Thursday, February 28, 2013

Because They CAN PART II

Last week I wrote a blog entry entitles "Because They Can" and got a response back from my reader in the Ukraine.  And it got me to thinking more and more about this concept that I proposed of commonality making for immunity.  What that means is that large food manufacturers here in the US have the advantage of being able to use any of the 3,000 additives that are approved for use in food by the FDA.  Of those, 700 are known to be toxic, Class 2 Carcinogens or above, cause multiple organ degeneration, sterility and that retard mental development.  My Ukrainian reader asked my why do US processors use these things if they are in fact toxic.  My answer restated the title, because they can.

It is a competitive world out in the food industry.  All the big players are desperately trying to make their products in the cheapest way possible to squeeze every penny of profit from the sale of their goods.  Let's face it, there really aren't any NEW foods or NEW concepts out there.  Pretty much everything has been done before, well, except for my stuff, I had some unique concepts that no one else ever tried before.  But big businesses aren't risk takers, they won't spend a few million making goat cheese ravioli with salted carameled piloncillo chipotle sauce and try to market it.  Not unless some other company made it and made money doing so.  So that leaves the big guys in a tough spot, with two options.  One is to make their marketing more conducive to the consumer to want their particular product over the competition; and two, make their product in as cheap a way as possible to maximize profit.  Well I guess there is a third, and that is to employ the first two together.

 Ennnhh, okay, there is a fourth as well.  And that one is to include ingredients that are addictive, and therefore make return customers a foregone conclusion.  Ask any heroin or cocaine dealer how that works for them, they will tell you just how successful a business model it is.  What ingredients are addictive?  Sugars, artificial sweeteners, caffeine and HFCS.  Take a trip down the breakfast cereal aisle of your local megamart.  Look at each of the nationally advertised brands.  Virtually each and every one of them contains sugar as the second ingredient.  Even the ones advertised as "More Whole Grain Goodness than Any Other Brand".  And the ones that have honey right in the name, such as Honey Bunches of Oats, has as the second ingredient, sugar, the third, Corn Syrup, and then down the list at about tenth, honey.  Look at Special K cereal, this is a product that promotes weight loss by integrating this into part of your diet plan.  The second ingredient, sugar.  I do have to applaud General Mills for starting to use Vitamin E as a preservative instead of BHA or BHT which both have shown to have extremely detrimental side effects if consumed long term.  Which if you get addicted to any cereal, you usually eat it all the time for most of your life. 

Most of the cereals out there do have sugar, or HFCS as an ingredient.  As well as, canola oil.  Honey is expensive, sugar and HFCS are cheap.  There again, cheaper ingredients.  HFCS, known toxicity.  The big B's for preservatives, known organ damage.  Canola oil over more expensive oils, canola causes organ degradation.  Why use them if they slowly kill the people that purchase your products?  Well, because the FDA says that they can.  And since every single manufacturer of breakfast cereal, as well as just about every bread baker, and every manufacturer of cake mixes, instant potato products, soups, soup mixes, pasta sauces, frozen anything, processed anything, all use lots and lots of the 700 additives allowed to them that are known to be harmful.  Then it does indeed become increasingly difficult to sue any ONE company for causing your particular health problems.  How can you pinpoint the blame to an individual company or any individual specific additive?  You can't.  It would be impossible for any person to do that.  The use of toxins in our food is UNBELIEVABLY common.  So, in the commonality, there is immunity. 

I have read these three books and highly recommend them to you.  Rich Food Poor Food is a shopping guide, and an in depth evaluation of a lot of the additives in our food supply.  It goes into great detail about how to avoid the bad, and buy the good.  It Starts with Food is an excellent book about, well, food.  The processing and poisoning of our food is there, and it is scary indeed.  The third is just a fun book that blasts through any preconceived ideas about world economics.  And it is a great read.  Try them.  Hey, I make a couple bucks off each one if you buy them and it helps me stay on track. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ever have a hot DATE?

Yeah, I know what YOU were thinking, but no, this is all about dates.  Phoenix dactylifera.  The date palm, and these rather unattractive beasts bear a fruit that has been a favorite of Egyptian Kings, peasants living on the plains, on the rivers and deserts of arid lands for thousands and thousands of years.  Not so much any more, they are not that big a deal for most Americans, in fact most have never heard of them, let alone tasted one.  But then when possible, I cook with them and non-believers become big fans.

My friend Roberta who by the way is moving away from Austin soon, once told me that I was a magician.  I made simple things into miracles of flavor.  And it was just dates.  I took some big whole fresh dates (FRESH is very important, they can't be at all dry) slit them on one side and removed the pit.  Then I took a pack of cream cheese, mixed in the zest of a lemon with the juice, and a teaspoon of cumin.  Took a big tablespoon of the mix and placed between the two halves of the date.  Then place it in the middle of a big rectangle of puff pastry, pull the corners together and pinch together.  Bake in hot oven for 15 minutes or until golden.  Yumm.

My next cool thing to do with dates is pretty simple.  Take a few fresh dates and slit the side, and remove the it.  In a hot skillet, add a teaspoon of olive oil.  Take the dates and dust with some cayenne, paprika and a bit of clove and nutmeg.  Cook in the olive oil and few moments on the cut side.  Turn over and dust with a bit more of the spices.  Serve with some slices of good spanish chorizo and roasted garlic cloves along with some good hard cheese such as Manchego, Parmesan or Mimolette.  Maybe even Mizithra, although it is pretty salty.  Another recipe that I love, or at least to eat when I had guests, not so much anymore, but take some good blue cheese and cut into long chunks.  Stuff into dates and then wrap with prosciutto.  Then broil until crispy turning every few minutes.  You can also wrap in American bacon, just cook longer, or precook the bacon halfway to cut down on cooking time and having the cheese melt out.

If you find some of those fresh honey dates, those are spectacular for this appetizer.  Get those really big jalapenos and cut the top of them.  With a apple corer or small paring knife, cut out the membranes and seed cores.  Cut some sticks from Grana Padano or maybe some Jarlsberg.  Stuff the peppers with the cheese and the dates.  Stand them up in a high sided bowl or cake pan.  Bake in the oven until softened, about 20 to 25 minutes.  These are very yummy, the rich cheese and the spiciness of the jalapeno go very well with the sweetness of the dates.

For dessert, just buy a tube of Marzipan and squirt some into pitted dates and serve with chopped almonds or pistachios.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Yum Foods losing sales

Here are some of the highlights from this weeks issue of FOOD BUSINESS NEWS.

Why are Americans so complacent, so uncaring, so stupid?  Well why on earth would I even say such a thing you ask.  Because over in China, that wonderful country where we all laugh and talk about how they all work in sweat shops, for pennies a day.  The country where a billion people live and they eat rice because they can't afford real food.  Yeah, that country.  Yum! foods international has a few KFC chicken outlets in China, and they are growing at an alarming rate with sales of 1,597 million in 2012 up from 1,319 million in 2011.  That's dollars, not yen.  The thing is, sales took a nose dive in mid-December when the media in China reported that chickens used by KFC and the other Yum! Foods brand outlets, are fed antibiotics to combat the huge infection rate of the chickens raised in CAFO's.  Chinese consumers responded to this news the same way that I did, I quite going to KFC and I quit eating ANY commercially raised chicken. 

Why don't Americans stop going to KFC?  Those people that Amerikans beleive to be poor, stupid slave laborers living in poverty and slum conditions in overcrowded filthy cities in the most populous country in the world.  So much for perceptions.  The Chinese have shown themselves to be intelligent, well informed and cognizant of a big corporation attempting to make huge profits by serving them unsafe cheap CAFO meat tainted with bacterial residues and high concentrations of residual antibiotics.  The Chinese do not want the American phenomena of antibiotic resistant bacteria to come to their country and be responsible for a hundred thousand deaths a year as it is here.

They don't seem to be so poor or stupid to me. 

Yum! Foods other entity, Taco Bell is actually doing quite well.  They have introduced their Doritos based flavored tacos.  Hmmmm, to me it sounds a lot like Hollywood, they can't come up with anything new on their own so they, like Hollywood, remake past winners and losers, and take the best of others and use it for their own. 

Starbucks is redefining marketing strategies for the entire food industry.  This is a one page article about Starbucks and their move into new products and highlighting their brand name.  And it is true, as a lifetime coffee drinker I am continually amazed how this company got so big selling less than mediocre products at higher than premium prices.  It is indeed the American dream. 

In legal news, General Mills agreed to settle a class action lawsuit over YoPlus brand yogurt.  They claimed that the product had digestive benefits.  The problem is, they made that claim without ANY research or scientific studies done to support the claim.  They got into some trouble over that.  If you bought a four pack of the stuff, you can get four bucks back from GM.  The question is, do you think that they, or any other food manufacturer will learn anything from this?  Naw, no way.  Way way way too much money to be made by deceiving consumers.

And the last comment from me today is about Post Foods LLC.  Their Honey Bunches of Oats cereal brand is getting a new member in the lineup.  GREEK.  Yep, they are adding Greek yogurt to the mix.  the stuff still has more sugar than protein and fiber combined, but it has Greek yogurt now!

Are Milk products just milk, or scarier things

Yes, it is all over the web, the FDA may approve the petition from the International Dairy Foods Association in conjunction with the National Milk Producers Federation.  The IDFA/NMPF filed the petition four years ago.  Wednesday the FDA published the petition in the federal register and asked for public comments.  For me, it is a pretty big thing.  If the FDA approves the petition, then it is just one more example of how we as Americans are losing our freedom of choice.

The petition is a big one, the IDFA/NMPF are requesting that they be allowed to add Aspartame to flavored milk products, and not put it on the label.  Their reasoning is "Milk flavored with non-nutritive sweetener promotes public health by offering children and adolescents a beverage they are more likely to consume than plain milk and that has all of the nutritional benefits of milk and less sugar than milk flavored with nutritive sweeteners,"   The petition also states that they want the FDA to amend the current regulations to allow the inclusion of up to five different non-nutritive sweeteners to seventeen other dairy products including powdered milk, sour cream, evaporated milk, whipping cream and yogurt.  According to the IDFA website, the FDA has already approved the use of these artificial sweeteners in frozen desserts.  

I'm sorry, but I want the choice of what goes into my body!

 Milk processors should NOT have the right to put cheap toxic chemicals into products that I purchase with the belief that they are wholesome, unadulterated and good for me.  If those processors CHOOSE to add cheap toxins to their products then they MUST be REQUIRED to put that crap on the label.  How many people out there have noticed that when they drink diet soda they get a headache?  How many have exercised their personal choices to cut out the toxins that have been PROVEN with scientific research to have detrimental side effects for humans?  Below are links to entries on my blog about each of the most popular artificial sweeteners.  Let's not forget that in an effort to make these chemicals sound more appetizing that processors refuse to call them what they are, ARTIFICIAL,  and instead call them non-nutritive.

Yes, I know, why are these poisons allowed into our food supply.  It is simple, money.  During the FDA approval process for any chemical additive the company that makes the additive produces scientific research showing that their proposed chemical is harmless.  Then in some secret and quite possibly money exchanging process, the FDA approves the chemical for use.  It takes MOMENTOUS research and data to remove a product from the status of allowable.  In fact, in the history of the FDA, the only chemical to be removed has been cyclamates.  Despite the mounting evidence of detrimental side effects of artificial sweeteners, GMO foods, herbicide and pesticide residues, these known toxins are still allowed into our food supply.  So many of them produce degradation of vital organs, mental faculties, sterility, and death

Our society dies out, not with a bang but with a whimper.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Becasue they can

I looked at the ingredients on a loaf of bread the other day, Roman Meal.  100% Whole Wheat.  I was shocked to see some of the things in the list.  Item number three, High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Then a bunch of fun stuff, Ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, calcium steryl lactalate, azodicarbonamide and calcium propionate.  That's a lot of crap poured into a product that right on the label expresses this very charming sentiment, "Natural Whole Grain Goodness"  Really, azodicarbonamide!  This is a plasticizer for industrial use to make rubber floor mats, shoe rubber and even carpeting softer.  You would have to eat a lot of it to die, but it is cumulative and it is listed as a CLASS 2 CARCINOGEN.  It is illegal to use in food products in very nearly every other country in the world.  But it is used here in the good ol' US of A.  It does the same thing to bread as it does to your sneakers, it makes them softer. This little tidbit is copied (article

As usual, the FDA is pretty clueless when it comes to azodicarbonamide. The FDA’s official database on food additives is called EAFUS, which stands for Everything Added to Food in the United States. EAFUS contains more than 3000 additives, including nearly 700 which have not been tested for toxicology. These untested additives are classified as EAF.
According to EAFUS, the classification for azodicarbonamide is NIL, which officially means, “Although listed as added to food, there is no current reported use of the substance, and, therefore, although toxicology information may be available in PAFA, it is not being updated.”

No reported use of the substance.  The FDA is clueless once again. 

Calcium Proprionate has been shown to exacerbate stomach ulcers and can permanently damage the stomach lining.  Ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides have been shown to cause genetic changes, birth defects, cancer, and severe allergic reactions.  Calcium steryl lactalate is a moisturizer for hand creams and has limited feeding studies done on it.

So what!

Food manufacturers everywhere put chemical additives into our food for a variety of reasons.  To make bread softer in this example; everywhere else they are added to extend shelf life, to enhance flavor profiles, to mask certain flavors from other chemical additives, to allow the use of cheaper ingredients, to combat low profit margins and to get the leg up on the competition.  The thing is, few people read the ingredient lists.  Even fewer know what the toxicity levels and carcinogenic factors are for most of the additives.  And the plain fact of the matter is that many, no, MOST of them are cumulative toxic poisons that slowly degrade the body's defense mechanisms and destroy your health.  So why add them to our food supply?

Because they can!

The plain fact of the matter is that since MOST of the agribusinesses manufacturing food in America today utilize these poisons, if any one individual, or groups of individuals get sick with degenerative long term illnesses, cancer, heart disease, strokes or anything else; they can't be sued.  How could they be sued when no single food manufacturer could be held accountable for the addition of these toxic substance to the products that they manufacture.  After all, this or that sick person did not live on a diet exclusively of their product only.  Commonality makes for immunity.  They add these toxic additives to our food supply because they can.   

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I recently joined the organization Cigar Rights of America.  CRA.  Yeah, tobacco, the world looks down on tobacco, and I am in the minority.  Cigars.  They stink, they are gross, disgusting, smelly and wives everywhere hate them.  Cigars have always had a bad reputation here in America, where it was once said that what we need is a good nickel one.

I really can't remember when I first smoked a cigar.  I smoked cigarettes after high school, and regret that now.  About two years of smoking ciggies, coughing and grossing out everyone around me.  Women, at least the ones that weren't drunk, were pretty grossed out as well.  So I stopped, brushed my teeth more often, got married and even stopped drinking alcohol and eating meat for a long time.  But then down the road a ways, when to culinary school, I took the wine appreciation class.  And it was interesting.  And tasty as well.  It was then that I began to realize that those old youthful feelings that I had some 15 years previous were about getting drunk, not about appreciating what it was that I was drinking.  I mean for the most part, the crowd I hung out with would on a rare occasion would spring for Mateus instead of Boone's Farm, or a dark beer instead of Coors, and even then, I recognized the difference.  Now, I thought that I did enjoy the flavor profiles of the wines and beers from class, but I felt that I did not want to ever go back to that time in my life where I drank myself silly most every night and lost a short procession of jobs because of it.  So actually, I guess that I began to realize the I liked the finer things in life.  And wanted to enjoy those things. Some where in there I formed my own personal rule about never drinking anything distilled, the temptation is too great to lose control, and also to enjoy a fine cigar.

A fine cigar is unlike anything else in the world.  And it is not strictly speaking, an all male pastime either.  Cigars, good ones, are hand rolled, carefully blended with a mix of specific qualities of tobacco leaves grown in differing ways to create individual flavor profiles.  And yes, different flavors really do come through and present themselves onto your palate when smoking.  Not cigarettes, yuch, those have no specific flavors.  Cigarettes have up to 27 different chemicals added to them to help them burn, Cigars have nothing but tobacco.  Tiny nuances of flavor, pepper, chocolate, cherry, clove all settle into your mind when you allow the smoke to lay in your mouth for a few moments.  A fine cigar is a thing of rich pleasure.

So, why CRA?  Well, I can't believe that the world has come to the place that it has.  I understand that there should be a ban on smoking in stores, and other public places; however, if a person wants to own a bar or restaurant and cater to smokers, why should they not be allowed.  If they have a bar, and deem it to be smoking, and you don't want to be around smoke, don't go in there.  Pretty simple isn't it.  In this country you can buy a gun, and go shoot kids in school and people everywhere stick up for their rights to do the same thing.  THEY ARE ADAMANT THAT THEY HAVE THAT RIGHT!!!!  But not to own a bar that allows smoking.  That is not a right anymore.  The RIGHT to make your own choice has been taken from Americans.  For their own good.

Tobacco causes cancer!  Hmmmm, I'm not so sure about that one.  Lung cancer was nearly unheard of until the forties.  And yet people smoked like crazy back in the old days.  What changed?  Well, tobacco has been changing, strains have been cultivated and bred for flavor, texture and quality.  Oh wait a minute, that's for cigar tobacco.  Regular ciggie tobacco has been grown for quantity and sprayed with insecticide to keep bugs off it.  And grown in mass quantities using modern farming techniques, monoculture, herbicides, pesticides, and petrochemical fertilizers.  Cigar tobacco is grown organically in most high end cigar grower fields.  Cigarettes are made with sugars, chemicals and extenders, over 27 in total.  Some of those, are in fact cancer causing.  Cigars are made with nothing but tobacco.  Well, at least high end ones are.  We don't have nickel cigars, but there are a whole class of cheap cigars out there that are made by machine, and have sugars and flavors added to them.  And probably cause cancer as well.

I smoke cigars.  I enjoy them.  I now belong to an organization that promotes the rights of cigar smokers, CRA. I suggest that everyone join this organization, not because you smoke, but because these guys have exactly the right attitude, protect your right of choice.  If you don't, then pretty soon more of your rights will disappear, for your own good.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chocolate, now, GOOOOOD for you!

I don't mean just that mmm mmm good feeling you get when you eat really good chocolate.  And not the mmm nice feeling from a Hershey's bar, but mmmmmmm mmmmmmm GGGOOOOODDDD feeling from rich dark heavenly yummy chocolate.  Yeah, now there is real research into the stuff.  And it is good.  It seems a lot of research is going into finding out just exactly how chocolate is good for the heart.

Specifically it is coco flavanols act as vasodilators and allow for greater blood flow to the heart in a process thought to help maintain endothelium dependent vasodilation contributing to normal to greater blood flow.  Whew, nice.  What Barry Callebaut through a report to the European Food Standards Agency reported that just 2.5 grams of high flavanol chocolate (dark Chocolate) positively influenced blood circulation in the human body. 


Well even I have to admit that is pretty cool.  I mean, I eat healthy, lots of raw and fermented vegetables.  Lots of brown rice, very little meat, a few fruits now and then.  But I like chocolate.  Now, I know why.  It is good for me. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Trillion Dollar Lawsuit, just need a shyster to do it.

Alright, I admit, I have a low opinion of attorneys.  Shysters.  When I was in Austin and even though the apartment complex manager admitted that there was black mold in my old apartment and they did not catch it when they replaced the flooring; I could not get an attorney to take on a lawsuit.  Yes, the apartments were owned by the City of Austin and therefore state law gave them a monetary limit for which someone could hope to sue and receive for damages.  And the amount was not enough to interest any attorney.  And I tried fourteen of them that handled mold cases.  So, I don't have much of an opinion of attorneys.

But I still need one.

I want to hire an attorney to take on a case with the world population as the plaintiff.  The defendants, Gene Tech companies Monsanto, Dow, Johnson and Johnson and others.  The amount, one Trillion Dollars.  And in a related suit, the people of the Unites States versus the FDA, the USDA and the Congress of the United States, for a grand total of One Hundred Billion Dollars.

This isn't just silly and foolish thinking, this money is needed to compensate every single person on the planet that will be affected by Genetically Modified foods.  And not just that, but also the money will be needed to clean up the environment.  Corn, soybeans, cotton, rape, and some others, will have to be removed from the environment.  Farmers will have to stop planting these GM plants for at least 4 years.  The loss to the economy will be significant.  Meanwhile teams of trained paid people will have to go out into the environment and look for, and destroy, any individual plant specimens that are found.  DESTROYED.  All the seed in storage, all the crops being held for production, all the products on the shelves containing any parts of any of the GM plants, will have to be destroyed as well.  After four years of carefully searching for any residual plants hiding anywhere in forests, fields, farms, backyards, on the coasts, or just waiting out on the tundra for a warm summer; then repopulation of the seed banks can begin. 

Stored seed can be brought out, tested for genetic markers of GM manipulation, and then the production of seed for planting can begin.  In the meantime, there must continue to be vigilance to protect the integrity of the new seed bank with continued inspection of the land for errant plants that volunteer.  After another two years then there should be sufficient seed stock for commercial planting to begin.  And then the new crops can be reintroduced.  The food business can begin again to produce High Fructose Corn Syrup, Canola oil, Cottonseed oil, and soy everything.  But can you imagine life without these products for 5 or 6 years.  Corn chips, tamales, new cotton clothing, and well, let's face it, just about EVERY PROCESSED FOOD ON THE MARKET IN STORES TODAY contains GM corn, soy, rape, or products from cotton.  These four crops and the products made from them account for over 200 billion dollars in sales every year. It is possible that some of the manufacturing companies can switch over to other food products, but think about the loss of income to business, the loss of jobs for the workers, the loss of available food products for a world demanding ever more and more foods to feed itself.  What happens when Americans don't have enough food to feed themselves?  Will the export of food stores to ANY other country continue?

WARS over food are a distinct possibility!

Those that have little and have for years depended on those that have a lot, won't like this new division of food within the world community.  In fact in order to completely eradicate the GM genes from the world, it will be necessary to go throughout the entire world and destroy the seed stores of each and every single one of the GM strains out there.  And all of the stores of seed and food of the subject species just to eliminate the possibility of migrant pollen contamination.

WARS over food are a CERTAINTY!

I think that a conservative estimate of the loss of life attributable to the removal of GM genes from the planet earth will be in the neighborhood of about 2 billion people.  More if one of the nuclear powers decides on retaliatory actions against the United States for perpetrating this abomination against the people of the planet.
Wait, I don't think a TRILLION is enough.

Then there is the human element.  GM foods have been on the market for not quite twenty years.  New studies show that lifetime feeding of GM food on mammals results in sterility, degradation of central nervous systems, liver, kidney and pulmonary functions.  And that is just the beginning of what more research might show in the future. How do you put a dollar value on loss of ability to bear children.  On loss of productivity because your systems have been slowly destroyed and you are just barely hanging onto life.  On your children not being healthy, or able to bear their own children.  On your premature death.  Or the big one, having to live through, and fight a war based on an industry desire to make money to the exclusion of the health of every single person on the planet.  How much is it worth?

Are the heads of these gene tech companies criminally liable for what will happen?  I believe they are.  And the FDA, EPA, and USDA along with the Senate and Congress are as well.  The hundred billion dollars is for punitive damages.  Hmmm. maybe more is needed.  And these people and organizations should be held for criminal charges as well.  I think that at the end of a long drawn out war involving the entire planet, with billions of people dead, the countries everywhere ravaged, nuclear fallout making land everywhere unlivable, starvation the normal mode everywhere; then I think that people will have a little different view on what to do with criminals.  I don't think that any of those on trial will survive.

If any of my readers knows a shyster out there wanting to take on Goliath,  give them my name.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Caffeinated Children

Caffeine.  It is a big part of life.  Just about every person out there ingests small amounts of the stuff every day.  It seems that it's a natural part of a lot of the things we eat and drink.  Coffee of course is a big one, tea, chocolate, most every soft drink, especially the artificially sweetened ones.  And the stuff shows up in ice cream, frozen waffles, jelly bellies, Cracker Jacks, beef jerky, energy bars and yes, even added to potato chips.  Yep, you read that correctly, it is an added ingredient to some brands of potato chips.

The fun part of all this is that the good ol' wonderful FDA does not require food and drink manufacturers to list on the label the amount of caffeine that they add to any of their products.  Hmmmm, let's see now, so if you were to slam down a couple of Starbucks venti's on the way to work, that's 830 mg caffeine, then get a couple of 5 hour energy drinks, along with a couple of hits of regular coffee, that's another 860 mg.  Then say a couple of chocolate bars and some chips for a reduced calorie but still enjoyable lunch, well, that's another 130 mg.  Hmmmmm, that's over 1800 mg of caffeine.  On what would be considered a regular day for some.  In the past 5 years, there have been 23 deaths directly attributed to people drinking caffeinated energy drinks.  There are no numbers to report how many there are in actuality.  I am pretty sure that there are a lot more, just no way to directly relate them.  Also there are no figures as to how many hospital visits there are for convulsions, hallucinations, heart attacks and other serious side effects from excess caffeine consumption.  Hospitals just don't care to find out why those things happen.

"The existence of an adverse event report does not necessarily mean that the product identified in the report actually caused the event."  FDA report "Energy Drinks and Supplements".  All about caffeinated beverages.  It's on the FDA website.

The whole problem comes down to marketing.  Now days, big companies are shifting their marketing of all of these products to kids.  Slick marketing ads with skateboarders doing their tricks, bike kids doing fancy wheelwork, all good looking young teens on the go, and drinking caffeinated beverages.


How much caffeine is considered too much?  Most authorities state that for an average adult in good health, 400 mg of caffeine is the upper limit.  Per day.  Above that, and serious side effects can begin to be perceived.  Nervousness, heart palpitations, jitterynous, changes in visual acuity.  400mg.  How much does an average child from middle income families consume daily?  How about yours?

Personally, I like coffee.  Years ago I used to drink 3 or 4 pots of coffee everyday.  Yeah, I know, that's a lot.  I have also passed about 15 kidney stones in my life, and so I don't drink so much coffee anymore.  But the coffee I do drink, I make sure is exceptional.  And I don't invest in any of that other crap out there that has caffeine added to it in an effort to make people addicted to it.  I have this book, and it is pretty cool, it chronicles the world of coffee in ways you may not ever have thought.  Try it, if you love coffee like I do.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What's right vs What's LEGAL

So, is there a difference, a differentiation.  Certainly, there is a definite value judgement that can, or should, be placed on legality.  When heads of financial institutions make decisions that alter the course of events for not just themselves, but for hundreds of thousands of homeowners across the country.  When those same leaders ask the government for bailout money, money that was taken via an unfair system of taxation, and then the government gives that money to those institutions to pay bonuses to their employees for making poor decisions and nearly bankrupting and destroying a country; it was legal.  But was it right?  There is a conundrum there, and the problem doesn't lie with the wall street bigwigs or the institutions that were bailed out, the problem lies in the government who bailed them all out and didn't actually fix the problems when doing so.   That also was not exactly right, but it was legal because the very definition of legality is decided by the government itself, and therefore they pretty much can decide what they want to be legal when they need to change the definition of legality to suit, or rather cover, their actions.

 So what is legal and what is right today?  Monsanto and a few other large gene tech companies have achieved the legal status of monopoly.  And the reign of terror that they blast upon the people of this country is afterall, legal.  The destruction of our environment is, legal.  The introduction of Genetically Modified food that nearly twenty years after its introduction is now being found to cause degenerative illnesses, sterility, and long term complications is legal.

But is it Right?

This report is long, boring, and scary as all hell. (Report)  It is from the Center for Food Safety, and it is entitled "Food Giants vs. Farmers"  It details many of the lawsuits, tactics, coverups, illegal activities, and generally immoral activities of Monsanto.  It is worth the read.
This is also worth the time.  A movie that is a couple years old, but ever so true, and scary as well.

And this Washington Post article is a 75 year old Indiana farmer that is taking his case against Monsanto all the way to the Supreme Court.   (Washington Post)

It's late tuesday night and I have to work in the morning, I will add to this tomorrow night.

A family from bread

 On the occasion of my son's nineteenth birthday some years back, he announced to me that he was buying a house and moving out.  Out on his own.  It's a joyous time when as a parent you get to watch your offspring become a complete person.  The ability to become self sufficient and independent are great indicators of the morals and standards that your child has.  You realize it is a testament to the way they were raised and reflects on the performance of your duties as a parent.  And in this situation, it reflected quite well.  

When my son then, some six weeks later came to me and told me that the one thing that he missed the most about living in my home was the fresh baked bread; well, that too reflects on how he was raised.  When I was just seventeen, I began my foray into the making of bread and the pursuit of a healthier diet.  After those first months of some rather poor results, the bread came out better and was pretty much a  staple in my home ever since.  It isn't always perfect, it isn't always taken out of the oven in time to avoid a scorch mark or two; it isn't always eaten before getting a bit of mold on it; but it pretty much was always there.  When my son came to me and requested some instructions on home to make fresh bread, it was a thrill that I oould never have hoped for.  It was a triumph for me as a dedicated man who loves to pass on a knowledge and passion for healthy foods, and as someone that fore goes the conveniences that modern society provides in order to achieve those goals that I hold in high esteem.

That first lesson was taken with me bringing presents of a wheat grinder and an older KitchenAid mixer.  Something that I don't think he quite expected, but over the years now he has certainly come to appreciate the freshness that grinding your own wheat provides and the ease with which a mixer makes his dough for him.  The lesson was an interesting mix of emotions for me, to relinquish the torch of health so to speak.  Passing on the knowledge and the rituals of the grinding of the wheat, the making of the sponge and kneading of the dough all the way to the forming of the loaves or rolls was one of my life's great pleasures.  And then the shared enjoyment of removing the heavenly scented breads from the oven and those first tantalizing tastes of life giving wholesomeness made with care and love.

Those first lessons were followed by a few more, and then my progeny used the knowledge for greater nutrition, for convenience, and who knows, maybe to impress a few women as well.  But I felt at that time that my part was done, I had passed the torch.  We still have conversations about bread, the lessons continues.  When we were a thousand miles apart it was by phone, or instant messaging.  Then video chatting as well.  Questions about why this batch was doughy, or that one fell, or why some other problem or malady occurred.  It keeps us together, and it gives us common ground to converse, even though there are thousands of miles and years dividing us.

Bread, it gives us family    


Monday, February 11, 2013

A booth at the senior buffet at Costco

I have been wanting to go into Costco and just act like I own the place.  Bring in my placards and samples and go set up a booth on a Saturday afternoon.  I would give out samples of corn chips.  And I would give out informational pamphlets as well.  My big signs of course would be there to draw everyone over to the booth, and then I would let them read the fine print.  GMO Corn Chips, FREE SAMPLE.  Then there below the lead in would be the truth.  Eating these Genetically Modified Corn Products have proven detrimental side effects.  Liver and kidney damage are possible from long term feeding studies.  Sterility. Neuroligical Disorders including ALS type symptoms, degeneration of brain tissue, loss of vision and loss of motor control.  Children consuming this product have higher rates of autism, attention deficit disorder and other behavioral problems.

I wonder what kind of reaction I would get from the Sun City crowd that goes to Costco every Saturday for the free sample buffet.  Would they look at the chips and toss them, or eat them and walk away?  How many would take the time to listen to me talk about the poisonous nature of the very product that so many people consume nearly everyday?  How many would listen, read my propaganda, and be interested enough to learn more?  How many would toss the chips?  How many would not care?

That is the problem with the food supply in America today, and well, with Americans.  People here have this belief that all of the foods that are available to them in the supermarket are wholesome, and good for them.  The belief that all the convenience products that literally line the shelves of the local market are made using techniques in their manufacture that allow the final product to be nutritious and better than freshly made.  And lastly, there is this overall belief that the foods in the grocers are safe, have no residual levels of toxic pesticides and herbicide, are grown in soils with adequate mineral content, and generally are safe, healthy and nutritious.  Americans believe that their government and two of the organizations tasked with protecting them, the FDA and USDA, are filled with responsible people and are doing their jobs to the best of their abilities and serving the public interest.

How far the truth is from this belief.

In 2010 the Congress passed the Food Modernization Act, which has some rather specific rules about how food should be grown and harvested.  With the stated objective of reducing food borne illnesses within the United States.  This bill basically is designed to limit the production of fresh produce.  There is no other explanation for all the rules and regulations that are getting ready to come on line and will apply to this very select industry.  Sure, there have been problems in the past, quite a number of bacterial contamination events of processed salad ingredients have come to light and have resulted in recalls, illnesses, and a couple of deaths.  However the FDA and USDA seem to be going out of their way to single out and harass businesses that want to produce, well, fresh produce.

To cognizant thinking Americans that hear about all these new regulations it would seem as though the FDA is actively trying to reduce the risk to their health.  On average, each year 23 deaths are attributable to food borne illnesses transmitted through fresh produce in an average of 1,500 events nationally.  I think that there is room for improvement.  Each year there are on average 6,300 deaths attributable to food borne illnesses from contaminated meat and processed food in an average of over 38,940 events annually.  These are CDC figures for the last 10 years, averaged of course.                     

Why doesn't the FDA feel that these categories of processed foods need more rules?

In the last 10 years over a hundred thousand people each year have been killed from drug interactions, poorly tested drugs, and misuse or using specific drugs for treatments not approved for that specific drug.  The FDA knows that this is a problem and has taken the top drug manufacturers to court and won fines of over 18 billion dollars from the top 8 drug companies for falsifying testing results, promoting the use of specific drugs for diseases the drug is not approved for, bribery, lying to federal investigators and other crimes against Americans.

Why doesn't the FDA feel that drug companies need more rules?

Research is just now being done on long term feeding of Genetically Modified foods.  The FDA never required ANY long term feeding studies of any GM food.  The FDA has never required an EPA report on the impact of growing GM foods in the wild where their pollen could infect indigenous populations and cultivated farms of non GM foods.  Just in the last six months specific laboratory evidence of GM foods in long term feeding of mammals shows definitive increases in cancer and tumors as well as degradation of liver, kidney, brain and neurological systems.  Commercial cultivation of GM plants has shown that the GM population cannot be contained and it is spreading to the native populations and destroying any hope of anyone ever being able to eat any non GM foods ever again.

Why doesn't the FDA see GM plants as threats to the health of Americans?

 So what do we do about this.  How do we as responsible adults try to get the word out to the masses that what we as Americans think is happening with our protection, is not happening.  How indeed?  Maybe I will head over to Costco this weekend.  A couple weeks ago I went to Safeway and stood in the produce section and asked the produce manager if he knew for sure that the squash he was selling was nonGM and when he could not, I asked him if that was because Safeway had donated three quarters of a million dollars to the defeat GM labeling law in California and therefore wanted to keep the American public from knowing the truth about the food they sold.  They didn't throw me out, and they were pretty nice to me as they asked me to leave.  But then we had quite a crowd watching.  Maybe that's how we can get the word out.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How the other half lives

Ever wonder how the rich live?  How do the rich people of the world eat, what do they do for sustenance?  Eclairs for breakfast every morning, Filet Mignon for dinner.  Hmmm, maybe, but I doubt it.  But I do know that each of the last four presidents and their families ate organic food.  We know this because the White House chefs talk about it.  It seems that organic non-GM food, grass fed organic Wagyu beef, wild caught fish, and free range chicken are the norm for the first families.  GM food, supermarket meat, processed anything, is not good enough for the first families.  I don't understand that, Obama if a big proponent of GM foods, even though there are a large number of recordings of him very emphatically stating that if elected he would make sure that GM foods were labeled in this country.  That was 2007 and 2008.  The first four years of his presidency came and went, and no such promises were fulfilled.  But then that sounds familiar.  Most politicians tell us one thing, then do what big business wants them to do.  Business after all does run this country.

Have you ever wondered what you could achieve if you were living up to your potential?  Interesting question, and one that has a lot of basis for thoughtful introspection.  We know that the food that you consume affects you dramatically.  Artificial sweeteners affect your mood, your very thought processes.  GM foods destroy your gut and put a huge amount of pesticide into your system that we are just now learning about and discover what exactly happens when you eat them.  Commercially raised meats are contaminated with huge amounts of bacteria and their waste products are toxic and cause tremendous distress to your system.  Foods lacking in natural nutrients are lacking in American diets.  Residues of pesticides and herbicides are in most foods available in markets and have detrimental effects on human physiology.  What could you do if you felt good all the time?  What could you achieve if you didn't feel the way you do?

I think that the Obamas, the Bushs, the Clintons, as well as numerous other dignitaries and heads of big agribusiness companies know how to get the most out of themselves.  They eat organic food and avoid the toxins that they themselves have allowed into our food supply. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Interviewing evil

Something new   Fiction, but based on a real person

Interviewing Evil
Roy Marshall

Those dark seductive eyes stared across the table at him, luring him into her thoughts.   Unforgiving cries from her consciousness as she chose her words ever so slowly, deliberately, and replied to his question, "Never once, never.  It just doesn't happen that you consider any other person around you as something that would have any affect on me.  Or for that matter, to even think that, well, anyone around me is a conscious being.  It has never occurred to me, ever.  This concept that you have explained to me, this Karma, is interesting; certainly something that gives a reasonable explanation for existence.  But it does not give credence to any suggestion that any person out there, even you, actually has importance."
"And the fact that all the people around you, everyone that has had interactions with you from the day you were born, were cognizant beings, capable of independent thought, actions, love, hate, everything else living people do; has not had the slightest or remotest bearing on your feelings?"  He said to her.
"How do I know that they do, have independent thought I mean?"
"I don't understand.  We all have independent thought, free will.  The ability to do what we want, to do good, or not, is what makes us human.  Living humans with free will and the ability to understand our actions set us apart from the lower forms of life.  Yes, to a degree we are motivated by instinct, but we still have consciousness; and the ability to determine to a certain degree our future.  In fact to consider that we have a future is I think another concept that sets us apart from other life forms.  We influence our own karma by our choices, our belief in our future and our ability to see beyond immediacy."
Her lashes fluttered as she closed her eyes for several moments, then opened them again revealing the same darkness, that same depth, "No, it doesn't work that way.  If indeed karma is a reality, then as you have explained it, everything that has happened to me all of my life has been predetermined as a specific set of circumstances in an attempt to further my existence in my next life by my actions that are a response to that which is preordained in this one.  These men that I killed, were in fact nothing more than ephemeral beings.  Bits of fluff, non-thinking, non-cognizant non-living things whose existence was based solely on my need to interact with them.  Whether or not they died at my hand is irrelevant.  They did not exist as life as you define it in your world of karma." 
She said all of that with no change in her expression at all.  She just continued to stare at him, beautiful, deadly.  The one thing he noticed about her was that she never once glanced up at the mirror behind him to view herself.  An unusual lack of vanity in such an attractive woman.  Glancing down at the handcuffs that chained her to the heavy metal table, she did twist and move her wrists around from time to time.   Certainly they must be uncomfortable.  Her pale skin was red under the metal. 
“It’s not possible to just dismiss the lives of everyone about you as non-living.”
“Why not?  As I stated, their very existence in this reality is to interact with me.  That’s given as a basic precept of karma.  I’m living my life, but according to you, although I have free will, whatever choices I make will determine the path of my existential soul after my demise in this life.  Those circumstances presented to me by every person I meet are by definition, predetermined.  Therefore, those beings have no free will; they are playing out my personal reality in the vast cosmos of my existence.  They are ephemeral.  They are of no importance.  And some of them died.”
“Perhaps you are looking at predetermined circumstances as too inclusive. It isn’t the entirety of your life as being predetermined.  That is just not the way it is.  The circumstances of predestination are pretty much ones of basic life, you know, are you male, female.  Will you be born unto wealth or squalor?  Will you have beauty, or will you be the beast.  Things like that.  From there, how you live your life, how you interact with other people here and now, are what determine your existential path in the afterlife.  Certainly there may be other predetermined events, such as bearing a mongoloid baby, or having to deal with brutal deaths of people close to you.  How you deal with these things are what make you different, good or bad, from every other cognizant being.”
“Well I think that is just a wishful convenience for you Doctor.  When you say these things, I don’t think you’re really listening to yourself.  You have just defined the ephemeral aspect of these beings. You want to give them free will.  But you also state that they exist only to present circumstances to me for the purpose of my ability to interact with them.  You are attempting to force a duality of existence.  You can’t have it both ways Doc, really, which is it?  Are they ephemeral as I believe, or do they have free will, and their choice was to be mongoloid, or brain dead, or die young by some brutal means as you stated?  Which is it?”
“Well, that is interesting.  The whole basis of predestination does in fact include a means to test our free will; interaction with persons that die prematurely, get maimed, or some such other problems happening to them.  How do we know if these tragedies are part of that predetermination or not?  Well, I can’t say for sure.  I just believe that everyone that I meet, everyone that I see, every single person on this planet that is alive, is a thinking cognizant being.  Some are not as intelligent as we would like them all to be, but they do indeed live, and possess free will. 
 “Really?  Well Doc, that is an interesting thought.  But it does presuppose that you are yourself in fact able to express free will.  There is a conundrum here, if you are anything more than an ephemeral being that is here to provide nothing more than background interaction, a cacophony of perceived life forces for me to deal with, then to what extent is your existence possessing true free will?  Or in fact am I here to provide background interaction, an existence whose sole purpose is to bestow upon you new concepts and new ideas; then how can you be certain that I am nothing more than an ephemeral concept, a vision, a creation whose only reason for existence, if I do indeed exist; is to cause you to think?”
“I can’t answer that.  It falls under the same category as I suppose, belief in a supreme being.  There is no proof, there is just faith.  I believe that you have free will, and that all that I have thought and believed in my existence up to now proves to me that I too, have free will.”
“I think that is a cop out Doc.  I mean really, when you were ordered to evaluate me, did you believe that it was just happenstance that our lives have interconnected.  Or do you believe that I am here for one purpose and one purpose only.  And that is to interact with you, perhaps to alter your thoughts, your beliefs, maybe your fundamental nature.” She said all this as she stared straight at him, no movement whatsoever in her expression. 
“Well Lorena, I think you have a rather interesting opinion of yourself.  You are but one of many persons of whom I am spending court ordered time with.  I do not now, nor could I ever consider the thought that neither you, nor I, are not what we appear.  People.  Just people.  Some make wrong choices, and it is up to me to try to determine what the capacity of their minds were when those choices were made.”
“Well Doc, what do you think my capacity was at the time of these, well, alleged murders?”
“That isn’t something that I can discuss at this time.  We have only talked for less than an hour so far.  I will say this though, I find you charming, intelligent, quick witted and have an excellent comprehension of new concepts.   That is if it is true that you have never actually talked about or read anything about karma as you stated.”
“And that I suppose is something that will be hard for you to accept.  I mean I have heard of karma, Buddha, Confuscious, Hinduism and even Catholicism.  But I have never taken the time, or for that matter had any desire to learn any of this stuff.  Your questions when we first began our conversation were basically an attempt to find out my beliefs.”
A look of startled comprehension came over the doctor’s face, and he began, “Yes, as you stated then, you have no belief in a supreme being, but you did not want to be classified as an atheist.  Correct?”
“That’s right Doc.  And let’s face it, I have found this all very tedious.  But when you brought up this concept of karma, I was intrigued.  It does tend to explain to me some things that I never really considered before.  It explains why I am surrounded by people like you, them,” as she pointed her hand toward the windows of the cell with uniformed men about, “everyone else.  I have always just thought of the beings around me as just being drones.  Like male bees, worthless, useless.  Able to provide one thing only, and in their case, just background life forms for me to utilize as I saw fit.”
“And none of which are living beings in your view of the world, correct?”
“Well Doc, I wouldn’t say not living.  But certainly not important.”
“Lorena, I’m trying to understand where, and also how, you formed your belief system.  How did all of this happen that you look upon the rest of the world as unimportant.”
She looked at him with this quizzical expression for half a minute before beginning, “I think you probably consider me a bit of a hedonist.  Most men do.  It is something that I must admit that I agree with.  Years ago in college I took some philosophy courses.  Have you ever heard of Jeremy Bentham?  He pioneered the philosophy of ‘felicific calculus’.  I think that best describes my belief system.  You know, how it is that I can justify the murder, sorry, the alleged murder of all of these men that have been found.”
“Well I must admit that the name Bentham I’ve heard of, but I’m not certain what his contributions are.”
“Doc, he’s my hero.  He was a true hedonist.  His philosophy is one that provides a specific formula for calculating the moral outcome of your actions based on the degree of anticipated pleasure or pain.”
“Ahh, Lorena, does this mean that you believe that you have a sense of morality and that your actions do indeed fit within the moral constraints of society?”
“An interesting question.  First let me say that morality as you see it is a product of the dictums of society at large.  I, on the other hand, believe that morals apply to me in a way that serve my purpose, my precepts of my personal ideal of morality.”
 “Well, this is interesting.  But I don’t believe it.  I think that you’re playing a role, one that puts you in the center of attention.”
She interrupted him, “Ah Doc, but don’t we all do that?”
He thought about it for half a minute before responding, “To a degree.  By far the vast majority of people enjoy when their lives bring them into situations where they are the center.  However, I believe that you engineer opportunities, and in fact if you aren’t the center of all that goes on around you, then in your mind, you construct your own background world that helps you to do so.  Or at least for you to feel that you are.”
She looked at him curiously, “And what brings you to that conclusion?”
“Well Lorena, remember that I’m a doctor of psychiatry.  As I consider what you have going on, I think it must be exhausting to be you.  With this carefully constructed fantasy world that you have created and having to exist not only there, but within the fabric of reality.  You must be mentally exhausted.”
For the first time since they began the interview, a slight smile appeared.  “Well that is one interpretation.  I don’t think you should discount the idea though that I am just plain bored.  Spending this time has been interesting to me, but don’t forget that when it comes right down to it, none of this matters to me at all.”
With a motion from the guard at the window, he knew their time was up for now.  Four guards came in and took her away.  The doctor sat and thought about all that this woman had said to him, then he shivered.  She was very scary he decided, smart, and scary.  A deadly combination. 

The end

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

FDA and USDA priorities- Money Money Money

I remember the old days growing up in the 50's and 60's.  We took for granted that the FDA and its sister organization the USDA were out there protecting Americans from food based pathogens and diseases.  They had a simple task, inspect food manufacturing facilities for sanitary conditions.  There were very few food additives, so there wasn't much to do on that front, but they were ever vigilant to protect against bacterial contamination.  Or so the old black and white newsreel footage stated that we all saw in health class back in grade school.  Well, I still am not certain why they showed us horrifying pictures of meat processing plants, maybe it was so teachers could get a little nap.

But today, it is pretty scary what goes on in processing plants.  Back in August of 2012 the USDA announced their plans to let their chicken inspectors go from 140 birds a minute to 175 birds a minute.  This means that each USDA inspector had to look inside each cavity of each dead chicken carcass to visually inspect for fecal material, cancerous occlusions, other foreign material and whatever else might get left in there.  Then inspect the outside of each bird carcass for deformities, cancerous growths, fecal material and other foreign substances.  And they had to do that in under 1/3 of a second.  The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service spokesman Dirk Fillpot states that the reason for this change will "ensure and even enhance the safety of our poultry supply by focusing our inspectors efforts on activities more directly tied to improving food safety."    All in a third of a second.

Consumer Reports recently stated that in tests of supermarket chickens, 83% tested positive for Salmonella contamination.  The Center for Disease Control reports that from 1998 to 2008 that 19% of all food poisoning deaths could be traced back to contaminated chicken. In fact infections stemming from food related transmission of the pathogenic bacteria Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Listeria have increased from 2007 to 2011.  Combined, these three bacteria contributed to about 48 million illnesses a year.  These are CDC figures. 

The problems seem to be getting worse, not better.  A reduction in inspection of chickens, as well as similar reductions in other meat processing plants is not the answer to improving the condition of the foods that we as Americans consume.  All of these bacterial infections are becoming epidemic and the real problem is that now many of them are from strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria.  As Americans continue to feed their desire for cheap meat, big agribusiness conglomerates are more than willing to provide the kind of crap that they are well suited at providing.  CAFO's (concentrated animal feeding operations) provide the means for making money.  Thousands of animals, and in the case of poultry, hundreds of thousands, are kept confined in tight areas eating cheap feed, and living in horrific unsanitary conditions.  CAFO operators feed kept animals huge amounts of antibiotics in an attempt to stave off infections caused by living in basically, in and on their own waste.  The result, ever larger and larger quantities of antibiotics as the bacteria develop resistance.  And that resistance translates into ever greater problems for humans.  And greater numbers of people dying.

As long as YOU and all your friends continue to fund the big businesses that manufacture this stuff, they will continue to do so.  If YOU and all your friends begin to demand better quality meat, free range, organic, then big business will have no choice but to change their manufacturing methods. 

Good luck, you are what you eat, and die by what you consume. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Truvia, Nectresse, Ace-K, Aspartame and the rest

What to do to make stuff taste better?  That is the challenge to big food processors out there.  And it is a big challenge, most of the processed food that is on the market is loaded down with stabilizers, preservatives, fillers and OTHER processed food products; and all that stuff usually has some bad flavors and nasty aftertastes.  So, the solution, add something that adds sweetness and/or saltiness.  The salt part is easy, and cheap, just add salt.  Sweeteners, well, there are a myriad kinds of sweeteners out there, from honey (most expensive) to High Fructose Corn Syrup (relatively cheap) to Aspartame (CHEAP)

Here is my list of most toxic to most usable.

1.  Aspartame - The absolute worst most toxic sweetener on the market (Aspartame)  There are 92 side effects listed by the FDA including death.  Yet is is still available for the manufacturers to make buttloads of money on.  92, with death in there as well.  (Side Effects)

2. Sucralose -  Splenda is next on list to avoid.  (Splenda)

3. Acesulfame Potassium - or Ace-K, sold as Suneet and Sweet One.  The company website (Ace-K) states that over 90 studies have been done proving that this stuff is harmless.  Much the same as Number one and Numer two above make the same claims, every single one of the studies that they cite are short term 90 day studies.  The stuff contains methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.

4. High Fructose Corn Syrup - HFCS, a favorite subject for me to write about here (HFCS) (HMS)

5. Agave  -    Touted as the miracle sweetener, made from desert cacti and sweeter than sugar without the bad glycemic problems sugar causes.  What a load of poop.  Agave is nothing more than a different source for which manufacturers are able to make HFCS.   Hmm.  We should call it HFAS. (Agave)  It ain't pretty folks.

6.  Truvia/ Nectresse -  Stevia and Monk Fruit are the parent plants that these toxins are derived from.  But they are NOT all natural as the manufacturers claim. (Truvia)  Not as toxic as some, but still there.

7.  White Sugar -  Enhhhh, been around for centuries, modern stuff contains bleaching agents, and is usually just plain sucrose.  Not great for you, but better than all of the above.

8. Colored sugars - Brown, raw, turbinado sugars are pretty much just white sugar with molasses added back to them.  Stronger flavor, but still mostly just white sugar.

9.  Organic Evaporated Cane Juice. - They take sugar cane juice and run through an evaporator.  Pretty simple and better for you than anything above.

10.  Honey/Maple syrup - Yes I know, they are both pretty much fructose, but there is a chemical difference and these are digested and absorbed in a very different manner.  And they have no nasty chemicals added from manufacturing processes.  Much better choices.  

11. Stevia -  My favorite for tea.  I use plain stevia leaves, steep in hot water along with mint leaves, or green tea, or any herbs, and it is just fine.  Some people say that there is a licorice like aftertaste, but I have been drinking the stuff for thirty years and I don't notice it anymore.  There are a huge number of stevia extract products on the market, read the ingredients, if they contain erythritol or any other artificial ingredient, avoid it.  Make your own, buy the leaves, steep in water or alcohol. 

There are a bunch more, molasses, brown rice syrup, stuff like that.  Most are not that common, and in little use commercially or available for home use.  But I hope this guide helps, and helps you live long and prosper.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Gun control vs. DEATH!

Is it so hard to imagine that there will soon be legislation passed that will limit certain types of guns as well as magazine capacity and other specific accessories for weapons?  It's gonna happen.

I got this off of Facebook.  It was posted by someone that posts these types of rhetoric and poorly conceived opinions that flood the internet. It is pretty bizarre that anyone would think that the founders of our country would support anyone's right to bear arms in our modern world.  These men also supported slavery.  They believed in a monotheistic society where you were required to attend church.  Let's repeat that, REQUIRED to attend church.  The vision of democracy that these men conceived died a century ago.  IT DOES NOT EXIST anymore.  Our founding fathers would be shocked to find that their vision has been so bastardized that only the rich can rule and how commonplace graft, immorality, corruption and godlessness have become in the country that they themselves had set such lofty ideals for.

Let's look at some of these ideals for gun control.  Alexander Hamilton, resigned his post as Secretary of the Treasury after an extra-marital affair became public.  He also was the guy that first decided to tax whiskey, and so began that wonderful tradition of excise taxes.  He was angry at Vice president Aaron Burr and challenged him to a duel and was shot and died from the wound.  Yeah, a great example for gun control.  James Madison opposed the Jay Treaty in 1794 which pretty much kept us out of the French and British War.  Had we been pulled into the conflict with the French against the British, we would have been overrun.  The Fledgeling country was pretty much bankrupt and barely organized with no militia.  As it was, the US made some money by keeping trade open to both  countries because of the foresight of Washington.  When Madison led us into the War of 1812 (which pretty much was his fault) we had barely become organized enough to secure a defeat.  But just barely.  Madison also began the policy of converting Indians to American ways.  This pretty much meant taking their lands and if they did not accept our ideals, then they needed to be killed.  The only good thing about the Madison years was his wife, Dolly.  And she was expelled from her church for marrying James.  

Thomas Jefferson was the guy behind the Louisiana Purchase, not the first, nor the last time that someone buys something from someone that doesn't belong to them.  Thomas was an all around pretty good guy.  He fathered six children by one of his black slaves, not something that I have a problem with, but some of our Southern Gun Toting brethren are more likely to forget that aspect of his life.  Actually Thomas barely made it to the presidency only becoming our leader because slaves were counted as three fifths of a person and so that tipped the scales in his favor.  He was a slave owner after all. 

George Washington, well, not much can be said about him, he was only a fair tactician, having lost most of the battles he fought but was cited for bravery more than once just for his sheer tenacity.  But the thing that we have to remember about these men, is that at the time, they were all considered terrorists.  History regals them as heroes, but only because they won.  It is good to remember that we won the Revolutionary war by the skin of our teeth.  We very nearly lost, and had that happened, then the Union Jack would be flying over all of our homes and these men would not be looked upon the way they are now.  The point that I am trying to make here is that these men thought that it was a good idea for citizens to have a musket and maybe a scatter gun in the house.  And maybe the wealthier ones should have a set of dueling pistols as well since you never knew when the former secretary of the treasury might get pissed at something you said and challenge you to a duel.  These men, these heroes, would not approve of the stockpile of weapons that so many people accumulate under the second amendment that these same men would denounce as outdated, and NOT the same document that they penned.  And NOT the society that they envisioned.  We do not live in a democracy, anyone that thinks that is a fool. 

Adolf Hitler was a man that brought a country that was way past bankruptcy into a new era of prosperity.  Germany went from the shambles it was to just one step away from world domination.  We have to remember that the United States held off entering the conflict because at that time antisemitic feeling was overwhelming here and Roosevelt and most of the leaders were waiting to see what happened first.  Hitler did some stupid stuff, but overall, he did some incredible things.  His downfall was of course the Jewish solution and his idiotic attempt to invade Russia in the winter.  As a side note, the ONLY person to successfully invade Russia in the winter was Genghis Khan.  A man that slaughtered a full ten percent of the WORLD population at that time.  Hitler did not invent the concentration camp, the British did.  During the Boer War.  And the United States put over a hundred thousand US citizens into camps as well.  We are not blameless.  And had Hitler held off going after Russia, we might all be speaking German right now.  And he would be a hero.  Stalin.  Well, he was just a bad man.  The part I don't understand is how he is in the list of people that wanted gun control.  EVERY Russian child has had to learn to use weapons from the age of 8 in Russia since WWII up through the eighties.  It was a requirement.  EVERY citizen had military training.

I guess that what I am saying is that times change, history gets written by the people that want THEIR particular viewpoint expressed.  What was commonplace fifty or two hundred years ago is different from what happens today.  Pointing out good or evil people from the past and what they believed they needed to do to rule their world then, has no bearing on the world and society and the problems that we encounter.