes in the old CAFO poultry production model.

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