Glyphosate Part 2: Why It Sucks

This is Part 2 of a four-part series on glyphosate. Read Part 1 here, and learn about the history of herbicides and why glyphosate was an improvement over what farmers were using in the past (and in many cases, are still using).

In The News

You may have heard about glyphosate in the news lately, or heard the class-action lawsuit ads on television. “Have you been exposed to glyphosate?” the ads ask. “Do you have cancer? You could be eligible to sue Monsanto!”

You also know, from my GMO post and some of the comments I alluded to in Part 1 of this series, that I am not a big fan of glyphosate. I acknowledge that it’s better than lots of other chemicals, but that doesn’t make it a good thing. Here’s some of the issues with it: Continue reading “Glyphosate Part 2: Why It Sucks”

Avoiding Vegetable Oil – Practical Considerations

A surprisingly large number of people have been interested in my previous post about vegetable oil, where I explained why I don’t use it. But how does one go about avoiding vegetable oil? It’s in everything! Besides, don’t you need vegetable oil to make cakes and stuff?

Short Answer:

No, vegetable oil is worthless. You can still eat cake without it. 🙂

Long Answer

Continue reading “Avoiding Vegetable Oil – Practical Considerations”

Are GMOs Safe?

You’ve heard the term “GMO”. Maybe you’ve seen the “Verified non-GMO” labels on certain products in the grocery store. Your neighbor told you that GMOs are killing children, but your cousin said that the anti-GMO is the biggest farce since the low-fat craze. But what exactly does GMO mean? Is it bad?

Definition:

GMO stands for “genetically modified organism.” This basically means that a group of scientists took the DNA of a plant or animal and changed it in some way.

What the H— Does That Mean? Is It Like Breeding Dogs?

For millennia we have been changing gene expression through selective breeding. When people breed dogs to create new breeds, they are essentially “genetically modifying” the subsequent generations of dogs. We don’t usually refer to breeding as genetically modifying however, because scientists aren’t altering the DNA on a microscopic level; they are simply counting on nature to mix genes in a certain way if they force Dog A to breed with Dog B. This is usually called “hybridization” and is generally accepted by most people. Pluots are an example of a hybridized fruit – they are a cross between a plum and an apricot. Grapefruits are also hybrids, resulting from a pummelo (a type of citrus) being crossed with a sweet orange.

So what makes a GMO different from a hybrid? Well, basically, GMOs are created in a laboratory. Instead of breeding two existing things, scientists manually go on and turn genes on or off OR they add or remove bits of DNA from an organism. When this organism reproduces, its offspring will carry on the modified genes. A popular example of a GMO crop is Round-Up ready corn. This corn had a gene introduced to make it tolerant to glyphosate (the active component of the herbicide Round-Up). Another example is Golden Rice, which is rice that is engineered to contain more Vitamin A than normal rice (not yet available on the market).

Pro-GMO VS. Anti-GMO

Listed below are some common arguments made by both those who are pro-GMO and those who are anti-GMO. Continue reading “Are GMOs Safe?”

Why I Won’t Touch Vegetable Oil With a 10 Foot Pole

It’s become fairly common knowledge that olive oil and other unprocessed oils are better for you than regular vegetable oils, but most people don’t think of vegetable oil as BAD for you. Plus, vegetable oil is cheap, readily available, in practically every packaged food you can find, and extremely convenient when cooking. But if you read my Diet Dogma, you’ll know that it is one of the only things on my “NEVER EAT” list!

Lucky for me and my health, my mom switched to primarily olive oil for cooking when I was a small child, after the Mediterranean Diet became popular. As a result, I used vegetable oil sparingly as an adult, though I still used it in baking, frying, and to make certain salad dressings. I thought that the high smoke point and neutral flavor of the oil was invaluable for certain applications, because that’s what some of the cooking websites said (note: It’s really not invaluable. It’s completely replaceable and the replacements usually work better).

The Research That Changed Everything

But in my senior year of college, back when I thought I was going to go to grad school to become a dietitian, I was researching cooking oil. In one of my classes, we had talked about the American Heart Association’s endorsement of vegetable oil and about how saturated fats were terrible…but I had trouble believing that. People have used butter for a bazillion years, and we didn’t have heart disease until recently. In fact, my mom switched from margarine to butter when I was a little kid, and I recalled that both parents actually lost weight as a result.

I decided to investigate these claims myself by really delving into the research. I had already had several years of research experience, so I was quite familiar with reading research papers. As project manager of my research office, I also had paid access to a variety of medical journals through my work computer. One night, when most of my non-working college student peers were home on spring break, I stayed late at the office to dig into some vegetable oil research.

My findings were disturbing.

Continue reading “Why I Won’t Touch Vegetable Oil With a 10 Foot Pole”

VERY SCIENTIFIC Egg Taste Test!

So you read about why I think pastured eggs are better than regular eggs, and saw that although I thought there was a taste difference, some studies showed that there was no taste difference. Am I insane? Are the studies wrong? Obviously, I needed to do an egg taste taste.

BECAUSE SCIENCE.

So. Do pastured eggs taste better than conventional eggs?

The short answer:

OH MY GOD, YES. GO BUY THEM. BUY THEM NOW (read where and how to buy them here!).

The long answer:

Continue reading “VERY SCIENTIFIC Egg Taste Test!”

Pastured Eggs – Practical Considerations

So you read all about why I think it’s worth buying pastured eggs. You want to give it a try. Where do you find these magic eggs? How do you buy pastured eggs?

Buy Local.

Buying eggs from a local farmer (or hobby farmer!) is by far the best way to go if you’re trying to get pastured eggs. This will save you money, and allow you to investigate the conditions of the hen houses yourself. My parents retired in the country, and I buy most of my eggs from a woman who lives down the street from them. Her eggs are only $2.50/dozen, and I buy 4 dozen at a time (eggs keep for a very long time in the fridge). Signs for pastured eggs are all over in rural areas, and the prices where my parents live range from about $2-$4/dozen.

Of course, I don’t want to drive an hour every time I need eggs. I supplement my eggs with partially pasture raised eggs that are only $2.50/dozen from a house that is literally down the street from me. For some odd reason, a few of the lots in my city are still zoned for agriculture (though most are not), and one of my neighbors raises chickens as a hobby. These chickens are fed corn and kept inside, but he lets them out in his yard every day to graze and treats them well. I figure these eggs might not have as many nutritional benefits as true pastured eggs, but they still taste better (and are probably a little better) than conventional eggs. Continue reading “Pastured Eggs – Practical Considerations”

Why I Buy Pastured Eggs

With eggs costing $1/dzn at some grocery stores, why do I buy pastured eggs, and pay $2 or $2.50/dzn? Well, let me tell you a story…

My First Pastured Eggs

Although I currently live in a metropolitan suburb, I am fortunate enough to have family that lives in a rural area – including my can-cook-anything sister. I distinctly remember staying over at her place a few years ago and getting served two enormous, bright yellow eggs that tasted…amazing. I mean, truly amazing. At the time, I was a wee college student with fledgling cooking skills, but I was very proud of my ability to make fabulous eggs. My roommates LOVED my eggs. But these blew mine out of the water. Continue reading “Why I Buy Pastured Eggs”

My Diet Dogma

& Why I Eat Real Food

If you’ve just stumbled on this blog, you saw something about ‘meal planning’, cooking everything from scratch, and something about homemade bread. You might be thinking I’m a crazy person. If you read the “About Me” page, you may have noticed that I said I follow a loose interpretation of the Weston A Price Foundations diet…and I do mean loose. I don’t agree with everything the Foundation says, but I love their premise and their founding tenants. What does that mean exactly?

WHAT KIND OF A CRAZY PERSON AM I?

Who Was Weston Price?

Weston A Price was a dentist who explored the diets and tooth decay of a bunch of indigenous populations. He found that sugar and white flour seemed to be implicated in tooth decay and chronic diseases, and that many isolated populations all over the world had avoided these diseases until the introduction of a Western diet. He interviewed lots of elderly members of these groups and what their traditional diets looked like. All the diets were unique, but they universally included non-processed foods. Some folks lived on mostly fat (Eskimos), some on almost entirely milk and blood (the Masai tribe in Africa) and others on an almost vegetarian diet (Bantu tribe in Africa). They were all chronic disease free, until Western diets (sugar, white flour, vegetable oil) put them on par with everyone else in terms of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.

Of course, they probably still died a lot from childbirth, diphtheria, and injuries. Yay, modern medicine! I like modern medicine. But I don’t like modern food, modern chronic disease, or modern obesity.

My takeaway from Weston Price: Processed food and lots of sugar is bad for you. Lots of foods can be good for you – meats, grains, dairy, and more. Learning about traditional foods from all over the world is really cool. Also, ethnic food is delicious. Please-give-me-more-kimchi. Continue reading “My Diet Dogma”