Monthly Archives: January 2015

Dieting? Watch What You Eat – It Can Kill You

Odd title but there is truth to it.   What you eat, even if you think it’s healthy, can kill you.

The information I am about to share ranges from upsetting to frightening to life-changing.  I put this together for two friends who want to lose weight and eat healthier diets.  Although some of it appears to be “off tangent,” all of this information affects your ability to lose weight and keep it off; all of it is about what to avoid (like commercially produced milk or corn) if you want to get healthy.

If you want to change your diet quickly and start to see weight loss and better health, here’s the first step.

Processed Foods
Ditch the processed foods.  I confess that this was the hardest for me and my husband but it is necessary.  Get rid of all processed foods.  That means removing foods like these:

  1. Chips of any kind (yes even and especially corn chips as they contain GMO corn and are actually almost pure sugar to the body).
  2. Potatoes in any shape or variety – not baked, not mashed and really, really not fried or escalloped.
  3. Pasta – that’s a lot to ask but almost ALL pasta on the market is made with refined grains and eating it is a bit like injecting a syringe of “bad carbs” and sugar directly into your vein.
  4. Store-bought canned soup unless it’s organic and low sodium.
  5. Candy – it is sugar.
  6. Cookies – they are sugar, flour and fat (butter or margarine and of the two, margarine is a bit riskier).
  7. Cake – ditto what I said about cookies.
  8. ANYTHING fried – french fries, fried fish, fried chicken and yes, even fried pickles.

Artificially Sweetened Anything
This step starts for most people with getting rid of diet soda.  But, wait, you’re thinking, artificial sweeteners let me cut calories and still drink something sweet. Why should I cut out all artifical sweeteners?

Early research indicates that artificial sweeteners may “trick” the body and cause an increase in eating because the body expects sugar and doesn’t get it (my summary and certainly not all that scientific but Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine explains in more detail).

Meat
Protein from meat is not all bad but it can be if you don’t know where your meat has been before it came to your store or your dinner plate.

In this move to change what you eat, you need to be aware and wary of where your meat comes from.  The only meat I buy is organic and locally raised.  Cows get to graze, chickens get to free-range (literally) and pigs enjoy field time until the day they are picked up.  I visit the farm. I interview the farmer and I specifically ask about hormones, antibiotics and steroids — all not so secret ingredients in commercially produced meat.

Meat whose origins you are unsure of can be dangerous to you and your loved ones. How can I say this?

  1. Chickens, raised commercially, have exactly 6 inches of space to live in.  They are de-beaked because they are so over-crowded that they attack each other. They are fed arsenic to make them “healthier.”  Chickens raised commercially are so stressed that the campylobacter which used to reside in their intestinal tract is now showing up in the flesh of the bird making it necessary for us to raise the internal temp of chicken to a minimum of 160 degrees when baking to kill this bacteria. So I don’t eat commercially raised chicken for reasons of health and humanity.
  2. Breeding female pigs “farmed”by companies like Smithfield in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are held in severely restrictive gestation crates and are forced to stand, literally, for their entire breeding lives.  They cannot turn or lay down in these crates.  I refuse to support this type of cruelty to any animal let alone a pig, which is smarter than the smartest dog (which was a Border Collie with a documented vocabulary of more than 900 words).
  3. On average, 100,000 head of cattle are held in feedlots and fed….cornflakes….to bulk them up prior to slaughter.  Feedlots sound a whole lot nicer than what they really are.   Over-crowding, thigh high mud, and an unnatural diet for a ruminant cause many of the cattle to get bacterial infections.  Antibiotics are standard operating procedure for “managing” the potential for illness but the downside is that the antibiotics get in the beef, in the water and in our bodies.

Cows and pigs are both raised in CAFOs.  CAFOs are not new.  The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit studying and working for a healthy environment and a safer world. This group published a damning paper in 2008 about CAFOs, which focused not just on the horrendous treatment of the animals held/raised in these operations but in the huge risk due to unsanitary, overcrowded conditions  Also, drone footage of the Smithfield operation , which was recently released, shows just how terrible the conditions are in CAFOs and just how much waste the CAFOs produce.

If that information is not enough to have you looking for a local farmer, you should know that CAFOs have to use significantly larger amounts of antibiotics on their animals to try to overcome the hazardous conditions in which they raise the animals.  Last year, the CDC found a direct link to rising incidents of human infection with so-called super bugs like MRSA but also with the common bacteria like e-coli, salmonella, campylobacter and shigella (which causes shingles)   NOTE:  run off from these CAFOs affect fish, birds, bugs and….our drinking water.

Dairy
Last but not least on the list of foods to eliminate — for both your diet and your health are commercially produced dairy products.

I have been trying to move that way and now, because of a TED talk, I will be trying even harder.  According to the speaker, Robyn O’Brien, in 1994, a hormone was introduced to milk cows to increase milk production.It increased production but also caused mastoiditis and cysts in the cattle which required antibiotics which also ended up in our food.

O’Brien is a former food industry analyst and marketer and now the mother of 4 children. She speaks about what has changed all the foods we still think are healthy for us and why they are not. She’s not advocating an overthrow of the giant food companies; she is advocating that these companies start rethinking their strategies a bit as more people awaken to the fact that their health is on the line.

So, if you want to eat healthy and lose weight you have to put in a bit of work.  Rethink the proposition.  Read labels. Research. Know, for a fact, that many of the grains, milk and meat in our marketplace today are being “manufactured” by industry to get more of the product and more profit while basically sickening the people who use them.

It’s not the foods; it’s what the business has put in them.  But you can stop subsidizing these big comapanies.  And you can fight back by buying organic, buying local and growing some of your own.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under arm wresting, Cookbooks, Healthcare, Home Ec on Acid, Inspiring People, World Changing Ideas