10 Health Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil

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Published in: on December 11, 2013 at 8:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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Detox Your Body

Here are some great FOODS FOR DETOXING various regions of the body. I juice fast for 3 days at the beginning of every season (we will lead the fall fast next weekend) one day of every week, and maintain an alkaline diet. Lemon water, apple cider vinegar, green smoothies, turmeric, cayenne pepper, water, lymphatic drainage massage, colonics, meditation, yoga, hiking, walking, oil pulling all helps me. What do you do to cleanse and detox?

Published in: on October 4, 2013 at 6:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Beaver Butt in Our Food?

Beaver butts emit goo used in vanilla flavored foods

Published October 02, 2013

FoxNews.com
  • beavernatgeo.jpg

    Beavers are among the largest of the rodents. (Joel Sartore/National Geographic)

Next time you pick up a vanilla candy, think twice. A chemical compound used in vanilla flavored foods and scents comes from the butt of a beaver.

Castoreum comes from a beaver’s castor sacs, located between the pelvis and base of the tail. Due to its proximity to the anal glands, the slimy brown substance is often mixed with gland secretions and urine.

“I lift up the animal’s tail,” Joanne Crawford, a wildlife ecologist at Southern Illinois University told National Geographic. “I’m like, ‘Get down there, and stick your nose near its bum.'”

“People think I’m nuts,” she added. “I tell them, ‘Oh, but it’s beavers; it smells really good.'”

Beavers use the brown slime, often compared to a thinner version of molasses, to mark their territory. The musky, vanilla scent is attributed to a beaver’s diet of bark and leaves.

Manufacture have been using castoreum as an additive in foods and perfumes for at least 80 years, according to a 2007 study in the International Journal of Toxicology.

But getting a beaver to emit castoreum is not easy. Foodies are willing to “milk” the animals in order to get their hands on the gooey substance.

“You can milk the anal glands so you can extract the fluid,” Crawford said. “You can squirt [castoreum] out. It’s pretty gross.”

Only 292-pounds per year is collected because the milking method is unpleasant for all parties involved.

And the worst part? The FDA-approved castoreum is not required to be listed as an ingredient on food items. Manufacturers may list “natural flavoring” instead.

Perhaps a bit too natural for us.

Published in: on October 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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10 Foods Banned in Other Countries but Allowed in the US

 

By Dr. Mercola

Americans are slowly waking up to the sad fact that much of the food sold in the US is far inferior to the same foods sold in other nations. In fact, many of the foods you eat are BANNED in other countries.

Here, I’ll review 10 American foods that are banned elsewhere, which were featured in a recent MSN article.1

Seeing how the overall health of Americans is so much lower than other industrialized countries, you can’t help but wonder whether toxic foods such as these might play a role in our skyrocketing disease rates.

#1: Farm-Raised Salmon

If you want to maximize health benefits from fish, you want to steer clear of farmed fish, particularly farmed salmon fed dangerous chemicals. Wild salmon gets its bright pinkish-red color from natural carotenoids in their diet. Farmed salmon, on the other hand, are raised on a wholly unnatural diet of grains (including genetically engineered varieties), plus a concoction of antibiotics and other drugs and chemicals not shown to be safe for humans.

This diet leaves the fish with unappetizing grayish flesh so to compensate, they’re fed synthetic astaxanthin made from petrochemicals, which has not been approved for human consumption and has well known toxicities. According to the featured article, some studies suggest it can potentially damage your eyesight. More details are available in yesterday’s article.

Where it’s banned: Australia and New Zealand

How can you tell whether a salmon is wild or farm-raised? The flesh of wild sockeye salmon is bright red, courtesy of its natural astaxanthin content. It’s also very lean, so the fat marks, those white stripes you see in the meat, are very thin. If the fish is pale pink with wide fat marks, the salmon is farmed.

Avoid Atlantic salmon, as typically salmon labeled “Atlantic Salmon” currently comes from fish farms. The two designations you want to look for are: “Alaskan salmon,” and “sockeye salmon,” as Alaskan sockeye is not allowed to be farmed. Please realize that the vast majority of all salmon sold in restaurants is farm raised.

So canned salmon labeled “Alaskan Salmon” is a good bet, and if you find sockeye salmon, it’s bound to be wild. Again, you can tell sockeye salmon from other salmon by its color; its flesh is bright red opposed to pink, courtesy of its superior astaxanthin content. Sockeye salmon actually has one of the highest concentrations of astaxanthin of any food.

#2: Genetically Engineered Papaya

Most Hawaiian papaya is now genetically engineered to be resistant to ringspot virus. Mounting research now shows that animals fed genetically engineered foods, such as corn and soy, suffer a wide range of maladies, including intestinal damage, multiple-organ damage, massive tumors, birth defects, premature death, and near complete sterility by the third generation of offspring. Unfortunately, the gigantic human lab experiment is only about 10 years old, so we are likely decades away from tabulating the human casualties.

Where it’s banned: The European Union

Unfortunately, it’s clear that the US government is not in a position to make reasonable and responsible decisions related to genetically engineered foods at this point, when you consider the fact that the Obama administration has placed former Monsanto attorney and Vice President, Michael Taylor, in charge of US food safety, and serious conflicts of interest even reign supreme within the US Supreme Court! That’s right. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is also a former Monsanto attorney, but refuses to acknowledge any conflict of interest.

#3: Ractopamine-Tainted Meat

The beta agonist drug ractopamine (a repartitioning agent that increases protein synthesis) was recruited for livestock use when researchers found that the drug, used in asthma, made mice more muscular. This reduces the overall fat content of the meat. Ractopamine is currently used in about 45 percent of US pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys are pumped full of this drug in the days leading up to slaughter. Up to 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat you buy from the supermarket, according to veterinarian Michael W. Fox.

Since 1998, more than 1,700 people have been “poisoned” from eating pigs fed the drug, and ractopamine is banned from use in food animals in no less than 160 different countries due to its harmful health effects! Effective February 11, 2013, Russia issued a ban on US meat imports, slated to last until the US agrees to certify that the meat is ractopamine-free. At present, the US does not even test for the presence of this drug in meats sold. In animals, ractopamine is linked to reductions in reproductive function, increase of mastitis in dairy herds, and increased death and disability. It’s also known to affect the human cardiovascular system, and is thought to be responsible for hyperactivity, and may cause chromosomal abnormalities and behavioral changes.

Where it’s banned: 160 countries across Europe, Russia, mainland China and Republic of China (Taiwan)

#4: Flame Retardant Drinks

If you live in the US and drink Mountain Dew and some other citrus-flavored sodas and sports drinks, then you are also getting a dose of a synthetic chemical called brominated vegetable oil (BVO), which was originally patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant.

BVO has been shown to bioaccumulate in human tissue and breast milk, and animal studies have found it causes reproductive and behavioral problems in large doses. Bromine is a central nervous system depressant, and a common endocrine disruptor. It’s part of the halide family, a group of elements that includes fluorine, chlorine and iodine. When ingested, bromine competes for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine. This can lead to iodine deficiency, which can have a very detrimental impact on your health. Bromine toxicity can manifest as skin rashes, acne, loss of appetite, fatigue, and cardiac arrhythmias. According to the featured article:

“The FDA has flip-flopped on BVO’s safety originally classifying it as ‘generally recognized as safe’ but reversing that call now defining it as an ‘interim food additive’ a category reserved for possibly questionable substances used in food.”

Where it’s banned: Europe and Japan

#5: Processed Foods Containing Artificial Food Colors and Dyes

More than 3,000 food additives — preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients — are added to US foods, including infant foods and foods targeted to young children. Meanwhile, many of these are banned in other countries, based on research showing toxicity and hazardous health effects, especially with respect to adverse effects on children’s behavior. For example, as reported in the featured article:

“Boxed Mac & Cheese, cheddar flavored crackers, Jell-O and many kids’ cereals contain red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6 and/or blue 2, the most popularly-used dyes in the United States. Research has shown this rainbow of additives can cause behavioral problems as well as cancer, birth defects and other health problems in laboratory animals. Red 40 and yellow 6 are also suspected of causing an allergy-like hypersensitivity reaction in children. The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that some dyes are also “contaminated with known carcinogens.”

In countries where these food colors and dyes are banned, food companies like Kraft employ natural colorants instead, such as paprika extract, beetroot, and annatto. The food blogger and activist Vani Hari, better known as “Food Babe,” recently launched a Change.org petition2 asking Kraft to remove artificial dyes from American Mac & Cheese to protect American children from the well-known dangers of these dyes.

Where it’s banned: Norway and Austria. In 2009, the British government advised companies to stop using food dyes by the end of that year. The European Union also requires a warning notice on most foods containing dyes.

#6: Arsenic-Laced Chicken

Arsenic-based drugs are approved for use in animal feed in the US because they make animals grow quicker and make the meat appear pinker (i.e. “fresher”). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated these products are safe because they contain organic arsenic, which is less toxic than the other inorganic form, which is a known carcinogen.

The problem is, scientific reports surfaced stating that the organic arsenic could transform into inorganic arsenic, which has been found in elevated levels in supermarket chickens. The inorganic arsenic also contaminates manure where it can eventually migrate into drinking water and may also be causing heightened arsenic levels in US rice.

In 2011, Pfizer announced it would voluntarily stop marketing its arsenic-based feed additive Roxarsone, but there are still several others on the market. Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the FDA calling for their removal from the market. In the European Union, meanwhile, arsenic-based compounds have never been approved as safe for animal feed.

Where it’s banned: The European Union

#7: Bread with Potassium Bromate

You might not be aware of this, but nearly every time you eat bread in a restaurant or consume a hamburger or hotdog bun you are consuming bromide, as it is commonly used in flours. The use of potassium bromate as an additive to commercial breads and baked goods has been a huge contributor to bromide overload in Western cultures.

Bromated flour is “enriched” with potassium bromate. Commercial baking companies claim it makes the dough more elastic and better able to stand up to bread hooks. However, Pepperidge Farm and other successful companies manage to use only unbromated flour without any of these so-called “structural problems.” Studies have linked potassium bromate to kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal discomfort, and cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies potassium bromate as a possible carcinogen.

Where it’s banned: Canada, China and the EU

#8: Olestra/Olean

Olestra, aka Olean, created by Procter & Gamble, is a calorie- and cholesterol-free fat substitute used in fat-free snacks like chips and French fries. Three years ago, Time Magazine3 named it one of the worst 50 inventions ever, but that hasn’t stopped food companies from using it to satisfy people’s mistaken belief that a fat-free snack is a healthier snack. According to the featured article:

“Not only did a 2011 study from Purdue University conclude rats fed potato chips made with Olean gained weight, there have been several reports of adverse intestinal reactions to the fake fat including diarrhea, cramps and leaky bowels. And because it interferes with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K, the FDA requires these vitamins be added to any product made with Olean or olestra.”

Where it’s banned: The UK and Canada

#9: Preservatives BHA and BHT

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are commonly used preservatives that can be found in breakfast cereal, nut mixes, chewing gum, butter spread, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer, just to name a few. BHA is known to cause cancer in rats, and may be a cancer-causing agent in humans as well. In fact, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program’s 2011 Report on Carcinogens, BHA “is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” It may also trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity, while BHT can cause organ system toxicity.

Where it’s banned: The UK doesn’t allow BHA in infant foods. BHA and BHT are also banned in parts of the European Union and Japan.

#10: Milk and Dairy Products Laced with rBGH

Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is the largest selling dairy animal drug in America. RBGH is a synthetic version of natural bovine somatotropin (BST), a hormone produced in cows’ pituitary glands. Monsanto developed the recombinant version from genetically engineered E. coli bacteria and markets it under the brand name “Posilac.”

It’s injected into cows to increase milk production, but it is banned in at least 30 other nations because of its dangers to human health, which include an increased risk for colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer by promoting conversion of normal tissue cells into cancerous ones. Non-organic dairy farms frequently have rBGH-injected cows that suffer at least 16 different adverse health conditions, including very high rates of mastitis that contaminate milk with pus and antibiotics.

“According to the American Cancer Society, the increased use of antibiotics to treat this type of rBGH-induced inflammation ‘does promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but the extent to which these are transmitted to humans is unclear,'” the featured article states.

Many have tried to inform the public of the risks of using this hormone in dairy cows, but their attempts have been met with overwhelming opposition by the powerful dairy and pharmaceutical industries, and their government liaisons. In 1997, two Fox-affiliate investigative journalists, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, attempted to air a program exposing the truth about the dangers of rBGH. Lawyers for Monsanto, a major advertiser with the Florida network, sent letters promising “dire consequences” if the story aired.

Despite decades of evidence about the dangers of rBGH, the FDA still maintains it’s safe for human consumption and ignores scientific evidence to the contrary. In 1999, the United Nations Safety Agency ruled unanimously not to endorse or set safety standards for rBGH milk, which has effectively resulted in an international ban on US milk.4 The Cancer Prevention Coalition, trying for years to get the use of rBGH by the dairy industry banned, resubmitted a petition to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, in January 2010.5 Although the FDA stubbornly sticks to its position that milk from rBGH-treated cows is no different than milk from untreated cows, this is just plain false and is not supported by science. The only way to avoid rBGH is to look for products labeled as “rBGH-free” or “No rBGH.”

Where it’s banned: Australia, New Zealand, Israel, EU and Canada

Take Control of Your Health with REAL Food

There are many other examples where the US federal regulatory agencies have sold out to industry at the expense of your health, while other countries have chosen to embrace the precautionary principle in order to protect their citizens. If you want to avoid these questionable foods and other potentially harmful ingredients permitted in the US food supply, then ditching processed foods entirely is your best option. About 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food is spent on processed foods, so there is massive room for improvement in this area for most people.

Next, you’ll want to swap out your regular meat sources to organic, grass-fed/pasture-raised versions of beef and poultry. The same goes for dairy products and animal by-products such as eggs.

Swapping your processed-food diet for one that focuses on fresh whole foods is a necessity if you value your health. For a step-by-step guide to make this a reality in your own life, whether you live in the US or elsewhere, simply follow the advice in my optimized nutrition plan, starting with the beginner plan first.

Published in: on July 18, 2013 at 7:28 am  Comments (1)  
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Lead Researcher Speaks Out About HPV Vaccine

Published On: Sat, Jun 22nd, 2013  
  The Lead Vaccine Developer Comes Clean So She Can “Sleep At Night”: Gardasil and Cervarix Don’t Work, Are Dangerous, and Weren’t Tested

Author: Sarah Cain- LifeWise 

Dr-Diane-Harper
Dr. Diane Harper was the lead researcher in the development of the human papilloma virus vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix. She is the latest to come forward and question the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines.

She made the surprising announcement at the 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination, which took place in Reston, Virginia on Oct. 2nd through 4th, 2009.

Her speech was supposed to promote the Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines, but she instead turned on her corporate bosses in a very public way. When questioned about the presentation, audience members remarked that they came away feeling that the vaccines should not be used.

“I came away from the talk with the perception that the risk of adverse side effects is so much greater than the risk of cervical cancer, I couldn’t help but question why we need the vaccine at all.”  – Joan Robinson

Dr. Harper explained in her presentation that the cervical cancer risk in the U.S. is already extremely low, and that vaccinations are unlikely to have any effect upon the rate of cervical cancer in the United States. In fact, 70% of all H.P.V. infections resolve themselves without treatment in a year, and the number rises to well over 90% in two years. Harper also mentioned the safety angle.

All trials of the vaccines were done on children aged 15 and above, despite them currently being marketed for 9-year-olds. So far, 15,037 girls have reported adverse side effects from Gardasil alone to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (V.A.E.R.S.), and this number only reflects parents who underwent the hurdles required for reporting adverse reactions.

At the time of writing, 44 girls are officially known to have died from these vaccines. The reported side effects include Guillian Barré Syndrome (paralysis lasting for years, or permanently — sometimes eventually causing suffocation), lupus, seizures, blood clots, and brain inflammation. Parents are usually not made aware of these risks.

Dr. Harper, the vaccine developer, claimed that she was speaking out, so that she might finally be able to sleep at night.

About eight in every ten women who have been sexually active will have H.P.V. at some stage of their life. Normally there are no symptoms, and in 98 per cent of cases it clears itself. But in those cases where it doesn’t, and isn’t treated, it can lead to pre-cancerous cells which may develop into cervical cancer.”  – Dr. Diane Harper

One must understand how the establishment’s word games are played to truly understand the meaning of the above quote, and one needs to understand its unique version of “science”.

When they report that untreated cases “can” lead to something that “may” lead to cervical cancer, it really means that the relationship is merely a hypothetical conjecture that is profitable if people actually believe it. In other words, there is no demonstrated relationship between the condition being vaccinated for and the rare cancers that the vaccine might prevent, but it is marketed to do that nonetheless.

In fact, there is no actual evidence that the vaccine can prevent any cancer. From the manufacturers own admissions, the vaccine only works on 4 strains out of 40 for a specific venereal disease that dies on its own in a relatively short period, so the chance of it actually helping an individual is about about the same as the chance of him being struck by a meteorite.

Why do nine-year-old girls need vaccinations for extremely rare and symptom-less venereal diseases that the immune system usually kills anyway?

Published in: on July 5, 2013 at 5:45 am  Comments (1)  
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10 Healthiest Packaged Foods

 

Tuesdays With Jeff: Insights Into Your Health: The 10 Healthiest Packaged Foods. Plus a Spice Giveaway!

by June 25, 2013

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The 10 Healthiest Packaged Foods

©Jeff Novick, MS, RD

The healthiest foods are the foods that come straight out of the garden and are consumed in their natural form or as simply prepared as possible. These foods are fresh fruits, vegetables, starchy vegetables, legumes, and intact whole grains and should be the focus of any healthy diet.

Packaged and processed foods are usually loaded with fats, free oils, salt, refined sugars/sweeteners and refined carbohydrates/grains, They are also almost always calorie dense.

However, there are some packaged and processed foods that can be included as part of a healthy diet. And in fact, keeping some of them around and on hand, can actually make following a healthy diet, easier.

Everyone always wants to know what foods I personally eat and/or recommend. So, I went around my house and looked around to see what packaged and processed foods I had in my house and would recommend to you, and why.

Here they are.

frozen_veg_index

1) Frozen Vegetables

Vegetables are the most nutrient dense food there is and including more of them in your diet is a key to improving the nutritional quality of your diet. Unlike many canned vegetables, plain frozen individual vegetables usually have no other added ingredients. Frozen peas and beans may have some added salt, but they usually make my 1:1 sodium/calorie guideline. Frozen vegetables can easily be thawed and including as part of a healthy recipe and/or meal. These are one of the main ingredients in my Basic Recipes

Caution: Be careful of all the new fancy frozen vegetable mixes as many come with added sauces that can be high in salt, sugar and or fat. Look for the plain bags of single individual vegetables of vegetable blends.

2) Frozen Fruits

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The same reasoning for frozen vegetables also applies to frozen fruits. Look for the ones that contain just frozen fruit and avoid the ones with added sugars/sweeteners. Frozen berries are one of my favorites to keep on hand. Fresh berries are very seasonal, and they also often mold and rot quickly and easily. Frozen berries do not and are available year round. In addition, you can often find wild berries, including blueberries and strawberries, which are often sweeter and more nutrient dense.

 

 

 

3) Quick Cooking Brown Rice

success-brown-rice-product-detail-page

My favorite kind of rice, is basmati brown rice. I love the taste and the aroma, especially when it is cooking. It smells like popcorn popping. However, I do not always have the 40 minutes to prepare the basmati brown rice from scratch. Nor do I always have some cooked up ahead of time. The solution, is anyone of the varieties available of “quick cooking” brown rice. While I do not usually like to promote a specific brand, one brand that I do prefer is Success Quick Cooking Brown Rice.  This brand and variety has to be the simplest and easiest version of quick cooking brown rice ever invented. Many other versions require the measurement of water and rice (which can be troublesome for some). :)  However, with this version all you do is place a pre-measured bag in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes and wah-lah! perfect brown rice. For those of you who want to avoid using the plastic bag, just remove the rice from it and cook in boiling water.  You can now also get frozen pre-cooked whole grain brown rice that is quick and simple to prepare.

4) No Salt Added Shelf-Stable Beans

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Next to green leafy veggies and vegetables, beans may be one of the most nutrient rich foods there is. They are rich in nutrients and fiber, very filling and relatively low in calorie density. The problem with beans for many of us is that most beans can take hours to cook and most canned beans are extremely high in sodium. So, for those in a hurry, the solution is to buy no salt added shelf-stable beans.  One of my favorites is Eden Foods No Salt Added Canned Beans. There are about 12 varieties of beans available from them, including Kidney, Black, Garbanzo, Pinto,  Adzuki, etc. Not only are they available online, and in health food stores, I also find most local grocery stores are now carrying them. Just open a can and add them to your favorite dish, recipe or meal. These are one of the main ingredients in my Basic Recipes. Again, while I do not like to promote a specific brand, Eden Foods canned beans are one of the best out there and they are also the only canned bean that is BPA free.  There are also now a few varieties of no-salt added, organic beans that are packed in an aseptic shelf-stable container that are sold by Fig Foods and by Whole Foods.

5) No Salt Added Shelf-Stable Tomato Products

 

images (45)Tomatoes make a great base for many dressings, sauces, soups and meals (i.e., stews, chili’s, etc). However, good fresh tomatoes are not always available year round and some of the one that are available in the off-season are literally tasteless. In addition, while there are some canned varieties that are salt free, most canned tomato products are extremely high in sodium and contain BPA.  However, one brand I prefer is POMI brand tomato products as they are both salt free, shelf stable and BPA free. While these tomato product could never substitute for a fresh “in season” tomato on a salad, they can help make excellent soups, sauces, and meals when fresh tomatoes are out of season or when you are in a pinch. These are one of the main ingredients in my Basic Recipes. If you can’t find POMI Tomatoes, look for any brand of no salt added canned tomatoes.

6) Intact Whole Grains (Buckwheat, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, etc)

Whole grains that are consumed in their “intact” form are low in calorie density, high in satiety, nutrient rich and shelf stable. They are easy to cook (just add water) and can be the base of many healthy meals and dishes. They also make great additions to soups and salads. Oatmeal, buckwheat, and barley all make a great breakfast and a great way to start the day. Brown rice, cracked wheat, quinoa, and/or millet mixed with vegetables make a great meal, side dish and or salad. My favorites are the ones that I can cook from start to end in 10 minutes. These include oats, buckwheat, quinoa and millet.

7) Whole Grain Pasta

images (47)

The problem with many whole grain processed products (like bread, dry cereals, bagels, crackers and tortilla’s) is that even though they are whole grain, they are still calorie dense. The only exception is whole grain pasta. The reason is, when you cook whole grain pasta, it absorbs some of the water it is cooked in, which is absorbed into the structure of the pasta, lowering its calorie density. Foods with high water content, are lower in calorie density and generally higher in satiety.

So, unlike most processed whole grains, which have a calorie density of 1200-1800 calories per pound, the calorie density of most cooked whole grain pasta is the same as most intact whole grains and starchy vegetables, which is around 500-600 calories per pound. It is also very quick and easy to cook and can be ready in around 10 minutes. Mix in some fresh or frozen vegetables, some no salt added tomatoes and some fresh spices and you have a healthy, nutritious and filling meal.

8) Dried Fruit

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Dried fruit is natures candy. Unlike fresh fruit, it is shelf stable and will not spoil easily. Adding small amounts of dried fruit to dishes can add both nutrition and sweetness. A few raisins or dates can really sweeten up a bowl of fruit and they also go great in a bowl of whole grain cereal like oatmeal or as part of a dessert like baked apples. In addition, they make great additions by adding a little sweetness to a large vegetables salad, or even some cooked dishes like stews and rice.

However, due their high calorie density, go easy on them and think of them more as a condiment.  Dried fruit is around 1200 calorie per pound where is most fresh fruit is under 300 calories per pound

Grapes 300 cal/lbs

Raisins 1357 cal/lb

Plumes 200 cal/lb

Prunes 1100 cal/lb

9) Unsalted Raw Nuts/Seeds and Nut/Seed Butter

RawNuts

Raw nuts and seeds, and the “butters” made from them, are rich in nutrients especially minerals. A few of them, like walnuts and flax seeds are also excellent sources of the omega 3 essential fat. They are also shelf stable and will not spoil easily. They can add creaminess and texture to some home made dressings and dips/spreads and/or soups. I sometimes make a salad dressing that is made from a little tahini (sesame seed butter) mixed with lemon and water. I also add a small amount of tahini to blended garbanzo beans to add some texture to my homemade hummus.

However, due to their extremely high calorie density, go very easy on them especially if weight is an issue for you. In general, I recommend consuming no more than 1-2 oz a day at most. If you are struggling with your weight, I recommend either eliminating them or limiting them even more, to no more than 1oz, 2-5x a week. And, when you do use them, make sure you mix them with something low in calorie density, like vegetables or fruits.

10) Salt Free Spices/Seasonings/Herbs

mrs-dash-salt-free-seasoning-blends

As you decrease the amount of salt, sugar and oil in your diet, you will begin to appreciate the wonderful natural flavors of food. However, some people still like to add a little “spice” to their life. Fortunately, there are many salt-free spices, seasonings and blends available. Probably the most popular one is Mrs. Dash, which has many varieties available. In addition, for those of you who are not a chef and not familiar with the different flavor combination’s of spices, you can now buy many salt free blends that can help. There are pre-mixed blends of salt-free Italian, Mexican, Indian, Southern and many other blends available.

There you go. My favorite 10 packaged staple foods that are not only good for you and can be included as part of a healthy diet. And in fact, keeping some of them around and on hand, can actually make following a healthy diet, easier.

Enjoy!

In Health

Jeff

PS, shortly after writing the original version of this article, I saw a discussion of dehydrated foods. I would now include these in my list as that can be a valuable addition to keep around. However, I want to keep my list at 10 :)  Maybe I will add it into the Dried Fruit point and change it to Dried and dehydrated fruits, vegetables and other foods.

Leave a comment and tell us what your favorite plant-strong packaged food is and you will be entered to win the entire collection of Mrs. Dash salt free spice blends!

Lab Grown Meat Hits the Grill This Month!

Meet ‘Schmeat’: Lab-grown meat hits the grill this month

Backers hope event will boost funding to commercialize ‘schmeat’

CBC News

Posted: Jun  6, 2013   3:28 PM ET

Last Updated:  Jun  7, 2013   9:34 AM ET

Read 356 comments356

Maastricht University physiologist Mark Post is expected to grill a patty of lab-grown meat that has taken two years and €250,000 ($338,000) to produce. Maastricht University physiologist Mark Post is expected to grill a patty of lab-grown meat that has taken two years and €250,000 ($338,000) to produce. (iStock)
 
 

Shmeat: The first in-vitro hamburger27:30

 

Shmeat: The first in-vitro hamburger27:30

   
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A hamburger patty made from lab-grown meat — or “schmeat” — is expected to be unveiled and grilled later this month at an event in London that is highly anticipated by animal rights activists and other backers.

“The vision for this burger is really to attract support, to attract funding,” said social sciences researcher Neil Stephens in an interview with CBC’s The Current host Anna Maria Tremonti. “And I’m sure it will because it’s a very enticing idea for many people.”

Stephens, a professor at Cardiff University in Wales, has been studying the ethical and cultural issues around in vitro meat and has interviewed all the key scientific figures in the field.

‘In vitro meat provides a way for people to be able to eat ethically, while still kind of getting that meat fix.’—Lindsay Rajt, PETA

Among them is Mark Post, a physiologist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, who grew the meat for the upcoming burger unveiling in his lab. The development of the 140-gram patty has taken two years and cost €250,000 ($338,000). Stephens said the funding needed to scale up the process to something commercially viable is one of the biggest obstacles right now on the journey of in vitro meat from the lab and the supermarket.

Conventional meat raises environmental, ethical concerns

Isha Datar is among those who hope the London burger event will lead to larger amounts of funding for the development of in vitro meat.

Datar is the executive director of New Harvest, a non-profit organization that raises awareness about alternatives to conventionally produced meat, and provides some funding and support to researchers in the field.

Anna Maria Tremonti, host of The Current, discussed the issues surrounding in vitro meat with Neil Stephens of Cardiff University, Isha Datar of New Harvest and Lindsay Rajt of PETA.Anna Maria Tremonti, host of The Current, discussed the issues surrounding in vitro meat with Neil Stephens of Cardiff University, Isha Datar of New Harvest and Lindsay Rajt of PETA. (CBC)

“Meat as we know it today is very environmentally unfriendly,” she told The Current.

Datar noted that a large proportion of agricultural land is used to grow feed for livestock rather than food for people. “In terms of food security, that’s not the greatest way to go.” She added that livestock are also breeding grounds for disease epidemics such as various influenza strains.

Among the supporters of in vitro meat is the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has just extended its deadline for a contest to produce in vitro chicken meat. Researchers now have until the end of the year to claim the $1-million prize for being the first to bring in vitro chicken meat to market.

Lindsay Rajt, PETA’s associate director of campaigns, said, “In vitro meat provides a way for people to be able to eat ethically, while still kind of getting that meat fix.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals hopes a commercial process for making in vitro chicken meat could potentially save billions of animals each year 'from abuse on factory farms and ultimately slaughter.'
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals hopes a commercial process for making in vitro chicken meat could potentially save billions of animals each year ‘from abuse on factory farms and ultimately slaughter.’ (Mel Evans/Associated Press)

The cells needed to produce in vitro meat can be harvested without harming any animals, she said, and a commercial process for producing such meat could potentially save billions of animals each year “from abuse on factory farms and ultimately slaughter.”

At the moment, however, even Post is far from making that happen.

“This burger that’s going to be launched in London is really a proof of concept, which shows just … that something physically can be done,” said Datar.

So far, she said, Post has taken cells from the necks of cows and grown very tiny quantities in petri dishes, repeating the procedure “thousands of times” to generate enough for a hamburger patty.

A brew pub for meat?

Datar envisions a future where techniques for growing in vitro meat are so advanced that it “could happen in an appliance in our own home” or in a bioreactor at a restaurant.

“Perhaps … it’s something like a brew pub and they’re brewing an in-house meat,” she said. “And we perceive that as being artisanal and unique and exciting.”

Michael Noble, head chef and owner of Calgary’s Notable restaurant, has a different perception of in vitro meat.

“I don’t get it and it scares the heck out me,” said Noble, whose restaurant specializes in gourmet burgers and aged Alberta beef.

He’s also skeptical about how lab-grown meat would taste.

“There’s absolutely no way that you can recreate the flavour of what Mother Nature and the universe creates for us in the lab,” he told The Current. “There’s no way.”

Post admits that no one knows how the conditions of culturing the meat will affect the taste or even where the taste of meat comes from.

And even if it tastes like meat, that doesn’t necessarily mean the general public will view it as meat.

Stephens said that issue is fundamental to whether in vitro meat will be able to replace conventional meat, and isn’t something scientists have the power to define or control.

“It’s something that everyone else across the world, food companies and consumers, are involved in deciding.”

The 9 Healthy Foods to Avoid for Your Health

By Dr. Mercola

Many foods have been heavily promoted as being healthy when they are nothing more than pernicious junk foods. In the featured article, Clean Plates1 founder Jared Koch shared his list of nine staple foods that are far less “good for you” than you’ve been led to believe.

Here, I expand on the selections that are mentioned in the featured article.

1. Canned Tomatoes

Many leading brands of canned foods contain BPA — a toxic chemical linked to reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health problems. According to Consumer Reports’ testing, just a couple of servings of canned food can exceed the safety limits for daily BPA exposure for children.

High acidity — a prominent characteristic of tomatoes – causes BPA to leach into your food. To avoid this hazardous chemical, avoid canned foods entirely and stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, or switch over to brands that use glass containers instead—especially for acidic foods like tomatoes.

2. Processed Meats

As Koch warns, processed deli meats like salami, ham, and roast beef are typically made with meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

This means they’re given growth hormones, antibiotics and other veterinary drugs, and raised in deplorable conditions that promote disease, these meats are also filled with sodium nitrite (a commonly used preservative and antimicrobial agent that also adds color and flavor) and other chemical flavorings and dyes.

Nitrites can be converted into nitrosamines in your body, which are potent cancer-causing chemicals. Research has linked nitrites to higher rates of colorectal, stomach and pancreatic cancer. But that’s not all. Most processed deli meats also contain other cancer-promoting chemicals that are created during cooking. These include:

  • Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs) which are hazardous compounds created in meats and other foods that have been cooked at high temperatures. According to research, processed meats are clearly associated with an increased risk of stomach, colon and breast cancers.
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): Many processed meats are smoked as part of the curing process, which causes PAHs to form. PAHs can also form when grilling. When fat drips onto the heat source, causing excess smoke, and the smoke surrounds your food, it can transfer cancer-causing PAHs to the meat.
  • Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs): When food is cooked at high temperatures—including when it is pasteurized or sterilized—it increases the formation of AGEs in your food. AGEs build up in your body over time leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease.

The truth is, processed meats are not a healthful choice for anyone and should be avoided entirely, according to a 2011 review of more than 7,000 clinical studies examining the connection between diet and cancer. The report was commissioned by The World Cancer Research Fund2 (WCRF) using money raised from the general public. Therefore the findings were not influenced by any vested interests, which makes it all the more reliable.

It’s the biggest review of the evidence ever undertaken, and it confirms previous findings: Processed meats increase your risk of cancer, especially bowel cancer, and NO amount of processed meat is “safe.” You’re far better off ditching the deli meats and opting instead for fresh organically-raised grass-fed meats, or wild caught salmon.

3. Margarine

The unfortunate result of the low-fat diet craze has been the shunning of healthful fats such as butter, and public health has declined as a result of this folly. There are a myriad of unhealthy components to margarine and other butter impostors, including:

  • Trans fats: These unnatural fats in margarine, shortenings and spreads are formed during the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oils into a solid fat. Trans fats contribute to heart disease, cancer, bone problems, hormonal imbalance and skin disease; infertility, difficulties in pregnancy and problems with lactation; and low birth weight, growth problems and learning disabilities in children. A US government panel of scientists determined that man-made trans fats are unsafe at any level.
  • Free radicals: Free radicals and other toxic breakdown products are the result of high temperature industrial processing of vegetable oils. They contribute to numerous health problems, including cancer and heart disease.
  • Emulsifiers and preservatives: Numerous additives of questionable safety are added to margarines and spreads. Most vegetable shortening is stabilized with preservatives like BHT.
  • Hexane and other solvents: Used in the extraction process, these industrial chemicals can have toxic effects.

Good-old-fashioned butter, when made from grass-fed cows, is rich in a substance called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is not only known to help fight cancer and diabetes, it may even help you to lose weight, which cannot be said for its trans-fat substitutes. Much of the reason why butter is vilified is because it contains saturated fat. If you’re still in the mindset that saturated fat is harmful for your health, then please read the Healthy Fats section of my Optimized Nutrition Plan to learn why saturated fat is actually good for you.

4. Vegetable Oils

Of all the destructive foods available to us, those made with heated vegetable oils are some of the worst. Make no mistake about it–vegetable oils are not the health food that you were lead to believe they were. This is largely due to the fact that they are highly processed, and when consumed in massive amounts, as they are by most Americans, they seriously distort the important omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Ideally, this ratio is 1:1.

Anytime you cook a food, you run the risk of creating heat-induced damage. The oils you choose to cook with must be stable enough to resist chemical changes when heated to high temperatures, or you run the risk of damaging your health. One of the ways vegetable oils can inflict damage is by converting your good cholesterol into bad cholesterol—by oxidizing it. When you cook with polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as canola, corn, and soy oils), oxidized cholesterol is introduced into your system.

As the oil is heated and mixed with oxygen, it goes rancid. Rancid oil is oxidized oil and should NOT be consumed—it leads directly to vascular disease. Trans-fats are introduced when these oils are hydrogenated, which increases your risk of chronic diseases like breast cancer and heart disease.

So what’s the best oil to cook with?

Of all the available oils, coconut oil is the oil of choice for cooking because it is nearly a completely saturated fat, which means it is much less susceptible to heat damage. And coconut oil is one of the most unique and beneficial fats for your body. For more in-depth information about the many benefits of coconut oil, please see this special report. Olive oil, while certainly a healthful oil, is easily damaged by heat and is best reserved for drizzling cold over salad.

5. Microwave Popcorn

Perfluoroalkyls, which include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), are chemicals used to keep grease from leaking through fast food wrappers, are being ingested by people through their food and showing up as contaminants in blood. Microwave popcorn bags are lined with PFOA, and when they are heated the compound leaches onto the popcorn.

These chemicals are part of an expanding group of chemicals commonly referred to as “gender-bending” chemicals, because they can disrupt your endocrine system and affect your sex hormones. The EPA has ruled PFCs as “likely carcinogens,” and has stated that PFOA “poses developmental and reproductive risks to humans.” Researchers have also linked various PFCs to a range of other health dangers, such as:

  • Infertility — A study published in the journal Human Reproduction3 found that both PFOA and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), dramatically increased the odds of infertility. PFOA was linked to a 60 to 154 percent increase in the chance of infertility.
  • Thyroid disease — A 2010 study4 found that PFOA can damage your thyroid function. Individuals with the highest PFOA concentrations were more than twice as likely to report current thyroid disease, compared to those with the lowest PFOA concentrations. Your thyroid contains thyroglobulin protein, which binds to iodine to form hormones, which in turn influence essentially every organ, tissue and cell in your body. Thyroid hormones are also required for growth and development in children. Thyroid disease, if left untreated, can lead to heart disease, infertility, muscle weakness, and osteoporosis.
  • Cancer — PFOA has been associated with tumors in at least four different organs in animal tests (liver, pancreas, testicles and mammary glands in rats), and has been associated with increases in prostate cancer in PFOA plant workers.
  • Immune system problems — Several studies by scientists in Sweden indicate that PFCs have an adverse effect on your immune system. As described in a report on PFCs by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), PFOA was found to decrease all immune cell subpopulations studied, in the thymus and spleen, and caused immunosupression.
  • Increased LDL cholesterol levels – A 2010 study in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine5 found that children and teens with higher PFOA levels had higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol, while PFOS was associated with increased total cholesterol, including both LDL cholesterol and HDL or “good” cholesterol.

I strongly recommend avoiding any product you know containing these toxic compounds, particularly non-stick cookware, but also foods sold in grease-proof food packaging, such as fast food and microwave popcorn. Clearly, if you’re eating fast food or junk food, PFCs from the wrapper may be the least of your problems, but I think it’s still important to realize that not only are you not getting proper nutrition from the food itself, the wrappers may also add to your toxic burden.

6. Non-Organic Potatoes and Other Fresh Produce Known for High Pesticide Contamination

Your best bet is to buy only organic fruits and vegetables, as synthetic agricultural chemicals are not permissible under the USDA organic rules. That said, not all conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are subjected to the same amount of pesticide load. While Koch focuses on potatoes, as they tend to take up a lot of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals present in the soil, I would recommend reviewing the “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce”6 by the Environmental Working Group.

Of the 48 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the EWG for the 2013 guide, the following 15 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organically:

            Apples Celery Cherry tomatoes
Cucumbers Grapes Hot peppers
Nectarines (imported) Peaches Potatoes
Spinach Strawberries Sweet bell peppers
Kale Collard greens Summer squash

 

In contrast, the following foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables. Note that a small amount of sweet corn and most Hawaiian papaya, although low in pesticides, are genetically engineered (GE). If you’re unsure of whether the sweet corn or papaya is GE, I’d recommend opting for organic varieties:

Asparagus Avocado Cabbage
Cantaloupe Sweet corn (non-GMO) Eggplant
Grapefruit Kiwi Mango
Mushrooms Onions Papayas (non-GMO. Most Hawaiian papaya is GMO)
Pineapple Sweet peas (frozen) Sweet potatoes

7. Table Salt

Salt is essential for life—you cannot live without it. However, regular ‘table salt’ and the salt found in processed foods are NOT identical to the salt your body really needs. In fact, table salt has practically nothing in common with natural salt. One is health damaging, and the other is healing.

  • Processed salt is 98 percent sodium chloride, and the remaining two percent comprises man-made chemicals, such as moisture absorbents, and a little added iodine. These are dangerous chemicals like ferrocyanide and aluminosilicate. Some European countries, where water fluoridation is not practiced, also add fluoride to table salt
  • Natural salt is about 84 percent sodium chloride. The remaining 16 percent of natural salt consists of other naturally occurring minerals, including trace minerals like silicon, phosphorous and vanadium

Given that salt is absolutely essential to good health, I recommend switching to a pure, unrefined salt. My favorite is an ancient, all-natural sea salt from the Himalayas. Himalayan salt is completely pure, having spent many thousands of years maturing under extreme tectonic pressure, far away from impurities, so it isn’t polluted with the heavy metals and industrial toxins of today. And it’s hand-mined, hand-washed, and minimally processed. Himalayan salt is only 85 percent sodium chloride, the remaining 15 percent contains 84 trace minerals from our prehistoric seas. Unrefined natural salt is important to many biological processes, including:

  • Being a major component of your blood plasma, lymphatic fluid, extracellular fluid, and even amniotic fluid
  • Carrying nutrients into and out of your cells
  • Maintain and regulate blood pressure
  • Increasing the glial cells in your brain, which are responsible for creative thinking and long-term planning
  • Helping your brain communicate with your muscles, so that you can move on demand via sodium-potassium ion exchange

While natural unprocessed salt has many health benefits, that does not mean you should use it with impunity. Another important factor is the potassium to sodium ratio of your diet. Imbalance in this ratio can not only lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and other health problems, including heart disease, memory decline, erectile dysfunction and more. The easiest way to avoid this imbalance is by avoiding processed foods, which are notoriously low in potassium while high in sodium. Instead, eat a diet of whole, ideally organically-grown foods to ensure optimal nutrient content. This type of diet will naturally provide much larger amounts of potassium in relation to sodium.

8. Soy Protein Isolate and Other Unfermented Soy Products

Sadly, most of what you have been led to believe by the media about soy is simply untrue. One of the worst problems with soy comes from the fact that 90 to 95 percent of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered (GE), and these are used to create soy protein isolate. Genetically engineered soybeans are designed to be “Roundup ready,” which means they’re engineered to withstand otherwise lethal doses of herbicide.

The active ingredient in Roundup herbicide is called glyphosate, which is responsible for the disruption of the delicate hormonal balance of the female reproductive cycle. What’s more, glyphosate is toxic to the placenta, which is responsible for delivering vital nutrients from mother to child, and eliminating waste products. Once the placenta has been damaged or destroyed, the result can be miscarriage. In those children born to mothers who have been exposed to even a small amount of glyphosate, serious birth defects can result.

Glyphosate’s mechanism of harm was only recently identified, and demonstrates how this chemical disrupts cellular function and induce many of our modern diseases, including autism. Soy protein isolate can be found in protein bars, meal replacement shakes, bottled fruit drinks, soups and sauces, meat analogs, baked goods, breakfast cereals and some dietary supplements.

Even if you are not a vegetarian and do not use soymilk or tofu, it is important to be a serious label reader. There are so many different names for soy additives, you could be bringing home a genetically modified soy-based product without even realizing it. Soy expert Dr. Kaayla Daniel offers a free Special Report7, “Where the Soys Are,” on her Web site. It lists the many “aliases” that soy might be hiding under in ingredient lists — words like “bouillon,” “natural flavor” and “textured plant protein.”

Besides soy protein isolate, ALL unfermented soy products are best avoided if you value your health. Thousands of studies have linked unfermented soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.

The only soy with health benefits is organic soy that has been properly fermented, and these are the only soy products I ever recommend consuming. After a long fermentation process, the phytate and “anti-nutrient” levels of soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial properties become available to your digestive system. To learn more, please see this previous article detailing the dangers of unfermented soy.

9. Artificial Sweeteners

Contrary to popular belief, studies have found that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain. In one of the most recent of such studies8, saccharin and aspartame were found to cause greater weight gain than sugar.

Aspartame is perhaps one of the most problematic. It is primarily made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. The phenylalanine has been synthetically modified to carry a methyl group, which provides the majority of the sweetness. That phenylalanine methyl bond, called a methyl ester, is very weak, which allows the methyl group on the phenylalanine to easily break off and form methanol.

You may have heard the claim that aspartame is harmless because methanol is also found in fruits and vegetables. However, in fruits and vegetables, the methanol is firmly bonded to pectin, allowing it to be safely passed through your digestive tract. Not so with the methanol created by aspartame; there it’s not bonded to anything that can help eliminate it from your body.

Methanol acts as a Trojan horse; it’s carried into susceptible tissues in your body, like your brain and bone marrow, where the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzyme converts it into formaldehyde, which wreaks havoc with sensitive proteins and DNA. All animals EXCEPT HUMANS have a protective mechanism that allows methanol to be broken down into harmless formic acid. This is why toxicology testing on animals is a flawed model. It doesn’t fully apply to people.

Guidelines for Healthy Food

Whatever food you’re looking to eat, whether organic or locally grown, from either your local supermarket or a farmer’s market, the following are signs of a high-quality, healthy food. Most often, the best place to find these foods is from a sustainable agricultural group in your area. You can also review my free nutrition plan to get started on a healthy eating program today:

  • It’s grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers (organic foods fit this description, but so do some non-organic foods)
  • It’s not genetically engineered
  • It contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs
  • It does not contain artificial anything, nor any preservatives
  • It is fresh (if you have to choose between wilted organic produce or fresh conventional produce, the latter may still be the better option as freshness is important for optimal nutrient content)
  • It was not grown in a factory farm
  • It is grown with the laws of nature in mind (meaning animals are fed their native diets, not a mix of grains and animal byproducts, and have free-range access to the outdoors)
  • It is grown in a sustainable way (using minimal amounts of water, protecting the soil from burnout, and turning animal wastes into natural fertilizers instead of environmental pollutants)

Greek Yogurt Produces Toxic Waste

Whey Too Much: Greek Yogurt’s Dark Side

Greek yogurt is a booming $2 billion a year industry — and it’s producing millions of pounds of waste that industry insiders are scrambling to figure out what to do with.

By Justin Elliott on May 22, 2013

Twice a day, seven days a week, a tractor trailer carrying 8,000 gallons of watery, cloudy slop rolls past the bucolic countryside, finally arriving at Neil Rejman’s dairy farm in upstate New York. The trucks are coming from the Chobani plant two hours east of Rejman’s Sunnyside Farms, and they’re hauling a distinctive byproduct of the Greek yogurt making process—acid whey.

For every three or four ounces of milk, Chobani and other companies can produce only one ounce of creamy Greek yogurt. The rest becomes acid whey. It’s a thin, runny waste product that can’t simply be dumped. Not only would that be illegal, but whey decomposition is toxic to the natural environment, robbing oxygen from streams and rivers. That could turn a waterway into what one expert calls a “dead sea,” destroying aquatic life over potentially large areas. Spills of cheese whey, a cousin of Greek yogurt whey, have killed tens of thousands of fish around the country in recent years.

The scale of the problem—or opportunity, depending on who you ask—is daunting. The $2 billion Greek yogurt market has become one of the biggest success stories in food over the past few years and total yogurt production in New York nearly tripled between 2007 and 2013. New plants continue to open all over the country. The Northeast alone, led by New York, produced more than 150 million gallons of acid whey last year, according to one estimate.

And as the nation’s hunger grows for strained yogurt, which produces more byproduct than traditional varieties, the issue of its acid runoff becomes more pressing. Greek yogurt companies, food scientists, and state government officials are scrambling not just to figure out uses for whey, but how to make a profit off of it.

A cow munches on feed mixed with acid whey.

A cow munches on feed mixed with acid whey.

Chobani is so desperate to get rid of the whey, they pay farmers to take it off their hands.

Rejman, a blonde-haired 37-year-old, and third-generation dairy farmer with a Cornell animal science degree, started accepting the stuff a few years ago after a Chobani representative called him out of the blue.

Rejman’s workers take the shipments and try to find uses for the whey: mix it with silage to feed to the farm’s 3,300 cows; combine it with manure in a giant pit for fertilizer; and even convert some into biogas to make electricity.

‘How do you handle all the whey without screwing up the environment?’

But it’s not so easy to integrate acid whey into the workings of the farm. The silage Rejman feeds his cows, for example, can only soak up so much before becoming unmanageable slop — “like dropping water on your pizza,” he says. It’s also sort of like feeding your cows candy bars — they like it, but shouldn’t eat too much or it upsets their digestive system. It’s a problem that Rejman admits defies easy solutions. “How do you handle all the whey without screwing up the environment?”

The root of the whey problem is the very process that gives Greek yogurt its high protein content and lush mouthfeel.

Unlike traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt is strained after cultures have been added to milk. In home kitchens, this can be done with a cloth. Greek yogurt companies still throw around the term “strained,” but in reality industrial operations typically remove the whey with mechanical separators that use centrifugal force.

The resulting whey is roughly as acidic as orange juice. It’s almost entirely made up of water, but scientists studying the whey say it contains five to eight percent other materials: mostly lactose, or milk sugar; some minerals; and a very small amount of proteins.

Greek yogurt companies trying to keep up with exploding consumer demand in the last few years didn’t have a good plan to deal with the ocean of whey they were producing. Now they’re racing to find solutions, all the while keeping mum about the results, if there are any: the yogurt industry is highly secretive and competitive.

There are no industry-wide statistics on where all the whey is going, but a typical option is paying to have it hauled to farms near the yogurt factories. There, it is often mixed into feed or fertilizer. Chobani, for example, says more than 70 percent of its whey ends up as a supplement for livestock feed.

But there is another possible consumer — babies.

“Because the Greek yogurt production grew so rapidly, no one really had the time to step back and look at the other viable options,” says Dave Barbano, a dairy scientist at Cornell.

State and industry officials reached out to Barbano last year following the first-ever Yogurt Summit, convened by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Barbano, who specializes in filtration methods for separation and recovery of protein, has his sights set on the tiny amount of protein in acid whey. He believes it might be usable as an infant formula ingredient. But first Barbano has to figure out how to extract the protein in a cost-effective way, and his research is just getting underway.

The concept is roughly modeled on the success that cheese-makers have had selling products derived from their own byproduct — sweet whey. Sweet whey is more valuable and easier to handle than acid whey, as it has a lot more protein, and is easier to dry because it isn’t as acidic as Greek yogurt whey. Cheese-makers have developed a lucrative business selling whey protein for use in body-building supplements and as a food ingredient. And Greek yogurt makers are eager to follow suit.

“There are a lot of people coming in and out of New York state looking at whether this is a good opportunity for investment,” Barbano says.

While Barbano focuses on proteins, researchers in Wisconsin are studying how to extract whey’s dominant ingredient: sugar.

Scientists at the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have been experimenting for nearly a year on how to get edible-grade lactose out of acid whey. Such lactose is valuable as an ingredient in things like icing and as a browning agent in bread. “It’s kind of like oil refining: from crude oil you get gas and diesel and other products,” says Dean Sommer, a food technologist at the center. “This is the same concept. You figure out what’s in there and how to grab it and get value out of it.”

Sommer wouldn’t describe the filtration process to extract lactose because the industry-financed research is proprietary. But he believes some third-party companies are now considering building plants to convert acid whey into lactose.

Neil Rejman, an Upstate New York dairy farmer, stands before a lagoon of manure mixed with acid whey. This slurry will be turned in to energy by a machine called an 'anaerobic digester.'

Neil Rejman, an Upstate New York dairy farmer, stands before a lagoon of manure mixed with acid whey. This slurry has passed through a system called an ‘anaerobic digester,’ which converted some of it into electricity.

Meanwhile, back at Rejman’s farm in Scipio Center, N.Y., they’re converting the lactose into methane that can generate electricity.

When the whey arrives from Chobani, some of it is mixed with the vast quantity of manure the farm produces daily. From the manure pit, the light brown soup (basically a river of shit) flows into a 16-foot-deep underground concrete tank known as an anaerobic digester. An innocent looking expanse of cement in a big, green field dotted with dandelions, there’s a lot going on inside, where a fetid mix of manure and whey percolate.

The material is heated up and kept in the tank for about 20 days, during which time bacteria break up the organic material — the lactose, in the case of whey — and release gases, including methane. The gas is fed into generators that produce electricity to power the farm and to sell to the local utility for use elsewhere.

But the setup, which Rejman and his brother had installed five years ago, required a big capital investment that would be out of reach for small farms. It cost $4.5 million, $1 million of which the Rejmans got back through a state subsidy.

Rejman's anaerobic digester.

Rejman’s anaerobic digester.

They primarily built the digester for what Rejman calls “odor control” for their neighbors, as digested manure smells much less than the raw stuff (“You ever take a shit in the toilet and leave it in there?” Rejman asks, by way of explanation.) The whey is an afterthought. In any case, just 20 of New York’s the state’s 5,200 dairy farms have an operating digester, according to Curt Gooch, a waste management engineer at Cornell.

And if any of the big yogurt companies have come up with a better whey solution, they’re being cagey about it. “We are currently exploring other options for our whey, but nothing we are ready to discuss at this time,” says Chobani spokeswoman Lindsay Kos. Dannon spokesman Michael Neuwirth says the company is looking at the nutritional possibilities of whey, but “we don’t have any plans to announce at this point.”

Home Greek yogurt makers have experimented with using whey in baking and pickling. But no one expects a bread or pickle factory to be able to absorb tens of millions of gallons of it.

Meanwhile, the tidal wave of acid whey is not slowing down. As one producer said at New York’s Yogurt Summit: “If we can figure out how to handle acid whey, we’ll become a hero.”

Is Popcorn Giving You Heart Disease?

Prevention Magazine had this article about popcorn. It is very interesting especially when you read what can be causing this. Another one of those things of us trying to stay Healthy in an Unhealthy world!

 

Is popcorn giving you heart  disease?

By Holland Taylor

Published May 12, 2013

Prevention Magazine

  • Popcorn for the movies.jpg
     

Oh, great. Just when you were starting to get a handle on your BPA exposure,  scientists uncover a new one you should worry about. 

It’s called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—a chemical found in things like  nonstick cookware, food wrappers, furniture, and even raincoats—and it’s been  linked to cardiovascular disease, according to a new study. 

The kicker? A full 98 percent of us have PFOA in our bloodstreams. (Protect  your body’s most important muscle with these tips to Strengthen Your Heart in 30  Days.)

Researchers from West Virginia University (WVU) School of Public Health,  Morgantown, looked at the health data of 1,200 Americans and compared their PFOA  serum levels with the incidence of heart disease. The results: The greater the  amounts of PFOA in the bloodstream, the greater the risk of cardiovascular  disease—regardless of factors like age, race, smoking, BMI, diabetes, and even  hypertension. While previous research has linked PFOA to cardiovascular disease  in animals, this is the first to look at PFOA’s heart effect on humans.

Scary? You bet. But more research needs to be done to determine the specific  relationship between PFOA and cardiovascular disease. 

“We can’t yet be certain that PFOA causes heart disease,” says lead study  author Dr. Anoop Shankar, chair of the department of epidemiology in the WVU  School of Public Health. “The two could be related in another way, like people  with cardiovascular disease tending to retain more PFOA in their blood.”  (Minimize your exposure to harsh chemicals with these 19 Bizarre Home Remedies That Really  Work.)

Still, PFOA’s track record isn’t exactly reassuring. Health watchdogs like  the Environmental Working Group—which annually puts out the Dirty Dozen Foods You Should Eat  Organic—cite  research that suggests PFOA may be a human carcinogen, and previous research has  linked the chemical to chronic kidney disease and high cholesterol in children  and adolescents. It’s also a significant source of global chemical emissions—so  much so that the EPA partnered with major manufacturers like DuPont and 3M to  form the 2010/2015 PFOA Stewardship Program, which plans to eliminate PFOAs from  the manufacturers’ products by 2015.

Until then, you can minimize your exposure to the chemical by steering clear  of two of the biggest sources: nonstick cookware and packaged foods like  microwave popcorn. According to the FDA, many popcorn bags contain especially  high levels of PFOAs. (Popcorn addict? Avoid chemicals, calories, and sodium  with these tips to prepare the perfect bowl of  popcorn at home.)

Read more:  http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/12/is-popcorn-giving-heart-disease/?intcmp=HPBucket#ixzz2T5B8MHFQ