ROCKPORT – A scenic, coastal town in Northern Massachusetts with sailboats in the harbor, delicious lobster rolls, and many local arts and crafts. The town is a vibrant summer tourist destination. The streets become packed with families headed to the beach and couples looking for a romantic bed and breakfast escape.
The environment is in serious trouble. Human beings have taken the world’s natural resources for granted. We have stripped, exploited, brutalized, and ravaged the world for generations. Now it’s time to pay the consequences and take action in order to minimize the damage and heal the world. The following political cartoons draw attention to some of the worlds major environmental issues.
The U.S. is one of the only countries on Earth that keeps chicken eggs in cold storage. But why?
One of the most common health risks, when it comes to eggs, is posed by Salmonella bacteria. There are really only two ways Salmonella can get at an egg: the first is to contaminate the egg externally, on the surface of its outer shell. The second is to spread from the inside. The former occurs after the egg has been laid, most commonly by coming into contact with feces containing Salmonella bacteria. The latter can occur if the egg develops in the reproductive tract of a Salmonella-infected hen.
Research has shown that Salmonella-infected eggs stored at room temperature for periods longer than three weeks tend to become overrun by bacteria in numbers far greater than those stored at colder temperatures. Given this insight, you might assume that Americans store their eggs in the fridge to extend their shelf life, or to lower the risk of bacterial contamination, and you’d be right on both counts.
But then, maybe the question should really be posed the other way around: Given the sanitary benefits of refrigeration, why don’t other countries ship, package, and store their eggs at cold temperatures, like we do in the U.S.? Well, because, unlike America, they may not actually needto. Why? Because here in America, we wash our eggs – and while it may sound counterintuitive, the cleaning process may actually make eggs more susceptible to contamination.
We mentioned above that eggs run the risk of getting feces on them. Whether that feces contains traces of Salmonella or not, it stands to reason that if an egg gets poop on it, you should wash it off. And, in America, that’s exactly what we do. In an elaborate automated process involving in-line conveyor belts, massive egg-scrubbing machinery, high-volume air-filtration systems and – last but not least – chlorine misters, American eggs are washed, rinsed, dried, and sanitized in an effort to remove as much dirt, poop and bacteria as possible, all while leaving the shells intact. (Read the details in the USDA’s Egg-Grading Manual.)
Or rather, almost intact. When a hen lays an egg, she coats it in a layer of liquid called the cuticle. It dries in just a few minutes, and is incredibly effective at protecting the egg from contamination, providing what European egg marketing regulations describe as “an effective barrier to bacterial ingress with an array of antimicrobial properties.” America’s egg-washing systems strip eggs of this natural protection. “Such damage,” the EU guidelines note, “may favour trans-shell contamination with bacteria and moisture loss and thereby increase the risk to consumers, particularly if subsequent drying and storage conditions are not optimal.”
Washing eggs is therefore illegal throughout much of Europe. In an interview with Forbes,Chief Executive of Britain’s Egg Industry Council Mark Williams gives another reason for the ban on industrial egg-cleaning facilities:
In Europe, the understanding is that [prohibiting the washing and cleaning of eggs] actually encourages good husbandry on farms. It’s in the farmers’ best interests then to produce the cleanest eggs possible, as no one is going to buy their eggs if they’re dirty.
Okay, fine – but then why not just refrigerate the eggs, anyway? Wouldn’t this just give unwashed eggs an extra line of defense? Perhaps, but the European Union laws again note that – like washing – refrigeration could actually wind up posing a risk to consumers. Again according to European egg marketing regulations, eggs that are stored cold and later left out at room temperatures could become covered in condensation, “facilitating the growth of bacteria on the shell and probably their ingression into the egg.” EU guidelines therefore stipulate that eggs should be transported and stored at as constant a temperature as possible – a temperature between 66.2 °F and 69.8°F in the winter and between 69.8°F and 73.4°F in the summer.
The other reason Americans tend to refrigerate their eggs: our risk of Salmonella poisoning is often significantly higher than it is overseas, because our chickens are more likely to carry it. In the UK, for instance, it is required by law that all hens be immunized against Salmonella. This protection measure, enacted in the late 1990s, has seen Salmonella cases in Britain drop from 14,771 reported cases in 1997 to just 581 cases in 2009.
There is no such law in the United States, and while more farmers are electing to immunize their hens in the wake of a massive Salmonella-related recall in 2010, Salmonella infection remains a serious public health issue. Even in spite of our egg-washing and our refrigeration habits, FDA data indicates there are close to 150,000 illnesses reported every year due to eggs contaminated by Salmonella.
Switching to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, or simply reducing the amount of animal products consumed, can quickly improve your overall health. But what about feeding the world on plants? Many believe we cannot sustain the population on plants alone and therefore need meat to provide the protein and required nutrients. The following article is an interesting read on the changes a plant diet would bring out in the world. Following text and images courtesy of L.V. Anderson. Enjoy.
The meat industry is one of the top contributors to climate change, directly and indirectly producing about 14.5 percent of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and global meat consumption is on the rise. People generally like eating meat—when poor people start making more money, they almost invariably start buying more meat. As the population grows and eats more animal products, the consequences for climate change, pollution, and land use could be catastrophic.
Attempts to reduce meat consumption usually focus on baby steps—Meatless Monday and “vegan before 6,” passable fake chicken, and in vitro burgers. If the world is going to eat less meat, it’s going to have to be coaxed and cajoled into doing it, according to conventional wisdom.
But what if the convincing were the easy part? Suppose everyone in the world voluntarily stopped eating meat, en masse. I know it’s not actually going to happen. But the best-case scenario from a climate perspective would be if all 7 billion of us woke up one day and realized that PETA was right all along. If this collective change of spirit came to pass, like Peter Singer’s dearest fantasy come true, what would the ramifications be?
At least one research team has run the numbers on what global veganism would mean for the planet. In 2009 researchers from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency published their projections of the greenhouse gas consequences if humanity came to eat less meat, no meat, or no animal products at all. The researchers predicted that universal veganism would reduce agriculture-related carbon emissions by 17 percent, methane emissions by 24 percent, and nitrous oxide emissions by 21 percent by 2050. Universal vegetarianism would result in similarly impressive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. What’s more, the Dutch researchers found that worldwide vegetarianism or veganism would achieve these gains at a much lower cost than a purely energy-focused intervention involving carbon taxes and renewable energy technology. The upshot: Universal eschewal of meat wouldn’t single-handedly stave off global warming, but it would go a long way toward mitigating climate change.
The Dutch researchers didn’t take into account what else might happen if everyone gave up meat. “In this scenario study we have ignored possible socio-economic implications such as the effect of health changes on GDP and population numbers,” wrote Elke Stehfest and her colleagues. “We have not analyzed the agro-economic consequences of the dietary changes and its implications; such consequences might not only involve transition costs, but also impacts on land prices. The costs that are associated with this transition might obviously offset some of the gains discussed here.”
Indeed. If the world actually did collectively go vegetarian or vegan over the course of a decade or two, it’s reasonable to think the economy would tank. According to “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” the influential 2006 U.N. report about meat’s devastating environmental effects, livestock production accounts for 1.4 percent of the world’s total GDP. The production and sale of animal products account for 1.3 billion people’s jobs, and 987 million of those people are poor. If demand for meat were to disappear overnight, those people’s livelihoods would disappear, and they would have to find new ways of making money. Now, some of them—like the industrial farmers who grow the corn that currently goes to feed animals on factory farms—would be in a position to adapt by shifting to in-demand plant-based food production. Others, namely the “huge number of people involved in livestock for lack of an alternative, particularly in Africa and Asia,” would probably be out of luck. (Things would be better for the global poor involved in the livestock trade if everyone continued to consume other animal products, such as eggs, milk, and wool, than if everyone decided to go vegan.) As the economy adjusted to the sudden lack of demand for meat products, we would expect to see widespread suffering and social unrest.
A second major ramification of global vegetarianism would be expanses of new land available. Currently, grazing land for ruminants—cows and their kin—accounts for a staggering 26 percent of the world’s ice-free land surface. The Dutch scientists predict that 2.7 billion hectares (about 10.4 million square miles) of that grazing land would be freed up by global vegetarianism, along with 100 million hectares (about 386,000 square miles) of land that’s currently used to grow crops for livestock. Not all of this land would be suitable for humans, but surely it stands to reason that this sudden influx of new territory would make land much cheaper on the whole.
A third major ramification of global vegetarianism would be that the risk of antibiotic-resistant infections would plummet. Currently, the routine use of antibiotics in animal farming to promote weight gain and prevent illness in unsanitary conditions is a major contributor to antibiotic resistance. Last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that at least 2 million Americans fall ill from antibiotic-resistant pathogens every year and declared that “much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary and inappropriate and makes everyone less safe.” The overprescription of antibiotics for humans plays a big role in antibiotic resistance, but eradicating the factory farms from which many antibiotic-resistant bacteria emerge would make it more likely that we could continue to count on antibiotics to cure serious illnesses. (For a sense of what a “post-antibiotics future” would look like, read Maryn McKenna’s amazing article on the topic for Medium and her story about apossible solution for chicken farming in Slate.)
So what would be the result, in an all-vegetarian world, of the combination of widespread unemployment and economic disruption, millions of square miles of available land, and a lowered risk of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea? I can only conclude that people would band together to form communes in order to escape capitalism’s ruthlessness, squat on the former pasture land, and adopt a lifestyle of free love.
I kid. Mostly. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re speculating about unlikely scenarios—and sudden intercontinental vegetarianism is very much an unlikely scenario.
But if the result of a worldwide shift to a plant-based diet sounds like a right-winger’s worst nightmare, it’s worth pointing out that continuing to eat as much meat as we currently do promises to result in a left-winger’s worst nightmare: In a world of untrammeled global warming, where disastrous weather events are routine, global conflicts will increase, only the wealthy will thrive, and the poor will suffer.
Let’s try a middle path. We’re not all going to become vegetarians, but most of us can stop giving our money to factory farms—the biggest and worst offenders, from a pollution and public health perspective. We can eat less meat than we currently do, especially meat from methane-releasing ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, etc.). Just because a sudden global conversion to vegetarianism would have jarring effects doesn’t mean we can’t gradually reduce our consumption of meat, giving the market time to adjust. We not only can; we must. After all, with the world’s population slated to grow to 9 billion by 2050, we’ll be needing to take some of the 25 percent of the world’s land area back from the cows.
Many dietitians, nutritionists, diets, etc. suggest switching to whole grains and incorporating more whole grain in your diet. This includes whole wheat. But with all the genetic changes to wheat in the past century, the entire structure of wheat has changed. It is no longer the quality, healthy food that our grandparents knew. This profession of healthy, whole wheat is incorrect and causing serious health problems and obesity. This article is an excellent summary of the changes made to wheat and the negative effects of these changes.
Modern wheat isn’t really wheat,
BY LEAH ZERBE
Take everything you’ve heard about whole wheat and throw it out the window. It’s not a health food, it’s making you fat, and your digestive tract hates you for eating it, according to the author of the New York Times best-selling book,Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health (Rodale, 2011).
So how—and when—did this ancient grain become such a serious health threat? Author and preventive cardiologist William Davis, MD, says it’s when big agriculture stepped in decades ago to develop a higher-yielding crop. Today’s “wheat,” he says, isn’t even wheat, thanks to some of the most intense crossbreeding efforts ever seen. “The wheat products sold to you today are nothing like the wheat products of our grandmother’s age, very different from the wheat of the early 20th Century, and completely transformed from the wheat of the Bible and earlier,” he says.
Plant breeders changed wheat in dramatic ways. Once more than four feet tall, modern wheat—the type grown in 99 percent of wheat fields around the world—is now a stocky two-foot-tall plant with an unusually large seed head. Dr. Davis says accomplishing this involved crossing wheat with non-wheat grasses to introduce altogether new genes, using techniques like irradiation of wheat seeds and embryos with chemicals, gamma rays, and high-dose X-rays to induce mutations.
Clearfield Wheat, grown on nearly 1 million acres in the Pacific Northwest and sold by BASF Corporation—the world’s largest chemical manufacturer—was created in a geneticist’s lab by exposing wheat seeds and embryos to the mutation-inducing industrial toxin sodium azide, a substance poisonous to humans and known for exploding when mishandled, says Dr. Davis. This hybridized wheat doesn’t survive in the wild, and most farmers rely on toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides to keep the crops alive. (It’s important to note, however, that the intensive breeding efforts that have so dramatically transformed wheat should not to be confused with genetic engineering of food, or GMOs. This type of technology has its own set of problems, though.)
So what does all of this plant science have to do with what’s ailing us? Intense crossbreeding created significant changes in the amino acids in wheat’s gluten proteins, a potential cause for the 400 percent increase in celiac disease over the past 40 years. Wheat’s gliadin protein has also undergone changes, with what appears to be a dire consequence. “Compared to its pre-1960s predecessor, modern gliadin is a potent appetite stimulant,” explains Dr. Davis. “The new gliadin proteins may also account for the explosion in inflammatory diseases we’re seeing.”
The appetite-stimulating properties of modern wheat most likely occurred as an accidental by-product of largely unregulated plant breeding methods, Dr. Davis explains. But he charges that it’s impact on inflammatory diseases may have something to do with the fact that, in the past 15 years, it’s been showing up in more and more processed foods. Wheat ingredients are now found in candy, Bloody Mary mixes, lunch meats, soy sauce, and even wine coolers.
As if making you hungrier wasn’t enough, early evidence suggests that modern wheat’s new biochemical code causes hormone disruption that is linked to diabetes and obesity. “It is not my contention that it is in everyone’s best interest to cut back on wheat; it is my belief that complete elimination is in everyone’s best health interests,” says Dr. Davis, “In my view, that’s how bad this thing called ‘wheat’ has become.”
When Dr. Davis’ patients eliminate wheat from their diet, the outcomes are often dramatic, with many losing as much as 20 pounds during the first month. He reports that patients experience relief from acid reflux, esophagitis, gas, cramps, and diarrhea stemming from irritable bowel syndrome after ditching wheat. Joint swelling and pain are often completely eliminated, he says, and patients report improvements in everything from asthma and skin conditions to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Rye, barley, and oats share some of the same properties of wheat because they all contain gluten-like proteins. Dr. Davis urges his patients to opt for non-wheat grains like quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and wild rice, but in smaller quantities (less than half a cup) to avoid triggering high blood sugar.
SPRING IS FINALLY HERE!
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Now, for the Giveaway! My cousin, Nicole, is hosting a giveaway between now and April 26th. All orders placed with Arbonne (input her ID at checkout) will be entered to win a Free FC5 Shower set! Arbonne makes excellent products that love nature and promote beautiful healthy skin naturally without chemicals and artificial ingredients. Pure, radiant beauty and care!
Click on the image below to be taken directly to the Arbonne website and remember to enter in Nicole’s seller ID at checkout (14774833). Enjoy and good luck!
The New York Times recently posted the article below on Martha Stewart’s beauty and makeup regime. For a woman of 72, Martha looks pretty spectacular. Her secret surprised me. She uses a lot of oils and serums. I was stunned to find out that a lot of the products she uses are relatively affordable. Now the same routine doesn’t work for everyone, but as you age, piling on the hydration is key to preventing wrinkles and signs of aging. Go Martha!
It turns out that the Bedford, N.Y., bathroom cabinet of Martha Stewart, 72, is as well stocked as its gardening shed. The many products help prime Ms. Stewart for on-air appearances like her show, “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School,” which began airing its third season on PBS last week.
I get up a couple hours before I’m supposed to leave in the morning and I’ll put on a mask. I like the Yon-Ka Gommage 305 or the Susan Ciminelli Hydrating Gel Mask right now. Or I’ll use the collagen mask from Mario Badescu or the Chanel Correction Lift, a firming mask, which works great for me. I’ll do this about five days a week and I don’t repeat the same mask two days in a row. I’ve always done this — well, basically since I discovered masks. I have to wear makeup for photo shoots, television and appearances, so I have to make sure my face is extremely clean in the morning. Then I shower and I wash it all off.
I slather myself with serums. First, it’s a toning lotion. Right now it’s either the Yon-Ka Lotion or a more specific spray, like the rose spray from Mario Badescu. I spray my whole face and body and then its Susan Ciminelli Marine Lotion from head to toe. I use the same products on my body as I use on my face. I don’t think there’s really any difference between the two, so the more moisturizers and serums you use, the better off you are. Then I might use a vitamin B or SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum. I’ll also put on Clé de Peau or SkinCeuticals moisturizer. With all of these serums, I find I don’t have to put on an eye cream, although my facialist insists I put one on. Sometimes, I will and the Clé de Peau is good or Caudalie has one — it’s the fancy one from their high-end line — and it’s very good, too. At the end, before any makeup, I use SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense. If I’m not going to use foundation, I’ll use the tinted version, or if I use foundation, it’ll be the white one. Otherwise, I do my best to stay out of the sun. That’s very important. I do a lot of outdoor activity like gardening and I try to cover up and do SPF. Actually, I just bought a new sun hat that goes over your riding helmet. It’s pretty ugly, but it works.
If I’m traveling that day, I’ll be sure to have my Yon-Ka Lotion with me, which is a spray. On a recent plane ride to L.A., I sprayed myself five times. It’s hydrating, so I don’t look like a prune after flying.
I never go to bed with makeup on. First, I steam my face with a hot washcloth and then I use the AmorePacific or Shu Uemura cleansing oils. Johnson’s baby oil works really well, too. I use those as cleansers and they’re also excellent makeup removers. I like oil because it keeps my skin very moist, and it works for me. I don’t get clogged pores.
I was told years ago by my daughter, Alexis, that I shouldn’t leave the house without makeup on. You’ll pay for it if you don’t because somebody will be there with a camera snapping away and you’ll look awful or just plain. I put on a light foundation, usually the AmorePacific tube called the Moisture Bound Tinted Moisturizer or the Clé de Peau Refining Fluid Foundation. I really like the YSL Touche Éclat Radiant Touch stick, which is fairly new I think. Then it’s Bobbi Brown bronzer. For mascara, I use Clinique High Impact mascara or I just got a new one from Givenchy. It has three little balls almost — it’s very cute. I got it from a makeup artist at John Barrett, when she did my eyes for the ballet. It’s a little short mascara but it makes your eyelashes look elongated. Also, I’ve used Latisse and it’s really helped. People should try that. It really works. I use a gloss on my lips. I use Buxom — I like the Samantha color — or a little bit of a lip pencil. I stick with nude colors, and maybe at night I’ll wear red and it’ll really stand out.
I’ve been wearing Fracas since I was 19. I’ll put fragrance on three times a day. I’m thankful every day that they haven’t altered their formula. Although, I did just discover a new one by Hermès called Jour d’Hermès. It’s lovely.
I use different shampoos. For me it’s like with skin care: I try to use a variety. I have to wash my hair almost every day because I have to have it done for pictures and stuff. Frédéric Fekkai Ageless shampoo and conditioner and Shu Uemura, the green line, are my two favorites. For styling, I don’t like a lot of mousse. I do use Sally Hershberger’s Texture Blast, which is like a hair spray, but just at the roots. I have really good hair and I don’t like to plaster it.
Parvin at John Barrett has been my colorist forever. She’s the blond expert. I think she’s the busiest colorist in New York. I like her because she does it in an hour so you don’t have to spend all day sitting there.
For cuts, I’m not fussy. I’ve been to Kevin at Frédéric Fekkai in the Mark. I’ve gotten my hair cut twice at Sally Hershberger recently, and they’re fabulous, too. There are so many fantastic haircutters in the city. Everybody’s hair looks much better than it used to.
Otherwise, Daisy Schwartzberg does my daily makeup and styling. Kevin from Fekkai will do styling for photo shoots, and Katsu from John Barrett does my blowout. They’re all good.
I’ve been going to Mario Badescu for 45 years for facials. I try to go at least once a month. For brows, Julia Haaland at John Barrett does them when I get my hair done. Luda, also at John Barrett — where else in New York can you get everything done at once? — does my nails almost exclusively. And she’s the best massager in the world. I stand, walk and hike and I still have good feet, and I thank her for that.
FITNESS AND DIET
Exercise is a necessary part of the day. I went to the gym this morning. I have a really great trainer in the city. We’ve worked together for at least eight years. Or I do yoga with James Murphy. I like to spin, but I don’t have enough time to do it. I also have a green juice that I drink every single morning. It’s very important. You can be the most beautiful person on earth, and if you don’t have a fitness or diet routine, you won’t be beautiful.