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Guess What’s In the Picture?

November 16, 2010 •  no comments.

 •  Blog, News

Written by Lisa Cain, PhD and originally seen on Snack Girl

My pal, Hemi at Fooducate provides a lot of great advice on buying healthy food at the supermarket. Also, he created an iPhone App on choosing a healthy cereal Cereal Scan, which I hear is awesome. I don’t have an iPhone 🙁

Hemi shared this post with me:

Guess What’s In The Picture

A) Strawberry ice cream

B) Chicken

C) Plastic foam

D) None of the above

Answer below

What you need to know:

Folks, this is mechanically separated chicken, an invention of the late 20th century. Someone figured out in the 1960’s that meat processors can eek out a few more percent of profit from chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows by scraping the bones 100% clean of meat.

This is done by machines, not humans, by passing bones leftover after the initial cutting through a high pressure sieve. The paste you see in the picture above is the result.

This paste goes on to become the main ingredient in many a hot dog, bologna, chicken nuggets, pepperoni, salami, jerky etc…

The industry calls this method AMR – Advanced Meat Recovery.

In 2004, as a result of mad cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy), the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) ruled that beef could no longer be processed this way, because testing showed that parts of the bovine central nervous system ended up in the meat.

As for products using mechanically separated chicken and pork, FSIS ruled that they are safe to eat, but required them to be labeled as such.

Despite them being safe, FSIS states that no more than 20% of the meat in a hot dog come from mechanically separated pork.

What to do at the supermarket:

It’s always a better to choice to see a real cut of meat at the butcher counter in the supermarket and then decide what you want done with it. Buying something prepared in a factory, such as chicken nuggets, or hot dogs, you’ll always get the worst meat, and it will always be combined with additives and other sources of fat.

Check out Fooducate for other healthy eating tips.

The Dirty Dozen

November 11, 2010 •  no comments.

 •  Blog, News

Article written by Jill Ettinger as seen on Organic Authority

Writing for The Atlantic, Barry Estabrook exposed an interesting and confounding situation this week. It appears the USDA just granted nearly $200,000 to an agribusiness-backed campaign effort intended to warn consumers about information designed to educate them on which fruits and vegetables are most susceptible to pesticides.

Huh? This information under attack comes from the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, non-government funded organization responsible for the well-known “Dirty Dozen” list that ranks the most heavily sprayed produce that they recommend choosing organic whenever possible.

What’s most irksome in Estabrook’s piece is that the campaign, well disguised under the moniker “safefruitsandveggies.com” suggests there is no merit to the Dirty Dozen list, saying that it mainly causes fear and discourages consumption of fruits and vegetables despite the glaring fact that the info obtained for the Dirty Dozen list comes from studies conducted by the USDA.

In case you’re still confused: The USDA compiled extensive information on the food most often contaminated by pesticides, the EWG shared this list with the public in an effort to articulate when opting for organic was most beneficial, while still encouraging daily consumption of fruits and vegetables—whether organic or not—and now the USDA is supporting an attack campaign on that very data, you know, the data it produced.


So what does this mean, exactly? Is the USDA an unreliable source of information if they’re willing to finance launches against their own research? Are organic options really safe? Well, according to Estabrook, the attack against the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list has kind of failed. And the situation serves an important reminder to take our health into our own hands. Do the research on your food. Shop locally and get to know your farmers whenever possible. Simplify your diet to avoid processed and higher contamination risk foods. Grow your own. And in case you don’t have it memorized, the fruits and veggies the EWG deems the Dirty Dozen, meaning you should opt for organic when possible are:

1. Celery

2. Peaches

3. Strawberries

4. Apples

5. Blueberries

6. Nectarines

7. Bell Peppers

8. Spinach

9. Cherries

10. Kale or Collards

11. Potatoes

12. Grapes

Eat safe. Don’t let the Ag Monsters scare you.

Follow Jill on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jillettinger

Photo courtesy of the Environmental Working Group

Ridding of Chemicals Changed my Life

November 7, 2010 •  no comments.

 •  Blog, News

Submitted by Allison Evans November 6, 2010

I’m here to testify that purging your diet and environment of everyday toxins is not just a temporary health kick or a feel-good undertaking. It has the powerful ability to completely change your life as it did mine.

At 20 years old, I was the typical college student. Active and healthy, I attended UT football games and sorority events with little thought of my health or what I put in my body. But within a week of moving into a brand new apartment my sophomore year, I was riddled with mysterious neck pain. I saw medical doctors, chiropractors, masseuses, rolfers and internists in attempts to find any relief. But it worsened and by Christmas I had terrible back pain and leg cramps. On our drives back to Houston, my now-husband would wait patiently in the car while I got out half a dozen times to massage, stretch and walk away my pain. I developed an odd burning sensation in my face and a numbness that ran down my calves and arms. I’ll never forget grabbing a carton of milk only to have it fall out my hand due to my failing motor skills.

For the next two years, I sought the help of fourteen medical doctors from across the country, schlepping an ever-growing file of MRI’s, CT-Scans, EKG’s, X-rays and blood work to every new appointment, all of which revealed nothing out of the ordinary. Although diagnosis like osteo-arthritis, hypermobility and even MS were thrown out, doctors were dumbfounded and none could find an agreed-upon source of my pain.

Then my aunt, Marilee Nelson, came into the picture. I knew she worked with chemically sensitive individuals and believed in the body’s ability to heal naturally, but I didn’t understand how my body could heal on its own if it wasn’t even responding to the best that medicine could offer. Needless to say, I was doubtful. But I had nothing to lose.

Marilee asked few questions about my symptoms, but instead jumped into what I thought seemed completely irrelevant. “Where were you living when the pain started? Had you recently moved, remodeled or used pesticides? Do you eat processed sugar and foods?” My pain had set in only days after moving into the new apartment and my diet, although low-calorie, contained tons of artificial ingredients. She explained how conventional building materials (new paint and carpet, plywood cabinetry, etc.) contain flame retardants, VOC’s and glycols that could wreak havoc on one’s health. Marilee also helped me understand the importance of whole, unprocessed foods and the toll that the foods I ate were having on my body.

Her personal story helped me grasp these new concepts. A chronic kidney disorder had left her facing death and after finding little hope through conventional measures, Marilee had pursued the use of healing through using food as medicine, which brought her renewed strength and a life-long passion. Years later, her ten-year-old son was exposed to pesticides, leaving him catastrophically ill, mentally and physically. His sensitivities prevented him from leaving home for seven years, forcing Marilee through an excruciating time of trial and experimentation. She learned about chemicals found in our food, environment and building materials and purged her home of anything that Douglas reacted to. Miraculously, as his diet and environment were freed of toxins, his body gradually progressed. He was the first home-schooled student to be accepted into the Naval Academy and now, 20 years later, he’s a mission commander for the naval intelligence community.

This inspiring story sparked my own awakening. The deeper I investigated, the more shocked I was by the ingredients allowed into our everyday products. I no longer relied on label claims, but instead read ingredients and vetting foods before throwing them in my grocery cart. I cut out processed foods, including refined sugar and flour. I learned that they rob your body of necessary vitamins and minerals, the very things I needed most during this period of distress. In addition, I began taking organic, food-based supplements. I also ridded of conventional hairsprays, body lotions, perfumes, dryer sheets and laundry detergents. How could I expect my body to come out of this when I breathed these chemicals in daily? Miraculously, after six months I was virtually pain free and thus no longer dependent on my prescription medications. I gradually weaned myself off all prescription and over-the-counter medications, both of which I haven’t taken since.

My best friend, Kelly Blackstone, had witnessed the relief I had gotten and we began to fuel each other’s passion for natural healing. Following graduation, we moved to the Texas Hill Country to shadow Marilee for two months where we heard story after story of clients finding relief from her recommendations. Many times this was simply eliminating certain foods from or adding good nutrients to their diets.

That summer of 2008 proved to be life changing. We ate hearty, balanced, organic meals and rid our indoor air of all chemical-containing products including toxic cleaning products, paints, pesticides, and fragrances. Our eyes were also opened to the concept of electromagnetic stress and its interference with our bodies’ cellular communication (especially high-frequency communication devices like iPhones and Wi-Fi). To this day, I am still in awe of our bodies’ innate ability to heal. I believe that whole, unprocessed food and a clean environment have the unparalleled power to prevent and reverse sickness and disease, trumping genetic tendencies and past maladies.

Having overcome much of my past ignorance, I no longer think that “because everyone else has been using or doing this forever” is a justifiable reason to do things, eat foods or use products harmful to my health. There was once a day when pregnant women smoked cigarettes, asbestos was prevalent in building materials and x-rays were used as shoe-fitting devices. We now shudder at our lack of awareness. After all, isn’t it our personal responsibility to take anticipatory action in the absence of scientific certainty?

Today, Kelly and I are fulfilling our vision to make Marilee’s knowledge more readily available to the masses. Our new e-commerce website, www.threebrancheshealth.com, provides information for the chemically sensitive and those just wanting to learn more about ridding their life of everyday toxins. We also offer products – from air and water purification to organic supplements – that go along with our recommendations. We are inspired by organizations like AllergyKids Foundation whose mission is to educate people on the truth behind everyday conventional products. Increased awareness will bring lasting health to ourselves and to future generations!