Friday, March 30, 2012

Dude! It's Almost Beef!

John Gibson of the Lighter Side Facebook discussion group gives his take on the new pink slime slogan, "Dude, It's Beef!" which beef producers are trying to use to improve its image.

"I think the slogan should be:

Dude it's "Mechanically separated, preheated, fat extracted, sprayed by ammonia gas so you don't die beef like stuff"

I think it has a better ring to it."

Great job John. I applaud honesty in advertising!

Governors stand up for pink slme

Several Governors from beef producing states are pushing back on the pink slime issue. They are hitting the main stream news touting the safety and long term use of pink slime as a reason for people to continue to eat beef containing the ammonia treated product.

On a Fox News broadcast this morning, Governor Sam Brownback said we have been eating pink slime for 20 years without issue, so we shouldn't stop eating it now. Oh really? A quick news search will tell you that simply isn't true. Beef recalls abound, primarily from contaminated ground beef.

A recent case involved over 40,000 lbs of Tyson ground beef contaminated with E. Coli in December 2011. A google news search under the term "beef recall" show case after case of ground beef recalled for E. Coli, Listeria and Salmonella contamination. The USDA maintains a data base going back to 1996 where you can search for all food recalls. Ground beef and beef sausages (made, obviously, from ground up beef) feature prominently.

The fact is the process of making ground beef on a factory level inherently contains a risk of bacterial contamination and 70% of America's ground beef contains pink slime. Making pink slime (aka lean finely textured beef) is even more risky than the ground beef itself. That is why it must be treated with ammonia before being added to ground beef and sold to unsuspecting consumers. So despite the claims of governors concerned about job loses in the pink slime producing industry, highly processed ground beef and the use of pink slime is not without issue.

While I can understand governors trying to protect their states industries, my personal opinion is that foods containing pink slime should be clearly labeled. The use of pink slime does make ground beef cheaper and people should be able to decide of they want to take the additional risk of using pink slime to save some money.

If the governors really wanted to make an impact on this issue, instead of publicity shoots of them eating slime burgers, an independent study showing a nutritional comparison of slime beef vs regular beef, or a bacteria test of some beef with and without slime would be much more productive. Stop trying to manipulate consumers and just give them the facts. Then let each person make an informed choice. If you are actively working to make it harder for people to know what is really in their food, you can't be surprised when people avoid your products like a pink plague.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Avoiding pink slime and meat glue

Buying meat in the store sounds like such a simple thing until you realize your meat may not be "meat". From pink slime to meat glue, processors are using technological tricks to turn waste scraps in to something resembling food. While some stores have pledged not to use slime and glue, it's getting to the point where you have to take matters in to your own hands to make sure your food is really food. Here are a few ways to reduce your exposure to faux meats.

  • Buy beef on the hoof: Buy directly from a farmer you personally know. Have the cow butchered to your specifications. Local Harvest and Eat Wild are good places to start your search for a whole or half cow.
  • Grind your own burger meat: If you don't have the money or space to get a whole cow, you can still buy whole cuts of meat and make hamburger yourself. Chuck, ground round and sirloin all make excellent burgers. An inexpensive hand grinder can get you burger meat and give you a workout at the same time. If you have a Kitchenaid mixer, look in to getting a grinder attachment.
  • Buy organic: By law, organic hamburger meat can not contain plink slime. Meat glue, however, may still be used. It just has to be meat glue made from organic materials. Buying a whole cow is still your best bet.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quote of the day

John K. posted this on a low carb Facebook group:

"I had to share a friends post regarding the red meat study: "If 1 in 10 early deaths are caused by eating red meat, does that mean that 9 out of 10 are caused by eating vegetables?"

Diabetes Diet Damage

The following comment comes to us from a front line medical professional. She sees up close and personal the effects of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) and faulty medical dietary recommendations.

"I see in my job as nurse anesthetic patients (ages 50-65) with DM2 who come to amputate a leg or toes. DM2 has ruined their body totally, arteries, eyes, kidneys (several of them [are] in dialysis), heart etc. When I ask then about diet, they (all of them) tell [me] they followed it as told, some of even say the doctors told them they can eat anything as long they take pills and insulin shots. And the result of this diet is dialysis, heart attacks, amputations........My husband's uncle died in DM2 complications blind, amputated, in dialysis. Who takes responsibility when these people die far too early only because totally wrong diet ? Nobody !!!??" - Mirva P.

Since diabetes is a disease of improper blood sugar regulation, it makes total sense to base your diet on foods that have a minimum impact on blood glucose levels. Those foods would include meat, full-fat dairy, leafy greens, and healthy natural fats like coconut oil, lard, and butter. Instead, this is what medical professionals tell diabetics to do:
  • ADA: Drink non-fat milk, eat small amounts of lean meat, eat tofu or low-fat cheese, eat whole grains, and that potatoes, low-fat crackers and other low-fat snacks are fine at every meal in small amounts.
  • NIH: Their website incorrectly claims that, along with fruit and starches, "...vegetables, and milk groups are highest in carbohydrate. They affect your blood glucose levels the most." They then recommend people with diabetes eat most of their food from the grain group.
  • Mayo Clinic: They recommend "...a healthy-eating plan that's naturally rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories, with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. In fact, a diabetes diet is the best eating plan for most everyone." They also go on to proudly show their complete lack of knowledge about the endocrine system by saying "When you eat excess calories and fat, your body responds by creating an undesirable rise in blood glucose. "
There are plenty more examples of horrible dietary advice out there, but these three organizations are the heavy weights. That fact that they don't understand that sugars and starches raise blood sugar, that fat without sugar CAN'T make you fat, and that eating foods like whole grains and fat-free food will spike your insulin levels through the roof is criminal.

I take that back. They DO understand apparently. This is from the National Institute of Health. The same people who think dairy foods and vegetables are highest in carbs and want you to eat plenty of whole grains.
"Glucose, a simple sugar, provides energy for cell functions. After food is digested, glucose is released into the bloodstream. In response, the pancreas secretes insulin, which directs the muscle and fat cells to take in glucose. Cells obtain energy from glucose or convert it to fat for long-term storage." (more)

So what is really going on here? Why tell diabetics to eat things that spike blood sugar and insulin knowing this will cause damage? How can they not connect the dots and just tell diabetics "sugar and starch = bad". Are they trying to keep people dependent on medicine? Are they incompetent? Were they bought off by Big Grain and Big Pharma? Are they criminally insane? I really can't explain it, but maybe Heinlein can.

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don't rule out malice. - Heinlein's Razor

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Low Carb vs ADA Diet for Diabetics

This statement was recently posted in a low carb group on Facebook. It is a valuable lesson for those who are following the diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association.

"I started low carb last year, with a so-so okay from my doctor. After I'd been low carbing for a month he asked me to go back to the diabetic diet recommendations for 3 days. I was prediabetic, and he wanted to see what my bg [Blood Glucose] tests showed under both diets (I emailed his office my test results weekly). He was shocked at the differences and at how quickly my bg went unstable on the standard diabetic diet. *I* was in pain within 24 hours (belly pain) and could not wait to go back to low carbing - which is how I discovered that I'd become wheat intolerant. When I saw him a couple months later I got his hearty blessing to stay on low carb. In 4 months my blood tests had improved hugely. And last month he declared that I was no longer pre-diabetic." - Patricia S.

First of all, I would like to applaud Patricia's doctor for having such an open mind. Many doctors would just be towing the line, telling their patients to cut fat, reduce calories and eat plenty of "healthy whole grains". Some doctors would have just fired her as a patient. This doctor did an actual experiment (with a willing test subject), collected comparative data and followed the facts...not the latest marketing material from a drug company while prescribing a bunch of pills.

And second, congratulations to Patricia for coming up with a way to treat her condition and enlightening a medical professional at the same time. Thanks for sharing your story with others. Your example shows how taking your health in to your own hands and not just blindly following authorities can save your life.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Behold the power of ghee!

Clarified butter, or ghee as it is referred to in India, is a way to make butter even more versatile. While butter is a delicious natural fat containing vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D and selenium, it has the drawback of a low smoke point. Once butter reaches around 350º, it starts to burn. By removing the milk solids and moisture naturally present in butter, you can increase the smoke point to around 480º, higher than that of many vegetable oils.

This means that your easily burnable butter can now be used to cook at high temperatures...even deep fry. By making ghee, you are no longer forced to use potentially unhealthy, high omega 6 vegetable oils just because you want something fried nice and crispy.
How to make ghee

  • Melt unsalted butter over low heat in a sturdy pot. Make sure you do NOT stir.
  • Cook the melted butter until it is a clear golden liquid (approx 20-30 minutes). Light brown milk solids will form and settle to the bottom of the pan. Skim off and discard any thick foam that forms on the top.
  • Strain ghee through a strainer lined with cheese cloth or coffee filters into a clean, dry jars.
  • Ghee does not need to be refrigerated and will be semi-solid at room temperature.