Tag: big agra

Shellfish: Healthy or Not?

Shrimp have long been on the average dietitian’s “bad” list. The belief was that lobster, crabs, clams, shrimp and other shellfish were high in cholesterol, and therefore detrimental to cardiovascular health. But according to the L.A. Times, the oft-cited information is completely wrong. Accurate measurements reveal that shellfish – even shrimp – are quite low in cholesterol.

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Think Fatty Liver Is an Alcoholic’s Problem? Think Again

Akay Flickr Photo (CC)

The BBC reports that fatty liver (as presented in the journal Obesity) is a growing yet silent epidemic affecting adults and, increasingly, children. Between one-quarter and one-half of all overweight children have fatty liver, which typically goes undetected and can be fatal. The causes of fatty liver vary, but scientists have found that the primary factor in the rapidly increasing caseload is our refined grain/starch-based diet.

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Health News: Sun, Salt, Stents, and …Buckwheat

Here’s what we’re talking about this morning, gang. We want your two cents’ worth on:

Sun

Though you only need a few minutes’ exposure, here’s yet another compelling reason to get a little sunshine daily if you are able to take advantage of it. Vitamin D appears to help prevent both breast and colon cancer, and doctors say the best source is natural sunlight. Experts disagree about ideal exposure times. Fair-skinned recommendations range from 3 minutes to 15 minutes, while darker-skinned individuals may be fine with up to an hour of sunlight daily. Don’t fry to a crisp, though – and a tanning bed is not the same thing.

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8 ‘Health’ Foods That Contain High Fructose Corn Syrup!

Busted! High fructose corn syrup is incredibly cheap, partly because the U.S. government artificially fixes sugar prices and partly because corn is heavily subsidized (not so much “free market” anymore as “free lunch”). Clearly, your federal government loves you and hopes you get obesity and diabetes really soon so you can take advantage of all the great medical care that we don’t have.

High fructose corn syrup is also terrible for you, and not even the most conservative of nutrition experts disagrees with that. While there are a few slightly more terrible liquids out there – lighter fluid, for example – it’s really a shame that the “foods” available to us are so commonly laced with HFCS. And it’s even worse that they’re often promoted as being suitable for a healthy lifestyle or weight loss! They may look very cute, but beneath the fiber sprinkles and happy labeling lurks the heart of darkness. Really.

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Who Are the Real Welfare Queens?

55 Billion Goes to:

School lunch & breakfast programs
WIC (Women, Infants, & Children)
Food subsidies
Food stamps
Nutrition education
Other food and health programs

127 Billion Goes to:

Corporate funding (direct & indirect)
Grants to Fortune 500 companies
Big Agra subsidies (including sugar)

References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Further Reading:

School Vending Machines

Size Matters

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Now You Can Drink Your Grains

What we really need more of is drinkable grains.

As if most beverages weren’t already liquid grains, the food producers of America are uniting once again to help you in your quest for diabetes (or at least a respectable gut). Since everyone knows that grains are super healthy, you can expect the trend of grain-based drinks to continue.

That’s according to a report from Food Processing, which notes that in recent years we’ve seen the rise of alternatives to dairy (not a bad thing – sorry, Big Moo). Almond milk, soy milk and rice milk have become popular, but even hemp milk is an option these days.

Of course, the marketing trend of drinkable grains is not entirely accurate, as most of these non-dairy beverages are actually made from nuts and beans. So, if you’re really concerned about drinking your grains, you’ll be relieved to know that things like soda, beer, and energy drinks are already made from grains! That’s right. Drinkable grains are not really news, as it turns out, because we’ve already had them for a long time!

The bottom line: you can enjoy all the beverages you love and still get plenty of grains in your diet.

How, you ask? Well, silly, because corn is a grain! Many people think corn is a vegetable. It is not. Corn is a delightful grain completely lacking in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and protein. It’s pretty superficial, and I dig that. Even better, the type of sweetener manufacturers make from this most excellent kernel corrodes your arteries and raises your blood sugar. What’s uber rad is that this sweetener – high fructose corn syrup – is in pretty much everything, so you don’t even have to look for it. No, seriously, everything: sauces, syrups, spreads, drinks, snacks, candies, fruit snacks, juices, sodas, frozen foods, and desserts. Everything!

I found this chocolate fudge cola at my local grocery store. Score! I am totally gonna be drinking my grains now!

To get your daily recommended intake of grains – you need at least 6, remember – you can do the following:

– Drink 3 Coca-Colas

– Eat 1 donut and 2 cupcakes, or 1 cupcake and 2 donuts, or 1.5 donuts and 1.5 cupcakes

– You could also eat 3 brownies if you were born in the 70s

Do not forget: flavored sauces containing corn syrup count as a grain! It all counts. Give that chicken breast something to feel good about!

You can eat 3 of any sweet, refined treat, and you’ll be getting half your daily intake of grains! Don’t worry, this is all in step with the U.S. government’s dietary recommendations, which are to eat 6-11 grain servings daily, only half of which need to be whole grains (“Make half your grains whole”).

I am a bit of a princess, as you all know, so I will be eating eclairs. I want the expensive diabetes. With enough work, maybe I can even look like Labelman.

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Why Are Potato Chips More Expensive Than Filet Mignon?

Potato chips are one of the most popular American snacks and are our favorite “vegetable”. We spend nearly 3 billion a year on these fried starch crisps. The health issues associated with chip consumption are well-known. What you may not realize is that, pound for pound, potato chips often cost more than the choicest cut of premium beef.

Why eat this…

This is Slice’s Flickr Photo (CC)

When you could eat this?

This is Bruce Lee’s Flickr Photo CC

Relatively ridiculous pricing goes beyond chips. We groan about gasoline being expensive, but salad dressings, sauces, sodas and even bottled water cost far more. And how about a gallon of toothpaste? Hundreds. Most processed foods, beverages and household items are relatively inexpensive to manufacture. We’re not paying for ingredients, we’re paying for the marketing of those ingredients.

Another reason to eat food, not food products.

I’m sure we could come up with dozens of “cheap” snack and household products that in truth cost more than seemingly expensive foods. Anyone up for a little arithmetic?

[tags] potato chips, food production, beverages, processed foods, agriculture [/tags]

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Mold: Why, It Tastes Like Chicken! (and other mystery ingredients)

Welcome to 2007, where people eat food products full of interesting chemicals and fascinating representations of flavor. This is your food supply – and mold is just the beginning. 10. Ice Structuring Protein (ISP) Sounds harmless enough, right? ISP is used in many ice creams these days, especially light and low-sugar varieties. Translation: “genetically-modified fish ‘antifreeze’ proteins from the blood of ocean pout”. Hey! (Source) 9. Phosphoric Acid This tangy chemical is in so many foods – particularly carbonated beverages – no one thinks much of it anymore. It’s cheaper than real ingredients like ginger and lemon. Folic acid, citric acid, phosphoric acid – acid is good, right? Translation: Phosphoric acid is an efficacious, plentiful and cheap industrial chemical. In all but the most modest amounts, it’s corrosive and dangerous. Phosphoric acid is a terrific rust and stain remover – just pour Coca-Cola on rust and wait a day. Now, just imagine what it’s doing to your bones, tooth enamel and digestive tract. (Source) (We don’t have osteoporosis because we’re lacking in calcium, though Big Moo would love you to believe that. We consume more calcium, in the form of dairy, than many cultures – particularly those in Africa and Asia. Yet despite all our chugging, osteoporosis is a persistent American problem. It’s the soda!) 8. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) It’s been linked to heart disease and cancer, but evidently…whatever. BHA and BHT are both actually antioxidants, hence their use in preserving processed fats. But these antioxidants aren’t the happy sort you want in your body. Their safety has not technically been “proven” per se – the FDA has simply approved them because, like any other food ingredient, they’ve gone through the standard approval application process. This means that the burden of proof has fallen on industry. You can guess what that means. (Source) 7. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) I believe HFCS is one of the most destructive food ingredients humans have yet to invent. There’s nothing “natural” about this ingredient. It’s a highly refined industrial product. HFCS is linked to diabetes, obesity, anxiety and many other prevalent health conditions. Avoid it at all costs. This incredibly cheap sweetener nicely deals with the surplus corn issue in our country (since we inefficiently continue to subsidize corn farmers according to outmoded 1970s models of production). From wikipedia: “High-fructose corn syrup is produced by milling corn to produce corn starch then processing that corn starch to yield corn syrup that is almost entirely glucose, and then adding enzymes that change the glucose into fructose.” Wow, I’m drooling already. (Note: Plain old fructose is not the same thing as HFCS. Fructose, though incredibly sweet, comes from fruits and honey. Though fructose consumption will produce an appreciable rise in blood sugar, it is metabolized more slowly than HFCS. I don’t recommend that you consume sweets and flavored beverages – including juice – but modest amounts of fruit or honey are certainly acceptable for most people. I eat berries nearly every day, and I often … Continue reading “Mold: Why, It Tastes Like Chicken! (and other mystery ingredients)”

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More Juice; Coke Hearts Stevia

A brief update: we’re juicing this apple (so to speak). The blog is going to be down later this afternoon for a spell so we can install some new plug-ins that will improve the blog tremendously and add to your experience. No worries, we’ll be back up later in the day.

Be sure to stop in tomorrow for the always-popular Tuesday 10 and a discussion of everyone’s favorite topic: chocolate.

In the meantime, I recommend the following links for your daily health dose:

The biodegradable heart stent.

What will they come up with next? You all know I’m going to be grumbling about prevention on this one, but I do agree that this is a promising turn for problematic stents.

Stevia is fine – now that Coke wants to use it.

I’ve used stevia for years, which is saying something, as it can be tougher to get hold of than a real human when calling any customer service number. You can stop using it for “skin care” – with big soda lobbies on your side, that is. This doesn’t make soda healthy for you, though.

More problems with food from China.

Yet another unfortunate consequence of the global food web (this time, toothpaste).

All the toothpaste you need – this is Toasty Ken’s Flickr photo.

[tags] stevia, Coke, biodegradable heart stent, China, toothpaste [/tags]

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Is There Any Safe Meat?

Reader Sheila asked me a great question recently: is there really any safe meat to eat these days? Beef and pork? Raised in cramped factories and fattened as quickly as possible, the happiness of the animal is nonexistent and the health of the meat is seriously in question. These animals are fed hormones, antibiotics, and an unnatural high-sugar grain diet that reduces beneficial fatty acids in the meat and causes illness in the animal (hence the need for drugs). Red meat and the “other” white meat (come on, it’s red) aren’t exactly the boon of health we low-carbers would like them to be. Sheila wondered about the rumors of dangerous parasites and germs in pork. Because of the modern factory system, pork really doesn’t have any greater health danger than beef. However, just because things like listeria have been reduced since the days of Upton Sinclair, doesn’t make meat healthy. The sheer production level of meat is so high that it draws greedily on natural resources like oil, water, and land (and it’s a major contributor to rainforest deforestation). It’s no wonder many people are turning to vegetarianism. Either that, or it’s the fact that a typical burger patty is literally a composite of hundreds of cows, and processed meats are made of stripped spinal meat, which is turning so many people off of meat. This always turns my stomach, and although I do espouse responsible meat-eating (more on that in a moment), I’d sooner go hungry than eat a single meal that is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of animals. To me, it’s cruel and vulgar, and yet, a burger is the most popular food item in America. Sad. How about chicken and turkey? Fowl is raised in much the same manner as beef and pork. Modern chicken is far more fatty than the chicken your grandparents ate. You even have to be careful with free-range products. The only thing that “ranges” with many of these free-range products is the degree of accuracy in the term. In some states, the “free range” is still a pen, albeit with some sunlight. My idea of healthy protein is not tens of thousands of chickens crammed into a sunless room smelling of chemicals and covered in filth, and I’m sure it’s not yours either, yet this is the reality. But fish is healthy, right? Again, it’s not a pretty picture. Our oceans’ fisheries are in jeopardy. In fact, an entire section of California’s coast has been banned because the fish populations are close to being wiped out. This sort of thing is going on in many places. This isn’t fun news, but the facts remain. Our way of life is causing serious problems. Couple overfishing with the gross levels of pollutants in many waterways – particularly southern waters – and fish isn’t necessarily your best bet. Farmed fish is problematic because it can interfere with wild fish habitats, and farmed fish are often overcrowded to the point of cannibalism. And there’s … Continue reading “Is There Any Safe Meat?”

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