Monday, July 31, 2006

Fruits and veggies not enough, Mass-production affects content

Judy Creighton CP Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Eating five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day may not be enough if government nutrient tables can be believed.

"Almost everything in the produce fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket which we once assumed would be very healthy is anything but," claims Thomas Pawlick, author of The End of Food: How the Food Industry Is Destroying Our Food Supply - And What We Can Do About It, published by Greystone Books in Vancouver.

"For us to get the same amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that our grandparents or even our parents did," he says, "we would have to eat five times as much or more of some of those fruits and vegetables."

Pawlick, 64, an award-winning science writer from Kingston, Ont., says that much of his research data come from tables published by Agriculture Canada.

"Every three or four years Agri Canada does a fresh set of tables on the current nutritional value of various foods. They send people out at random to various supermarkets and they buy foods off the shelf, take them back to the lab and do analysis of their nutrient content and these are published," he says, adding that consumers can go online and look at the food tables themselves.

Pawlick says that a fresh tomato bought from the supermarket has 61 per cent less calcium than it did in the 1950s.

"Virtually across the board, some losses have been as steep as 70 per cent. And it's because of the way the crops are grown and raised."

Pawlick lays the onus directly on the large corporate farms that supply most of the grocery chains in Canada.

"They choose varieties of fruits and vegetables, and when they make that choice the question of nutrition or flavour never enters into the picture," he says.

"They select varieties of fruit for thickness so when it's in a truck going across the country it won't get smushed," he charges. "So they want hard rubbery fruit and vegetables for a longer shelf life."

Pawlick says the same corporate farms also select produce for appearance. "They have to have uniformity so that every tomato or strawberry looks like the other one, and they all have to be ripe on the same day so they can be machine-harvested."

Pawlick says that because imported produce is harvested prematurely, it is artificially ripened with ethylene gas.

"This decreases the amount of sugar and flavour in the fruit as opposed to allowing it to ripen on the vine." He cites the California strawberry as an example.

"They are beautiful, but they are selected and bred to look good - but not to give you any nourishment."

Pawlick says that where consumers can, they should buy local produce. "Usually if it is locally grown it won't be so bad because it isn't being shipped a long distance," he says. "And anything that is locally grown means you are supporting local people and family farmers and the produce is getting to the market faster to retain its nutrients. The less time there is between picking
and eating, the more nutrients will still be in the product."

Pawlick is so concerned about the decline of nutrients in our food that he urges consumers to stop supporting those at the root of the problem.

"The corporate food industry is not reformable, so go around them," he says.

"Stop buying from them or we will pay the price and so will our children."

For a revealing interview on the subject, go to:

Clean Water, Clean Air

Many times I have taken for granted what I know about environmental toxins. I remember back in the good ol' "ignorance is bliss" days I scoffed at people like me. But now I see people in my day to day life that are doing things that I just can't believe and I realize that they probably just don't know.

Six months ago we moved halfway across the country to a much smaller town. The socio-economic profiles of our former town and our new town could not be more opposite. There are many more families here in the lower socio-economic bracket. Incidentally, the cancer rate here seems very inflated. I think I've met more people here in 6 months that have had (or have) cancer than I've met in my entire life. I don't think this is coincidence.

Unfortunately, it is a matter of time before this fact comes to light for ALL people: The healthiest Americans will be those who can afford the necessary nutritional supplements, clean water, and clean air. Of course, there will be people who would rather have a slamming car stereo system than to worry about prevention measures. This is called "denial." But there will also be people who want to do everything possible for their health and they won't be able to afford it. This is called "poverty."

Our government would have us believe that our municipal water is adequate, that our air is not that bad, and that eating the right foods is enough to stay healthy. NONE of this is true. We are also convinced that improved health care systems will change our lives in some way, but the truth is that all it will do is make being sick more affordable! The government will never subsidize getting the BEST of anything, and when it comes to our health we MUST take action and do everything we can to afford clean air and water for our families.

What is so bad about our water?
There are so many things to worry about in water including "natural" contaminants from polluted streams and ground water, and added contaminants like chlorine and fluorine. Often times, people with well water think their water is safe to drink. That could not be further from the truth! Not only is well water as contaminated with toxins as our municipal water, it is not even tested unless you test it yourself.

The thinking is this: Your government officials do a great job "cleaning" your water. What they don't worry about is getting the "cleaners" out. They don't remove chlorine by-products because most of the water goes right down the toilet, on your lawn, or hosing things down. It is too expensive to remove chlorine, when only a small percentage of our water is consumed or bathed in. But they don't bother to tell you what to do to fix YOUR water...because they know that some of their community will not be able to afford it (or not want to)! Sure, many government officials are ignorant. But others are religiously consuming pure water without a care in the world whether or not their constituents know that the water they are drinking is killing them!

The problem with our water systems is that we all assume someone is keeping tabs on the water. But the truth is that there are MANY possible contaminants and our water is only tested for a small portion of them. Our new town has VERY hard water. It amazes me that people drink it right out of the tap. Recently I noticed in our city newspaper a warning that the water had tested for high levels of nitrates. It warned not to make baby formula or children's juices from this water. First of all, how many parents have time to sit down and read the paper? Secondly, why is it harmful for babies, but somehow okay for adults?

The thinking is that our bodies can "filter out" the bad stuff and will go right through. They are equipped to handle the toxins coming through in small amounts, unlike babies' bodies which are not yet fully developed, not to mention much smaller. Yet, most adults have numerous health problems and for some reason we don't look first to what we are eating and drinking! We go to the doctor to get a pill!

We spent years drinking filtered water, and then I learned about the fluoride problems. I quickly researched and settled on a water distiller. Distilled water is the only form of pure water available. We have been drinking it for over a year now and we are very happy with our decision. You can learn more about distillers at The thing about distilling your own water at home is that you actually SAVE MONEY over bottled water. If you want more information about drinking water, we have some books that might help. You will learn about the different types of water and why distilled is better.

It is also important to note that SHOWERING IN CONTAMINATED WATER FOR 10 MINUTES IS WORSE THAN DRINKING THE SAME WATER ALL DAY! Not only are you breathing it in, it is being absorbed through the skin. You can get a shower filter and feel comfortable about the water you are bathing in.

What about Clean Air?

Similar problems exist for the air you breathe. Most of us don't realize that indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air. This is due to off gassing of carpet, furniture, bedding, and building materials as well as radon coming from the ground beneath your house (which is a leading cause of lung cancer). Many of our houses are also moldy. We have chosen Airwise Air Purifiers to keep our indoor air clean. Not only have they helped many with allergies, they oxidize odors, fungi, mold and other parasites, and toxic chemical gases; settle dust and other large particles out of the air; and destroy microorganisms like bacteria and viruses.

Having clean air is not cheap, and many find that getting prescription drugs every month for ailments such as allergies and asthma is easier to swallow than a chunk of money at one time for an air purifier. But which has the greater benefit? A drug that we all know has side effects, many unknown, or breathing clean air?
It is an unfortunate, but true tale. We are allowing toxins into our body on a daily basis through the air and water we breathe and consume. Many of us don't even realize it. And for those of us who do, we can only hope that we aren't one of the unfortunate who can't afford to change that fact.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Is Your Diet Killing You?

High glycemic index diets increase the risk of chronic degenerative disease

Long-term consumption of high-glycemic foods may increase oxidative stress and the risk of chronic degenerative diseases. Leading U.S. researchers recently concluded that a low-GI diet, not a low carbohydrate diet, appearsto be beneficial in reducing the production of free radicals and oxidative stress. Glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the rate that the carbohydrates in a food or meal are digested and appear in the blood as glucose (sugar). Glycemic load is a way of measuring the total carbohydrates in a meal or diet with a mathematical adjustment for GI. These measurements can be used to simultaneously describe the quality (glycemic index) and quantity of carbohydrate in a meal or diet.

Recent data suggest that the sudden rise in blood sugar associated with a high glycemic load may increase free radical production and the risk of oxidative damage. This increased production has been implicated in many disease processes including chronic heart disease, accelerated aging, and type 2 diabetes.

Investigators from several leading U.S. institutions recently investigated whether a diet with a high GI or GL is associated with greater oxidative stress by taking specific measurements in nearly 300 healthy adults.

Participants with a higher GI and GL diet were found to exhibit increases in oxidative stress when compared to those eating a diet lower in glycemic index and load.

Researchers concluded that chronic consumption of high-GI foods may lead to chronically high oxidative stress, increasing the risk for several degenerative diseases. A low-GI diet, not a low carbohydrate diet, appears to be beneficial in reducing oxidative stress.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 84, No. 1, 70-76, July 2006.

While this is not news to us, many have still not caught on to the low-glycemic food plan. Over a year ago, we discovered eating low glycemic foods and the weight just fell off. The same weight that I couldn't lose for over 18 months after having my second child! Then we found the Reset, a 5-day cleanse, which literally "resets" your body and diminishes carb cravings. We do this cleanse about twice a year to maintain our healthy diets year 'round.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Summer Dangers

There are a couple of things I've seen so far this summer which prompted me to mention these. Sometimes it is easy to forget that "mainstream" people don't think like us "weirdos." As a weirdo, I question EVERYTHING. I do not use anything without wondering about its safety. Two in particular are common, accepted products in just about every household, save us weirdos who have learned our lession:

1. Aspartame. I have seen about a million Diet Cokes this summer. These contain aspartame, as do many "diet" or "sugar-free" sodas and other foods. Aspartame is also found in products not labeled "diet" or "sugar-free." The best example of this is chewing gum. Since they contain both aspartame AND sugar, the fact that they contain aspartame is not apparent unless you look really hard. So what's wrong with aspartame? This says it all: If you consume this poison, please read the website!

2. Sunscreen. I've seen babies being slathered with sunscreen this summer. More and more doctors are realizing that safe sun exposure is much more healthy than the sunscreens. While many people consider sunscreen a benign product that helps prevent skin cancer, others realize that sunscreen itself is a free radical generator and that sunscreens are actually CAUSING cancer rather than preventing it:

Please take the time to look over this information and share it with friends as necessary. I understand that your friends will probably laugh at you and not listen to you. It happens to me all the time! But if we don't share vital information with our friends, they may not hear it at all!