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What's in what we eat

Posted Thursday, March 27, 2008, at 2:14 PM

Donated venison is being discarded at food pantries in North Dakota after fragments from lead bullets were found, according to an Associated Press story today.

The fragments were like "lead dust" rather than detectable pieces of metal, a physician said.

Makes me wonder what, if anything, hunters here and elsewhere have been ingesting over the years. Apparently it's not hurting anyone.

Sometimes I wonder if food safety rules go too far, though I also sometimes think federal regulations may not go far enough.

I don't feel a threat from the American food supply in general; maybe I should be, judging from some of the problems we've heard of in the past few years. I did quit buying bagged salads but now feel like that threat's probably over.

The real threat to our health may be from those few restaurants with unsanitary food service areas, that don't keep food heated or cooled properly or let employees with dirty hands handle food, etc. Seems like so many food poisoning cases we hear of originate from restaurants.


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I have ate wild rabbit and deer and bear since I was knee high to my daddy. I am 53 now and I do not think it has hurt me. I try to grow alot of stuff in the summer.I also agree with you Steve. Now all our children see is fast food. My son will want to go bowling or play pool on friday or saturday nite. I always make him wait until after we eat. Because I know if he didn't he would head to Sonic to get something to eat.I know I can not stop him forever from eating fast food. It is all around our children. The High School in Winchester has a McDonald's inside the school.I also have been told the same thing about corn. Who would have guessed something so good can be so bad for us.In the summer it is very hard not to eat a ear of corn now and then. Fresh tomatoes and fresh corn and some cukes in the summer is so good. I still have a ear of corn now and then. Do people still call it a ear of corn???

-- Posted by rebelrose on Sun, Mar 30, 2008, at 11:48 AM

Steve, right on...

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sun, Mar 30, 2008, at 1:17 AM

From what I read, our life span is longer because we are saving more children at birth and because of the marvels of medicine, BUT I am firmly convinced that many of our current illnesses are actually occurring more because of our "instant" lifestyle.

The more we remove our food preparation from our own kitchens and gardens, the more need for processing and processing inserts additives to make the food last longer, "improve taste" which is debatable, makes it cheaper to be processed, etc..

Our fast paced lifestyle demands instant foods, fast foods, microwaved foods, prepackaged snacks, etc. Our demand for cheap food drives the producers to find faster methods, shortcuts, magic bullets like synthetic fertilizers, concentrated fertilizer, more potent insecticides, genetically modified plants, etc.

Plants are bred for improved shipping or storing properties since the farm is often far removed from the consumer. They are developed for appearance or speed of growth, or the ability to withstand the new herbicides being used for weed control.

What they are NOT often bred for is QUALITY OR NUTRITION.

Greed is part of the problem as well. If it can be made cheaper, if farmers can be made dependent on a manufacturer, or seed company, then those prices can be raised with no other choice in sight. Little regard is given to what the ultimate outcome might be, since they see their side as only one small part of the equation.

But cumulatively, we have diluted the quality of our food, inserted multiple chemicals into our food-stream (of which we know little about when combined) and placed ourselves at the mercy of the large corporations to produce our food from afar.

If the large corporations are wasteful and get into financial trouble, the government (we the people) will bail them out. Why? Because we are addicted, dependent on their product. WE HAVE TO SAVE THEM to save ourselves.

There are solutions, but are we ready listen? Are we ready to believe? Are we prepared to make some life adjustments and support a healthier system? I am usually optimistic, but for the bulk of our society, I doubt that they will take it seriously, so......

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Mar 29, 2008, at 9:57 AM

An excellent book about healthier eating is The Schwarzbein Principle by Diana Schwarzbeing, MD and Nancy Deville It is about helping people improve metabolism, prevent and correct chronic conditions and diseases and reverse accelerated metabolic aging. Also to quit addictions, food cravings, depression and mood swings. It is very good and has excellent points. She is also firm in the belief that you can take baby steps and don't have to change an entire lifestyle overnight. I am impressed by this book and encourage people to check it out. Might be in your library. BTW I believe the Publix in Murfreesboro carries grassfed meat and free roaming chicken. You might check it out. I know they also have a very nice organic section.

-- Posted by grannyapple on Sat, Mar 29, 2008, at 12:19 AM

"Wild Oats in Franklin is a great place to get grass fed beef. I didn't realize the difference in taste until I tried it."

I don't eat meat anymore, but was talking to my mom about this and she can't get over the difference in taste with grass fed beef.

You mention Silent Spring, which has some scary things. I also really liked a book I read a few years ago about Love Canal - that was just as scary as Silent Spring.

-- Posted by cfrich on Fri, Mar 28, 2008, at 11:13 AM

Animals convert glucose from photosynthesis into energy in the form of ATP. We get somewhere between 34-36 molecules of ATP per molecules of glucose. The sugar in ATP is ribose and it is burned during celluar respiration or stored as fat if it is not used quickly.

I don't think we get glucose from meat. We get glucose by directly consuming the plants (and plant products such as sugar) that produce it.

This website http://www.nwhealth.edu/healthyu/eatWell...

is a good read on grain-fed vs. grass fed beef. Wild Oats in Franklin is a great place to get grass fed beef. I didn't realize the difference in taste until I tried it.

High fructose corn syrup is still a refined sugar, just like table sugar. It is hard to avoid and you have to be diligent in reading labels. Homemade bread is relatively easy to make and you can use honey instead of sugar.

A great book to read is Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. She outlines the dangers of overusing pesticides, fertilizers and the impact it will have on later life. She wrote this book in the 60's and was heavily criticized by other scientists and the government. She is still criticized for her finger pointing to DDT. The main argument being that a bunch of birds are not as important as saving people from mosquito borne diseases. (I could go on and on about this...)

Great blog, looking forward to reading more.

-- Posted by Jacks4me on Fri, Mar 28, 2008, at 11:00 AM

I worry about restaurants and in my experience recently even when I made a complaint it didn't do any good. My son wanted a cheeseburg from McDonald's in Wal Mart a while back and the man cooking was sweeping and gathering up the trash bag, then when we ordered the burger he just put down what he was doing and picked up the bun and started making the burger. I asked the woman behind the counter to ask him to make me another one after he had washed his hands. I think it made them mad, because the guy asked me why I just didn't tell him instead of having to go through her. I explained that I wasn't trying to cause a scene or announce it to everyone, that I thought I could just quietly tell her and she could walk back to where he was and tell him. Well, I made a complaint to the corporate office and they sent me an email asking about the experience and that was the end of that. I am sure this goes on everyday and my biggest thing is seeing people handle money and not wash their hands and touch food. I just had to say something because it was right in front of me.

-- Posted by titansfan on Fri, Mar 28, 2008, at 8:46 AM

Fruits and Vegetables at Wal-Mart and probably others, are gassed in order to make them appear "healthy"... In effect, they poison the food to make it look better.

Everyone needs to study of the overuse of pesticides and PCBs, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated foods as well. Many things that the U.S. allows will be consider punishable by federal law in Europe. And overall, their lifespans extend longer than ours. Coincidence?

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 9:11 PM

I'm just glad spring is here and gardens can soon be planted. I'm not into "organic" everything, but do think like Thom we need to watch all the additives in the foods, but we need to be carefull of the e-coli outbreaks. The healthy consumer may only experience mild illness, but anyone compromised could become quite ill. I wash/rinse all my bagged lettuce at home even when it states it "is "pre-washed."

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 7:54 PM

I wonder if that bagged salad has been washed. You sure can't wash all those little pieces of lettuce,carrots and whatever else is in there. That is why I never eat them. I had rather wash everything that goes into my salad.

I also worry about the restaurant's kitchens and their employees cleanliness.

-- Posted by cookie on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 7:08 PM

craftin_mom, We have cut out everything that has high-fructose corn syrup in it from our diet. It's extremely difficult to do because, like you said, it's in everything. If you shop at Wal-Mart, there isn't a single pack of hamburger buns that they sell that doesn't have that in them. Also, you can go to Wild Oats in Franklin and most of what they sell doesn't have any of that in it, but some small amount does. But it's definitely something that people should cut from their diets. As is aspartame, but for much different reasons.

David, The threat to the American food supply is more from the chemicals and "additives" that they put in everything, than it is from the occasional outbreak of ecoli or whatever.

-- Posted by Thom on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 5:00 PM

Well, here's something to think about. Diabetics and others who are trying to limit carbs should really limit the white, starchy veggies, true? That means potatoes, white flour products... and get this, corn. Corn is a sugary, glucose raising vegetable. I'm trying to lose weight, so my doctor advised me to cut out the corn and taters. Well, that's easier said than done. Now, I haven't eaten one ear of corn or one niblet of cooked corn (intentionally) since then. But, if you read ingredient labels of the food we buy at the grocery... about 90% of the grocery store has some kind of corn product in it. Most likely, it's the High Fructose Corn Syrup. It's in just about everything.

But, what about steaks? Steaks, porkchops and chicken aren't corn. But they are fed corn, and that glucose IS passed on to us thru the meat.

And fresh fruit? Apples, pears, watermelons... all have a waxy glaze to make them shiny and appealing (no pun intended). That wax is yet another corn product, and yes, it can raise glucose in the bloodstream.

So, what's a person to eat if everything has corn, and we are told not to eat the juicy yellow niblets? I think I'll stick with the lead-shot venison that eats his food in the wild. Sounds good to me, lol!

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 3:40 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.