Tag: toxins

The Problems with Conventionally Raised Beef

As mentioned in our Red Scare commentary a few weeks ago, beef gets a seriously bad rap these days. “Saturated fat!” the status quo shrieks, running in all directions, hair on fire, arms flailing, gnashing their teeth. Let’s set the record straight here. You know our decidedly pro-fat leanings. No need to go any further there. But what else is there to like about beef? To its credit, beef offers among the biggest boost of protein per ounce of any traditional food. (Yes, insects and other underappreciated delicacies in some cases offer more. We’ll let our good readers fill in the options here.) To boot, beef is an excellent source of niacin, vitamins B6, B12, K2, phosphorus, selenium, as well as iron, potassium, and riboflavin. In its best form (and we’ll get to that), it also serves as a good source of conjugated linoleic acid (more on this in a minute) and omega-3 fatty acids. (See why we were so compelled to defend red meat’s honor?)

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Dear Mark: Considering Cookware

Hi Mark,

I couldn’t find any MDA posts that tackled the matter of cookware possibly leaching heavy metals and/or toxic chemicals into food. I’ve read that a porcelain/ceramic inside surface is the way to go, (thereby avoiding Teflon and metals), but good-quality examples like Le Creuset are darn expensive, and lesser-quality ones like Heuck look like camping gear to me.  Have you researched or concluded anything on this matter?  Is this a non-issue?

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Sodium Nitrite: Another Reason to Avoid Processed Meats

It’s lurking in breakfast meats, lunchboxes and carving stations across the country. Sodium nitrite, that is: preservative and coloring additive extraordinaire. It’s undeniable that we have a penchant for processed foods in this country, and meats are no exception. Bacon, sausages, hot dogs, cold cuts, ham, packaged smoked meats, pates, Slim Jims (everybody’s favorite, right?) – meats many would consider part and parcel of the quintessential American diet. Many of us crave their delectable saltiness and welcome convenience, but are we paying a price for their processing, specifically when sodium nitrite is on the label?

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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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What are Nightshades? Are they Bad for You?

As you know, we unequivocally love our vegetables here at Mark’s Daily Apple. Powerhouses of nutrients and antioxidant action, they’re the backbone of a good Primal Blueprint diet. But the issue of nightshades has come up a few times recently.
What are nightshades?
Nightshades are vegetables that find their roots in the Solanaceae family of plants, including a host of reputable spices and vegetables including:

eggplant
potatoes (yes, we know, not so reputable)
peppers (including bell peppers & those of the spicy variety)
tomatoes
tomatillos
pimentos
paprika
cayenne pepper
Tabasco sauce, et al.

(Black pepper and sweet potatoes are not nightshades.)

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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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