If you are concerned about eating healthy for your body, you should be investigating foods that are “green” and healthy for the environment too. Following are some of the foods you should not eat that are hurting the earth as well, due to various bad management and processing techniques.
If you are still eating meat, find a local grass-fed animal farm where livestock is regularly rotated on fresh grass paddocks, is more nutritious and not polluting the environment with chemicals. Ask if they use antibiotics, Ivermectin or Flunixin on their animals. Ivermectin is an animal wormer that has been linked to neurological damage in humans and Flunixin is an anti-inflammatory that causes kidney damage, stomach and colon ulcers in humans. Animals raised on vegetable protein do not need routine antibiotics. In supermarkets, look for antibiotic and hormone-free meats and dairy products.
If you must eat shrimp, buy domestic shrimp from the East Coast, Maine and the Carolinas. Shrimp is the dirtiest of the Food and Water Watch’s Seafood Dirty Dozen list, contaminated with antibiotics, farmed shrimp pen cleaning products, U.S. banned toxic pesticide residues and insects. Less than two percent of imported seafood is inspected. Since 70 percent of domestic shrimp is from the Gulf of Mexico, with its recent oil spill it is better to buy from the East Coast.
Paper products, polycarbonate plastic bottles like Nalgene, and the epoxy lining in canned food contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) which acts like an estrogen hormone in your body. Ninety percent of Americans’ bodies now have it. Low levels of BPA exposure have been linked to abnormal reproductive organs, child behavior problems, heart disease and altered insulin levels leading to diabetes according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Use products in aseptic cartons or in glass bottles and recycle them. Manufacturers are switching to BPA-free cans so BPA cans should be gone by 2015. For now, they can still be contaminated from the old BPA can linings so avoid them. BPA is polluting rivers and estuaries and persists longer in seawater than freshwater, flowing downstream from wastewater treatment plants.
Avoid foods that contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) because they have too much sugar and HFCS may be contaminated with mercury, according to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). Testing 55 samples of HFCS, they found mercury in one third of them at levels three times higher than what an average woman should consume in one day. HFSC is processed with harmful chemicals and contains heavy metals. Buy regular instant oats instead and add flavorings such as cinnamon, raisins, fresh fruit or maple syrup, as well as other HFSC-free foods.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows up to 60 percent of canned or frozen raspberries and blackberries to contain mold, and canned fruit and vegetable juices up to 15 percent mold. Buy fresh fruits when they are in season and freeze them yourself. Spread clean fresh fruits on a cookie tin in your freezer for a few hours and then move them to a glass jar or airtight freezer-safe container. Mold has been in the news enough for everyone to know that it can be dangerous to the health of those who breathe its spores. Factory workers are working with these moldy products and consumers do not want to ingest them either.
Just because a food is labeled organic, it does not mean that it does not contain bacteria. Organic farmers fertilize with manure. Manure should be spread out and heated to 120 degrees F or bacteria can grow and be on the product. Grow your own sprouted seeds like mung beans and alfalfa. Acid rain and groundwater pesticides are some of the unavoidable toxins even in even your homegrown organic gardens. Container gardening using organic soil, grow lights and filtered water with hand-pollination is an option for nearly everyone to grow at least some of their own food and know what it contains. Cook foods properly to reduce bacteria, eat local non- processed foods, and install a reverse osmosis water filter for your drinking water. Remain educated about the latest food regulations. What is best for the environment is usually best for you in turn.
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