Salads, Granolas and smoothies seem like smart picks for healthy on-the-go foods, but you may be surprised to learn that many times they’re packed with extra calories, sugar, carbohydrates and salt.
Soups are hearty and delicious go-to’s on colder days, but not all soups are created equal. The base of your soup can make or break its healthiness. “A cream-based soup is going to be much higher in calories and fat,” says Allen. In fact, one cup of chicken noodle is about 100 calories, while one cup of broccoli cheddar is almost 250.
When you eat soup, opt for broth-based soups like vegetable or chicken noodle or cream-free tomato soups and stews instead. And steer clear of cream-heavy bisques and chowders when you can. If you have to reach for canned soups, choose low-fat, reduced-sodium soup options.
Salads, depending on what they’re made of, can be fresh and healthy picks to throw together or order in a pinch. But dieters beware: they can also sabotage your weight loss goals if they’re covered in fatty toppings like cheese, bacon, creamy dressings and croutons.
“Salads at some fast food restaurants can have almost 30 grams of fat and 500 calories, while a cheeseburger and an order of medium fries has 28 grams of fat and 630 calories, so there’s not much difference between the two,” says Allen.
Make sure your salad is actually healthy by asking for your dressing on the side, choosing the grilled version of yourprotein rather than the fried, and asking for little or no bacon or cheese. For a crunchy topping without all the calories, try sliced almonds or crushed bean “tortilla” chips instead. And whole grains like quinoa, bulgur or barley will help fill you up.
When it comes to dressings, choose oil and vinegar-based dressings rather than cream and mayonnaise-based options; fresh salsa can be a guilt-free salad topper, too. If you can’t bear a salad without your favorite creamy dressing, divide your salad into two. Use your favorite fatty dressing on one portion, and the healthier dressing option on the other half.
Sugary syrups and processed protein powders can add up to 1,000 calories at fast food chain smoothies, says Allen.
It’s better to make your own smoothies at home, or hand pick the ingredients that go into you smoothies if you order them out. If you’re new to smoothie making, here’s how much of each ingredient to include: one to two cups of liquid base, up to two cups of greens, up to three cups of fruit, plus a tablespoon of nut butter or protein powder.
Keep your smoothie healthy by using milk—like unsweetened coconut, almond or skim milk—as your base instead of juice. Then add fruits like strawberries, bananas or blueberries and a protein such as Greek yogurt, nut butter, seeds like hemp or chia or protein power (whey, soy and plant-based options are best). For added vitamins, try throwing in some spinach, kale or celery. Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla extract can pack an extra, low-cal flavor punch, too.
Depending on what it’s made out of, granola can be super high in calories, fat and sugar, says Allen. Most granola is made of oats, nut, seeds and dried fruit—all nutrient rich ingredients—but chocolate chips and sugary syrups can add serious calories to store-bought options.
Look for granola options with raw oats, unsalted nuts and unsweetened fruit, and mix your granola into something rather than snacking on it by the handful. Add it to something like low-fat Greek yogurt, then top it with some fruit such as berries, says Allen. Hooked on granola bars? Try options that are nut or fruit based rather those that are grains-based. Homemade granola bars are easy to make, too: ingredients like unsweetened cranberries, old-fashioned oats, unsalted almonds, all-natural maple syrup, flax seeds and peanut butter can be combined and baked for a nice treat.
You may think anything made of fruit is good for you, but that’s not always the case. Certain dried fruits like apricots and dates are concentrated with calories, especially from sugar, says Allen. While they still have antioxidant and fiber components, they may actually be stripped of some vitamins during the dehydration process.
Sprinkle dried fruit like apples or cranberries in your salads rather than snacking on them straight out of the bag. And when you do eat dried fruit by itself, pair it with a low-fat cheese stick or a handful of nuts so you’ll stay fuller, longer. When selecting picks from the grocery store, aim for options without added sugar or other ingredients (the only ingredient should be the fruit itself).
All-natural fruit juice can provide some of the vitamins and minerals that you find in whole fruits, as long as you control your portions. “The biggest problem with fruit juices is that most people pour more than the recommended serving size,” says Allen.
Craving apple juice? Eat an actual apple instead of reaching for juice. “You’ll get a lot more fiber eating the whole fruit than you would in fruit juice,” says Allen. When you do choose juice, opt for all-natural, 100 percent, no-sugar added juice options or the low-cal versions of your favorites. Do limit the amount you drink—the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends no more than one cup per day.
*** Never give your children Apple Juice!
Pretzels may have been your go-to snack food years ago, but you may want to be careful when it comes to the salty snack nowadays.
“People are starting to look at carbohydrate intake much more now than they did in the past,” says Allen. “10 or 15 years ago there was a push to reduce fat intake so we turned to things like pretzels and baked potato chips.”
But reduced-fat doesn’t give you license to eat as much as you want. With low-fat foods, people think they can eat as much as they want because it’s low fat, but they still have to watch portion sizes, says Allen.
While pretzels are a much healthier pick than greasy potato chips, pay attention to serving size: only about 16 small waffle-shaped pretzels equals one serving. And don’t eat too many flavored pretzels like honey mustard and barbeque as they likely have a lot of sugar and sodium. Your best bet: unsalted mini pretzels to keep your sodium and hunger levels in check.
You don’t have to do away with these foods completely, but reading labels and educating yourself on serving size, calorie count, fat content and how they fit into your diet is key, says Allen. “For example, many people are leaning towards almond milk these days, but the calories per serving can range from 30 to 100.”
One of the easiest ways you can monitor what you’re eating is to track it or look it up before you indulge.
The flavors in this simple dessert remind me of classic beach fare – frozen bananas on a stick coated with chocolate. This is a healthier version that you can whip up in no time. It contains no added sugar or dairy and is very versatile. Improvise by adding different flavors like organic peppermint oil or almond extract. Make this a few hours before you plan to serve – it’s best when just frozen. Any leftovers will keep for a couple of weeks in the freezer.
Bananas are rich in potassium – one banana contains 450 mg, one-fifth of the adult daily requirement – and offer a fair share of magnesium (33 mg), too.
4 very ripe bananas
2 tablespoons pure unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1. Peel the bananas and place in a blender or food processor along with the cocoa powder.
2. Add the vanilla extract and the maple syrup.
3. Blend till very smooth. Pour into individual custard cups or small bowls and freeze until just frozen.
Early Risers May Be a Little Less Likely to Get Breast Cancer
If you’re a woman who greets the early morning with a smile, new research delivers good news — you have a slightly reduced risk of developing breast cancer.
For night owls and people who tend to sleep more than the usual seven to eight hours nightly, the analysis suggested a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.
“Sleep does impact health,” said study co-author Caroline Relton, a professor at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.
“The study found evidence for a protective effect of morning preference on breast cancer risk,” she said.
What the study team couldn’t tease out from the data was exactly why your sleep type — early bird or night owl — could affect your risk of breast cancer.
Eva Schernhammer, author of an editorial accompanying the study, said “one possible mechanism could relate to the misalignment between internal and external clocks.” She is chair of epidemiology at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria.
The disruption of a normal circadian rhythm can impact how the body functions. An example is the normal variation of melatonin levels, Schernhammer said in her editorial. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone.
Dr. Daniel Barone, a sleep specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, said that melatonin is a powerful antioxidant.
“If you’re reducing melatonin, that could potentially lead to an inflammatory response in the body,” he said. (Inflammation has been linked to cancer and other health conditions.)
Both Barone and Schernhammer pointed out that night-shift work has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Diet may be one reason why. He said it’s harder to find nutritious food options at night, and night-shift workers may get food from places like vending machines. Diet can impact heart disease and breast cancer risk.
The new analysis looked at two large groups of data, which included about 400,000 women altogether.
Previous studies had asked women about their sleep type — whether they preferred morning or evening, how long they slept, and whether or not they had insomnia.
But these researchers controlled the data to account for other factors that can affect breast cancer risk, including obesity, family history of breast cancer, alcohol use and smoking.
Women who said they were “morning people” were slightly less likely to develop breast cancer. The researchers said that early birds had about one less case of breast cancer per 100 women than did night owls.
So, should night owls be worried?
Maybe not just yet, said breast cancer surgeon Dr. Alice Police.
“This study suggests that there may be a lower incidence of breast cancer in ‘morning people,'” she said, but noted that the data in the study is “vague.”
“Until we understand other correlations, such as obesity rates and exercise rates in morning people versus night owls, I do not think definitive conclusions can be drawn,” Police added. She’s the Westchester regional director of breast surgery at Northwell Health Cancer Institute in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
Relton agreed that more research is needed, particularly to figure out the underlying reason why morning people seem to have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
In the meantime, she said it’s possible that changing your sleep times to become more of a morning person might change your risk, though more research is necessary before doctors could make a specific recommendation.
If you’d like to try to get some shuteye earlier in the night, sleep expert Barone said the best change you could make is to limit “blue light” at night.
“Any screen you can look at without an additional light on is blue light, and blue light tells our brains that the sun is out and we should shut off melatonin production. Shut off blue light a good hour or so before bed to help keep the body more in tune with what it’s designed to do,” he said.
If you have trouble sleeping, taking a melatonin supplement a half-hour or so before bed can help, Barone noted.
If you’re wondering what else you might do to reduce the risk of breast cancer, editorial author Schernhammer said, “A woman should be more concerned about other, more established, breast cancer risk factors.”
Relton agreed, explaining that risk factors such as alcohol intake and obesity increase the risk of breast cancer much more than your sleeping pattern might.
Bad breath can be caused by bacteria from decaying food particles or debris in the mouth or can occur as the result of poor oral hygiene. To freshen your breath naturally, consider:
Eating hydrating foods. Oranges and organic celery – along with other water-rich produce – can help prevent dry mouth, which can contribute to halitosis. Also be sure to drink water throughout the day to maintain good hydration.
Ask your healthcare provider is magnesium is right for you, and what other supplements you must take with it. If he or she does not know then contact us.
Trying natural mouth fresheners. Chew on parsley after meals, sip on peppermint tea or fresh peppermint leaves, or chew (but don’t swallow) cardamom seeds. There are a number of probiotic-based toothpastes now that are worth considering for oral and breath health as well.
Are genetically engineered food and lab-grown meat the most sustainably regenerative choices available? Impossible Foods, creator of the meatless bleeding Impossible Burger, made with GMO soy, would like you to think so. After the release of its 2019 Impact Report,5 senior manager of impact strategy, Rebekah Moses, told FoodNavigator-USA:6
“We have done a tremendous amount of diligence and we’re confident that in using GMO soy, we are not taking a step backward in terms of sustainability.
Soy is really high yielding, it’s a good source of protein and it’s more efficient than wheat. You get so much more protein in a given harvest vs the amounts of water, energy and inputs needed to grow it.
Everything is very field-based, but at a high level, there is very little difference if any difference in the environmental impact of conventional vs herbicide tolerant soy and in some cases using herbicide tolerant soy enables you to adopt more sustainable practices such as the ability to reduce tillage, which is a win for the soil.
Similarly, the chemicals you spray to manage pests — that includes insects and weeds — in herbicide tolerant crops are lower toxicity than the alternatives [used to grow conventional soy].”
Impossible Foods takes aim at regenerative farming
Impossible Foods also points out that since meat from cows require about 30 pounds of corn and soy for every pound produced, GMO soy burgers reduce the net use of herbicides.
However, while this is true for livestock raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), it’s absolutely not the case for organic grass fed beef production, as pastured cattle eat grasses and never lay a nose to GMO grains of any kind.
So, while GMO soy burgers may have an environmentally competitive advantage over CAFO beef, it cannot compete with regenerative grazing as far as herbicide usage (or toxicity thereof) is concerned.
Despite such well-established facts, Impossible Foods takes aim directly at regenerative ranching in its report, claiming grass fed cattle ranching generates higher amounts of greenhouse gas emissions than cows raised in CAFOs.7,8 What it fails to include is evidence9 showing grass fed ranching actually has net negative emissions after all relevant factors are taken into account.
Is fake food really the answer we’re looking for?
Impossible Foods’ impact report is hard to reconcile with other established data showing GMO soybean and corn farms are a primary source of water10 and air pollution.11 GMO soybeans and corn have also been identified as primary destroyers of grasslands and forests.12,13
Regenerative grazing is also a key activity required for the optimal sequestering of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into our rangelands and pasturelands, while GMO soy production is associated with resistant super weeds14 and super pests and uncontrollable cross contamination.
Impossible Burger also skirts the issue of nutrition by focusing solely on the intake of protein in general, ignoring the fact that grass fed beef contains a complex mix of nutrients (including healthy fats) and cofactors you simply cannot recreate by mixing together an assortment of plant-based components.
GMO soy linked to ecological devastation
To learn more about the ecological impact of soy, check out the Greenpeace documentary “Soy: In the name of progress.” Also take a look at Dan Charles’ 2013 NPR article,15 “Pictures don’t lie: Corn and soybeans are conquering U.S. grasslands.” He writes, in part:
“Grasslands are disappearing … They’re being replaced by fields of corn and soybeans … A study16published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows actual pictures — derived from satellite data — of that changing landscape.
The images show that farmers in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska converted 1.3 million acres of grassland into soybean and corn production between 2006 and 2011.
‘This is kind of the worst-kept secret in the Northern Plains. We just put some numbers on it,’ says Christopher Wright, from South Dakota State University, who got funding from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy to take a close look at this phenomenon …
Wright’s images are striking, and these changes are having profound effects on the environment of this region. For instance, it’s bad news for wildlife, because corn fields are much less inviting habitat for a wide range of wild creatures, from ground-nesting birds to insects, including bees.
Corn and soybean fields are increasingly encroaching into the Prairie Pothole region of the Dakotas and Minnesota, the most important breeding habitat for waterfowl in North America.
In southern Iowa, Wright says, much of the land conversion is taking place on hillsides. The soil of those fields, without permanent grass to hold it in place, is now much more likely to wash into streams and ponds.”
Modern agriculture largely responsible for death of our oceans
Chemical runoff is indeed among the most significant threats posed by these gigantic monocrop fields. As noted by National Resources Defense Council:17
“Nutrient pollution, caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in water or air, is the number-one threat to water quality worldwide and can cause algal blooms, a toxic soup of blue-green algae that can be harmful to people and wildlife.”
Similarly, a June 11, 2019 PBS News Hour article18 warns that “A ‘dead zone’ the size of Massachusetts could hit the Gulf this summer,” based on the latest forecast19 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“If this prediction holds true, this event would be the second largest on the list of Gulf dead zones in more than three decades,” PBS reports, noting this dead zone “would be 50% larger than the average seen in the last five years.”
The reason for the massive increase in algal blooms that kill marine life by sucking up all the oxygen is blamed on heavy rainfall increasing chemical runoff from fertilizer-enriched farmland — in the case of the Gulf, farmland surrounding the Mississippi River. As reported by The Washington Post:20
“Analyses from U.S. Geological Survey monitors in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya watersheds showed that discharge from these rivers was 67 percent greater than the 1980-2018 average. The amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus spilling into the Gulf were 18 percent and 49 percent above average, respectively.”
What’s more, “Even if nitrogen runoff was eliminated today from the Mississippi River, a 2018 study in the journal Science found, it would take at least 30 years for the Gulf dead zone to recover,” The Washington Post notes.21
Savory Institute responds to Impossible Foods’ attack
Impossible Foods specifically mentions the Savory Institute in its report, boldly claiming that Savory’s regenerative grazing theories have been “thoroughly debunked.” In response, the Savory Institute issued a statement saying:22
“This is not the first, nor will it be the last, attempt to discredit Holistic Management as a sleight-of-hand for promoting and profiting off of large scale industrial agriculture …
Claims that our work has been ‘debunked’ disregard not just the millions of acres that have been regenerated globally and the tens of thousands of farmers, ranchers, and pastoralist communities who have stewarded this land transformation and witnessed it firsthand …
[T]hey also overlook the growing body of peer-reviewed evidence documenting that properly-managed livestock can be a net positive for grassland ecosystems,23carbon drawdown,24wildlife habitat,25 and rural communities.26”
Savory also highlights a third-party lifecycle analysis27 (LCA) of a holistic ranch, showing properly grazing livestock “when taking a full accounting of all greenhouse gases in and out of their farming operation,” is a net carbon sink. As noted in the analysis, “Carbon footprint evaluation of regenerative grazing at White Oak Pastures”:28
“Traditional LCAs don’t account for soil carbon sequestration and therefore don’t take into account the full carbon story for regenerative agriculture systems … Soil samples were taken and evaluated to quantify soil carbon sequestration and allow a highly credible inclusion of this information into the LCA …
As there is little information published on this topic and the outcomes challenge much conventional thinking on beef’s carbon footprint, careful consideration should be given to the conclusions and messaging.”
According to this analysis — notably performed by the very same company that conducted Impossible Burger’s LCA — the carbon footprint of beef from White Oak Pastures is 111% lower than conventional CAFO beef, as the “system effectively captures soil carbon, offsetting a majority of the emissions related to beef production.”
Regenerative grazing creates net carbon sink
All things considered, including enteric emissions, manure emissions, soil carbon capture, vegetation carbon, miscellaneous farm activities, slaughter and transport, the total net carbon emissions from the beef production on White Oak Pastures was found to be a negative 3.5 kilos of carbon emissions per kilo of fresh meat, making this integrated, holistic system six times more carbon efficient than the average CAFO production model. Importantly, as noted by Savory:29
“What Impossible Burger seems to have conveniently omitted is that their GMO soy-based product is still a net carbon emitter in comparison to White Oak’s properly-managed livestock that create a net carbon sink.
Could it be that GMO soy-based Impossible Burger feels threatened by the regenerative movement? In a world where current agricultural practices have eroded soils to the point of having less than 60 harvests left (according to the UN FAO30), the solution is not to maximize efficiencies in the broken, extractive, industrial model …
Rather, as environmentally-conscious businesses and individuals, we must address the root cause and adopt land management practices that honor the symbiotic relationships of plants and animals. One cannot exist without the other, so we must reevaluate our preconceived notions and return to farming in nature’s image.”
White Oaks Pastures invites Impossible Foods for a visit
Will Harris, owner of White Oaks Pastures and president of the American Grassfed Association, has taken matters a step further, issuing an open invitation to Impossible Foods’ officials to visit his farm to get a thorough understanding of how regenerative grazing actually works. In a statement, Harris writes:31
“As an independent professional rancher, who has practiced regenerative land management on our family farm for more than 20 years, I can state unequivocally that Impossible Burger’s claims about regenerative grazing are incorrect.
Not only is our business financially successful on a large scale, but we are accumulating data showing that our practices are enhancing the carbon sequestration potential of the soil on the lands we manage.
Today I am publicly inviting Impossible Foods representatives to visit my farm and see for themselves the many social, economic and environmental benefits of regenerative grazing.
I would be grateful to share our recent Life Cycle Assessment that clearly demonstrates that the carbon footprint of our farm results in a positive impact on the environment — a claim that imitation meat companies cannot make.”
Meat replacement companies need to demonstrate superiority
On his website, Harris also highlights some of the other benefits of regenerative farming and why we need it:32
“Land is meant to be a living thing. It contains the natural order of all living things: Life, Growth, Death, Decay, Life, Growth, Death, Decay. The land is our teacher. Looking back to the evolution of our ecosystem informs the way we manage land today.
The energy cycle, carbon cycle, mineral cycle, microbe cycle, water cycle have all co-evolved with plants, microbes, and animals since our planet’s creation. Our passion is to create an environment that allows these cycles to flow freely: microbes feed plants which feed the animals which spread urine and feces to microbes which feeds the plants which feed the animals.”
Just how exactly does cultivating fake meat in an industrial facility improve the ecology of our environment? Again, we’re not just talking about which strategy is the least destructive, we’re talking about which one actually improves the environment the most.
“Talk is cheap” they say, and in the case of Impossible Burger’s claims that certainly rings true. They (and other meat replacement companies) really need to tangibly demonstrate how their system is better, overall, and not just on some minor point, than the regenerative system.
Grazing livestock is integral to ending ecological destruction
In the podcast above, Sustainable Dish interviews Ronnie Cummins, executive director and co-founder of the Organic Consumers Association, about the importance of grass fed livestock farming for climate stability, environmental health, sustainability and regeneration.
As explained in many previous articles, livestock are important components that make farming truly regenerative, as they help build healthy soils. Lab-derived meat substitutes do not actually contribute anything to this healthy ecological cycle.
When animals are raised according to regenerative agriculture, a healthy ecosystem is produced and then more or less effortlessly maintained. So, eating meat is not synonymous with environmental harm; it’s industrial farming practices — CAFOs — that inflict the damage.
Some also believe eating meat means ripping out more forests so animals can graze, but I’m certainly not advocating for that. U.S. cropland is currently dominated by a two-crop planting cycle of corn and soybeans, largely for animal feed. Like CAFOs, these monocrops are devastating the environment, and even though they’re plant foods, they are part of the problem, not the solution.
Getting rid of these large swaths of corn and soy fields — which are laden with chemicals and largely devoid of life — is key, as is reverting them back to what they were before, namely grasslands for grazing animals.
Grasslands are key to fixing many environmental problems, and herbivores are a necessary part of this ecosystem. By mimicking the natural behavior of migratory herds of wild grazing animals — meaning allowing livestock to graze freely, and moving the herd around in specific patterns — farmers can support nature’s efforts to regenerate and thrive.
Long-term health effects of fake meat are still unknown
Aside from the fact that fake meat production doesn’t have any regenerative capabilities that would benefit the ecosystem, there’s also the issue of health effects. A number of studies have highlighted the risks of ultraprocessed foods, showing they raise your risk of cancer, and the more ultraprocessed foods you eat, the greater your risk.
In one,33,34,35,36 which included 104,980 participants followed for an average of five years, 18.74% of the men’s diet and 18.71% of women’s was ultraprocessed, and each 10% increase in ultraprocessed food raised the cancer rate by 12%, which worked out to nine additional cancer cases per 10,000 people per year.
The risk of breast cancer specifically went up by 11% for every 10% increase in ultraprocessed food. While sugar and unhealthy fats are key staple ingredients suspected of causing these effects, there’s reason to believe fake meat might have a similar impact, for a number of reasons.
For starters, the Impossible Burger meat substitute is the epitome of a highly-processed food — seeing how it’s manufactured from start to finish, and involves the use of man-made ingredients — placing it squarely in the higher-risk category.
Secondly, GMO soy has been shown to have a number of health risks all by itself. Third, the human body is not designed to process fake meat and there’s no telling what the long-term health ramifications might be. Even the liberal U.S. Food and Drug Administration has raised concerns over the soy leghemoglobin in the Impossible Burger being a possible human allergen.37,38,39
Fourth, GMO soy is loaded with glyphosate, the health risks of which are of increasing concern as it’s now being found in most processed foods, including non-GMO foods. Recent testing by Moms Across America (MMA) revealed concerning levels of glyphosate in the Impossible Burger.40
Fake meat isn’t about humanitarianism; it’s about profit
You really need to question the rationale for creating expensive fake meat alternatives when a far less expensive and more reasonable answer is readily available. What’s worse, fake meats may ultimately create more problems than they solve, as laboratory derived meat substitutes are not part of the ecological cycle and health hazards are as yet entirely unknown.
This basic lack of understanding affects safety regulations pertaining to processing and manufacturing as well. Commenting on the open questions pertaining to fake chicken production, Al Almanza, former acting deputy undersecretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, noted that we still do not know “what’s normal or abnormal, and thus potentially unsafe, in a cultured-chicken plant.”41
Without this knowledge, food inspectors have no idea what to look for, companies cannot devise and implement proper safety protocols and regulators cannot make regulations to ensure safety. The same applies to fake beef,
In its report “From Lab to Fork: Critical Questions on Laboratory-Created Animal Product Alternatives,”42 released in June 2018, Friends of the Earth calls for more stringent safety assessments, regulations and labeling requirements.
The report highlights a number of health and safety concerns and environmental impacts hidden beneath “climate-friendly” claims. It also points out the lack of substantiation for “clean meat,” “animal-free,” “plant-based” and “sustainable” claims.43
All in all, it seems that, contrary to the PR being churned out, the creation of fake meat products is not about feeding the world or eliminating animal suffering. It’s about dominating billionaires looking to put patents on the food system.
Go grass fed, not lab bred
While many view lab-created meat substitutes as the lesser of two evils when comparing it to the CAFO meat that currently dominates the market, taking nature out of the equation altogether is not the answer, especially since holistic herd management is an integral part of the regenerative agriculture equation.
Ultimately, creating fake food is not the answer to solving the problems associated with conventional meat. For health reasons as well as ecological reasons, I recommend skipping the meat alternatives and opting for real beef raised the right way instead.
When you do shop for meat, go to a local organic farmer or look for Demeter (biodynamic) and American Grassfed Association (AGA) certifications. Both indicate high-quality, sustainable and environmentally sound food.
Hawaii Warns Tourists Of Parasitic Worm That Can Burrow Into Human Brains
If you have plans to go to Hawaii this summer, take note! The state’s health department has recently released warnings about a parasitic worm capable of infecting humans and affecting the brain and spinal cord. While you might be determined to prevent anything from ruining your island vacation, this squirmy bugger just might!
What’s Happening with the Parasitic Worm in Hawaii?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been three brand new cases of United States mainland adults infected with this brain worm while visiting Hawaii Island. These three cases were completely unrelated, become infected at different times, and all lived in different places. They bring the state’s case total to 5 infections in 2019 and 10 infections in 2018. These numbers don’t represent the 17 confirmed cases that occurred back in the year 2017 or the two recorded cases in the previous decade. According to officials, this new eruption in parasitic worm infections is due to a boom in the population of semi-slugs, a carrier of the worm.
What Is Hawaii’s Parasitic Worm?
Disgust is any reasonable person’s reaction to hearing about any kind of parasitic worm! But it might be worth your while to learn a bit about them. In all of the Hawaii cases, the particular parasite was the rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis). As their name suggests, this nasty creature usually makes its home inside the lungs of rats. Females lay eggs there and then young worms abandon their nest soon in order to discover their own home.
Nature takes its somewhat revolting course when the larvae get coughed up the rat’s airway, then swallowed and passed through their digestive system. Snails, slugs, and other feces-eating bugs soon become intermediate hosts until new rodents eat these infested mollusks. Prepubescent parasites make their temporary home in the rat’s brain until they’re mature enough to resettle and reproduce in the lungs.
According to the State of Hawaii Department of Health, “You can get angiostrongyliasis by eating food contaminated by the larval stage of A. cantonensis worms. In Hawaii, these larval worms can be found in raw or undercooked snails or slugs. Sometimes people can become infected by eating raw produce that contains a small infected snail or slug, or part of one.”
How to Prevent a Rat Lungworm Infection
Diagnosing a rat lungworm infection is difficult. Some cases are entirely symptomless and blood tests don’t identify the parasite. Typically patients infected with the worm are left to manage their own symptoms while they wait for the worm to die on its own. This usually happens before the worm is able to infest a human’s lungs.
If you plan to visit Hawaii any time soon, carefully inspect and thoroughly wash all produce purchased in store. Once you purchase it, keep your produce properly sealed in airtight containers. Avoid eating snails or slugs in Hawaii. Wash any food item that might have come into contact with snails or slugs, such as salad fixings that snails or slugs might have used as grazing foods.
It’s important to be careful with what you eat anytime you travel. Be sure you wash all fruits and vegetables, only eat meat that’s fully cooked, and do not drink the tap water. If you’re going to Hawaii this summer, just be extra careful with fruits and vegetables. Rat lungworm isn’t something to scoff at!
A flesh-eating bacteria has migrated into the Delaware Bay between Delaware and New Jersey, drawn north by the warmer waters of climate change, doctors say.
Five cases of infection with Vibrio vulnificusoccurred in 2017 and 2018 along the Delaware Bay, compared to one infection with the devastating bacteria in the eight years prior, researchers said.
The infections resulted in one death and multiple rounds of surgery to save the other patients. One had all his limbs removed at the elbows and knees due to severe bacterial infection, said Dr. Katherine Doktor, an infectious disease specialist at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J.
“In order to stop the infection, the person needs antibiotics and they need to be taken to the OR [operating room] quickly so any infected tissue can be removed, so it doesn’t spread further,” she said.
But Doktor added that the bacteria tends to strike hardest at people with pre-existing health problems like liver disease, diabetes, kidney failure or a compromised immune system.
“Just going to the beach or going to the bay is not going to make you sick,” she said. “These people usually have a cut and the infected water gets into the cut, or they eat raw seafood that’s infected.”
Vibrio bacteria cause an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths in the United States each year, with most infections in May through October when water temperatures are warm, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One in five people with this type of infection die, sometimes within days of becoming ill, the CDC warns.
Because the bacteria thrive in warmer, salty water, it’s usually found mostly in southern waters, Doktor said.
But cases of Vibrio infection began showing up in emergency rooms along the Delaware Bay a few years back, Doktor and her colleagues reported June 18 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Four of the cases involved middle-aged or older men who had been crabbing in the bay or eating crabs taken from the bay, the doctors said. The fifth case involved a man who worked at a seafood restaurant in New Jersey.
Wound infections affecting a person’s limbs occur through breaks in the skin, while eating tainted seafood can cause intestinal and bloodstream infections, the researchers said. Large blood blisters start popping up at sites where skin cells are dying off, Doktor explained.
“On average, people need to be taken back to the OR two to four times to remove any tissue that has died,” she said.
It’s not just in the United States that Vibrio is migrating northward, Doktor said. In Europe, infections with the bacteria have extended as far north as Norway.
Dr. Amesh Adalja is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in Baltimore. He said, “Vibrio vulnificus infections contracted in the Delaware Bay, an area not known to be endemic for the bacteria, should serve as an important reminder that infectious diseases can expand from their traditional areas so long as the environment is hospitable to them.” Adalja was not involved with the new report.
“If certain bodies of water have had temperature changes that allow Vibrio vulnificus to flourish in a new region, it will be important that clinicians have heightened awareness of this serious, and sometimes fatal, infection in order to diagnose and treat it appropriately,” Adalja added.
Doktor advised that shellfish lovers should exercise caution when having a seafood meal, especially if they have a health condition that compromises their body’s ability to stave off infection.
“Some people, when they shuck the crabs, they use gloves,” she said. “I would protect your skin by wearing gloves.”
You might want to think twice about hitting the raw bar, too.
“As an infectious disease physician, I don’t think people should be eating raw seafood,” Doktor said. “But if you don’t have any of these risk factors, the chance of infection is much, much lower.”
Ginger: A Natural Anti-Inflammatory Spice For Nausea And Motion Sickness
If minor aches and pains are an issue for you, try ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory agent that is useful for relieving symptoms associated with arthritis, bursitis, motion sickness, nausea and more. Ginger is commonly available in forms ranging from whole fresh root, crystallized ginger and honey-based ginger syrups to capsules containing powdered extracts. Look for products made with only 100 percent pure ginger. For inflammatory conditions, take 1,000 to 2,000mg (or 1 to 2 grams) of powdered ginger a day; for nausea and prevention of motion sickness, take 1,000 mg as a preventive, following that with 500 mg every four hours as needed. (You may also try eating two pieces of crystallized ginger, taking a spoonful of ginger syrup or sipping ginger tea.)
To prevent high doses from causing stomach irritation, take ginger with food. Ginger may also act as a blood thinner, so curbing daily use at least two weeks before surgery is advisable. If you are pregnant, use ginger to address morning sickness with some caution – I would not recommend using more 1,000 to 1,500 mg per day divided into two to four doses throughout, particularly during the early stages of pregnancy.
Some people think soy is a great plant-based protein option, but what are the dangers of eating soy? Learn about the risks and benefits, plus some ways to consume soy safely.
Why do we eat soy?
With the rise in popularity of vegetarian and vegan diets, soy has stepped onto the scene as a source of plant-based protein. Those who don’t eat meat praise the protein content of soy. One cup of boiled soybeans contains about 29 grams of protein which is comparable to a serving of meat. Soy also contains vitamins and minerals such as copper and phosphorus.
However, other people denounce soy as dangerous or, at the least, not optimal for frequent consumption. The Paleo movementin particular, has helped highlight the dangers of eating soy, ranging from the phytoestrogens present in soy to the high levels of antinutrients in soy.
Where are soy and soy products in our food?
In the United States, soy is most commonly consumed as a replacement for animal products, as an emulsifier in processed foods, or in soy sauce. You’ll also find soy in these common products:
Soy-based infant formula, as a replacement for breast milk or milk-based formula
Chocolate bars, processed foods, and some supplements as soy lecithin used to preserve shelf life and improve texture
Tempeh and tofu, as a replacement for meat
Soy milk, as a replacement for dairy milk
Condiments such as soy sauce or miso paste used to add flavor to traditional Asian dishes
Natto and edamame, as snacks or side dishes
Soy protein isolate, as plant-based protein powder, either used alone as a powder supplement or used in protein bars/bites/etc.
Processed and conventional meat: even though soy is used as a meat alternative, it has also been used as a filler in processed meat and the diets of conventionally-raised animals are often supplemented with GMO soy feed.
What is the controversy surrounding soy?
Soy is controversial for a few different reasons, the most common being the isoflavones present in soy (see below for more information). Soy is also one of the top 8 allergens in the United States–such a highly allergenic food invites controversy, whether founded or not, unto itself.
Other controversial characteristics of soy include GMOs, antinutrients, and goitrogens. Here is some more in-depth information about each controversial characteristic of soy.
1. Isoflavones (phytoestrogens)
Isoflavones, also known as phytoestrogens, are particularly concentrated in soy. These natural compounds have a chemical structure similar to the human hormone known as estrogen; thus, they can attach to estrogen receptor sites in the human body and affect natural estrogen production and metabolism.
Having excess estrogen in the body can have an array of health consequences. These include, but are not limited to: breast cancer (though some research indicates a lower risk of breast cancer in women who consume soy), estrogen dominance, acne due to imbalanced hormones, endometriosis, male infertility(though more research is needed), and–in rare cases–gynecomastia (male breast growth).
The possible manipulation of estrogen as a result of eating soy or soy products is a big potential danger of eating soy. The harmful effects may be exacerbated with non-organic, highly processed forms of soy.
As much as 80% of soybean production in the United States comes from genetically modified soybeans. GMOs were only introduced to the public food supply in 1994 and there has been no opportunity to conduct long-lasting studies of the effects of GMO-containing diets. We do not have credible information on the safety of GMOs, which has led many people to forgo consuming GMO foods completely.
Soy, like other legumes, is high in phytic acid. Phytic acid is an antinutrient, meaning it is the plant’s natural protective system that impedes the absorption of nutrients when consumed.
If you’re eating soy for the high levels of nutrients, some of them are bound to antinutrients and are therefore unavailable to your body. Antinutrients can even bind to other minerals and vitamins present in your body, leaching them from you. Soy also contains protease inhibitors, which inhibit the metabolism of certain types of proteins.
Soy contains naturally higher levels of goitrogens, which can interfere with proper thyroid function when consumed in excess.
What are the possible benefits of eating soy foods?
Some health experts encourage the consumption of soy for its health benefits. Like most foods, there are both downsides and upsides to consuming soy. Keep in mind that when consuming soy, you’ll get the most nutrient density from organic, non-GMO soy in its whole form.
Here are some commonly perceived benefits of eating soy and the associated research.
1. Possible Lower Risk of Breast Cancer
Some research has shown that females who consume soy prior to and during pre-adolescent breast development have a lower risk for breast cancer later in life.
2. Lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
Though soy has been touted as beneficial for lowering high levels of Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the amount is indirect and not significant. The FDA has revoked the claim that soy is beneficial for lowering LDL levels.
3. High in nutrients
Soy is particularly high in iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and copper.
4. Lowers blood pressure
There is data to suggest that soy is hypotensive, meaning it helps lower blood pressure, and therefore can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Safer soy consumption recommendations
If you have digestive issues such as leaky gut or gut dysbiosis or autoimmune disorder, consider avoiding all soy altogether.
If you choose to incorporate soy into your diet, it’s best to be sure you’re consuming it in moderation and that you’re getting high quality, properly prepared soy. Ideally, the soy you consume should be:
Organic: at least 80% of soy in the United States is genetically modified, but you can avoid both GMOs and heavy pesticide use by choosing certified organic soy
Soaked/sprouted: like all legumes and beans, the digestibility of soy can be improved through soaking and/or sprouting. This traditional method of preparation lowers antinutrients and makes it easier to digest (though a significant amount of the antinutrients still remain.)
Fermented: fermentedsoy products like tempeh and natto offer an impressive nutrient profile, probiotics, and increased digestibility.
Whole: avoid soy protein isolates, which contain all of the isoflavones and antinutrients with none of the vitamins and minerals. Soy protein isolate is notoriously difficult to digest.
The moderate benefits of properly prepared, well-sourced soy do not outweigh the potential risks of digestive distress, hormonal imbalance, and nutrient depletion for those with compromised health. Avoiding soy in your diet can free you to include more nutrient-dense foods and help you avoid the risks associated with eating soy.