Archive for the 'Food' Category

01
Jul
13

Obesity: Humans and Primates?

First off – I loved this article. It was long and I had tobreak the reading up into three different sittings but it was pretty easy to read despite the very complex issue.

Second – I am not sure if I read part of the conclusion correct. It seems to conclude in the third to last paragraph that the government should be involved. Of this particualr point I vehemently disagree. Government was not created to be our mommy/daddy/nanny and it should not regulate what is good or bad for us – that is our decision no matter how detrimental it is to us or “to society.”

Third – I felt pretty good about this article. It addressed a lot of things that I have read about, personally concluded, or even thought about myself from my own life experiences. For example, I read about the possibility of “genetics” being passed down from generation to generation. Something that your gandmother was affected by may be passed on to you from your parents type deal. I personally believe this is true generally based on the idea of micro-evolution. Humans are animals and animals change over time in response to their surroundings. It seems completely plausable that my grandmother being affected to coal burning plants to affect my mother and then me in some fashion. Likewise, so would her desire for food and nutrition.

As for the environment, I remember laying out in the sun and feeling better. Yes, it is 112F here in Arizona on a normal summer day, but just laying there in the sun and not worry about anything made me feel better. I also am slim on my AC and heater usage – I am almost a “little hot” or a “little cold.” Even with this recent heat wave here in the west – I still drive with my windows down and I still sit outside and sunbathe. I’ve always felt that sweating… was human, natural, and good for me. Likewise, I’ve also felt that if my environment was 112F and the store/house/building is 72F, then that change of temperature was bad for me – after all, if you change the temperature too fast on glass, it cracks… if you change the temperature of ice too fast, it goes almost straight to steam. Things must move more naturally through the cycle. So I thought it was interesting to address the thermoneutral zone.

They also talked about the idea of bacteria and viruses. I’m definitely no expert on it, but I believe that we have bacteria in our intestines that help us break down food more and pull out nutrients. I have periodically taken probiotics to try to help that bacteria. The idea of having good bacteria break down food makes sense to me. Backing up just a bit, I also had a blood micronutrient test done out of curiousity and I was borderline Vitamin D deficient and fully deficient in B12. Maybe this is another reason that I felt good to lay out.

Speaking of, what about deficency of foods. The latest crave is that of GMOs. Are they good or bad? Are they nutritious? Does GMO food allow more pesticides to be used on them and do we get that residual pesticide/carcinogen from that sprayed crop? With that said, one of the diets that I am most fond of is the caveman diet which in my mind coincides with the idea of higher proteins and fats – like our ancestors did – and less carbohydrates which were much more seldom (and if there were carbs, they were more whole grain type stuff, with little to no preservatives).

Last but not least, while I am fortunate with my metabolism and stay generally thin… there is plenty of evidence to suggest that we are obese because we do not maintain enough physical activity and our eating habits are not on par. To shame people just to shame them is wrong. However, if someone is obese and they sit and watch Jersey Shore and Oprah all day… and their main physical activity is moving to and from their chair to the bathroom and then back, then to the fridge… is it unfair to say that they have no part in their obesity? Sure, maybe they won’t be <30 BMI as suggested to be not-obese… but their actions have pushed them into the >45 BMI range. I believe when you personally changed your diet and started hooping you lost weight. Even I have lost some weight by starting to eat more smaller meals a day (instead of one large one), swimming, eating less carbs if I can help it, no drinking pop, and taking vitamins every day… I’ve lost weight. Again, I’m not saying that we should call people out but I think we have every right to recognize the fact that obesity is triggered or emphasized by our actions – either by conscious decision or by passive conditions nearly out of our control.

Obesity Era by David Berreby (link)

Years ago, after a plane trip spent reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground and Weight Watchers magazine, Woody Allen melded the two experiences into a single essay. ‘I am fat,’ it began. ‘I am disgustingly fat. I am the fattest human I know. I have nothing but excess poundage all over my body. My fingers are fat. My wrists are fat. My eyes are fat. (Can you imagine fat eyes?).’ It was 1968, when most of the world’s people were more or less ‘height-weight proportional’ and millions of the rest were starving. Weight Watchers was a new organisation for an exotic new problem. The notion that being fat could spur Russian-novel anguish was good for a laugh. Continue reading ‘Obesity: Humans and Primates?’

23
May
13

Solution: Label GMO Food Locally

Ever since food became easier and more profitable to create by machinery the government has tried to regulate it in some sort of fashion. The first English regulation of such was the Assize of Bread and Ale around the year 1266. In America the first endeavour into regulating food came in 1862 when President Lincoln launched the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Chemistry. These two organizations operated in what today we call the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Agriculture Department. Later on in 1906 the Pure Food and Drugs Act was passed and what we now call the Food and Drug Administration was formed. Through these early regulatory adoptions it was aimed to raise the standards in food and their truthfulness in packaging. The nutrition labels that we all now know were mandated in 1990 through the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) and amended by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004.

Interestingly enough the reason that Coca-Cola (and arguably every other soda manufacturer) now uses caffeine instead of cocaine is because one of the first big targets of the Pure Food and Drug Acts was Coca-Cola used cocaine as their active ingredient. Despite that loss the government even tried unsuccessfully to ban Coca-Cola in the infamous case, United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola, 241 U.S. 265, in 1916 from using caffeine.

But how far do we go in demanding how manufacturers produce and label their food? Specifically speaking, how far can we go on a federal level? On a state level? Already we have numerous states that have specific laws for food that is imported or exported from that state that is on top of the federal requirements.

On March 26th President Obama signed HR 933 – called the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 – into law to stop the shutdown of the American government. In this law lies the idea that the Farmer Assurance Provision – the “Monsanto Protection Act,” Section 735 – was snuck in which gives special privileges to companies that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMO) even to allow them to continue producing crops even if a court finds them harmful – which very well may not entirely be the case. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has stated that he will introduce legislation in the Farm Bill of 2013 to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act.

gmofoodSo what is all the fuss about GMO foods? Well, in the past couple of years GMO foods have taken the spotlight around the world. Italy, Austria, France, Germany, Spain, UK, Egypt, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Paraguay, among many other countries have either outright banned GMO foods or have partial bans on GMO foods and this has many Americans wondering why we still allow foods which other countries have deemed to be dangerous. Some reports within America have also surfaced to show that genetically engineered (GE) foods have actually harmed humans and their food supplies – even to include using Agent Orange again because the new GMO crops are resistant to it. To make matters worse in America the biggest player in GMO foods is Monsanto, which oddly enough just had their CEO, Michael R. Taylor, given the nod to head the FDA.

This issue has both sides of the aisle up in arms for various reasons. To some it is a matter of the government stepping in and ensuring good and clean food. To others it is about the government making back-room deals to secure special favors and privileges by the rule of law.

This issue at hand is a difficult one. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of GMO food, should we count on the government to ensure our safety? Is that their role? Is this indeed a back-room deal? Or should we really be asking if this is a federal issue in the first place or if we should be leaving such labeling requirements to the states?

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), stated of the amendment, “I oppose the King Amendment because the amendment takes away important authorities from the states and gives them exclusively to the federal government. The 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution firmly establishes states’ rights and many states represented by members of the House Agriculture Committee use their state sovereignty to enact laws that protect their citizens from invasive pests, livestock diseases, maintain quality standards for dairy products, ensure food safety and unadulterated seed products. While this list is by no means exhaustive, even a cursory look at state laws regulating agriculture reveals that laws in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wisconsin and California, will potentially be nullified by the King Amendment.”

If this is the case, is this amendment a true-blue smack in the face to state rights and the Tenth Amendment? Will this amendment somehow nullify the existing state laws? Furthermore, if citizens truly want labeling of GMOs in their community should they even be worrying about things such as this or should they be trying to introduce state or local laws that would require the labeling of the foods? Vermont has already started a law at H.112 to mandate GMO labeling, which has already passed the Vermont House 107-37.

Let’s face it, the federal government is huge today. It is a bureaucratic mess and trying to convince Washington D.C. to change something like this is like trying to convince all of America that it must be changed – it’s going to be an uphill battle all the way. Apparently this is just another example of D.C. politicians passing bills of which they haven’t read. The best way to hand situations like this is always at a more local level… like Vermont is trying to do.




Quotes:

"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth... For my part, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst; and to provide for it." - Patrick Henry

"Politicians and diapers both need to be changed, and for the same reason." - Anonymous

"Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it." - William Penn

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country" - Hermann Goering

"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do this I keep on doing." - Romans 7:18-19

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

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