Food Truth Freedom

Your food, where it comes from & what's in it


Put Down The Strawberries: These Pesticide-laden Fruits & Veggies Top the Pesticide List For 2017

Topping the list of the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables are strawberries, which can contain as many as 20 different pesticides. The Environmental Working Group released its annual “Dirty Dozen” list.

Another favorite, spinach, climbed the list from 8th last year to 2nd for 2017.  A disturbing fact is permethrin, a neurotoxin banned in Europe but still used here in the United States, was found on approximately 75% of tested samples. Permethrin was also found in higher levels in the urine of children more likely to have ADHD & can cause seizures as well as endocrine (hormonal) and neurological damage.   Additionally, permethrin is used here in the U.S. to control head lice and is embedded in mosquito and tick-repellent fabrics. It is commonly used on nut, fruit, vegetable, cotton, ornamental, mushroom, potato and cereal crops.

More bad news for spinach:  mandipropam, fluopicolide and ametoctradin, which are used to kill mold and mildew – were found in higher rates this year. In previous years their presence was not found on this and other produce.

New additions to the list were pears and potatoes which edged out cherry tomatoes and cukes.

In contrast, the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15” is as follows:  corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, (frozen) sweet peas, papayas,  asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit.

It is important to note that even at low levels, pesticides have a cumulative effect.  Children absorb them at a rate ten times that of adults.  Because their systems are still developing, it is wise to limit their exposure. Important READ —>  If You Use Pesticides, READ THIS!

Best bet?  BUY ORGANIC when you can!


Food Waste: 800 Million Starving – We Could Feed Them All

Trillions of pounds of food are discarded annually - perfectly good, edible food that could feed millions.

Trillions of pounds of food are discarded annually – perfectly good, edible food that could feed millions.

It’s hard for the average American to imagine true starvation.  With the abundant availability of food at our fingertips:  Grocery stores chock-full of food right around the corner, fast food joints at every turn and restaurants with their heaping portions – we never consider the hungry worldwide.

800 million people on this planet are starving.  Worldwide, we waste 1/3 of the planet’s production,  an astonishing 2.9 trillion pounds of food a year – enough to feed all of them twice.

In developing nations, those without easy access to refrigeration or passable roads, much is lost post-production. In more industrialized countries, more food waste occurs farther down the supply chain.  Retailers order too much, restaurants serve huge portions that patrons don’t finish. Consumers lose leftovers in the back of the fridge or toss food because they’ve bought too much and it’s spoiled.  They pitch perfectly good food (canned, boxed or frozen) because they’re paranoid about the “use by,”  “best before” dates, not realizing that it’s still OK to eat. Nationwide, 40% of  food used in school lunches is thrown in the trash.

Then there’s the 6 billion pounds of unharvested or unsold food which the United States wastes because it failed to win the beauty contest; misshapen, “ugly” produce, bruised, scarred, slightly bug-chewed or deemed not aesthetically pleasing for grocery shelves.  Edible, nutritious food is going to waste while people starve.

Food waste taxes the planet’s resources.  When food is rejected for looks, rots somewhere for lack of storage or thrown away by retailers or consumers, millions of gallons of water are wasted, more dangerous pesticides and herbicides were used than necessary, gasoline or diesel is wasted, seeds squandered and our landfills stuffed with edible food, all for naught.

There is hope.  Here in the States, the USDA is promoting gleaning which means food is collected from farms, grocery stores, farmer’s markets and restaurants. (click HERE to get involved) A growing movement of gleaners salvages food and re-purposes it. A some farms are collecting discarded food, like the pig farmer outside of Las Vegas who gathers uneaten food from casinos to feed to his animals.  PantryNet is available to let consumers find local food banks nearby.  Schools are cutting back on food waste by offering sharing tables.  “Feedback,” an organization dedicated to reducing food waste collects food on an international level.  Feeding America is fighting hunger in America. Many restaurants have begun  fine-tuning purchasing, making portions smaller and donating unused food to charities.  Stores are springing up all over which sell packaged food past its “sell by” date which is certainly still edible.  The former president of Trader Joe’s, Doug Rauch, opened a non-profit supermarket in Massachusetts, The Daily Table,  offering fruits & vegetables soon to be discarded. Imperfect Produce, based in California, collects rejected produce from farms and delivers it right to your door. In our nation’s capitol, D.C. Central Kitchen collects food and provides 11,000 meals a day to shelters, schools and other locations.

We must be more conscious of the food we eat and more aware of the vast amount we waste. Keeping this in mind, we need to pressure those entities which throw away edible food, large grocery chains, restaurants, corporate farms, Mom-and-Pop stores, farmer’s markets and schools, to concentrate on feeding the world’s hungry.


Sevin Dust, Bug B Gon, 2,4-D : ALL Lawn & Garden Chemicals WILL MAKE YOUR PETS SICK!

All lawn and garden chemicals will make your cat or dog sick.

All lawn and garden chemicals will make your cat or dog sick.

Let me get right to the point:  ALL LAWN & GARDEN CHEMICALS WILL MAKE YOUR PETS SICK.  There are no exceptions to this rule!

Just as you can be sickened by Sevin Dust, Spectracide, Bug B Gon, Scott’s Weed & Feed, 2,4-D, Triazicide, Bayer All-In-One products or any other lawn care chemical, so can your pet.

Pesticides and herbicides are toxic chemicals.  They are poison. Get that?

Every time you use products like Sevin Dust, Bug B Gon, 2,4-D or others, you run the risk of poisoning your cat or dog. (or yourself and your kids, too.)

Pesticides are neurotoxins,  meaning they act on the brain.  They’ve also been found to increase chances of cancer in animals, respiratory disease, muscle weakness and a host of other serious complications.

Pesticides and lawn care chemicals do not dissipate.  When your pet walks on the lawn you just treated with Bug B Gon,  Spectracide, Scott’s Weed & Feed or 2,4-D, it will pick up residue on its feet and coat.  It tracks it into your home. Then, in grooming itself, it ingests the chemical.

In a study conducted by Purdue University found that even after lawn chemicals had dried, reside was still found on dogs tested.

In 2,4-D exposure, dogs were found to have very high instances of malignant lymphoma.  Despite numerous epidemiological studies linking it to cancer in dogs and people, The EPA refuses to classify it as a carcinogen.

These are not harmless chemicals. They cause significant neurological and endocrine damage in humans and pets.

Please educate yourself. Your health, the health of your family and that of your pet depends on it.

READ MORE:

If You Use Pesticides, READ THIS!  <— A “Pesticides 101” primer.

Sevin Dust Is Not Your Garden Friend

 


Pesticide Use Linked To Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s & ALS

Pesticide use has been linked with increased rates of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and ALS.

Pesticide use has been linked to increased rates of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS.

Pesticides are neurotoxins (neu·ro·tox·in: a poison that acts on the nervous system) which overstimulate brain cells, causing miscommunication between them and eventually, cell death. This is how pesticides kill insects: the creature’s brain and nervous system becomes so scrambled it shuts down and the insect dies.

Definitive links exist between pesticide use and the rise of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease as well as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – ALS – or known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Pesticides are classified as those used to control insects, weeds and fungi and are known as insecticides, herbicides or fumigants.

Organophosphates are commonly used on food, in household pesticide and insecticides as well as lawn and garden chemicals. Organophosphates  have been shown to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and ALS.

You might know some of these pesticides by their brand names:  Sevin Dust, Malathion (used in mosquito control)  Round-Up (glyphosate) and Diazinon.

Elevated serum levels of pesticides in humans, along with a rise in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, point to a link in neurological damage in those consistently exposed.

Though most Alzheimer’s research has focused on genetic factors, scientists have found that only half the cases are linked to heredity.  The other half increasingly points to use of pesticides in past decades.  DDT, banned over 40 years ago, remains in the body and has been found in about 75-80% of the population.  In Alzheimer’s patients the levels of DDE, (DDT when broken down) were 4.18 times higher.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurological disorder.  Nerve cells in the brain regulating dopamine – which controls movement – are damaged to the point where they cannot produce the chemical.  Less than 1% of Parkinson’s cases can be attributed to genetics and researchers are finding a solid link to exposure to pesticides.  Scientists in the UK in studies ranging from 1983-2005, found a substantial link to pesticide and herbicide exposure in Parkinson’s patients.

  • Research conducted in the U.S. found that those consistently exposed to low levels of pesticides and herbicides were twice likely to develop Parkinson’s.
  • A Harvard study found that long-term pesticide exposure, even at low levels, shows a 70% increase in the disease over those who had limited contact.
  • Gardeners who routinely use pesticides such as Sevin Dust,  are 50% more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who grow organic gardens.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease, affecting motor control and is always fatal.  Over time patients lose motor control and in later stages, may become totally paralyzed.

Pesticides cause oxidative stress which in turn can lead to an array of health issues:  Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, cancer, chronic fatigue, heart and blood vessel disorders, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attack and inflammatory diseases.

With mounting evidence against pesticides, isn’t it time you think twice before using them?

There are no “safe” pesticides.

Read More:

Food Truth Freedom:  If You Use Pesticides, READ THIS!

Beyond Pesticides:  Pesticide Induced Diseases.

PubMed.gov: Pesticide Exposure, Parkinson’s &  Neurodegenerative Diseases


Common Medications Impair Brain Function & May Contribute To Alzheimer’s

Many OTC or prescribed medications may contribute to decreased brain function or Alzheimer's in older adults.

Many OTC or prescribed medications may contribute to decreased brain function or Alzheimer’s in older adults.

You might be taking some of the following medications for hay fever and allergies: Claritin, Zyrtec, Benadryl or Dimetapp.

Perhaps you’re on antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs: Zanax, Abilify, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Valium, Paxil or Seroquel.

Heartburn or GERD?  You might be taking:  Zantac, Tagamet or Librax.

Can’t sleep?  Unisom or any  over-the-counter antihistamines or sleep medications containing Diphenhydramine.

These and many other common medications used in treatment for high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, blood thinners and ulcers could contribute to a shrinking brain and possibly Alzheimer’s.

A recent study by the Indiana University School of Medicine, and published in JAMA Neurology, found that these medications inhibit an important brain chemical, acetylcholine, which is crucial to transmission in electrical impulses between cells.  PET scans were used to monitor brain metabolism of acetylcholine. MRIs measured brain shrinkage.  Nearly half of all Alzheimer’s patients receive medications which worsen their symptoms.

Acetylcholine also acts within the central nervous system which controls motivation, arousal and attention.  It has been shown that deterioration of pathways related to synthesis of acetylcholine could be a contributor to Alzheimer’s.

Anticholinergic drug users also showed lower levels of glucose metabolism — a biomarker for brain activity — in both the overall brain and in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with memory and which has been identified as affected early by Alzheimer’s disease.

When these drugs are taken or prescribed for those over the age of 50 and the elderly, increased episodes of confusion have been observed.  The more damaging drugs,  called anticholinergics, when taken continuously for 60 days or more, revealed higher instances of dementia and brain shrinkage.

CLICK HERE for the list of ratings of common medications.

An EASIER TO READ CHART is available in this article.


Teflon & Non-Stick Cookware: Is It Truly Safe?

DuPont swears teflon is safe. I've had my doubts over the years.

DuPont swears teflon is safe. I’ve had my doubts over the years.

I never felt comfortable with Teflon cookware since its introduction in the 1960’s.  Intuitively, something bothered me about Teflon and still does to this day. As a result I’ve never used it, favoring instead cast iron or stainless steel.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a polymerization aid originally used for many years in the manufacture of PTFE, also known as Teflon nonstick cookware. These fluorocarbons do not exist in nature.  For over 45 years DuPont hid evidence that PFOA was potentially harmful, causing higher incidences of thyroid, pancreatic, testicular and liver disease.   The EPA has ruled PFOA a “likely carcinogen.”

Ten years ago DuPont was fined 16.5 million by the EPA over the cover-up of its findings on C8, one of the chemicals used in the manufacture of Teflon. C8 is also found in other non-stick products: stain resistant coatings on furniture, carpets, clothing, household items, microwave popcorn bags, disposable paper plates, fast food wrappers and many other applications.  Additionally, DuPont was responsible for keeping its workers in the dark -and- literally poisoning the drinking water in the Ohio River Valley for decades.  Phase out of PFOA was ordered ten years ago.

Questions have been raised by the scientific community regarding the prevalence of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) which have been shown to break down little, if at all.  They are classed as “persistent chemicals” which means they stay in the body after ingestion or inhalation.

Research indicates that PFOAs are not metabolized by the body and are in the bloodstream of about 98% of the population.

A 2014 report commissioned by the European Food Safety Authority assessed numerous studies relating to the “oral toxicity of PFASs in humans”. The report’s authors concluded that many “PFASs appear to correlate with cytotoxicity,”meaning they are toxic to cells.

DuPont swears this stuff is safe.  There were warnings about earlier versions of Teflon flaking and dangers associated when heated at high temperatures.  The temperature warnings still exist: those exceeding 500 degrees, and DuPont doesn’t seem concerned about it. However, The Environmental Working Group studies find that preheated pans do top well over the 500 degree range, sometimes into 6 or 700 degrees.  Also to be considered – incidences of “teflon flu” – polymer fume fever – which causes coughing and tightness in the chest.  Pet birds are particularly sensitive to out-gassing of teflon and can die if exposed to fumes when pans are overheated.

Even though newer pans are marketed as PFOA-free there are still concerns that they may contain other PFASs.

My thoughts?  Why cook with something potentially dangerous?  I don’t care what DuPont says. You’re cooking on a surface made from a chemical polymer where tests have proven it to be an increased risk of absorbing chemicals.

A much safer bet would be to use stainless steel or, my personal favorite, cast iron.  A well-seasoned iron pan works just like teflon and is far healthier.  Here’s how to care for cast iron.  Simple!

RELATED:

Environmental Health Perspectives:  The Madrid Statement on Poly and Perfluoroakyl Substances (PFAS)

New York Times:  The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare.


Eating Yogurt? Dannon’s Activia: A Total RIPOFF

Dannon's claim to have a "special" yogurt culture is nothing more than their patented name for "bifidus," something found in ALL yogurts.

Dannon’s claim to have a “special” yogurt culture is nothing more than their patented name for “bifidus,” something found in ALL yogurts.

I’ve been eating yogurt all my life and one yogurt I will never eat is Dannon’s Activia.  It’s far too expensive and it’s a rip-off.

Dannon touts their “bifidus regularis” as being unique.

It’s not.

It’s just a variation, bifidobacterium lactis DN-173010 which belongs to the common bacteria found in other yogurts bifidobacterium animalis – all of them much less expensive than Activia.  What Dannon has done is to patent the name, “Bifidus regularis” to make it seem like something really special.

It’s not.

Other patented names Dannon uses are:  Bifidus Actiregularis, Bifidus Regularis, Bifidus Digestivum, Bifidobacterium Lactis and its variants,  are marketing names Dannon for one of the specific bacteria it uses in its “Activia” range of yogurt products sold throughout the world.

I prefer to call their name, “Bifidus Bullshitus.”

Dannon was sued – and lost – for falsely claiming that Activia and Dan-Active yogurt drinks could be “clinically proven to help strengthen your body’s defenses.”   Their insistence that their yogurt products contained something magical, “L. casei Immunitas,” another name made up by Dannon, is actually Lactobacillus casei DN-114 001 – and found in all yogurt.

So in other words, you’re really getting ripped off when you pay a lot of money for those little green containers versus a larger one of something like Stonyfield Farm – which BTW, is organic.

No artificial ingredients in this yogurt. READ LABELS!

No artificial ingredients in this yogurt.

 

The basic cultures used to make yogurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Additional probiotics are often added. Common ones are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidus.

READ LABELS! Many of Yoplait's brands have artificial ingredients and unnecessary ingredients.

READ LABELS! Many of Yoplait’s brands have artificial ingredients and unnecessary ingredients.

Many yogurts contain artificial ingredients. Yoplait is one of them. Read “What’s Under The Lid” from the Yoplait site. They admit to using these additives such as artificial sweeteners: “Some of our products contain artificial sweeteners. Sweeteners let us deliver an amazing taste without adding calories.”

Like Dannon, they also color their yogurt with something called “carmine,” an FDA legally allowed ingredient sometimes indicated on the label as “crimson lake,” “cochineal,” or “carminic acid.”

Dannon's Activia contains "carmine," and only says "active cultures," not "live cultures" which are more beneficial.

Dannon’s Activia contains “carmine,” and only says “active cultures,” not “live cultures” which are more beneficial.

It’s actually the skin of an insect called  cochineal beetles, used in cosmetics and other applications, and is in other foods for colors of red, pink and purple. It can also cause hives, itching, asthmatic reactions or, in extremely rare cases, anaphylactic shock.

READ LABELS! Those with “live & active cultures” are far more beneficial than products made with “active cultures,” which may have been heat-treated after fermentation which will kill beneficial bacteria. Make sure you buy yogurts containing “acidolphilus” and “bifidobacteria” that can withstand stomach acid and get to the colon alive – thus giving more benefit.

Thus the old adage proves true:  “less is more.”  Read labels, become informed and you’ll find all that hype is just that.  Don’t fall for Dannon’s “Bifidus Bullshitus.”

RELATED:

FDA “GRAS” (Generally Regarded As Safe)  List

Center For Science In The Public Interest:  “Berries Over Bugs.”