Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So You Think You're Eating Healthy...

I was at the store yesterday picking up a few things, random items like bath soap and pasta. While I was standing in line waiting to check out, I did what I always do - checked out other people's shopping carts. Don't know why I find it so fascinating, but I always think what's in our carts says something about us.

Anyway, the woman in line next to me had a pretty full cart, not only was it full of groceries, but she had a kid sitting in there too. As I went about my business eyeing her purchases, I couldn't help but feel a little sad. She had in there bread, (and not the cheap kind) some of the low-fat milk and tons of produce! And the only thing stuck in my head was - this woman thinks she's eating healthy! She thinks that she is feeding her children healthy and nutritious foods. And while I applaud her for having the best of intentions, I worry that she may not be getting the results she thinks she is.

The truth is that most of our produce is about as good for us as it is toxic. Things like apples and potatoes ( which are likely staples in most households) are some of the worst ones. They are over treated with pesticides to the point that washing and peeling will not actually do the trick. Our leafy greens, like lettuce and spinach are also very high on the list of 'dirty' foods. If you are eating fruits and veggies simply for taste - then hey - have at it! But if you are in it for the nutrition and health factor you may seriously want to consider buying organic. Now on to the milk...have you ever picked up a dairy item and seen it marked ' This milk comes from cows not treated with rBGH' or '....not treated with rBST' and wondered what that meant...and what's the difference between the two? Well, let me tell you, because I did ask myself those questions and these are the answers that I found.

rBST (Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin) is just another name for rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone). rBGH is a genetically engineered variant of the natural growth hormone produced by cows. Apparently using the natural hormone became too expensive at some point, so Monsanto created a cheaper version and sold it under the brand name, Prosilac, to Dairy Farmers all over the country. At this point in time, at least a quarter of the cows in this country are being injected with rBGH. Now you may be thinking - so, what's the problem? Well, I'll tell you.

The problem is that Milk from cows injected with rBGH contains 2 to 10 times as much IGF-1 ( Insulin-like growth factor) than normal milk. Having high levels of IGF-1 may increase a man's chance of getting prostate cancer, in fact the risk is 8 times higher than when a man has lower levels of IGF-1. For women, the risk of breast cancer is 7 times higher! They would like us to believe that pasteurization would totally destroy any harmful additives, but it doesn't. They have also said that when consumed, the body wouldn't absorb it in any way, but studies have shown that it is not completely digested and can make its way to the colon and cross the intestinal wall into the bloodstream.

Having any second thoughts about your '3 a day of dairy' yet? Just in case you're still on the fence about it, here's a little more. Cows injected with rBGH are also more prone to infections and lameness and therefore more likely to be treated with antibiotics! ( Which incidentally Monsanto also supplies.) After 8 years of research and studies, Canada rejected Monsanto's product and banned the treatment of cows with rBGH. They aren't the only ones. Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have also banned the use for rBGH due to scientific health concerns. So, maybe there's something to it...

At this time Dairy products are not labeled when they DO contain rBGH or rBST, however there are plenty of products telling us they DON'T. So, I urge you to look for those products. If you can afford to go organic - even better! But let's face it, these days we are all on a budget....although come to think of it, Monsanto probably isn't.

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