Tag Archives: organic

Gluten Free | The Paleo Diet

Last week, The New York Times published an op-ed by Roger Cohen, its International Affairs and Diplomacy correspondent, regarding…wait for it – gluten!1 Has gluten become the nefarious “sticking point” that underlies our most critical diplomatic issues? Or was this just another of Cohen’s haughty rants against people who purchase organic food, implement health-optimizing diets, and keep abreast of nutrition science research? Spoiler alert – it’s the latter.

The gist of Cohen’s latest article, “This Column is Gluten-Free,” is that wheat has gotten a bad rap, despite graciously feeding the world for the past 12,000 years. Cohen acknowledges that gluten is harmful for the roughly 1% of the population that has celiac disease, but what about the remainder of the estimated 30% of Americans who are cutting back on gluten or going gluten-free?2

Does non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) exist? Is there evidence that gluten can be harmful for the general population? According to Cohen, people who eschew gluten (celiac patients excluded) are “self-indulgent” narcissists with imaginary food intolerances. “Having a special dietary requirement,” Cohen asserts, “is one way to feel special in the prevailing ‘me’ culture.”

Narcissism seems to be Cohen’s favorite buzzword when describing nutrition-motivated people, particularly those who buy organic food and avoid gluten. In this capacity, he uses the n-word no less than three times in his latest article, and in a previously article, he scolds the “affluent narcissism” of the upper middle class, people who purchase organic food while the poor “get a lot more nutrients from the two regular carrots they can buy for the price of one organic carrot.”3

This gets to the crux of Cohen’s ethos. He takes issue with individualism and self-determination, preferring a social structure whereby the balance of power is significantly tilted toward the state. In yet another recent article, he comments on a Pew Global Attitudes survey for which Americans and Europeans were asked which is more important,

  1. “freedom to pursue life’s goals without state interference,” or
  2. “state guarantees that nobody is in need.”

Much to Cohen’s dismay, 58% of Americans say the former is more important (compared to 62% of Europeans who prefer the latter).4 He then suggests the government should be more empowered to dictate how people eat, starting with a “coordinated policy action” designed to reduce sugar consumption, but where would it end?

What if the government decided that gluten is only dangerous for those with celiac disease? Could it outlaw a generalized form of “gluten-free” labeling? After all, because the US government supports GMO foods and deems them absolutely safe, it has repeatedly thwarted legislative attempts to implement mandatory GMO labeling. Not surprisingly, Cohen also strongly supports GMO foods:

“To feed a planet of 9 billion people,” he insists, “we are going to need high yields not low yields; we are going to need genetically modified crops; we are going to need pesticides and fertilizers and other elements of the industrialized food processes that have led mankind to be better fed and live longer than at any time in history.”5

Feeding the poor is a noble goal, even with subsistence-level nutrition, but so is health optimization for individuals, which is a primary goal of nutrition science research. These goals, however, are not incompatible; they are complementary. Nevertheless, Cohen’s steadfast resolve to restore wheat’s “amber waves” reputation prevents him from critically assessing and/or acknowledging the scientific research on gluten, the dangers of which extend far beyond just celiac patients.

Just last month, for example, researchers at the National Institutes of Health published a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial on people who don’t have celiac disease but believe themselves to be gluten sensitive. The results? “The severity of overall symptoms increased significantly during 1 week of intake of small amounts of gluten, compared with placebo.”6

For further reading on the science behind how gluten can damage the gut and compromise health, check out Trevor Connor’s excellent 5-article review, “The Wheat Series.” Nutrition is always vulnerable to politicization, but rather than choosing sides, why not seek mutually beneficial solutions to complex, interdependent challenges? Being kind and respectful also helps immensely (leave the diet-shaming for the narcissists).

References

1. Cohen, R. (October 19, 2015). This Column is Gluten-Free. The New York Times. Retrieved from //www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/opinion/this-column-is-gluten-free.html?_r=0

2. Strom, S. (February 17, 2014). A Big Bet on Gluten-Free. The New York Times. Retrieved from //www.nytimes.com/2014/02/18/business/food-industry-wagers-big-on-gluten-free.html

3. Cohen, R. (September 6, 2012). The Organic Fable. The New York Times. Retrieved from //www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/opinion/roger-cohen-the-organic-fable.html

4. Cohen, R. (August 5, 2015). Incurable American Excess. The New York Times. Retrieved from //www.nytimes.com/2015/08/07/opinion/roger-cohen-incurable-american-excess.html

5. Cohen, R. (August 5, 2015). Incurable American Excess. The New York Times. Retrieved from //www.nytimes.com/2015/08/07/opinion/roger-cohen-incurable-american-excess.html

6. Di Sabatino, A., et al. (September 2015). Small Amounts of Gluten in Subjects With Suspected Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Cross-Over Trial. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol, 13(9). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25701700

Organic Produce, GMOs, and Herbicides | The Paleo Diet

For Paleo dieters who want fresh food that’s free of contaminants, making the right choice is hard. There has been a huge trend toward purchasing organic produce, which is believed to contain no pesticides, unlike conventional produce.1 When people hear the word organic, they picture a product created through methods that support soil and water conservation and decrease pollution.2

In actuality, organic produce does not necessarily mean chemical-free.3 Furthermore, the use of natural pesticides by organic farmers is controversial, as they can be toxic.4 Recently, there has been a rise in farmers’ use of a weed-killer known as glyphosphate or Roundup.5 About 90% of the corn and soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified to be immune to these chemicals.6  This may come as a surprise to those who believe farm produce equates to high-quality produce. A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine recently shed some light on this controversy.7

OVERVIEW

According to researchers, the use of glyphosate/Roundup on farms has gone from 0.4 million kilograms to 113 million kilograms over the past 40 years.8 The main reason behind this rise stems from an increase in genetically modified crops (GMOs), including corn and soybeans.9 These crops have been altered at the genetic level to be resistant to damage caused by the use of Roundup. Additionally, the school of thought believes that herbicides such as Roundup are benign to humans and animals and can only affect plants, meaning they are able to prevent weed growth while still allowing for fresh crops that are safe for human consumption.

CONTROVERSY

Recently, several studies have described the likelihood of Roundup/glyphosate resulting in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As a result of these studies, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), has indicated that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen,”10 meaning that consuming a crop sprayed with glyphosate/Roundup may increase an individual’s risk of developing cancer. In addition to glyphosate, another herbicide that is commonly used on farms, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), has also been suggested to cause cancer.11

But what does all this mean for your health? According to some oncology (cancer) researchers, there may be some safety concerns with consuming these chemicals.

In 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of a combination of these indicated herbicides in a new product known as Enlist Duo, made by Dow AgroSciences.12 Some researchers have posed concerns regarding the effect of these herbicides on the health of farm workers, as well as those who live near these farms. Over time, weeds have become resistant to the herbicides, making larger quantities and more frequent sprayings needed to eliminate them.13 As a result, trace amounts of these herbicides have contaminated nearby water supplies.14 Some studies have also noted trace amounts in human urine.15 Given these cancer concerns, the authors of the New England Journal of Medicine article would like the EPA to delay execution of its decision to allow the use of Enlist Duo.

ARE THESE HERBICIDES HARMFUL TO HUMANS?

In response to safety allegations, Dow AgroSciences has said that research data show that these herbicides do not cause any harm to the human population, so the risk is nonexistent. They are supported by experts at the American Cancer Society’s Statistics and Evaluation Center, who state that the human gastrointestinal system does not allow for the uptake of glyphosate, unlike some other harmful pesticides, causing most of this chemical to be excreted in the feces. Further, the American Cancer Society (ACS) states that one is unable to eliminate other toxic chemical exposures that are not a result of glyphosate and 2,4-D,16 making it hard to determine if the risk is due to the simultaneous use of other chemicals, just by virtue of working on the farm.

Nevertheless, the ACS is not comfortable with the likelihood of any known carcinogen lingering in the environment, and state that they would prefer the use of chemicals that have no possibility of being carcinogens in any way. Authors of the New England Journal of Medicine see a need for long-term surveillance research, as well as looking at possible implications in at-risk groups such as juvenile, elderly or immune-compromised patients.

CONCLUSION

In summary, whether or not Enlist Duo or other herbicides cause harm to the human population, our idea of organic products may not be entirely true. We may want to think carefully when trying to justify the huge price difference when purchasing conventional versus organic.

Additionally, like the authors of the publication suggest, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may want to consider labeling genetically modified (GM) foods, as seen in other countries. As consumers, we do have a right to know the reality behind what we are purchasing and eating.

 

REFERENCES

[1] Mayo Clinic. Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious? [Online].; 2014 [cited 2015 Aug 30. Available from: //www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880.

[2] Huffington Post. How Safe Is Organic Food Really? [Online].; 2014 [cited 2015 August 30. Available from: //www.huffingtonpost.ca/steven-burton/organic-food-safety_b_5514933.html.

[3] Huffington Post. How Safe Is Organic Food Really? [Online].; 2014 [cited 2015 August 30. Available from: //www.huffingtonpost.ca/steven-burton/organic-food-safety_b_5514933.html.

[4] Mayo Clinic. Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious? [Online].; 2014 [cited 2015 Aug 30. Available from: //www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880.

[5] Landrigan P, Benbrook C. GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health. N Engl J Med. 2015 Aug; 373.

[6] United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. [Online].; 2015 [cited 2015 Aug 31. Available from: //www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us.aspx.

[7] Landrigan P, Benbrook C. GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health. N Engl J Med. 2015 Aug; 373.

[8] Landrigan P, Benbrook C. GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health. N Engl J Med. 2015 Aug; 373.

[9] United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. [Online].; 2015 [cited 2015 Aug 31. Available from: //www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/adoption-of-genetically-engineered-crops-in-the-us.aspx.

[10] Guyton K, Loomis D, Grosse Y, Ghissassi F, Benbrahim-Tallaa L, Guha N, et al. Carcinogenicity of tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate. Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16: p. 490-91.

[11] Loomis D, Guyton K, Grosse Y, Ghissasi F, Bouvard V, Benbrahim-Talla L, et al. Carcinogenicity of lindane, DDT, and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Lancet Oncol. 2015 June; 16(8).

[12] Landrigan P, Benbrook C. GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health. N Engl J Med. 2015 Aug; 373.

[13] Landrigan P, Benbrook C. GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health. N Engl J Med. 2015 Aug; 373.

[14] US National Library of Medicine. Medline Plus. [Online].; 2015 [cited 2015 Aug 29. Available from: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154186.html.

[15] US National Library of Medicine. Medline Plus. [Online].; 2015 [cited 2015 Aug 29. Available from: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154186.html.

[16] US National Library of Medicine. Medline Plus. [Online].; 2015 [cited 2015 Aug 29. Available from: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154186.html.


5 Tips for Eating Paleo on a Budget | The Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet is sometimes dismissed as elitist and only for those who can afford daily prime mignon. This criticism stems from a wider misconception that Paleo is “meat-only” or “meat heavy.” Indeed, the Paleo diet does include appreciable amounts of animal foods, but eating Paleo doesn’t require eating the most expensive varieties of animal foods. Our ancestors were extremely efficient, eating animals and fish from nose to tail, leaving nothing wasted. We can and should emulate this approach, not only because it ensures balanced nutrition, but also because it’s more economical.

So, if you are trying to make Paleo work within the confines of a limited budget or you have several hungry children to feed and wonder whether you can afford a Paleo lifestyle, here are five key tips for minimizing food expenses while maximizing nutrition and deliciousness.

1. GET A SLOW COOKER

You might have one in your garage or closet. Market research firm NPD Group estimates that 83% of Americans own slow cookers (also known as crock pots), but only half use them regularly.1 In the UK, slow cooker sales rose 55% between 2012 –2014.2

Not only is slow cooking extremely delicious and convenient, it’s also very economical. A slow cooked stew might require six to eight hours, but its electricity costs are comparable to those of a light bulb. Electric ovens, on the other hand, are more energy intensive, averaging between 2 and 2.2 kWh. Slow cookers average around 0.09 kWh, according to the Centre for Sustainable Energy.3 What does this mean? In the US, the national average electricity cost is approximately $0.12 cents per kWh. Operating the oven for one hour, therefore, costs around $0.25, whereas operating a slow cooker for eight hours costs only $0.09.

2. SAVE WITH LESS EXPENSIVE CUTS OF MEAT

Another advantage of slow cooking is that tougher cuts of meat become naturally tenderized. You wouldn’t want to cook oxtail, skirt, flank, shin, or chuck steaks on the grill, but slow cooked for hours, these cuts are outstanding. They typically have more fat and more cartilage. Bone-in cuts also have marrow. All these elements add flavor and depth to your stews. Many cuts of lamb and pork are also incredible slow cooked, and aren’t marked up nearly as much as other cuts of meat. You can easily cut your meat costs by 50%+ compared to the more expensive, quick-cooking cuts.

3. EAT THE ORGANS

The irony of organ meat is that despite being the most nutrient dense foods by far, they are typically also the most inexpensive. Liver, for example, might cost you around $5 or $6 per pound. By including organ meats in your diet, you’ll save money while greatly boosting your nutrient intake.

4. ORGANIC VS. CONVENTIONAL

Some often balk at paying $3 for that organic avocado when the conventional one costs only $1.50. While we strongly recommend buying organic produce, if you have a limited budget, the Environmental Working Group offers their excellent Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, showing which fruits and vegetables to always buy organic and for which conventional is probably adequate.

5. SMALL, OILY FISH

Sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and other small, oily fish are relatively inexpensive, delicious, and easy to prepare. Fish is a vital component of the Paleo diet, and you can still meet nutritional requirements and enjoy fish without buying expensive wild salmon or wild sea bass. These fish are rich in omega-3 and won’t break your bank. But, buy them fresh, not preserved in cans.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.

@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

REFERENCES

[1] Carter, N. (February 25, 2009). Slow cookers have evolved over the decades. The LA Times.

[2] Weatherill, E. (October 4, 2013). Slow and pressure cookers find favour. The BBC.

[3] Christie, S. (November 22, 2013). ‘How much cheaper is a slow cooker than an oven?’ The Telegraph.

Ultimate Antioxidant Paleo Breakfast Bowl

August 3 – 9 marks the USDA’s 15th Annual National Farmers Market Week. With over 7,800 farmers markets, (up 67% since 2008!1), shopping and supporting local is not only encouraged, but also nutritious. Expect to find ultra-fresh vegetables, unique heirloom varieties, and farmers committed to quality, organic foods.

While we support organic agriculture, we acknowledge its limitations and complications. A 2012 Stanford study concluded organic foods are not significantly more nutritious than conventional foods, but may contain fewer pesticides.2 Some organic producers use natural pesticides, but their use isn’t necessarily “healthier.”3, 4 Surely there are healthful benefits to consuming organic, right? A recent study published in the British Medical Journal concluded organic foods are significantly higher in antioxidants and lower in pesticide residues.5

At farmers markets, you can speak directly with farmers and understand their philosophies regarding pesticides. Sometimes you’ll meet farmers committed to minimizing pesticides, natural or otherwise, and others whose products aren’t necessarily USDA Certified Organic, but nevertheless are high quality.

The following recipe features many antioxidant powerhouses, including cloves, the number one dietary source of polyphenols (the most common type of antioxidant).6 Yes, you can eat cloves! Soften them and they’re delicious. Berries, plums, almonds, mint (especially peppermint), and cacao are also exceptionally potent sources of antioxidants.7

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1 handful of raspberries
  • 2 or 3 small plums
  • ¾ cup almonds, soaked overnight
  • 15 to 20 cloves
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 20 mint leaves
  • 1 – 2 tbsp raw cacao (100% cacao, unsweetened)

DIRECTIONS

clark-breakfast-bowl4
Ingredients
7 item(s) « 1 of 7 »
*Use the arrows in the lower gray bar of this image-viewer to move left or right through the directions. We recommend using one of following approved browsers for optimal viewing quality: Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Google Chrome.

 

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.
@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

See more recipes!

references

1. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from //www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=KYF_MISSION

2. Smith-Spangler, C., et al. (September 4, 2012). Are organic foods safer or healthier than conventional alternatives? A Systematic Review. Annals of Internal Medicine, 157(3). Retrieved July 30, 2014 from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22944875

3. Wilcox, Christie. (July 18, 2011). Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture. Scientific American. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from //blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/07/18/mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/

4. Wilcox, Christie. (August 15, 2011). In the immortal words of Tom Petty: “I won’t back down.” Scientific American. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from //blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/08/15/organic_myths_revisited/

5. Baranski, M., et al. (July, 2014). Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Medical Journal, 26(1-18). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24968103

6. Pérez-Jiménez, J., Neveu, V., Vos, F., and Scalbert, A. (November 2010). Identification of the 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols: an application of the Phenol-Explorer database. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 64(Suppl. 3). Retrieved from //www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v64/n3s/fig_tab/ejcn2010221t1.html#figure-title

7. Ibid.

Not Your Grandmother’s Food | Organic | The Paleo Diet

In honor of National Farmers Market Week,1 it’s time we discuss how our food has changed in the past 100 years.2 From soil degradation,3 to fertilizer use,4 to pesticides,5 to genetically modified organisms (GMOs),6 and to why “organic and local” is always the best option.7

Soil erosion is one of the most serious environmental and public health problems facing human society.8 Studies show soil is being lost from agricultural areas 10 to 40 times faster than the rate of soil formation,9 which could be consequentially disastrous for the human race.

Economically, soil erosion costs roughly $37.6 billion, annually.10 Another cause for concern is declining nutrient density. Three studies of historical food composition data found declines of 5% to 40% (or more) in minerals of vegetables.11

Nutrient Concentrations

Apparent changes in nutrient concentrations in 20 vegetables and 20 fruits with 95% confidence intervals (partially recalculated from Mayer, 1997; U.K. data, 1930s to 1980s).

Eighty-year changes in nutrient concentrations found in a study of 45 maize cultivars grown side by side in Iowa and California (means ± 95% confidence intervals).

Eighty-year changes in nutrient concentrations found in a study of 45 maize cultivars grown side by side in Iowa and California (means ± 95% confidence intervals).

Fertilizers are made largely from nitrogen and hydrogen.12 These two elements are combined to make anhydrous ammonia.13 This is the basis for all synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.14 The hydrogen source in this process is natural gas, a non-renewable resource.15 The high cost of fertilizer production is also largely in part due to hydrogen.16 So, our current system, which allows us to produce enough food for our ever-expanding population,17 is reliant on a non-renewable fossil fuel.18 Currently, global hydrogen production is 48% from natural gas, 30% from oil, and 18% from coal.19

Food for a hungry world. Food grown with nitrogen fertilizers feeds an estimated 2 billion people worldwide. Areas including Asia are becoming increasingly dependent on such fertilizers, to the detriment of the environment.

Food for a hungry world. Food grown with nitrogen fertilizers feeds an estimated 2 billion people worldwide. Areas including Asia are becoming increasingly dependent on such fertilizers, to the detriment of the environment.

We have all heard the adage “if a little is good, a lot more would be better.” Despite the documented negative effects of pesticide use,20 they continue to still be used in large amounts. The rampant use of these chemicals catastrophically affects humans, and other life forms.21

GMOs are still relatively new, in the grand scheme of science and agriculture,22 and while some skeptics question evidence of harm, people continue to fight tooth and nail to stop foods from being genetically altered, or at least labeled as such.23 In 2012, 17.3 million farmers grew genetically engineered crops across 170 million hectares.24 One of the best examples of harm, coming from GMOs, comes from regulators who discovered Gene VI, which has been posited as “unsafe for human consumption.”25, 26

CaMV-Genome

54 out of 86 different transgenic events (unique insertions of foreign DNA) in the US food supply contain portions of this gene. Researchers themselves concluded that this “might result in unintended phenotypic changes.” The repercussions are undeniable.

So, what is the best option for consumers? Well, in the spirit of this celebratory week, local and organic will almost always produce the best results.27 Sadly, this is sometimes impacted by socioeconomic status.28 However, in a recent study researchers found the healthiest diets cost about $1.50 more per day than the least healthy diets.29 “Food deserts” are common, these days.30 Small, local, food stores can have a positive impact on vegetable intake, especially in urban areas.31

Adopting a Paleo Diet will help keep your food local, organic, and hopefully free of pesticides and GMOs. Try to celebrate the farmer’s market every week, not just one week out of the year. Real people, with good intentions, grow our best food. Voice your opinion with your hard-earned dollar, and support them.

References

1. Available at: //blogs.usda.gov/2014/07/29/what-are-you-doing-for-national-farmers-market-week/. Accessed July 30, 2014.

2. Smith JL. Atwater to the present: what have we learned about our food supply?. J Nutr. 1994;124(9 Suppl):1780S-1782S.

3. Macías FA, Oliveros-bastidas A, Marín D, Castellano D, Simonet AM, Molinillo JM. Degradation studies on benzoxazinoids. Soil degradation dynamics of (2R)-2-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-4-hydroxy-(2H)- 1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one (DIBOA-Glc) and its degradation products, phytotoxic allelochemicals from Gramineae. J Agric Food Chem. 2005;53(3):554-61.

4. Olson RA. Fertilizers for food production vs energy needs and environmental quality. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 1977;1(3):311-26.

5. Jackson RJ, Fan AM. Pesticides in food. West J Med. 1990;152(3):286-7.

6. Dona A, Arvanitoyannis IS. Health risks of genetically modified foods. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2009;49(2):164-75.

7. Pelletier JE, Laska MN, Neumark-sztainer D, Story M. Positive attitudes toward organic, local, and sustainable foods are associated with higher dietary quality among young adults. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013;113(1):127-32.

8. Pimentel, D. (2006). Soil Erosion: A Food and Environmental Threat. Environ Dev Sustain, [online] 8(1), pp.119-137.

9. Pimentel D, Burgess M. Soil Erosion Threatens Food Production. Agriculture. 2013; 3(3):443-463.

10. Uri ND. The environmental implications of soil erosion in the United States. Environ Monit Assess. 2001;66(3):293-312.

11. Davis, D. (2009). Declining fruit and vegetable nutrient composition: What is the evidence?. HortScience, 44(1), pp.15–19.

12. Available at: //www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-fertilizer-bomb. Accessed July 30, 2014.

13. Fitzgerald SD, Grooms DL, Scott MA, Clarke KR, Rumbeiha WK. Acute anhydrous ammonia intoxication in cattle. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2006;18(5):485-9.

14. Mukome F, Doane T, Silva L, Parikh S, Horwath W. 2013. Testing protocol ensures the authenticity of organic fertilizers. Calif Agr 67(4):210-216. DOI: 10.3733/ca.v067n04p210

15. Available at: //www.soilassociation.org/motherearth/viewarticle/articleid/3205/the-problems-with-manufactured-nitrogen-fertilisers. Accessed July 30, 2014.

16. Available at: //www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/The-case-against-synthetic-fertilizers-2506802.php. Accessed July 30, 2014.

17. Keinan A, Clark AG. Recent explosive human population growth has resulted in an excess of rare genetic variants. Science. 2012;336(6082):740-3.

18. Cheng S, Logan BE. Sustainable and efficient biohydrogen production via electrohydrogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2007;104(47):18871-3.

19. Demirel, Y. (2012). Energy. 1st ed. London: Springer, p.57.

20. Dich J, Zahm SH, Hanberg A, Adami HO. Pesticides and cancer. Cancer Causes Control. 1997;8(3):420-43.

21. Aktar MW, Sengupta D, Chowdhury A. Impact of pesticides use in agriculture: their benefits and hazards. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2009;2(1):1-12.

22. Varzakas TH, Arvanitoyannis IS, Baltas H. The politics and science behind GMO acceptance. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2007;47(4):335-61.

23. Available at: //www.wholefoodsmarket.com/gmo-your-right-know. Accessed July 30, 2014.

24. Van eenennaam AL. GMOs in animal agriculture: time to consider both costs and benefits in regulatory evaluations. J Anim Sci Biotechnol. 2013;4(1):37.

25. Podevin N, Du jardin P. Possible consequences of the overlap between the CaMV 35S promoter regions in plant transformation vectors used and the viral gene VI in transgenic plants. GM Crops Food. 2012;3(4):296-300.

26. Available at: //www.independentsciencenews.org/health/regulators-discover-a-hidden-viral-gene-in-commercial-gmo-crops/. Accessed July 30, 2014.

27. Crinnion WJ. Organic foods contain higher levels of certain nutrients, lower levels of pesticides, and may provide health benefits for the consumer. Altern Med Rev. 2010;15(1):4-12.

28. Curl CL, Beresford SA, Hajat A, et al. Associations of organic produce consumption with socioeconomic status and the local food environment: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). PLoS ONE. 2013;8(7):e69778.

29. Rao, M., A. Afshin, G. Singh, and D. Mozaffarian. “Do Healthier Foods and Diet Patterns Cost More than Less Healthy Options? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” BMJ Open 3.12 (2013): E004277.

30. Pearson T, Russell J, Campbell MJ, Barker ME. Do ‘food deserts’ influence fruit and vegetable consumption?–A cross-sectional study. Appetite. 2005;45(2):195-7.

31. Bodor JN, Rose D, Farley TA, Swalm C, Scott SK. Neighbourhood fruit and vegetable availability and consumption: the role of small food stores in an urban environment. Public Health Nutr. 2008;11(4):413-20.

The Toxins Lurking in Our Food

When most people think about a Paleo Diet, they think a healthy diet, rich in whole foods, sans dairy and grains. But one important and sometimes overlooked aspect is the low toxin burden. Avoiding processed foods, artificial ingredients, and excessive pesticides and herbicides is at the very least prudent.

When asked how to “bulk up” on the Paleo Diet, two basic, yet critical concepts in nutrition come to mind.

First, there are many toxins, dietary, environmental, and otherwise, that are readily stored in our body. This was demonstrated in epic fashion, by accident, during Biosphere 2.

Biosphere 1 is Earth. Biosphere 2 was an enormous, man-made, Earth-like structure that was completely closed off from the outside world.

Biosphere

Deidos, Wikipedia Creative Commons

It was constructed to see, among other things, if a small group of people could be completely self-sufficient. On some levels, due in part to poor planning, it failed – food and oxygen needed to be added from the outside. However, eight volunteers still lived inside and collected data for two years.6, 7

The participants subsisted primarily on agriculture, but weren’t able to provide enough food to sustain themselves. They could only raise approximately 1,800 of the estimated 2,500 calories necessary to maintain weight. As such, all of them lost weight.

Toxins Lurking in Our Food - Graph 1

But that’s not the point of this article.

Their food was organic, herbicide, pesticide-free, and very nutrient-dense – all aspects in line with the principles of a Paleo Diet, and far different from their usual diet.

The thing that stuck with me since I visited the site over a decade ago is this:

PCBs are synthetic organic chemicals, classified as Persistent Organic Pollutants. DDE is a breakdown product of the insecticide DDT. Both are toxins.8 However, their exposure to these toxins should have been extremely low. So why did they suddenly appear in their blood?

These toxins, like many others found in processed and/or inorganic foods, plastics, etc., can be stored in the body. As the participants lost weight, the toxins were released from storage and eventually excreted.4

Toxins Lurking in Our Food - Graph 2

The second concept is what these toxins can potentially do to your health and quality of life. A large body of research implicates food additives and environmental toxins as causal agents in the obesity epidemic.2 Not in the sense that they cause massive rapid weight gain overnight, but rather they cause the pancreas to secrete just a little more insulin than necessary, predisposing it to insulin resistance and the accumulation of body fat.2

Food additives, emulsifiers, preservatives, and even some artificial sweeteners have been shown to possess this ability.5

If you’re trying to gain weight, avoid toxins (dietary or otherwise): 1) to ensure a high ratio of muscle to fat mass; and 2) because some of those toxins may be stored. On the flipside, if you’re trying to lose weight, avoid toxins (dietary or otherwise) to prevent insulin hypersecretion which could decrease the rate of fat loss and slow down your progress.

William Lagakos, Ph.D.
@caloriesproper
CaloriesProper

William Lagakos, Ph.D.Dr. William Lagakos received a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology from Rutgers University where his research focused on dietary fat assimilation and integrated energy metabolism. His postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Diego, centered on obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Dr. William Lagakos has authored numerous manuscripts which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, as well as a non-fiction book titled The Poor, Misunderstood Calorie which explores the concept of calories and simultaneously explains how hormones and the neuroendocrine response to foods regulate nutrient partitioning. He is presently a nutritional sciences researcher, consultant, and blogger.

References

1. Corkey BE. Banting lecture 2011: hyperinsulinemia: cause or consequence? Diabetes. Jan 2012;61(1):4-13.

2. Corkey BE. Diabetes: have we got it all wrong? Insulin hypersecretion and food additives: cause of obesity and diabetes? Diabetes Care. Dec 2012;35(12):2432-2437.

3. Dedios, John. Bio2_Sunset_001. Digital image. Wikipedia Creative Commons. Wikipedia, 30 Sept. 2011.

4. Imbeault P, Chevrier J, Dewailly E, Ayotte P, Despres JP, Tremblay A, Mauriege P. Increase in plasma pollutant levels in response to weight loss in humans is related to in vitro subcutaneous adipocyte basal lipolysis. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. Nov 2001;25(11):1585-1591.

5. Saadeh M, Ferrante TC, Kane A, Shirihai O, Corkey BE, Deeney JT. Reactive oxygen species stimulate insulin secretion in rat pancreatic islets: studies using mono-oleoyl-glycerol. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30200.

6. Walford RL, Mock D, MacCallum T, Laseter JL. Physiologic changes in humans subjected to severe, selective calorie restriction for two years in biosphere 2: health, aging, and toxicological perspectives. Toxicol Sci. Dec 1999;52(2 Suppl):61-65.

7. Walford RL, Mock D, Verdery R, MacCallum T. Calorie restriction in biosphere 2: alterations in physiologic, hematologic, hormonal, and biochemical parameters in humans restricted for a 2-year period. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. Jun 2002;57(6):B211-224.

8. Wang SL, Tsai PC, Yang CY, Guo YL. Increased risk of diabetes and polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins: a 24-year follow-up study of the Yucheng cohort. Diabetes Care. Aug 2008;31(8):1574-1579.

9. Weyer, Christian, Roy L. Walford, Inge T. Harper, Mike Milner, Taber MacCallum, P. A. Tataranni, and Eric Ravussin. “Energy Metabolism after 2 Y of Energy Restriction: The Biosphere 2 Experiment.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 53rd ser. 72.946 (2000): 1-8. Print.

Waldorf Salad | The Paleo Diet

Ring in the season with this great autumn harvest salad! Waldorf Salad is a favorite in the Cordain Kitchen. This spruced up recipe with fresh, organic, and locally grown veggies, fruits, berries, and nuts is a healthful Paleo dish you’re sure to keep on the menu.

Ingredients

Serves 3 -4

  • 1 Bag organic mixed salad greens
  • 2 Salad green organic onions, sliced
  • 2 Organic red apples, chopped
  • 2 Organic green apples, chopped
  • 1 Cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup walnut halves

Directions

1. Chop red and green apples into bite-sized pieces

2. Slice green organic onions

3. Toss organic mixed salad greens with apples and onions

4. Stir in dried cranberries and walnuts

5. Dress with balsamic vinegar and olive oil

6. Bon Apetite!



Live Well, Live Longer.
The Paleo Team

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