Posts Tagged Food and Drug Administration

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.






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Before You Use Zoloft…

Excuse my logic but if you were on a medication and found that it made you feel more tired the morning after despite a full night’s sleep would you continue taking it?  I hope not.

Much has been written about Zoloft and its sister medications Paxil and Prozac.  Known collectively as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, these medications have been linked to birth defects in newborns whose mothers took them, suicides in children and adults, and bone density loss in older people.

I cannot comment definitively on Prozac or Paxil because I have never taken them.  However, I have been using Zoloft for a great many years and my own personal experience with the drug has shown me another dark side to it. I have had other people using Zoloft confirm they’ve had the same experience. Specifically, it can produce bad dreams.  Very bad dreams.

The 1960’s counterculture had an expression for a bad trip on hallucinogenic drugs. They called such a bad trip a “Horror Show.”  I have found Zoloft to produce in me a nightly horror show. The net result is that when you wake up in the morning, you feel like a train wreck.  You feel dazed, stressed out and as mentioned more tired than before you went to sleep.  

Wierd things come in small packages

So there’s a paradox at work here.  You take Zoloft, a drug traditionally used to treat various mental illnesses and yes, you’ll be sane in the daytime.  But at nighttime you go crazy.

Here is a sampling of some of the more grizzly recurring dreams I’ve suffered from using this medication.


  • I see tsunamis as high as mountains engulfing me and my loved ones and there’s no place to run.
  • A doctor comes into the waiting room at the hospital and referring to my parents who have been in a car crash says “I’m sorry, they didn’t make it.”
  • I am walking toward my freshman year college dorm, an eight story affair, and I see it completely collapsed from an earthquake, with many of my friends inside.
  • I am sitting by the side door to my house looking up at the attic window of my neighbor’s house. All of the sudden, I see a human skull looking out that window at me.


This last dream is particularly disturbing to me because in my awakened state, sometimes in the evening I do sit facing that neighbor’s pitch black window and I am always thinking “Am I awake or asleep right now?  Will a skull appear any moment?”

As indicated, these are recurring dreams which makes the whole experience all the more draining.  Furthermore, there is another fear I have as I continue to take this medication.

Namely, it is quite possible that I will dream something so terrifying that it will frighten me to death.  There is a phenomenon , most often occurring in Laotian Hmong refugees and other young Asian men known as Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS). It is considered the most serious sleep disorder on the books.  Interestingly enough, inHawaiiit is called “dream disease.”  When it was first recognized in the Phillipines back in 1915 it was named “bangungut,” the word for nightmare in the Tagalog language.  Some of the Hmong people when referring to SUNDS’ cause as being a nightmare, don’t mean a bad dream in the traditional sense.  A nightmare to them means an actual invasion of the victim’s soul by some evil spirit.

This is getting creepier by the minute. One of these days, instead of taking Zoloft, I think I’ll hang some garlic around my bedpost.


Copyright 2011; Greg S.

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