I remember reading about someone shopping at a farmers market. He found eggs at $1.50 a dozen, but just next to that table another man was offering free range organic eggs for $3.00 per dozen. The man complained at the difference in price. The farmer with the free range eggs gave a very good answer. He said: pay the farmer now or pay the doctor later.
Yes, short term savings on food today could cost us our health much later on. There are, however, more reasons than ever to purchase your fresh organic food from the farmers whenever you are in a position to spend a little extra.
If you shop in a typical large supermarket there may be more things that have been done to your food than meets the eye. Even the simplest of foods such as apples, oranges, and chicken are commonly altered, treated with chemicals, or even injected with artificial coloring.
TIME MAGAZINE reported: “your food goes through a lot to make it to you, from being treated with antibiotics to getting a chlorine bath and a wax coating. Many of these steps are no big deal but some are bad for your health and others huge money wasters.”
Here are some dirty tricks the food industry uses to make their food look fresher and more appealing and last longer.
When you purchase wild free range salmon that eat all the natural foods found in nature you are obtaining a healthy and nutritious fish that has nice pink colored flesh. This natural salmon offers a nutritionally balanced and complete food with micronutrients, fats, minerals and vitamins. The pink color of the salmon comes from the natural antioxidants astaxanthin that their flesh contains. However, the farmed salmon are fed an artificial diet consisting of grain products like corn and soy (most of which is genetically modified) which contains strange ingredients like chicken and feather meal as well as artificial coloring, and synthetic astaxanthin. Did you know that synthetic astaxanthin is not approved for human consumption? How is it then that it is permitted to be used in fish feed that humans ultimately eat?
Another problem with Farm-Raised salmon is their level of omega-3 fats which may be reduced by about 50 percent compared to wild salmon. But it does not end there. These farmed salmon contain high levels of contaminants. The Norwegian Department of Health has raised serious concerns about high levels of contaminants in farm-raised salmon. So serious are these contaminants that in 2006, Russia actually banned Norwegian farmed salmon, claiming it contained excessive amounts of lead and cadmium (originating from the feed).
Would you be tempted to eat a greenish/yellowish orange? Probably not, so Florida orange growers often spray the first crop of oranges with Citrus Red No. 2 dye to make them look bright orange. However, this is not inoffensive dye, it has been proven toxic to rodents at modest levels and has caused tumors of the bladder and possibly other organs. This very same dye is not allowed to be used in California oranges!
Once again, Citrus Red No. 2 is not intended for consumption, but just the same, it is often added to juice oranges. Check the label as it should be stated if the orange has been colored.
When you start reading labels you will find that many products contain food coloring and not just the oranges. Take a loaf of bread; it will probably contain caramel color, as might your roast beef deli meat. Do you enjoy a fresh crunchy pickle? Well, often pickle spears are dyed yellow to make them look more appealing, as are countless other foods.
In their 58-page report, “Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks,” CSPI revealed that nine of the food dyes currently approved for use in the US are linked to health issues ranging from cancer and hyperactivity to allergy-like reactions – and these results were from studies conducted by the chemical industry itself.
Take a popular food coloring, Red # 40 for instance, it may accelerate the appearance of tumors in mice, while also triggering hyperactivity in children.
Another common color is Blue #2, used in candies, beverages, pet foods, and more has been linked to brain tumors. And, Yellow #5, used in baked goods, candies, cereal, and more, may not only be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals, but it’s also linked to hyperactivity, hypersensitivity, and other behavioral effects in children.
Some produce, like apples are often waxed after harvest to withstand the long journey to market unscarred and to protect against the many hands that touch it. Apparently, this wax being used is supposed to be food-grade and safe. But a lot depends on the type of wax used.
The natural waxes, like bees wax, are by far more preferable than the petroleum-based waxes, which may contain solvent residues or wood rosins. How do you know if the produce is waxed? Sad to say, it is not labeled, so you have no way of knowing for sure. However, if you purchase organic produce it will not contain petroleum-based wax coatings (although it may contain carnauba wax or insect shellac, which is natural).
Obviously, we do not want our families to be eating petroleum-based waxes. But the problem is exacerbated by the fact that these waxes seal in pesticide residues and debris, making them even more difficult to remove with just water. You will have to really clean and scrub the produce with baking soda and water and maybe some vinegar to get them clean enough to eat. So once again buying organic produce makes even more sense than ever to get around these dirty food industry tricks. Produce that is often waxed includes Cucumbers, Bell peppers, Eggplants, Potatoes, Apples, Lemons, Oranges, and Limes.
We have all read how cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil is good for our health. But once again the food industry cannot leave this beautiful natural oil alone, but instead, has to adulterate it by blending it with less expensive oils. According to the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s (USP) Food Fraud Database, hazelnut, soybean, corn, sunflower, palm, sesame, grape seed, and walnut oils are often added to the olive oil. How do you know if your olive oil is adulterated? You probably will not because these other oils will not be listed on the label, nor will most people be able to discern that their olive oil is not pure. If you live in Spain, Italy and other olive oil producing countries it is very easy to get high quality olive oil.
If you do not live near olive oil producers, then try to locate an independent olive oil shop that can tell you about the producers, or at least seek out a brand name that is known for quality oil. Another thing I like to do is taste the oil before I buy it. If you know what pure olive oil tastes like you will easily be able to detect the quality of the oil.
Free range organic chicken costs more, but it is worth every penny. Chicken is a very healthy food choice, but only if you consume free range and free from anti-biotics and harmful chemicals.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) permits poultry producers to put all the poultry through an antimicrobial wash, using chlorine and other chemicals to kill pathogens. It is still fresh in our minds the problems we are causing ourselves with antibiotics, such as antibiotic-resistant “super germs“. Anti-biotics, when used in animal feed, makes the problem even worse. You may have heard as well that workers in the animal processing plants have also reported health problems from the chemical washes, including asthma and other respiratory problems. Another unsettling concern is how much of the chlorine residue remains on the chicken when you eat it.
Fortunately for those who live in Europe, the European Union (EU) has not only banned the use of chlorine washes, but they won’t even accept US poultry that’s been treated with these antimicrobial sprays. The so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, could generate an estimated $100 billion a year in economic growth for both the US and the EU, but many Germans believe a trade agreement with the US would compromise their food safety and quality.
So far GM crops are banned in several European countries and we hope and pray it will stay that way. However, if any foods are GM, they have to be labeled. In the US, legislation that protects the use of GM seeds are now being passed that allows for unabated expansion, in addition to the fact that GM ingredients do not have to be labeled on a federal level.
If that is not enough to worry you, chicken litter, a rendered down mix of chicken manure, dead chickens, feathers, and spilled feed, is marketed as a cheap feed product for US cows. Can you believe that industries would feed this to the cattle that you and I will consume later on? Well, the beef industry likes it because it’s even cheaper than corn and soy, so an estimated 2 billion pounds are purchased each year in the US. It is all about money!
The fact is, however, any cow that eats chicken litter may also be consuming various beef products intended for chickens. Is that a problem? Yes because it raises serious concerns about Mad Cow Disease and infectious agents that come with the chicken manure. Fortunately, I live in Europe, which has banned all forms of animal protein, including chicken litter, in cow feed since 2001.
As you well know, processed foods are dead foods that can last a long time on the shelf without going bad, thanks to their chemical cocktails of preservatives and other additives. Yes, these marketing hucksters put a lot of money and time into strategies to increase shelf life and create attractive packaging, with no real concern at all about foods’ nutrient value or how it will actually detract from lasting health.
It goes without saying that avoiding or at least drastically limiting your intake of processed foods is crucial to optimal health. In doing so you avoid coloring agents: blue #1, blue #2, yellow #5, and yellow #6 found in most store-bought cake, candy, macaroni and cheese, medicines, sports drinks, soda, pet food, and cheese. There is are good reasons to avoid these artificial colors, which are often made from coal tar, which is a carcinogen.
Another popular ingredient, bromine, is a poisonous, corrosive chemical linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss. Then, you have Potassium bromate (aka brominated flour) used in Rolls, wraps, flatbread, bread crumbs, and bagel chip associated with kidney and nervous system disorders and gastrointestinal discomfort.
Have you noticed Azodicarbonamide in your bread, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods? This is linked to asthma.
Do you usually eat boxed cereals in the morning? They contain BHA and BHT, which is also in nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer. BHA may be a human carcinogen, a cancer-causing agent. BHT can cause organ system toxicity.
I was raised on a farm and we thrived on vegetables, meats, eggs, fruits and other whole foods, which gave us all a strong foundation of health. So if you want to eat healthily, you might want to eat the way we did back in the 1950s when we spent quality time in the kitchen preparing high-quality meals for the family. Shop at Organic Shops and Farmers Markets and you might want to obtain Heritage Seeds, which are non-GMO and grow a small little garden on your balcony or backyard. http://www.heriseed.com
All the very best.
Lloyd Jenkins PHD
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