Tag Archives: food

Why Buy Local

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This info-graphic was assembled by elocal.com and makes an exceptionally compelling argument as to why people should at least consider buying local when they’re in the grocery store and elsewhere:

Why Buy Local

Why Buy Local

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ADHD Caused by Pesticides?

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It looks like another blow to the manufacturers of pesticides and other oil-based derivatives to grow our food:

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/05/17/pesticides.adhd/index.html?hpt=T2

This is an extremely compelling argument to go local and buy organic.

Now, how long do you think it will be before dozens of ‘pundits’ start slamming the merits of the study?  It’s probably already happened.

Copy of story posted below:

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Is enough being done to protect us from chemicals that could harm us? Watch “Toxic America,” a special two-night investigative report with Sanjay Gupta M.D., June 2 & 3 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

(Health.com) — Children exposed to higher levels of a type of pesticide found in trace amounts on commercially grown fruit and vegetables are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than children with less exposure, a nationwide study suggests.

Researchers measured the levels of pesticide byproducts in the urine of 1,139 children from across the United States. Children with above-average levels of one common byproduct had roughly twice the odds of getting a diagnosis of ADHD, according to the study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics.

Exposure to the pesticides, known as organophosphates, has been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems in children in the past, but previous studies have focused on communities of farm workers and other high-risk populations. This study is the first to examine the effects of exposure in the population at large.

Organophosphates are “designed” to have toxic effects on the nervous system, says the lead author of the study, Maryse Bouchard, Ph.D., a researcher in the department of environmental and occupational health at the University of Montreal. “That’s how they kill pests.”

The pesticides act on a set of brain chemicals closely related to those involved in ADHD, Bouchard explains, “so it seems plausible that exposure to organophosphates could be associated with ADHD-like symptoms.”

Health.com: Seven stars with ADHD

Environmental Protection Agency regulations have eliminated most residential uses for the pesticides (including lawn care and termite extermination), so the largest source of exposure for children is believed to be food, especially commercially grown produce. Adults are exposed to the pesticides as well, but young children appear to be especially sensitive to them, the researchers say.

Video: Study: ADHD linked to pesticides

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Detectable levels of pesticides are present in a large number of fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S., according to a 2008 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited in the study. In a representative sample of produce tested by the agency, 28 percent of frozen blueberries, 20 percent of celery, and 25 percent of strawberries contained traces of one type of organophosphate. Other types of organophosphates were found in 27 percent of green beans, 17 percent of peaches, and 8 percent of broccoli.

Although kids should not stop eating fruits and vegetables, buying organic or local produce whenever possible is a good idea, says Bouchard.

Health.com: 5 reasons you can’t concentrate

“Organic fruits and vegetables contain much less pesticides, so I would certainly advise getting those for children,” she says. “National surveys have also shown that fruits and vegetables from farmers’ markets contain less pesticides even if they’re not organic. If you can buy local and from farmers’ markets, that’s a good way to go.”

A direct cause-and-effect link between pesticides and ADHD “is really hard to establish,” says Dana Boyd Barr, Ph.D., a professor of environmental and occupational health at Emory University. However, she says, “There appears to be some relation between organophosphate pesticide exposure and the development of ADHD.”

This is the largest study of its kind to date, according to Barr, who researched pesticides for more than 20 years in her previous job with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but was not involved in the study.

Bouchard and her colleagues analyzed urine samples from children ages 8 to 15. The samples were collected during an annual, nationwide survey conducted by the CDC, known as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Health.com: Do you have adult ADHD?

The researchers tested the samples for six chemical byproducts (known as metabolites) that result when the body breaks down more than 28 different pesticides. Nearly 95 percent of the children had at least one byproduct detected in their urine.

Just over 10 percent of the children in the study were diagnosed with ADHD. The kids were judged to have ADHD if their symptoms (as reported by parents) met established criteria for the disorder, or if they had taken ADHD medication regularly in the previous year.

Health.com: The link between drugs, alcohol and ADHD

One group of pesticide byproducts was associated with a substantially increased risk of ADHD. Compared with kids who had the lowest levels, the kids whose levels were 10 times higher were 55 percent more likely to have ADHD. (Another group of byproducts did not appear to be linked to the disorder.)

In addition, children with higher-than-average levels of the most commonly detected byproduct — found in roughly 6 in 10 kids — were nearly twice as likely to have ADHD.

“It’s not a small effect,” says Bouchard. “This is 100 percent more risk.”

To isolate the effect of the pesticide exposure on ADHD symptoms, the researchers controlled for a variety of health and demographic factors that could have skewed the results.

Still, the study had some limitations and is not definitive, Bouchard says. Most notably, she and her colleagues measured only one urine sample for each child, and therefore weren’t able to track whether the levels of pesticide byproducts were constant, or whether the association between exposure and ADHD changed over time.

Health.com: What if my child begins showing ADHD symptoms?

Long-term studies including multiple urine samples from the same children are needed, Bouchard says. She suspects such studies would show an even stronger link between pesticide byproducts and ADHD.

EPA spokesman Dale Kemery said in a statement that the agency routinely reviews the safety of all pesticides, including organophosphates. “We are currently developing a framework to incorporate data from studies similar to this one into our risk assessment,” Kemery said. “We will look at this study and use the framework to decide how it fits into our overall risk assessment.”

Kemery recommended that parents try other pest-control tactics before resorting to pesticide use in the home or garden. Washing and peeling fruits and vegetables and eating “a varied diet” will also help reduce potential exposure to pesticides, he said.

“I would hope that this study raises awareness as to the risk associated with pesticide exposure,” Bouchard says. “There’s really only a handful of studies on this subject out there, so there’s room for more awareness.”

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9 Things to Avoid in Your Diet

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This is a good piece (9 Things to Avoid in Your Diet), but I think they could have made it even better.

How?  Add an ‘ethical’ column to the products and you get a sense of what the broader implications are with each of these products.

What follows are just a few ideas.  Feel free to add your own.

Ingredient Why it is Used Why it is Bad Why it’s REALLY Bad
Artificial Colors
  • Chemical compounds made from coal-tar derivatives to enhance color.
  • Linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity and headaches.
  • Food from coal?  Really?
Artificial Flavorings
  • Cheap chemical mixtures that mimic natural flavors.
  • Linked to allergic reactions, dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity and asthma
  • Can affect enzymes, RNA and thyroid.
  • Most artificial flavourings are derived from petroleum products.  That’s right:  oil.  We need to naturalize our food so that when we finally start taxing the hell out of oil, we don’t force ourselves into starvation!
Artificial Sweeteners
(Acesulfame-K, Aspartame, Equal®, NutraSweet®,  Saccharin, Sweet’n Low®, Sucralose, Splenda® & Sorbitol)
  • Highly-processed, chemically-derived, zero-calorie sweeteners found in diet foods and diet products to reduce calories per serving.
  • Can negatively impact metabolism
  • Some have been linked to cancer, dizziness hallucinations and headaches.
  • Donald Rumsfeld is connected with Aspartame and many believe that it’s this connection that prevented the US Admin under Bush from ever investigating claims of defects, tumours and other maledictions related to artificial sweeteners.
Benzoate Preservatives(BHT, BHA, TBHQ)
  • Compounds that preserve fats and prevent them from becoming rancid.
  • May result in hyperactivity, angiodema,  asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, tumors and  urticaria
  • Can affect estrogen balance and levels.
  • An easy way to avoid preservatives is to eat fresh, organic, real and natural food.  Many people argue this isn’t possible, but think about how real things would be if we as a culture spent money on real food instead of trying to extend the shelf-life.
Brominated Vegetable Oil(BVO)
  • Chemical that boosts flavor in many citric-based fruit and soft drinks.
  • Increases triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Can damage liver, testicles, thyroid, heart and kidneys.
  • This is actually an additive that many countries have labelled as toxic and have subsequently banned in products like pop and power drinks.
  • So here’s the big hint:  stop drinking sugar and you’ll be fine.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
(HFCS)
  • Cheap alternative to cane and beet sugar
  • Sustains freshness in baked goods
  • Blends easily in beverages to maintain sweetness.
  • May predispose the body to turn fructose into fat
  • Increases risk for Type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer
  • Isn’t easily metabolized by the liver.
  • Too many issues with this, but the central idea is that corn permeates our entire food chain.  We need to break that chain and expand from a monoculture.  If we don’t, and something happens to corn (disease, pests, etc), we’re all screwed.
  • Corn is dominated by approx. 3 companies (ADM, Monsanto, Cargill) and they are constantly fighting for ways to monopolize distribution and growth of corn.
MSG(Monosodium Glutamate)
  • Flavor enhancer in restaurant food, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, soups and other foods.
  • May stimulate appetite and cause headaches, nausea, weakness, wheezing, edema, change in heart rate, burning sensations and difficulty in breathing.
  • In most cases, MSG is piled on in one specific kind of food:  fast food.
  • Avoid fast food and you’ll be fine.
  • The pervasiveness of MSG in our diets is a reflection of how much we’ve aborted food culture and adopted an unnatural commercial food industry as a cornerstone of our routine.
  • Not only are there financial implications, but the cultural ramifications run deep as well.  We no longer eat together and we need to start enjoying the people we eat with as well as what we eat.
Olestra
  • An indigestible fat substitute used primarily in foods that are fried and baked.
  • Inhibits absorption of some nutrients
  • Linked to gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, gas, cramps, bleeding and incontinence.
  • Two words:  anal leakage.
Shortening, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils
(Palm, Soybean and others)
  • Industrially created fats used in more than 40,000 food products in the U.S.
  • Cheaper than most other oils.
  • Contain high levels of trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, contributing to risk of heart disease.
  • Palm oil in particular is a MASSIVE problem.  Most palm trees grow in tropical areas and to get these fats in our foods, we’re deforesting pristine woodlands faster than a fatty burger goes through our systems.
  • Solution:  avoid processed and fast foods.

I loved reading about the 9 things to avoid, but I loved the exercise of exploring even more ethical and moral reasons why we need to rethink our ‘demand’ for these products.

Most of the solution comes with a very simple answer: make your own food from natural products, enjoy cooking and take the time to cook (making it a family or functional activity) and stop buying processed anything.

US to Make Growing Your Own Food Illegal?

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To be honest, I admit that I feel I’m wading into deep waters of ignorance on this one, but I felt compelled to share this link with the audience that follows Excited Delirium.

I’ve seen a few other stories related to the US government’s act to impose limitations on the growth and sale of local or organic foods, but I’m really keen to get feedback from the audience to see what your thoughts are about these rules.  Will farmer’s markets really be wiped out?  Will individuals really be stopped from growing their own tomatoes in their backyard?

Are there other interpretations out there on this issue?  Please post when you have a moment.

And if you don’t feel like posting here, read the comments provided with the link.  There are many who have posted thoughts that might indicate just how pissed Americans are about this legislation.

Category: Food/diet | Tags: , ,

Using Melamine to Boost Protein

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This site offers some background information concerning the use of melamine in foods made and delivered from China.

The ‘bottom line’ provided sums everything up nicely:

Know where your food comes from and how it’s produced. This may sound like an impossible task, and in many cases it will be. Particularly if you depend on processed and commercially farmed foods.

However, if you purchase your raw dairy , grass-fed meats , and free-range eggs from local farmers that adhere to organic farming practices, you can eliminate much of these worries since their livestock must be put out to pasture and eat what God intended for most part of the year, instead of relying on potentially contaminated animal feed.

This reference page contains links to a long list of organizations that can help you find local sources for high quality organic foods.

In other words, when shopping for food, always ask these three questions:

  1. Why should I trust any food from China?
  2. Why should I purchase any food that has been processed?
  3. Why would I buy anything but food from people I know?

As the author admits, there are obvious challenges to these questions.  Sometimes, people simply need basic processed food to get them through a busy day.  I appreciate that because we’re all time-pressed.  And getting to know everyone on your food supply chain?  Pretty much impossible, isn’t it?

Well, I think it’s worth the effort when faced the risk of being poisoned for profit.


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