Category: Food/Nutrition


Mark Bittman at TED talks

Head over to www.dietaryselfdefense.com and check out an amazing video from Mark Bittman titled, Whats wrong with what we eat.

Covers our over consumption of meat, the fact that we eat enough animals to line them up end to end to the moon and back! FIVE TIMES!

Its a fantastic talk and recommended viewing for everybody that eats.

This is a small segment from the label workshop. This particular segment cuts through the claim from maple leaf that their new natural selections line does not contain preservatives. This is just one of the things you will learn in this information packed workshop designed to help  you make better choices for you and your family

Have you ever looked at a food package and seen things such as ‘NATURAL’, ‘FAT-FREE’, ‘HELPS LOWER CHOLESTEROL’, ‘ADDED FIBRE’, ‘NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURS’?

For most of us label claims have fallen into the background. Have no fear though, studies from marketing companies advise food manufacturers on the best placement of the claims for maximum effect. So the question then becomes, what do they mean? Let’s look at the term ‘Natural’, or ‘Natural Ingredients’ or ‘Natural Flavours’. They all mean the same thing, nothing!

Here is a short list of SOME of the things Health Canada considers a natural process to your food.

  • Fumigation
  • Treatment with toxic gases (with no chemical change)
  • Smoking (with chemical addition)
  • Tenderizing (with chemical addition)

“The status of enzymatic flavours, processed flavours, reaction flavours or nature-identical flavours has not been established under these guidelines.”

All from Health Canada website

As you can see (especially if you go to their website) it’s all a word game, and in some cases no guidelines have been established. Knowing what you can trust and what you can not becomes tricky.

This was just a small example of what is permitted. Join me on Sept. 29th for a workshop on deciphering label claims, we will cover everything from how to read the label, how ingredient lists are structured, what label claims really mean and how they hide harmful and/or poor ingredients from excess salt and sugar to hidden MSG.

Tickets can be purchased directly through me, here online, at the door (rsvp exhalemike@gmail.com or Facebook )

Pre-registration will get you a free subscription to our new online video series starting next week titled 1 min to Wellness 1 minute tips ranging from food, wellness, fitness, stretching and more to help you make incremental positive changes to create a new lifestyle. Pre-registrants will also receive a video copy of the workshop.

Sept 29th @ Expressionz Cafe 9938 – 70th Avenue

With back to school right and my label reading workshop around the corner I figured I would kill two birds with one stone. This will cover some of the things you will learn in the workshop, and hopefully help you to make better choices for your kids, and yourself.

For the most part when sending a lunch to school we look for convenience, so for the sake of this article we will just be covering a few of the foods that we would take somewhere. So lets cover a few of the typical foods.

Chocolate milk: As the advertisement says, as much sugar as a glass of juice. A glass of juice has a lot of sugar, nearly as much as a pop. Just because juice is a natural drink doesn’t mean its not high in sugar. Juice is not the same as WHOLE fruit. Whether it’s real juice, flavoured “drink” or chocolate milk it’s loaded with sugar and should be limited.

Lunchables: These are the packs that usually have some crackers with “meat” or a fajita etc…I’m sure I could write a book on why these are absolutely horrible but the short version is, sodium, fat, synthetic ingredients, cancer causing additives. I know some have the health check logo, this scam will be covered in the workshop and is covered in a previous article HERE

Fruit cups: Seems like a decent snack, it’s fruit. The problem here though is twofold. One is the amount of toxic metals, yes toxic metals that are present (article here). The other issue is that they are usually packed in sugar, typically labeled as juices or syrup. Fruit is one of the most convenient go anywhere foods out there. Just take a whole peach, orange, apple etc…if you want a fruit cup type blend it takes 5 min. to chop up some fruit, toss it in a few cups/baggies and you have fruit cups for the whole week.

Sandwich: Since peanut butter is already off the table lets examine lunch meat. The nitrites and nitrates in lunch meat are now thought to be more carcinogenic than cigarettes. They are sky high in sodium; sometimes a days worth. They also are high in fat, even the ones that claim 98% fat free. Another topic to be covered in the workshop is comparing apples to apples. When they say 98% fat free they are comparing WEIGHT, not CALORIES. 2g of fat is equal to 18 calories. The 100g serving of lunch meat has a ton of filler ingredients that have no caloric value, the typical calorie count is around 60. That would mean it is nearly 1/3 fat….do not be fooled by “natural selections”…cancerous nitrites and nitrates are in the liquid smoke product. Just because it says no added nitrites and nitrates does not mean they aren’t there. These additives are easily and legally hidden.

Obviously I can’t cover every possible lunch scenario (I left out chips and other junk food hoping it’s an obvious no no), I also left out the disaster that is school cafeteria lunches. That is  a whole separate article. The most important thing to understand is that label and box top claims are not what they are cracked up to be. Which is a big reason for the workshop, it will be Sept. 29th at 7pm at Expressionz Cafe in Edmonton. Full details will be posted later in the week.

Do not sacrifice convenience for health. If you have any questions about any of this or related subjects please send an email. I’ll do my best to answer any and all questions.

On Sept. 29th I’ll be doing a workshop on the 3 things you need to know when reading food labels. One of the topics covered will be label logos and health claims. CBC marketplace did a great expose on the Health Check fraud, I mean logo. There is a video you can play, but I can’t seem to embed it.

http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/2008/01/23/hyping_health/

2 Workshops for September

I want to announce a few things today. First is that we are doing two different events for September, both at Expressionz Cafe.

Sept 22nd a film screening of the film Collapse

This will be a by donation event. Event Page on Facebook

A week later there will be a workshop titled 3 Things You Need To Know When Reading Labels. This workshop is going to cover the 3 most important things YOU as a consumer need to know about what food labels are really saying. For example 98% Fat Free can actually be over 30% Fat!!

One thing many people don’t realize is that most of the worlds chocolate is produced using child slave labour. Watch this report from the BBC as they go undercover.

Click here for the rest of the series.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcMn6mEwU_8

I’ve recently had quite a few people ask the best way to cook veggies. I came across a study that backed up what I had answered, which is to steam them. The big thing though was that it also quantified what microwaving does.

From http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.1585/abstract

“Clear disadvantages were detected when broccoli was microwaved, namely high losses of flavonoids (97%), sinapic acid derivatives (74%) and caffeoyl-quinic acid derivatives (87%). Conventional boiling led to a significant loss of flavonoids (66%) from fresh raw broccoli, while high-pressure boiling caused considerable leaching (47%) of caffeoyl-quinic acid derivatives into the cooking water. On the other hand, steaming had minimal effects, in terms of loss, on both flavonoid and hydroxycinnamoyl derivative contents.”

I have a bigger article on the effects of microwaving your food coming later in the week, but for now best evidence shows steaming your veggies is best.

A cooking tip: when making rice I usually toss my veggies in to the pot for the last few minutes in effect steaming them with the rice. It can be done with fresh or frozen veggies.

Another day, another “uh oh.” The latest kerfuffle? Quantities of lead in bottled juice, juice boxes, and packaged fruit could exceed federal limits for the lunchbox-toting set, according to the Environmental Law Foundation. The Bay Area-based environmental nonprofit, which enlisted the aid of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified lab in Berkeley, tested nearly 400 samples from 150 branded products marketed to children, including apple juice, grape juice, packaged pears and peaches (including baby food), and fruit cocktail mixes. The alarming results: 125 out of 146 products–or more than 85%–contained enough lead in a single serving to warrant a warning label under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Prop. 65.

More troubling, perhaps, is the fact that the results tar both organic and conventional products: Earth’s Best Organic, 365 Everyday Value Organic, Trader Joe’s, and Walnut Acres get as fair of a shake as Welch’s, Minute Maid, Gerber, Del Monte, and Dole. Plus, most scientists concur that no safe level of exposure to lead exists, especially when it comes to babies and children.

ELF has dispatched notices to law-enforcement officials, including California’s attorney-general, district attorneys, and the affected manufacturers, retailers, and distributors. The notices start a clock for the companies to either bring themselves into compliance with Prop. 65 or to place “clear and reasonable warnings” on the food packages. If, at the end of 60 days, no law enforcement agency pursues prosecution, ELF will file a formal suit.

LEAD-TAINTED PRODUCTS

1. 365 Everyday Value Organic 100% Juice Concord Grapes
2. Beech Nut 100% Apple Juice
3. Best Yet Bartlett Pear Halves in Heavy Syrup
4. Best Yet Chunky Mixed Fruit in Pear Juice
5. Best Yet Yellow Cling Peach Halves in Heavy Syrup
6. Chef’s Review Fruit Cocktail
7. Del Monte 100% Juice Fruit Cocktail
8. Del Monte Chunky Mixed Fruit in 100% Juice (peach, pear, grape, etc.)
9. Del Monte Diced Pears in Light Syrup

Kellogg announced yesterday that won’t put health claims on at least some of its cereal boxes.  According to reports, “Kellogg’s FiberPlus Antioxidants Cereals do not make health claims, but rather state the amount of fiber and antioxidants on the front of pack [my emphasis].”

FibrePlus Antioxidant brand is formulated to deliver 35 to 40 percent of a consumer’s daily fiber (depending on variety) along with antioxidant vitamins C and E.

Take a look at the packages.

According to FDA regulations, describing the level of antioxidant nutrients present in a food is a nutrient content claim, not a health claim.  Even so, such claims are only allowed if the nutrients have an established Reference Daily Intake.  Antioxidant vitamins C and E do have RDIs, so this must mean that what Kellogg is doing is OK.

Read the rest of the story here:

http://www.foodpolitics.com/2010/07/kelloggs-drops-health-claims-from-cereal-boxes-sort-of/