Thursday, December 27, 2012

Resolution Revolution

If you’re like most people, you’re planning resolutions to better yourself in one way or another—and the most frequently cited New Year’s resolutions are to lose excess weight, to eat healthily and to get fit so that you look and feel better.

Unfortunately, for many people, those are the same resolutions that go by the wayside at the beginning of February, which paves the way for yet another year of unattained goals. Truth be told, most people find themselves at the close of the year exactly where they started  the year—with no progress made. It doesn't have to be that way, though, because you have a clean slate and can make a health revolution—instead of a resolution—to give you a lifetime of wellness.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

‘Tis the Season

We often hear that this is “the most wonderful time of the year,” but for some, it’s not.  Instead, it’s stressful, rushed and even downright sad or grievous—and those emotions affect the entirety of a person’s being.

Dr. Candace Pert, a stress research pioneer, discusses the connection between emotions and their effects on the entire body. She says, "In the beginning of my work, I presumed that emotions were in the head or the brain. Now I would say they are really in the body." Pert explains that no one experiences emotions just in the heart or mind. It’s more systemic and far-reaching than that. People experience emotions in the form of chemical reactions in the body and the brain. What’s more is that those chemical reactions occur at the organ level—in the stomach, heart, large muscles and so forth—and also at the cellular level.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Meat Roulette, Anyone?

It’s getting more and more risky to buy and consume conventional meats and other foods. Adding to the issues of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and more is the shocking study revealing that nearly half of America’s meat harbors drug-resistant bacteria.

The Translational Genomics Research Institute found that Staphylococcus aureus— the bacteria responsible for most Staph infections such as blood poisoning, skin infections and pneumonia—was present in meat from U.S. grocery stores at “unexpectedly high rates.” The researchers determined that 47 percent of the 80 brands of meat and poultry sampled were contaminated with S. aureus. Additionally, 52 percent of those bacteria were resistant to three classes of antibiotics.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Coffee, Tea. . . or Kombucha?

You probably don’t hear that lineup often—coffee, tea and kombucha—but you might be surprised at how each of these can actually be good for you. Here’s an overview of each, with a few caveats on how you should enjoy them:

Coffee: If you didn’t know it already, coffee can be extremely healthy for you—in everything from lowering your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, while supporting brain health, liver health and much more, according to studies from the Mayo Clinic, the Harvard School of Public Health and other sources.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Junk Food = Junk Arteries

We already know that a fairly steady diet of processed foods—including fast foods or junk foods—can harm your health. It’s no wonder, either, because they’re packed with unhealthy fats, carbs, sugars and more that can mess up blood sugar, blood pressure, your cells, metabolism and much more.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gobble, Gobble

Gobble, gobble may sum up overeating habits that start with Thanksgiving and often go until the New Year. Maybe that’s why many people gain between four to seven pounds between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day.

As this video points out, it’s not unusual for many to overindulge during Thanksgiving or other holidays, but there’s more at stake than indigestion and feeling bloated. Loading up on the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls and butter, pumpkin pie and other foods can not only increase your chances of starting on a “holiday overeating streak,” but it can also increase your risk for obesity and heart attack.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Major Props for Prop 37

There’s no retreating when it comes to the truth, a belief that also applies to the issue of GMOs and the fact that we, as consumers, vote every day –and every meal—on  the food we eat. The truth is that we can choose foods without GMOs, whether Prop 37 passed or not.

As you know, Californians voted on GMO labeling with Proposition 37, and it was a close vote—46% for Proposition 37 and 54% against it. That fact alone—a full 46% voting for it—indicates that there is increasing consumer awareness of and rallying against agricultural and food production that uses GMOs.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Feeding Frenzy

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is already implicated in obesity and diabetes, but a team of scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), says that HFCS is a major contributor to cancer cell proliferation. They discovered that cancer cells an affinity for refined fructose. In fact, in the tests the researchers conducted, pancreatic cancer cells gobbled up refined fructose and used its sustenance to divide and proliferate quickly within the body.

Their findings were published in the journal Cancer Research, and one of the authors of the study, Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center, says, “These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation.”

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Frightful Energy Drinks

It’s been a nightmarishly rough ride for energy drinks lately—and with good reason.  In the past several days, one brand of energy drinks has been linked by the FDA to five deaths and one heart attack.  Here’s the horror story.

While the makers of this energy drink say that their drink “has always been safe,” this has become a huge point of contention lately—especially as it concerns children—since the makers of this and other energy drinks market their products heavily to kids.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mutant Mayhem

It’s nothing short of mutant mayhem.

Years ago, “Frankenfish” came on the scene–GM salmon made by the company AquaBounty Technologies that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes to be safe and without environmental risks, but has yet to approve.

These GM salmon, however, are modified with extra growth hormone genes to make them grow larger more quickly. Additionally, GM salmon is more allergenic than other salmon—and they can reproduce, perhaps even breeding with wild salmon.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Candy as Cattle Feed

Feeding cattle corn is bad enough, but candy? This past summer’s drought has many farmers resorting to candy as cattle feed.

It’s making headlines, but it’s nothing new:  cows are being given candy as feed. The recent drought may be exacerbating the “candy diet for cows” trend, but it’s been going on for a while—even though cows should be eating their natural diet of grasses and greens.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Snack Attack

Are your snacks and other foods “living” or from the “dead zone”—attacking your health with their life- sapping ingredients?

You must eat to live, but if your snacks and foods aren’t life-giving, then they’re probably life-taking, especially if they’re packed with empty calories and made with typical ingredients  such as unhealthy fats, sugars, carbs and more.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sickening Sweet

The average American consumes 150 to 170 pounds of sugar annually, and many sodas, energy drinks, and coffees add to our sugar overload.

There’s no way to sugarcoat the unhealthy sugary mess we've gotten ourselves into. For example, in the year 1700, the average person consumed 7 ½ pounds of sugar, but today a typical American consumes an astonishing 150 to 170 pounds of sugar each year—and about half of that comes from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Get Rid of GMOs

A new study says long-term eating of genetically modified (GM) corn and its weed killer, Roundup, leads to tumors, damaged kidneys and livers, and early death in rats.

September 19, 2012, may go down in history as another turning point for the stand against GMOs in our diet.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Toxins for Tots?

A whopping 61 percent of children’s bath products tested, including shampoos, contained both 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde—two highly dangerous, carcinogenic toxins.

Children’s shampoo and other bath products are touted as safe and gentle, but they’re often filled with contaminants and toxins, according to laboratory tests commissioned by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Together, they had popular children’s bath products tested for contaminants by an independent laboratory.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Organic vs. Conventional

The organic vs. conventional foods debate continues, but it’s a clear choice if you ask me. Organic wins hands down.

The organic vs. conventional food debate continues, and a new study by Stanford University is one of the most recent to hit the headlines, indicating that there’s little evidence of health benefits from organic foods. The study analyzed some existing studies comparing organic and conventional foods. Dena Bravata, M.D., M.S., the senior author, says, “There isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your health.”

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Forced Global Vegetarianism by 2050?

Sweden’s water scientists say that the world may be forced to become vegetarian by 2050 due to lack of water.

No one likes to be forced into anything. In fact, having the freedom of choice is one of the prerogatives we humans appreciate.  The power to choose, however, is being challenged when it comes to how we use farmland and raise animals—if some people have their way.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Antibiotics and Childhood Obesity

We typically link an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise to childhood obesity, but studies increasingly point to antibiotic use as a culprit, too. 

We should definitely start early with our kids in important areas such as modeling a healthy diet and lifestyle—including exercise—as well as instilling certain values. What we shouldn’t start them on, however, is antibiotics for lots of reasons, including possibly setting them on the road to obesity. Simply put, antibiotics adversely alter gut flora and create an internal environment ripe for weight gain.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Beauty’s Chemical Beasts

Consumers use several personal care products a day containing more than 200 different chemicals.

Do you know what beasts lurk in your beauty products? You should because, if you’re like most people, you use 15 to 25 different cosmetic products a day containing more than 200 different chemicals.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Beetle Juice!

Beetle juice, anyone?  Watch out for bugs in many conventional foods and products such as yogurts, fruit drinks, ice cream and cosmetics.

Most folks would pass on them, but chances are that many people have unknowingly consumed bugs, even though they’re listed on the ingredients.  These bugs go by their more “scientific” names, of course, but they’re still bugs, including beetles.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dude, It’s Glued Food!

Conventional food has a host of problems, but don’t forget about “meat glue.” For years, the meat industry has been using this concoction to fuse scraps of meat together for appearance purposes, but it’s time to take a closer look at it.  

You already know that conventional meat is full of hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. Likewise, animals are often raised in dirty, cramped settings and eat an unnatural diet—including genetically modified corn instead of grass.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

WHO Says?

It’s a grim statement, but it doesn’t surprise me.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the world’s population will eventually be left open to bacterial infections because bacteria is becoming so resistant to common antibiotics. This will cause the “end of modern medicine as we know it,” says Dr. Margaret Chan, the director-general of WHO. Watch Dr. Chan tell about the global crisis:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Top 10 All-American Food Myths

I ran across this fascinating article yesterday that’s based on the book, The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan. In the book, Tracie shares how she went on a year-long undercover journey to explore the ins and outs of the American food chain. During her year undercover, she worked as a picker in the garlic fields of California, a stocker in a Detroit-area Wal-Mart, and a kitchen worker at a Brooklyn Applebee’s. Her findings are summed up in this article and shed light on topics like:
  • how people of different financial means prioritize health
  • where your produce is grown
  • the abundance of factory farms
  • the lack of food in the land of plenty
  • why you might not be saving at Wal-Mart

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You Complete Me

Let’s face it. Everyone needs protein. It’s one of the macronutrients our bodies can’t do without because protein supplies energy and structural components necessary for growth—including the building of muscles, new cells and tissues. Protein also increases stamina, supports a healthy weight and immune system, and fuels most of the biochemical activities of the body. Likewise, enzymes, antibodies and hormones are made primarily of protein. Additionally, proteins catalyze most of the reactions of living cells and control virtually all cellular processes.

Not all proteins are created equally, though, so make sure you choose the healthiest, most nutritious protein possible.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beware of Rising Food Prices

According to the National Climatic Data Center’s latest monthly drought report, 55 percent of the country was experiencing a moderate to extreme drought at the end of June. The drought has hit many farmers hard and has caused corn futures to reach their highest prices so far in 2012.

Being that a drought has the ability to wreak havoc on many different crops, you might be wondering why I would single out corn futures?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Is the USDA’s Certified Organic Label a “Fraud?”

I’ve written on this issue in the past, but due to the buzz surrounding the recently published article in the New York Times, I thought it necessary to restate my position.

First let me say that I agree with Michael Potter that the growth of “organic” has attracted many Big Food companies that are much more interested in profits than in the quality of the foods they produce. This leads to cutting corners when it comes to quality, excessive lobbying for corporate interests within the organic sector, and in some cases breads outright corruption.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Whacky Water

This news doesn’t surprise me, but our nation’s drinking water has become an unhealthy, chemical soup.

Not long ago a New York Times report—among others—unveiled unwanted substances in our drinking water. According to the article, more than one-fifth of the nation’s water treatment systems have broken the Safe Drinking Water Act, leading to at least nine million Americans being sickened.

Here are some of the substances the EPA has already found in our drinking water:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Antibiotic Overuse Strikes Again

I’ve written extensively in the past here, here and here about how the overuse of antibiotics in factory farming is leading to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a.k.a. superbugs. Now it turns out that the growing number of antibiotic-resistant bladder infections affecting 60 percent of all American women may be linked to poultry treated with antibiotics.

According to the Food Environment Network, who spearheaded a joint investigation with ABC News, “the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture has made it more difficult to treat these painful, long lasting, and recurring infections because one course of antibiotics no longer works.”

Watch the video now!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fast Food Popularity and Waistlines Growing in China

This eye-opening video shows how the rise of processed, fast food is creating a global health epidemic, and no one is immune. The Big Food Empire has already infiltrated the developed world and is now expanding its forces in developing countries, while destroying the health of consumers in its path.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Get Your Beauty Sleep

You’ll probably never hear the movie character Zoolander ask, “Have you ever wondered if there is more to sleep than it making you really, really ridiculously good looking?” It’s a relevant question, though, because getting enough sleep can increase your attractiveness—plus a whole lot more.
A study published in the British Medical Journal photographed and rated healthy adults after a restful eight hours of sleep and then again after no more than five hours of sleep—and the “eight hours of sleep” photos won hands-down. The study concluded that “sleep-deprived people are perceived as less attractive and less healthy compared with when they are well rested.”

Thursday, July 5, 2012

WTO Rules against Mandatory COOL for Meat

It turns out that the World Trade Organization (WTO) doesn’t think you need to know where your food comes from, and Uncle Sam isn’t standing up for your rights.

That’s right; according to the WTO the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) laws put into place by the United States in 2002 are a “barrier” to trade. The laws— designed to help American consumers know where their food was coming from— originally required fresh pork, beef and lamb (not processed meats) to be properly labeled with the country of origin. The laws were later expanded to include certain fruits, nuts and vegetables. However, it seems that the WTO doesn’t really think that knowing where your food comes from is as important as helping Canadian and Mexican beef companies, as well as big U.S. beef importers achieve higher profits.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Drink Up!

Your body is made up of about 80 percent water, and getting enough good, clean water may just be the most essential part of your overall health. Unfortunately, most of us—about 75 percent of Americans—don’t get enough pure H2O, and it can hurt our health.

Just how can inadequate water intake hurt health? For starters, cellular regeneration and overall health depend on adequate water intake. In fact, your body needs water to make new cells of all types, including blood cells, bone cells and skin cells. Additionally, every organ and bodily system requires water to function correctly and healthily. Likewise, drinking enough water keeps your lymphatic system in tip-top shape so that wastes and toxins are removed from your body. Check out this Mayo Clinic diagram about the functions of water in the body.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Don’t Mince Words

Last week the American Medical Association came out with an official statement, declaring that they saw no health purpose for labeling genetically modified foods.

Then they also said, “we urge the FDA to remain alert to new data on the health consequences of bioengineered foods.” As it stands now, food manufacturers are only encouraged to consult with the FDA in advance of bringing a GMO product to market— which is a scary thought. Do you think the big six really care what the FDA thinks about their newest laboratory invention enough to voluntarily consult them? And even if they did, what would the FDA do about it? Will the FDA be funding long-term human studies on each of the new products to determine their safety for consumption?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Going Back to the Start

I thought this was a fun, albeit overly-simplistic illustration of a family farm, turned factory farm and back again.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sweet News for Dark Chocolate Lovers

It’s pretty sweet news. Researchers have discovered that dark chocolate can:

Reduce insulin sensitivity. You may wonder why this is significant. Insulin is released by the pancreas when blood sugar rises and helps push blood glucose into the cells. When this process is repeated too much due to high sugar intake, however, the cells become resistant to insulin and that prevents insulin from doing its job. It also steals needed nutrition from cells. As if that weren’t enough, the body also gets signals that it’s starving, which calls for more food intake and causes the body to store fat to protect itself. All of this, of course, results in weight gain and other unhealthy outcomes.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Help Fight Superbugs

Here’s a short but awesome video that highlights the fact that an astounding 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used not by humans, but by the meat and poultry industries.

Yes, you read that right— 80 percent. That’s – 8 – 0. You see, in factory farming, animals are fed antibiotics daily so that they can grow faster and survive over-crowded and unsanitary conditions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Feed the World—With Organic Farming?

It’s about time the truth is being told about the value of organic farming. In fact, organic farming— may be the solution to feeding the world. Here’s a great article on the topic:

One of the arguments people have used to marginalize organic farming is that organic farming methods can’t produce enough food to feed the growing global population. That’s just not so. In fact, researchers from the University of Michigan have found that organic farming yields up to 80 percent more food on individual farms in developing countries compared to low-intensive methods on the same land. The same is true for developed countries as well; organic farming produces nearly as much—and with much fewer negative effects—as conventional farming does.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Produce: The Dirty Dozen and the “Clean” 15

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes out with a Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. This is a great tool that can help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic.

Now for my disclaimer. I always recommend buying organic produce whenever possible, and it’s important to understand that this guide doesn’t really address the amount of chemicals used in growing the produce, it simply ranks the amount of pesticide residue found on the outside of the produce. Also keep in mind, the list does not help with determining which crops are likely to be genetically modified, which in my opinion, is every bit as concerning as the pesticides.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Americans’ Food Spending at All-time Low

A recent report from NPR, based on numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that food spending, as a percentage of household income, has declined drastically over the last 60 years due to declining food costs. At first glance, that may sound like a good thing, but unfortunately, when it comes to food, you get what you pay for— sort of!

I’ve written many articles in this space explaining that while the rise of factory farming may be lining the coffers of Big Food, it is actually contributing to the health decline of our nation. And while this latest research shows that factory farming has “worked” as a means of bringing down food costs, it fails to connect the dots to the real costs involved with poor health over the life of someone who may be suffering from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or any other number of diseases brought on by the poor diet perpetuated by the factory farming model.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chicken or Beef? Neither, if they’re conventionally raised.

Have you been asked the question, “Chicken or beef?” concerning your dining preference? Before you indulge, check out your beef or chicken selections and how they came to market.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: You are what they ate.

That’s not good news for conventional chicken and beef eaters, either. In addition to the standard unhealthy issues with conventionally raised animals for food, people who have eaten conventional chicken and beef have most likely received a heaping helping of secondhand arsenic, chicken excrement and more.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Conquer Food Confusion with Two Simple Principles

With articles like this, no wonder consumers are confused! As I read it, I couldn’t help but think that this perfectly illustrates the quintessential debate amongst “health gurus” that leaves the American public overwhelmed and easily swayed by the next big find in diet and nutrition— your study vs. my study.

As a consumer, it’s easy to get caught up in the “latest study” media hype. One day, studies show that a particular food or ingredient should be “generally regarded as safe,” or perhaps that it even improves health, then future studies reveal that same food or ingredient is linked to cancer or other debilitating disease. Case in point, in the 1970s, the FDA wanted to ban saccharin (Sweet’N Low), because it caused bladder cancer in lab rats. However, Congress imposed a moratorium on the ban (I’m certain this was done with the health of the American people and not corporate interests in mind), which kept Sweet’N Low on the market. Mysteriously, in 1991, the FDA withdrew its ban proposal on saccharin, after new research showed that “it acts differently in rats and humans.”

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fit to Fat to Fit

When I first saw this story in the media, I initially wrote it off as just an attempt for this trainer to gain notoriety. However, when I took the time to read his story, I actually found it quite impactful.

What fascinated me about Drew Manning’s journey from “Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit,” was his reason for doing it. You see, Manning was admittedly a “judgmental” trainer. He assumed that all obese people were “lazy,” and simply did not take responsibility for their health, but what he experienced first-hand was a far more painful and emotionally grueling battle. Embarking on a six-month journey that deliberately added 72 pounds to his frame and 14 inches to his waistline, Manning learned that obesity, in addition to its many physical complications, is accompanied by extreme mental and emotional side effects. During his experiment, where he shunned exercise and consumed excessive amounts of junk food, Manning went from being the buff super-trainer, full of energy, life and motivation, to suffering from lethargy, low self-esteem, and a lack of desire to engage in every-day activities that previously brought him joy─ like playing with his 2-year-old daughter. In short, his experiment brought him fresh insight into the minds of people that struggle constantly with obesity.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Whey— Golden Color, Golden Benefits

Golden in color, whey is the liquid part of milk that separates from the curd in the cheese-making process. In fact, that’s how whey was discovered—through cheese making—but there’s much more to the story, including a long history of “golden” health benefits. In fact, the healing properties of whey have been noted since antiquity. For example, Hippocrates (466-377 B.C.), the Father of Medicine, recommended whey to his patients, and Galen (131-200 A.D.) also highlighted the health powers of whey.

Truth be told, the list of those in medicine who praised whey goes on and on. They include: Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689), also known as the “English Hippocrates;” Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1738), a famous Dutch physician; Victor Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777), a Swiss biologist who is considered the father of neurology; Wilhelm Hufeland (1762-1836), a German physician who noted ways to prolong life by adopting healthier habits—to name just a few.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Obesity in The Church

This article explores a topic that is very dear to me. It’s something that I have taught about extensively over the last decade as I have traveled the country speaking in churches and at faith-based events. Simply put, the health of The Church in America is a travesty. The Church is called to be a city on a hill, but in my estimation, it more closely resembles a bump on a log when it comes to health.

Here are some shocking statistics from the article:

Friday, June 1, 2012

New York Mayor Plans Drastic Steps to Combat Obesity

Well, well, well. It looks as if the city of New York is about to dramatically reduce obesity. Or not.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing a ban on the sale of sugary drinks by banning the sale of cups or bottles of sugary drinks that are larger than 16 ounces. The ban would apply to any restaurant, movie theatre, street vendor or coffee house, but would not apply to grocery stores. Because, you know, nobody gets their drinks at grocery stores, right?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The “Organic Watergate” Scandal

According to The Cornucopia Institute, the nation’s leading organic farming watchdog, the USDA and corporate agribusiness executives are involved in a “conspiracy” that includes “numerous federal violations, regulatory abuse and corporate exploitation.” The organization recently published a seventy five page report that explores the approval of questionable artificial additives and chemicals in certified organic foods and misappropriation of appointees to the National Organic Standards Board.

I’ve reviewed the report personally and was alarmed by several of the accusations, but two particular issues really stood out to me as having the ability to completely undermine the USDA’s organic standards.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Devil with a Milk Mustache?

Remember the song Devil with a Blue Dress? Forget the blue dress. Maybe we need to look for the Devil with the white mustache instead.
We already know that conventional milk has major issues, but beware of A1 beta casein in conventional and organic. It’s everywhere in the U.S. milk supply. Thomas Cowan, M.D., a noted authority on this topic, says we have the “wrong kind of cows” for health. Cowan points out that most cows are A1 cows and give milk that has a small, yet significant, amount of something called A1 beta casein.

What’s so bad about A1 beta casein? Epidemiological studies implicate A1 beta casein as a direct or indirect cause of cardiovascular, blood sugar and mental health problems.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Super-sized Portions Are the New Normal

The Center for Disease Control's (CDC) new infographic (shown below) is a shocking illustration of how portion sizes over the past 50 years have correlated with America's ever-expanding waistline. The illustration reveals that the average American is 26 pounds heavier than in 1950. According to research by The Lancet published in August of last year, about one-third of Americans are overweight or obese, and that number is projected to hit nearly 50% by 2030. Not coincidentally, since the 1950s the size of an average restaurant hamburger has tripled, a basket of fries more than doubled, and the average soda has grown from a modest 7 ounces to a jumbo 42 ounces. I urge you to examine the graphic, and we've also included a cool little quiz put out by the CDC.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

$175 Million Turns Pizza into a Vegetable

$175 million! That’s what 50 of the largest U.S. food companies have spent lobbying Congress since 2009, nearly double the amount spent in the previous 3 years.

So what does $175 million buy you in Washington?  Well according to this article, it’s enough to turn school lunch pizza into a vegetable, while at the same time killing a plan by four federal agencies to reduce sugar, salt and fat in food marketed to children. Now don’t get me wrong, generally speaking, I’m not in favor of more regulation, and I’ve already shared my thoughts about the “soda tax” mentioned in this article, but the amount of money spent by Big Food to grease the political wheels in Washington is sickening, especially when it grants you the ability to pass off school lunch pizza as a vegetable.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

You’ve Heard of the Dirty Dozen. Now Meet the Dirty Half Dozen, the “Big Six.” (Part 2)

In part 1 of this article, we shared how the Big Six seed companies have a stranglehold on global agriculture and are poised to take over the entire food chain. Now, let's meet the Big Six...

The Big Six at a Glance

Monsanto: As the world’s largest seed company that is connected to the other five of the Big Six, Monsanto has gained its #1 ranking by research and development and acquisitions of biotech and seed companies, including gaining 50 seed companies during a 13-year period.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You’ve Heard of the Dirty Dozen. Now Meet the Dirty Half Dozen, the “Big Six.” (Part 1)

You know there’s a huge problem when the major player of the “Big Six” seed companies, Monsanto, has an executive quoted in Farm Journal as saying, “What you’re seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies; it’s really a consolidation of the entire food chain.”

I’ve known for some time that Monsanto and the rest of the major Big Six seed companies have a stranglehold on global agriculture. In fact, the last 40 years have changed the course of agriculture—and not for the better. In that time, the seed industry has gone from a competitive agri-business involving primarily small, family-owned farms to an industry dominated by only a few pharmaceutical/chemical corporations, namely Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow and BASF—the Big Six.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pharmaceutical Companies Put A Muzzle On Animal Scientists

You may have heard that in recent years, due to public outcry, a growing number of medical schools around the U.S. have introduced rules that will aid in the policing of their faculty’s ties to pharmaceutical companies, but unfortunately, agriculture schools are not following suit.  As this article points out…

“Agriculture schools increasingly depend on the (pharmaceutical) industry for research grants, a sizable portion of which cover overhead and administrative costs. And many professors now add to their personal bank accounts by working for the companies as consultants and speakers. More than two-thirds of animal scientists reported in a 2005 survey that they had received money from industry in the previous five years.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When Food Becomes a Crime (Guest Blog)

Minnesota moms fight back
Here’s a news headline you never would have seen 50 or 60 years ago:

Farmer Charged Criminally for Providing Fresh Food to Mothers

Back in the days when farmers were our friends or when we (gasp!) grew some of our own food, this sort of news headline would have seemed absurd or even outrageous. That’s why we were shaking our heads when this news release from the Farm Food Freedom Coalition landed in our inbox. According to their report, a civil disobedience action and rally will be held this month to protest the upcoming trial of Alvin Schlangen, a farm club buying manager in Minneapolis. His crime? Selling local farm foods to mothers who wanted fresh fruits and vegetables for their children.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Former Factory Farm Insider and Her Chickens Now Taking a Stand

Carol's humane, free range farm
A friend of mine recently posted this fascinating interview with Carole Morison, a Maryland chicken farmer formerly under contract with Perdue Farms. Carole and her husband lost their contract with Perdue shortly after opening up their farm to the camera crew of Food, Inc., stating on camera, “I’ve just made up my mind I’m gonna say what I have to say,”

Take the time to read the interview and learn from this former industry insider as she talks about the filthy, overcrowded conditions and outrageous practices of her factory-style farm that ultimately led her and her husband to start a humane, free range farm.