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When Good Intentions Result in a Big Fat Lie…

My local grocery store, regional chain Roundys, has started offering organic, free range, vegetarian, chicken.  Which I’m all kinds of in favor of.  I like the choice to buy, for an elevated price, humanely raised, chemical and antibiotic free, chicken.  I have a major problem with it though.

“What could that possibly be?”  You ask, with a shocked look on your face I assume.

Let me tell you.  You can’t have truly “free range” and “vegetarian” chicken.

I know, free range is a marketing term that in reality means that the chicken spends some time outside of its cage.  This is a good thing because it means that the chicken gets some exercise and grows much slower.

“Why is that a good thing?”

Well, normal cage raised chickens, who are given growth hormones and antibiotics in order to fatten up really fast, usually grow so fast that their seldom used legs cannot support their weight.  The result is that when the birds try to stand, they break their legs.  This is not a humane way to raise chickens.  So chickens that are “free range” at least have a fighting chance at a better life.  That said, factory free ranging is little better than caging chickens.

Factory free range chickens are usually kept in barns.  And there can be thousands of chickens in that barn, crammed in wing to wing, barely able to move about.  Certainly not the bucolic picture of the chicken coop with the hens and chicks scratching in the dirt outside with the rooster standing watch on a fence post.

This is the reality of terms like “cage free” and “free range”

They really can’t move around all that much, but at least they can move.  They also won’t suffer from broken legs or being debeaked.  Don’t even get me started on that barbaric, inhumane, despicable practice.  Unfortunately in those close quarters, they also can’t give themselves dust baths, which help them prevent lice infestations, they’re prone to easily transmitting diseases, and violent behavior and cannibalism are prevalent.   What does that matter though, they’re free range and cage free.

The other term I’m opposed to is vegetarian.

Chickens are not vegetarians.

Let me repeat that.  CHICKENS ARE NOT VEGETARIANS!

Chickens are omnivores.  Just like humans.  In those bucolic pictures of chickens in the farm yard, scratching in the dirt, those chickens are doing a couple of things.

First, they’re scratching up grit to eat.  Grit is just what it sounds like, dirt and small stones.  A chicken’s stomach, gizzard, is not really well suited to grinding up its food for digestion.  Beaks are not really meant for much more than cracking things open and picking thing up, and chickens have no teeth so they can’t chew their food.  Grit works through the muscle action in and around the gizzard to grind the food so the chicken can extract the nutrients from what they eat.

Second, the chicken is scratching looking for bugs.  Yes chickens eat bugs, they’re especially fond of June bugs I’m told by my chicken raising friends.

So, a vegetarian chicken just isn’t one hundred percent natural.  And the only way you can ensure that a chicken gets only a vegetarian diet is to make sure that it never has access to the soil.  Barnyard soil has all sorts of bugs and small creatures in it that chickens will happily eat for you.  What they’re really telling you when they say that the chicken is vegetarian is that the farmer is not feeding it any animal byproducts.

“What kind of animal  byproducts could they be feeding chickens?”

Good questions.  Because chickens being fed a diet of corn, greens and seeds need extra calcium, a common practice is to add ground up egg shells and bone meal to the food.  Now bone meal is nothing more than what it says, ground up bones.  Those can be beef, pork or even chicken bones.  And to boost the protein in their food, they’ll also add in things like eggs, and meat byproducts.  Again, meat by products can come from any thing; beef, pork, chicken, etc.  What do chicken farmers have in abundance to make bone meal and meat byproducts from?  You got it, chickens.  So between the egg shell, albumin, bone meal, and meat byproducts, is it any wonder that that chickens in over crowded conditions become cannibalistic?  This is also one reason why caged chickens are debeaked, if they don’t the chicken will start eating itself.  Now there is nothing natural about that.  That is simply a sign of an animal in severe distress.  One of the big problems with animal byproducts in animal feed is that it isn’t always the highest quality nor cleanest, as a result things like arsenic are added to the feed to kill parasites. So vegetarian only means that the chicken isn’t being fed anything but vegetables and grit.

But a vegetarian diet is not the chicken’s natural diet.  Even if the chicken isn’t caged, it won’t be as healthy as a chicken allowed to eat bugs and scratch in the dirt.

Given all the above, what should we really be looking for in chicken.  If you’re willing to buy the organic, free range, vegetarian, chicken for a premium from the grocery store, take the extra step and go to a farmer’s market.  The chicken there is usually a little less expensive than the grocery store organic chicken, even if it is vegetarian.  But talk to the people selling chicken there.  Ask them how their chicken is raised and what its fed.  Specifically ask if the birds are pastured and allowed time outdoors in the sun and dirt.  If they are, the birds will do what comes naturally and eat the plants and bugs.  By the way, also ask your egg man these same questions.  The eggs will be so much more flavorful.  Did you know that a pastured, and properly fed, chicken’s egg will have a yoke that is almost orange rather than yellow.  It will also be naturally high in omega 3 fatty acids.  You know the stuff that’s good for your brain, heart and arteries.

 

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I Can’t Say This Any Better…

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

So I’ll just post the whole thing here. I’m sure they won’t mind me helping to get the word out.

 

The science is clear. BPA is dangerous. It’s time for FDA to stop allowing BPA to be used in our food packaging. Send a message to the FDA before its March 31st decision.

The FDA decides on March 31st if it will ban BPA in food packaging.
Dear Friend,

The toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) was recently banned in California from being used in baby bottles and sippy cups.

But thanks to the lobbying of the American Chemistry Council and other chemical manufacturers, BPA continues to be allowed in food and beverage packaging including the lining in most canned food and soup.

The FDA can put a stop to it. The agency will decide on March 31st whether or not to continue allowing bisphenol A (BPA) to be used in food packaging. It needs to stand up to industry pressure and protect us from this dangerous chemical.

Tell the FDA: No BPA in food packaging!
BPA is a hormone disruptor that has been linked to a long list of serious health issues, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, early puberty, miscarriages and brain and heart disorders.1

It’s so ubiquitous, it’s even used in things like store receipts and plastic bags, and it is estimated that BPA can be found in 90% of our bodies.2

FDA’s deadline comes in response to a formal petition filed in 2008 by the Natural Resources Defence Council. FDA failed to respond, and finally in December, a federal judge said it must make a final decision on BPA in food packaging by March 31st.3

Early last year, FDA admitted that BPA use raised “some concern,” reversing a long maintained position that BPA was safe in low doses, as evidence mounted rapidly of BPA’s health risks, which in addition to increased propensity for some diseases, include infertility and behavioral problems in children.

The science on BPA is clear, and its health impacts are far reaching, and deeply concerning. BPA isn’t safe to be used in food packaging and the FDA needs to take action to protect us from BPA:

Take Action Now

Thank you for fighting to keep us safe from toxic chemicals.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Viral Video… Another Killer Chemical We Haven’t Been Told About

July 21, 2011 3 comments

Where do I start?

Cute little kid who’s so obviously being used and scripted by an organic convert parent or grandparent?

Or killer chemical we’ve all ingested and have never been told about?

Ok, let’s start with the video.  If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is.

If you didn’t watch it, the idea of the video is this little girl and her grandmother did an experiment on how long it took  a sweet potato to sprout and grow vines.  First they bought a sweet potato at the grocery store and nothing happened.  Went back to the store and replaced the potato, again nothing.  Went back and talked to the produce guy who told them that the potato they buy in the store won’t sprout.  Its sprayed with a chemical with a trade name of Bud Nip that prevents sprouting.  He suggested one of their organic sweet potatoes.  They did and got some small scrawny sprouts.  Then they went to a real organic grocery store and got a truly organic potato.  Which sprouted in a week and when the video was shot the vines were 2 to 3 feet long. Then she talks about the Bud Nip and how bad it is for you.

First off, I applaud the child and grandmother doing experiments.  I’m all for that sort of thing.

Second, PARENTS how dare you exploit your child like that.  Shame on you and/or the grandparents for using your kid as a shill for your political agenda.  Listen, its a good message, but let your kid be a kid, not some sort of pawn in your game.  We all know that this little girl didn’t come up with this on her own.

So, done with the cute.

Bud Nip, or as its known in scientific circles, chlorpropham.  Using the fewest words, this is a preemergence growth inhibitor.  In simple terms, it keeps plants from sprouting.  If you spray it on your lawn in the spring just after the grass turns green, it will keep the weeds from sprouting and growing.  Spray it on a farm field a few weeks before planting and the weeds don’t come up but the seeds you plant will.  The reason you can plant shortly after using it is because its VERY soluble in water.  So when it rains, it washes through the soil and into the water table (problem number one).

That’s how its suppose to be used.  Unfortunately someone always finds a new use for those wonderful chemicals that make our modern lives livable.  Dupont’s tag line was, “Better living through chemistry.”  When they used it people thought it was a real positive thing.  Chemicals were going to make the world a better place.

Yeah…

So how are they using chlorpropham?  Well, like the little girl says, they’re spraying it on sweet potatoes.  They actually spray it on all root vegetables.  Those carrots, beets and potatoes have a nasty habit of sprouting and using all their stored energy and nutrients to make roots, stems and leaves.  Its not just root vegetables though.  Most of the produce we eat, especially fruits, legumes,  and seeds get treated with it too.  Because just like their root vegetable brethren seeds live to sprout.  About the only thing in the produce section that isn’t sprayed with this stuff are leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, and they have their own chemical dependency issues.

If they’re spraying it on, how can it be so bad?  This doesn’t just sit on the surface, no it soaks into the vegetable, permeating the cell walls all the way to the heart of the vegetable or fruit.  Remember, I said its highly water soluble, and fruits and vegetables have a lot of water in them.  So, it can’t be washed off (problem number two).

Ok, let’s get specific here.  This is a toxic substance.  Acute toxicity has been shown to cause permanent degenerative changes in the liver and kidneys of laboratory animals.  Not to mention deadly congestion of the brain, lungs, and other organs.  There’s a disease that kills thousands of people every year called congestive heart failure, its where the area around the heart fills with liquid and basically prevents the heart from beating fully if at all (problem number three).  This is the kind of congestion they’re talking about.  Acute toxicity is a case where you are exposed to a large dose of it all at once.  Unless you live or work on a farm where this stuff is being used acute exposure isn’t very likely.

So, if acute exposure isn’t likely then what does it matter.  Another side of the toxicity issue is chronic toxicity.  That’s where it builds up in your system over time, much like lead, mercury, or arsenic.  The chronic effects range from retarded growth to death.  The reproductive issues are just as bad with this chemical having the ability to cross the mother’s placenta to be introduced into the developing fetus.   Long term exposure has also been shown to cause cancer.  This stuff builds up in our food supply and therefor in us (problem number four).

Why then do they use this stuff?  Simple, economics.  If they spray this stuff on the vegetables, they don’t have to be as careful in temperature control.  It also means that the vegetables will keep longer in the store.  That means less waste that store has to write off, which means more profit for the stores.  Of course the flip side of that is that since the store won’t have to write off as much, they’ll lower the price of produce.

Yeah…

I had to try to write that last one a few times.  I couldn’t keep from laughing.  Yeah, the grocery store is going to lower its produce prices because they don’t have to throw as much away.

So farmers use it because if their products don’t sprout they look better for the buyers.  The buyers like it because it means they don’t have to be as careful getting it to the distributors.  The distributors like it because they don’t have to rush it to the markets and it can sit in warehouses longer.  Stores like it because produce lasts longer on the shelf.  All around, they all like it because it increases their profits.

Even at the expense of the health of the population…

Oh, and no one wants to talk about it because it taints the image of the good, wholesome produce section.  They are poisoning our food and water supply, as well as the dirt we grow our food in.  This is major corporations and our government waging a war on the public…

This is true terrorism.

It needs to be exposed.

They ARE Trying To KILL US!!!

July 7, 2011 1 comment

I think someone out there is trying to make my head explode.  I’m finding all this information on food that just scares the hell out of me.  It’s making me really mad.

Tonight after dinner I was scanning the headlines on Yahoo.  Just trying to keep up with what’s going on in the world and all.  So I read this one:  Top 10 Scariest Food Additives.  This article is all about very common food additives and how they aren’t at all good for us.

They range from Ammonium Sulfate which seems benign.  So far they haven’t found it to be harmful though it has fallen under suspicion.  People its a fertilizer and fire retardant.  Somehow, that just doesn’t seem like it would be the best thing to be putting in our bodies.

In the middle of the pack are the asthma inducers like Sulfites and Azodicarbonamide.  While not the most dangerous of them, unless you’re an asthma sufferer.  If they can induce an asthma attack in those sensitive to them, just what kind of impact can they have on people with healthy lungs?  Can they actually cause some airway restriction?  And what about those people who don’t have asthma, but do have diminished lung function for other reasons?

Also in the middle is Olestra.  Ok, diarrhea might not be the worst thing.  Embarrassing, yes.  By itself not really deadly unless it becomes severe and is accompanied with dehydration.  More important to know about it is that it is thought to block absorption of fat soluble vitamins.  Since it can’t be broken down in the body and passes straight through the intestines, it carries the nutrients through your system without releasing them for use in the body.  So you end up malnourished.  And recent studies are leading to the conclusion that it can cause you to gain weight.

Lastly, there are the killers.  Cancer, heart disease, and stroke are all known as possible outcomes of ingesting these.   From the caramel coloring that’s in pretty much everything to Saccharin which is a cheap, zero calorie, sweetener.  Cancer is the danger of using these.  Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil is know well to clog arteries which would lead to heart attack or stroke.

The common thread among all these though is; each and everyone of them is banned in other countries but not the United States.  No, here the FDA tells us that they’re all perfectly safe.  And we all know that the US government would never lie to the American people.

The only way we’re going to get them to stop poisoning us is to vote with our wallets.  Read the ingredient labels, and just don’t buy any product that has any of these additives in them.    Maybe then the food companies would take notice and stop putting them in our food.  Read people.  Educate yourselves.  Then start asking questions of yourselves, your food providers and your congressmen.  Make them know you won’t hold still for them trying to kill us all.