Monday, December 28, 2009

Make This Your New Year's Resolution!

I just rented the movie Food Inc. last week. I didn't see it in the theaters because I had read the all the books by Michael Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food) and felt that the movie was going to be more of the same. However, I did blog about the movie when it came out in theaters, urging everyone to go out and see it because, frankly, its easier than reading all the books.

Now its on DVD and one random night in December when all my chores were done, kids were in bed and presents were wrapped, I decided to sit down and watch it. I wasn't surprised to see what topics they were touching upon. It followed the Omnivore's Dilemma pretty closely. In fact, they even had the owner of Polyface Farms in the movie. That was actually nice to see (to put a face to the personality). What I wasn't prepared for was the actual sickness that I felt brewing in my stomach. Halfway through the movie, I had to remove myself from the TV and was sick for the next 15 minutes. I never thought a movie could revolt in such a way. I am not a normally queasy person. Blood and guts don't freak me out so why would some benign slaughterhouses have this effect on me?

It wasn't the blood and guts that sickened me per see, it was the entire process of how our food is grown, stuffed with poison and processed. The living conditions, the storage facilities, the enormity of it all and the ubiquity of it all. It seems to me that if you are not aware of what you are eating, you will just continue to consume until your body becomes diseased (prematurely of course). Most people will choose this course of action. That is what truly sickened me.

I turned to my husband and he was reading my thoughts, "thank the Lord that we are able to afford to buy our food from a farm". I feel so much better knowing that my meat is being fed what its SUPPOSED to eat by nature. I feel better knowing its raised in a humane environment by farmers that actually CARE. I am so glad its free from toxins, chemicals and medicine. But what still makes me uneasy is the thought that most Americans can not afford or do not have access to farm raised/grass fed meat. These people are burdened with decisions such as, "do I pay for my diabetes meds or do I buy food for dinner?". Its a vicious cycle because if they never ate the un-nutritious food in the first place, they may have not gotten Diabetes.

America's lower socioeconomic classes are suffering from diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes at ALARMING rates and its only getting worse. Our food supply is tainted and the government is only making it harder to obtain healthy food.

This movie is a wake up call. Everyone should see it. Don't turn a blind eye to what you consume. You only have one body and one life (not to sound like Sally Feilds in the Boniva commercial) and you shouldn't waste it by contaminating yourself with garbage.

Our food supply wasn't always like this. As recent as the 1970's there were over 1,000 meat packers in the nation, corn wasn't being subsidized the way it is today and antibiotics weren't needed to kill bacteria in the animal's rumens. Food production has changed DRAMATICALLY in such a short period of time that its actually mind boggling. Now there are as few as 13 meat packers that handle ALL of the meat coming from the CAFO's. A package of meat that you buy at your local grocer may contain ground pieces from over 100 different cows. Its scary. Not to mention the risk of food borne illnesses and we have all seen how rampant that has become in recent years.

I won't give away all the details about Food Inc. I will let you watch it and decide for yourself. But take the time to actually rent it and watch it. It would be the best New Year's Resolution that you could do for yourself. Get educated and take control of your health. Don't leave it in the hands of government because they are all getting THEIR meat from grass fed farms (I would put money on it!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Going Green This Christmas

Do you realize how much paper we waste this time of the year? Between all the holidays cards, the plastic packaging and wrapping paper we must be destroying our forests at an amazing rate and filling our landfills with even more non biodegradable material. It pains me to think of all the waste that is completely accepted by our society this time of year. Its a holiday tradition of course!!

Why not do your part and buy eco friendly products from a sustainable company such as PaperCulture. They offer a wide array of stationary, greeting cards, invitations and announcements that are ALL eco friendly. The company itself is carbon neutral, the products are 100% post consumer recycled and the packages that the stationary comes in are all made from recycled paper with no plastic shrink wrapping. Their style is unique, simple and classy. I love their card designs and plan to use them for all of my invitation, announcement needs. I especially love the rounded edges that they offer on their cards, it really adds to the presentation!

Here is a quick blurb from PaperCulture about their Christmas cards: "What sets Paper Culture's cards apart is the 100% exclusive modern designs, your personal professional designer who works with you on every order, the unique services like our Mail & Message service where we will mail your cards for you for only the cost of the actual stamp and the fact that we do all of this, while using ultra premium 100% recycled paper."

This company has the right idea and more businesses should follow their model. As consumers, we should be making mindful choices about our purchases, thinking about the environment and our planet as well as ourselves. Its a new way of thinking and it takes some training but if we all do out part we can really catch up as a nation to some of our more eco friendly countries. America is one of the worst culprits when it comes to our contribution of carbon in the atmosphere.

Ordering from PaperCulture is an easy and fun first step! To make it even easier, their stationary is being offered at a 50% reduction on this amazing website called

Jasmere has one hot deal a day on some amazing products (clothing, home goods, toys, etc) and the more people that buy the bigger the discount on the item. When the offering closes for the day, everyone that bought will get the lowest price. You really can't beat that can you!! Right now Jasmere has a PaperCulture $50 gift card for only $23 and it may wind up costing you even less if more people buy it in the next 10 hours!! So hurry and also check out everyday for their next big deal.

Our culture has become one of waste. Its time to remove what is not necessary and use only what we need. Lets all enjoy an eco friendly holiday season!!!

The image above was a sample card from

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why Saturated Fats Are Good For You

Low Fat Diet: Saturated With Lies
Beef. Chicken. Eggs. Butter. Coconut oil. Do these saturated-filled words sound like weapons of health destruction? According to current nutritional guidelines, I’m supposed to limit these foods because they’ll either lead to obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes or some form of suffering for the rest of my life. Many of you are nodding your heads in agreement right now.
It’s taken me a long time to realize that this is simply not true.
When I became a fast food drop out in my early 20’s, I turned to a low fat diet. I trimmed fat any which way I could and didn’t feel guilty when I broke down and ate low fat junk food.
I learned that low-fat junk food is still junk food, and a low-fat diet is still an unhealthy diet.

Why Are Saturated Fats So Bad For You?
Men’s Health published an excellent article that explained how saturated fats became known to be so bad. The credit goes to a physiologist named Ancel Keys, Ph.D., who published a highly influential paper titled “Atherosclerosis, a Problem in Newer Public Health.” Keys wrote that while the total death rate in the United States was declining, the number of deaths due to heart disease was steadily climbing. And to explain why, he presented a comparison of fat intake and heart disease mortality in six countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Italy, and Japan.

The Americans ate the most fat and had the greatest number of deaths from heart disease; the Japanese ate the least fat and had the fewest deaths from heart disease. The other countries fell neatly in between. The higher the fat intake, according to national diet surveys, the higher the rate of heart disease. And vice versa. Keys called this correlation a “remarkable relationship” and began to publicly hypothesize that consumption of fat causes heart disease. This became known as the diet-heart hypothesis.

At the time, plenty of scientists were skeptical of Keys’s assertions. One such critic was Jacob Yerushalmy, Ph.D., founder of the biostatistics graduate program at the University of California at Berkeley. In a 1957 paper, Yerushalmy pointed out that while data from the six countries Keys examined seemed to support the diet-heart hypothesis, statistics were actually available for 22 countries. And when all 22 were analyzed, the apparent link between fat consumption and heart disease disappeared. For example, the death rate from heart disease in Finland was 24 times that of Mexico, even though fat-consumption rates in the two nations were similar.
The other salient criticism of Keys’s study was that he had observed only a correlation between two phenomena, not a clear causative link. This left open the possibility that something else — unmeasured or unimagined — was leading to heart disease. After all, Americans did eat more fat than the Japanese, but perhaps they also consumed more sugar and white bread, and watched more television.

The seven-countries study, published in 1970, is considered Ancel Keys’s landmark achievement. It seemed to lend further credence to the diet-heart hypothesis. In this study, Keys reported that in the seven countries he selected — the United States, Japan, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Finland, and the Netherlands — animal-fat intake was a strong predictor of heart attacks over a 5-year period. Just as important, he noted an association between TOTAL cholesterol and heart-disease mortality. This prompted him to conclude that the saturated fats in animal foods — and not other types of fat — raise cholesterol and ultimately lead to heart disease.[1]

What about Margarine and Hydrogenated Fats?
Margarine and hydrogenated fats were the result of a food shortage in World War II. Butter became scarce and chemists experimented to find an alternative. They found that liquid vegetable oils could be turned into solid fat through a process called hydrogenation.
During this process, hydrogen gas is bubbled into the oil, which is heated to a high temperature. Nickel is then added to speed up the reaction. These hydrogenated fats are what make up margarine and shortening. Synthetic dyes are added to turn the whitish-colored hydrogenated fats into margarine. They were promoted as “low in cholesterol and saturated fats.” This is true. However, they are high in unnatural, harmful fats and cancer causing chemicals.[2]

Why Are Processed Fats So Bad?
If you are getting the wrong kinds of fats in your diet, beware. No doubt, your body needs a certain amount of fat every day, but it needs the “good” fats. If all you get is the processed kind, your body has no choice but to make use of them. Processed fats, especially the hydrogenated variety, confuse the body because their chemical structure is different than the naturally occurring fats normally recognized and utilized by the body.

Once the “bad” fats are absorbed, they are taken to the liver where they are stored or converted into energy. The chemistry of these fats is abnormal so the liver has hard time trying to figure out what to do with them. When a cell is damaged and needs fatty acids for repair or other purposes, these abnormal fats will be made available to the cell, especially if there is a lack of natural, essential fats. The cell will attempt to place the abnormal fat into its membrane, resulting in a weakened, malfunctioning cell.

While hydrogenated fats may not become rancid on the shelf, they induce all sorts of rancidity problems within the body. They waste antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium, which function to prevent fats from becoming rancid.

When you eat too much GOOD saturated fat, the body converts it to monounsaturated fat—the main fat in olive oil, which lowers cholesterol. Some saturated fats, such as coconut oil, raise the beneficial cholesterol carrier HDL, which is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Ironically, the fat around the heart muscle itself is saturated.

What about Cholesterol?
By itself, cholesterol can be a good thing. Cholesterol is used to make all hormones and functions as an antioxidant – it naturally increases as we age.
Kevin Brown, author of The Liberation Diet, points out that the more cholesterol we eat, the less the body makes; the less we eat, the more the body makes. High cholesterol is a sign of something else failing to work properly in the body, not a disease that needs to be treated.

Bottom Line
When you eat fats as part of your meal, they slow down absorption so that you can go longer without feeling hungry. In addition, they act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.

Humans have eaten animal products for most of their existence on earth and therefore, they have consumed saturated fats for most of that time. If saturated fats were of no value or were harmful to you, why would breast milk produce saturated fats like butyric, caproic, caprylic, capric, lauric, myristic, palmitic and stearic acids, which provide a naturally perfected source of nourishment to ensure the growth, development and survival of your infants?

However, There IS Still a Link Between Fat and Heart Disease!
Now, it is clear that there is some association between fat and heart disease. The problem lies in the fact that most studies make no effort to differentiate between saturated fat and trans fat.

[1] Teicholz, Nina. (2007 Dec 13). What if bad fat isn’t so bad?
[2] Extracted from “Eat Right or Die Young” by Dr. Cass Igram who is a physician, healer, and expert in nutritional therapy. He received his B.S. degree at the University of Northern Iowa in biology and chemistry. He received his degree at the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, Des Moines, Iowa. Dr Igram is a respected lecturer and educator. He specializes in teaching both doctors and the public about nutritional treatments.

This post was taken from