Good news about the new Nutrition Facts label…

…added sugar is one of the stats listed now. Very cool. Looking forward to when the labels get on packages.

http://www.nationofchange.org/sweet-victory-1394036939

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Otagenki Report 2: Fit Expo 2014

I really was not expecting to enjoy myself so much at Fit Expo 2014, because Fit Expo 2013 was such a lame experience. I don’t know if the people who run the show read my piece on this blog, but this time it was a big difference.

It seems like a new, and very welcome IMHO trend is REAL FOOD. Yes, you now can get a fair choice of nutrition bars and other fitness goodies that have ingredients you know and can pronounce. The only food like that you could find last year was at the Ralphs booth, and from a small company that sends a box of organic produce to your house every month. Yes, the frankenfood peddlers were still there, as were some very questionable supplements, (Ephedra? Oh really?) but there were a lot more items that were labeled organic, and a lot more with identifiable ingredients.

Another difference was a lot more experiential stuff…a lot more exercises to try, and mini-classes. The exhibitions were more interesting too, including some amazing feats of strength by professional athletes and very well trained amateurs.

So yeah, here’s another Otagenki Report. This doesn’t have any commentary…my goal with the Otagenki Reports is to tell the story with footage, not with words. I want to create something universal, that’s understandable in any language. I’ve always loved video essays and photo essays, they’re a real art form, and narration sort of breaks the mood.

Sometimes you learn something unexpected.

MargarineVsButter
(click photo to enlarge)

Take a close look at this picture. On the left is a margarine tub. Canola Harvest. From a Canadian company based in Alberta. On the right is a tub of whipped butter, Challenge brand, from a California dairy. Read the ingredients. Read the calorie count. Read the amount of sodium. Now, whipped butter includes a fair amount of air whipped into it to make it more spreadable and give it more volume. I grew up on margarine instead of stick butter, so something spreadable in a tub is sort of personal preference.

So yeah…science is now saying that the move away from butter to margarine was not a good idea, and that the hydrogenation process used to make liquid oils solid made something far worse than saturated fat for our cardiovascular health. The Canola/Palm oil margarine on the left does not have hydrogenated oils in it, but it has way more sodium than the butter, and more calories when you compare the volume of margarine vs. the volume of whipped butter. Yes, if you go by weight, the margarine serving is heavier than the whipped butter. But our eyes see volume instead of weight, so ultimately the amount that fills a tablespoon is the same. That tablespoon’s worth of the whipped butter looks, to our eyes, like that tablespoon of margarine.

And where the difference really becomes clear is when you look at the ingredients list on the margarine vs. the butter. Butter: cream and salt. Margarine: a long list of substances that are hard to pronounce and go halfway down the package. And then there’s also the fact that the butter came from a dairy in California, and the margarine is from thousands upon thousands of miles away. Local food is better than non-local food for the Planet.

Moderation is key in all things. You don’t want to be eating out of that tub of whipped butter with a spoon. But the occasional bit of it on a potato or on a whole wheat English Muffin is fine. And probably better for you than those mystery ingredients in that tub of margarine.

Frankenfoods, Frankensupplements, and your liver.

Green Tea Fields, Japan

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/22/us/spike-in-harm-to-liver-is-tied-to-dietary-aids.html

I drink a fair amount of green tea nearly every day. I’ve been doing so for about a year, when I substituted homemade, unsweetened iced tea for my Pepsi MAX habit of 2-4 cans a day. I don’t do artificial sweeteners anymore, (with the occasional lapse or accidental consumption, mind you) and I keep nutritive sweeteners to a minimum. If I drink a sweetened beverage, chances are it’s sweetened with Stevia or Monkfruit extract, or a blend of both.

However, steeping tea in water is one thing, using chemicals to extract the maximum amount of catechins from green tea leaves, then concentrating that extract, is yet another. A glass of wine at dinner is pretty much a good thing, unless you are taking meds that specifically do not allow alcohol consumption. However, chugging a whole jug of red table wine is harmful, to say the least. A few cups of green tea, spread out over a morning and early afternoon, is fine. But taking large doses of diet supplements with green tea extract in it can screw up your liver even faster than alcohol abuse, apparently.

I strongly believe that the closer to nature food is, the better it is for you. You can’t always eat that way but the more fresh stuff you eat and the less processed stuff you eat, the better off you will be. Unfortunately, the Diet Industrial Complex and the Bodybuilding Industrial Complex is very successful in selling special food and special supplements to people trying to either lose weight or gain muscle. It’s a huge business, and last year I saw it in action, up close and personal.

Even if you don’t want to check out that link, I want you to take a look at this picture. Check out the hellbroth of chemicals in this supplement, and all the disclaimers. It’s scary stuff.

Holy Disclaimers, Batman!

Seriously, that’s a packet of “high performance fitness supplement” I was given at that event. Do you think anyone wades through all that verbiage before popping one or two in hopes they can get that leg up on weight loss or training? Of course not! We should not be surprised that doctors are seeing really scary side effects from these supplements and pseudo-meals. There’s also the way some people train that’s very dangerous…yes, I like Crossfit, but people take it to extremes and some people wind up coming down with Rhabdomyosis, which is a muscle wasting disease that actually can be brought about by insane overtraining.

The fact of the matter is this: health should be the goal of any fitness and/or eating regimen. If you are endangering your health in the chase after skinny or buff, you are missing the point completely.

The Reasons Poor People Might Not Eat Healthy

Poor people are being priced out of the real food market. This is why you see a lot of obese poor people.

Poor as Folk

I see  a lot of discussions regarding the topic of people living on food stamps/ poor people and “Why can’t they just eat right?” and talks about not letting people buy “junk food” with SNAP.  There are a lot of things your average American who has never lived in poverty don’t consider. People largely seem unaware of obstacles that face poor people when it comes to food or…well…anything at all. They’re failing to grasp that just getting enough food period is a challenge , let alone healthy food.  I’ve had to become a very forgiving person when I see certain remarks but it’s become easier since I’ve made this connection that people who say these things are speaking from a place of privilege and  ignorance and really don’t understand the complexities of food scarcity in the US.

Here are 5 reasons good food is hard to find for poor people sometimes.

1. FOOD DESERTS –…

View original post 1,515 more words

An apple a day…or maybe 5…

I love this little animated piece…

It points up one of the worst problems in US farm policy: corn and soy, prime ingredients in junk food, are heavily subsidized by the USDA. However, the food we really need to eat more of to be healthy, fruits and veggies, are not subsidized and often there are roadblocks put in the way for farmers who want to grow them. We need to change farm policy — and the SNAP program — to emphasize fruits and veggies, and de-emphasize King Corn and Queen Soy. Especially the GMO versions of same.

Eating clean shouldn’t be more expensive than eating dirty.

Applying SCIENCE to the problem.

SCIENCE! What causes obesity…is it a simple matter of calories in, calories out, or is it what we eat rather than how much we eat?

Scientists are finally going to do some serious study on the matter. I am looking forward to what comes of this experiment. However, don’t hold your breath waiting for it…the study is estimated to finish in 5 years.

Read about it here:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-makes-you-fat-too-many-calories-or-the-wrong-carbohydrates