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Doctor warns, eat this and you’ll look 5 years older…

26 Feb

Editors note:  This article was reposted with the interests of public health.  It is contained herein in part, for the full article, visit:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/19/the-dirty-little-secret-hidden-in-much-of-your-health-food.aspx

By Dr. Mercola

In the early 1990’s, soy and soy products exploded onto the supermarket scene with promises of bountiful health benefits. This “new miracle food,” soy, was supposed to lower cholesterol, take the heat out of hot flashes, protect against breast and prostate cancer and offer a filling alternative to earth-loving vegetarians.

The problem with these claims?

Most of them are false.

Sadly, most of what you have been led to believe by the media about soy is simply untrue. The sudden upsurge in the recommendation of soy as a health food has been nothing more than a clever marketing gimmick to further reduce the cost and nutritional content of your food.

For you vegetarians out there staring at the screen in open-mouthed shock, fear not. There are plenty of other healthy vegetarian alternatives, which I will discuss later in this article. What was once considered a minor industrial crop back in 1913 now covers over 72 million acres of farmland. But first, let’s examine the dangers and side effects of soy protein isolate and GMO foods.

Soy Protein Isolate — What is It, and How is it Getting in My Food?

The Soyfoods Association of America has a soy protein “fact sheet” defining soy protein isolate as the following:

“Soy protein isolate is a dry powder food ingredient that has been separated or isolated from the other components of the soybean, making it 90 to 95 percent protein and nearly carbohydrate and fat-free.”

Soy protein isolate can be found in protein bars, meal replacement shakes, bottled fruit drinks, soups and sauces, meat analogs, baked goods, breakfast cereals and some dietary supplements.

Bodybuilders beware: because many weight gainer powders, bars and shakes contain this dangerous ingredient and it can cause troubling side effects such as diminished libido and erectile dysfunction — and this is just the start. You’ll find out more about these disturbing health effects later on in this article.

Even if you are not a vegetarian and do not use soymilk or tofu, it is important to become a label reader. There are so many different names for soy additives, you could be bringing home a genetically modified soy-based product without even realizing it. Dr. Daniel offers a free Special Report, “Where the Soys Are,” on her Web site. It lists the many “aliases” that soy might be hiding under in ingredient lists — words like “boullion,” “natural flavor” and “textured plant protein.”

Here are a few other names soy tends to hide under:

  • Mono-diglyceride
  • Soya, Soja or Yuba
  • TSF (textured soy flour) or TSP (textured soy protein)
  • TVP (textured vegetable protein)
  • Lecithin
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)

Not all textured vegetable protein is made from soy, but a great deal of it is. Lecithin can be made from soy, eggs, sunflower or corn. Be sure to contact the manufacturer to find out which is in your product if the label doesn’t reveal this information.

GMO — Making Soy Even Worse

One of the worst problems with soy comes from the fact that 90 to 95 percent of soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified (GM), and these are used to create soy protein isolate.

Why the genetic tinkering?

Genetically modified soybeans are designed to be “Roundup ready.” That’s right, they are chemically engineered to withstand heavy doses of herbicides without killing the plant! What does this mean for your health and the health of your unborn or yet-to-be-conceived children? Read on.

GM Soy Can Lead to Hormonal Disruption and Miscarriages

The active ingredient in Roundup herbicide is called glyphosate, which is responsible for the disruption of the delicate hormonal balance of the female reproductive cycle.

“It’s an endocrine buster,” says UK pathologist Stanley Ewen, “that interferes with aromatase, which produces estrogen.”

What’s more, glyphosate is toxic to the placenta, which is responsible for delivering vital nutrients from mother to child, and eliminating waste products. Once the placenta has been damaged or destroyed, the result can be miscarriage. In those children born to mothers who have been exposed to even a small amount of glyphosate, serious birth defects can result.

In an excellent summary of glyphosate-related effects by the Pesticide Action Network, Dr. Andreas Carrasco of the Embryology Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine in Buenos Aires, simply and expertly explains the serious risks for unborn children exposed to Roundup-laden GMO soy products.

Amphibian embryos were exposed to a tiny concentration of glyphosate (diluted 5000 fold) and showed the following effects:

“Effects included reduced head size, genetic alterations in the central nervous system, increased death of cells that help form the skull, deformed cartilage, eye defects, and undeveloped kidneys. Carrasco also stated that the glyphosate was not breaking down in the cells, but was accumulating.

The findings lend weight to claims that abnormally high levels of cancer, birth defects, neonatal mortality, lupus, kidney disease, and skin and respiratory problems in populations near Argentina’s soybean fields may be linked to the aerial spraying of Roundup.”

The long-term effects of the human consumption of genetically modified soy and soy-based products are staggering.

In April 2010, researchers at Russia’s Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the National Association for Gene Security found that after feeding hamsters GM soy for two years over three generations, by the third generation, most lost the ability to have babies! Now, let’s take a close look at some of the health risks to YOU as a result of eating genetically modified soy.

Infertility in Women

Do you want to start a family? Have you had any trouble conceiving, perhaps due to irregular menstrual cycles or endometriosis? Have you ever experienced a miscarriage?

If so, what you’re about to read will shock you.

A Brazilian study published in 2009 looked at the impact of soy on the reproductive system of female rats. Female rats fed GM soy for 15 months showed significant changes in their uterus and reproductive cycles, compared to rats fed organic soy or no soy.

Extrapolating the findings to people, women who eat genetically modified soy products, such as the soy protein isolate in processed vegetarian fare, may be more likely to experience severe hormonal disruptions, including an overabundance of estrogen, a hair-growth stimulating hormone, and damage to the pituitary gland.

According to Dr. Stanley Ewen, the female rats fed GM soy probably had an increase in progesterone, which could cause an increase in the number of eggs released during each ovulation cycle.

You might think this would lead to an increase in fertility. However, as discussed in an article by Jeffrey Smith, women who consume genetically modified soy products are at increased risk for developing retrograde menstruation (the menstrual cycle backs up into the body instead of outward), causing endometriosis, which can lead to infertility.

The consumption of soy protein isolate and other soy-based products can also lead to abnormally heavy or longer menstrual periods. This is called menorrhagia and, ironically, some commercials have been popping up with a new pill that supposedly offers the “cure” for this “mystery syndrome.”

When in reality the real cure for some women is as simple as removing soy and soy-based products from the diet. The negative effects of soy are not restricted to women, however.

Loss of Libido & Erectile Dysfunction in Men

Guys, do you enjoy protein bars or use a weight gainer shake? If so, be sure to read the label to see if the products you use contain any soy ingredients. Did you know that celibate monks living in monasteries and leading a vegetarian lifestyle find soy foods quite helpful for dampening libido?

Another drawback: Soy has also been linked to erectile dysfunction. The two natural drugs found in soy, genistein and daidzein, mimic estrogen so well that they have been known to cause a variety of alarming side effects in men:

  • Breast enlargement (gynecomastia)
  • Decreased facial and body hair growth
  • Decreased libido
  • Mood swings and frequent crying jags
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Lowered sperm count

For example, one recent study documented a case of gynecomastia in a 60-year-old man as a result of his soy consumption. Another study showed that juvenile rats exposed to daidzein showed impaired erectile function at maturity.

Men, if you’ve experienced one or any of these symptoms, soy could be the culprit. Remove it from your diet, but be sure to consult a trusted physician if your symptoms do not improve or get worse as this could be a sign of another serious condition.

The Healthy Aspects of Soy: Fermented vs. Unfermented

In order to back up the claim that soy is a health food, privately funded “researchers” have been quick to point out that Asians, who consume a diet high in soy, have less risk of breast, uterine and prostate cancer. Unfortunately, they leave out two very important
points:

The reason Asians have an increased risk for some cancers is the same reason they do not develop others: unfermented soy. The soy marketing and promotion gurus left out this critical piece of information. Would you rather have one cancer over another? Isn’t that like asking whether or not you’d like to be whacked in the head with a two-by-four vs. a wooden stick?

You might be asking yourself what the big difference is between consuming a fermented soy product such as, say, tempeh, vs. tofu or a veggie burger. I’m here to tell you, the difference is night and day.

Unfermented AND fermented soy contains hormonal mimics in the form of isoflavones which can not only disrupt delicate hormone systems in your body, but also act as goitrogens, substances that suppress your thyroid function. When the thyroid is suppressed, a host of health problems result, namely:

  • Anxiety and mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Difficulty conceiving children
  • Digestive problems
  • Food allergies

And so much more. No wonder soy can lead to thyroid, esophagus and stomach cancer! Unfermented soy is also chock full of phytic acid, an “antinutrient” responsible for leeching vital nutrients from your body. Phytic acid also blocks the uptake of essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc especially.

Now, fermented soy products do provide health benefits.

As I mentioned in my previous article, some examples of healthful fermented soyproducts are as follows:

  • Tempeh, a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor.
  • Miso, a fermented soybean paste with a salty, buttery texture (commonly used in miso soup).
  • Natto, fermented soybeans with a sticky texture and strong, cheese-like flavor.
  • Soy sauce, which is traditionally made by fermenting soybeans, salt and enzymes; be wary because many varieties on the market today are made artificially using a chemical process.

For those of you who enjoy tofu, I’m sorry to say it didn’t make this list because tofu is an unfermented soy product.

So, What Are The Health Benefits of Fermented Soy Products?

The claim that soy products can prevent osteoporosis, decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia and protect you from cancer of the prostate, lung and liver is actually true, but ONLY if the soy is fermented.

How?

The process of fermenting soy destroys the above-mentioned dangerous substances, thereby making it fit for consumption. Also, fermented soy products such as those listed above are a rich source of vitamin K2, a vitamin that works in harmony with vitamin D to keep you healthy. Vitamin K regulates your body’s blood clotting ability and helps prevent cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease. And vitamin D is essential to the function of every system in your body.

Warning to Vegetarians about the Risk of Mineral Deficiency

Since phytic acid or phytates sap the nutrients from your body, if you’re eating a vegetarian diet that has replaced meat with mostly unfermented soy such as veggie burgers containing GMO soy protein isolate, you are at risk for severe mineral deficiency.

In addition to this nutrient loss, many processed veggie burgers and the like are packed with harmful artificial flavorings, particularly MSG and textured vegetable protein products to give them their strong “meat” flavor.

What’s even worse is the process soy has to go through to become soy protein isolate. Acid washing in aluminum tanks, which is designed to remove some of the antinutrients (but the results often vary widely), leeches aluminum into the final product. Aluminum can have adverse effects on brain development and cause symptoms such as:

  • Antisocial behavior
  • Learning disabilities
  • Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

As I mentioned in a previous article about soy, this makes processed vegetarian fare more palatable, but far from nutritious. Vegetarians have plenty of options for well-rounded, nutritious meals without needing to eat soy or soy-based products.

  • Beans are an inexpensive, protein-rich food that can be eaten alone, added to salads or served as a side dish. Be sure to purchase organic dried beans and cook them at home to avoid the adverse health effects of eating canned food. Ideally is it also best to soak them for at least 12 hours before cooking them.
  • Nuts are also an excellent source of protein. For optimal health benefits, reach for organic nuts such as almonds or walnuts, instead of overly processed mixed nuts.
  • Quinoa is a gluten free grain that can be enjoyed as a cereal, side dish or added to homemade vegetable stews as a thickener.
  • Flaxseed, which is rich in essential omega 3 fats like ALA, is an excellent source of protein. Add it to salads or sprinkle it over yogurt to infuse your meal with vital nutrients. However, it is important to grind flax seeds just prior to eating them because100 percent of commercially ground flaxseeds are rancid. Hemp seeds are also an excellent source of protein.

Hope for the Lactose Intolerant

If you suffer from lactose intolerance and have been replacing milk with soy, you have three more healthful options: Almond milk, and now hemp milk. All are nutritious alternatives to soy, and almond milk has a richer, heartier flavor. Hemp milk is a very creamy, high protein alternative to soymilk, and it’s easy to blend your own by whizzing up hemp seeds and water in a high-speed blender.

Editors note:  This article was reposted with the interests of public health.  It is contained herein in part, for the full article, visit:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/19/the-dirty-little-secret-hidden-in-much-of-your-health-food.aspx

Pasta Primavera…

17 Feb

I just spent a few hours at work this morning preparing what turned out to be 102 servings of beautiful pasta primavera.  This process consisted of cutting 48 pounds of fresh veggies, boiling (a lot of) whole wheat penne pasta to a perfect al dente, and chopping fresh herbs, etc.   I am passionate about cooking, among other things and as a meditation I do my damndest to put love into everything I cook.  This morning was no exception, as I cut the vegetables I took care to ensure some degree of uniformity and bitesizedness.  I wafted the scent of the herb infused olive oil several times because it pleases me to know that all of my senses went into creating something delicious and enjoyable even if those who eat it aren’t quite as knowing of my strange fascination as I.

Hopefully, you can imagine and even relate to my level of excitement regarding this food fascination.  Or, maybe I’m already a madman and no one is quite as eccentric and prone to simple excitement- in which case, please do not tell me, I prefer to be happily deluded into thinking that the whole world is happy to go to work and absolutely adores what they create with their own two hands.  So, after all of that as I tasted for the final time and accordingly approved the seasoning balance I asked my supervisor about the next step.  “What should I now do with this amazing pasta primavera?”

“Put it into bags and freeze it,”  was her reply.

I was depressed.

What is the point of that?  It was an order for a restaurant who buys from our production kitchen, freezes, then thaws and prepares individual servings for their unsuspecting guests.  In fact, the owners of said restaurant approached me a while ago for a potential menu consult and I remember discussing in the preliminary stages this very concept (concerning his lasagna and ziti dishes) and how I was, markedly in opposition to it.  Guests in a restaurant whose kitchen is of ample size shouldn’t get frozen crap served at their table, especially if they are under the impression that it is fresh.  They can stay home and prepare Stouffer’s for a third of the price and probably have more fun.  I didn’t know just what when we were discussing business, but something definitely seemed off about the whole operation and I left the ball in his court.  Luckily, I smelled the rat before I put them on retainer. Today it all added up- freezing lasagna is bad enough, but under no circumstances should a dish as elegant and classic as pasta primavera be frozen and reheated.  The idea of it still makes me cringe.

This occurrence combined with his flakiness and unwillingness to commit to a retainer so I could in turn do my work (I had a few freebie ideas he may or may not have implemented) all add up to a common problem I am noticing more and more especially in virgin restaurateurs but in lots of businesspeople of other avenues as well.  I am speaking of course of the desire to get something for nothing, or more accurately, for very little.  The profitable restaurants aren’t serving frozen bullshit that was prepared two weeks ago.  This is a frustrating concept to convey politely to an owner when you are sitting down for the first time and trying to discover where the less obvious kinks in their model exist.

Pasta Primavera by definition, should ALWAYS be served fresh.  It means “Springtime” in both Italian and Spanish.  And when it’s so easy, there’s no excuse except laziness not to.  All that is required are two burners, pasta which is parboiled and chilled at the beginning of the shift and veggies that you can even pre-slice if you want to.  Most of the time when you order pasta in a restaurant you are eating pasta which was par-cooked, chilled and blanched to order anyway.  The second burner is for sauteing.  Too easy.

As a food lover this insults me.  As a musician I feel I should write the ode to frozen pasta primavera- it would be about idiots trying to do something about which they have no idea just for profit.  As a future madman it made me want to destroy his freezer so he’d have no choice but to prepare the dish the way it should be.  As a scientist and observer it prompted me to imagine the poor excited cellulose running around in the plant cell walls, ecstatic that they would get to be part of something grand, beautiful and larger than themselves and that they are going to nourish someone who’ll appreciate them.  Poor little cellulose.  For the first time I realized why Chef Gordon Ramsey yells so much when he deals with clueless restaurant owners on Kitchen Nightmares.  I imagined the unknowing cellulose feeling betrayed as I pushed the cart containing 102 servings, individually bagged, into the freezer.  The waste of poly bakery bags is another story entirely.

I felt like Dr. Frankenstein watching his creation out on the ice, like murdering a friend.  I was Wilhelm at the controls of the gas chamber as his former neighbor Mr. Schwartz entered the phony shower with gaunt cheeks and ashen eyes, starving, denounced.  Depraved.  I felt like I might have lost a bit of my soul.  Forgive me, Cellulose…

-GC