Foods, Uncategorized


Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth





This recipe goes heavy on the spinach, a nutrient-dense green rich in carotenoids and vitamin K, as well as magnesium, iron, and copper. A frittata travels and reheats well, making it handy for packed breakfasts, lunches, or on-the-go snacks. You can even make this recipe in muffin tins for extra portability. For a Mexican-inspired version, add seasoned, cooked ground beef, thinly sliced jalapeños, and cilantro.




Makes two servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes


6 large eggs

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

2 tbs. ghee or clarified butter

½ onion, diced

1 cup diced, seeded tomato

4 or 5 tomato slices for topping the frittata

5 cups fresh baby spinach (approximately 9 oz.), roughly chopped

Grated zest and juice of ¼ lemon

Set oven to broil.


In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs with salt and pepper.


Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the ghee to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. When the fat is hot, add onion and diced tomato and cook, stirring, for two to three minutes, until onion is soft. Add the spinach and let it wilt for 30 seconds.


Add the eggs to the skillet and fold them into the vegetables with a rubber spatula. Cook without stirring for about three to four minutes to let the eggs set on the bottom and sides of the pan. When the eggs are firm but still appear wet, lay a few tomato slices on top. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle the lemon zest over the frittata.


Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for three to five minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cut into slices and serve hot.


If you prefer, you can finish your frittata by baking it rather than broiling: Simply preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, then cook it for three to five minutes.

Health and Wellness Associates


Dr Jay Jaranson

Dr Gail Gray







Foods, Uncategorized

Grocery Stores Forced to Sell CAFO EGGS


Grocery Stores Forced to Carry CAFO Eggs


In the U.S., 94 percent of eggs produced come from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), or factory farms,1 where hens, so-called “caged layers,” spend their entire lives in small wire battery cages. Each hen gets a space that’s smaller than a standard sheet of paper where she’s unable to even spread her wings. This practice is undeniably cruel, with the hens suffering severe health problems as a result of their immobility, from spinal cord deterioration leading to paralysis to muscle and bone wasting.


Battery cages have already been banned in the European Union, and in the U.S. demand is growing for more humane — and healthier — cage-free options. In fact, about 100 grocery chains, 60 restaurant chains and other food businesses have said they plan to switch to cage-free eggs in the next 10 years, a move that would affect about 70 percent of the U.S. egg demand.2


This would require the majority of CAFO egg producers to rethink the cheap way they’re churning out eggs, so not surprisingly there’s been some resistance from the industry.


Among the most brazen is a bill introduced in Iowa that would require grocery stores in the state to always carry CAFO eggs.3 The pitch is that cage-free eggs can be more expensive, so the bill is supposed to protect consumers’ access to cheaper eggs and ensure “consumer choice,” but what it’s really about is protecting the interests of industrialized agriculture.


Clearly Big Ag is getting nervous; even Walmart has said it will eventually source its eggs from cage-free operations, but the bill, if it’s passed, would require them to still carry CAFO eggs in its Iowa stores.4


CAFO Chicken Producers Are Dirty Birds

In addition to eggs, CAFOs also supply the vast majority of chicken bought and consumed in the U.S., with similar concerns about animal welfare, public health and environmental pollution. Big Chicken, including big names such as Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride, Koch Farms and Sanderson Farm, has also been hit with a number of lawsuits recently alleging they engaged in a conspiracy to raise and fix prices over the last decade.


“Historically, broiler chicken was priced on a boom-and-bust cycle — when prices for chicken went up, so did supply; then, prices would fall,” WUWM reported.5 More recently, however, the price of broiler chickens has stabilized and risen, even as input costs, such as corn and soy for feed, have dropped. The game-changer appears to be Agri Stats, a software program that allows poultry companies to share data such as production numbers, bird sizes and financial returns.


“The database company gathers information from 95 percent of poultry processors and tracks 22 million birds a day. Companies can then use this information, according to farmers, retailers and distributors, to set a higher price for all their products,” according to WUWM.6


A Bloomberg report also revealed that profit margins at some leading chicken producers grew exponentially in recent years. For Tyson, profits rose from 1.6 percent to 11.9 percent from 2009 to 2016 and, for Pilgrim’s Pride, from 3.8 percent to nearly 13 percent between 2012 and 2015.7,8


In 2016, a lawsuit from Maplevale Farms, a food wholesaler, was filed against Tyson and Pilgrim’s alleging the companies were in collusion to increase broiler wholesale prices by nearly 50 percent from 2008, causing Maplevale to pay inflated prices. Another lawsuit, filed in 2017 by several farmers against Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue, Sanderson, Koch and others, alleges the companies formed a cartel to keep down farmers’ wages. WUWM continued:9


“In April 2017, Chicken Kitchen, a restaurant franchiser, brought a similar lawsuit against Tyson Foods, alleging that the company ‘conspired to fix, maintain and stabilize the price of Broilers by limiting production with the intent of increasing Broiler prices in the United States.’


On Jan. 12, the Southern supermarket chains Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo filed suit against Koch Foods, Tyson, Pilgrim’s Pride, and others alleging that the processors restricted supply in order to keep prices high. US Foods and Sysco followed with separate lawsuits on Jan. 30.”


Many are also not aware that, in addition to allegedly trying to shortchange farmers’ wages, the industry pays its farmers via a tournament or “gladiator system,” which pits farmers against each other. Those ranked in the top half (producing the fattest chickens with the least amount of feed, for instance) receive a bonus payment while those at the bottom will get a penalty. That may mean the farmers at the bottom receive about half the pay for the same number of chickens.10


100 Percent Natural, Really?

Sanderson Farms is no stranger to lawsuits. In June 2017, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), Friends of the Earth (FoE) and Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a lawsuit against Sanderson Farms for falsely advertising their products as “100% Natural.” In reality, testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) National Residue Program revealed a battery of unnatural residues in the chicken, including:


Antibiotics for human use, including one prohibited for use in food animals


Ketamine, a drug that causes hallucinogenic effects that is not approved for use in poultry


Ketoprofren, an anti-inflammatory drug


Predisone, a steroid


Two growth hormones banned for use in poultry


Amoxicillin, a human antibiotic not approved for use in poultry


Penicillin residues




Out of 69 inspections of Sanderson Farms in various states from November 2015 to November 2016, 49 found residues that were far from “natural.”11 Although Sanderson’s claims their chicken is “nothing but chicken,” it actually contains a number of residues that are not disclosed on the label. Ronnie Cummins, OCA’s international director, told Sustainable Pulse:12


“Consumers should be alarmed that any food they eat contains steroids, recreational or anti-inflammatory drugs, or antibiotics prohibited for use in livestock — much less that these foods are falsely advertised and labeled ‘100% Natural’ … Sanderson’s advertising claims are egregiously misleading to consumers, and unfair to competitors.


The organic and free-range poultry sector would be growing much more rapidly if consumers knew the truth about Sanderson’s products and false advertising.”


Meanwhile, Sanderson is fighting back against the OCA’s suit; they filed a motion for sanctions in February 2018, and it remains a “buyer beware” market when it comes to these types of label claims. When sorting through “natural” and “antibiotic free” labels available, it’s important to be aware of the “fine print” in many cases. In Perdue’s No Antibiotics Ever program, for instance, it means just that.


However, if the label states only “responsible antibiotic use,” “veterinarian-approved antibiotic use,” “no antibiotic residue” or “100% natural,” antibiotics may have been used in the hatchery while the chick is in the egg. Even if a product is labeled organic, it could have had antibiotics used in the hatchery. The exception is if it is labeled organic and “raised without antibiotics.”


In this case, it means no antibiotics were used at any point. Other loopholes include stating “no human antibiotics,” but this means other animal antibiotics may be used.


Claims to watch out for include the “no growth-promoting antibiotics” label and the no “critically important” antibiotics label or claims. In the former case, it means antibiotics may still be used for disease prevention and in the latter, most critically important antibiotics aren’t used in poultry production anyway, so the “claim doesn’t translate to meaningful change in antibiotic use,” according to Consumer Reports.13


As for the USDA’s definition of “natural,” it only means a product contains “no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product.” Under this vague description, Bloomberg noted, “even chicken nuggets — that emblem of highly processed, additive-laden, junk food — have borne the ‘100% natural’ label.”14


Sanderson Says Not Enough Antibiotics Used

Sanderson Farms, the third-largest poultry producer in the U.S., which processes more than 10.6 million chickens every week, is the only large producer that has refused to commit to limiting antibiotics use.15 In February 2017, a Sanderson Farms shareholder proposal that requested the company phase out the use of medically important antibiotics even failed to pass.16


The company has stated that using antibiotics preventively in food animals is not dangerous to human health17 and, as of February 2018, they still state on their website FAQs section, “After deliberate and careful consideration, we do not plan to withdraw antibiotics from our program at this time.”18 Meanwhile, they’ve even gone so far as to claim that the U.S. is currently facing a surplus of antibiotic-free chicken.


In a regulatory filing, Sanderson said that while 40.5 percent of U.S. fresh chicken production was made up of antibiotic-free birds, only 6.4 percent of it was sold as antibiotic-free. While neglecting to identify the sources of the data, Sanderson also claimed that consumers mostly want antibiotic-free breast meat and chicken tenders, which means chicken producers must then sell the rest of the antibiotic-free meat at lower prices, even though it cost more to produce.19


In the filing, Sanderson claimed, “Industry data indicate that the supply of ABF [antibiotic-free] chicken is currently significantly greater than demand for the product, and that oversupply has increased.” They also continue to assert that using antibiotics is beneficial for both animal welfare and the company, telling Reuters, “It allows us to produce product at a more affordable price point.”20


Never mind that, as a result of the overuse of antibiotics, especially for purposes of growth promotion or providing low doses to prevent diseases that are likely to occur when animals are raised in dirty and overcrowded living conditions, the threat of antimicrobial resistance is increasing around the globe.21


Meanwhile, even some Sanderson shareholders support the end of antibiotic use. At the company’s annual meeting held February 15, 2018, 43 percent of Sanderson’s investors supported a proposal urging the company to stop its use of medically important antibiotics for disease prevention in healthy chickens — up from 30 percent who supported a similar proposal in 2017. Sanderson, however, had reportedly “urged investors to vote no on the proposal.”22


Why Is Government Entertaining the Idea of Protecting CAFOs?

As for the Iowa bill that would force stores to carry a certain product, namely CAFO eggs, it’s disturbing though not surprising given the government’s history of protecting industrialized agriculture. Consider Vande Bunte Eggs in Michigan, an egg-laying chicken CAFO that houses 1.6 million birds. With more than 200 state permit violations in the span of three years, you might think the facility would be in danger of being shut down.


Instead, it’s received more than $1 million in federal subsidies. The company’s Tim Vande Bunte also testified in support of Senate Bill 660, which was introduced in December 2017 and would push back the deadline for Michigan egg producers to provide cage-free chicken housing from 2020 to 2025.23


Vande Bunte’s many violations are but one example cited in a report compiled by the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan.24,25 The report analyzed 272 CAFOs in Michigan and found they had collectively received more than $103 million in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2014, all while racking up 644 environmental permit violations by the end of 2016.


Meanwhile, in early 2017, 35 advocacy groups, including Food & Water Watch, called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to close federal loopholes that are allowing CAFOs to continue polluting the planet. In a petition, the groups asked the EPA to require CAFOs housing a certain number of animals or using a certain kind of manure management system to obtain a permit. The EPA has said that up to 75 percent of CAFOs need permits but only 40 percent have them.


What’s the Best Source for Chicken and Eggs?


Choosing food that comes from small regenerative farms — not CAFOs — is crucial. While avoiding CAFO meats, look for antibiotic-free alternatives raised by organic and regenerative farmers. Unfortunately, loopholes abound, allowing CAFO-raised chickens and eggs to masquerade as “free-range” and “organic.”


The Cornucopia Institute addressed some of these issues their egg report and scorecard, which ranks egg producers according to 28 organic criteria. It can help you to make a more educated choice if you’re buying your eggs at the supermarket.


Ultimately, to find safer, more humane and environmentally friendly chicken and eggs, the best choice is to get to know a local farmer and get your meat and eggs there directly. Alternatively, you might consider raising your own backyard chickens, though requirements vary widely depending on your locale, with many limiting the number of chickens you can raise or requiring quarterly inspections (at a cost) and permits, so check with your city before taking the plunge.


If you don’t want to raise your own chickens but still want farm-fresh eggs, you have many options. Finding high-quality organic, pastured eggs locally is getting easier, as virtually every rural area has individuals with chickens. If you live in an urban area, visiting the local health food stores is typically the quickest route to finding high-quality local egg sources. Farmers markets and food co-ops are another great way to meet people producing food the right way.


Health and Wellness Associates


DR J Jaranson

312-972-WELL ( 9355)


Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Protein Breakfast Bowl


Protein Breakfast Bowl



1 small onion, sliced

6-8 medium mushrooms, sliced

5 oz grass-fed ground beef

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 small avocado, diced

10-12 pitted black olives, sliced




  1. In a heavy skillet over medium high heat, melt a little bit of coconut oil. When oil is hot, add onions, mushrooms, and salt and pepper. Cook for around 2 to 3 minutes, until the vegetables are fragrant and softened.
  2. Add ground beef and smoked paprika and continue cooking until the beef is no longer pink. Set the beef aside on a plate.
  3. Add eggs to the skillet and scramble them to your liking.
  4. Return beef to the pan. Add avocado and sliced olives.
  5. Continue cooking for about 45 seconds to a minute in order to slightly warm up the avocados and olives.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with parsley, if desired.



Health and Wellness Associates


Dr J Jaranson



Foods, Uncategorized

Mexican Garden Scramble



Mexican Garden Scramble


Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is one of the best ways to control your blood pressure. Fruit and vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, but especially valuable are the potassium, magnesium, and even calcium that they provide. One way to ensure you are getting enough vegetables is to start your day with a serving!


This Mexican garden scramble includes flavorful peppers and onions, cilantro, and tomatoes folded into fluffy, protein-rich scrambled eggs. Topped with a bit of shredded cheese and creamy, potassium-rich avocado, this breakfast is a delicious and satisfying way to start your day.



3 large eggs + 1 egg white

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh jalapeno, diced

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup tomato, diced

1/2 small avocado, sliced

2 tablespoons shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese

salsa or hot sauce


In a small bowl, whisk eggs and white until combined and fluffy. Set aside.

Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with oil and add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.


Turn heat to low, spray again, and add eggs. Cook over low heat, pushing eggs from outside of pan to the center with a rubber spatula, until almost done. Add cooked veggies and 2 tablespoons cilantro to the eggs and continue cooking until eggs are set.



To assemble, divide eggs between two bowls. Add tomato, avocado, cheese, and remaining cilantro. Top with your favorite salsa or hot sauce. Enjoy!


Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

If you have other veggies on hand that need to be used up, feel free to throw them into the pan with the peppers and onions. Breakfast scrambles are a great way to use up vegetables that are about to go bad. Mushrooms, corn, and spinach would all be great additions.


To keep the calories, fat and sodium under control, be sure to stick to the small portion of cheese and avocado listed in the recipe. While nutritious, these foods are also calorie-dense.


If you need to watch your cholesterol, you can use all egg whites in place of whole eggs.


Cooking and Serving Tips

When making scrambled eggs, keep the heat on low and slowly stir from the outside edges inward for the best results.


Serve with a warmed whole grain corn or whole wheat tortilla and a serving of fresh fruit to round out the meal.


If you are having concerns about your food intake, please make an appointment with us and we can work on a personal health care plan.


Health and Wellness Associates



Foods, Uncategorized

Shakshuka and Recipe


Shakshuka Recipe


Shakshuka: if you’re looking for new egg recipes for breakfast, this is one you have to try.




If you’re wondering what is shakshuka, the word actually means “a mixture” in certain Arab dialects, which makes sense. The traditional version is made from a mix of benefit-rich eggs, tomatoes, chili peppers and onions, but there are dozens of modern interpretations of it – from adding in other veggies like eggplant or spinach, to sneaking in cheese and meats.  We have talked earlier how beneficial having eggs with onions together are.  The enzymes together are so important.


Shakshuka’s Origins


Shakshuka’s background comes from North Africa, where it’s a staple in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. It’s also extremely popular in Israel, where the egg dish arrived with a wave of North African immigration in the 1950s. It’s often eaten as a breakfast dish because it’s egg-based, but in Israel, it’s not uncommon to have it as a dinner meal, particularly once temperatures drop.


Traditional shakshuka is meat-free and uses pretty basic ingredients; this is part of the reason why it’s remained so popular, as it’s accessible to prepare even if you’re short on cash.


Is Shakshuka Healthy?


For a deliciously simple meal, shakshuka is super good for you. Because of the eggs, it’s a terrific source of protein. It also uses harissa, a Tunisian chili paste made form olive oil, garlic, chili peppers and spices. That means it packs a punch for your taste buds and your gut. My shakshuka recipe also incorporates yogurt and sauerkraut for an anti-inflammation, probiotic kick.


Best of all, it’s quite easy to cook up but makes an impressive dish. It’s naturally gluten-free, too. So if you’re ready to try a new egg recipe for breakfast, you have to try shakshuka.




Begin by heating a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Then add in the avocado oil, which is known for its healing properties, along with harissa, red peppers, garlic and spices. Cook, stirring the mixture occasionally, until it thickens.




Next, add in the fire-roasted tomatoes and cook the mix for another 10 minutes.




Add in a handful of fresh basil, stirring to mix in.




Then using the back of a wooden spatula, create four indents in the shakshuka mix for the eggs.




Add the eggs to the skillet and cook, uncovered, for another 10 minutes, or until the eggs are as runny or as cooked as you like them.




Serve the shakshuka with yogurt, saukerkraut and more fresh basil.


I hope you enjoy this healthy shakshuka recipe as much – and as often – as I do!


Shakshuka Recipe

Total Time: 25 minutesServes: 2–3



2 tablespoons avocado oil

1/4-1/2 cup harissa

3 tablespoons organic tomato paste

2 large red peppers, small diced

4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

1 ½ teaspoon chili powder

1-2 teaspoons sea salt

1-2 teaspoons pepper

1-2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

½ cup fire roasted tomatoes

2-3 very ripe tomatoes

4 pasture raised eggs

Plain grass fed yogurt


1-2 handfuls of fresh basil



In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add in the avocado oil, harissa, red peppers, garlic and spices.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens.

Add in the fire roasted tomatoes and continue cooking for 10 minutes.

Using the back of a wooden spatula, form four shallow indents for the eggs.

Add in the eggs and cook, uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until eggs are desired doneness.

Serve topped with yogurt, sauerkraut and basil.


Please share with family and loved ones

Health and Wellness Associates



Foods, Uncategorized

Homemade Mayonnaise


How To Make Mayonnaise with an Immersion Blender


Makes 1 cup

What You Need


2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)

1 cup canola oil, olive oil, or any other oil



Measuring cups and spoons

Immersion blender

Immersion blender cup or wide-mouth canning jar



Combine the yolks, lemon juice, salt, and mustard: Combine the yolks, lemon juice, salt, and mustard in the blender cup or canning jar. Pulse with the immersion blender a few times to break up the yolks. You may need to tilt the cup so the blender blade reaches the yolks.

Add 1/2 cup of the oil a little at a time: With the immersion blender running, add the first 1/2 cup of oil a few tablespoons at a time. Make sure each addition of oil is completely blended before adding the next. The mixture should start to thicken and lighten. (Once you’ve made this a few times and have a feel for it, you can try going more quickly, or even try pouring all the oil on top of the eggs and then blending all at once — going slowly at first is just an extra level of insurance.)

Add the remaining oil in a steady stream: Once the first half cup of oil has been added, you can add the rest more quickly. Add as much of the oil as needed to reach the consistency you prefer; the more oil you add, the thicker the mayo will become. You may not need to use all the oil. If the mayo becomes too thick and you’d like to thin it out, blend water, 1 teaspoon at a time, into the mayo until you reach your desired thickness.

Store the mayonnaise: Transfer any mayo not being used immediately to a storage container (or leave it in the canning jar and seal it with a lid). Homemade mayo will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator.


Please share one of your homemade mayonnaise recipes with us.


Health and Wellness Associates



Foods, Uncategorized

Spinach Frittata




This recipe goes heavy on the spinach, a nutrient-dense green rich in carotenoids and vitamin K, as well as magnesium, iron, and copper. A frittata travels and reheats well, making it handy for packed breakfasts, lunches, or on-the-go snacks. You can even make this recipe in muffin tins for extra portability. For a Mexican-inspired version, add seasoned, cooked ground beef, thinly sliced jalapeños, and cilantro.


Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes

  • 6 large eggs
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbs. ghee or clarified butter
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced, seeded tomato
  • 4 or 5 tomato slices for topping the frittata
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach (approximately 9 oz.), roughly chopped
  • Grated zest and juice of ¼ lemon

Set oven to broil.

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs with salt and pepper.

Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the ghee to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. When the fat is hot, add onion and diced tomato and cook, stirring, for two to three minutes, until onion is soft. Add the spinach and let it wilt for 30 seconds.

Add the eggs to the skillet and fold them into the vegetables with a rubber spatula. Cook without stirring for about three to four minutes to let the eggs set on the bottom and sides of the pan. When the eggs are firm but still appear wet, lay a few tomato slices on top. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle the lemon zest over the frittata.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for three to five minutes, until the top is golden brown. Cut into slices and serve hot.

If you prefer, you can finish your frittata by baking it rather than broiling: Simply preheat the oven to 500 degrees F, then cook it for three to five minutes.


Foods, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Chicken, Eggs, Raised, Organic or Not


When raised the way nature intended, both chickens and their eggs are healthy sources of high-quality nutrients that many are deficient in — especially high-quality protein and healthy fat.


Eggs contain complete proteins, meaning they provide the eight essential amino acids, essential to the building, maintenance and repair of your skin, internal organs, muscles, and more.


They also contain carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for good eyesight, and choline, which is needed for the normal development of memory, as well as betaine, tryptophan and tyrosine, all of which are important for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.


Cholesterol is also important for health, and contrary to popular belief, the cholesterol in eggs will not adversely affect your cholesterol levels.


However, to reap all the benefits chicken and eggs have to offer, it’s important to realize that not all chickens and eggs are the same. It all depends on how they were raised. I strongly advise sticking with free-range organic varieties.


Not only is the nutritional profile of eggs and chickens raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) inferior to their pastured, free-ranging counterparts, they’re also far more likely to be contaminated with salmonella.


Organic Egg Scorecard Cuts Through Confusion and Misleading Labels


While there’s no way to guarantee 100 percent safety all the time, the benefits of free-range poultry are becoming more well-recognized, and reduced disease risk is definitely part of that benefits package.


As reported by The Guardian, sale of cage-free and organic eggs is on the rise, and five U.S. states now ban caged hens. Unfortunately, loopholes abound, allowing CAFO-raised chickens and eggs to masquerade as “free-range” and “organic.”


Both consumers and corporate customers, such as McDonald’s, Nestle, and General Mills, are now demanding egg producers convert to cage-free methods. It’s worth noting that “cage-free” still does not mean the chickens were raised under ideal conditions.


They’re not raised in cages, but they may still not have access to the outdoors. So there are still significant differences even between “cage-free” and “free range” (or “pastured”) eggs. With so many loopholes and lack of transparency, it can be very confusing to sort through it all.


The Cornucopia Institute addressed these issues in a recent egg report. According to Mark Kastel, co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute, there’s a factory farm takeover of the egg industry underway, with large CAFOs now controlling 80 percent of the organic egg market.


Yet less than 9 percent of hens raised in the U.S. are raised without cages.3 The organic label simply means the hens have been raised on organic feed. It is not an indication that they’ve been humanely or sustainably raised.


“For this report, we have visited or surveilled, via aerial photography/satellite imagery, a large percentage of certified egg production in the United States, and surveyed all name-brand and private-label industry marketers,” the Cornucopia Institute writes.


And, according to Mark A. Kastel, The Cornucopia Institute’s co-director and senior farm policy analyst: “It’s obvious that a high percentage of the organic eggs on the market are illegal and should, at best, be labeled ‘produced with organic feed,’ rather than bearing the USDA-certified organic logo.”


The Cornucopia Institute’s report and scorecard, which took six years to produce, ranks 136 egg producers according to 28 organic criteria. According to the Cornucopia Institute:


“‘Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture, will empower consumers and wholesale buyers who want to invest their food dollars to protect hard-working family farmers that are in danger of being forced off the land by a landslide of eggs from factory farms …


[As] consumers have become concerned about the humane treatment of animals, and are also seeking out eggs that are superior in flavor and nutrition, a number of national marketers have found success in distributing ‘pasture’-produced eggs.


‘There is a fair bit of overreach and the exploitation of this term is well covered in our report,’ Kastel explained. ‘The organic egg scorecard enables concerned consumers to select authentic brands delivering the very best quality eggs regardless of the hyperbole on the label’ …”


Should you find the organic egg brand you’ve been buying is a sham and feel betrayed, take action by putting the pressure on USDA Secretary Vilsack to replace the current management at The National Organic Program. You can do so by signing the Cornucopia Institute’s proxy letter.




CAFOs Are Hotbeds for Salmonella


As noted by Reveal News in their “Farm to Fork: Uncovering hazards in our food systems” series, Americans eat about 85 pounds of chicken per person each year, and about 25 percent of raw chicken sold in American supermarkets are contaminated with salmonella.


About 1 million Americans are sickened and some 380 die from salmonella infection each year, and contaminated chicken and eggs are among the most common sources of this foodborne illness.


Today, we also have antibiotic-resistant strains of salmonella to contend with, which makes potential contamination even more worrisome. It’s important to realize that even chicken that passes all federal food safety requirements may still be hazardous to your health.


As reported by Reveal News:


“There’s no mandate to control [salmonella] on the farms or hatcheries that raise chickens for slaughter. Limited testing is required only at the final step: the slaughterhouse.


By that time, chickens already can be carrying the bacteria in their guts, its natural habitat. Or it can be on their feathers, feet or skin from their feces. It can spread from carcass to carcass during processing. While processors try to clean the bacteria off the skin and meat with chemicals, some often escapes removal …


Chickens can get salmonella from the breeding flocks that produce them. The chicks can pick it up at hatcheries, grow houses or pastures on farms where they fatten up. Any measures that producers take to control salmonella in those places are entirely voluntary.”


Beware: U.S. Rules Allow the Sale of Salmonella-Contaminated Chicken


Surprising as it may seem, it’s perfectly legal to sell salmonella-contaminated chicken meat. The federal salmonella standard allows 7.5 percent of whole chickens tested in the processing plant to be contaminated.


What’s more, the standards make no distinction between the more harmless strains of salmonella, and those that are the most dangerous, including drug-resistant strains. Essentially, the food safety rules include the general assumption that you will handle and cook it properly to kill off any and all harmful bacteria.


However, cross-contamination can easily occur while the raw chicken is prepared, spreading to other foods via contaminated cutting boards, countertops, or utensils, so caution is always recommended when handling raw chicken. You can find official guidance on the proper handling and cooking of raw chicken on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Website.


Keeping a designated cutting board for meats and one for other produce is a basic step that will help cut down on the risk of cross contamination. Also avoid washing your chicken, as this actually increases your risk of food poisoning by spreading bacteria around your kitchen sink and neighboring surfaces.



So Far, Efforts to Implement Stronger Salmonella Standards Have Failed


In 2015 legislation was introduced that would require meats contaminated with bacteria resistant to certain antibiotics to be recalled by the USDA. The Center for Science in the Public Interest also petitioned the USDA to declare four specific strains of antibiotic-resistant salmonella as “adulterants,” which would require the meat to be recalled when detected.


So far, nothing has come of these efforts, largely due to the strong opposition from the industry, which claims prices would have to be raised if salmonella were to be labeled an adulterant. According to Ashley Peterson, senior vice president for science and technology for the National Chicken Council, such a move might end up wiping out about one-third of the U.S. chicken supply. That tells you something about the scope of the salmonella problem!


Unfortunately, since salmonella regulations do not cover hatcheries and farms, buying local backyard chickens is not a guarantee of safety either. There are even instances of salmonella disease occurring from contact with live chickens.


For guidance on protecting yourself from illness from backyard poultry, see the Centers for Disease and Prevention’s (CDC) Website. One key is to be vigilant about hand washing. That said, free-ranging chickens and their eggs do tend to be safer than CAFO varieties.


For example, tests done in England found that more than 23 percent of farms with caged hens tested positive for salmonella, compared to just 4.4 percent in organic flocks, and 6.5 percent in free-range flocks. The highest prevalence of salmonella occurred in facilities holding 30,000 birds or more.


Backyard Chickens Gaining in Popularity


While factory farms may be fighting to monopolize the organic egg market, smaller backyard operations are also gaining a foothold. As noted in a recent article by Food Navigator-USA,10 the egg industry is undergoing a “renaissance” with many small-scale pasture-raised eggs now finding their way into mainstream grocery stores.


According to Betsy and Bryan Babcock, owners of Handsome Brook Farms, pasture-raised eggs are among the fastest growing segments in grocery dairy cases.


Superior taste is driving much of this growth. If you’ve ever tasted a fresh pasture-raised egg, with its creamy bright-orange egg yolk, you know exactly what I’m referring to. (Dull, pale yellow yolks are a sure sign you’re getting eggs form caged hens that are not allowed to forage for their natural diet.)


Pastured eggs are also more nutritious, according to tests performed by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences in 2010. Compared to CAFO eggs, pastured eggs had twice the amount of vitamin E and omega-3, a far better omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, and 38 percent more vitamin A.


The Bay Journal11 also recently wrote about the resurgence in backyard chicken farming, and the establishment of the “Animal Welfare Approved” label, which signals that the operation has documented high standards of care for both animals and environment.




Are You Ready to Try Your Hand at Raising Your Own Chickens?




Raising chickens in your backyard may be easier than you thought. If you are interested in the possibility of raising a few chickens yourself, a good place to begin is by asking yourself a few questions.


I also recommend visiting Joel’s Polyface Farm Website for more details on raising chickens. Also be sure to look through the CDC’s guidance on protecting yourself from illness from live poultry:


Can I dedicate some time each day? You can expect to devote about 10 minutes a day, an hour per month, and a few hours twice a year to the care and maintenance of your brood.

Do I have enough space? They will need a minimum of 10 square feet per bird to roam, preferably more. The more foraging they can do, the healthier and happier they’ll be and the better their eggs will be.

What are the chicken regulations in my town? You will want to research this before jumping in because some places have zoning restrictions and even noise regulations (which especially apply if you have a rooster).

Are my neighbors on board with the idea? It’s a good idea to see if they have any concerns early on. When they learn they might be the recipients of occasional farm-fresh eggs, they might be more agreeable.

Can I afford a flock? There are plenty of benefits to growing your own eggs, but saving money isn’t one of them. There are significant upfront costs to getting a coop set up, plus ongoing expenses for supplies.

Healthier and Safer Chicken and Egg Sources


Besides raising your own chickens and eggs, your next best option is to source them locally, either from an organic farm or farmers market. Fortunately, finding organic pastured eggs locally is far easier than finding raw milk, as virtually every rural area has individuals with chickens.


Farmers markets are a great way to meet the people who produce your food. With face-to-face contact, you can get your questions answered and know exactly what you’re buying. Better yet, visit the farm and ask for a tour.


Health and Wellness Associates




Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Eggs and Your Blood Pressure


Eggs and Your Blood Pressure
Three recent studies suggest that eating two eggs daily can reduce blood pressure as effectively as taking a low-dose ACE… inhibitor. Eggs are rich in peptides, compounds that help keep your artery walls relaxed, preventing pressure-raising spasms. Do not worry, eggs do not affect your cholesterol levels. That bacon with toast does! If you can only eat egg whites, that is fine. The poly peptides are found in egg whites too.
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Health and Wellness Associates
Archived Article
Health and Disease

Unprocessed Saturated Fats are Good For You


 Unprocessed Saturated Fat Is Good for You

Focusing your diet on REAL FOOD (raw whole, ideally organic, and from pasture raised cows) rather than processed fare is one of the easiest ways to sidestep dietary pitfalls like harmful fats — not to mention other harmful ingredients like refined sugars, genetically modified organisims (GMOs) and additives that have never been properly tested for safety. Beyond that, it’s really just a matter of tweaking the ratios of fat, carbs and protein to suit your individual situation.

One key though is to trade refined sugar and processed fructose for healthy fat, as this will help optimize your insulin and leptin levels. We’ve spent decades trading healthy saturated fats for carbs and trans fats, and there can be no doubt that this has had an enormous influence on disease statistics, raising incidence of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s — all the top killers.

Healthy fat is particularly important for optimal brain function and memory. This is true throughout life, but especially during childhood. So, if processed food still make up the bulk of your meals, you’d be wise to reconsider your eating habits. Not only are processed foods the primary culprit in obesity and insulin resistance, processed foods can also affect the IQ of young children. One British study revealed that kids who ate a predominantly processed food diet at age three had lower IQ scores at age 8.5. For each measured increase in processed foods, participants had a 1.67-point decrease in IQ.

Another study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics  also warns that frequent fast food consumption may stunt your child’s academic performance.