Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Time to get Back to the Garden

We’ve Got To Get Ourselves Back to the Garden
On countless levels a universal awakening has begun; the foreseen, eagerly anticipated age of enlightenment, peace and understanding. The slumbering beast has awakened; experiencing a burning-bush moment. Success ensues when we get out of the way. Enlightening your green food mentality simply indicates you’re learning and growing; the reason of being on this earthly plane. Americans have been undernourished for 100 years. Disease rates have grown exponentially in parallel with increased human consumption of dead machine cuisine. Post Industrial Revolution food processing practices are at the root of the health care catastrophe; not us. To apply blame to this lunacy we only need to face Capitol Hill’s good-ole-boys and their obedient Agribusiness lap-dogs. You didn’t cause disease rates to soar; they did. It was their inexpert RDA’s. Our only blunder; we trusted. Poor, substandard food, seasoned with colorfully decorated deception, raw greed and smart-bomb misinformation is enthusiastically endorsed by the deadened FDA. Plus, our ‘leaders’ pat themselves on the back, seek photo-ops and constituent approval for sending low-grade food to distressed third world countries, however, the ‘foods’ they dispatch are inferior to what ‘s ingeniously available to these downtrodden. White rice, AP flour, sugar, succulent military MRE’s, valueless canned food with BPA and canned Spam are all nutritional insolvent and exacerbate disease, providing little or no substantial nutrition, just unoccupied calories and self aggrandizement. Why not hold a gun to their heads?

Time’s ripe for ‘green’ free-thinkers to confront America’s current food Zeitgeist of industrial-strength, almost, but not quite edible food-like substances and then to return to a more preordained, lucid, wholesomely Locavore approach of eating and living designed by the great creator. The current limelight on health indicates an admission we’ve been wrong, however, no one is held culpable. Shopping with the grand kids one afternoon, they noticed one section dedicated to ‘Health Foods’. Their astute observation, “Grandpa, if this is the healthy section, does it mean all the other food is unhealthy?”
….And a child will lead them.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Corny Mc Lunacy

Over time, humans have evolved in such marvelous ways; capable of crafting lyrical, joyous music, timeless literature and everlasting works of art. Any self respecting Pollyanna would expect by this point in human fruition, man might also have established a steadfast moral inner voice, an unselfish conscience like the good book teaches. We’ve gone to the moon for crying out loud, but we’ve failed at maintaining something as basic as a pure heart.

Other than prematurely dying from viral heart disease at the tender age of 40, the reason I became a vegetarian was a healthy distrust of modern food processing techniques, falsehearted agribusiness and a constellation of unholy additives dumped into the food system. Humans have difficulty placing food in the same context with disease, so you might rethink your child’s Happy Meal after discovering what Micky-D’s inflicts upon your colorfully marketed box of Mc Nastiness. MSN recently profiled Mc Nuggets and discovered numerous ingredients other than chicken, water, dextrose, sodium phosphates, wheat starch, safflower oil and autolyzed yeast extract. Many more ingredients lurk, however, in the breading and deep fryer grease.

This may anesthetized your medulla oblongata, but Chicken’s not the main ingredient. According to Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a Mc Nugget is made of 38 ingredients, mostly chemicals and GMO corn. The crispy critters are 56% corn; so much for truth in advertising. But 0.02% is tertiarybutylhydroquinone, a petroleum byproduct used as a preservative. The FDA allows food processors to use TBHQ sparingly, wink, wink, in our food. The antioxidant is sprayed directly onto the golden nuggets and the inside of the box to help preserve freshness. The Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives says TBHQ is a relative of lighter fluid and can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a single nugget, which, Pollan says is just as well, considering ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause "nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse. Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.” Who eats a single nugget in a more-is-better society? Big Food banks big bucks on your naiveté.

Read this passage from Pollan’s NY Times Best seller, "The ingredients listed suggest a lot of thought goes into a nugget, that and a lot of corn. Of the thirty-eight ingredients it takes to make a Mc Nugget, I counted thirteen derived from corn: the corn-fed chicken itself; modified cornstarch (to bind the pulverized chicken meat); mono-, tri-, and diglycerides (emulsifiers, which keep the fats and water from separating); dextrose; lecithin (another emulsifier); chicken broth (to restore some of the flavor that processing leeches out); yellow corn flour and more modified cornstarch (for the batter); cornstarch (a filler); vegetable shortening; partially hydrogenated corn oil; and citric acid as a preservative. Celiacs beware! There's some wheat in the batter, and on any given day the hydrogenated oil could come from GMO soybeans, canola, or cotton rather than corn, depending on price and availability. The 2004 documentary Super Size Me alleged Chicken Mc Nuggets composition was at one point in time, made from sick and old chickens unable to lay eggs and included, Dimethylpolysiloxane, which reduces deep fryer grease "foam up".

If you routinely consume and serve your kin some of the 4.8 billion Chicken Mc Nuggets sold annually, consider there are 48 calories per nugget; 57% from fat, 22% from empty carbs and only 21% from protein.
When religious leaders of every ilk pontificate from the pulpit we are required by the universe to be good stewards of the Holy Temple it seems a bit anomalous to dive head first into chicken Mc Nuggets after church service.

When I was a kid, it was fried chicken cooked in pork fat that clogged our collective arteries, but we didn’t know better. Now we do. It just goes to show how un-aware the general public is about what they eat and it’s affects on our most sacred gift; the temple. We can and will do better. Man is basically good, just a bit off course.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Are You Nutritionally Self-Destructive?

Do You Get It: I Sincerely Hope So

With the crashing thud of incredulity, my jaw hit the floor of the Cardio Cath lab last week.
Due to an artificial heart valve, I occasionally need to be electronically jolted out of atrial fib into normal rhythm. It was successful I’m pleased to proclaim. However, there was this guy in the next bay being comforted by his wife whilst receiving his instructions prior to a stent procedure to unblock his clogged arteries. The nurse asked what prescriptions he was taking (12) and then what he desired to eat after surgery. He paused, hummed and hawed then landed on Biscuits and Gravy, bacon, hash browns and coffee with cream. “What the…”, I stammered under my breath. In 1988 after I kissed the dark scepter of death on the lips and lived to tell of it, I was abundantly motivated to educate myself and then to change my diet perceptions, but everyone is different. I quickly discovered when you change your diet; you change your life, which is what http://www.chefwendell.com/ is all about.
Then, as if that wasn’t sufficient to reboot my heart, I gazed up and witnessed an attractive elderly gal shuffling in for cardiac rehab toting a bag of burgers, fries and milk shake. Holy crap, they just don’t get it; make the connection between food and disease. My dear sweet Lord, don’t they notice they’re eating the same foods that got them into poor health? I was stunned but hardly speechless, and if you knew me, you’d appreciate the significance of that statement.
In the age of uber-information, it’s heart breaking to watch decent, good-hearted folks continue ladling into the savory stew of ill health and then grumble how much they spend on pharmaceuticals and heart surgery. Not to mention how this all elevates the cost of healthcare for everyone.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly a quarter of all Americans between 20 and 75 have hypertension while roughly 70 percent of those over 75 have it. Hypertension is caused by little or no exercise, poor diet, obesity, older age but rarely genetics. Food which set us up for heart disease are butter, animal renderings, bacon, bologna, hot dogs, gravy, cream sauce, non-dairy creamers, sugar, hydrogenated margarine, shortening , cocoa butter found in chocolate, cottonseed and palm-kernel oils; all ingredients your find lurking in chain restaurants pantries. You know why they call it shortening, right? It shortens your life.
Yes, I’m an unabashed zealot, so when I’m driving down US 31 and see the endless assortment of chain restaurants brimming with gaggles of rotund folks, or when I enter a Steak and Shake for tea and watch an elderly gal with a tripod walker and oxygen tank struggle to get to a booth then orders Chili Fries, I naturally cringe in sadness and bewilderment. Either they don’t read or they’ve simply given up because they believe they cannot succeed. One would assume the proposition of death would be ample motivation, but apparently not. Science has proven these ‘bad’ foods temporarily make us feel groovy and of course, everyone wants to feel good. The question we must ask ourselves; is a moment of instant gratification worth a $60,000 ICU rendezvous or worse?
It’s up to us to fend off the temptation of harmful foods we’ve been encouraged to eat all our lives. Disease takes years to manifest itself, so making small changes now can be the best preventive measure. Is it time for you to wean yourself off particular foods scientifically reputed to cause disease and death? Are you motivated into embracing our innate, preordained diet set forth by a generous, loving creator? It would seem the tasty solution to this challenge is to get out of our own way. I know you can do it!