When big business and food meet, the results are often delicious. But is it healthy? I recently read an article in Reader’s Digest (June 2015, print issue) about 50 things food manufacturers don’t tell consumers about packaged foods. Here are some that I found particularly deceptive:
There is a lot of information, and misinformation, about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This video from PBS.org cuts through the myths about GMOs spread by the corporations who create these “Frankenfoods,” foods which have never been scientifically confirmed to be safe for consumption, despite what these corporations are telling consumers.
MSN has a video up about the debate over whether organic produce is healthier than conventional produce. The video cites studies done that compared the two and found that organic fruits and veggies have up to 70% more antioxidants than conventionally grown food. The studies also confirm that organic food doesn’t contain chemicals that conventional food is doused with, namely pesticides and cadmium, thus making organic healthier.
The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit organization that works to provide consumers with the truth about what’s in our products and the effects product ingredients can have on our health. They cover a wide range of household items, including skin care, food, and cleaning supplies. Just in time for summer is their guide to what to look for, and watch out for, in sunscreens.
From the Center for Food Safety:
Dow Chemical, the same company that brought us Dursban, Napalm, and Agent Orange, is now in the food business and is pushing for an unprecedented government approval: genetically engineered (GE) versions of corn and soybeans that are designed to survive repeated dousing with 2,4-D, half of the highly toxic chemical mixture Agent Orange.
A new research has shown for the first time that green space does appear to improve mental health in a sustained way.
Mathew P. White and colleagues note that mental well being is a major public health issue, with unipolar depressive disorder the leading cause of disability in middle to high income countries.
Some research suggests that part of the blame for this unhappiness lies in increased urbanization nearly 80 percent of the world’s population in more developed regions live in city environments, which tend to have little room for nature.
Other studies suggest a link between happiness and green space, but no research had convincingly established cause and effect of nature on well being over time. To help fill that gap, White’s team decided to examine the issue.
To figure out if nature makes people feel better in the long run, they compared the mental health of hundreds of…
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Loneliness doesn’t just hurt emotionally, but physically, too. At first glance, this seems counter-intuitive. How can a feeling have tangible, physical effects on our health? It’s “just” a feeling. Well, research has proven that logic wrong.
According to Slate.com:
“Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely.
The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking. And loneliness is about twice as dangerous as obesity.
And if you think you’re the only one lonely, you’re not alone. Slate.com says:
“Loneliness has doubled: 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely, up from 20 percent in the 1980s.”
In the age of the Internet, sites like Facebook and Twitter have become wildly popular. Facebook users say that they like to connect with others online, sharing their lives with their personal online communities. But there is an intimacy that is lacking in online connections, and some people, including researchers, are slowly realizing it. There is a hole in our hearts, and internet-based social networking has proven insufficient to fill it.
“All of our Internet interactions aren’t helping and may be making loneliness worse. A recent study of Facebook users found that the amount of time you spend on the social network is inversely related to how happy you feel throughout the day.
Even those “popular” users who have upwards of 1,000 “Facebook friends” are not faring any better than those with less.
“In terms of human interactions, the number of people we know is not the best measure. In order to be socially satisfied, we don’t need all that many people. According to Cacioppo the key is in the quality, not the quantity of those people. We just need several on whom we can depend and who depend on us in return.”
In my own opinion, it’s perfectly ok to connect with people online. It can be truly fun and rewarding, especially when you can interact with like-minded people who care about the same things you do. I think blogging is wonderful, and I love to do it. But if you are very lonely, don’t rely solely on your computer to fill that need. Make friends outside of the internet- those friendships will be even more rewarding because you can see the person’s facial expressions when they talk, hug them, hang out with them, and in general have a real human connection that you can never get online. Pets are great, too, for the bond and unconditional love they provide.
The mind and body are deeply connected. What you think and feel mentally has a profound impact on your physical self. So taking care of any emotional or psychiatric problems you may face is very important to your overall well being.
For more on studies about loneliness, go to Slate.com.
From the Sierra Club:
“Coal-fired power plants produce more toxic waste than any other industry in the United States, including the chemical, plastic, and paint manufacturing industries. They spew millions of pounds of pollutants into our waters every year — and they’ll keep at it as long as Reagan-era EPA rules go unchanged.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s strongest proposed approach is sensible, affordable, and already being used by some coal plants. Limiting the amount of pollution in our water will save lives, prevent children from getting sick, and ensure our water is safe to drink and our fish safe to eat. It should be finalized and put into force as soon as possible.
Tell the EPA that we need the strongest possible safeguards against toxic wastewater. We can’t wait another 30 years to get this right!”
To sign this important petition, go to sierraclub.org.