Tag: toxins

Are Microwave Ovens Safe?

To Nuke or Not to Nuke?

The verb itself suggests the unleashing of atomic destruction, but we wondered, “Is there a grain of truth behind the slang?” What’s the real story behind these boxes of convenience sitting in so many of our kitchens? Are microwaves a benign bastion of modern handiness or, as some claim, a sinister contributor to our physiological (at least nutritional) undoing?

It’s likely that we find ourselves in a variety of camps on this issue. Some of us swear them off. Others unapologetically swear by them to get through the normal course of a busy day. And then there are those of us in the dithering middle who routinely stare at each plate of leftovers or bowl of frozen vegetables, sometimes reaching for the pots and pans and other times giving into convenience but always questioning whether we’re paying for it.

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Aflatoxins, or Another Reason to Shun Peanuts

We already tend to steer clear of peanuts for some obvious (to our readers) reasons: the fact that they’re legumes, rather than actual nuts; the potentially dangerous, “anti-nutrient” lectins found in them; and their prominent spot in the upper echelons of the “Most Common Food Allergens” list. But there’s another reason to steer clear of peanuts, something we’ve touched on briefly in the past but never expounded upon. Peanuts, along with a couple other crops we tend to avoid, like corn and cereals, are especially susceptible to a mold that produces a mycotoxin called aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin is a carcinogen that has been shown to cause liver cancer in rats (and, presumably, in humans). The amounts given to the rats in the study were highly concentrated, of course, with the express intent to study the effects of acute aflatoxicosis. You won’t be getting a couple grams of aflatoxin with every bag of peanuts or anything, so acute aflatoxicosis isn’t a big issue for people – at least in the US.

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Challenging Assumptions

Here at Mark’s Daily Apple, we talk about food a lot. The Primal Blueprint is basically founded on the notion that following the approximated diet and lifestyle of our Primal ancestors is the key to lasting health. A large portion of our posts center on examining long-held conventional wisdom about food – ridiculous stuff like “fat is bad,” “carbo-loading is necessary for any athlete,” “avoid egg yolks,” and “vegetarianism represents the pinnacle of dietary health.” Time and time again, we’ve shown that blindly subscribing to popular notions about food is not only misinformed, but also potentially damaging. It is only through examination that we progress and learn; taking “food experts” and Big Pharma at their word has been shown to be a grave misstep. And so, with this in mind, we move to examine two new scientific developments that question some fairly entrenched dietary conventional wisdom.

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8 Ways to Reduce Your Chemical Load

Last week’s New York Times featured an article about a Dr. Jeremijenko, not a physician but an engineer who offered clients tips for making their personal environments healthier, more naturally pleasing, and more environmentally friendly. Dr. Jeremijenko’s suggestions ranged from planting sunflowers and EDTA soil supplements to leach harmful lead in yards to surrounding yourself with more houseplants for both their aesthetic value and healthy ability to absorb toxic VOCs in the air. She even offers clients reports on the “top polluters in their neighborhoods” and other information on environmental concerns relevant to their areas.

The good doctor’s story got us thinking. We all chat quite a bit about the best diet, the ideal exercise routine, even effective sleep strategies. Yet, our personal environment, we’ve said, includes a great deal we have little to no control over: air pollution, water impurity, and the chemical makeup of modern “stuff” – (i.e. chemicals included, some for good reason and others not so much, in the products we use every day). Wise supplementation (shamless plug ;)) can help counter some of their effects, but what if we knew how to reduce toxic impact from the get-go?

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Household Cleaners and Health Risks

We’ve talked a couple times this week about compromises of circumstances, which included environmental toxins. Although we can’t control everything around us, one simple (and economical) step we can take is to replace standard household cleaners with less toxic, naturally based products.

For now, check out this newscast feature from BostonChannel.com. Environmental and public health advocates in Massachusetts are lobbying the state to pass the Safe Alternatives Bill, which would require cleaners used in public buildings, schools and hospitals to be part of a safe product list already established by the State.

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Top 10 Meat Questions Meet Answers

Although the Primal diet pretty heavily features vegetables, we also love us some meat. Read on to learn top tips for selecting, storing, cooking and serving meat:

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Hold the Fries!!!

Latest news on the acrylamide front from the Danish Cancer Society:

Acrylamide, if you recall, is a substance found in a vast array of common cooked foods, foremost starchy foods like potato chips, French fries and bread. Research some years ago found a “probable” association between acrylamide and cancer based on telling animal studies. Subsequent research has linked the substance with muscle and neurological degeneration as well as Alzheimer’s disease. Although much was made of the findings at the time, no action or significant warnings were undertaken in the U.S. In Europe, however, food safety experts have begun initiatives to reduce acrylamide nutritional intake. Similar studies in the last few years have shown varying results, inhibiting further action or scientific consensus on the issue.

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5 Meats to Avoid

While we’re all about vegetables here at MDA, we have a special place in our stomachs for clean, lean meat. Yes, it’s the ultimate primal picture-caveperson (O.K.-caveman, but can we get points for trying?) returning from the hunt with dinner for the family.

Fun illustration aside, it’s more than the image. Meat, of the MDA-approved variety, means protein, omega-3s, iron, and a host of other nutrients. And, yes, there’s that gastronomical, savory satisfaction. (Apologies to the vegetarian set. We’ll stop now.)

Nonetheless, as we say here at MDA, not all meat is created equal, especially in the current era of antibiotics, hormone injections, grain feed, factory farms, and cloned animals-coming soon to a neighborhood store near you. (Yes, our friends at the FDA are expected to approve cloned meat and milk in the coming days, according to the Wall Street Journal.)

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Spar of the Day: Taking on MSG

Now and then, we at MDA like to branch out from our usual shrinking violet positions and journey into the precarious territory of current controversy. Today we venture into the debate over a disputed additive/ingredient: MSG—flavor friend or fodder foe?
Let’s break it down.

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Chemicals That Harm Baby Boys

I’ve long been suspicious of the side effects of certain chemicals present in plastics that are billed as safe. Even mainstream sources have been questioning the safety of particular toxic chemicals found in petroleum-based products, namely phthalates.

Experts initially dismissed the phthalate debate as nothing more than needless, unsubstantiated worry. Subsequent studies gave the concerns some validity and recommendations to conduct further investigations were deemed worthy. Still, until recently, the evidence was not persuasive enough for the authorities. Now the lid on the Tupperware, as it were, has sealed.

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