Synthetic Hormones: Estrogen-Laced Food

When U.S. and Canada beef cattle go to feedlots, hormone pellets are implanted under the ear skin, a process that is repeated at the midpoint of their 100-day fattening period. The hormones increase the weight of the cattle, adding to profits about $80 per animal.

The most common hormone in current use is estradiol, a potent cancer-causing and gene-damaging estrogen. The FDA maintains that residues of estradiol and other hormones in meat are within “normal” levels, and has waived any requirements for monitoring and chemical testing.

Europe, however, has, rightly eyed U.S. claims with great skepticism and since 1989 the European Union has forbidden the sale of beef from hormone-treated cattle. The opening of global markets has placed that ban under attack.

On Feb. 17, a panel of World Trade Organization judges began closed hearings on a U.S. and Canadian challenge charging that the European ban is merely protectionist and is costing North America $100 million a year in lost exports.

The FDA’s claims of safety were endorsed by a 1987 report of two U.N. bodies, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health organization, an endorsement that is the main basis of the U.S. and Canadian action against Europe. The joint committee that prepared the report, however, has minimal expertise in public health and high representation of veterinary scientist and senior FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials. Relying heavily on unpublished industry information and outdated scientific citations, the committee claimed that hormone residues in legally implanted cattle are so low that eating treated meat could not possibly induce any hormonal or carcinogenic effects.

However, confidential industry reports to the FDA, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal high hormone residues in meat products even under ideal test conditions. Following a single ear implant in steers of Synovex-S, a combination of estradiol and progesterone, estradiol levels in different meat products were up to 20-fold higher than normal. The amount of estradiol in two hamburgers eaten in one day by an 8-year-old boy could increase his total hormone levels by as much as 10% based on conservative assumptions, because young children have very low natural hormone levels.

“These hormones are linked ever more closely to the escalating incidence of reproductive cancers. In the U.S. since 1950- 55% for breast cancer, 120% for testicular cancer and 190% for prostate cancer.”

In real life, the situation may be much worse. An unpublicized random USDA survey of 32 large feedlots found that as many as half the cattle had visible illegal “misplaced implants” in muscle, rather than under ear skin. This would be result in very high local concentrations of hormones, and also elevated levels in muscle meat at distant sites, such abuse is very hard to detect.

Responding to European concerns, the USDA recently claimed that, based on standard residue monitoring programs, drug levels in violation of regulations have not been detected in meat products. However, of 130 million livestock commercially slaughtered in 1993, not one was tested for estradiol or any related hormone.

The question we ought to be asking is not why Europe won’t buy our hormone- treated cattle to be sold to American and Canadian consumers. Untreated meat is currently hard to find and expensive; if it were widely produced and available, the price would come down. At the least, meat produced from hormonetreated animals should be explicitly labeled.

These hormones are linked ever more closely to the escalating incidence of reproductive cancers in the U.S. since 1950-55% for breast cancer, 120% for prostate cancer. The endocrine-disruptive effects of estrogenic pesticides and other industrial food contaminants known as xenoestrogens are now under intensive investigation by federal regulatory and health agencies. But the contamination of meat with residues of the far-more-potent estradiol remains ignored.

The world trade judges ought to listen to one of the top FDA officials involved in meat safety, David Livingston. In Orville Schell’s 1984 book titled,” Modern Meat”, he exposes the meat industry. Livingston is quoted as saying, “Well, if you’re going to have enough inexpensive meat for everyone, you’re going to have to use some of these drugs. But personally, I’d rather eat meat that was raised without them.” In other words, what’s good enough for the rest of us is not something he wants to eat.

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What Are Food Allergies?

One man’s food is another man’s poison. This is especially true of food allergy or sensitivity. Food allergy or sensitivity is one of the most confusing and frustrating causes of illness. The symptoms it produces are so different from one person to another.

Allergies tend to run in families. If one parent is allergic, their children have a fifty- percent chance of developing food allergies. If both parents have allergies, a child has a 75% probability of having food allergies.

But what is an allergy? It is an abnormal reaction to a generally harmless substance, which occurs, in a predisposed person. It is caused by an antigen (allergen) or substance, which produces an allergic reaction. When a person with an allergy is exposed to an allergen the body responds by producing antibodies. In order for an allergic reaction to occur, the body must produce enough antibodies. An allergic reaction results in the release of histamine and other chemicals causing the various allergic symptoms. The same allergen may produce diverse symptoms in different people. For example, a milk allergy may produce constipation, nasal congestion, in another, diarrhea, in another, headache and yet in another abdominal bloating and gas. Even in the same individual the reactions may vary greatly from time to time.

Some allergies depend on the amount of exposure to a food, beverage, inhalant or chemical. In addition to the amount of the offending food or substance if an inhalant allergen is also extremely high, the total load on the body is increased. Due to the increased total load, many times the body is less capable of handling the other offending food. For example, if you have a wheat allergy and you rotate your diet so you are only eating wheat in any form every four to five days, you may not have any reaction to it. But if you eat a wheat bran muffin for breakfast, whole wheat sandwich with chicken noodle soup for lunch and lasagna/ stuffy nose, hay fever, sinus problems, excessive mucus formation, headache.

Symptoms of Food Allergy:

Mental & Emotions: Mood swings, anxiety, fear, anger, nervousness, irritability, aggressive behavior, depression, hyperactivity, panic attacks, listlessness, confusion, stuttering, poor memory/ concentration, lethargy, speech problems and learning disorders, “binge” eating or drinking, food cravings.

Throat & Mouth: Coughing, sore throat, hoarseness, swelling/pain, sores on for dinner, you may cause a whooping reaction. Recall that most noodles and pastas are made with flour which comes from wheat.

Digestion: Belching, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, cramps, heartburn, bloating, passing gas, feeling of fullness long after eating.

Activity & Energy: Fatigue, sluggishness, drowsiness, lethargy, lack of energy, apathy, hyperactivity, restlessness, agitation.

Eyes, Ears & Nose: Watery, itchy eyes, blurred vision (excluding vision disorders- far or near sightedness), ear infections, hearing loss, sneezing attacks, runnyongue, gums and lips, increased sinus drainage.

Heart & Lungs: Rapid heart beat or increase > 10-15 beats, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, congestion, asthma, bronchitis, difficulty in breathing.

Muscle & Joints: General weakness, muscle/joint aches and pains, arthritis, stiffness.

Skin: Hives rashes, dry skin, excessive sweating, acne, hair loss, and irritation around eyes.

Other: Excess weight, inability to lose weight, chronic fatigue, dizziness, water retention, insomnia, headaches, genital itch, frequent urination.

Note: Many health conditions may cause some of the above symptoms. Professionals’ medical evaluation is recommended to establish if causes other than food allergy sensitivities are the cause.

Surprisingly, the foods that you are allergic to are the foods that you crave, want and eat the most frequently. This type of allergy is called an addictive allergy. Most people with food allergies or addictions are completely unaware that this process is taking place in their body. If an addicted person misses a meal that would normally include the food to which is allergic, allergic-addictive withdrawal symptoms appear. In order not to experience the discomfort of a withdrawal reaction, a person will continue to eat the food to prevent withdrawal symptoms. There is a third type of allergy in which you have a fixed reaction to a food. Every time you eat it, you react no matter if the food is eaten with another food or if you only eat a small portion.

The five most common foods, which cause food sensitivities, are: eggs, wheat, corn, citrus (oranges) and milk. Other common foods include: peanuts, sugar, chocolate, tomatoes, chicken, beef, coffee, pork and soy.

If you suspect food allergies, keep a food diary and journal of how you feel. Note: any symptoms. If there is any pattern or if you are constantly craving or eating the same foods or food families.

Other methods to help you detect your food allergies include the ELISA food allergy panel (blood testing) and an elimination diet. Some allergy doctors use skin or scratch testing for foods. This method is only about twenty percent accurate. Some physicians do not believe that food can cause various symptoms, but they can.

Once your food allergies are determined, often the suspect foods need to be eliminated from your diet totally in any form for a month or two. Then the foods are slowly reintroduced one at a time. If you continue to get an allergic reaction, eliminate the food altogether. If you do not get a reaction, rotate the food so it is not eaten in any form except every fourth or fifth day. For example, if you drink milk on Sunday, you would not use any dairy products until Thursday or Friday of that week. This gives the body a chance to eliminate and prevent any build-up in your system.

Please beware some foods that do not cause a reaction alone, but may cause a reaction when combined. If you do get a food reaction, according to Doris Rapp, M.D., a good way to help reduce or stop a food reaction is by using Alka-Seltzer Gold Antacid Formula without aspirin (gold foil box) or Alka- Aid. Buffered Vitamin C or esterified Vitamin C in powdered form taken in water helps with a food reaction.

Keep in mind, a deficiency of magnesium causes the mast cells (cells which release histamine) to release more histamine. It is important to keep your level of magnesium up in the body.

The Hazards Of Drinking Coffee

The average American coffee drinker consumes about 3 cups a day. Most adults begin their day with a cup of coffee or tea. Even children get their morning buzz from a can of soda. And unfortunately, most of these beverages, especially coffee, contain caffeine.

Caffeine is a mind-altering drug- possibly the most popular drug in the world. Caffeine obtained from cola nuts, is the main ingredient in coffee, some teas, cocoa, and colas. In addition, more than 1,000 over-the-counter and several hundred prescription drugs contain caffeine. Humans have consumed and abused the use of caffeine for centuries- archaeologist have found evidence of caffeine consumption as early as 2700 BC.

Caffeine directly stimulates the central nervous system. It is absorbed rapidly from the stomach and small intestines and crosses the blood/brain barrier quite readily. (Maximum concentration in the blood occurs within 3o to 60 minutes.) This in turn effects the rest of the body.

Most researchers agree that caffeine can counteract slight changes in performance brought about by boredom, fatigue, or lack of sleep- for a period of time. Caffeine is a drug and, in most cases it acts like an amphetamine, pepping the system up temporarily, and then letting it down.

Caffeine effects most of the organs of the body – it constricts the blood vessels, speed up the heart, and stimulates the brains, stomach, kidneys, ovaries and testes.

Symptoms of excessive caffeine consumption include nervousness, headaches, restlessness, insomnia, nervous tremors, anxiety, heart palpitations, stomachaches, heartburn, diarrhea, frequent urination and depression.

A recent study also found that frequent consumption of cola drinks by children might impair brain and central nervous system development. Another study found that people, who drank as little as two cups of coffee per day, doubled their chances of contracting cancer of pancreas; three cups a day nearly tripled it. Cases of pancreatic cancer have nearly tripled in the past thirty years!

Studies have also linked caffeine consumption with increased heart attacks, cancer of the bladder and urinary tract, ulcers, and other diseases.

Even decaffeinated coffee has unhealthy side effects- most are usually treated with methylene chloride, a cancer-causing substance.

Withdrawal symptoms are common among those who try to quit. Common symptoms include headaches, drowsiness, an inability to concentrate, lethargy, nervousness, and depression. These symptoms can last for up to two weeks or more.

For those who want to kick the caffeine habit altogether, the herb Alfalfa Leaf may be of help. Alfalfa has been proven effective in cases of recuperative drug addiction.

Are You Grilling Salmonella For Your Guests?

Summer is the perfect time for a barbecue. Who can resist the smell of food cooking on the grill? Did you know that a barbecue could be hazardous to your health?

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an outbreak of Salmonella, a bacterium that causes food poisoning. Each year, approximately 40,000 salmonella- infection cases are reported. Because many milder cases are not diagnosed or disclosed, the CDC estimates that the actual number of infections may be twenty or more times greater. About 1,00 people die every year from salmonella poisoning.

Salmonella contamination often occurs in beef and poultry, especially when served during a barbecue when the weather’s warm. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy healthy outdoor eating:

Shopping for meat
If you’re buying a lot of groceries, make sure that you purchase meat and poultry last. Place packages of raw meat and poultry in plastic bags to prevent them from contaminating other food. When you get home, any meat or poultry that will not be used in a day or two should go immediately into the freezer.

Carrying food
If you’re going to take your food to another location to barbecue, keep it cold while traveling to prevent bacteria from growing. Immediately before leaving put the food into a cooler filled with ice or ice packs. Once you arrive at your destination, keep the cooler in a shady spot. Avoid opening the cooler lid too often so that it stays cold.

Cooking
Although some people prefer rare meat, all meat and poultry should be cooked thoroughly to destroy harmful bacteria. Use food thermometer to make sure that food has reached a safe internal temperature and be sure that your food thermometer touches the center of the meat, The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service advises cooking food to the following internal temperatures:

* Whole poultry 180 degrees
* Poultry breast 170 degrees
* Beef hamburger 160 degrees
* Ground poultry 165 degrees
* Beef, veal and lamb steaks, roast and chops 145 degrees
* All cuts of pork 160 degrees

Serving food
After you’ve handled raw meat or poultry, always thoroughly wash your hands before handling cooked meat. Dr. Bob Bogosian, president of Global Biotechnologies and renowned microbiologist and epidemiologist, advises, wash your hands often as you cook because your hands transfer 85% of all infectious organisms. When taking food off the grill, use clean platter and clean utensils to prevent a food-borne illness. Dr. Bogosian explains, washing and sanitizing items like cutting boards, knives and other food-prep surfaces prevents cross contamination with items that are not cooked, like salads. Don’t pour marinades used for raw meat over cooked food unless you boil it first to kill harmful bacteria.

Make sure your next summer barbecue is an enjoyable experience for your whole family. Take these simple precautions, then relax and enjoy dining alfresco!