Archive | 6:01 pm

Our food might be killing us

23 May

Nobody wants to hear bad news.

It took decades, countless studies, frightening real-life sagas and legislation to convince consumers that cigarette smoking could kill them. Even then, it hasn’t stopped enough people from smoking to put any of the giant cigarette companies out of business.

It’s no surprise that it will take several decades to drive home the fact that most of the meat – beef, pork and chicken – sold in supermarkets and butcher shops is unhealthy and that the methods used to feed, house and slaughter the animals are doing untold damage to the environment, not to mention treating the animals cruelly.

These disturbing facts are brought home in the recently published Animal Factory , a meticulously researched expose of the industrial animal farming industry by journalist David Kirby.

If consumers only read – and believed — the statistics compiled by Kirby, they’d be horrified, and would think twice about buying the packaged meat products neatly displayed in supermarkets’ refrigerated cases. It only looks good enough to eat.

The culprits, says Kirby, are the sprawling, high-tech megafarms housing hundreds of thousands of cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys. These massive compounds are called concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, by government and industry. Packed tightly together, the animals are fattened and readied for slaughter.

Unlike traditional factories, there are no smokestacks or refineries. But there is pollution and contamination.

The result is that they’re a threat to human health and the environment. The numbers prove it.

Consider the adverse effects that factory farming has had on human health:

– Release of nitrates into well water in levels that may cause diarrhea, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, spontaneous abortion and blue-baby syndrome

– Excess nitrate exposure in pregnant women may cause central nervous system problems in children and neural tube defects, which has been linked to autism

– Breed hazardous levels of organisms such as dangerous E-coli, salmonella, listeria, viruses, protozoa, and worms

– One study found salmonella in 20 per cent of hamburger tested, of which 84 per cent was resistant to at least one drug, and 53 per cent was resistant to three or more drugs. Another study found airborne enterococci, staph, and strep bacteria with resistant genes; 98% was resistant to two or more antibiotics.

And the effects on the environment are just as scary:

– Animal feeding operations yield 100 times more waste than all US human sewage treatment plants

– Agricultural waste is the No. 1 form of well-water contamination in the US. At least 4.5 million people are exposed to dangerously high nitrate levels in their drinking water

– Feedlot odors contain some 170 separate chemicals; many of them cause respiratory ailments, diarrhea, depression, violent behavior, and other health problems

– Rearing cattle in factory farms yields more greenhouse gases than cars

One of the most disturbing statistics of Animal Factory is that 2 per cent of the population produces 100 per cent of the food.

Hard numbers, however, take on a powerful meaning if there is a disturbing human connection. It’s when real people — hardworking men and women trying to raise families and earn a decent living — are affected by horrific events that not only threaten their livelihoods and lifestyles but their health as well that Kirby’s investigative saga becomes frightenly real.

By spotlighting three American families – one in Washington state’s Yakima Valley, one in Illinois, and another in North Carolina – the author put a human spin on atrocious nationwide food processing methods.

Most of the families in these communities are farmers, and all of them were negatively impacted by industrial food processing plants. The family in Washington, for example, spent decades farming cherries and other fruits. When the mega-dairies rapidly dominated the farming arena in the late 1980s, the landscape quickly changed. Suddenly, there were serious pollution problems, the offensive smell of cow waste infiltrated homes, and the giant waste lagoons that hold liquefied manure leeched into the ground, resulting in high levels of nitrates in the ground water.

Variations on the human dramas that unfold in Animal Factory are taking place all over the US and Canada as well.

During the past few decades there has been massive consolidation of agro-industries in the US. Thousands of small, independent farms, once the backone and lifeblood of the American food industry, had no choice but to fold and declare bankruptcy because they couldn’t compete with the mega farms.

They couldn’t turn out enough product – beef, pork, milk, eggs, fruit, and vegetables — fast enough. It was impossible for them to compete with the slashed prices of their formidable foes.

In the timeless quest for profits, quantity becomes more important than quality, according to Doug Fox, a professor at Unity College, a small environmental college in Unity, Maine.

“Meat products were generally healthier before large-scale factory farms,” says Fox. “Grass-fed beef, for example, is higher in vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, and lower in saturated fats and cholesterol than grain-fed beef. Grain-fed beef builds up high levels of E. coli not found in grass-fed beef.”

Fox also drives home the fact industrial farming is doing untold damage to the environment. “Pollution from runoff is a big issue,” he explains. “Runoff, largely from confinement agriculture and the grain production needed to support it, has created a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico the size of New Jersey. The quest for inexpensive corn for animal feed results in soil degradation and erosion. Production of nonmeat human food requires much less land for the same level of human nutrition. Grass-fed meat requires more land than growing animal feed, but it generally improves soil fertility rather than degrades it.”

By Bob Weinstein, Troy Media

China Study 14 part series

23 May

I have recommended this book previously in my blog it has invaluable information and I have found a 14 part series on youtube, not as extensive as the book. But definitely take a look at the series as it is short and you can watch one part a day or ever few days. I have posted the video to part one and you can find the rest on youtube. Enjoy, watch and listen carefully!

Should You Eat That? Reading Food Labels

23 May

Great quick clip to give you some guidance on how to read nutritional labels on products to give you more of an idea of what you are consuming and how good or bad it is for you, very worth while watching if you are not sure how to interpret a nutritional label.

Sourced from Vegsource.com.

Vegan Spinach Salad

23 May

  • 1 bunch spinach, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
  • 4 to 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
  • Imitation bacon bits
  • Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • Dash pepper
  • Dash paprika

Mix spinach and green onions in a large bowl. Add a little dressing at a time and toss until you have just the right amount for your tastes (you may not need to add all of the dressing.) Toss with Parmesan and bacon bits. Serve immediately.

Serves: 4

Per Serving: 429 Calories; 43g Fat (55.0% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 68g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 770mg Sodium.

You can obviously alter the ingredients to suit your needs, for example you can increase protein or bring down the amount of sodium. So just customize to your own specifications. Enjoy!

A Lean Muscular Body: A Mere By-Product

23 May

Those who limit healthy carbohydrates for a prolonged period have been shown to demonstrate mental lethargy and increased general fatigue as the first symptoms. If a carbohydrate restrictive diet is continued it can actually lead to internal organ damage and to the amazement of some, a reduction in lean muscle and excess body fat accumulation.  If the body’s first choice for fuel (carbohydrate) is restricted it must then make another selection.  If protein is all that’s available, then the body has no choice but to either stop its activity or burn protein. As mentioned earlier, protein creates toxins when burned for fuel.  The production and elimination of toxins is of course a stress to the body and as such causes a stress response.  As with all forms of stress cortisol, also known as the death hormone, will rise causing lean muscle to be catobolized and fat to be stored.

Training for my first Ironman triathlon, I entered into a new realm.  The training was different from what I was used to, lower intensity, but much higher overall volume.  With the intense workouts absent, the long ones seemed much easier, for the short term.  It seemed that the more volume of training I could do the better.  I was putting in eight to 10 hour training days.  All was well; I was becoming steadily stronger each week, as per the plan.

What began to happen next I certainly did not expect.  Despite the fact that I was performing 40 hours of exercise per week, I actually began to accumulate body fat!  How could this be?  Was I simply eating too much, more than I could burn?  Not likely.  So, what was the problem?  Along with being undesirable, the extra dead weight slowly being gained over the summer was decreasing my strength-to-weight ratio, certainly a reason for concern.  I had to stop this from advancing any further, but how?  I tried what most people would have done to lose fat, cut back on calories.  After a few weeks of a calorie-reduced diet, the situation was even worse, plus now fatigue was a real concern.  I remained puzzled for some time over this one.

As it turned out, the cause of this strange situation could also be attributed to the causes of the previous year’s compromised sleep patterns.  The answer of course was stress.  Stress, primarily production (physical in this case), was what initially caused me to gain body fat.  Had I trained the optimal amount, an amount that my body could recover from, I would have remained lean.  As I found out later, the amount of training I was doing stressed my body to the point were my cortisol levels became chronically elevated for two months—enough to gain body fat.

My adrenal glands were exhausted, and as a result, my hormonal health sharply declined. Not aware of this at the time, I surmised that I must have simply been taking in more calories than I was burning, as is the conventional way of thinking.  By me reducing my caloric intake at a time when stress was already extremely high, I just precipitated the problem.  Nutritional stress had now also become a problem.  Had I began to eat more instead of less I would have helped my body recover from the demands of training more efficiently.  I would have actually remained leaner by eating more.

My diet then consisted of primarily carbohydrates, with a modest amount of protein and almost zero fat. A diet rich in essential fatty acids as found in whole flax and hemp foods would have provided the extra fuel that my body needed to function more efficiently, thereby reducing stress. Of course, maca would have helped bring my adrenal glands back to optimum health within weeks.  Chlorella’s detoxifying properties would have helped to cleanse my body, and its growth factor to speed my recovery.

An important lesson to be learned from this is that stress, even with high amounts of exercise, can cause fat to accumulate.  Not eating enough nutrient-rich foods is stressful (as your body sees it).  So yes, believe it or not, there are situations when eating more will reduce body fat percentage. In my book Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life, I offer several recipes to ensure the body remains well fuelled and lean.

Furthermore, if your goal is to lose body fat, be cognizant of the fact that dieting might not be the right solution.  Ask yourself why it is that you have more body fat than you want.  Are you overweight because you simply consume more calories than your body’s activity level can utilize?  If so, than yes, a reduction in total calories will help.  However, if you are one of those many people who have tried a wide array of diets with marginal success, only to have the weight come back, it’s time to get to the root of the problem.  Follow the guidelines in Thrive will help you minimize nutritional stress to optimize health, that’s the main requirement.

Author: Brendon Brazier.

Sourced from: http://www.tcolincampbell.org/courses-resources/article/a-lean-muscular-body-a-mere-by-product/?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=76&cHash=418392db0c

Food Inc. Podcast on Australian Radio, Listen!

23 May

Great interview with some professionals in the food industry in Australia on the Food Inc. They debate the situation portrayed in the film and how it compares with the food situation in Australia and they cover a few other topics. Its really interesting and worth a listen.

Here is the link, enjoy!

A Strategy for Health

23 May

Important new information that will help you understand the roadblocks to health and develop a plan for optimal health and happiness!

When I began my practice more than 20 years ago, I still had a lot to learn. I had the skills and information to help sick people get well and healthy people stay well.  But I thought that all I had to do was take a careful medical history, perform a thorough physical examination, and prepare detailed diet and lifestyle recommendations. Then, I thought, my patients would follow my advice diligently and get outstanding results.

But it did not always work that way. I found that people did not want to make drastic lifestyle changes, or give up their bad habits. They did not quickly or easily give up cigarettes, coffee, alcohol, and other drugs. The same was true for meat, fish, fowl, eggs, or dairy products, as well as oil, salt, and sugar.

My patients believed in magic. They believed that despite their bad habits, indiscretions, and lack of personal fortitude, the magic of modern medicine somehow would enable them to make a few small changes that required minimal effort and would instantly overcome years of abuse to their health.

Many of these patients had been given poor advice by their doctors. They had been told that changing the color of their meat from red to white, or that being “moderate” in continuing their unhealthful habits was all that was required. Some patients thought that their problems were “all in the head”; some thought that their conditions were the “inevitable result of aging.” Many thought that they just might have to “learn to live with it.” It was frustrating to see people who were sick and dying, suffering needlessly, hanging on to the very habits that caused their problems.

Over time, I began to observe that the patients who did the best in the long run were those who developed a reality-based philosophy of life. It was not enough to tell these individuals what to do, they wanted to understand how and why it worked. At that point, I realized that my role as a physician would involve more re-education than I originally thought.

During these past 20 years, I have had the pleasure and privilege of helping several thousand individuals learn to get healthy and stay healthy. I would like to share some of the information that can help you do the same. Let’s take a look at some of the things that influence our behavior tendencies. To a large extent, our behavior – the choices we make – determines the quantity and the quality of our lives.

Beyond survival

On one level, humans are like other animals: genetically-programmed, biologically-driven organisms whose fundamental purpose in life is survival. (By survival I mean getting enough to eat and not getting eaten.) But humans also operate on an entirely different level. We have developed the most powerful tool that the world has ever seen-language. Language has allowed us to dominate the planet. Unlike other animals, who acquire knowledge only through direct, individual experience, language allows humans to accumulate knowledge and pass it on. Language is the power behind the success of our species.

Knowledge which might take an individual a lifetime to accumulate can be passed on in a matter of moments by listening to someone speak or by reading their words. This enables us to benefit from the cumulative life experiences of those who came before us.

One outgrowth of our unique gift of language has been the development of a mathematically-based system to help us determine what is real-which we call science. The scientific method is not perfect, but it is a tremendously powerful tool that helps us separate fact from fantasy. One of the direct benefits of this system is our ability to monitor and evaluate factors that either enhance or impair health.

Pleasure vs. happiness

Most animals spend virtually all of their time trying to get enough to eat and  not get eaten. But we humans have been able to gain control over our environment to such an extent-at least in the powerful, developed countries-that we have been able to get enough to eat, not get eaten, and still have some time left over. Now that we can look beyond mere survival, we can explore what gives life meaning, or put another way, what makes us happy.

Many people confuse pleasure with happiness. This can be a big problem and can lead to some very unhappy results. It is imperative that we recognize the difference between pleasure and happiness.

Pleasure is a stereotypical response of your nervous system to specific stimulation. Food, sexual activity, even drugs can stimulate your nervous system in such a way that you can experience pleasure. Happiness is an emotional state that occurs spontaneously when you perceive the overall balance of your life experience as highly positive.

Many people, when unhappy, mistakenly assume that they are lacking pleasure in their lives. They assume that they have a pleasure deficiency and go about trying to stimulate the pleasure-sensing mechanisms of their nervous system. Drug addiction is an extreme example of pleasure-seeking behavior. Drug addicts often will destroy their lives just to induce a temporarily-pleasurable response. Crack cocaine addicts reportedly have sold their infant children for a few rocks of cocaine. But no matter how much cocaine or other drugs an addict uses, no matter how much the drug stimulates the pleasure-sensing mechanisms in the brain, he or she never will achieve happiness through drug use.

The need for planning

To achieve happiness, we need to develop a happiness strategy. That strategy is to learn to delay gratification and not to be driven solely by short-term, pleasure-seeking behavior.

Imagine a person who has lumber and nails, and decides he wants to build a house. Suppose he begins to randomly nail boards together, hoping a wonderful house will result. Without a plan, what are the chances that these random actions will result in a nice house? But with careful planning, a good set of blueprints, and lots of hard work and patience, the likelihood of success increases dramatically. We need to approach our health and happiness this way. Without a plan, we are unlikely to create happiness for ourselves.

Craving concentrated foods

There is a reason why we find some things pleasurable and others painful. There was a time when our very survival depended upon knowing the distinction between what benefited us and what harmed us. Many of the behaviors that served us well in a natural environment-when our focus was getting enough to eat and not getting eaten-may not serve us well today.

Consider our desire to eat concentrated foods-foods high in calories. The earliest humans lived in a natural setting where food was scarce. They needed to eat as much concentrated food as they could get, just to survive. Those who were successful at getting enough food to survive passed that trait on to succeeding generations. We all still have this basic instinct in our genetic makeup to eat concentrated food when it is available. But now we live in an entirely different world.

Most readers of Health Science magazine live in an environment characterized by food excess, not by food scarcity. In a natural setting there are no chocolate chip cookie trees, no hamburger bushes, and no refined or processed foods. But in our increasingly artificial world, there are fast “foods” available on virtually every corner. These processed foods are designed to appeal to our genetically-driven instincts, and they fool our natural senses. Our natural desire to eat concentrated food whenever it is available no longer serves our needs, since we are living at a time when concentrated foods are everywhere.

Unhealthy illusions

It is not easy to be healthy and happy in an environment that seems designed to make us sick and miserable.

How many people do you know who drive two hours each day, in heavy traffic, to jobs they hate, to work with people they dislike, to make a product they detest, for a company they despise, to make money to buy products they do not need, under the illusion that if they just could cram a little more short-term, pleasure-seeking, self-indulgent behavior into their lives, they might be happy.

Why is it that so many of us continue to participate in behavior that is known to cause pain, disease, and premature death? Why do we continue to use harmful drugs like tobacco, alcohol, and coffee? Why do we continue to eat animal products and junk food, despite the known dangers?

We do these things because we like them. They give us pleasure. While it is true that there is nothing inherently wrong with pleasure-seeking behavior, it can be destructive, especially if it becomes the primary focus of life.

Sadly, the primary motivation of many people is pleasure-seeking behavior. They believe that if they are not happy, they must have a pleasure deficiency. They live under the illusion that if they can just squeeze more pleasure into their lives, they will be happy.

This life of illusion begins when we are young. We teach our children to be drug addicts. We teach them that the way you deal with problems is through drugs. When we have a headache, we take a pill. When we have a fever, we take another pill. When we have a cough, we drink a syrup. When dad has a hard day and needs to relax, he drinks alcohol. When we are so sleep-deprived that we can hardly get out of bed in the morning, we drink a highly destructive nervous-system stimulant called caffeine, hidden in our tea or coffee. We give this same addictive drug to children in the form of chocolate and cola drinks.

Social roadblocks to health

There are many barriers to making diet and lifestyle changes that I call the social roadblocks to health. The human nervous system is wired to recognize social conformity. When an individual challenges the social norm by being “different,” it can create psychological pain in people around them. This pain is called cognitive dissonance. People do not like how cognitive dissonance makes them feel, so they work very hard to eliminate it and, if necessary, you.

People evaluate by comparison. In order to feel better about themselves, people either try to improve their lot in life, or try to bring you down, so that they feel better by comparison. Since most people do not get enough sleep, they are too tired to improve themselves. They may put what little energy they do have into trying to bring you down.

When they see you trying to eat well, they may try to tempt you with a very stimulating, high-fat dessert, or something else that you no longer choose to eat. If you decline, they may comment along the line of, “What’s the point in being healthy if there is no joy in life?” or “You are no fun anymore!” or “Don’t you think you’re carrying this health thing a little too far?”

They also may become instant nutrition experts. When you were eating hot dogs, fried chicken, cupcakes, or candy, no one said a thing. But just start bringing healthy meals to work, and you may start hearing comments like, “You can’t live on that!” And, “Where are you going to get your protein?” What they really feel, but are unable to express, is that by improving yourself, you are making them feel uncomfortable about themselves.

Make a plan for success

Successful individuals begin new projects with their goal in mind. They focus on the important things and do not get distracted by the lesser things, no matter how urgent they might seem at the moment. If happiness is your goal, remember that health is an important foundation for happiness, and that health results from healthful living.

Healthful living means taking responsibility for four main areas of your life: diet-eating the right foods, for the right reasons; environment-maintaining a healthy home and workplace; activity-getting enough exercise, rest and sleep; and psychology-engaging in productive activity and developing effective interpersonal skills.

We are all different, but the equalizing factor in all of our lives is time. We all get 168 hours per week. At most, we have about 30,000 days left to live. The challenge for each of us is how to use our time to promote the greatest health and happiness for ourselves and our loved ones.

Aurthor: Alan Goldhamer. D.C