Toxic Waste....On Tap.

Greetings of the Season, everyone! I had grand visions in the weeks leading up to Christmas, of sharing recipes and tips for healthy finger food and desserts, but exams and essays got in the way.

But here's a next Christmas there will be a plethora of recipes and tips that you can use to create a healthy - but yummy - celebration meal.

In 2011, I plan to get more involved in several activist causes. One of those causes is fluoride in our drinking water.

A couple of months ago, I sent an email to members of my local parliament, raising concerns about the use of fluoride in our water supplies.

I got several fob-you-off letters (you know the kind? Polite but unmoved.). One minister helpfully informed me that our local government now uses fluorosilicic acid, because it is "safer for those handling it".


No mention of safety for the people drinking it...No mention either, that fluorosilicic acid is a waste product from the fertiliser industry, and if that industry were to dispose of it properly, it would cost them millions of dollars.

I wonder if she has ever read the Material Safety Data Sheet, which clearly states that it is a Schedule 7 poison.

(Schedule 7 poisons are "substances with a high potential for causing harm at low exposure and which require special precautions during manufacture, handling, storage or use".)

The Health Minister informed me it was their stance, that water fluoridation is the most "socially equitable" and efficient means of preventing dental caries across the community.

(Strangely, no-one made any mention of tackling one of the causes of the dental caries problem - high amounts of sugar in the diet. Guess that belongs in the too-hard basket.)

Personally, I fail to see anything socially equitable about forcing people to buy bottled water or expensive filters, in order to avoid a toxic waste in the tap water.

The other issue I have with fluoride is infant exposure due to powdered formula-feeding. Here are a few comments on the issue:

"If using a product that needs to be reconstituted, parents and caregivers should consider using water that has no or low levels of fluoride." (American Dental Association, 2006.)

"In Boston, for example, more than 60% of exclusively formula-fed babies exceed the safe dose of fluoride on any given day." (Environmental Working Group, 2006.)

"infant formulas should still be prepared using non-fluoridated water". (Clarkson JJ and McLoughlin J, International Dental Journal, 2000.)

Here's the thing. Of all the infant formulas I've looked at, none of them listed any instructions regarding fluoride on the label. It simply says to use cooled boiled water.

But boiling water does not remove fluoride...

Meanwhile, my busy Health Minister has been throwing fundraising barbeques for cancer and opening new hospital wards.

Which is rather ironic, since fluoride has been linked to cancer AND genetic damage, SIDS, Depression, Down's Syndrome, Thyroid Disease, Alzheimer's Disease, name just a few!!

So, my "representatives" can expect to hear more from me in 2011.

What's On My Lettuce?

Chlorine, it would seem...

Apparently pre-packaged salad greens are washed in chlorine, and then dried and packaged using Modified-Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), inside which oxygen is decreased and carbon dioxide is increased so that the lettuce appears fresh and perky for longer.

(Have you ever wondered how packaged salads manage to look so fresh and nice on the supermarket shelf, only to get it home, open it up, and within a day it's limp and soggy? Well, there's your answer.)

But, back to the chlorine.

I've written about chlorine on my website, and how it is directly responsible for tens of thousands of deaths every year.

According to the book "Not On The Label" by Felicity Lawrence, "The salad leaves are immersed in chlorine which is an oxidising disinfectant. The chlorine level is usually maintained at a minimum of 5omg per litre - twenty times higher than the average swimming pool."


The reason is that chlorine is supposed to kill any nasty bugs and bacteria that might be lurking, although salads have been the culprit in several outbreaks of salmonella, e.Coli and listeria, so one might question just how effective this practice is...

I have made several attempts at growing my own lettuce, but somehow it always tastes bitter, and invariably, I end up going back to the supermarket packets of mixed salad leaves with their mild taste.

Packaged lettuce accounts for billions of dollars in annual sales, so it would seem I am not alone here.

But I think I've just figured out why my lettuce has a slightly bitter flavour....Because it's meant to!!

A quote from an industry professional: "As well as disinfecting out the bugs, they disinfect out the taste of fresh leaves, as anyone who has eaten salad straight from the garden knows."

Aha! Lightbulb moment.

I think I'll persevere with growing my own lettuce, after all...

(P.S. In case you're wondering...lettuce is not the only kind of produce to be washed with chlorine. Apparently spinach, apples, tomatoes, melons, sprouts, and carrots are as well, to name just a few...)


Re-Discover Your Bliss...

Food manufacturers spend huge amounts of money, trying to find the consumer's "bliss point". You know the one?! That point where you take a bite...

And it tastes so good...

You just have to eat some more...

And some more....

And then some more...

And before you know it....Whoops!! You've eaten the whole packet!

Such a product represents huge sales for manufacturers. The trouble is, bliss points are requiring more and more flavours, flavour enhancers and sweeteners, as our taste buds grow accustomed to tastier/saltier/sweeter foods.

Monosodium Glutamate, a flavour enhancer, was introduced into our foods in the 1940's, and it's use has doubled every decade since, as consumers are expecting tastier and tastier products.

A product that is low in salt, flavours and sweeteners seems bland to our tastebuds, after they have grown accustomed to intensely flavoured products.

Our children are growing up with artificially high "bliss points" because they are being exposed to highly sugared and salty foods from a very young age.

The good news is that you can re-set your bliss point. When you revert to more natural foods, your tastebuds soon re-adjust, and then you find yourself with the opposite problem - when you eat highly flavoured foods, they seem overwhelming and far too salty or sweet.

I experienced this recently. I hadn't realised that my tastebuds had adjusted to my new eating habits....until I ate that meat pie!

My husband and I hadn't been back to our home-town for about five years.

For five whole years we had reminisced about the little bakery that made the best meat pies in the whole world!

When we returned for a visit, we had a "To-Do" list a mile long, and right up there near the top, was "Get a meat pie from our favourite bakery".

My husband bought the meat pies. I could barely contain my anticipation!! I took a bite. Then another. I ate the whole pie, but instead of the rich runny gravy that I remembered...all I could taste was a strange metallic taste.

I didn't enjoy it one little bit!

Afterwards I felt ill. (Probably from wondering what I'd just eaten...)

It was then that I realised, my tastebuds had adjusted to eating more natural foods, and the things that I'd once enjoyed were now overwhelming and didn't give half the enjoyment they used to.

Try it, and see for yourself. Really!

Make Your Own: Liquid Stock

Liquid stock is really easy to make and you avoid that nasty MSG that is found in virtually all commercial stock.

Next time you eat red meat, or chicken, save the bones...(I've never tried making fish stock, so I'm not sure this recipe works with fish.)

Remove as much meat from the bones, and place in a saucepan. Add water - enough to just cover the bones. Add a couple of generous grinds of pepper and (Himalayan) salt.

For extra flavour, you can add a chopped onion, or some minced garlic. Sometimes I even add washed vegetable scraps, such as broccoli stems, or carrot peel.

Bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Let it simmer for at least an hour, but you may leave it for several hours. The longer you leave it, the stronger the flavour and the more nutritious.

Let it cool, then strain and use in risottos, soups and stir-fries.

This stock is suitable for freezing. (I use empty butter containers, or ice-cube trays.)

What Have They Done To Our Milk?

Milk is marketed as a healthy, wholesome food that is good for our teeth and bones. We are encouraged to enjoy it as part of our daily diet.

The truth is that milk used to be a healthy, wholesome food...

Almost all of today's milk has been pasteurised, which involves heating the milk then rapidly cooling it, to kill bacteria. Unfortunately, it also kills the living enzymes that allow us to digest the milk, and absorb the calcium.

Pasteurisation also destroys vitamins and alters the proteins.

Contrary to the fancy advertising, pasteurised milk is actually a poor source of calcium. Our bodies simply cannot digest it properly.

Consider the two examples below:

In the 1930's, Dr. Francis M Pottinger conducted a 10-year study on the effects of pasteurised and raw (untreated) milk on 900 cats.

Both groups of cats were fed milk from the same source, but one lot was pasteurised the other was raw.

The cats fed raw milk remained healthy and active throughout their lives. Those fed pasteurised milk became confused and listless, and vulnerable to a host of degenerative diseases like heart disease, liver disease and kidney failure.

But wait. The first generation got off lightly. It was their children and grandchildren who REALLY suffered....

The second generation of cats fed pasteurised milk were all born with poor teeth, and small bones - signs of calcium deficiency.

The second generation of cats fed raw milk remained as healthy as their parents.

By the third generation, many of the babies of the pasteurised group were born stillborn, and of those that survived, ALL were infertile and unable to reproduce. The study ground to a halt, because, quite simply,  there was no fourth generation to continue the pasteurised part of the study.

The third generation of cats fed raw milk continued to thrive and reproduce indefinately...

The second example is not very scientific, but shows the differences in a very graphic way. One farmer conducted his own experiments using two calves. One fed raw mik, the other pasteurised milk. Read the results here - A Tale of Two Calves (Warning: The photos are quite graphic.)

Unfortunately, the powerful dairy lobbyists like the idea of pasteurisation, because it extends the shelf-life of milk, and means that growers do not have to be as scrupulous about the health and hygiene of their cattle. The sale of raw milk has been banned in many parts of the world.

Here in Australia, raw milk is allowed to be sold "for cosmetic use only". (insert sly smile, here...)

And then there's homogenisation.

This process involves pumping the milk through small tubes under very high pressure to break up the fat globules. This process has nothing to do with the safety of the milk, it just means that the milk does not develop a layer of cream on top.

(We cannot entirely blame the manufacturers for doing this. If consumers happily bought milk with a layer of cream on top, manufacturers would, no doubt happily supply it...

The trouble is that consumers, in general, have become fussy. We don't want bits of "stuff" floating around in our juice, or cream on top of our milk, or residue gathered at the bottom of our oil.

And so...we are subjected to pasteurisation, homogenisation, hydrogenation, refining, bleaching, conditioning, emulsifying...)

It has been widely acknowledged that higher consumption of dairy products is linked to increased cancer rates.

I would propose that these rates are not linked to dairy products at all, but rather, the processing of dairy products. Our ancestors who enjoyed raw milk straight from the cow, certainly didn't suffer the kind of cancer rates we are seeing today...

If you live in America, and some other parts of the world, you need to also consider the use of Recombinant Growth Hormone (rBGH). According to Wikipedia, rBGH is produced from genetically engineered E.Coli bacteria...Apparently it makes cows produce more milk. (More tainted milk that is, but I guess that's just a minor inconvenience when there are massive profits to be made...)

The ONLY cow's milk I can possibly recommend in good conscience, is organic, unpasteurised, unhomogenised milk, (sometimes referred to as raw milk) - if you can possibly get hold of some.

A very distant second, is organic milk that has been pasteurised but not homogenised.

It is a terrible shame that something that once fed and nourished the population, has been meddled and tampered with, until it no longer resembles the wholesome product it once was.

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