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I homeschool and have a health ministry for friends, family, and health lovers world-wide. I'm totally into all-natural and avoid chemicals, food additives, etc. even in my cosmetics. I am working toward eating Vegan, Organic, and raw as much as possible (my family too). I'm married, and have two small kids and two grown step kids. Optimal Health - God's Way ".....and the fruit thereof shall be for meat (FOOD), and the leaf for MEDICINE." Ezekiel 47:12 KJV

Sunday, April 28, 2013

24-hour stomach flu or food-poisoning from your own home? The Dirty Truth About Cutting Boards!

No such thing as a "24-hour stomach flu!" 80-90% of these cases are most likely food-poisoning from your own home! Use a separate cutting board for meats, and read this article for more great sanitation tips to protect your family.

The Dirty Truth About Cutting Boards

Knives aren’t the only kitchen tools that are dangerous if not properly used in the kitchen—cutting boards can harbor harmful bacteria if not used and cleaned properly.

Stockbyte / Getty Images

If you want to keep your kitchen knives in decent shape, you need a good cutting board. Better yet, get two. Choosing the right cutting board—and knowing how to clean it properly—will save a lot of wear and tear on your edges, and may just keep your family safe from a nasty bout of food poisoning.
1) Why you need two cutting boards
You need at least two boards, one for fruits, vegetables, bread and anything that is safe to be eaten raw. The second board is specifically (and solely) for cutting raw meats, poultry and fish. Cutting boards, because they come in contact with a variety of foods during a single meal’s preparation, have got to be kept clean to avoid transferring bacteria from one food item to the next. That’s why you need one board that is just for meats, fish, and poultry. A recent report found that 80 percent of all grocery-store chickens in the U.S. are contaminated with SalmonellaCampylobacter or both. You don’t want that in your salad or on your strawberry shortcake. Cutting a head of lettuce after butterflying a couple of chicken breasts is just playing Russian roulette with your gastrointestinal tract. You might as well lick the raw chicken. It will catch up to you sooner or later.
A recent report found that 80 percent of all grocery store chickens in the U.S. are contaminated with SalmonellaCampylobacter or both.
The number of people who say they don’t wash their hands or cutting boards after cutting raw meat or chicken has dropped to 15 percent in recent years. But those are the people who admit it. Videotaped studies of kitchen habits show that the real number is about 30 percent. That is just scary. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are between 76 million and 81 million cases of food poisoning each year, the vast majority of which go unreported because they didn’t require a trip to the hospital or doctor’s office. There’s no such thing as a “24-hour stomach flu,” so that long night you spent endlessly counting your bathroom floor tiles was probably food poisoning. Somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of food-poisoning cases come from food prepared and eaten at home. Cross contamination is not pretty. Get two cutting boards. And wash your hands.
2) Board basics
Cutting boards come in three major categories: wood (including bamboo), plastic, and hard rubber. There is a special place in hell reserved for people who cut on granite or glass boards or directly on the countertop. The kitchen gods are watching.
With wooden cutting boards, you have two basic choices, end grain or edge grain. End-grain boards look like checkerboards. They are made by jointing and gluing many small blocks of wood together with the cut ends facing upward. The vertical grain makes for a surface that is extremely durable and is easier on your knives than edge-grain or plastic boards. End-grain boards are more expensive than other types of cutting boards. They are usually much thicker, too.
Edge-grain boards are made by placing planks of wood on edge (taller than they are wide) and gluing them together under pressure. You can tell an edge-grain board by the stripes. Edge-grain boards are not as strong as end-grain boards but they cost significantly less. They are also a lot easier to store and move around the kitchen. Neither type of wood board should ever go through the dishwasher. Wooden cutting boards should be made from hard, tight-grained woods like hard rock maple, walnut, cherry, teak, bamboo, ash or birch.
Hard rubber boards, specifically the Sani-Tuff brand, are common in restaurant kitchens and don’t get as much attention as they should from serious home cooks. They are sold only by restaurant supply companies, so they can be a little difficult to find, and their industrial beige color has all of the charm of a bowling shoe, but hard rubber boards combine many of the positive attributes of both wood and plastic boards. They are heavy and don’t slide around on the countertop, they are as comfortable to cut on as wood, and they are dishwasher-safe.
Plastic cutting boards are inexpensive, dishwasher safe, and come in colors. Professional kitchens use color-coded boards to prevent cross contamination: white for dairy products, green for vegetables, blue for seafood, yellow for raw poultry, and red for raw meat. This is a great way to avoid cross contamination of foods and is a major plus for the plastic boards. On the other hand, plastic or poly boards can be hard on knife edges. They are better than ceramic or glass, but they feel “crunchy” when you try to cut quickly on them. There are issues with plastic boards harboring bacteria as they get older, which leads us to . . .
3) Wood versus plastic
If you do any reading about cutting boards you’ll run across the wood versus plastic debate almost immediately. Faulty interpretation of some scientific research led to a widespread belief that wood has natural antibacterial properties. It doesn’t. Despite a lot of hype and misguided news reports, wood does not have any magical germ-killing abilities—unless you find capillary action magical. It is pretty cool.
Wood does not kill off bacteria and/or pathogens. It absorbs them. The bugs, bacteria, and nasties are sucked into the first millimeter or so of the wood and are trapped there. They generally live a couple of hours. How you feel about this is up to you. Technically, these bacteria are still there. That means that they are still a threat—in theory—to any foods placed on the cutting board. In practice they do not transfer to knife edges or cross-contaminate other foods because the board will not let go of them. They stay trapped in the wood and die as the board dries.
So what about plastic and poly cutting boards? New plastic boards are easy to clean and sanitize. Bacteria don’t penetrate the surface and can be washed away easily. The problem comes when the cutting board becomes scarred (which happens much more quickly than with wood boards). Knife scars on plastic boards are not clean incisions. The cuts fracture, creating a microscopic web of fissures below the surface which provide a safe harbor for bacteria. It gets more and more difficult to remove the pathogens through hand washing. A plastic or poly board can go through the dishwasher, which is verboten for wood cutting boards, but that becomes less effective as the cutting board becomes more scuffed and scarred. When a plastic board becomes scraggly enough to snag your dishcloth when you wash it, throw it out.
In short, replace your plastic cutting boards every couple of years or buy a good wooden cutting board and keep it clean and dry.
4) Cutting-board sanitation
The type of cutting board you use is significantly less important than knowing how to clean it.
If you are washing by hand (as you should be with wooden cutting boards), wash your cutting board before any other dishes or after washing everything else. You want to rinse the board before putting anything else in the sink or after everything else is done so you don’t contaminate your wash water or other dishes. Hard flowing water is critical. Give your cutting board a good rinse and rub down with a dish cloth or scrub brush. Dish cloths are rough enough to scrub your cutting board well. Unlike sponges, they also tend to dry out before growing high numbers of bacteria. That’s part of the reason sponges have been banished from my house—they are like little germ spas.
After the initial plain water scrub, wash your cutting board in hot soapy water. Be aware that the heat of the water does not kill germs. Putting your hands in water hot enough to kill germs will send you to the emergency room. However, fats and oils can provide a protective coating for bacteria, a way for them to survive even moderate scrubbing. Hot water aids the cleaning effect of dish soaps in removing grease and fats that can safeguard bacteria under them. When you are done, rinse the cutting board thoroughly and let it air dry. That’s it. No magic formulas or harsh chemicals.
Plastic and hard rubber cutting boards can be washed in the dishwasher, which is fairly effective for cleaning and sanitizing them. Even if you are using the dishwasher, you still need to give the board a good rinse and scrub first. There’s nothing like real physical friction to get rid of the goo. Pull your cutting boards out of the dishwasher before the drying cycle, which can warp them. Whether you use the dishwasher or hand wash, stand the board on end and let it dry. Air flow is important. Let your cutting boards dry completely before stacking or putting them away in cabinets or you’ll just trap moisture and bacteria.
Buy two good boards and keep them clean. For all their dowdy utility, cutting boards are a critical part of your kitchen.
Veteran writer and cook Chad Ward is the author of An Edge in the Kitchen: The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Knives, named one of Slate.com’s Best Books of 2008 and the Chicago Tribune’s Favorite Food Books of 2008. To date, more than 500,000 people have taken Chad’s online knife sharpening class oneGullet.org. He lives in North Carolina.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How Cells from an Aborted Fetus are Used to Create Novel Flavor Enhancers: Pepsi drops out after boycott, but others are still in.

How Cells from an Aborted Fetus are Used to Create Novel Flavor Enhancers

March 17, 2013 | 
This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.
The Flavorists. Morley Safer reports on the multibillion dollar flavor industry, whose scientists create natural and artificial flavorings that make your mouth water and keep you coming back for more. For transcript, see CBSNews.com1

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By Dr. Mercola
For several years anti-abortion advocates have been warning that a new technology for enhancing flavors such as sweetness and saltiness uses aborted fetal cells in the process.
The biotech company using this novel process, Senomyx, has signed contracts with Pepsi, Ajinomoto Co. (the maker of aspartame and meat glue), NestlĂ© and other food and beverage companies2 over the past several years.3
The primary goal for many of these processed food companies is to make foods and beverages tasty while reducing sugar and salt content.
While Senomyx refuses to disclose the details of the process, its patent applications indicate that part of the secret indeed involves the use of human kidney cells, known as HEK293, originating from an aborted baby.
It’s worth noting that no kidney cells, or part thereof, are actually IN the finished product.4 Rather they’re part of the process used to discern new flavors, which will be discussed below.
That said, to many, this is still “over the line.” Two years ago, anti-abortion groups launched boycott campaigns against Pepsi Co., urging them to reconsider using flavorings derived from a process involving the use of aborted embryonic kidney cells.
Whatever your personal convictions might be on the issue of using biological material from an aborted fetus, the issue of whether or not biotech-constructed flavor enhancers are safe or not remains...

Biotech Cooks Up New Flavors

Senomyx5 is a high tech research and development business that is "dedicated to finding new flavors to reduce sugars and reduce salt." These include new flavors such as Savory Flavors and Cooling Flavors, as well as flavor modulators such as Bitter Blockers and enhancers of Sweet and Salt tastes.6
Senomyx is also engaged in a new effort to discover and develop high-potency sweeteners to replace high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and natural herb sweeteners like Stevia, which some people object to due to its aftertaste.
To accomplish this, Senomyx has developed patented “flavor enhancing” compounds using "proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems." It’s a taste testing system that provides scientists with biochemical responses and electronic readouts when a flavor ingredient interacts with their patented receptor, letting researchers know whether or not they’ve “hit the mark” in terms of flavor. As described by Senomyx:7
“Flavors are substances that impart tastes or aromas... Individuals experience the sensation of taste when flavors in food and beverage products interact with taste receptors in the mouth. A taste receptor functions either by physically binding to a flavor ingredient in a process analogous to the way a key fits into a lock or by acting as a channel to allow ions to flow directly into a taste cell.
As a result of these interactions, signals are sent to the brain where a specific taste sensation is registered. There are currently five recognized primary senses of taste: umami, which is the savory taste of glutamate, sweet, salt, bitter and sour.
Senomyx has discovered or in-licensed many of the key receptors that mediate taste in humans. We created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor.”
According to an article in The New Yorker8 published in May 2011, Pepsi’s New York plant has a robot fitted with human taste buds to reliably “predict” what humans might like. To create this robotic taste tester, Pepsi Co. scientists injected the genetic sequences of the four known taste receptors into cultured cells, and then hardwired the cells to the robot’s computer. The robot (which has replaced human taste testers for the initial taste trials) can sample some 40,000 flavor assays per day.

What are These Genetically Engineered 'Flavor Enhancers,' and are They Safe?

According to a CBS News report from June 2011, 70 out of 77 Senomyx patents910 filed at that time referred to the use of HEK 293.11 These are human embryonic kidney cells originally harvested from a healthy, electively aborted fetus sometime in the 1970’s. The “HEK” identifies the cells as kidney cells, and the “293” denotes that the cells came from the 293rd experiment.
These cells have been cloned for decades, as they offer a reliable way to produce new proteins using genetic engineering. Senomyx has engineered HEK293 cells to function like human taste receptor cells,12 presumably such as those used in Pepsi Co’s taste-testing robot. This was done by isolating taste receptors found in certain cells, and adding them to the HEK cells.
HEK cells are also widely used within pharmaceutical and cell biology research for the same or similar reasons. It is however the first time HEK cells have been used in the food industry, which carries a certain “ick” factor for many. There’s also the issue of just not knowing how these new flavors are created. As stated in another CBS news report:13
So what exactly is this magic ingredient that will be appearing in a new version of Pepsi, and how is it made? Unfortunately, those questions are hard to answer. Senomyx... refers to them only as 'enhancers' or 'ingredients'... The products work by triggering receptors on the tongue and tricking your taste buds into sensing sweetness — or saltiness or coolness, in the case of the company's other programs...
So are Senomyx's covert ingredients safe? That, too, is anyone's guess... many of its enhancers have 'been granted'GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status, but all that means is that the company did its own assessment and then concluded everything was fine. We don't know whether Senomyx did any testing since the company isn't required to submit anything to the FDA.14
There's no reason to think that Senomyx's products will cause harm, but until or unless Pepsi decides to share details about how exactly it's achieving a 60 percent reduction in sugar while keeping the taste the same, customers will be drinking their 'scientifically advantaged' sodas completely in the dark.”
The lack of labeling requirements is particularly troublesome and will probably become an issue in the future. Since these compounds (whatever they are) are used in such minute quantities, they don’t have to be listed on the label. They’ll simply fall under the generic category of artificial and/or natural flavors. What this means is that the product will appear to be much “healthier” than it might otherwise be, were a flavor enhancer not used.
According to a 2010 CBS report,15 Senomyx’s flavor enhancers were already being sold outside the US at that time. For example, Nestle was by 2010 using an MSG flavor enhancer in its Maggi brand soups, sauces, condiments and instant noodles, and Ajinomoto was also using a similar ingredient in products for the Chinese market. This means less of the artificial sweetener is needed to create the same sweet taste as before, but while one could argue that this is a good thing, I suspect we will ultimately learn that this flavor enhancement method has multiple unforeseen adverse consequences — metabolically, and biologically.

Consequences of Food Alteration are More the Rule than the Exception...

There are many reasons why you're better off choosing natural whole foods in lieu of processed alternatives, but one of the primary ones is that junk foods contain additives that increase your toxic load, which in turn may increase your tendency to develop cancer. As of yet, there is NO medical research to back up the assertion that manipulating your taste buds in the way Senomyx’ products do is safe and healthy in the long term. As an example, I would point to the evidence now available showing that one of the reasons why artificial sweeteners do not work as advertised is because the taste of sweet itself is tied into your metabolic functioning in a way that we still do not fully understand... As a result, artificially sweetened products, oftentimes boasting zero calories, actually result in greater weight gain than sweetened products when used “in the real world.”
It's easy to forget that the processed, pre-packaged foods and fast food restaurants of today are actually a radical change in terms of the history of food production. Much of what we eat today bears very little resemblance of real food. Many products are loaded with non-nutritive fillers — purposely designed to just “take up space” to make you think you’re getting more than you really are — along with any number of additives. Many additives have been shown to have harmful effects on mood, behavior, metabolic functioning and biochemistry.
Now, with the introduction of untested engineered flavor enhancers, you’re left wondering whether processed foods with “cleaner” labels really are safer and healthier or not... Remember, because Senomyx’ flavor enhancers are used in such low concentrations they are not required to undergo the FDA's usual safety approval process for food additives.
The disease trends we're now seeing are only going to get worse as much of the processed foods consumed today are not even food-based. Who knows what kind of genetic mutations and malfunctions we're creating for ourselves and future generations when a MAJORITY of our diet consists of highly processed and artificial foods that contain substances never before consumed by humans in all of history.

How to Enhance Your Food's Flavor, Naturally

When choosing what to eat, I highly recommend you focus your meals on real food, and remember "food" equals "live nutrients." Nutrients, in turn, feed your cells, optimize your health and sustain life. To help you along, I’ve created a free optimized nutrition plan, which takes you step-by-step from the beginner’s through the advanced level.
When you eat real foods as opposed to "food products" like the ones being "enhanced" by Senomyx’ technology, you don't need artificial, lab-created flavors or flavor enhancers, because real foods taste delicious. The fact that processed foods taste good is the culmination of a profitable science of artificial flavors, enhancers and additives, without which most processed food would taste and look like shredded cardboard.
Real food naturally has vibrant colors, rich textures, and is authentically flavorful. For times when you want to add even more oomph to your meals, nature has provided herbs and spices, which are not only incredibly tasty but also will make your real food even healthier.

'My fountain of youth': Incredible 70-year-old who defies ageing process with vegan diet of home-grown vegetables and rainwater

'My fountain of youth': Incredible 70-year-old who defies ageing process with vegan diet of home-grown vegetables and rainwater

When Annette Larkins goes out with her husband of 54 years, people assume she is his daughter. 
The image of health, vitality and youth with a petite size four frame and a line-free face, Mrs Larkins is in fact 70 years old. 
The resident of Miami-Dade County, Florida, attributes her youthful looks to her raw vegan diet and grows almost everything she eats in the garden she refers to as her 'fountain of youth'.
70-year-old's secret to youth lies in the raw vegetables grown in her garden and rainwater.
Fountain of youth: Annette Larkin looks at least 20 years younger than her 70 years which she credits to eating a completely raw, vegan diet and growing all the food in her garden
During a visit to her home, ABC News reporters explored the back yard, every of inch of which is covered in plants and trees that grow the fruits and vegetables Mrs Larkins eats.
She told reporters: 'My diet consists of fruits, nuts, vegetables and seeds. I do a lot of sprouting of seeds and as you can see from my garden and of course, these are the raw foods that I eat.'
The sprightly septuagenarian did not always eat this way. Husband of 54 years, Amos, owned a meat factory in the 1960's and it was around this time that his wife decided to go vegetarian.
27 years ago she went one step further by turning vegan and now everything she eats is raw. Nothing cooked or processed every passes her lips.
Annette Larkin grows all her food in her back yard
Mrs Larkin subsists on a wholly raw diet
Home grown: The Miami-Dade resident grows all her own food and collects rainwater that she drinks and water the plants with. She also juices all the fruits and vegetables she grows
Mrs Larkins also juices her fruits and vegetables and collects rain water to drink and to water her garden.
For his part, Mr Larkins wishes he had followed his wife's example. Looking considerably older, he also takes prescription medicine for diabetes and high blood pressure while Mrs Larkins won't even take an aspirin. 
When they walk down the street together, he admitted: 'They'll ask me what am I doing with this young girl.'
Age ain't nothin' but a number: Amos Larkins says when he walks down the street people think his wife is his daughter because she looks so young
Age ain't nothin' but a number: Amos Larkins says when he walks down the street people think his wife is his daughter because she looks so young
Recognising how positively she could influence others, the formidable 70-year-old has already written two booklets titled: Journey to Health and produced a DVD about her nutritional regime.
'I am very vibrant, I have lots of energy, as I told you before, I am up no later than 5:30 in the morning as a rule, and I am ready to go' she told ABC.
Her husband agreed, gushing: 'She's an amazing person though. Oh man, I mean really. She does everything- build computers, make all her own clothes, grow her own food, speaks three languages. It's amazing.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2108935/Annette-Larkins-vegan-diet-Woman-70-defies-ageing-process-vegetables-rainwater.html#ixzz2QjiztaOd
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