HEALTHY FOOD BUYER’S GUIDE-How NOT to be poisoned by Big Food.
Posted Jun 26 2009 7:09pm
How to Shop for:
The marketing wizards are hard at work trying to think up catch phrases and misleading labeling. The chemists are working just as hard to contaminate your food in an effort to make it last longer, look more appealing and make you fat and sick. Big Business winks while the government nods.
Below are helpful hints to assist you in seeing past the public relations denials, the marketing shenanigans and the outright lack of concern for the consumer.
It is strongly recommend that you buy meat, poultry and fish that has been raised and harvested from their natural environment. Livestock, chickens and fish that have been force fed grain and other processed product are being fed a diet that is unnatural to them. Processed grain may (a very high probability) contain genetically modified organisms(GMO) which has been strongly linked with a list of health problems, including organ defects, sterility, allergies, immune deficiencies, intestinal damage and many other chronic and debilitating ailments. GM feed has been saturated with toxic pesticides which are consumed by the animals and fester in their tissues. Big Business is applying massive pressure on the government to allow only a vague and ambiguous listing of GMO use. Big Business is also pushing the government to allow irradiated produce to be sold without a marking stating the fruit or vegetable was subjected to radiation.
The suggestions below come with a price. The better care in the raising and growing of your food, the higher the cost to the farmer and to the consumer. We justify these costs by knowing the good we are doing for ourselves. Carefully analyze your budget and decide what choices you can make.
Chickens must be free of growth hormones and antibiotics. They must be allowed to roam freely. Their diet should be living grass, grubs and insects that they catch on their own. A chicken raised in this natural environment will weigh about five pounds when ready for sale. Compare this with a chicken from an industrial farm that can weigh twice this or more because they were force fed grain and injected with growth hormones.
Beware of the “All Vegetarian Diet” label. This is a marketing manipulation. While the feed may be vegetarian, there’s a good chance it’s genetically modified grain that can be force fed.
Farmed fish should be avoided. These fish are smashed together in underwater cages where they swim among a murky stew of their own and other fish’s excrements. They are fed processed products that are not suitable for their natural diet. Unfortunately, fish that swim feely in their natural environment of rivers, lakes and oceans are subject to high levels of mercury poisoning due to the illegal dumping of toxic waste. If you do eat fish, the best option is to catch it yourself and either cook that day or freeze immediately. We realize that this is not practical for most, but if it is an option, it should be taken. The next best option is to buy directly at the docks from a fisherman as his boat comes in. Again, not practical for most, but if it’s at all viable, this is a great way to buy fish. Fish from a Farmer’s Market is a decent option as the fish has been locally caught. Fish from a supermarket can be farmed fish, caught anywhere in the world and flash frozen and transported and thawed. Fish in a supermarket may also be a new breed of genetically engineered fish. Beware of fillets, identical in shape and size lined up together on ice. Look for fish with clear, bright eyes, vibrant red gills and NO OFFENSIVE SMELL.
Lamb is best purchased in the spring and directly from a farm. Research the farms in your area and perhaps you can take it as far as visiting the farm and picking out the lamb of your choice before it’s slaughtered. Look for lamb that was raised on open pasture and allowed to eat a natural diet of grass. No growth hormones, antibiotics or preservatives. Though New Zealand is said to have wonderful lamb, the concern is the transportation process. It may leave New Zealand frozen but may during transit become thawed then refrozen. It’s about as far from local as you can get. Unless you live in New Zealand.
The Mediterranean Culture prizes lamb as a holiday meal. Often a special lamb is bought when a baby is born into a family. Slow roasting lamb on a spit for Easter is about as Greco-Roman as one could get.
Goat meat is becoming very popular. It is low in fat and high in an abundance of nutrients. Goat meat is best bought at a farm where you can see the environment where they were raised. Goats must be allowed to graze freely, preferably on rocky, craggy land, which helps them stay lean and muscular. Goats should eat a diet of only their mother’s milk and pasture grass. Buying from a specialty butcher is an option, but the raising practices will be difficult to verify.
After WWII, cows were fed corn for the first time. Not coincidentally, this is the beginning of the obesity age.
Cows can’t digest corn so the bulk of it remains with them and festers. Add in the fact that today’s grain is genetically modified and grain-fed cows are bloated, unhealthy animals that are housed tightly together in pens.
There is a very healthy alternative. Pasture raised, grass fed cows. Cows that are allowed to eat grass from the ground all day long. Cows that are allowed to walk (however slowly) throughout the pastures. Leaner, healthier cows that become lean healthy beef. A naturally raised cow, free from growth hormones and antibiotics is ready for slaughter in four or five years. A cow from an industrial farm, pumped up and artificially fed, is ready to go to slaughter in 15 months. Again, be wary of the “all-vegetarian diet” label. It’s bait waiting for you to bite.
Pigs must be allowed to roam free on their farm’s fields and woods, allowing them to eat their natural diet of plants, insects and grubs. This allows them to grow and mature as nature intended with the perfect balance of muscle and fat. Pork sold by large industrial producers are not allowed to move freely and are force fed a concocted feed that rapidly fattens them, bringing them quickly to slaughter and supermarket. These products are doused in preservatives, including nitrates and artificial food colorings. Pork should only be bought from a Pig Farm or from a Farmer’s Market.
The gold standard is First Cold Pressed, 100% Extra Virgin.
Everything else is a mix and blend not only of olive oil, but other oils that costs producers less. Be on the alert for clever labeling that rearranges the wording.
And of course it should only be from Italy or Greece!
Leafy greens should have firmness and crispness to them and shouldn’t flop over when held up. Vegetables that are a pale version of their traditional color have been picked too soon (for long transport) and will lack taste and have not yet reached their peak level of nutrients. Vegetables that lack a pleasant smell have been doused and in chemicals.
Most supermarket fruits have been picked well before they are near ripeness. Unless it is a verifiable local special, you are getting an inferior product when you buy fruit in a supermarket. Unless organic, it’s laced with pesticides, its nutrients have been neutered and its taste destroyed.
Want to have a delicious Georgia peach? Go to Georgia and pick one off a tree.
BEWARE Supermarkets use special lighting in the produce section to make fruits and vegetables appear more appetizing. That’s why a tomato that is beautifully red in the supermarket is mysteriously pale pink when you get home. A mystery no more.
It’s unfortunate, to say the least, that these tricks are being played on us. It’s outright deception at times, let the buyer beware at others. Buying from the farm is your best chance at getting real food that is delicious, nutritious and safe. Buying from a supermarket is bland, nutrient-compromised and laced with chemicals.
Ray Salomone Personal Trainer and Wellness Activist