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.
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.)
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.
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.
While we typically use vinegar for salad dressings and pickling, this beneficial acid has a multitude of wonderful household uses. Here are just a few. Be sure to add in your own tips in the comments below!
1. Better Tasting Coffee
Once a month, brew up a pot of white vinegar. Follow with two cycles of water before steeping your next round of joe. (You can do this for your washing machine as well.)
2. Rust-free Spigots, Nuts, Bolts, and Tools
Simply soak the rusty item in white vinegar overnight!
This is officially the last aquatic health post of the week. However, the issue of pregnancy, mercury contamination and fish consumption is just too important to skip. In an about-face, experts are now recommending (really pretty much begging) that women consume fish during pregnancy. They say that the fat in fish is crucial to proper fetal development and this far outweighs any concerns about possible birth defects due to chemical contamination. 90% of women don’t eat sufficient amounts of fish during pregnancy, and the consequences are severe: impaired cognitive function in babies and depression in mothers. It’s a stand-off between environmental groups and public health advocacy groups, with the FDA just trying to stay afloat as usual.
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.
95% of San Francisco area wastewater contains chemicals known to disrupt hormones. Marine scientists have already found male fish developing eggs in their reproductive organs. If this is happening to fish, what’s happening to humans?
The chemicals are common ingredients in household cleaners, personal care products, and cosmetics. Researchers from the Environmental Working Group postulate that fertility problems, birth defects and sexual dysfunction may be related to the frequent exposure to chemicals in our household products – and I think they’re right.
Save a Buck, Save the Planet, Save Your Health Store shelves are bursting with chemical cleaners for everything from stains to sinks to unpleasant odors (vegetable curry, the horror!). These days, “unpleasant” seems to mean any odor, period. Heaven forbid anything actually smell real. Walk down some aisles and your eyes will actually well with tears from the overwhelming levels of fragrances and chemical agents. We know these products are frequently bad for the environment, harmful to children, and dangerous for animals. Surely they’re not so healthy for adults, either. The truth is, most “dirtiness” and “germs” are fairly harmless, and we really don’t need those harsh cleansers for most household cleaning purposes. You also don’t need to kill bacteria left and right. Antibacterial cleaners are perfectly safe, contrary to popular internet wisdom; it’s just that they’re unnecessary most of the time. Now to it. There are many preparations you can whip up at home that are not only inexpensive and simple, but much safer and more eco-friendly, as well. In fact, there is really no reason not to get started! Who wouldn’t want to save cash, reduce chemical exposure, help the planet, think about the tiny tots, and still keep your pad sparkling and fresh? Here’s all you need to know: 1. Glass A few sheets of newspaper and a spritz of water. That’s it. Not only is this a nice way to recycle, it’s (almost) chemical-free. The best part is something any expert cleaning pro can tell you: newspaper makes glass gleam in a way Windex only dreams about. 2. Grease Fruit, Citrus Fruit You know about all the citrus cleaners (could that guy in the Oxyclean commercial be any more enthusiastic?). Go one step better: just squeeze some real orange, lemon or lime juice on the grease. You might have to let it soak a bit in some sudsy water, but the acid in citrus can degunk like you wouldn’t believe. Chemical free, delicious smell, and your dog can lick it! This is great for surfaces, plastic furniture and toys, dishes and the stovetop. (Note: lemons work best for surfaces; oranges have a higher sugar content, so while they’re great for dishes, they won’t do well on your stove. Also, don’t use citrus on anything that can be stained, like wood or fabric.) Another tip for tough grease removal: simply add a little soap and an inch or so of water to the offending pot or pan and boil away. Problem solved. Now did you really need the 409? WGyuri Flickr Photo (CC) 3. Wood To eliminate creaks, sprinkle a bit of baking powder in the cracks and wipe up with a damp towel. To simultaneously clean wood and keep a healthy luster, add 1/4 cup of olive oil to warm water and mop to your soul’s content. Olive oil contains natural antibacterial and antimicrobial power. The Romans used it as a body cleanser and lotion (you can, too). You can also just mop with hot water. … Continue reading “The Easiest Guide to Safe Household Cleaners You Can Make Yourself”
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
Want to know which veggies are cleanest and which are shellacked in pesticides? Read on…
Helpful Food Shopping Guide
Learn about the cleanest produce, the “dirty dozen”, and scoop up other healthy shopping tips. This easy guide is free and it downloads in a snap!
Waisted in the Wasteland has a must-read post about what Big Agra may be doing with all that bad pet food. We’re all for recycling, but this is going too far! Who wants to eat plastic?
Question of the day: do any of you make your own pet food?
Calling All Health Hacks!
Have you checked out Lifehack? (Not Lifehacker, a hot blog which helps you “geek to live”. Lifehack features healthy news and personal development ideas in addition to techie tips.) This is a terrific article on some of the healthiest foods for energy and longevity. Mark pointed out that he doesn’t think drinking 8 glasses of water daily needs to be a hard-and-fast rule of health. What do you think about that? Be sure to visit this great blog and add your own healthy food suggestions to their list. When you add your knowledge to bloggers’ articles, everyone learns a little bit more, so don’t be shy!
Obsessed with Big Moo?
Catch this hilarious video spoofing Big Moo from Stephen Colbert. (via Veggie Chic)