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Your Health & Wellness, Iss #017 -- The food you eat at home and out is causing long-term illness
November 09, 2007
(Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle)
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Week of November 11, 2007
Table of Contents
* Is The Food You Eat Safe To Eat? *
* Weight Training: Low Reps Versus High Reps *
Is The Food You Eat Safe To Eat?
Food safety is a hot topic nowadays. We are experiencing a food crisis in the 21st century that you would expect in the 18th and 19th centuries. We have seen recalls of tainted vegetables and meat. Even pet food has not escaped governmental recall.
For all of the 21st century's technological innovations, we can't seem to master truly important matters like food safety. Truth be told, it's not that we don't have the know-how or technology. Food safety is lacking because of purely selfish reasons such as special-interest groups, politics, and big money. Unfortunately, our government is at the beck-and-call of the meat, food, and pharmaceutical industries.
The government has recalled spinach which carried salmonella bacteria. It has also recalled hamburger patties distributed by Topps Meat located in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The patties were contaminated with the deadly E. coli bacteria. This recall was so massive that it actually forced Topps to close its doors.
But there are other food dangers. Although they don't receive news coverage and nationwide attention, they are just as dangerous. And these dangerous foods are in your home right now. Your pantry, refrigerator, and cupboards are full of them. They are served in restaurants, and sold through supermarket chains throughout America.
The dangers caused by these foods are not spontaneous or immediate as are the dangers caused by salmonella or E. coli. This is the reason they remain under the radar.
The dangers these foods represent build up slowly over time. The periods for the manifestation of their symptoms can be decades. And the diseases that they are responsible for are almost never traced back to the foods that caused them.
America is a large meat-eating country. Sadly, due to modern and high-tech methods, meat is no longer as nutritious and safe as it once was. There was a time when meat was raised naturally.
Cattle, chicken, pigs, sheep, turkeys and other meats we eat for lunch and dinner were once raised on farms. They grazed outdoors and ate what God designed them to eat. The farmers did not need to give them antibiotics and hormones.
When these animals were slaughtered and sent to butcher shops, they were healthy and lean. They had minimal saturated fat, but were high in beneficial fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid.) (See...)
Today these animals are jammed into factory-farms-also known as CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations.) Not only is this practice inhumane to the animals, but it also ruins the environment. (See...)
The practice of factory-farming, although efficient and cost-effective, creates serious health risks not only for the animals themselves, but for human consumers too.
For one thing, the animal's environment is unsanitary, overcrowded, and breeds disease. This disease is treated with antibiotics. Secondly, they are not fed their natural diet. Factory-farmed animals are fed grain. This grain has been treated with dangerous pesticides.
How does this impact you at lunch and dinner time? Grain is predominately omega-6. Although your body needs a certain amount of omega-6 fatty acid, too much will lead to health problems. We were designed to get a balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids of 1:1. That balance is now tipped overwhelmingly in favor of too much omega-6. Estimates range from 20:1 to 50:1! (See...)
America's grain-fed meat is giving us too much omega-6s and simultaneously a decreased amount of omega-3s. This imbalance has been linked to increased risk of developing diseases ranging from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) to cancer to multiple sclerosis.
The antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides in the meat is concentrated in the animal's fatty tissues. Whenever this meat is eaten, minute amounts of these toxic chemicals are ingested. This concentration builds up slowly over time. Although the government and the meat industry do not want to admit it, the cumulative effect is devastating America's health.
There is another danger posed by the grain that is fed to animals destined for America's lunch and dinner plates--genetically modified organisms (GMOs.) The grains that have been genetically modified include corn, canola, soybean, and cotton. GMOs, which are also referred to as Frankenfood, have been recognized as safe by the FDA even though rat studies show cancerous growths. (See...)
This unsafe meat is everywhere. You purchase it from your local supermarket, and you order it in your favorite restaurant. Even fish have not escaped factory-farming, and grain for feed. (See...)
The fruits and vegetables in the produce section of your favorite supermarket have not escaped chemical poisoning. They are literally bathed in carcinogenic pesticides.
Baked goods and condiments have safety issues too. Baked goods such as potato chips, french fries, crackers all have a substance called acrylamide. Acrylamide is a carcinogen that is created when starches are cooked at high temperatures. Laboratory tests have shown that this substance produces cancer in laboratory animals. (See...)
Crackers, cookies, potato chips and other baked goods are made with vegetable oil. These oils such as soybean, corn, peanut, and safflower are all processed, and loaded with omega-6 fatty acid. These snack foods along with grain-fed meats are contributing to the omega-6 to omega-3 imbalance.
Another universal ingredient is monosodium glutamate (MSG.) In addition to food products like gravies, sauces, and soups, MSG can be found in vaccines, infant formula, cosmetics, and drugs. (See...) Among other things, MSG has been linked to obesity and cancer. (See...)
Condiments such as ketchup and mustard contain harmful chemicals. One, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), is used universally. High fructose corn syrup is derived from genetically modified corn, and has been linked to obesity. (See...)
White rice and pasta, and white flour products such as bread and rolls pose their own dangers. These foods have been refined so that much of the nutrients and fiber have been lost. Not only are these products non-nutritional, but they also contribute to the ever-growing obesity epidemic.
The food the typical American eats, even at home, is not safe to eat. It is so processed that it is nutrient-deficient. Lost nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and the all-important omega-3 fatty acids, produce long-term disease.
As long as special interest groups and powerful lobbyists control Congress and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the American consumer cannot depend on them. You have to take charge of your health and your family's health.
You can start by buying locally grown fruits and vegetables from farms or farmer's markets. Or you can buy organic produce from stores like Whole Foods. Substitute brown rice for white rice. Eat whole grain breads and pastas instead of the refined (white) variety.
Learn to read food labels. Refuse to buy products which contain any kind of vegetable oil (soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, or canola oil.) Avoid all products which have hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats in them. These are trans fats. Also avoid products which contain shortening.
Excessive sugar, and artificial sweeteners are sabotaging your health. If you drink soft drinks such as sodas and fruit drinks, slowly eliminate them. Not only does sugar contribute to weight gain, but cancer actually thrives on it.
Your meat will be much safer if you buy it organic. By law, organically-raised animals cannot be treated with antibiotics, pesticides or hormones. But even organically-raised meat will not necessarily be grass-fed. That means they are grain-fed which leads to an omega-6/omega-3 imbalance and excessive saturated fat.
Weight Training: Low Reps Versus High Reps
Strength or weight training programs usually consist of sets composed of reps (repetitions.) The rep range is generally divided into low reps and high reps. Sometimes you might see 'moderate' reps. Each of these rep schemes has specific benefits associated with it-with some benefits overlapping.
In the world of amateur and competitive bodybuilding, low reps usually reigns king. Or it did during the competitive days of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Austrian Oak utilized reps in the range of 6 to 8 per bodypart. For the larger leg muscles, slightly higher reps were used. Typically, bodybuilders used a rep range anywhere from 10 to 15 for legs.
First let's define low reps and high reps. Although the definitions are more or less arbitrary, most weight lifters and bodybuilders will generally agree with them. If the rep range is 6 to 8, or at the most, 10, it is considered low reps. More than 10 reps, say 15 to 20, would be considered high reps.
Whether you use low reps or high reps depends on your goal. (Everyone who is able to, no matter what age, should incorporate weight training in his or her regimen.) If your goal is to tone your muscles and induce a cardio-like effect, high reps is the way to go.
By using high reps you will of necessity use a lighter weight. High reps though will not allow you to build significant muscle tissue (hypertrophy.)
A recent study on strength training conducted by researchers at Central Michigan University yielded surprising results. Study participants trained one bicep (muscle located at top of upper arm) with 3 sets of 5 reps of curls. They trained the other bicep with a lighter weight and performed 24 reps. The women did this for 10 weeks.
The arms of the women which used heavier dumbbells for 5 reps gained approximately 55% more strength than the other arm which used a lighter dumbbell for 24 reps.
A rep range of 6 to 8 allows you to use a heavier weight. This range allows for muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth.) The more muscle you have the greater your metabolism. A revved-up metabolism burns more calories while you are at rest.
Instead of your typical 5 or 10 pound dumbbell, invest in a pair of 20 pounders. And relax women, you will not build huge muscles like a man, or lose your femininity by working with a heavier weight.
Warming up the muscle to be trained is crucial to remaining injury-free. A warm-up period will get the blood circulating through the muscle. A cold muscle is stiff and inflexible. When it is properly warmed-up, a muscle is flexible and can be worked through its entire range of motion.
Consider this fact also. When a muscle has been warmed-up, a weight that seemed heavy when the muscle was cold, will seem much lighter. I learned that through my 29 years of weight training.
The warm-up period is an excellent time to use high reps. One of the best ways to warm up a muscle is to use the same exercise as you will for your working sets. Let me explain. I want to perform dumbbell curls. I will warm up my biceps with dumbbell curls using an extremely light weight for 15 to 20 reps. Depending on how I feel, I might do 1 or 2 warm-up sets.
You are now ready for your working sets. For these sets you will use a weight for which you can perform 6 to 8 reps.
Generally speaking, men will use heavier weights than women. Otherwise everything else remains the same.
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The obesity crisis is global. Almost every nation is struggling with a population which is growing larger by the year.
Unfortunately this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down, let alone decreasing. The percentage of Americans overweight in 1960 was 45 percent; in that same year, 13 percent were obese.
Fast forward to the 21st century. America’s overweight percentage is now 66 percent while approximately 33 percent are obese.
Obesity is a crisis because with rising body weight comes rising risk factors for chronic disease, and the development of disease itself. Certain cancers, heart disease, and even seemingly unlikely medical conditions such as asthma, sleep apnea, and erectile dysfunction are directly or indirectly related to obesity.
Another name for type 2 diabetes is adult-onset diabetes. That’s because it used to affect mostly adults. Not any more. Rising obesity rates are afflicting children with this terrible disease. Overweight and obesity is expensive. It costs America about $123 billion per year. The average medical costs for an obese patient is approximately 25 to 35 percent greater than for a non-obese patient!
Childhood obesity statistics for America are appalling. Look at the data from the mid 1970s to 2003-2004:
Age Range Mid-1970s 2003-2004:
2 thru 5 5% 14%
6 thru 11 7% 19%
12 thru 19 5% 17%
Obesity rates in the 2 through 5 year old and 6 through 11 year old categories almost tripled! They more than tripled in the 12 through 19 year old group!
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You will also discover how America and the world reached this point. There is a reason for everything. After reading the reasons for our global obesity epidemic, you will better understand and appreciate the ‘cure.’
Obesity was not inevitable. It was however inevitable when food companies relied more and more on chemicals, and excessive processing.
But the global obesity crisis is a two-pronged problem. Along with food companies tinkering with food products, technology has given the world population more gadgets to distract us from physical activity. We have become excessively sedentary. We’re obsessed with text messaging and talking on cell phones, watching 24/7 cable/satellite television, surfing the web, and playing countless hours of video games.
There’s no more time to exercise. Stairs have become little more than ‘window dressing’ since hardly anyone uses them anymore. The automobile has become our major means of transportation–relegating walking to situations where it cannot be avoided.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS (of FREE E-book)
1 Chapter One Why Can’t I Lose Weight?
9 Chapter Two Drop Pounds by Changing Lifestyle
14 Chapter Three The Weight Crisis
24 Chapter Four Nutrition Makeover
43 Chapter Five Exercise to Lose Weight
I hope that the information contained in this ezine was helpful. If you have any questions or comments concerning this week's topic(s), please go here...
Until next week...
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