Blog | The Cycle Project - Part 3

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Aug 30th 2013

Real Food Spaghetti Pie

 

This innovative spaghetti pie is made with noodles straight from a squash…not a package! It’s a fun way to serve a traditional, comfort meal without the guilt. Dinners like this are a wonderful way to quickly achieve your fat loss goal.

Serving: 6 
Here’s what you need…

  • 1 organic spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 ounces ground turkey or beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons flax meal
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  1. Wash the spaghetti squash, slice in half lengthwise and bake cut-side up in a 375 degree F oven for 40 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Discard the cashew soaking water. Combine the cashews, lemon juice, water, olive oil, salt, paprika, garlic and pepper in a blender. Mix until completely smooth. Set the cheese spread aside.
  3. In a large skillet warm the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey and cook until the meat is brown and onion is tender. Stir in fennel seeds, tomato sauce, and oregano. Heat through. Remove from heat.
  4. Use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash strands from the squash skins and place in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, flax meal and nutritional yeast. Mix until fully incorporated. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with coconut oil. Press spaghetti squash mixture onto the bottom and up sides of pie plate, forming a crust. Spread the meat mixture over the crust. Sprinkle with the cheese spread.
  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Slice into wedges to serve.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 289 calories, 19g fat, 347mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 16g protein

 

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Aug 28th 2013

The Way Nature Intended

Food that’s untouched and unprocessed is always going to be the healthiest. See how many real, whole foods you can fit into your diet, while cutting out the packaged foods. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly your body transforms when you eat food prepared the way nature intended.

 

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Aug 27th 2013

Obesity Rates Still High…But No Longer Rising

Photo Credit:
Courtesy RWJF and TFAH

 

 

There’s good news and bad news about adult obesity rates.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way: New findings show that adult obesity remains far too high. Adult obesity rates remain above 20 percent in all states, above 30 percent in 13 states and at least 25 percent in 41 states.

But here’s the good news: After three decades of increases, adult obesity rates in the past year remained level in every state but one, Arkansas.

Our friends at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) unveiled these findings last week in the annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future report.

While there’s clearly still a lot of work left to do to solve the nation’s obesity epidemic, the report takes an optimistic tone. On its official website, it’s even nicknamed “F as in Forward?” highlighting the progress that has been made in recent years.

And the report’s promising findings come on the heels of another recent report by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention that found rates of obesity among preschool children from low-income families decreased in 18 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Cities such as Anchorage, Philadelphia and New York City also have reported declines in their childhood obesity rates.

“We honestly believe real and lasting progress is being made in the nation’s effort to turn back the obesity epidemic. We know what is working to make that progress,” RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey and TFAH Executive Director Jeffrey Levi write in a letter about the report. “Our success among children has taught our nation how to prevent obesity: changing public policies, community environments, and industry practices in ways that support and promote healthy eating and physical activity. When schools, parents, policymakers and industry leaders get together, they can create a culture of health that improves children’s lives. But no one should believe that the nation’s work is done.”

Reaction from the childhood obesity movement also was positive. Speaking on behalf of Voices for Healthy Kids, American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said the report “shows a nod in the right direction.

“We are nowhere near success, but it looks like we are finally stalling the rise in obesity rates,” Brown said. “This is being accomplished by hundreds of cities and dozens of states making a commitment to the health of their communities.”

Although obese rates are stable, they remain stubbornly high — and discrepancies continue across wide swaths of the population.

Obesity rates vary by region and age, the report finds. Nineteen of the 20 states with the highest obesity rates are in the South or Midwest. Mississippi is no longer the most obese state; that title now belongs to Louisiana, which has a rate of 34.7 percent. Colorado continues to have the lowest rate of 20.5 percent.

Baby boomers are the heaviest, the findings show. Obesity rates for Americans ages 45-to-64 have reached 40 percent in two states (Alabama and Louisiana) and are 30 percent or higher in 41 states. Obesity rates for people ages 65 and older exceeded 30 percent in only one state, Louisiana, and rates young adults ages 18 to 25 are below 28 percent in every state.

Rates also strongly vary by income and education. More than 35 percent of adults ages 26 and older who did not graduate high school are obese, while 21.3 percent of those who graduated from college are obese. More than 25 percent of adults who earn at least $50,000 a year are obese; that rate jumps to more than 31 percent among those who earn less than $25,000 a year.

The data also show that “extreme obesity” — defined as a body mass index of 40 or higher — continues to grow. In the past 30 years, the number of adults who are extremely obese soared from 1.4 percent to 6.3 percent.

The report includes suggestions that have been shown to positively impact obesity rates, including improving the nutritional quality of school food, making it easier for children and adults to be physically active in their daily lives, including funding for walking and biking in transportation planning, increasing access to healthy, affordable food in underserved communities and requiring food and beverage companies to market only healthy food to kids.

It is also important to note that Columbia University released a study on the same day that stated we might actually be underestimating the mortality rate caused by obesity. And if morbid obesity rates are continuing to increase (per CDC surveillance), then we may see a greater impact of our current obesity rates on mortality than we previously anticipated. Armed with this information, it is as vital as ever to keep up with the fight against obesity and provide healthy environments to our children.

“The good news is that we know what to do,” Lavizzo-Mourey and Levi write. “The only question is, do we have the will to do it?”

Click here to read the full report.

 

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Aug 26th 2013

Are These 5 ‘Healthy’ Foods Sabotaging Your Results?

It’s frustrating when your body won’t change. When the pounds won’t drop. When those extra inches won’t go away.

If you’re exercising regularly and still not seeing results then it’s time that you look closely at your diet.

One of the biggest obstacles that prevents you from losing fat and getting into awesome shape is all that processed food that you’re still eating.

And I can’t blame you, with the way more and more processed foods are being marketed as healthy, even the health savvy are being fooled.

Take a walk through the local natural foods market and you’ll see nearly every form of junk food that you’d find at the supermarket – only with things like ‘gluten free’, ‘organic’ and ‘zero trans fats’ on the packages.

Those are all great – being gluten free, organic and trans fats free. Fresh, organic veggies, fruits and meats could all boast the same. But when those words are stamped on a package of cookies, chips or the like, then eating them is going to seriously slow your fitness results. Gluten free or not.

Here are the top 5 ‘healthy’ processed foods that you’re eating that are killing your results and keeping you from attaining your goal weight:

1) Healthy Cereal
Have you seen the cereal aisle at the natural foods market? Its shelves are lined with dozens of cereal boxes, all with bold health claims. There are gluten free cereals, cereals with no corn syrup, cereals with heart healthy grains, cereals with whole grains and even cereals with added vitamins.

Those all sound healthy, right? Well, sure those cereals are technically not as harmful as the brightly colored cereals from the supermarket, but as far as your fat loss results are concerned, the two are really about the same.

Cereal is a dense source of calories, which means it’s almost impossible not to overdo it when enjoying a bowl. If your goal is to lose fat, then cereal, even organic, gluten free cereal, should stay off your daily menu.

2) Healthy Packaged Snacks
There is a brand of ‘healthy’ popcorn that literally has fit in its name. With branding like that it’s no wonder people are getting confused and eating food that destroys their fitness results.

Popcorn, and other crunchy, packaged ‘health’ food snacks are filled with carbohydrates and calories. Two things that you should be cutting back on when working towards a fitness goal. These snack items are habit forming, so you may tell yourself that it’s just a once-in-awhile treat, but soon it becomes a daily occurrence.

Here’s the simple, unchanging fact about packaged snack foods: No matter what benefits are broadcasted on the package, it’s always going to promote fat storage. Yes, even if it has fit right in its name.

3) Healthy Energy Bars
The energy bar aisle at the health food store is a colorful, wonderland of beautifully packaged, seemingly healthful snacks. The bars contain nuts, fruits, protein and even goji berries. What’s not to love?

All that sugar, for starters. Manufacturers are clever enough to call sugar ‘evaporated can juice’ or ‘natural cane sugar’ or even ‘rice syrup’ but that sugar reacts in your body just the same as any other sugar. It encourages fat storage.

The next time that you reach for an energy bar, consider all of the calories and sugars. Look for bars that are low in sugars and high in protein, and if you’re eating it in between meals consider eating just half the bar.

4) Healthy Bread
Have you ever spent time in the bread aisle, reading labels and trying to figure out which is the healthiest? It can be pretty confusing. There’s wheat, whole wheat, gluten free, and sprouted grain. How can you tell what’s the healthiest?

The unfortunate news, for all you bread lovers, is that when it comes to losing inches all bread is a problem. You see, gluten free bread is filled with just as many calories and carbohydrates as wheat bread or sprouted grain bread.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have a free pass to indulge in bread when it’s the ‘healthy’ kind. Your body will convert that healthy bread into fat quicker than you can say burpee.

5) Healthy Trail Mix
Trail mix is a tricky one for healthy food shoppers. It’s made with nuts and seeds, which we know to be healthy. It’s also often dotted with chocolate, sweetened dried fruits or other treats.

Nuts can belong in a fat loss diet, within certain parameters. For example, a small handful of raw almonds makes a wonderful in-between-meals snack. It’s filled with fiber, protein, good fat, vitamins and minerals.

A half a cup of trail mix, on the other hand, is packed with two or three times the calories in addition to having added sweeteners and extra salt. Not to mention, trail mix is hard to stop eating once you’ve started. When working towards a fat loss goal, unless you are on a day long hike on an actual trail, it’s best to stay away from even the healthiest of trail mixes.

Never take a packaged food item based on the claims and benefits printed on the labels. When you’re looking to transform your body, you must guard what goes into your mouth. Packaged foods, even those from the health store, are going to derail your results ever single time.

Speed your fitness results by becoming one of my clients. I’d love to get you to your goals using my results-driven method.

 

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Aug 23rd 2013

Grain-Free Zucchini Muffins

 

Most muffin recipes use white flour, sugar, canola oil and dairy—but not these healthy muffins. Each of these Grain-Free Zucchini Muffins is packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It’s the perfect way to turn fresh, organic zucchini into a delicious treat.

Serving: 12
Here’s what you need…

  • 11/2 cups almond flour
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup grated zucchini, water squeezed out
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan with coconut oil, or one large loaf pan.
  2. Combine the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the eggs, honey, vanilla, banana and oil in another bowl. Mix well and add the dry ingredients. Mix until fully combined
  4. Fold in the zucchini, raisins and pecans. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each tin 1/4 full.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and set (for a loaf bake for 30 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis: One muffin equals: 182 calories, 12g fat, 13g carbohydrate, 166mg sodium, 3g fiber, and 6g protein

 

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Elite Physiques & The Cycle Project

Aug 22nd 2013

Does High Fructose Corn Syrup Fuel Cancer Cells?

soda-512(CBS) Afraid of fructose? You may have good reason to be, as an alarming new study shows that the popular sweetener can fuel the growth of cancer.

The study, conducted by scientists at UCLA, found that pancreatic cancer cells grew faster when “fed” with fructose. Study author Dr. Anthony Heaney, associate professor of medicine and neurosurgery at the university’s cancer center, said it was likely that fructose would also speed the growth of other cancers as well.

“The bottom line is the modern diet contains a lot of refined sugar including fructose and it’s a hidden danger implicated in a lot of modern diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and fatty liver,” Heaney said in a written statement.

The study was published in the August 1 issue of the journal “Cancer Research.”

Heaney called for government action to reduce American’s consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a leading source of fructose in the Western diet. Fructose also comes from sources such as fruit, vegetables and old fashioned table sugar.

“I think this paper has a lot of public health implications,” Heaney said. “Hopefully, at the federal level there will be some effort to step back on the amount of HFCS in our diets.”

But the corn lobby (high-fructose is made from corn) felt the research left a bitter taste in its mouth.

“This study does not look at the way fructose is actually consumed by humans, as it was conducted in a laboratory, not inside the human body,” the Corn Refiners Association said in a statement, concluding that the root causes of pancreatic cancer are complicated and poorly understood.

Between 1970 and 1990, consumption of high-fructose corn syrup rose 1,000 percent, according to the cancer researchers. The sweetener – a blend of fructose and another sugar called glucose – is found in all sorts of foods and beverages and is the most common sweetener used in American soft drinks.

The association said that overall, sugar is still the most common form of fructose in the American diet.

And don’t be fooled by products which replace high-fructose corn syrup with sugar. They also contain high levels of fructose.

Read the full research here.

Source

 

 

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Aug 21st 2013

Diet Matters Too

Don’t forget how much your diet matters when it comes to getting your legs into amazing shape. In addition to a challenging workout routine, incorporate these diet tips into your routine: Eliminate processed snack items from your diet. Cut down on the amount of grains you eat each day. Include lean protein with each meal. Fill your plate with colorful, nutrient-dense veggies. Enjoy fresh fruit as dessert, instead of sugar-filled items.

 

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Aug 19th 2013

5 Moves For Sculpted & Toned Legs

Legs are one of the most common problem areas that clients complain about. Can you relate?

Do you avoid wearing shorts and hate the thought of a bathing suit?

If your thighs rub together, buns jiggle and dimples appear, it’s time to step up your leg routine.

Whatever you’d like to improve about your legs, it isn’t going to fix itself. The best strategy for getting killer legs is to include strength training for your lower body in your regular exercise routine.

To tone and sculpt your legs, incorporate the following five exercises a few times a week and see the difference they make. Stick with it and you’ll be showing off those legs in no time.

Tone Your Legs Move #1: The Squat
A properly done squat is a powerhouse of an exercise. In one movement you work your glutes, hips and thighs. Talk about hitting all the problem areas!

Here’s how to do a proper squat. Position your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, core tight, and chest up, squat down like you’re going to sit in a chair. Bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your knees from extending past your toes. Hold this position, and then exhale as you stand back up. Repeat for 20 repetitions without resting. As your endurance builds, feel free to add resistance by holding weights at your sides.

Tone Your Legs Move #2: Carving Curtsy
This move is a little more complicated but worth the effort. It works your abs, buttocks, and legs—including your inner thighs.

To do the carving curtsy, first stand up straight with your arms bent and hands by your chest. Lunge back and to the right with your left leg so your left foot lands behind your right foot, to the right of your body. Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle, as if you’re performing a curtsy. Swing your left arm forward and up and your right arm back by your right side. Then stand up straight, lifting your left knee out to the side and tap your left knee with your left hand. Do 20 reps on each leg then repeat on the other side.

Tone Your Legs Move #3: The Mountain Climber
This rocking leg exercise mimics the movement of climbing a steep mountain. The faster you move your legs, the more of a cardio workout you’ll get as well.

Get into a push-up position: hands and toes on the floor holding up your body. Holding in your abs, lift your right foot, and bring your right knee toward your chest. Tap the floor with your right foot, and then extend your leg back to starting position. Repeat with your left leg, bringing your left knee up toward your chest and tap the floor. Return to start position. Repeat with both legs for 20 repetitions.

Tone Your Legs Move #4: The Lunge
The lunge is arguably the best leg exercise, as it works pretty much every leg muscle as well as your buttocks. There are quite a few variations to the simple lunge, but to do the basic lunge, stand up straight and tighten your core.

Step forward several feet with your right foot, lightly landing heel first. Bend both legs down until bent at 90 degrees (never more) and your left knee is about an inch above the floor. Your knee shouldn’t extend further than your toes. Keep your body upright, tighten your core and work to keep your balance by not wobbling from side to side. Lift your body up and bring your hips forward until you’re standing straight. Repeat on the other side, lunging forward with your left foot. Complete 20 lunges per leg.

Tone Your Legs Move #5: The Step-Up
Step-ups are great because they mimic movements you perform in daily life. This exercise works your legs and also gets your heart pumping. When you step-ups you can hold a dumbbell in each hand to increase resistance. In addition, you’ll need some sort of step such as a bottom stair, sturdy box, or low stable chair.

Step up with your right foot and then bring your left foot up. Step back down, so both feet are on the floor. Repeat, stepping up first with your left foot. Continue doing this 20 times with each leg.

Incorporate these moves into your routine to tone your legs, lift your buns, strengthen your core, and to encourage healthy weight loss.

Why stop at just toning and sculpting your legs? I’m here to help you transform your entire body! Call or email today to get started on a specialized fitness plan that’s designed to quickly shape your body.

 

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Aug 16th 2013

Slow Cooker Turkey Spaghetti over Zucchini Noodles

 

Making noodles out of fresh zucchini dramatically cuts down on the carbs and calories in your dinner, while increasing the fiber content. Imagine what an impact this simple food trick could have on your fitness results if you always chose zucchini noodles over traditional noodles.

Serving: 6
Here’s what you need…

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped olives
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (Cabernet works well)
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 6 zucchinis
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  1. In a large skillet, place the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions and fennel. Cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the carrots, cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Coat the inside of your slow cooker with olive oil. Add the cooked veggies, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine and the seasonings. Mix well.
  3. Add the turkey on top of the veggie mixture, breaking it into chunks. Lightly press the turkey down into the sauce, but be careful not to break up the chunks.
  4. Cook on low heat for 7 hours.
  5. Wash the zucchini, use a vegetable peeler to create long, flat noodles. Stop when you get to the seedy middle part of the zucchini. Plate the zucchini noodles and top with warm turkey spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 276 calories, 8g fat, 383mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, and 21g protein

 

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Aug 14th 2013

10 American Foods Banned In Other Countries

Americans are slowly waking up to the sad fact that much of the food sold in the US is far inferior to the same foods sold in other nations. In fact, many of the foods you eat are BANNED in other countries.

Here, I’ll review 10 American foods that are banned elsewhere, which were featured in a recent MSN article.1

Seeing how the overall health of Americans is so much lower than other industrialized countries, you can’t help but wonder whether toxic foods such as these might play a role in our skyrocketing disease rates.

#1: Farm-Raised Salmon

If you want to maximize health benefits from fish, you want to steer clear of farmed fish, particularly farmed salmon fed dangerous chemicals. Wild salmon gets its bright pinkish-red color from natural carotenoids in their diet. Farmed salmon, on the other hand, are raised on a wholly unnatural diet of grains (including genetically engineered varieties), plus a concoction of antibiotics and other drugs and chemicals not shown to be safe for humans.

This diet leaves the fish with unappetizing grayish flesh so to compensate, they’re fed synthetic astaxanthin made from petrochemicals, which has not been approved for human consumption and has well known toxicities. According to the featured article, some studies suggest it can potentially damage your eyesight. More details are available in yesterday’s article.

Where it’s banned: Australia and New Zealand

How can you tell whether a salmon is wild or farm-raised? The flesh of wild sockeye salmon is bright red, courtesy of its natural astaxanthin content. It’s also very lean, so the fat marks, those white stripes you see in the meat, are very thin. If the fish is pale pink with wide fat marks, the salmon is farmed.

Avoid Atlantic salmon, as typically salmon labeled “Atlantic Salmon” currently comes from fish farms. The two designations you want to look for are: “Alaskan salmon,” and “sockeye salmon,” as Alaskan sockeye is not allowed to be farmed. Please realize that the vast majority of all salmon sold in restaurants is farm raised.

So canned salmon labeled “Alaskan Salmon” is a good bet, and if you find sockeye salmon, it’s bound to be wild. Again, you can tell sockeye salmon from other salmon by its color; its flesh is bright red opposed to pink, courtesy of its superior astaxanthin content. Sockeye salmon actually has one of the highest concentrations of astaxanthin of any food.

#2: Genetically Engineered Papaya

Most Hawaiian papaya is now genetically engineered to be resistant to ringspot virus. Mounting research now shows that animals fed genetically engineered foods, such as corn and soy, suffer a wide range of maladies, including intestinal damage, multiple-organ damagemassive tumorsbirth defects, premature death, and near complete sterility by the third generation of offspring. Unfortunately, the gigantic human lab experiment is only about 10 years old, so we are likely decades away from tabulating the human casualties.

Where it’s banned: The European Union

Unfortunately, it’s clear that the US government is not in a position to make reasonable and responsible decisions related to genetically engineered foods at this point, when you consider the fact that the Obama administration has placed former Monsanto attorney and Vice President, Michael Taylor, in charge of US food safety, and serious conflicts of interest even reign supreme within the US Supreme Court! That’s right. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is also a former Monsanto attorney, but refuses to acknowledge any conflict of interest.

#3: Ractopamine-Tainted Meat

The beta agonist drug ractopamine (a repartitioning agent that increases protein synthesis) was recruited for livestock use when researchers found that the drug, used in asthma, made mice more muscular. This reduces the overall fat content of the meat. Ractopamine is currently used in about 45 percent of US pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys are pumped full of this drug in the days leading up to slaughter. Up to 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat you buy from the supermarket, according to veterinarian Michael W. Fox.

Since 1998, more than 1,700 people have been “poisoned” from eating pigs fed the drug, and ractopamine is banned from use in food animals in no less than 160 different countries due to its harmful health effects! Effective February 11, 2013, Russia issued a ban on US meat imports, slated to last until the US agrees to certify that the meat is ractopamine-free. At present, the US does not even test for the presence of this drug in meats sold. In animals, ractopamine is linked to reductions in reproductive function, increase of mastitis in dairy herds, and increased death and disability. It’s also known to affect the human cardiovascular system, and is thought to be responsible for hyperactivity, and may cause chromosomal abnormalities and behavioral changes.

Where it’s banned: 160 countries across Europe, Russia, mainland China and Republic of China (Taiwan)

#4: Flame Retardant Drinks

If you live in the US and drink Mountain Dew and some other citrus-flavored sodas and sports drinks, then you are also getting a dose of a synthetic chemical called brominated vegetable oil(BVO), which was originally patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant.

BVO has been shown to bioaccumulate in human tissue and breast milk, and animal studies have found it causes reproductive and behavioral problems in large doses. Bromine is a central nervous system depressant, and a common endocrine disruptor. It’s part of the halide family, a group of elements that includes fluorine, chlorine and iodine. When ingested, bromine competes for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine. This can lead to iodine deficiency, which can have a very detrimental impact on your health. Bromine toxicity can manifest as skin rashes, acne, loss of appetite, fatigue, and cardiac arrhythmias. According to the featured article:

“The FDA has flip-flopped on BVO’s safety originally classifying it as ‘generally recognized as safe’ but reversing that call now defining it as an ‘interim food additive’ a category reserved for possibly questionable substances used in food.”

Where it’s banned: Europe and Japan

#5: Processed Foods Containing Artificial Food Colors and Dyes

More than 3,000 food additives — preservatives, flavorings, colors and other ingredients — are added to US foods, including infant foods and foods targeted to young children. Meanwhile, many of these are banned in other countries, based on research showing toxicity and hazardous health effects, especially with respect to adverse effects on children’s behavior. For example, as reported in the featured article:

“Boxed Mac & Cheese, cheddar flavored crackers, Jell-O and many kids’ cereals contain red 40, yellow 5, yellow 6 and/or blue 2, the most popularly-used dyes in the United States. Research has shown this rainbow of additives can cause behavioral problems as well as cancer, birth defects and other health problems in laboratory animals. Red 40 and yellow 6 are also suspected of causing an allergy-like hypersensitivity reaction in children. The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that some dyes are also “contaminated with known carcinogens.”

In countries where these food colors and dyes are banned, food companies like Kraft employ natural colorants instead, such as paprika extract, beetroot, and annatto. The food blogger and activist Vani Hari, better known as “Food Babe,” recently launched a Change.org petition2 asking Kraft to remove artificial dyes from American Mac & Cheese to protect American children from the well-known dangers of these dyes.

Where it’s banned: Norway and Austria. In 2009, the British government advised companies to stop using food dyes by the end of that year. The European Union also requires a warning notice on most foods containing dyes.

#6: Arsenic-Laced Chicken

Arsenic-based drugs are approved for use in animal feed in the US because they make animals grow quicker and make the meat appear pinker (i.e. “fresher”). The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated these products are safe because they contain organic arsenic, which is less toxic than the other inorganic form, which is a known carcinogen.

The problem is, scientific reports surfaced stating that the organic arsenic could transform into inorganic arsenic, which has been found in elevated levels in supermarket chickens. The inorganic arsenic also contaminates manure where it can eventually migrate into drinking water and may also be causing heightened arsenic levels in US rice.

In 2011, Pfizer announced it would voluntarily stop marketing its arsenic-based feed additive Roxarsone, but there are still several others on the market. Several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the FDA calling for their removal from the market. In the European Union, meanwhile, arsenic-based compounds have never been approved as safe for animal feed.

Where it’s banned: The European Union

#7: Bread with Potassium Bromate

You might not be aware of this, but nearly every time you eat bread in a restaurant or consume a hamburger or hotdog bun you are consuming bromide, as it is commonly used in flours. The use of potassium bromate as an additive to commercial breads and baked goods has been a huge contributor to bromide overload in Western cultures.

Bromated flour is “enriched” with potassium bromate. Commercial baking companies claim it makes the dough more elastic and better able to stand up to bread hooks. However, Pepperidge Farm and other successful companies manage to use only unbromated flour without any of these so-called “structural problems.” Studies have linked potassium bromate to kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal discomfort, and cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies potassium bromate as a possible carcinogen.

Where it’s banned: Canada, China and the EU

#8: Olestra/Olean

Olestra, aka Olean, created by Procter & Gamble, is a calorie- and cholesterol-free fat substitute used in fat-free snacks like chips and French fries. Three years ago, Time Magazine3 named it one of the worst 50 inventions ever, but that hasn’t stopped food companies from using it to satisfy people’s mistaken belief that a fat-free snack is a healthier snack. According to the featured article:

“Not only did a 2011 study from Purdue University conclude rats fed potato chips made with Olean gained weight, there have been several reports of adverse intestinal reactions to the fake fat including diarrhea, cramps and leaky bowels. And because it interferes with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K, the FDA requires these vitamins be added to any product made with Olean or olestra.”

Where it’s banned: The UK and Canada

#9: Preservatives BHA and BHT

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are commonly used preservatives that can be found in breakfast cereal, nut mixes, chewing gum, butter spread, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer, just to name a few. BHA is known to cause cancer in rats, and may be a cancer-causing agent in humans as well. In fact, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Toxicology Program’s 2011 Report on Carcinogens, BHA “is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” It may also trigger allergic reactions and hyperactivity, while BHT can cause organ system toxicity.

Where it’s banned: The UK doesn’t allow BHA in infant foods. BHA and BHT are also banned in parts of the European Union and Japan.

#10: Milk and Dairy Products Laced with rBGH

Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is the largest selling dairy animal drug in America. RBGH is a synthetic version of natural bovine somatotropin (BST), a hormone produced in cows’ pituitary glands. Monsanto developed the recombinant version from genetically engineered E. coli bacteria and markets it under the brand name “Posilac.”

It’s injected into cows to increase milk production, but it is banned in at least 30 other nations because of its dangers to human health, which include an increased risk for colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer by promoting conversion of normal tissue cells into cancerous ones. Non-organic dairy farms frequently have rBGH-injected cows that suffer at least 16 different adverse health conditions, including very high rates of mastitis that contaminate milk with pus and antibiotics.

“According to the American Cancer Society, the increased use of antibiotics to treat this type of rBGH-induced inflammation ‘does promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but the extent to which these are transmitted to humans is unclear,’” the featured article states.

Many have tried to inform the public of the risks of using this hormone in dairy cows, but their attempts have been met with overwhelming opposition by the powerful dairy and pharmaceutical industries, and their government liaisons. In 1997, two Fox-affiliate investigative journalists, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, attempted to air a program exposing the truth about the dangers of rBGH. Lawyers for Monsanto, a major advertiser with the Florida network, sent letters promising “dire consequences” if the story aired.

Despite decades of evidence about the dangers of rBGH, the FDA still maintains it’s safe for human consumption and ignores scientific evidence to the contrary. In 1999, the United Nations Safety Agency ruled unanimously not to endorse or set safety standards for rBGH milk, which has effectively resulted in an international ban on US milk.4 The Cancer Prevention Coalition, trying for years to get the use of rBGH by the dairy industry banned, resubmitted a petition to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, in January 2010.5 Although the FDA stubbornly sticks to its position that milk from rBGH-treated cows is no different than milk from untreated cows, this is just plain false and is not supported by science. The only way to avoid rBGH is to look for products labeled as “rBGH-free” or “No rBGH.”

Where it’s banned: Australia, New Zealand, Israel, EU and Canada

Take Control of Your Health with REAL Food

There are many other examples where the US federal regulatory agencies have sold out to industry at the expense of your health, while other countries have chosen to embrace the precautionary principle in order to protect their citizens. If you want to avoid these questionable foods and other potentially harmful ingredients permitted in the US food supply, then ditching processed foods entirely is your best option. About 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food is spent on processed foods, so there is massive room for improvement in this area for most people.

Next, you’ll want to swap out your regular meat sources to organic, grass-fed/pasture-raised versions of beef and poultry. The same goes for dairy products and animal by-products such as eggs.

Swapping your processed-food diet for one that focuses on fresh whole foods is a necessity if you value your health. For a step-by-step guide to make this a reality in your own life, whether you live in the US or elsewhere, simply follow the advice in my optimized nutrition plan.

 

Dr. Joseph Mercola

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