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FEED YOUR CELLS
1. Vegetarian Sources of Omega-3s
2. Are Sprouts Safe To Eat?
3. How Safe is Soya? Debunking the Two Biggest Soya Myths
4. Can Soya Prevent Colon Cancer?
5. Wheatgrass Juice
Vegetarian Sources of Omega-3s
We all need essential fatty acids, including omega-3 fatty acids to feed our brain cells and decrease the risk of memory-failure as well as heart disease, inflammatory conditions, cancer and other health concerns. Everyone hears that oily fish are a source of omega-3s, but those oils are often rancid and unpleasant tasting. Besides that we all know fish can contain harmful contaminants like mercury, and not everyone is willing to eat fish. So here are some excellent, pleasant-tasting, vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids that anyone can take.
1. Walnuts. A good vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts have protective fats that promote cardiovascular health and tone down inflammation, and contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant compound that helps support a healthy immune system.
2. Flaxseed. Freshly ground flaxseed contains both omega-3s and soluble fibre. Grind 1 to 2 tablespoons of flaxseed daily in a Personal Blender or other seed mill and add to smoothies or sprinkle on salads or cereals.
3. Flaxseed oil omega-3 supplement. Available in liquid or capsule forms, flax seed oil helps to reduce blood pressure, nourish the nervous system, and alleviate mild to moderate depression.
Are Sprouts Safe to Eat?
By Steve Meyerowitz, Sproutman®
Sprouts have been in the news lately. Unfortunately bad news travels faster than good news and even if the bad news turns out as inaccurate, the damage done may be impossible to repair. Presently, no less than two politicians have resigned from office after making headline news about scandals. In both cases, the accusations of their guilt have done sufficient damage to end their careers regardless of whether or not they are ultimately exonerated.
Right up front I’ll tell you that looking at the statistics relative to other foods sprouts are very safe and that I think they are taking the heat for what is a universal food industry problem. Whether it is E. coli or salmonella, sprouts are an easy target. As an industry, it is economically small and weak. Sadly, the sprout industry has never been organized well enough to speak out in its own defence. So consumers like you don’t get to hear the other side of the story and the bad news just sticks.
Sprouts make the news for a few reasons: First, they’re a health food and it is a sensational news story when a “health food” makes people sick. Second, they are a raw food, so sprouts don’t kill bacteria as you do when you poach an egg or barbeque a burger. Third, the warmth and moisture needed for germination is also a good environment for propagating bacteria.
That being said, E. coli is not a sprout problem any more than it is a tomato, spinach, or lettuce problem. Same thing for salmonella. The source of these bacteria is the intestines of a cow or a chicken. It is manure that infects food and no food is immune to contamination. Dried particles of cow manure can drift onto vegetables by riding the dust from the ranch up the road. Since 100,000 E. coli can fit on the head of a pin, it doesn’t take much to contaminate your crop. It can get on your shoes or clothes and then the worker becomes the carrier. If it gets into the water and the water washes produce, then that food becomes the vehicle. So when people get poisoned, who is to blame? Should we blame the sprouts? The cucumbers? The farmers? The cows? This is a complex problem.
Food Poisoning Is Serious Business
I don’t want for a second to forget that thousands of people have been sickened or the dozens killed by food poisoning. Truly, no farmer of sprouts, produce, or beef wants the result of their hard work to harm anyone. Sprouts are in a unique position because the very things that makes them healthy—their raw, bio-active state and the miracle of germination—are also the factors that make them susceptible to transporting microbes.
No one wants to cook green sprouts for the same reason we don’t want to cook our lettuce or cucumbers. We already have enough processed, canned, microwaved, fried, and irradiated foods in our society. Our high rates of obesity and diabetes are testifying loudly that we need to eat more raw, natural foods for optimum health. Even the U.S. National Cancer Institute recommends five portions of raw fruit or vegetables daily as part of their cancer prevention diet. For our health’s sake, we need to be able to consume fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods in their vital state.
Should you be worried when you harvest those greens from your backyard garden? Could an animal have contaminated them? When you eat out in a restaurant, have the workers practiced good hygiene that day? There are risks inherent in eating natural foods. But would you prefer to only eat cooked and canned? Irradiated or pasteurized? We’ve had this scare before with raw milk and unpasteurized (raw) apple cider. Now those foods—which your grandparents grew up with—have been outlawed.
Could It Be on the Seeds?
Seeds are a possible avenue of contamination for sprouts and any other type of seeds, nuts, and grains. Droppings or particles of manure can contaminate seed during harvesting. Last week I received a recall request for sesame seeds that I had purchased for personal use. They were just for eating, not sprouting. But the distributor contacted us and required me to dispose of them. And perhaps you have noticed that raw tahini is no longer available for purchase. (Tahini is made from sesame seeds.) Since sprouts are a form of seed intensive gardening, the sprout industry has focused on testing and retesting its seeds. Although I am not a commercial grower, I do have a line of organic sprouting seeds. Most of the time, my focus is on getting the best growth qualities. I select my seeds for such factors as no mould, best germination, fastest rate of growth, tallest, greenest, best taste. I want you to have a delicious and bountiful growing experience.
But I also check for the invisible. First the farmer provides a certificate of analysis (in most cases) in which he guarantees that the seed was tested for pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella. But I rarely buy direct from the farmer. I mostly buy from seed warehouses. The warehouses also test their seed. (Test number two.) They poke a test tube into every bag and merge all the samples together. The lab tests the seeds for a variety of pathogens, and issues a certificate. Until this certificate is issued, those seeds are quarantined. As soon as they can be sold, professional sprout growers test a third time. They test the rinse water from the growing sprouts and hold their product from release to the public until the lab results on that batch return clean. If the seeds were uniformly contaminated, there is a 99% chance it would show up on one of these 3 tests. There is no such thing as 100% in microbiology.
Commercial sprout growers follow strict sanitary procedures much like silicone chip manufacturers. They wear hairnets, booties, gloves, and follow lots of sanitary rules above and beyond the simple washing of hands. But this is a small industry with many players who unfortunately do not all follow the rules. The organic sprout farm in Saxony (
Implication Vs. Verification
Governments have a responsibility to keep food safe and safety regulators have a tough job. They need to identify the source of the contaminated food, which means tracing invisible bacteria. In order to minimize the damage, they need to identify the contaminated food quickly and stop people from eating it. That’s not easy. Through the course of interviews, they attempt to isolate the foods eaten by the sickened consumers. If they can find a thread connecting the same food in those interviews, then that food becomes suspect. Often this is enough evidence, but not always. It is by no means a perfect system. But lives are at stake so they need to move fast, and sometimes they just have to go with their best guess based on these interviews. But regulators have also gotten it wrong.
In the case of German E. coli outbreak, at first they thought it was the Spanish cucumbers. Then they thought it was the tomatoes. Then they implicated the farm in lower
This was the case in 1996 in
What Is the Sprout Industry Doing to Protect You
The commercial sprout growers trade association (ISGA) www.isga-sprouts.org is too small to regulate all sprout growers. Their active members take food safety very seriously and follow strict sanitary handling procedures and the lab testing of both the seed and grown sprouts. The ISGA has recently developed a sprout-specific safety protocol in conjunction with the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST). But there are hundreds of commercial growers who are not members of the trade association (including the farm in
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recommended sprout growers use a heavy dose of bleach to kill pathogens. But most growers are reluctant to follow that because it is hazardous both to employees and the environment. Its effectiveness is also a question. Pathogens can hide out in the crevices where fluids like bleach and water barely penetrate. There are several promising alternative measures such as pasteurizing seeds briefly at temperatures under 200°F. show promise. And home growers often ask about disinfecting seeds with hydrogen peroxide or grapefruit seed extract. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough data to evaluate their effectiveness. Personally, I have seen their misuse ruin too many crops. Again, I think growing the sprouts and testing the rinse water is one of the most reliable tests we have.
Meat and Irradiation
The meat industry would like nothing better than to keep the focus on sprouts. Remember, it is manure that is the root of this contamination. The virulent Shiga strain of E. coli O104 in
The Big Picture
Here’s the bigger picture. According to the
Sure, sprouts can be carriers of pathogens. But rather than blaming them by default, the emphasis should be on preventing contamination of plant foods by manure. In this regard, the first step ought to be regulating the overuse of antibiotics in concentrated animal feeding operations.
Then, we ought to redesign our broad distribution of food from central, high-volume facilities that co-mingle products from many different places. This allows a single source of contamination to spread quickly to a lot of people. Smaller-scale production, on the other hand, has an intrinsically lower-risk. And by the way, sprouts are among the most locally produced foods we have.
If we don’t start working smarter in our struggle against food poisoning, then sprouts won’t be the only casualty. Next will come the push to irradiate all fresh foods. This will definitely be a disincentive for small startup food businesses and ultimately could result in higher prices and reduced availability of healthier fresh and natural foods. Let’s hope government regulators can demonstrate sanity and sound policy. It is your food choices we’re talking about so please make your voices heard wherever you can.
P.S. If you want to help the tiny sprout industry defend itself in the press, please visit www.isga-sprouts.org/contributiongen.htm and give whatever you can.
Copyright ©2011 by Steve Meyerowitz
How Safe is Soya? Debunking the Two Biggest Soya Myths
by Rudy Hadisentosa, Veggie123
As the popularity of soya milk, tofu and other soya products grows, so does the inevitable backlash of claims that it's somehow unhealthy. Some of it is dairy industry propaganda, but there are also avid anti-soya activists out there saying that soya is dangerous, and can lead to osteoporosis, thyroid problems or worse. I'd like to offer some facts to counter these claims.
First of all, soyabeans have been around for a very, very long time. They've been a staple food in Asia for over 5,000 years, and they've been grown in the U.S. since 1829 – in fact, Civil War soldiers brewed up soyabean coffee when they couldn't get coffee beans!
Today, people in Western nations enjoy soya milk, tofu, and fermented foods like tempeh, miso and soya sauce. Even people who don't embrace a full vegetarian lifestyle eat soya nuts and use soya protein in their morning breakfast shakes. And with soya meat-substitutes, ice cream, yoghurt and other foods, the need to understand the safety of soya has never been more important. So let's take a look at the two biggest fibs told about soya.
Soya Myth Number 1: Soya contains plant hormones that will interfere with healthy thyroid function.
Obviously, this isn't true. If it were, then China and Japan would be populated by giants! The chemicals in soya that concern some people are called "goitrogens" and, yes, they do occur naturally in soya. But they can also be found in vegetables like broccoli, sweet potatoes and lima beans. Goitrogens interfere with the thyroid gland's ability to utilise iodine, and only cause a problem when iodine intake is extremely low – not a problem in anyone with an even moderately healthy diet.
The urban legend that soya consumption can cause hyperthyroidism comes from a period between 1951 and 1962 when several cases of goiter were diagnosed in babies who had been fed infant formula that was made from soya flour. But the formulation for soya-based baby food was changed in the 1960s, from soya flour to soya protein isolates, and manufacturers began supplementing the formula with additional iodine. Since the change, not a single case of goiter in infants has been caused by soya formula. So rest assured that soya isn't going to harm your thyroid, or your baby's.
Soya Myth Number 2: Soya increases the risk of breast cancer.
This one's also related to the belief that plant oestrogen (isoflavones) present in soya can alter oestrogen levels in the human body. To judge whether that's a danger, all you have to do is look at the breast cancer rates in countries where the residents eat a lot of soya. The fact is, they have less cases of breast cancer than in Western countries. Studies have shown that the relationship between human hormones and soya consumption is actually quite complicated – studies have shown that small amounts of soya can, indeed, increase the growth of cancer cells, but that large amounts inhibit cell growth. And the benefits appear to be greater for women who start eating soya during puberty. The truth of the matter is that soya not only doesn't increase the risk of breast cancer, it may actually decrease that risk in some women!
Can Soya Prevent
Maybe so. New investigation from the Children's
Are We Really So Unhealthy?
Two of the most salutary trends in modern nutrition are the malnutrition of affluent society and mass dehydration - both lead to poor health. We are increasingly dependent on refined foods, low quality, mass produced meat, fruit and vegetables. We are subject to massive media exposure of the high sugar drinks and fast food outlets. There is an increasing need to add fertilisers to improve yields from impoverished soil, and to use of growth hormones and antibiotics in the production of meat.
Other factors - such as the tight margins demanded by supermarket giants - all conspire to reduce the nutritional value of our foods. The poor quality of our tap water does little to encourage us to drink the recommended daily quota.
Our reliance on high energy sugar drinks and stimulants, such as tea and coffee, combine to dehydrate our systems still further. The results can include a reduction in the efficiency of our immune systems, a lowering of reserves through the poor nutrient content of our diet and a propensity to infections . . .
IT'S NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM, HOWEVER . . .
An increase in the public's awareness of these issues has led to an enormous increase in the consumption of organic foods, a suspicion of GMO foods, the on-going call for adequate food labelling and increased use of water purification.
Alongside the quantum leaps in our understanding of the importance of living foods and the factors that have led to the deterioration in the quality of our food, come the welcome proliferation of the juice bar, the complementary health clinic, and the local wholefood shop. An organic, freshly prepared juice in a gym or juice bar may cost £3 or more, but an increasing number of people are looking for ways to boost their intake of fresh organic nutrients and of pure water AT HOME. What is it about wheatgrass, that leads it to feature on the menus of fashionable juice bars, to help increasing numbers of people in their fight against cancer, to boost the immune system, and to be an important element in most detox programmes?
· Steve Meyerowitz, known as Sproutman in the
· Dr Ann Wigmore healed her gangrenous legs with it in the 1970's and later ran the
SO . . . WHY DRINK WHEATGRASS JUICE?
Wheatgrass earned its reputation from people with terminal illnesses, who took it at the eleventh hour after conventional medicine left them with no hope. In the 1970s, Dr Ann Wigmore opened the Hippocrates Health Institute, in
Dr Charles F Schnabel (1895 - 1974) chemist and agriculturalist, knew from his work with his farm animals and his research in the laboratory, that wheatgrass boosts nutrition, builds good blood and strengthens immunity. More recently, there are many studies demonstrating the efficacy and nutrition of grass foods, using both clinical evidence and testimonials.
Wheatgrass has long been used like a herbal medicine - for its therapeutic and nutritional properties. Although wheat is the most popular, barley, oats and rye are equally potent.
So what's it good for?
· Blood purification
· Liver detoxification
· As a food Wheatgrass is very nourishing and restorative with a complete range of nutrients.
· Therapeutically, the fresh juice can be drunk or applied rectally using a enema implant.
· For disease prevention, you can make powdered drinks, take it in tablet or capsule form, or drink the fresh juice as part of a long term health maintenance programme.
For those with an intolerance to gluten, do not be put off . . . The grain metamorphoses completely into a vegetable, with none of the allergic proteins common to the glutenous grains.
". . . our food is our medicine and our medicine is our food" - Hippocrates, the father of medicine.
It has long been established that the best medicine is a whole, natural food. All known nutrients were found in concentrated form in wheatgrass, including what are now known as phytochemicals. Also anti-oxidants, enzymes, 20 amino acids, vitamins including: folic acid, calcium, zinc, selenium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, potassium, and cellular RNA and DNA. Similar natural superfoods containing a broad spectrum of concentrated nutrients are bee pollen, spirulina, chlorella and blue green algae. They all provide the raw materials from which the body manufactures what it needs and balances its own chemistry. Grasses, along with alfalfa and these algae, are the richest sources of chlorophyll on the planet. Green plant cells are the only cells capable of absorbing the energy of the sun. The famous research scientist E. Bircher called chlorophyll "concentrated sunpower - it increases the functions of the heart, improves the vascular system, the intestines, the uterus and the lungs. It raises the basic nitrogen exchange and is therefore a tonic which, considering its stimulating properties cannot be compared with any other".
The amount of juice you drink is totally up to you.
Steve Meyerowitz says "Grass is non-toxic in any dose, but you may react to the results of its detoxifying power. All grass is a powerful purgative for the liver, and too much can release too many poisons too quickly".
EXPERIMENT! Start with small quantities. It can be mixed with other juices or taken neat. Notice the effects of a daily 1oz shot! Remember - it's concentrated sunpower! Rocket fuel! Greenpower! Living food! Whatever it becomes for you . . . have fun! If you have time let us know how you get on.
· Elaine Bruce Living Foods, firstname.lastname@example.org
· Karen Knowler - FRESH Network, www.fresh-network.com
· Steve Meyerowitz www.sproutman.com
Further reading (available from Wholistic):
· The Wheatgrass Book by Dr Ann Wigmore
· Wheatgrass - Nature's Finest Medicine by Steve Meyerowitz
· Living Foods for Radiant Health by Elaine Bruce
· Power Juices, Super Drinks by Steve Meyerowitz
"Jennifer Aniston claims she now adds wheatgrass supplements to all her meals because she has never felt better than since she started eating it. Wheatgrass contains chlorophyll, 20 amino acids, several hundred different enzymes and 90 different minerals and vitamins including vitamin B12 & calcium. And Jen’s so keen on eating it, she’s even started growing it at home in her garden. You can buy it in tablet form from most healthfood shops or grow in a bag. + recipe for a wheatgrass smoothie – oranges, banana, lime, ice cubes & wheatgrass.
Closer Magazine July 2003