Ethical Eating and Making a Difference

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If It Kills Bugs – What’s It Do To You?

Although chlorpyrifos, a pesticide sprayed on fruits and vegetable, does not meet safety standards laid out by a 1938 U.S. law, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, it is still being used with the EPA’s blessing. Oddly, in the year 2000 the EPA banned its use in homes, schools, day care facilities, parks, hospitals, nursing homes, and malls, yet still allows chlorpyrifos to be used on crops including corn, almonds, apples, and oranges.

Chlorpyrifos is a neurotoxin that has been linked to adverse side effects, including birth defects, in pregnant mothers who work in close proximity to where the poison has been applied, and according to the National Pesticide Information Center there is a long list of symptoms and conditions that can result from exposure.

Despite two separate court orders, the EPA has failed to produce a final rule banning chlorpyrifos, notwithstanding two proposals it itself created calling for a ban. And now the current administration has issued an executive order that attempts to make sure such a ban will ever take place.

State attorney generals from New York, Maryland, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, upset with the EPA’s disregard for public health, are now trying to intervene in a lawsuit filed by environmental and social welfare groups, thus adding strength to efforts to that compel the EPA to carry out the ban.

Whether the effort succeeds is anyone’s guess, but it points out why you should try to buy only organic fruits and vegetables or, at the very least, thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables, which will remove some, but not all of the poison.

It is unfortunate that governmental agencies that are supposed to protect us are sacrificing not only public health, but our environment, because big corporations have more influence than our lawmakers.

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Forget putting down the ducky, put down the fries

A recently released study conducted by the University of Padua in Italy, examined the association between consuming fried and unfried potatoes and mortality. The study involved 4,400 men and women between the age of 45 and 79 years old.

The researches note: “The frequent consumption of fried potatoes appears to be associated with an increased mortality risk.” Frequent consumption meant two or more servings of fries a week. How much of an increase? Double according to the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The authors do note in their conclusion that “Additional studies in larger sample sizes should be performed to confirm if overall potato consumption is associated with higher mortality risk.”

Potato chips are fried potatoes, but no word yet on whether they should be on the “no-no” list or reduced consumption list.





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For Most, Meat Addiction Outweighs Consequences

In an open letter addressed to the candidates for the position of Director-General of the World Health Organization a lengthy list of expert signatories called on the next General Director of WHO to focus on the damage to health and the environment caused by factory farming.

The letter points out that “Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to global health. Seven hundred thousand people die from antimicrobial-resistant diseases each year. If current trends continue, diseases caused by drug-resistant microbes could kill up to 9.5 million per year by 2050, more than current cancer-deaths.”

The letter continues: “As the global health community acknowledges the intertwined nature of planetary and human health, it must also confront the role that factory farming plays in climate change. Experts predict that without rapid and drastic shifts in meat production, agriculture will consume half the world’s carbon budget necessary for keeping global temperature rises under 2° Celsius by 2050.”

The letter’s third point is that “The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that diets high in processed meat and red meat contributed to over half a million human deaths (or over 16 million disability-adjusted life years, or DALYs) in 2015 – more deaths worldwide than interpersonal violence, and a similar DALY burden to breast cancer or alcohol use disorders. The declining cost of meat and its increasing prevalence in LMICs, facilitated by factory farms, contributes significantly to the rapidly rising burden of NCDs.

Hopefully the next Director General of the WHO will take head, especially when considering the WHO previously classified “processed meat as carcinogenic and red meat as probably carcinogenic” and has noted the devastating effects factory farming has on health and the environment.

We have met the enemy and it is us. If people didn’t consume as much meat there wouldn’t be such an enormous problem, but bacon, steak and other meat lovers apparently prefer to satisfy their cravings and care little about what happens to their children, their children’s children, or the planet. And that is the very definition of addiction.

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Monsanto Guilty of Violating Human Rights – But Does It Care?

After six months of review, a tribunal held in The Hague found that Monsanto has engaged in practices that have violated the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food, the right to health, and the right of scientists to freely conduct indispensable research. The tribunal viewed Monsanto’s “ecocide” ‘as a crime that should be recognized in international law

That’s how Europe sees it and Europe has been ahead of the pack when it comes to such things as banning GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and banning harmful pesticides and insecticides that continue to be manufactured and used in the United States.

In one U.S. study glyphosate, the key ingredient in “Roundup” herbicide, was found in every stream sample examined in Mississippi in a two-year period and in most air samples taken. That means people are either drinking it or inhaling it.

Unfortunately, we cannot expect a Europe-like ruling any time soon because Monsanto has ties to governmental regulators. As was mentioned in an earlier blog posting, Monsanto was tipped off by the EPA in enough time to cook up favorable studies its own people ghost wrote and attempted to publish through noted academics.

Monsanto only cares about one thing – profit. It won’t let something as trivial as human health and environmental damage get in its way.

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Monsanto Lies – People Die

The dangers of Monsanto’s Roundup on the environment and wildlife have been well documented, but those dangers now appear to be affecting humans as well – and Monsanto knows it.

In a lawsuit brought by individuals who are suffering from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, claimed to have been caused by exposure to Roundup, unsealed court records show that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), tipped off Monsanto several months in advance of adverse findings that would be released in a report linking Roundup as a possible human carcinogen.

The advance notice gave Monsanto time to cook up “data” to refute the adverse report findings. In an email Monsanto executive William F. Heydens suggested company officials ghostwrite research on glyphosate (the chemical name for Roundup) and then hire academics willing to claim authorship of papers that were actually written by Monsanto. “We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak.”

Of course Monsanto denies that Roundup poses any health threats; odd for a chemical designed to kill weeds, especially when its use has been shown to kill honeybees, Monarch butterfly larva, and other insects, and let us not forget that animals like birds and mice feed on these insects, which may end up poisoning them as well.

Perhaps even more serious is the question of why a governmental agency that is supposed to be protecting the public is colluding with Big Ag, and this is not the first time that the EPA has gone to the dark side.

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Fruit and Veggie Consumption May Prevent Premature Deaths

As if we needed one, yet another study confirms eating your fruits and veggies is good for your health

The study, Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality–a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies, was published in the February 22, 2017 edition of the International Journal of Epidemiology.

What made this study somewhat unique is that it looked at the kinds of fruits and vegetables that corresponded with the most significant reduction in disease, as well as the correlation between the amount of vegetables and fruits consumed.

Apples/pears, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables/salads and cruciferous vegetables corresponded with a lower rate of cardiovascular disease and mortality, while consumption of green-yellow vegetables and cruciferous vegetables showed a lower total cancer risk.

And although it is generally recommended that you consume five portions of fruit and vegetables daily, the most significant reductions in disease were associated with consuming ten portions a day. Given a portion is roughly defined as 2.8 ounces, that equals about 1.8 pounds.

While that might sound like a lot, keep in mind water content makes up much of the weight. The average weight of a medium sized apple, for example, is 1/3 pound, or about 5.3 ounces. A 15.2 ounce name brand smoothie was found to contain (among other things) 2 1/2 apples, 2/3 of an orange and 2/3 of a banana, so drinking two a day could meet the studies recommendation.

The study concludes that it is conceivable that between 5.6 and 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be prevented with an adequate consumption of fruits and vegetables.

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Cut The Cheese

Nothing makes someone break their diet faster than a slice of cheese pizza. Wonder why?

According to research cheese contains casomorphins, morphine-like compounds that attach themselves to our brain’s opiate sensors, triggering feelings of well-being. And that’s what nature intended casomorphins to do.

When you think about it, the only source of food for infant mammals is milk, and if milk didn’t contain something that was pleasing to infants they wouldn’t drink it – end of species. And cheese is made of…you guessed it – milk.

Of course ions ago the primary source of milk was an infant’s mother and thus the supply of milk, and casomorphins, eventually dried up so to speak. We hadn’t advanced to the point where we could take milk from other mammals or even engineer other mammals to produce large quantities of the stuff.

Although thousands of years have passed, our basic survival instincts still react to casomorphins, even though we don’t need dairy products for adult survival. Dairy fat may have its purpose for infants, but not for adults, where it can clog our arteries, not to mention exposing us to hormones, antibiotics and certain pesticide residues.

So this is one time cutting the cheese in a crowd sense.

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Smother the Meat and Breathe Easier

woman-with-blue-inhalerA recently published study that followed 971 patients over a seven-year period concluded that eating cured meats, such as bacon and sausage, had a direct effect on worsening Asthma symptoms in men who already had the disease. Earlier studies have found that consumption of cured meats also worsened the symptoms of those suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) another lung illness, which is the third leading cause of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Respiratory problems are not all that have been linked to eating cured meats (as if trouble breathing isn’t enough). Studies show increased rates of cancer, in particular colon, bladder and pancreatic cancer. Other problems linked to cured meats include an increased rate of heart disease and stroke, as well as collateral illnesses such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardio-vascular disease.

Eating meat is not only unkind to those who consume it, but to the animals the meat comes from, 99% of which are raised on factory farms in tightly confined quarters, often forced to live in their own filth and lacking adequate ventilation and temperature control. Viewed as mere commodities, rather than living creatures, factory farm owners have little compassion for the suffering of other sentient beings and they have no compassion for consumers health or well-being – wealth versus wellness.

There are many reasons to avoid eating meat, both for your benefit and the benefit of non-human animals.

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Happy Thanksliving

thankslivingPart of the Ethical Eating Task Force’s mission is to educate people about the true cost of their food; where it comes from, how it was grown or raised, who grew or raised it, and the journey it took to get to your plate. What you pay at the supermarket may be only a fraction of the foods true cost and often fails to consider the spiritual currency that is involved.

When most people think about Thanksgiving they think about turkey, or perhaps ham dinners, without much thought to how these animals were raised. If the truth be known, and it should be, almost all of these animals (over 99%) live their entire lives in confined spaces, usually wading in their own excrement and not receiving any care if they become ill or injured. Still living but injured turkeys and pigs are simply tossed in the trash as if they were garbage. Such is the modern factory farm system where profit, not caring, is the guiding principle.

It’s not easy or comfortable to think about these things. “I don’t want to know” is the common reaction. But when we close our eyes to the suffering we tacitly condone it. Unitarian minister Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”

This year why not a celebrate a Happy Thanksliving? Consider one of the many healthy and tasty non-meat alternatives to the “traditional” fare. Be thankful knowing that this act of kindness can spare future generations of turkeys and pigs an unthankful life of suffering and misery.

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Finally Something Decent on the Ballot

yes-on-3Yes on 3, a Massachusetts grassroots effort by Citizens for Farm Animal Protection, is working to prevent cruelty to farm animals raised for human consumption such as veal calves, pigs and egg-laying hens, where these animals are typically confined to small crates or cages their entire lives.

Confinement is not only immensely cruel; it also results in heavy concentrations of animal waste, the proliferation of diseases that can spread to humans, and the over-use of antibiotics used to prevent infections (as well as increase weight) and which have been shown to increase antibiotic resistance in humans.

Activists and supports have placed Question 3 on the November ballot where: “A ‘yes’ vote supports this proposal to prohibit the sale of eggs, veal, or pork of a farm animal confined in spaces that prevent the animal from lying down, standing up, extending its limbs, or turning around.”

How could any decent human being be against that?

But when it comes to industrialized food production decency is not in its vocabulary. Those opposing efforts to stop animal cruelty include United Egg Producers, the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation, the Animal Agriculture Alliance, National Pork Producers Council, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, National Association of Egg Farmers, Massachusetts Farm Bureau, New England Brown Egg Council, and the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

Placing profits over concern for caring for God’s creatures is morally and ethically wrong, but in this particular election year it’s sadly par for the course.

To learn more about Yes on 3, visit

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