Limiting your exposure to toxins, additives, factory farmed meats and dairy can whittle your waistline, improve your health and keep you in your budget.
Tip Number 1
Reuse it. Bring a reusable bag on your next shopping trip, and you’ve already helped out the planet. The U.S. alone uses about 100 billion new plastic bags each year, and (brace yourself) this massive production costs 12 million barrels of oil. Worldwide, only about 1% of plastic bags are recycled — which means that the rest end up in landfills, oceans or elsewhere in the environment. Why does it matter? Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, but light exposure can degrade them enough to release toxic polymer particles — most of which end up in the ocean. Approximately 1 million birds and 100,000 turtles and other sea animals die of starvation each year after ingesting after ingesting discarded plastics and other trash debris, which block their digestive tracts. And public agencies spend millions of dollars on litter clean-up each year. (In case you’re wondering, paper bags aren’t much better. Each year, 14 million trees are cut down to make paper shopping bags via a process that requires even more energy than the making of plastic bags.)
The British and European outbreaks of BSE ignited because the industry turned cattle — natural vegetarians — into cannibals, feeding them the remains of cattle and other animals. U.S. farmers did the same, but Britain had a huge incidence of a related disease in sheep called scrapie, and many scientists believe that was the source of the massive cattle outbreak. Although experiments showed that BSE could infect monkeys and other animals, it was not until the first human infections that anyone realized the threat it poses to people. The human form of the disease, first discovered in Britain in the 1980s, has been blamed for the deaths of at least 280 people worldwide, with 175 in the UK alone.
How could the California cow have been infected with feed? Following the British outbreak, ranchers in the U.S. and most of the rest of the world stopped feeding cattle the remains of cattle, sheep and other mammals. But a farmer’s feed still could get contaminated by other means. The USDA still allows chickens to consume the remains of cattle. Chicken litter, containing urine and feces, is fed to cows. That could theoretically transmit the infection to cattle.
Is it now necessary to label meat which has been through the tenderizing process?
Because of an increased risk of bacterial contamination, some say the meat should be labeled.
E. Coli contamination was at the center of the recall which included more than a ton of beef.
Connecticut Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro said that the Wednesday recall involving some 2,057 pounds of ground and texturized beef from Town & Country Foods Inc. of Greene, Maine, underscores why consumers should be told when meat has been mechanically pierced with needles or blades.
The FDA had started such proceedings in 1977, prompted by its concerns the widespread use in livestock feed of certain antibiotics – particularly tetracyclines and penicillin, the most common. But the proceedings were never completed and the approval remained in place.
“In the intervening years, the scientific evidence of the risks to human health from the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock has grown, and there is no evidence that the FDA has changed its position that such uses are not shown to be safe,” Katz wrote.
The facts are hard to ignore.
Using common antibiotics in livestock feed has contributed to the rapid growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in both animals and humans and contributes to $20 billion in health care costs annually.
In a country whose religions and economy encouraged a vegetarian lifestyle there has been a huge change.
Economic growth can be attributed with raising the living standards of Indians as well as their expectations to indulge in more Western habits.
Food in India was once a symbol of tradition. Now food is a symbol of status.
Yes, even though there are some 300 million vegetarians here, in the new affluent urban India, meat has become a status symbol. In the U.S. vegetarianism is a lifestyle choice. In India, once, it wasn’t even an “ism” — it was just the way some of us were brought up for generations, a part of our cultural DNA.
The impact of all this meat eating on the environment is posing a whole new set of problems.
Rising incidents of heart disease aside, pollution and pharmaceutical toxicity need to be addressed to keep us all safe.
With a current price tag of $330,000 it will about 20 years before meat grown from stem cells will be available to meet the protein needs of the world.
The growing taste for meat in the developing world, especially in China and the limited arable land and water resources, have led scientists on a search for alternative ways of producing meat.
But there are concerns:
Many of the medical crises we’re seeing in the world today are partly due to some of the unnatural ways we’re manufacturing food – from the chemicals to preserve the taste, to the hormones to increase the size of produce, to the pesticides to control production. At the end of the day, all of these factors are taking a toll on our society.
The Food and Drug Administration is calling for restrictions in use of antibiotics in animals.
Crowded and filthy conditions call for the use of the drugs to prevent illness in the animals which could be passed on to humans.
However, it seems that the antibiotics are indeed being passed on to humans and helping to create super-bugs which are becoming increasingly drug resistant.
Some 80 percent of antibiotic drugs in the United States were sold for use in food animals, according to the FDA. Many of those are used to help animals grow faster and prevent infections from breaking out on big farms. Today’s announcement on cephalosporins doesn’t affect those antibiotics in feed.
Still, the more the cephalosporins are used, the greater the chances that they will stop working because bacteria can become resistant to them.
Getting the daily recommended vitamins and nutrients is becoming more difficult even for the most conscientious eater.
Since the industrial and agricultural revolution we have seen factory farming takeoff and is now used to grow most of our fresh fruits and vegetables. These intensive farming methods rely on heavy use of potent herbicides and pesticides. Unfortunately, over time these chemicals have sterilised our top soils and neutralized many of the naturally occurring minerals.
Although organic farming does not use harmful chemicals, organic fruits and vegetables may still be grown in the same depleted soils and the organic ‘seal’ is not necessarily a guarantee of high mineral content.
Daily supplements may be one way to get the vitamins and minerals which are not abundant in foods.
This blog is for consumers of health care and medical services. Basically, it’s for everyone. For health issues you should always see a doctor or qualified medical professional - we are not dispensing medical advice. You should, however, be an educated consumer, so we offer information to help you start the process to become educated and to ask important questions. There are many excellent resources on the web, along with all sorts of conflicting opinions and advice. The key is to use a wide variety of resources to learn and access information, so you can ask the important questions when you are with your doctor or health professional.