Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sweet Sweet Death. You only live once, so be a good consumer while you're alive, Big Biz is counting on your money


As a youth growing up in the fifties, it seemed as though we were living this carefree existence that was not unlike the lives of those we watched on the old black and white TV every evening.  Uncle Milty dressed up in a dress, (I had a lot of neighbors in Austin that did the same thing) the Cleaver boys got sent to their rooms after doing bad things, and Huntley and Brinkley made moms everywhere sigh dreamily.  Other than those pesky Ruskies causing the incredibly stupid duck and cover drills in every school in America, life was pretty idyllic.  Number one cause of death back then, heart disease.  Not surprising, I, like most everyone else, enjoyed the meat eaters diet along with the best the Western World could provide.  White bread, white rice, minute rice, canned vegetables and a huge artery clogging array of meat products.  Yeah, people got cancer, but just like the crazy uncle that smelled bad and took his clothes off and sat on his porch talking to a tree, nobody talked about it.
Since 1950, the overall cancer rate in the population of the United States has risen 44%.  The incidence of breast cancer and male colon cancer by about 60%; testis, prostate and kidney by 100%; and other cancers, such as malignant melanoma, multiple myeloma and some lymphomas, by over 100%. (1)

America has the highest rate of cancer in the world.  As of today, the estimate is that 1 out of 2 American men and 1 out of 3 American women are expected to develop cancer.  Quite a change from when I was growing up.  Now 1 out of 8 women get breast cancer, and of those women, 1 out of 10 who get breast cancer, it can be linked to genetic causes.  That leaves 9 out of 10 attributed to environmental factors.  (2)

What happened?

The FDA happened, that's what.  The FDA was created to shepherd the food supply of Americans and to prevent contamination and adulteration of fresh and processed foods.  I think that most Americans truly believe that the FDA exists to protect us from dangerous additives, farming practices and poorly processed food products.  Well, it isn't true.  That may have been the original directive, but today, the FDA is overworked, understaffed, and concerned more with taking payoffs and positioning themselves with future jobs in private industry than they are with the concerns of the people whose livelihood they are mandated to protect.  I know that sounds harsh, but their track record speaks for itself.  The numbers of questionable additives to our foods, and into livestock is the highest in the world.  The FDA has taken the philosophy that differs from the rest of the world.  Most other countries look at additives and do not approve them unless they are proven completely safe.  The FDA instead approves new additives on the basis that at that time they have applied for approval, the manufacturer hasn't filed any testing that proves them dangerous.   And even then, if the additive makes tons of money for the manufacturer, then forget about getting rid of it.  Case in point--

Aspartame.  " Dr. Woodrow Monte, who authored the journal article “Aspartame, Methanol and the Public Health” wrote: "...think twice about taking it with your breakfast cereal. Aspartame or Equal, the controversial sweetener virtually forced down the throats of the American FDA by the notorious former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (the president of the company that produced it), turns into Formaldehyde inside your children's bodies. It is well known aspartame or Equal (E951/951) turns into wood alcohol when it is consumed, however, few people realize this wood alcohol morphs into formaldehyde in the cells of the human body. Formaldehyde is a Class 1 causing agent (the world class of carcinogens) and is responsible for everything from sick house syndrome to birth defects."  And   " toxicologist Dr. Adrian Gross told Congress at least one of Searle's studies "has established beyond any reasonable doubt that aspartame is capable of inducing brain tumors in experimental animals and that this predisposition of it is of extremely high significance."  (3)

I could go on and on about how the FDA is making people sick, and in truth, I have.  (see most of my entries on this blog)  But what good will it do.  It won't change the FDA.  What I hope will happen is that you will begin to look at the ingredient list on everything you buy.  Then look up those additives on the internet.  Bread doesn't need potassium bromate in it!  The stuff is poisonous.  the US is the only country in the world to allow it to be consumed.  Look at everything you buy.  And then tell your friends.  If we, as informed consumers stop purchasing the crap that is presented to us as healthy foods, then perhaps they will stop making it and start making the foods that they are capable of making.  Ones that truly are nutritious, promoting health and vitality.  It is possible, the rest of the world does it.  The Ruskies no longer are a threat, we ourselves are our biggest threat to our health and livelihoods.  Shopping at your local farmers market is something that we all can do and it will not only benefit the economy, scare the crap out of Wall Street do-nothings and corporate big wigs, but it will lead to an improved health and vitality for you and your family.  We all need to be locavores, promoting healthy sustainable agriculture and an improved economic situation with economic growth of small businesses as opposed to the rich getting richer from the multitudes that don't know any better and just shop at the local megamart that sends hundreds of millions in profits to a small family in Arkansas.  Sadly, Arizona, (and Texas) don't have the locavore attitude.  That's something we can all change, here, you can see how we really need to get out of the black.

1. source 
2. source
3. source

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lies in advertising are the norm

This is a repeat from a year ago, still just as poignant today.

Should big businesses be allowed to advertise their products as healthful and being able to promote joint and bone health, enhance the musculoskeletal system, prohibit age related eye diseases, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and supports optimum immune function.  If those big businesses are selling apples, or maybe carrots, whole and unadulterated, then yes, they should be allowed to advertise all those claims and proudly print that stuff on the labels.  But if you are making VitaminWater, and putting all of these very same health claims into your advertising and printing the same unproven lies right on the bottles; well, no. The marketing and business model for this product is incredible.  The good wholesome folks at CocaCola, are once again making literally hundreds of millions of dollars on this product with their ads and labels that promise health and vitality and in fact give you crap.

I don't want to be deceptive about their stuff, so I went to Vitaminwater.com and went to try to download the nutritional info on one of the flavors.  Oh, the nutritionals are only available to those people in the US.  (says so right on the website)  I started to download the pdf file that is only 3.7 MB.  These guys have it set up so that it takes 24 minutes to download the file over a high speed connection.  They don't want anyone looking at it.  I could have gotten into the van and driven to the QT and bought a bottle in the time it took to download.  The file is two pages.  It lists the nutrient content of each product, and in the tiniest print imaginable, they show the ingredients.  At 200% magnification I was able to read the ingredients.  Water, Crystalline Fructose, Cane Sugar,  and then less than .5% of a few vitamins.

In 2010 the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the CSPI, a wholly independent group funded by consumer support, filed a lawsuit against Coke stating that they used deceptive advertising and marketing practices to sell this sugar water to the public.  In their lawsuit CSPI nutritionists state that the SUGAR content of the stuff more than offsets ANY purported health benefits.  They state that this is part of what is called the "Jellybean Rule" wherein because a jellybean has no cholesterol, therefore it is good for your heart.  CSPI states that Coke cannot deceptively state that a product, in this case Vitaminwater, on the label and then on the back of the label list the ingredients that show that the health claims are indeed false.  And that just because Coke lists the ingredients does not indemnify them of responsible advertising and marketing.  The judge that heard Coke's motion to dismiss the lawsuit in an INCREDIBLY fantastic decision stated that he saw evidence to proceed with the lawsuit.  He also stated that although the FDA frowns on advertising that promotes one ingredient to the exclusion of more prominent ingredients, in this case sugar.  The judge also stated that there was enough evidence that Coke violated FDA regulations by making health claims about Vitaminwater even though it does not meet required minimum nutritional thresholds, by using the word ‘healthy’ in implied nutrient content claims even though Vitaminwater’s fortification does not comply with FDA policy, and by using a product name that references only two of Vitaminwater’s ingredients, omitting the fact that there is a key, unnamed ingredient [sugar] in the product,”

Whew.  Two things about all of this scare me.  And also make me happy.  First, that Judge Gleeson points out that the FDA frowns on deceptive advertising.  FROWNS?.  The second, all of those products on the shelves of supermarkets that market themselves as having "Fruit" and have labels depicting fruit with their crap like waffles, yogurt, cereals and all kinds of other crap, in fact do not contain actual fruit, but "FRUIT BITS" .  Tiny bits of artificially created sugar, coloring, artificial flavoring, and in a few cases, tiny bits of dried fruit.  WHY?
The FDA is once again showing how well they are protecting consumers here in America.  Big business, big money.  It isn't as though the FDA has done anything to protect the interests of American consumers in the past.  Well, they have done a few things, like close down a peanut butter production facility that was so rampantly deteriorating as to have huge amounts of contaminants in their products as to sicken the inspectors.  But other than that, the real health hazards in our food system, GM food, toxic additives, grossly huge amounts of pesticide and herbicide residues, the proliferation of the use of antibiotics in mega farms and other SERIOUS health concerns are overlooked because big businesses are ready and waiting with HUGE amounts of CASH to spread out to governmental entities and elected officials.  Hmm. where do most of the directors and department heads of the FDA and USDA work once leaving government jobs?  Monsanto.  Which of the unbiased Supreme Court judges used to be lawyers for Monsanto?  Who used to be a lawyer for Monsanto and was specifically picked by Obama (in a GROSSLY confliction of interest) to be the nations food safety czar? 

The FDA has proven time and time again that their focus is not on the HEALTH of the Americans that they are entrusted to protect, but the WEALTH of the big agribusinesses that funnel MONEY into the pockets of anyone with the power to make decisions.  It is never going to change.  EVER.  Money talks louder than the needs of citizens.  What can change is that you, me, everyone out there, begins to recognize what is going on in the world and stands up against big business.  Shop at farmers markets, don't buy crap anymore.  ASK the grocery managers if the zucchini they have on sale is GMO or non-GMO.  If they don't know, tell them you won't shop there until they know what they carry.  And do it loudly in public.  Alert your friends to the threat to their lives and their very health and well being if they continue to spend their food dollars on toxins and poisons.  We have to care enough about our own health to take action, our government does not give a rat's ass about you at all.  Think about it.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Food, good, bad, scary and otherwise. Today, just recipes.

Some fun stuff to start eating healthy this week.  And all in larger text size to please some friends that can't see as well as I, the old guy with cataracts.
Recipes
Meatless Meatballs
In your food processor, chop up about 6 oz. pecans, or enough to make about a cup that is rather finely chopped.  In a bowl mix with 1 cup finely chopped Ritz crackers.  Or, alternatively use a cup of good whole wheat bread crumbs that you toasted until dark brown.  Then mix in two cups grated Mozzarella Cheese.  Stir in 1 teaspoon oregano,  1 teaspoon basil, ½ teaspoon sage and ½ teaspoon thyme.  Crush in a mortar, 1 teaspoon fennel seed and about 1 teaspoon black pepper.  In a separate bowl beat two eggs together and mix it all together and form small balls with the mixture.  Bake on a tray in the oven at high, 400 degrees for about 15 to 18 minutes.  Take the balls out and allow to cool slightly. 
WOW  20 minute Marinara
Take 6 cloves garlic and slice them thinly.  Finely dice a small onion and place both in a large sauce pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Heat slowly over medium low heat and cook the garlic until just beginning to brown, about 8 or 9 minutes.  Add a quarter cup of Italian Spice Mix, recipe below, and allow spices to cook a minute to release oils and become fragrant.  Pour a cup of good red wine on the mix and bring to a boil and reduce by half.  Add a 26 oz can petite diced tomatoes and a 26 oz can crushed tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer and cook for about 4 or 5 minutes to marry the flavors.  Add some meatballs or meatless meatballs and heat through.  Serve over pasta. 
  
Italian seasoning - in a glass jar mix together 1 oz basil, 1 oz oregano, 1 oz parsley, 1/2 oz crushed red pepper, 1/2 oz lemon pepper, 1/2 oz fennel seeds(crushed), 1 tblspn savory, 1 tblspn marjoram, 1 tblspn sage, 1 tblspn thyme, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp crushed rosemary, 1/2 tsp onion powder.  Close tightly and store in freezer.  Way better than any mixes from the store, and great to use as a base for italian dressing, just mix with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  If you want, (and I always do, grind it fine in a clean coffee grinder)  Mix with tomato sauce for a pizza topping, with canned diced tomatoes for a spaghetti sauce, add some to some olive oil and allow to sit for an hour and use as a bread dipping oil.

Savory Cheesecakes
Savory Cheesecakes are succulent bits of heaven, creamy, rich yet low cal and herby with the bounty of summer.  Try these and concoct your own innovations.
Take two cups low fat Ricotta cheese and put into food processor.  Whiz briefly to break it up.  Add two eggs and a ½ cup sour cream.  Season generously with fresh ground pepper and a ½ teaspoon sea salt.  Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, a few sprigs of thyme, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and 1 teaspoon fresh oregano.  Whiz it all together and then pour into ramekins. Cover each with foil and place on trivet in pressure cooker.  Add a cup of water and bring to a boil.  Place pressure lid on and bring to pressure.  Reduce heat to low and cook at pressure for 12 minutes for small ½ cup ramekins.  Increase time for larger ones.  Remove from heat and cool edge of cooker under running water.  Remove and allow to cool.  Serve with a great salad for a quick and cool summer lunch.  Try adding different combinations of herbs and other ingredients.  Dill and smoked salmon.  Chopped and seeded fire roasted jalapenos with cumin and fresh oregano.  Basil and tomato concasse with Parmesan. Use your imagination, this is just the basics.

Fab salads 
Who says salad is lettuce and a few other garden veggies?  Boring, and you are served the same stuff everywhere.  Break out of the mold and make something unique and TASTY!
Get a firm blemish free Jicama and cut it in half longitudinally.  Lay on the cut side and with sharp knife cut off the skin.  Slice into thick slices, stack them up and then cut into sticks.  Peel and cut into thick sticks a nice Rutabaga.  Cut in half some yellow and red grape tomatoes.  Add some slivered almonds and dress the salad with a mix of good olive oil, a bit of mustard, balsamic, fresh lime juice and some good Italian seasoning.  Some hot sauce is also good.  Top it all off with chopped cilantro. 
Cook some Canollini beans in your pressure cooker, use 1 teaspoon chopped crystallized ginger per cup of beans.  Pressure them for 15 minutes and allow to cool and release pressure naturally.  Take 4 strips of bacon and cook in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove from pan and chop.  Remove all but about 2 teaspoons of the bacon fat.  Cook a half of a red onion that you sliced in half and then into ¼ inch strips until translucent.  Add about 10 cloves garlic sliced thin.  Cook an additional two minutes.  Add 3 tablespoons good balsamic and then throw in the stalks from 8 big Swiss chard leaves and cook for another 2 minutes.  Chop the leaves coarsely and throw in the pan, and cover.  Remove from heat and let sit for 8 minutes.  Remove lid and toss with 2 cups of the cooked Canollini beans and the chopped bacon.  Serve warm
Carefully cut the core out of a head of cauliflower.  Steam it right side up for about 4 to 5 minutes.  Cut the florets off and then cut each floret in half.  In large skillet, cook on low heat ¼ cup olive oil and six cloves of garlic sliced thin.  Cook until the garlic is light brown.  Remove from the oil and set aside.  Place the florets in the oil cut side down. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until well browned, about 7 or 8 minutes.  Toss with 2 cups cooked Canollini beans, the juice of a lemon, some fresh basil or other herb and the garlic.   
 
Healthy Version of Arroz con Pollo
This classic dish is enhanced with the addition of black beans to make it more Cuban than Spanish.  Or, leave them out.  Either way making it all in the pressure cooker makes for a time saving nutritious dish.  To add black beans to the dish start with one pound of black beans, sort them and rinse them well.  Soak overnight to help break down the lectins.  Rinse again then add them to a pressure cooker and then add 8 cups water and 2 teaspoons crystallized ginger that you cut into small pieces.  (Ginger virtually removes the gassiness of all beans when they are cooked with it)  Bring to a boil and cover with the lid and when at 15 pounds pressure, reduce heat and cook 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  When cool, remove lid and take out 1 and ½ cups of the cooked beans.  Save the rest for other uses like refried beans, salads, pasta dishes etc.
Take 8 chicken thighs and wash and pat them dry.  Season well with a mixture of paprika, cumin, ground oregano, and chili powder.  Coat the chicken with the spices and then pour 4 tablespoons of good red wine vinegar (or balsamic) over the chicken, coat well and place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. 
Cut up a large bell pepper, a big onion, dice 3 big carrots into 3/8 inch dice.  In large pressure cooker heat 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Cook the chicken thighs in the oil and brown well on each side.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  If there is a lot of chicken fat in the pan, spoon out all but about 4 tablespoons.  Add and saute the vegetables over medium high heat about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add 2 cups organic long grain brown rice.  Saute and coat the grains with the oil.  Add 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 2 teaspoons paprika and then add 4 cups water, or better, chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and add the pressure lid to pan.  Bring to pressure, reduce heat and cook 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow cool water to run over edges of pan to reduce pressure.  When released, remove lid.  Add the reserved black beans, about 8 ounces frozen peas, and the chicken pieces.  Replace the pressure lid, bring back to pressure and cook for another 8 minutes.  Remove from heat, allow pressure to reduce by itself.  Remove lid and stir in a cup of pimento stuffed olives and garnish with a ¼ cup chopped parsley.   

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Roundup boys and girls, is here to stay!

I know this is going to sound sooooo, stupid, and sooooo, staged; but, "back when I was a kid in school", we learned a lot about the half life of radioactive fallout.  We were all scared that Fat Nikita would bomb us with his nuclear arsenal and then we would wipe out he and his people with our nukes.  And of course there would be nuclear winter, and the length of time we would have to spend in our prefab bomb shelters was dependent on the half life of the radioactive elements in the fallout.  The upside was no more Red threat, the down side was nuclear winter would last several thousand years.  That would entail storing a lot of freeze-dried food and beans.  Not to mention what to do with all that solid waste.  That idea alone might be what made those bomb designers go in and create cleaner nuclear devices, ones that produced nice big booms, but gave off far less nasty long term, long half life radioactive isotopes.  Ones that had the nuclear winter potential in under a hundred years instead of thousands.  Still a lot of shit to deal with though. 

I think that people from my generation know and understand the concept of half life much more so than younger ones.  We lived it, we feared it.  Today, half life is still a big concept in our daily lives, and it commands our fear even more now than in my youth.  So just a bit of information first, half life means, for our purposes today, when a substance, in this case, Roundup, is sprayed onto the ground in a field, then the half life of the chemicals is the time frame it takes for one half of the chemical to degrade.  That doesn't mean that in two half lives the chemical is gone, it means that it progressively degrades by half, leaving measurable amounts in the substrate six, eight, even twelve or more half life time frames down the road.  The problem is compounded when more of the substance is added to the substrate in more and more regular applications.  There are other circumstances that need to be considered as well, such as the ability of the chemical itself to leave the substrate through the process of simple runoff.  When it rains, heavily, excess chemical is simply washed away.  This happens because we see it, it is measurable.  The waterways of industrialized nations all contain extensive amounts of glyphosate pollution. 

Now comes the hard and tricky part.  The half life of glyphosate as defined by Monsanto, the company that developed the chemical, is between one and eight days. (Monsanto Half Life)  Now, let's remember that the Monsanto study is for the active ingredient glyphosate only and does not have any studies listed for the complete chemical application for Roundup itself.  Roundup contains glyphosate and a series of surfactant chemicals playing an adjuvant role for the action of the active ingredient.  The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has published a study that tells a very different story.  Their claim is that in warm moist acidic soils with normal aerobic and anaerobic bacterial populations the half life can be as short as 4 weeks.  That is a little different from the Monsanto claim now isn't it?  Now of course the fun begins.  Roundup is readily dissolved in water.  Degradation in aqueous form is a whole lot different than when exposed to soil microbes.  Half life in water is greater than 35 days and in fact the eventual removal of glyphosate from water is a result of sedimentation and not degradation.  (Cali's best info)  This info also states that the EPA tests show that the half life of most glyphosate residues that sank to the bottoms of ponds was up to 63 days.  What this means is that it takes a while to leave water systems.  A long while.

Now comes the stuff I couldn't find.  The half life of Roundup in arid soils.  Most of the information available is for application in areas where there is a lot of rainfall.  That of course leads to a lot different microbial systems in those areas than what we have here in the desert.  Those farmers still spray the stuff everywhere, they just don't know what happens to it once it leaves the spray gun.  It means that no one knows what is happening here in Arizona and other arid areas where irrigation is the main source of water for agriculture.  The fact is, we don't know what happens to all the Roundup that is sprayed in the Southwest.  We don't know how deep it goes toward the groundwater, nor how much is sitting there within the water table that provides much of the existence for life here in the desert.  

However we are watched over by the forthright efforts and timeless diligence of the agency that is the guardian of the American environment, the EPA. (Man but this one is scary, EPA allowable contaminants) It's true, the EPA did in fact raise the allowable residue amounts on feed crops for animals as well as on fruits and vegetables for human consumption last year to levels as high as 200 parts per billion.  (EPA and Roundup) And it is true that studies on rats show that exposure of as little as .00005 part per billion in the feed of pregnant rats affected brain development.  And by looking at the EPA link above, we see that those guys have decided that it is okay to drink municipal water that has .7 parts per billion in it.  The EPA also states that the main problem with glyphosate exposure is kidney failure.  And, the main cause of exposure in drinking water is, agricultural runoff. 

So, where does that leave us?  For those that can't, and don't want to put two and two together, it leaves us with an ever increasing concentration of a chemical that in and of itself, the manufacturer told us was harmless.  But more recent research is proving they lied to us.  And that the complete compound, Roundup, contains dangerous chemicals that are toxic and of which we are just recently beginning to research just how bad they are for us.  It means that Roundup is here to stay.  Even if we outlawed Roundup usage tomorrow, that the stuff will persist in our environment for years.  It means that researchers in Germany found glyphosate in the urine of EVERY SINGLE person they tested.  It means that last week a study showed glyphosate was measured in breast milk in American women. (it was a small sample)  However, the EPA tells us that the stuff is NOT bioaccumulative and CANNOT do that.  It tells us that maybe, just maybe, countries like Sri Lanka, South Africa and El Salvador have banned Roundup usage because they have the welfare of their people at the forefront of their actions, and not the welfare of corporations.  Here is some more reading about glyphosate, and the EPA.  (EPA bought and paid for) (Humans and Roundup) (Roundup Reality) (GMO, Roundup and You)

But it's not a conspiracy.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Business of Religion versus the Science of Evolution.

Let's first define the word theory.  Theory, a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation.  

The Theory of Evolution, is a conjectural explanation of the origins of life on earth that grows and changes as evidence is found and scientific methods expand to determine the proper sequence of the totality of evolution.

The Theory of Creation, is a widely believed postulate that has no basis in fact and is believed exclusively on faith and is the basis of the Business of Religion.

The truth is that evolution is a theory, expanding and defining points as learning progresses.  Detractors tell us that it is incomplete and wrong.  And the truth is, it is wrong.  There are multitudes of tiny details that don't mesh and it may take centuries to determine an accurate and viable timeline of evolution.  It is a daunting task, trying to find fossil remains of living things that existed beginning 3 billion years ago right up to the beginning of civilization.  That part is kind of hard, they aren't that easy to find, there aren't all that many of them.  It would be easy certainly if every living creature had gone to a specific place and cast its dying body into a heap for future scientists to pick up and have a timeline of evolution that was easy to follow and orderly.  Sort of a Moses thing with the creator directing it, that would have helped.  However, it didn't happen that way and so those that find that sort of work interesting make it their lives' passion to try and find ever more bone fragments and fossils and piece them together into a cohesive and believable timeline.  I don't like to get dirty, and it all sounds kind of messy and uninteresting to me.  I do like to look at the made up skeletons in the museums though.  The thing is, it's a work in progress and has been growing, changing and defining our existence here for a little over a hundred years or so.  It isn't perfect, it isn't even believable in its entirety, and it changes and grows all the time. 

But then the business of religion has had centuries to fine tune their theory.  Religion started a long time ago, the first guy that looked up at the stars and determined that the same shapes returned with the changes in the seasons and predicted such, were the first holy men.  The more accurate the predictions of natural phenomena, the greater was their place in primitive societies.  And the less those guys had to do back breaking work in the fields and wherever.  The true Business of Religion was born.  Learn, predict, preach, come up with stories explaining it all and poof, the masses provide for you.  It worked then, it works now.  As society grew, the stories had to keep pace and the explanations of the natural world along with the nature of society itself grew as well.  Thus we were given such stories as Pandora's box, the ferryman on the river Styx, and of course, the Creation Theory.  That, was a great one.  It has lasted a good two thousand years with only moderate changes to it and revisions as needed.  And even though supporters state it is the same as was passed down by word of mouth for years and written on papyrus, there were changes.  People like my brother, a real born again christian likes to point out that scholars spend their whole lives pouring over texts and scraps of papyrus to determine the meaning of words written centuries before and how those words have changed in the translations from Aramaic to Greek to Hebrew to Latin to English.  Religious scholars won't admit it has all changed, yet they work on clarifying those changes all the time.  There again, not my cup of tea, sitting around all day staring at a text and discussing with other people of similar ilk how the loop on a letter might be construed as meaning something different in a specific context.  Sheesh, not my cup of tea at all.  But then whereas I like to look at dinosaurs, the work and lives' labors of these guys doesn't hold any interest at all for me.  The end result though of all this speculation is a workable and profitable Theory of Creation.  And it is indeed the basis of the Business of Religion.  A very profitable business that is not for profit and for the masses, tax deductible.

The point here for all this drivel is that science isn't perfect, religion wants desperately to be, yet isn't.  Most people do in fact ask the questions, why are we here and what happens when we die.  Science doesn't have viable definitive answers for the first and nothing for the second.  Religion answers both, but solely on the basis of faith.  Faith isn't a bad thing at all.  I have faith in my beliefs, and they answer both questions in a viable believable concept.  Hmmmm, maybe I should start my own religion.  I hear it pays well.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Almighty Con. Canola.

The big con to the world.  The Almighty Con.  Canola.  It is touted as the healthiest of any vegetable oil and yet it really isn't.  There has been, and still is, a lot of controversy and a whole lot of misinformaion, speculation and hype on the internet about Canola.  I don't like it, I don't eat it, I don't recommend anyone use it, except in the fuel tank of your diesel.  So I thought I would tell you why.  Let's start with a bit of history.

Back in the seventies it was rapidly becoming clear that research was pointing out that polyunsaturated vegetable oils, especially corn and soy, were not the healthy alternative to saturated fats.  The health industry still promoted use of polyunsaturated instead of saturated fats based on research done in the fifties. (all of which has since been proven to be incorrect)  A cheap and readily available substitute was needed and where there is a need, there will be a product to fill it.  That product was the end result of nearly a decade of research into the foundations of genetic manipulation.  Even though the Canadian Oil Council flatly denies that canola was developed through any sort of Genetic Modification, the truth is you can't always have what you want.  And here, the truth is that the process isn't exactly like the GM technology of today, but the people that developed canola did in fact use very primitive gene splicing technology to develop the stuff.  They even wrote a book about it, "The Rape of Canola".  Anyway, that's a story for another time.  Here, the reason for doing all this was because Rape was, and still is, the plant that produces more oil per acre than any other plant in the world.  The original Rape, was not very useful for humans because it contained a high amount of Erucic Acid which is actually a long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid.

The result of the genetic manipulation was a new Rape plant that yielded a new product, LEAR, which stood for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed.  Kind of an ugly name.  Marketing gurus thought that Canola was better, and so they made it so.  To bad they just couldn't make all the ugly problems of the stuff go away as well.  Erucic acid in fact is a very ugly problem and it does in fact destroy brain tissue by eating away the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells and it has been known to cause heart lesions.  These are in part some of the reasons that internet detractors of canola state that the stuff causes mad cow disease.  They are only partly correct, once the canola processors figured out that they needed to process the cake leftover from oil production with lye to breakdown the erucic acid, the mad cow problem sort of dissipated. I guess you should know that the stuff leftover after they press out the oil is called cake, and that in the late seventies and eighties, the Canadians didn't want the stuff so they exported it all as cheap cattle feed.  And guess who bought it all, well, England.  Sort of a coincidence as to when and how the whole mad cow thing started. 

In 1982 the Canadian Institute for Food Science and Technology published a paper that looked at the interaction of saturated fats with LEAR oil and soybean oil. They killed off a whole bunch of rats in their research to determine that when saturated fats in the form of cocoa butter were added to the diets, the rats in both groups had better growth and a significant lowering of heart lesions. their conclusion was,  "These results support the hypothesis that myocardial lesions in male rats are related to the balance of dietary fatty acids and not to cardiotoxic contaminants in the oils."  The Canadian Canola Council conclusion that LEAR, canola, is healthier because of the mix of fatty acids was thusly disproved by their own research.  And the study was not in fact a long term feeding study using rats not prone to cardiovascular defects.  The problem with the CIFST study showing that the erucic acid wasn't responsible is disputed by the NCBI study the same year about the stuff.  "Rapeseed oil has a growth retarding effect in animals. Some investigators claim that the high content of erucic acid in rapeseed oil alone causes this effect, while others consider the low ratio saturated/monounsaturated fatty acids in rapeseed oil to be a contributory factor. Normally erucic acid is not found or occurs in traces in body fat, but when the diet contains rapeseed oil erucic acid is found in depot fat, organ fat and milk fat. Erucic acid is metabolized in vivo to oleic acid. The effects of rapeseed oil on reproduction and adrenals, testes, ovaries, liver, spleen, kidneys, blood, heart and skeletal muscles have been investigated. Fatty infiltration in the heart muscle cells has been observed in the species investigated. In long-term experiments in rats erucic acid produces fibrosis of the myocardium. Erucic acid lowers the respiratory capacity of the heart mitochondria. The reduction of respiratory capacity is roughly proportional to the content of erucic acid in the diet."

Canadian researchers looked at Canola oils again in 1997. They found that piglets fed milk replacement containing canola oil showed signs of vitamin E deficiency, even though the milk replacement contained adequate amounts of vitamin E. Piglets fed soybean oil-based milk replacement fortified with the same amount of vitamin E did not show an increased requirement for vitamin E. Vitamin E protects cell membranes against free radical damage and is vital to a healthy cardiovascular system. In a 1998 paper, the same research group reported that piglets fed canola oil suffered from a decrease in platelet count and an increase in platelet size. Bleeding time was longer in piglets fed both canola oil and rapeseed oil. These changes were mitigated by the addition of saturated fatty acids from either cocoa butter or coconut oil to the piglets' diet. These results were confirmed in another study a year later. Canola oil was found to suppress the normal developmental increase in platelet count.

Finally, studies carried out at the Health Research and Toxicology Research Divisions in Ottawa, Canada discovered that rats bred to have high blood pressure and proneness to stroke had shortened life-spans when fed canola oil as the sole source of fat. The results of a later study suggested that the culprit was the sterol compounds in the oil, which "make the cell membrane more rigid" and contribute to the shortened life-span of the animals.

These studies all point in the same direction, that canola oil is definitely not healthy for the cardiovascular system. Canola oil is associated with fibrotic lesions of the heart. It also causes vitamin E deficiency, undesirable changes in the blood platelets and shortened life-span in stroke-prone rats when it was the only oil in the animals' diet. Furthermore, it seems to retard growth, which is why the FDA does not allow the use of canola oil in infant formula.  When saturated fats are added to the diet, the undesirable effects of canola oil are lessened.

Some basic info on fat

SATURATED FATTY ACIDS are chains of carbon atoms that have hydrogen filling every bond. In foods, they normally range in length from 4 to 22 carbons. Because of their straight configuration, saturated fatty acids pack together easily and tend to be solid at room temperature. Butter, tallows, suet, palm oil and coconut oil are classified as saturated fats because they contain a preponderance of saturated fatty acids. Saturated fats are stable and do not become rancid when subjected to heat, as in cooking.
MONOUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS are chains of carbon atoms that have one double bond between two carbons and therefore lack two hydrogens. Normally they range from 16 to 22 carbons. They have a kink or bend at the position of the double bond so the molecules do not pack together as easily as saturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated oils tend to be liquid at room temperature but become solid when refrigerated. Olive oil, peanut oil, lard, rapeseed and canola oils are classified as monounsaturated oils. The most common monounsaturated fatty acids are palmitoleic (16 carbons), oleic (18 carbons) and erucic (22 carbons). Monounsaturated oils are relatively stable and can be used for cooking.
POLYUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS have two or more double bonds. As there is a bend or kink at each double bond, these fatty acids do not pack together easily and tend to be liquid, even when cold. Polyunsaturated oils are very fragile. They tend to develop harmful free radicals when subjected to heat and oxygen, as in cooking or processing. Soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and flax oil are polyunsaturated oils. Omega-6 fatty acids have the first double bond at the 6th carbon from the end of the fatty acid chain. The most common omega-6 fatty acid is linoleic acid, which is called an essential fatty acid (EFA) because your body cannot make it. Omega-3 fatty acids have the first double bond at the 3rd carbon. The most common omega-3 fatty acid is the EFA alpha-linolenic acid. The consensus among lipid experts is that the American diet is too high in omega-6 fatty acids (present in high amounts in commercial vegetable oils) and lacking in omega-3 fatty acids (which are present in organ meats, wild fish, pastured egg yolks, organic vegetables and flax oil). Surfeit of omega-6 fatty acids and deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to depress immune system function, contribute to weight gain and cause inflammation.

The three types of omega-3 fatty acids involved in human physiology are ALA(found in plant oils), EPA and DHA (both commonly found in marine oils)

Excess omega−6 fatty acids from vegetables oils interfere with the health benefits of omega−3 fats, in part because they compete for the same rate-limiting enzymes. A high proportion of omega−6 to omega−3 fat in the diet shifts the physiological state in the tissues toward the pathogenesis of many diseases: prothrombotic, proinflammatory and proconstrictive

Friday, March 28, 2014

What is "The News" and what do you need to know.

Last week I wrote about the world wide conspiracy involving big pharma, and the media. (Conspiracy).  I had some friends tell me (AGAIN) that I'm nuts.  There is no conspiracy within the national media to keep any specific information from the masses.  Hmmm, I'm not sure how to respond to people that say things like that.  Are they just clueless, or do they really believe that all the bad things happening in the world that they don't know about don't really happen.  And that those things aren't real, because their favorite smiling maiden on the news didn't tell them, so in their mind, it didn't happen. 

Let's look at some stuff.

Slave labor, specifically child labor.  In 2012 Nestle corporation announced that they were going to end the practice of child slave labor in the production of cocoa in the African country of Cote de Ivorie.  The Ivory Coast for those with older globes.  Their plan, "The Nestle Cocoa Plan" entailed building schools for communities, requiring those processors to certify that no slaves did the labor and the big one, providing over a million new cocoa trees for the communities there.  And of course Nestle wanted to capitalize on their great spirit and make their "Crunch" bar into the dream product with labeling that defined their acheivements in their humanitarian endeavors.  Nice stuff.  Except it is all a bunch of hooeey.  The Ivory Coast provides about 15% of the cocoa for Nestle, and their plan does little, well, it does nothing to stop slave labor in other regions.  What does the worldwide media say about all of this.
  • ABC News - a search for Nestle child labor or slave labor brings up nothing.  A search for Nestle itself brings up all the gross stuff about horsemeat in their canned crap, but nothing about child labor, nor anything about the company destroying indigenous populations by destroying water supplies.
  • CBS News - same searches, nothing regarding child labor.  There is a very nice CBS report about how Nestle announced they would not use cloned meat in any of their products.  At this time.  But nothing about child labor.  
  • NBC News - same searches, nothing.  Well, nothing bad other than the usual recalls for glass in stuff and horsemeat.
  • Fox News - are you surprised to hear, same thing?  
I don't understand, this was big news back in 2012.  It was written up on Forbes, CNN and, well, that's about it.  I think that maybe since Nestle made a big deal about spending a few bucks to stop child slave labor in the production of their cocoa that they the masses might get the mistaken idea that they actually encouraged it in the past.  And the thought might get into the masses that they were only spending a few bucks to stop the practice in an area that the predominate method of production involved slave labor and that the United Nations as well as the World Health Organization brought the practice to the media attention in 2011.  That might be part of the reason Nestle decided to spend a few bucks to try to halt the practice.  Well, that and they could get a more consistent cocoa product by providing the cocoa cultivars that they wanted to the growers there.  Nestle certainly wouldn't want any of those concepts to interfere with the thinking of the masses watching news stories about their actions.  Nestle is one of the largest food manufacturers in the world, and they advertise their products via news media, that don't report anything bad they do.  Or maybe that is just my opinion.

What about Giles-Eric Seralini?  Seralini is a molecular biologist teaching at the University of Caen since 1991.  This is the guy that has been on the forefront of effects of the endocrine system and related  research for a couple decades.  He is, or was, respected in his field, and his research up until he dared to go up against the all powerful Monsanto corporation, has been unquestionable.  Now however, not so much.  He is a contributor to numerous scientific rags and has been published extensively in the science community for years.  No one has ever heard about him until 2012 when he discovered that feeding GM corn laced with residual Roundup as is normally available in the marketplace, causes cancerous tumors in rats.  If you go to the major news sites and search for Seralini, you find....
  • ABC News - absolutely nothing
  • CBS News - the most information available.  A two paragraph blurb about the report and of course how Monsanto says it was poorly done, and a second article about how the research story was retracted by the publisher.  
  • NBC News. - the story about the retraction only, and that was slanted.  It was almost horizontal.
  • Fox News - reported the story about the report after it was published, but nothing else.  Nothing.
So is that a conspiracy?  Whether or not you personally don't think GM foods are harmful, the fact that a researcher performing a long term feeding study of GM foods on rats causing cancer should have been on every single news report on every TV station in America.  GM crops are in nearly every processed food in America, anything that questions the safety of those crops is NEWSWORTHY.   Anything that affects your health is newsworthy.  You can make the decision to buy GM foods only if you have information that allows you to make an informed decision.  Yes, the Seralini report was retracted by the rag that published it, but it wasn't retracted because it was inaccurate, it was retracted because the sample was determined to have been to small to definitively state that GM crops cause tumors.  That is news as well.  But you have to report it first. 

I guess the big deal here is that we just don't know what else is going on the world, because we aren't told about it.  We are the mushroom sheeple.  Fed shit, kept in the dark and led down the path that our masters want us to go. 

But it isn't a conspiracy in anyway.