The Gluttonous Dark Side: America’s New Bacon Obsession?

Being the starving student that I am, sometimes I find that my hunger can be satiated (repressed) by looking at delicious food porn via the internet (come on I know all of you do it). But recently on my food gawking escapades, I have noticed a trend that is taking place in our glorious country; Bacon worship. It seems like a good portion of food sites are devoted solely to bacon, claiming that it is nothing less than a food from the gods. What’s going on?

sickburger

Websites like Thisiswhyyourefat.com or Baconbaconbacon.tumblr.com are devoted to paying homage to the most fattening, bacon laden foods in that I have ever seen, including Bacon Ice Cream, Bacon wrapped hot dogs, chocolate covered bacon, and Bacon caramel. Yes, CARAMEL.

Our country seems to be on the brink of a gastronomical breakdown, split between love for organic, wholesome foods and the antithetic love for the most fattening and gluttonous foods around. Perhaps people have become tired of the organic craze, missing our country’s culinary roots of high cholesterol, high carbon, high calorie ‘delights’.

Restaurants all over the country are banking off this obsession with gluttony. The Heart Attack Grill in Arizona has lured press by making every single one of their items as caloric and disgusting as possible. Not only are the burger buns slathered in lard, but also are the burgers, and fries (fried in lard). The restaurant’s theme is hospital theme, claiming that the food is so good it’s “worth dying for”. Really? Is this the kind of road we need to be taking folks?

Granted, I see why it is easy to become annoyed with all the rich yuppies that are obsessed with shopping ONLY at Whole Foods for organic fare, but what we forget is that eating organic, if you grow it yourself or buy from local farms, is actually cheaper than doing your shopping at commercial stores and going out to eat.

No need to rebel against our organic friends by doing an unhealthy 180 to heart failure. Come on folks, Bacon worship? Is this something to be proud of?!

Advertisements

Swine Flu Follow-up: The Media’s Melodrama..

The previous entry about Swine Flu was written as an attempt to ease the fear that is being perpetuated by the media about this whole situation. Words like “STAGE 5 ALERT LEVEL” and “PANDEMIC” and “DEATH” are swirling around like mad, but the problem really isn’t as severe as the media is portraying it to be..

Let’s put things into perspective.. Every year, about 36000 Americans die as a consequence of human seasonal influenza. Thus far, of the 286 reported cases of swine flu in the U.S., ONE person has died. To realize the true severity of the situation, we just have to compare the numbers.

There has been a decline of cases in Mexico, allowing them to re-open hotels and restaurants and hopefully salvage their absolutely destroyed tourism.

Although a total of 1,025 cases have been reported in 20 countries thus far, the pandemic is in a stage of decline….

Yes, it may seem ridiculous to bypass this problem as a superfluous issue, but like everything else, the media is quite the fearmonger in this situation…

To see the article that inspired my critical analysis: Click Here Gotta love the BBC

What do you think??

Swine Flu: It’s What’s for Dinner!

Swine flu, the new trend in animal to human transmitted viruses, is becoming a world-wide pandemic.Some really scary statistics are out there for current reported cases in the United States, amongst other countries including: Mexico, New Zealand and Israel. So what exactly is swine flu, how can you catch it, and should you spit that half-chewed porkchop out of your mouth before you get sick?

HA!
HA!

Current statistics from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) report cases of Swine flu rising up all around the country. Including 10 cases in California, 2 in Kansas, 45 in NYC, 1 in Ohio, and 6 in Texas.

Due to the current spike in reported cases in the US and around the world, the World Health Organization has elevated the pandemic alert to a level 4, only two levels below a full-scale pandemic. The WHO characterizes this kind of alert level with “person-to-person spread of a new influenza virus able to cause “community-level” outbreaks”.

After testing some of the individuals confirmed to have the virus, it was learned that at least 8 of the cases matched the same strain of the virus that reportedly killed 68 people in Mexico (though thousands in Mexico have become ill). These findings caused the WHO to issue travel warnings for Mexico… which I am sure doesn’t do much to their already failing tourist market…drug trade and now pig flu?! Great.

Some FAQ:

What is Swine Flu?

  • Swine flu is an influenza virus found in pigs. It is characterized by respiratory disease and low death rate (in pigs.)
  • The virus, like human influenza, is notorious for rapid mutation.

How do humans contract the virus?

  • Close contact to Republicans who love farm animals…. (haha just kidding)
  • The virus is transmitted to humans who have direct contact with pigs.
  • The virus is contagious during the first 1-7 days before symptoms appear.

How do I avoid getting it?

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Sleep enough
  • Eat healthily
  • Manage your stress level

Is Swine Flu going to kill me?

  • Probably not, however; the virus varies in its level of severity from mild to severe. Between 2005-2009, 12 US cases were reported with no casualties… but in 1976 an outbreak of swine flu in Fort Dix, New Jersey killed off over 200 people… Just depends on the strength of the virus at the particular time.
  • In the past, swine flu was tied to severe pneumonia and respiratory problems, sometimes resulting in death.

What are the Symptoms of Swine Flu?

  • Common to human seasonal flu: body aches, fever, nausea, respiratory difficulties, lethargy, lack of appetite
  • In children, be wary of bluish skin color, irritability, and not drinking enough liquids

I have a bacon addiction, does this mean I can’t eat pork anymore?

  • No. Swine Flu cannot be transmitted by eating pork… as long as it is cooked. Like any other bacteria, the heat of cooking kills off the danger of contracting the virus.

So let’s say I have Swine Flu.. Can it be treated or am I going to get sent to a pig colony?

  • Yes, certain vaccinations can treat swine flu, including: Oseltamivir and Zanamivir.
  • Unfortunately, being vaccinated for the human seasonal flu will not protect you from getting swine flu.
  • Because this virus rapidly mutates, it is difficult to say whether or not these vaccinations will always be effective.

The bottom line? After all this talk about swine flu, I felt like there needed to be some real clarification on the issue. Yes it is becoming a pandemic problem, but there are ways to avoid and treat the problem. I was sitting in the library the other day and someone actually said that if you get Swine Flu, you’re also likely to have AIDS…. seriously? Ignorance isn’t always bliss folks

😉

To get an Up-to-date review of the international cases of swine flu…click here

Mad Cow’s Disease and the Capitalist Agenda

Canada, as one of our largest import countries for cattle, allows American corporations to pay less for cattle of relatively the same quality as the average American heifer….the difference? Feed regulations for Canadian cattle are much more lenient and have been statistically shown to have high amounts of contaminants that cause Mad Cow’s Disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy)

Eat With Caution
Eat With Caution

 

Although Cattle are naturally herbivores, capitalist demands create the motivation to get these animals as fat as possible in the shortest amount of time. How is this done? By putting scrap beef and bone particles (also known as prohibited material) into their feed. That’s right, the North American cow is not only being forced into a carnivorous lifestyle, but they are also CANABALIZING THEIR BRETHEREN! And when cows eat other cows, they get mad (well, biologically speaking), and sick, yet for some reason we are still eating this stuff

The implementation of a “Feed Ban” limits corporations’ use of animal proteins in cattle feed, however the level  of regulation for these feed bans is sub par. In 1997, Canada passed a Feed Ban law, limiting the amount of animal proteins in feed, however the Enhanced Feed Ban law (which would prohibit ANY use of animal protein in feed) is having a hard time getting through the legislation process.

According to an article from The Cattle Network:

The current U.S. feed ban – which is weaker than the feed ban initially implemented in Canada and found to be insufficient to halt the spread of Canada’s level of BSE infectivity – is likewise inadequate to prevent the amplification and spread of BSE that USDA has forecast to be continually introduced into the U.S. from Canadian cattle.”

How many people have to get sick before these self-interested corporations shape up their act? Allowing high-risk cattle to be imported from Canada and subsequently distributed to consumers is downright irresponsible. I don’t eat red meat, so I don’t really face this issue, but this is just another example of why you must always be cautious of what you eat.

Just because it has a USDA grade A stamp on it, does not mean it is free of disease-causing pathogens. and on TOP of all this, even though we KNOW that much of our high-risk meat is coming in from Canada, our import of Canadian cattle increased 7.31% since last year! Despite all it knows about the imminent danger of this situation, the FDA is still delaying the pass of an Enhanced Feed Ban in America. Why? Money matters I might infer…..

 

The primary goal should be lowering the risk of Mad Cow’s Disease, because nothing costs more than a law suit. If you’re going to be a big shot businessman, best start thinking like one eh?

 

 

 

Rocket Fuel in Our Water: Perchlorate Tastes Great!

Though the government isn’t raring to publicize this issue, the drinking water of over 20 million Americans is contaminated with Perchlorate, the main active ingredient in rocket fuel. Thank you Cold War.

Do missles make you thirsty? If not, you might want to be wary the next time you take a sip of water from the tap. Reading over some of the statistics, it’s seriously alarming how much of this contaminent is actually consumed around the country. In Los Angeles alone, almost 10 million of us are drinking water that is contaminated with Perchlorate.

Based on a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, it was found that at least 43 states contain groundwater and soil that are contaminated. Below is a map of Perchlorate production and contamination sites around the country.

American Perchlorate Production and Contamination Sites
American Perchlorate Production and Contamination Sites. The Brown area is where Perchlorate is produced, and the red dots are known contamination sites.

Alright so what’s the big deal? We drink mineral water that has chemicals in it, so what could possibly be so bad about Perchlorate? HA!

  • Main negative health effect is on the thyroid gland: responsible for controlling growth, development, and metabolism. Abnormal thyroid can lead to fatigue, depression, anxiety, hair loss, weight gain, and worst of all loss of libido!!!!!
  • Hormone imbalances in fetuses and small children–> mental retardation, problems with speech, motor skill deficits, and problems with sexual development.

As if you weren’t disgusted/alarmed enough… Traces of this rocket fuel were found in several powdered baby formulas (see article) around the country. But don’t worry, that’s why they put iodine in formula mix, as this is supposed to counteract the rocket fuel…Perhaps I’m a bit obtuse, but wouldn’t it make sense to just NOT include ROCKET FUEL as a trace ingredient in BABY FORMULA?! ahhhh!

So basically, If you are drinking water, or are mixing up your baby formula (that already might be contaminated with Perchlorate) with contaminated water (thus giving your baby a double dose of rocket fuel) you could be putting yourself and children at some serious health risks.

BUT not to fear, there IS something you can do. As we DO live in some form of democracy, though the status of that I sometimes question, there is currently a petition to California Senator Barbara Boxer and Chairman Waxman to bring action to stop this ridiculous problem.

For more information, please visit: http://www.ewg.org/reports/rocketwater

Click the link and sign the petition, unless of course you like your daily dose of cancer and thyroid disease with your morning coffee ;0)

Bill HR 875: The Patriot Act of Food


While it may seem that my arguement below is skewed to the left and based simply upon liberalist banter, I must stress that my conclusions are based off of what I read in the actual text of the Bill.

To be more specific, I suggest you read over the following sections:

  • Section 201: Administration of National Program
  • Section 401: Prohibited Acts
  • Section 403: Notification and Recall
  • Section 405: Civil and Criminal Penalties
  • Section 506: Regulations

In my humble opinion, after reading over this bill, the establishment of Food Safety Administration seems like a small death to civil liberties. The administrationwill have the power to determine what food passes regulation standards based on very broad (and some arbitrary) guidelines left up to the determination of the the ADMINISTRATOR (dun dun dunnnnnnnnn)

The motivation behind this bill is to keep our food safe and out of the hands of contamination and bioterrorists. Though (if passed) this might prevent the occasional tomato and peanut scare, it seems like more wasted funding for another one of our government’s anti-terrorist moves that will do nothing more than infringe on our rights as citizens.

Anyone remember the Patriot Act? Well, more than anything else this seems like the beginning of government intervention into multiple realms of domestic life, a change none of us were hoping for.

Obama, you might want to get your wife’s organic garden at the White House approved. Those veggies could be lethal.

No Cooking Necessary: The Raw-Food Revolution

Fad diet or healthy lifestyle change? The Raw Diet has created a new relationship with the food we eat; Americans should love going raw because it allows the convenience of not having to cook at all. But what is the raw deal?

Being that I’m in San Francisco for the week, I thought it would be appropriate to write about one of the diet trends that continues to sweep this city. The Raw Diet.

This is an entirely different echelon of Veganism folks. Like regular vegans, raw eaters do not eat meat or dairy products; however, the raw diet takes things above and beyond by requiring everything come from unprocessed and processed plant foods (beans, nuts, fruit, veg, grain, etc.)To go along with the ‘raw’ theme, raw eaters do not prepare their foods with temperatures exceeding 116F. Why? This seems like quite the arbitrary restriction.

According to raw eaters, cooking food diminishes its nutritional value 10 fold as valuable enzymes are destroyed with high temperatures; enzymes that assist in the digestion/absorption of food.  Essentially, sucking the life out of the ‘life-food’. I guess it would make sense why most people with a Western diet are victims of various dietary and digestive issues…are we cooking the ‘hell-th’ out of the foods we eat?

Health Benefits of the Raw Diet:

  • ^ Energy
  • ^ Radiant Skin
  • Weight Loss
  • Decrease in embarrassing digestive problems
  • Reduced risk of heart disease (the raw diet is significantly lower in saturated fat than the regular Western Diet.

Also, eating raw doesn’t necessarily you are restricted to eating the most boring foods of all time. Not only can you purchase interesting and delicious heirloom fruits/veg at your local farmers market (*nudge, nudge*) but restaurants all over California are coming out with new and interesting raw menus to cater to this growing new gastronomy. Raw food can be gourmet? Fo’ Realz?!

Life Food Gourmet "burger"
Life Food Gourmet "burger"

This is a raw ‘burger’ made to look like your greasy mystery meat patty.  Instead of the fat and health problems, the raw burger is made out of beans and grains, providing the hearty meat taste with a healthy twist. No reason to fear fruits and vegetables anymore, they can be prepared in more ways than simply lifeless on a plate.

Granted there are many benefits to the Raw Diet, it is a difficult one to maintain. If you are thinking about beginning the journey to raw-ify your life, make sure to consult a doctor and make the transition slowly…you don’t want to shock your body into submission. But I promise in the end your intestines and colon will thank you 😉

The diet is also what we would consider a low-carbon diet due to its lack of meat, dairy, and foods that require serious processing. The only carbon producing part of this dietary equation comes from the methane gas produced by…you after a feeding frenzy on beans and raw vegetables (you might want to date other raw eaters so at least this becomes a mutual understanding).

So the answer to my original question?

-The Raw diet might seem like a passing fad soon to join the diet graveyard of past-Hollywood ‘miracle’ diets, but a raw eater would beg to differ. According to the movement (yes, I’ll call it a movement) eating raw is simply a means to reconnect with the ways that humans ate in the beginning of time, when diets consisted mostly of fruits and vegetables with very minimal cooking. Evolution proved this one to be a success folks 😉

Here’s a recipe to start your raw life off right. Thanks to The Daily Raw Cafe Blog

Strawberry Panna Cotta with Blackberry Compote (aka YUMMMM)

Strawberry Panna Cotta with Blackberry Compote
Strawberry Panna Cotta with Blackberry Compote

Blackberry Compote

6 oz blackberries
2 T agave nectar
1/8 t sea salt

Marinate blackberries in agave nectar and sea salt in the refrigerator for two hours (overnight is best).

Place two 4-inch springform pan (without the bottoms) in the freezer on top of saucer plates or dessert plates. Chill for an hour.

Strawberry Panna Cotta

1 c strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 t sea salt

Marinate strawberries in lemon juice and sea salt for an hour.

2 c cashews, soaked for an hour
1/4 c water
3 T agave nectar
1 t ground flax seeds

Blend cashews, flax seeds, agave nectar adding water one tablespoon at a time until cashews are blended well. Add strawberries and remaining water until very smooth and firm

Pour mixture into chilled 4-inch springform pan. Chill in freezer for 2 hours to set.

Carefully remove molds from panna cottas. Leave it on the saucer plates and put in the refrigerator overnight. Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes to soften slightly. Serve panna cottas with compote.

Alright folks, back to my San Franciscan getaway, hummus and Birkenstocks anyone?