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Food - Use with caution

Food - Use With CautionThere are more and more stories coming out about food that is supposed to be good for you being compromised in such a way that it is no longer good for you. Many actually use the word adulterated. These are foods such as fish, meat, fruits and vegetables that you instinctively associated with goodness and health, but in this case it should be associated with disease. Let's examine this further.

Organic foods sound healthy. We all know we are supposed to eat organic whenever possible. The term stands for health and nutrition. Typically organic foods are grown in nutritionally superior soils without harmful chemicals. That is why we choose them over the alternatives. The exception is if the food comes from China. China has a big problem with pollution. Their waterways and soils have the higher concentrations of mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic and aluminum than are allowed in organic foods. Their foods, if tested, have higher concentrations of these substances as well. Produce is only as good as the soils it is grown in. If the label says it comes from China there are multiple reasons to be suspect. Besides the growing conditions you also have to take into consideration the shipping distance. What was done to insure the produce is fresh when it arrives at the supermarket? Has it been picked green, irradiated or sprayed with chemicals to keep it fresh longer?

China isnít the only country with quality concerns in their foods production. Russia has recently banned American grown beef and pork. Many claim that this is a political ploy to punish the US for renouncing some human rights violations publically. The official reason given is that the meat contains a substance that 160 different countries have banned in meat production, but that in the USA is still legal. The substance is called ractopamine. It is given to the animals to speed growth and reduce the fat content of the meat. The problem is that this substance stays in the meat. It accelerates the growth of humans and leads to exposure risks such as behavioral changes and cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, reproductive, and endocrine problems. These are serious problems that can lead to shortened lives and a much reduced quality of life. Why would anyone be willing to eat this stuff?

Another growth enhancing drug used in the meat industry within the US is called Zilmax. This drug was first made by Merck to treat asthma. When they found it didnít work they remarketed it to the meat industry. It makes the cattle bigger, with more meat on the bones. It adds an average of an additional thirty pounds of meat on the animal, without additional food or water. The question is what does it do to the person eating that extra meat? We donít know. No studies have been published as to the effects of the drug. Common sense says that if the drug puts more meat on the animal and we eat that animal that it will in all likelihood put more meat on us. Obesity epidemic anyone?

Beef and Pork are not the only problematic meats. It has recently come to light that commercial growers are intentionally putting arsenic in their poultry feed. Once again the purpose is to make larger animals, and to make the meat look prettier. The arsenic remaining in the animals is considered above safe levels for human consumption, but that isnít stopping them. One form of arsenic fed to chickens is a drug called roxarsone. Arsenic is known to cause cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, mental impairment, miscarriage, and other serious human health issues.

Meats are not the only problem foods. Many of us have taken up tea drinking in order to get more water into our bodies throughout the day. Depending on your source of tea there could be multiple problems. Did you realize that the tea bag itself is the biggest source of chemicals in your beverage? Plasticized tea bags leach chemicals into the hot water. Instructions say to pour boiling water over the bag. That is 212 degrees, but chemicals start leaching from the plastic at 169 degrees. Paper ones arenít any safer. Many of these paper tea bags are infused with plastics to make them stronger, and feel silkier. The safest way to drink tea is to purchase loose tea and use your own tea ball or strain your cup of tea before you drink it.

We have been hearing a lot lately on wonderful things to make from your citrus peel. Just be careful the source of your peel. Citrus fruits are being sprayed Imazalil, it is a fungicide and a known carcinogen, also a developmental and reproductive toxin. Imazalil is toxic to fish and the environment. It is used to prevent mold and fungus during shipment. Although this is sprayed on the outside of the fruit it has been shown in the meat of the fruit in levels that for children can be toxic in as little as two oranges. It is forbidden to use this on organic fruit.

It is always safest to know where your food is coming from and how it was produced and shipped. If you canít always grow your own you can still be cautious about where you get your food. Many communities have organic co-ops or CSAís. These groups help connect the consumer with the producer in ways that protect both of them.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author(s). Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the authors. You are encouraged to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.