Eating Local & Organic » Health Food News and The Kitchen Sink Thu, 08 Aug 2013 15:14:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 5 Bizarre Things BPA Does To Your Body Mon, 05 Aug 2013 22:01:35 +0000 Laura A ton of BPA (bisphenol A) ends up in our environment every year and now scientists are finding that even a very small amount can have strange and long-term health effects. It’s incorporated into plastics that are used to line or protect things like canned goods and cash register receipts. BPA has been found in the blood and urine of most Americans and even in the amniotic fluid and placenta of unborn fetuses.

The Weird Effects of BPA Exposure

In an article for Rodale News author Leah Zerbe tells us how scientists say BPA could be affecting our bodies in strange ways.

Yet, in an increasing number of studies, BPA is being found to be a reproductive, developmental and systemic toxicant. Much of the focus has been on the chemical’s ability to interfere with levels of estrogen in the body, but scientists are discovering that its effects spread far beyond hormonal systems, resulting in health problems that are downright bizarre.

Five ways BPA could be affecting you:

  1. Eroding Teeth. Daily low doses of BPA can damage tooth enamel.
  2. Misfiring Heart. A 2011 animal study found that BPA caused erratic heartbeats in female bodies.
  3. Low Sex Drive. BPA messes with men’s sexual hormones and is linked to low sperm counts and quality.
  4. Love Handles. Lab studies have shown that BPA has the ability to disrupt pancreatic function leading to insulin resistance and obesity.
  5. Multi-Generational Damage. A recent study conducted on mice found that mothers who were exposed to BPA gave birth to babies with symptoms associated with autism and ADHD.

Here are some tips to help you avoid BPA exposure:

  • avoid plastic containers – use glass or stainless-steel instead
  • say no to the receipt – if you don’t need it, say no. Otherwise, store it in something like an envelope so you don’t touch it every time you open your wallet or purse.
  • buy fresh or frozen vegetables – and when farmers’ markets are open, buy local vegetables. They’re the freshest you can get, have more flavor and allow you to contribute to your local economy.
  • Be skeptical of BPA-free claims – the common BPA replacement, BPS, also can also mess with your hormones.

Read the full article here.

And check out Appleton’s red fiber BPA-free receipt paper the next time you’re at the grocery checkout. Read the full article here.

]]> 0
5 Foods That Make You Feel Stressed Out Thu, 01 Aug 2013 22:14:29 +0000 Laura You might be feeling stressed out and thinking it’s got to be your job, relationship or schedule. But did you know that certain foods can actually cause stress?

Avoid These Foods and Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

In her article for Clean Plates Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh provides some insight from Dr. Mark PitStick, author of Radiant Wellness (endorsed by Deepok Chopra and others), on what happens when we consume these types of foods.

Through 40 years of practice, he’s discovered that certain foods cause his patients stress. The reason: these foods cause the body to work harder, and “that causes us to not handle generalized stress as well,” says Pitstick. “When body and mind are not in balance, that’s when people get stressed out about the little things.”

Kick these 5 stress-causing foods to the curb:

1. Refined sugars.

“Sugar is one of the number-one causes of inflammation,” says Pitstick. “That inflammation is an underlying stressor that can cause both physical and mental symptoms.”

2. Processed conventional wheat.

“Working with tens of thousands of patients, I’ve found a lot of problems with wheat,” says Pitstick. Think: diarrhea, excess gas, abdominal bloating, joint swelling, depression, fatigue and brain fog—all of which make it  hard to handle everyday stressors. If you’re gluten-intolerant, you’ll need to avoid wheat entirely, but Pitstick notes that many of his patients discovered it wasn’t gluten, but conventional wheat that caused problems.

Pitstick recommends trying Ezekiel bread saying sprouted breads are easier on the digestive tract. We also like Angelic Bakehouse sprouted bread; it has a great taste and texture.

3. Unfermented soy. Most soy in the United States is GMO, grown with chemicals and inexpensive. The healthy soy eaten in Asian countries is the fermented type: miso, tempeh, and natto. The problem with unfermented soy is that it contains phytic acid which can interfere with nutrient absorption. Pitstick also recommends sticking with the organic form to avoid the herbicides and pesticides used to grow conventional soy.

4. Factory farmed eggs. Eggs from pastured-chickens, allowed to eat insects and other natural food, have more nutrients than eggs from conventionally-raised chickens, which are raised in crowded and stressful conditions.

Pitstick argues, “how can animals raised in those conditions have healthy eggs?”

5. Factory farmed dairy. Pitstick recommends certified raw milk if it’s legal in your state. Factory farm dairy cows can be fed grain (even GMO), antibiotics and bovine growth hormones. People who drink conventional milk have more mucus, headaches and gastrointestinal issues which keeps them from feeling their best and dealing comfortably with the stresses of life. If you can’t get raw milk, try to find “pasture-raised” or “grass-fed” organic milk. To that we’ll add milk that’s been pasteurized using low-temperature vat pasteurization, which holds the milk at 145 degrees for 30 minutes. This kind of pasteurization doesn’t damage the milk proteins, has more enzymes and better taste. We recommend Kalona all-natural organic milk because they truly do go beyond organic: homogenized, low-temperature pasteurized, GMO-free, and grass-fed.

]]> 0
The Case Against Egg Whites Thu, 18 Jul 2013 18:58:13 +0000 Laura So you’ve been told, over and over again, that egg whites are a great low-fat, high-protein alternative to whole eggs. Even the popular website has egg whites listed in their Easy to Digest High-Protein Food article saying:

Egg whites are a fairly easy way to add protein to any diet. Simply hard-boil a few eggs and eat them as a healthy snack. One large egg contains about 6 grams of protein. About 3.6 of those grams are found in the egg white. People watching their saturated fat or cholesterol intake should stick to egg whites.

an egg yolk surrounded by the egg white

Photo: Miya/Wikipedia. An egg yolk surrounded by the egg white. used the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) to determine the inclusion of egg whites, which got a perfect score. The premise is that if the egg white got a perfect score, it can’t be hard to digest. But it’s not that simple:

[PDCAAS] does not take into account certain factors influencing the digestion of the protein and is of limited use for application to human protein requirements because what is measured is maximal potential of quality and not a true estimate of quality at requirement level.

And these are the factors influencing the digestion of the protein:

  1. amino acids that have passed through the final section of the small intestine will either be passed out of the body or absorbed by bacteria–but they will appear to have been digested.
  2. amino acids that are lost because their absorption is blocked by antinutrients are assumed to be digested by the PDCAAS system.

And now we get to the real meat of the issue. Egg whites contain proteins which block enzymes that are needed to digest the protein. These are the antinutrients which are assumed to be digested by PDCAAS.

Most people don’t know, and aren’t being told, that egg whites consist of proteins that are hard to digest. In fact, the most protein in an egg white comes from ovalbumin–and it’s the major offender. The other protein that blocks digestives enzymes is ovomucoid which accounts for 11% of the total egg white protein. That’s a total of 65% of the egg white protein that is not only not absorbed, but is hard on your digestive system.

  • ovalbumin (54%) — blocks digestive enzymes
  • ovotransferrin (12%)
  • ovomucoid (11%) — blocks digestive enzymes
  • ovoglobulin G2 (4%)
  • ovoglobulin G3 (4%)
  • ovomucin (3.5%)
  • lysozyme (3.4%)
  • ovoinhibitor (1.5%)
  • ovoglycoprotein (1%)
  • flavoprotein (0.8%)
  • ovomacroglobulin (0.5%)
  • avidin (0.05%)
  • cystatin (0.05%)

So does this mean you should never eat egg whites? No. But you may want to stay away from or limit all egg-white concoctions. If you’re looking for protein, you’ll get more out of the egg yolk. And if you’re looking to lower your overall fat intake, try to look at the other foods you’re eating to see if you can decrease the amount of butter and oils.


]]> 0
Former Biotech Engineer Speaks About Dangers of GMO Wed, 17 Jul 2013 16:38:25 +0000 Laura Thierry Vrain, a former advocate of chemical-based agriculture and genetic engineering, has evolved into a supporter of organic farming and anti-GMO proponent. When asked what led to the change from pro-GMO to anti-GMO, Vrain explained:

thierry vrain

Photo: Thierry Vrain/Facebook.

Research scientists from the US Food & Drug Administration made it clear in the early 1990s that there could be indirect effects from eating GM crops, such as toxins, allergens, and nutritional deficiencies. Those warnings were ignored. Now a good number of publications are confirming the predictions of the FDA scientists.

Unintended Consequences of Genetic Engineering

In an interview for The Organic & NON-GMO Report, writer Ken Roseboro asks Vrain to elaborate on his statement that the science behind genetic engineering is based on a misunderstanding.

When we started with genetic engineering in the 1980s, the science was based on the theory that one gene produces one protein. But we now know, since the human genome project, that a gene can create more than one protein. The insertion of genes in the genome through genetic engineering interrupts the coding sequence of the DNA, creating truncated, rogue proteins, which can cause unintended effects. It’s an invasive technology.

Biotech companies ignore these rogue proteins; they say they are background noise. But we should pay attention to them. It must be verified that they produce no negative effects.

A key point is that the concern about genetic engineering should be about the proteins. Many plants and animals are not edible because their proteins are toxic or poisonous. To test for the safety of Bt crops, scientists have mostly fed the pure protein to rats, and there may be no problem. But it’s different if you feed rats the whole GM plant because they are getting these rogue proteins that could cause harm.

How do you explain published papers describing how rats and mice suffer organ damage from eating GM corn or soy? It’s too easy to dismiss those as pseudoscience. Rats and mice are the canary in the mine, and we should be paying attention to what happens to them.

Roseboro also asked him to talk about how he came to favor organic farming over conventional agriculture.

I used to be a soil biologist and focused on fertilizers and pesticides. When I retired I started to look around and, quite frankly, the organic side of soil biology made more sense than what I had taught.

Industrial agriculture relies on inputs that are good for the chemical industry. Unfortunately, we have evidence that inputs are degrading soil biodiversity. Industrial agriculture completely ignores the ecology of the soil.

When I was a soil biologist I would look at the biodiversity of the soil. I would see a big difference between industrial farms and organic farms, which had far more species of soil microfauna, microscopic “animals” and nematodes, what I call biodiversity.

Read more of this fascinating article here.

The biggest take-away for us from Vrain’s comments is that if you feel like you can’t trust these large, profit-driven corporations when they tell you something is safe, you’d be right. The idea that something that’s not well understood nor properly studied (rogue proteins) is inconsequential is not something I want to leave up to them to decide. Especially when it’s meant for our grocery store shelves.

]]> 0
5 Foods That Prevent Cancer Tue, 16 Jul 2013 20:57:12 +0000 Laura The human body has an amazing ability to heal, given it has the right nutrients to maintain a healthy immune system. When the body is working as it should, it has the ability to combat all kinds of conditions and diseases. Once compromised by a diet of processed-food, chemicals, sugar, toxins and not enough fresh fruits and vegetables it becomes more and more difficult for your body to heal naturally.

Cancer-Fighting Foods

In his article for author and naturopathic doctor Dave Mihalovic talks about how your immune system is setup to naturally fight cancer tumors.

Certain proteins within our immune system hold the precise instructions needed to destroy cancerous tumors.

In a healthy body, this inherent ability is always present and always effective without the use of drugs.

However, these proteins can be rendered ineffective if cells experience uncontrolled growth though damage or mutations to DNA or if toxins through food and chemical pollution override the immune system’s natural function.

Many of us don’t eat right, get enough sleep and manage stress as well as we’d like. That’s why you should augment your body’s cancer fighting abilities by incorporating these 5 foods into your diet.

5 Foods That Prevent Cancer

  • Tumeric
  • Grapes and resveratrol
  • Green tea
  • Tomatoes
  • Raw fruits and veggies

Read more about how these foods kill cancer here.

To this list we’ll add another powerful food that has been shown to inhibit cancerous tumor growth: raw almonds. Almonds are full of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and more. They are very high in phosphorus, magnesium and calcium.

raw almonds

Photo: Elenathewise/iStockPhoto. Raw almonds

Mg %DV
Phosphorus 134.379 NA
Iron 1.219 6
Calcium 70.308 8
Magnesium 77.963 21
Vitamin E 7.422 35

Read more about how almonds can prevent cancer naturally here.


]]> 0
6 Ways To Avoid Eating GMOs Fri, 12 Jul 2013 21:26:36 +0000 Laura If you don’t live in a country that’s banned Genetically Modified food, it can be difficult to keep track of what foods are GM and what foods aren’t. The most important thing you can do to avoid eating GMOs is to become familiar with foods or ingredients that are commonly GM. Having that information is a step in the right direction, but there’s more you can do including buying food from local farmers you trust.

top GMO foods

Infographic: Natural News. Top GMO foods.

Know Your Food

In her article for Prevent Disease Natasha Longo talks about how education and changes to how and where you buy your food can help you avoid eating GMOs.

It’s almost impossible to avoid all GMO foods, however educating yourself can make a big difference in the percentage of foods you purchase as a consumer.

Natasha’s list includes:

  • becoming familiar with common foods that are genetically modified
  • understanding the labeling codes on fruits and vegetables
  • buying 100% grass-fed beef
  • buying local food
  • sticking to whole foods
  • growing your own food

Read the full article here.

And, thankfully, there are now a couple of apps to help make it even easier to avoid GMO food. Buycott is an app that helps you avoid foods (by scanning the bar code) that violate campaigns you’re aligned with, GMO labeling in this case. Fooducate, which has a mission to “eliminate nutrition label confusion,” also has an app that you can use to scan products while you’re shopping and will alert you if there are possible GM ingredients in the food.

]]> 0
6 Snacks That Aren’t As Healthy As You Think Wed, 10 Jul 2013 00:02:37 +0000 Laura Don’t be fooled by the marketing hype. Those snacks you thought were healthy aren’t. Some of the snacks that will surprise you are veggie chips, energy bars and smoothies.

Read more about it at Everyday Health here.

]]> 0
Carageenan: Safe Or Not? Mon, 20 May 2013 22:14:38 +0000 Laura Carageenan is an ultra-refined chemical that’s produced from red seaweed and is a food additive that’s in a lot of products including milk, yogurt, and ice cream. But it’s highly processed.

So much stuff has been written about carageenan, some saying it’s good and some saying it’s bad. There are some that say it’s only the undegraded kind (not food-grade) that’s bad. With it being added to so many foods including things that people think are healthy, like almond milk, we really need to know once and for all if it’s safe.

blue diamond almond breeze nut milk

Source: Breeze almond nut milk.

Carageenan Linked To Many Diseases Including Diabetes

In his article on the safety of carageenan Dr. Weil writes that he doesn’t recommend regular consumption of carageenan. He references Dr. Tobacman’s findings: that all forms of carageenan cause inflammation which is a root cause of may chronic conditions including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. And many people report having allergic reactions–it might be the carageenan in that dairy product that’s making you sick.

Dr. Tobacman also told the board that in the past, drug investigators actually used carrageenan to cause inflammation in tissues in order to test the anti-inflammatory properties of new drugs. And she reported further that when laboratory mice are exposed to low concentrations of carrageenan for 18 days, they develop “profound” glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action, both of which can lead to diabetes.

Carageenan is even used in medications, at higher amounts, and has also been linked to cancer. Read more of Dr. Weil’s article here.

Is it any surprise that something so highly processed (think high-fructose corn syrup) could cause inflammation and other bodily disturbances? I think not.


]]> 1
What Is GMO? Sat, 18 May 2013 13:49:31 +0000 editors Are you one of those people that thinks that without GMO food we would have worms in our tomatoes and tomato paste? Does your friend or loved one think this way? Well, we’re going to shed some light on this subject and explain just what GMO is and how it’s made–or should we say engineered.

Genetically Modified Organisms and How They Got That Way

This is an excellent video from Media Roots that tells you everything you need to know about what a GMO is and how it got that way. To explain this let’s talk about a tomato. In a nutshell what happens is a virus “promoter” gene, usually the Cauliflower Mosaic virus which causes tumors on plants (nice, huh?), is used to get a modified gene (soil bacteria + e. coli) into the cells of the tomato plant. Voila! Now the tomato is a Genetically Modified Organism and the process of creating the modified gene and getting it into the plant is called Genetic Engineering.

The idea behind GMOs was to modify plants so you could grow them out of season (winter) and in locations where they wouldn’t normally grow (desert). While those intentions sound good the problem is that these bacteria and virus DNA don’t just pass through human beings. The foreign DNA ends up inside the good bacteria in our gut that’s responsible for digestion.

Watch the Future of Food documentary if you’d like to know more about how genetically engineered food has found its way into our grocery stores and on our tables.

The full documentary is available here.

And just released,  May 2013, is a new smartphone app called Buycott that gives you the ability to boycott a food if it’s company or parent company(s) have donated more than $150,000 to block GMO labeling legislation. Read more about Buycott here.

Share this with your family and friends so they’ll be better informed about what GMOs are, how they’re made, and how they can make better product choices with Buycott!


]]> 0
Connection Between Monsanto and Bill Gates? Tue, 14 May 2013 20:27:06 +0000 Laura In a recent CBS’ “60 Minutes” interview Bill and Melinda Gates talk about their foundation and efforts to help feed the world and improve education around the world. But did you know that their foundation bought 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock in 2010?

Monsanto and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates are considered to be one of the world’s most generous philanthropists and their desire to feed the hungry and heal the sick is extremely worthy. But their foundation’s investment portfolio makes you wonder why they would choose to invest in, ally with and otherwise get in bed with Monsanto?

bill gates

Photo: World Economic Forum/Wikipedia. Bill Gates.

In his article Dr. Mercola talks about Gates’ plan to end world hunger by growing more genetically modified (GM) crops.

He’s already invested $27 million into Monsanto Company—leading some countries to reject his charity due to the high risks, such as:

  • New disease vectors
  • Mutated pesticide-resistant insects
  • Resistant “superweeds”
  • Contamination of surrounding non-GM crops

Seattle-based Agra Watch, a project for the Community Alliance for Global Justice, pointed out in a press release that this partnership between the Gates’ Foundation and Monsanto will allow both to profit at the expense of small farmers.

“The Foundation’s direct investment in Monsanto is problematic on two primary levels,” said Dr. Phil Bereano, University of Washington Professor Emeritus and recognized expert on genetic engineering. “First, Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well-being of small farmers around the world, as well as an appalling environmental track record. The strong connections to Monsanto cast serious doubt on the Foundation’s heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa and purported goal of alleviating poverty and hunger among small-scale farmers. Second, this investment represents an enormous conflict of interests.”

Read the full article here.

It’s disheartening to know that the Gates’ Foundation generosity is being directed toward Monsanto. They need to know that GM crops are not the way forward. The Sustainability Education Network had a petition on Care2 which was very well-written. It got just short of the 3,000 signatures they wanted. Tell them you want their petition re-opened here.

]]> 0