Death by Vegetable

Be careful, your vegetables amy be killing you? Wow, I have heard some slanted news as I was a teenager in the late 1960’s when the Vietnam War was going strong. The media would report almost anything except the war news. War news would often only receive a brief one line mention right before commercial break.This media hype has all the stink of big money in the background making a big story about nothing. In the bigger picture death by vegetable poisoning is not even a blip on the radar screen.

Let’s look at some other sources and some other non vegetable facts. Here is the abstract from the Center For Disease Control’s findings which prompted the death by vegetable hype:

Each year, >9 million foodborne illnesses are estimated to be caused by major pathogens acquired in the United States. Preventing these illnesses is challenging because resources are limited and linking individual illnesses to a particular food is rarely possible except during an outbreak. We developed a method of attributing illnesses to food commodities that uses data from outbreaks associated with both simple and complex foods. Using data from outbreak-associated illnesses for 1998–2008, we estimated annual US foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths attributable to each of 17 food commodities. We attributed 46% of illnesses to produce and found that more deaths were attributed to poultry than to any other commodity. To the extent that these estimates reflect the commodities causing all foodborne illness, they indicate that efforts are particularly needed to prevent contamination of produce and poultry. Methods to incorporate data from other sources are needed to improve attribution estimates for some commodities and agents.

So a few hundred people died this year from food borne illness on vegetables. Let’s look at other health facts. Starting with the eating of red meat:

Per the Los Angeles Times, a pretty reputable news source, they had this to say back in March. It is also supported by the China Study.

All red meat is risky, a study finds

Eating any amount or type increased the chances of early death among adults tracked more than 20 years. …any amount and any type — appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death, according to a long-range study that examined the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 adults for more than 20 years.

For instance, adding just one 3-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat — picture a piece of steak no bigger than a deck of cards — to one’s daily diet was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying during the course of the study.

The London Telegraph ran this story this month:

The Department of Health was last night urged to review its guidance on red meat after a study found that eating almost half the daily recommended amount can significantly increase the risk of dying early from cancer and heart disease.

The Food Poisoning Bulletin wrote what foods were involved in 2012 food poisonings:

10 Largest Multi-State Food Poisoning Outbreaks Of 2012

Three of the foods: tuna, cheese and mangoes were imported.  Five of the food sources: cantaloupe, ground beef, spinach and spring mix, clover sprouts, and peanut butter, were produced domestically. (The specific food source for two of the outbreaks was not determined.)

Here comes the hype, led off by The Huffington Post:

Leafy Greens Leading Source Of Food Poisoning Illnesses, Study Shows

A big government study has fingered leafy greens like lettuce and spinach as the leading source of food poisoning, a perhaps uncomfortable conclusion for health officials who seem to not want us to eat our vegetables.

Now lets look at some other data presented as fact from the Center For Disease Control (CDC)

“Heart Disease Facts

  • About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.1
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.1
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually.1
  • Every year about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 610,000 are a first heart attack. 325,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.2
  • Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year.3 This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.”

Moving on to death by Drunk Driving. I found these numbers as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The figures are from 2010. The data compliments of The Century  Council.  I suppose these numbers are harder to come by than death by vegetable.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 32,885 people died in traffic crashes in 2010 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 10,228 people who died in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths last year.

On smoking, the CDC weighs in with these numbers:

In the United States, smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths annually (i.e., about 443,000 deaths per year, and an estimated 49,000 of these smoking-related deaths are the result of secondhand smoke exposure) (Worldwide there are over an estimated 5,000,000 smoking related deaths a year as reported by the CDC.)

There have been about 600,000 deaths by Heart Attack in America each year, helped along by eating red meat per the CDC data. The CDC also reports that there were about 443,000 smoking deaths. World wide the same source estimates more than 5 million people die each year from smoking. Let’s not forget the 32,000 that died from drunk driving,  We had less than 500 deaths by vegetable poisoning in 2012 verses over a million deaths from eating red meat, smoking, and drunk driving.

From a 2008 harris poll as noted on wikipedia:

…found that “approximately 0.5%, or 1 million [Americans] are vegans…

I haven’t heard any Vegetarians whining about vegetable deaths, what gives? They should be up in arms, writing every government official they can, shouldn’t they? Perhaps Vegetarians realize they could be accidentally killed before they leave their home in the morning, and certainly before they make it back home for the night.

Yet there was the media hype on several major web pages about a few hundred deaths brought about by contaminated fruits and vegetables. Would you like some raw broccoli to go with your red meat, wine, and after dinner cigar or cigarette?

Disclaimer: I eat red meat, I eat white meat, I occasionally eat fish. I also eat a large amount of vegetables to go with my meat. I have nothing against meat eating. I am more than familiar with smoking as a number of family members died from the same smoking related illness. I have yet to hear of anyone I know die from vegetable poisoning. And I thought politics was full of biased information.

I am never sure if the media is that desperate for Shock Value, or it is manipulation by big money somewhere to change the focus of the average American onto something that is not important in the long run.

America is in fiscal crisis.  The War in the Middle East is not slowing down. Floods have devastated major areas of our coastline. Global Warming has not gone away. Yet there is a rash of hyped up articles about something that does not really have a major impact on America in light of other things we take into our bodies.

Quick, look at that!

Oh, you missed it….


Truly Blessed and Grateful

I was getting ready to step into the shower this morning and I started thinking about how wonderful life is, and how grateful I am for everything in my life. I get up in the morning and use the toilet. I flush the toilet. I step over to the sink and turn on the water to a temperature I prefer. I wash my hands with soap. I turn off the water and dry my hands on a soft clean towel. I walk out of the bathroom.

Later I go back into the bathroom and turn on the water to take a shower. When the water is warm enough, I step in to the shower and I am washing with soap I prefer to use. I rinse off with warm clean water. I turn off the water and dry off with another bigger clean soft towel. So on and so forth.

A few generations ago and even today, for much of the world these things were and are not present. There was no finished bathroom, no running water, no soap, no clean dry towels. People when they did wash-up, usually only had enough water for their hands and face. There wasn’t enough water to wash any more and they preferred not to anyway in Europe at least.

They must have stank. Think about the simple fact of using the bathroom to blow your nose. If you do not have tissues in your bathroom, at least you have toilet paper. Toilet paper is a recent addition for the bathroom. I do not know what people used before, but it was not toilet paper, and there were no daily showers. There was no deodorant, toothpaste, and other items of cleanliness we take for granted. If people wanted a shower, they stood under water that was falling via gravity.

I had the fortune of touring a castle in England one summer. The bedrooms were upstairs, and one had a toilet. The toilet which I am sure was a relief over what the rest of the people used – a bucket – was simply an addition built into the castle wall. There was a seating area of stone which I am sure had wood over it back in the day. The bowl was simply a foot wide hole that dropped perhaps twenty feet before it ended.

After the hole ended it was just the wall of the castle. I could see in my mind the collection of human waste covering the wall below the ‘toilet’. I remember my first thoughts as I looked at a medieval toilet. It must have really stank in that room when the air came up the toilet from below. Modern plumbing is something we never think about. We never think about the journey water takes to get from the source to the tap or the shower head all heated and ready to use as is. We never think of the planning that goes into making a working sewer system for a neighborhood, district, whole city.

The towels we take for granted are of a quality never imagined a few generations ago unless money was no object. Soap was a rare commodity unless it was lye and ash soap,  or another harsh mixture that damaged ones skin as much as it cleaned it. Underwear was stiff and smelled awful I am sure. Who knows how many accidents it’s owner carried around on his or her underwear, or whatever passed for underwear.

I thought when I see someone out in public, and they do not look very clean, or their hair is a little oily, I will try to imagine what they would have looked like in an earlier time when people shaved their heads to evade lice. How their clothes must have stank because there were no clean clothes to change into. How the only part of their body washed in the last days was maybe their face and hands. How heir breath must stank from lack of toothpaste, toothbrush, and the basics of preventive dental care.

City streets doubled as sewage systems. Every bit of trash and bodily waste was thrown into the street to be washed away by the next rain. The streams and rivers next to towns and running through cities were sewage lines. The water would not be fit to drink. Disease would be rampant, as there were only the simplest medicines available.

People would have swollen jaws from abbesses under their teeth, running sores that would not heal for whatever reason. They would literally stink because they would not or could not clean themselves. They would be bald, and they would be unkempt, because there were no mirrors for the common people to see themselves.

Animals would be butchered in the streets, their offal would be everywhere. Rotten food would be thrown in the street as there was no way to keep food fresh. Diarrhea from contaminated food would be more the norm than not. Everyone drank alcohol because the water would kill you. There were no sweets, or soda to eat and drink. Bread had particles of stone in it left over from the grinding. People ate off of wooden platters called trenches. They had horrible mouth infections called, (did you guess) Trench Mouth.

All that came from a few minutes while taking a nice warm shower and enjoying the feeling of the warm water on my skin. It is not hard to be grateful about my life when I think what life could have been like under different circumstances. I am truly blessed and grateful.

Dieting and Craving

I want to write a little bit about diets and cravings. I have been on one sort of diet or another most of my life. All my dieting attempts have had little or no long term success. ANyone can lose weight, most of us are experts at losing weight. We are also experts at watching the weight return. The best of all the diets I tried is: The 30 Day Diabetes Miracle Diet. It is a book and being such lays out in simple terms most of the what and why of dieting. It is close to being the perfect diet, but not quite. My weight came back.

Now if you are like me and have spent months of your life on one diet or another, I know what you are thinking. There is nothing I can tell you about dieting that you do not know already. Anyone who has made serious attempts to lose weight and failed knows almost everything there is to know about dieting. It is not the diet that is the problem. The problem is the not stop cravings for the food that made us fat in the first place.

We know all about calories, fats and oils and carbohydrates. We know how much of each we should eat. We know everything there is to know to lose weight. We have the stamina and endurance to stick to a diet. We have done it before and we will do it again. We do it because we hope this next time we will get it right, and we will be able to keep our weight in check.

We know when the diet line gets crossed, when we have, “fallen off our diet”. At first it is one time and we give it little thought. Then a second time we slip it is okay, there was a good reason for it. Then in faster and faster intervals we have gone from a few dieting misses to eating a whole number of things we know we should not be eating. Our resolve to not eat junk food has wilted and can not be found.

It was only one candy bar, one ice cream, or one cookie. Then before we know it our semi new clothes are getting a little tight. Looking at our toes we assume we must be bloated because we do not see them as well as we should. Almost imperceptibly our energy levels have been dropping. Without even noticing we are doing less and less. One little taste of junk food has turned into a steady stream of junk food. The circle repeats. Another failed diet.

I have learned this about standard dieting: No one I have ever met can stick to a diet over the long term. I am not saying diets do not work. I am saying that in general the best diet most of us have ever tried does not free us from the constant cravings. Eventually those cravings win out. Been there, done that.

Why we fail at diets is because we have been lied to for so long, we don’t what we should know about food. The foods we are craving are making us fat because they satisfy our food craving like no other food we have eaten. The problem is, the craving only stops for a few hours, then is back again. No matter what supplement or pill we take, it does not stop the cravings that send us back to junk food. Never has before, and never will.

This food craving happens to me because of the food that is keeping me fat is the only food that stops the cravings. If you are like me, you can only ignore the cravings so long. Then in a second, there you re eating the food that you know is no good for you. But the cravings stop for a little while.

I do not know how or why, but I have found an answer to this problem. Without trying the cravings are gone without wanting to eat the junk food that is killing me. I can not believe the solution is so simple! Can you imagine how empowering it is to be hungry because of dieting, and not be craving some high calorie, high fat food? Have you ever imagined you could be hungry, and hungry is okay because you do not need to eat right now?

Put out those doughnuts, candy bars, soda, and fast food. I can now look at it all and see it for what it is without wanting to eat them, because I no longer crave it. Wow, “I no longer want to eat it, because I no longer crave them”. I never thought I would ever think those words, let alone share them with you.

It gets better because I will share with you what I learned for free, and you can share it with others. Unless of course you are not interested because this is not a well designed slick web site with pictures, and colors, and little hints of information followed by a BIG price tag to learn what we already should know about dieting and cravings. There should not be people like us, who spend a part of every day wondering how or when we will slim down once and for all.

Pay it forward – like in the movie.

Green Smoothies Feel Good, Week 2

I am coming up on my second week of Green Smoothies. I want to share with you, as you must have an interest in Green Smoothies too. For right now I am only managing one Green Smoothie each day half of the week. The other half of the week is hit and miss. I do not think there is any change we need to jump into 100%. The way I see it is it took until now to discover Green Smoothies and I have a lot of time to fit Green Smoothies into my eating. With that being said, there are some interesting changes going on in and on my body.

I read a lot of hype on the net about Green Smoothies. Both by web sites themselves, and ‘Testimonials’. I am a learned skeptic. I do not believe there is a magic pill, exercise, or other magic remedy that does everything including washing the dishes. I am so skeptical about Green Smoothies, I question what seems to be happening with me. I am also not a fanatic. Life is for living, and for right now, living solely on Green Smoothies for me is not something I think I want to do.

I am a Celiac, meaning I am allergic to wheat gluten. Believe it or not, wheat hides in just about everything. Even if wheat is not mentioned, if there are more than ten ingredients, wheat will be hiding among them. This makes eating well difficult. I though I ate well because I am Celiac, but obviously there are higher levels of eating well. Here is what I have noticed about me in two weeks of Green Smoothies scattered across the days.

– My skin has gone from dry and cracking to soft. No matter how much lotion I would apply, my skin would not get as uniformly soft as it is now,

– In the past I felt hungry most of the time even though I had eaten recently. Now after a Green Smoothie I may feel hungry, but I feel satisfied at the same time.

– Some of my aches and pains have stopped aching and paining.

– I find I think about and crave more Green Smoothies. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about drinking a Green Smoothie in place of whatever the next meal is going to be. To take this a little farther, it seems my body is willing to put up with whatever my meal may be even though it would be much happier with a Green Smoothie.

– Eating Sweets is happening less and less, not that I ate a lot to start with. Yesterday I thought I wanted some Peanut M & M’s (™), but after three, I did not want to eat any more. This has never happened before.

– Meat consumption is dropping. I usually meat for lunch at work, usually two to eight ounces. My interest in eating meat is declining. As a side note, I notice when watching television, I pay more attention to greenery than I did before – lol.

– The thought of going home and drinking a Green Smoothie is more powerful than snacking on a candy bar when I am out and about and get hungry.

– Coffee consumption is dropping. I find I enjoy my coffee now, but I do not need coffee to keep moving.

– I am waking up before the alarm clock while going to be a little later.

– Extra walking every day is not as tiring as it was. Walking has changed back to enjoyment. Walking doesn’t feel like a chore, or something I have to do.

– My finger nails have stopped cracking on the sides causing hang nails. They also feel stronger, and don’t feel like they may peel apart. I asked my Doctor about the peeling, and was told it was not important — hmmm.

– There has been less beard to shave every morning, and my fingernails seem to be growing slower than they were two weeks ago.

– Cracked skin between my toes left over from an athletes’ foot type problem I get every year in late fall between my toes has healed completely. Normally it is  a slower process.

– My feet are not as rough and scratchy as they were two weeks ago.

– I am not craving undefined foods. In fact other than Green Smoothies, I am not craving anything. A friend who has taken some dietitian type classes said that when we are not getting what we need, our body makes us eat even though most of what we eat is not what we need, we feel hungry and keep eating.

– I am sleeping more soundly.

Because I am a skeptic, I try to not be influenced by what I have read which is: “Green Smoothies are the real deal for better overall health”. I don’t know on this the second week of my drinking Green Smoothies if these changes are due to Green Smoothies, or something else unrelated, but right now I feel real good. I prefer to keep feeling this way.

Flatten, Fix, Clean, and Polish, Like New

Having the Internet only a few clicks away anyone with even rudimentary searching skills can become enough of an expert on any subject within an hour, so there should be no need to be taken in by expensive health, ‘Fixes’

A great example is a certain berry that swept the country a few years ago. It was a weight loss and health reviving miracle according to the stories that were out there. People were losing weight without trying. They were feeling better than they ever had in their life. The powers contained in this one little berry were almost unfathomable. It was a hidden secret only recently discovered by mankind after tens of thousands of years of foraging for food. What a well kept secret this berry was.

All the hype and  claims made me curious one day. I checked the nutrient properties of this wonder berry and read its major health changing ingredient was magnesium. In fact that was the berries whole claim to fame. The berry contained high amounts of magnesium per volume.

Clicking over to a local pharmacy website, I found that I could buy a huge bottle of magnesium in 250 mg pills that could be chopped and quartered for about five dollars a bottle. Clicking a few more times, I found magnesium is needed in small doses for good health. In amounts a little larger, magnesium calms muscle spasms. In larger amounts, for me, the 250 mg pill size, it ensured I would never be constipated no matter what I ate.

Wow, buy the berry product for $30.00 or more dollars per bottle of 100, plus shipping, or buy magnesium pills from a pharmacy for about $5.00 for a bottle of 250, or about a three year supply for me. That was a no brainer decision.

Every week on the infomercials there is a new fat burning, muscle building machine or program that sells for somewhere over $100.00 and peaks out in the new car price range if you need the best available. All of them do what they claim to some extent. Some do it in a slow gently manner, and others quickly have you fit beyond for Special Forces school – If you can stick with them, that is.

All most of us need to get fit is to get off the couch and away from the kitchen for an hour a day. We could go walking, jogging, running, to the gym, hiking, climbing, try riding our almost brand new bicycles in the garage. That is all we really need to do.

There are some things we should not do on the Internet when it comes to us. Finding that perfect person comes to mind, but hopefully by now, we all know they do not exist outside of us. We should not be on the Internet diagnosing our most recent ailment. Self prescribing medicines or trying to buy prescription medicines online from overseas. What we can do however is be realistic and climb out of our head when evaluating health products, and think about our desire to make change in our life.

Owning a $5000.00 tread mill that lets you feel like you are running through the Swiss Alps, or strolling across a beach in Greece does not do a thing for us unless we are actually using it. If the cost does not meet the desire factor, it is not a good investment. If the cost meets the desire, there are cheaper alternatives that will provide the same end result for a lot less. Exercise and good health does not happen without personal involvement.

If you find yourself watching infomercials, or stumble across some neat item that makes promises bigger than is reasonable, click on to another page. If you can’t get the idea of owning whatever is out of your thoughts, do some research. What is really being said about it away from the website. What reviews are out there on it? Are they real reviews or planted reviews?

Finally, if you are not really willing to do whatever you are looking at buying can do for you, save your money. One other good thing to remember is nothing works as advertised for everybody. Most reasonable items work for many people, but that does not mean it is a good fit for you. Be realistic before spending your hard earned money.