Category Archives: Health

Don’t blame the lettuce!

Romaine lettuceDon’t blame the lettuce! According to the Food and Drug Administration, the large E. coli outbreak which has just happened, caused by contaminated romaine lettuce, may have been caused by a factory farm.

A factory farm is a farm where the animals are crowded together in large numbers. Conditions are often abusive, and as we’ve seen from shocking videos, sometimes deliberately cruel.

E. coli bacteria live in the environment, animals’ intestines and in fecal matter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dangerous strains of E. coli, as well as salmonella and other foodborne pathogens, are derived from animal (and occasionally human) feces, and can end up in the ground water, streams and rivers. “The bacteria in animal waste could make their way into water one of two ways,” explained University of Florida food safety expert Keith Schneider. “Water can run downhill, especially after rain, and make it into an irrigation ditch, or water can seep into an underground aquifer.”

A likely reason for why romaine lettuce is susceptible to E. coli contamination is that the runoff from cattle reaches the irrigation water for fields where romaine lettuce grows, said Benjamin Chapman, an associate professor and a food safety specialist at N.C. State University in Raleigh. In similar outbreaks in the past, contaminated produce was traced back to neighboring livestock operations. In this case, the FDA surmises that the contaminated water was either used to irrigate the lettuce or mixed with pesticides (a common method of dilution) before being sprayed on the plants.

These kinds of outbreaks have been happening again and again. Not all the harm from animal agriculture is done by meat itself. Sometimes it’s right next door!

 

The Latest on Fish Oil

Fish Oil pillsSomething smells fishy when it comes to fish oil. It’s useless! A number of recent high quality studies have shown no benefit to fish oil.

According to the latest study from a medical school in England, there’s “good evidence that taking long-chain omega 3 (fish oil, EPA or DHA) supplements does not benefit heart health or reduce our risk of stroke or death from any cause.“

Another study, published in March 2018 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed no benefit for fish oil on heart disease, stroke or any cause of death. A 2014 research letter in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, pointed out that in numerous randomized controlled studies, fish oil results in no reductions in fatal or nonfatal heart attacks and even cancer.

And it’s not a matter of how much you take. According to a 2012 study in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, fish oil causes no reduction of “heart attacks, sudden death, angina, heart failures, strokes or death, no matter what dose of fish oil used.”

Unfortunately, many people continue to believe that fish oil will benefit them, based on the original endorsement of the American Heart Association back in 2002. All kinds of justification is given. One of the most common is that Eskimos, who eat a lot of fish, suffer from less heart disease.  The Canadian Journal of Cardiology calls that notion “wishful thinking”. It turns out that Eskimos don’t have any lower incidence of heart attacks than we do.

It’s time to leave the false premise of the benefits of fish oil at the bottom of the sea where it belongs!

See our previous articles on fish oil, the lack of benefits of fish for health, a world without fish, fish have feelings, and slavery in the fishing industry.

The end of effective antibiotics?

AntibioticsThis is serious. This could cost you your life! What if the medication your doctor gave you for an infection didn’t work? What if the second antibiotic didn’t work either? Blame the beef industry. According to a new study, sponsored by consumer and environmental groups, 23 out of 25 U.S. burger chains, including McDonald’s and Burger King, were found serving beef raised with the routine use of antibiotics.

Most of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are fed to farm animals not people. In fact, 70% of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. go to food producing animals, and 43% of that goes to the beef industry. The result is that each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 people die as a result.

Here’s how it happens. Farmers routinely give cows antibiotics, often in their daily feed, to help them survive very harsh and unhealthy conditions on factory farms. The problems is that these antibiotics kill off only the susceptible bacteria, allowing resistant bacteria to take over. If a farm worker then comes in contact with the bacteria or gets infected with it, they will carry it into the wider community. Slaughterhouse workers can spread the resistant bacteria as well. Undercooked meat can also harbor these bacteria.

If you get infected with such bacteria, the antibiotic the doctor gives you might not work because the bacteria is already resistant to it. Other antibiotics may not work either. This is happening more and more frequently. Once bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, that means the ability of doctors to treat the infection becomes extremely limited, and that’s really scary.  It means that infections that were once really easily and commonly treated could actually now be fatal, and common medical procedures may no longer be possible because of the risk of infection without reliable antibiotics.

While some organizations are pushing for beef farmers to stop using antibiotics, they are finding this difficult to do while maintaining the intensive farming methods they currently use. However, this problem could be solved by many more people following a plant-based diet. Then there wouldn’t be a need for so many beef cattle to be raised intensively and fed antibiotics.  Avoiding meat would also be much healthier for us and much kinder for the animals, so everyone would win.

Fourth article published!

Medical journal with stethoscopeWe are happy to announce that our article, Rheumatoid Arthritis – Prevention and Treatment with a Plant-Based Diet, has been accepted by the peer-reviewed medical journal Orthopedics and Rheumatology Open Access Journal.

This is the latest in a series of articles we have been writing in medical journals in the hope of spreading these valuable research reviews to many more doctors around the world.  So far, we’ve also had articles published on Type 2 Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease and Prostate Cancer in relevant medical journals. Read more

Just say no to drugs!

drugs-in-meat

A new study by the US Department of agriculture found several drugs in meat sold all over the country. The percentage of meat that was contaminated was small, but, when you consider that there’s over 330 million people in the country, the impact can be large.

Here the three drugs they tested for:  Read more

A case of Crohn’s disease

Stomach painMeet John (not his real name). He had a severe case of Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disease affecting almost a million Americans. Starting in his late teens and continuing till his early 60’s, John suffered from his intestines swelling and causing pain, along with the unpleasant symptoms one would expect from major disruptions in the intestines. Every day was hard. Even his eyes and throat were affected. Over time he took a long list of suggested medications, and endured the powerful side effects that usually accompany these meds, but none of these is fully able to treat the disease. He also had surgeries, as most Crohn’s patients do, but continued to suffer. Read more

Prostate Cancer – you can do something to help yourself!

Man eating salad 2OK, you guys, and the gals who care about them, we need to talk about a disease that’s all too common – prostate cancer! The good news is that there’s something you can do to prevent it, and even help treat it if it’s a mild case in its early stages. Let’s start with prevention first.

The risk of prostate cancer in vegetarians is less than half that of non-vegetarians. While plant-based foods have been shown to decrease the risk of prostate cancer, animal-derived foods increase the risk. Intake of saturated fat and cholesterol found in animal-derived foods are independent risk factors for prostate cancer, contributing further to the higher risk that non-vegetarians have. Read more

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