Archive for April, 2012

What’s In YOUR Stomach?

Excuse my logic but with all the recent fuss about Pink Slime in our beef, I thought it high time to take a look at that as well as some of the other crap we ingest in our daily lives.

Now prior to hearing about Pink Slime I grew up thinking the grossest foods on earth were some like you heard of on TV’s “The Beverly Hillbillies.”  Anyone from my generation or older can probably remember Irene Ryan as Granny imploring visitors at the Clampett mansion to dine on such delicacies as “chicken gizzards,” “eye of newt,” “hog jowls,” or “toads brains.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labeled pink slime safe for human consumption.  As I am fond of reminding readers, after 911, Environmental Protection Agency head Christie Whitman told workers they’d be safe working at Ground Zero.  The government also suggested the levees would be safe before Hurricane Katrina. Famous last words.

From what I’ve gleaned about pink slime from Wikipedia, it is of dubious origins.  Pink Slime is also referred to as “lean finely textured beef (LFTB)” or “boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT).  It is a beef based food additive used as an inexpensive filler.  The key words here as you will see later in this blog are “inexpensive filler.” Pink slime consists of finely ground beef scraps, sinew, fat and connective tissue which is mechanically removed from fat. The recovered material is then processed, heated and treated with either ammonia gas or citric acid to kill off bacteria.  Ammonia gas?  Isn’t ammonia that stuff that if you breathe it in deeply you feel like you’re going to pass out, or maybe just die?

On second thought I'll have fish.

As mentioned though the key words are “inexpensive fillers.”  I watched an episode of Jamie’s Food Revolution back in 2009 and was appalled by the conglomeration of sordid chicken parts including bone chips, liver parts, etc. that go into making a chicken nugget.  These too are inexpensive fillers, designed to maximize the meat suppliers’ profits with little concern to the welfare of the consumer.

It’s also interesting to note that for many years it was conventional wisdom when going to the local butcher to watch him weigh the meat carefully.  The old butcher’s scales had a bowl like platter that the meat was placed in and it was often rumored that they would hide a small stone in it to buoy the weight reading. Thus you thought you were buying a pound of meat but in reality you were buying ¾ of a pound.  Imagine if that practice continued today with Pink Slime.  The butcher would be double whammying you by selling meat with cheap filler added and giving you less than what the scale read!  Fortunately I don’t think things are THAT bad.

Going back some years before, I worked for a wealthy man who owned a meat packing plant in the Bronx.  He told me that there were actually cases where meats sat frozen for as much as ten years before being sold on the open market.  Probably not much nutrition left in those ice caked slabs.

I remember planning to write a blog that asks the question “Why is it that when you eat a quarter pounder with cheese, you don’t gain just a quarter pound but more like three pounds of weight?”  Perhaps that pink slime is the smoking gun.

Given all of the above, I’d like to sign off with a list of some other foods I find totally distasteful.  Bear in mind, some of them may be good for you but maybe just look yucky.

 

  • Pigs Feet.  Don’t take my word for it.  Ask a Muslim some day why they never eat pork.  You will be dumbstruck.
  • Cow’s brains.  The Government has banned consumption of cow’s brains from cows that have been slaughtered if they are older than 30 months.  This tells you there’s cause for concern.  Furthermore, I feel if I eat this, I may start walking around mooing at everyone or worse than that perhaps begin walking on all fours and eating grass.
  • Sausage. I mean the big fat kind that you get in the meat department.  To me it looks like a person’s intestines and I wouldn’t want to eat that.
  • Caviar. Craved by the privileged rich I had it once and thought it was very much overrated as far as taste and appearance.
  • Beef tongue.  You never know where that tongue was poking around prior to being served up.
  • Sauerkraut.  Looks like something that was once green (even though it wasn’t) but has been lingering in the refrigerator way too long.
  • Any kind of liver. Beef, chicken or I don’t care what else. It’s liver and it detoxifies the organism.  You can never be sure what kind of toxins passed through its veins.
  • Raisins.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know they are considered one of the healthiest of all foods, but don’t stare at one too long.  It just doesn’t look appealing.
  • Last but not least, diet sodas.  The benefits of drinking diet versus regular have been debated for years. All I know is that if you blindfold me and give me one glass of diet cola and one glass of regular I can tell the difference every time. Diet soda just tastes diluted.

In conclusion dieticians for years have been telling us “you are what you eat.”  With that in mind you’d best stay away from fruit cake or upside down cake.

 

 

Copyright 2012; Greg S.

 

 

 

 

 

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

As the Earth Gets Sicker, So Do We

Excuse my logic, but with the way we humans have mistreated our environment, should we really be surprised in the huge increase in autism reported last week by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)?  Studies have proven there is some correlation between environmental factors and the incidence of such conditions as Autism, Tourette’s Syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis.

By Federal Law, industries that use and release any of 682 toxic chemicals into the environment must account for them once a year to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The term release means chemicals either escaping from smokestacks into the air, discharged into rivers, lakes or streams or finally those that were land-filled. This blog concerns the latter.

Yes, we may get passing grades for regulating industrial dumping into landfills at the current time, but things weren’t always that way.  However, there seems to be little regulation to what individual citizens dump everyday. 

Consider this.  In our country alone there are some 300 million people. If the average household consists of four people, that means we have 75 million households.  For argument’s sake, let’s say fully half of those households are urban dwellers who use incinerators to dispose of their garbage.  That leaves us 37.5 million households discarding trash that will end in landfills.  I know in my household and some other households of people I am acquainted with we dispose of one 13 gallon plastic bag of garbage every day.  So if we as a country are dumping 37.5 million 13 gallon bags of trash a day into landfills should be surprised by the illnesses that abound?  Just to put this in perspective, I estimate that 37.5 million 13 gallon bags of trash would be about enough to fill Madison Square Garden.  And we are filling our Earth with that amount of trash every day!  Furthermore, that’s just what we throw out at our homes. This isn’t accounting for all the garbage we generate at work, school or other daytime activities.

Yuckkk!

No one regulates the individual and what he throws out everyday.  Styrofoam cups, used oil filters, tin cans, disposable diapers just to name a few are all lethal to the ground we live on. 

To examine the link between environment and autism consider the following.  One area of the country that has emerged as a large spawning ground for autism is an 80 mile stretch of land on each side of the Ohio River betweenMount Vernon,IndianaandHawsville,Kentucky.  In 2009, industries in this belt reported 166.8 million pounds of toxins released into the environment for that year alone.  The literature that I have read suggests a strong correlation between that staggering statistic and the fact that in Evansville, Indiana, the state’s third largest city, 22 percent of public school children were receiving special ed instruction. 

As mentioned previously, industries have not always been held accountable either.  In my own state ofNew Jersey we have concentrations of ground and water pollution in many areas. Mahwah and Ringwood continue to be plagued by ground pollution that was discharged by the old Ford Motors plant in Mahwah. Pompton Lakes and vicinity were victimized by a DuPont munitions plant that generated decades’ worth of industrial pollution in that area. Bridgewater and the Raritan Riverwere systematically being polluted with benzene and other industrial chemicals by the American Cyanamid Corporation.

Elmwood Park’s High School in the 1960s and 1970s had a high incidence of Multiple Sclerosis due to dioxins from the Passaic River right across the street from it.  In Garfield, cancer causing chromium had been leaking for years from a tank at the E.C. Electroplating plant and it spread underground and affected an entire neighborhood of citizens. Teaneck’s MiltonVotee Park had to be closed for a time last year due to highly contaminated soil.

Other sites reported in 2011 by the Bergen Record newspaper included Fair Lawn where it was suspected contaminated groundwater was seeping into homes from a Superfund site that had received little oversight for many years.  In the Rutherford area Meadowlands, a dysfunctional EnCap project that was originally supposed to turn the area into a golf village left the sites more contaminated than before it started its ill advised endeavor.

This is just a smattering ofNew Jersey’s dismal list of more than 16,000 contaminated properties statewide. 

When you stop to consider that there are many other states just as industrialized as our state of New Jersey is, the whole subject of our environment can be mind boggling. 

I for one do have hope however.  McDonald’s recently announced an initiative to replace Styrofoam cups with paper.  Glad, the maker of those plastic trash bags now markets a line of Degradable Plus bags in four sizes.  Furthermore recent regulations now require that a protective layer of non permeable material be placed at the bottom of a landfill to prevent ground and groundwater pollution.  People like Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Redford lead a growing A-list of celebrities buying up tracts of land to preserve them in their natural state. 

We as individuals, regardless of whether we are famous or not, can all do our share.  Recycle whatever can be.  In particular, oil filters, car batteries and all forms of electronics wreak havoc on the environment when discarded there. When you go to the supermarket, request paper bags instead of plastic.  Instead of throwing out old bicycles, toys and other attic items have a garage sale.  Or just rearrange the junk in your garage or attic rather than discarding it.  Buy morning coffee from vendors who use paper cups instead of Styrofoam.  If you must throw out garbage and we all must, place it in paper bags. 

Another thing you can do to help curb ground and water pollution is to use organic fertilizers when fertilizing your lawn.  Using these fertilizers helps avoid extensive runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus which leads to eutrophication of water and ultimately contaminates the food chain.   

Also, if your favorite organization is involved in a neighborhood cleanup join in.  It’s our Earth and we all have a vested interest in keeping it clean.

 

Copyright 2012; Greg S,

 

, , , , , , ,

1 Comment