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: http://grist.org/industrial-agriculture/2011-03-10-debunking-myth-that-only-industrial-agriculture-can-feed-world/

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?