The Watering Hole, Tuesday August 26, 2014 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Since it is harvest time, going to focus on food politics for this post.

First, how about a smart phone app that can determine whether the product you are buying leans Democratic or Republican. You get to vote in the food aisle every time you shop.

Corn flakes – Repub or Dem?

Next up – drought and bottled water. Did you know that most of the stuff comes from drought prone states?

Water from where?

Last – a staggering number of Americans will succumb to Type 2 Diabetes and many of them are people of color without good access to fresh veggies or good information about diet and nutrition. It doesn’t hurt that they are inundated with advertising pointing to bad food choices. Think about how many McDonald’s commercials have people of color featured. These commercials are not about being inclusive or progressive. They are predatory. When was the last time you saw a black person touting the benefits of arugula?

Fritos, Egg McMuffins, Whoppers, …supersize me!

Can you eat just one?

 

 

Watering Hole: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 – I Remember

I remember when all vegetables were organic and purchased from the local farmer.  As a matter of fact, when I was a very young child, I remember a farmer driving his truck around the city where I lived and selling his produce right off the back of his truck.  Before supermarkets, our food came from the corner grocery store and with the exception of the Birdseye frozen vegetables and canned vegetables (yuk), it was fresh from the local farmer.  If it was out of season, it wasn’t on the shelf. The corner grocery store was often owned by a butcher.  Our little neighborhood supported three corner butcher/groceries.  The meat was not factory farmed and tasted good.  Once a week, the milkman would stop by very early in the morning and drop off farm fresh milk and eggs.  My mother would put money in an envelope along with a note for her next order and leave it in the insulated milk box.

Then the supermarket chains appeared and gradually put an end to the corner butcher/grocery stores.  This was when factory farming became all the rage and the farmers turned to using pesticides and chemical fertilizers.  The ranchers discovered that feeding steers grain made them get fatter faster which meant a quicker and higher return on their investment.  Along with the grain came an increase in intestinal salmonella growth in the cattle and the contamination of the meat supply.  Cattle are NOT grain eaters.  They are grass eaters and salmonella does not grow freely in a grass fed bovine.  Besides, grass fed beef is high in Omega 3’s whereas grain fed beef is high in Omega 6’s.  That’s a story for another time.

Now, we pay premium prices for organic food which was once the only food that could by purchased at the local grocery.  Has Monsanto won or are we waiting for summer’s bounty from the local farmers?  I am anxiously awaiting the return of the local farmers’ markets.  Now if only I can find room in my small house for my freezer.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

The Watering Hole, Tuesday February 18, 2014 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Putting his money where his mouth is... retired hedge fund executive willing to spend up to $100 million this year to challenge climate deniers running for office, according to this article from the New York Times.

“A billionaire retired investor is forging plans to spend as much as $100 million during the 2014 election, seeking to pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers.”

Read more here.

West Virginia take me home… but don’t drink the water. Another coal slurry spill. As much as people hate fracking and oil drilling, coal is the most environmentally disastrous energy source in the world. There isn’t even a close second. John Denver, are you sure you want to go there?

Biosolids contain more harm? Duke University researchers are looking in the the effects of anti-microbial chemicals are having on soil decomposition. Biosolids are what your sewage treatment plant spreads on parks, farm land fields or bag as fertilizers for sale. They are supposed to be tested by federal regulation for pathogens and heavy metals but chemicals are a different story. It is expensive and complicated to test the right now, but some may contain chemicals harmful to he environment. Read on.

First Clinton and now Al Gore... going vegan. May be old news to some of you but I just uncovered it. Al Gore likes lentils and carrots. Fiftysomething Diet: Is It Time to Go Vegan? Here is the science behind it.

Watering Hole: Tuesday February 4, 2014 – Tidbits (bite-size morsels on food and environmental politics)

Is Monsanto giving up on GMO Foods? Well maybe not cash cows like corn and soy, but veggies don’t seem to want to respond in ways that make them better through genetic manipulation. Mother Jones has the whole story… No GMO Monsanto!

House votes to de-fund food stamps in Blue States. After de-funding the left, the Right’s next goal is to make the poorest among us grovel for food on the street. I guess getting free food when so many Americans are working for theirs is just too much for them to bear.They would much rather have the poor begging in the streets (again)

Monarch butterflies drop, migration may disappear. The famed annual migration of monarch butterflies to Mexico is at an all time low and may be history. Who to thank? Start with the big M. Urban sprawl is a boogeyman here as well. Read on…
Flight canceled.

And now for some good news…
Slow Cities: The Growing Movement Putting Sustainability and Community Back in the Forefront. It all starts in Europe, of course. First it was the Slow Food movement, and now out of Italy again Cittaslow, an expansive vision of how smaller places can remain viable. Here are the variables in play:

Contain fewer than 50,000 people
Commit deeply to preserve and sustain the environment.
Encourage thoughtful development and use of new technologies for sustainability.
Foster local culture and preserve heritage traditions.
Promote healthy eating and lifestyle.
Support local artisans and businesses.
Welcome visitors.
Encourage active participation in community life.
Read on…
Create a slow city (or neighborhood) near you.

Watering Hole: Monday, January 16, 2012 – Vitamin D

There’s a been a lot of chatter lately regarding the value of Vitamin D.  It seems like this vitamin prevents any disease or disability (only fooling around with this statement).  There are some really crucial benefits to Vitamin D.  Here are a few:

  • Needed for the absorption and metabolism for calcium and phosophorus.  These elements are vital to bone formation and other various functions within the body.
  • As an immune system regulator, it may arm the immune system against the common cold.
  • There may be a connection between insufficient Vitamin and the risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Some studies are beginning to show a lower risk of some cancers in people with higher Vitamin D levels.
  • WebMD has a more information regarding the benefits of Vitamin D.

With all this good news about Vitamin D and our health, what would be the best sources for us to get this valuable vitamin?  That would be our bodies.  There is no risk of overdosing when our body manufactures Vitamin D.  Supplements are another source of Vitamin D.  When using supplements as a source, then it is advised that no more than 2000 IU be taken daily as an overdose may occur.  This is one reason that Vitamin D levels in the blood should be measured on a regular basis.  When the body manufactures Vitamin D, it also creates another chemical which stops the Vitamin D production when blood reaches its optimal level of Vitamin D.

Doctor Oz has a good animation on how the body manufactures Vitamin D.

People living above 40 degrees latitude have a difficult time getting sufficient Vitamin D during the winter months.  This is where supplementation with Vitamin D 3 may help.  Another source would be 4 to 6 minutes, depending on skin type, under tanning lights 2 or 3 times/week. In the warmer climates and the warmer weather, step outside for a walk in the sunshine.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!