Slicing Into the Underbelly of Bacon

Bacon. The sizzle, the salty smell, the thought alone has the power to make you salivate uncontrollably. But does bacon have a dark and deadly secret?ImageAccording to a study published in BMC Medicine, they linked bacon to premature death. However, the DailyNews wasn’t surprised (and neither am I) despite the shock in their headline.

Surprise, surprise: Study says that tantalizing bacon may boost risk of fatal heart disease and cancer

Naturally, Boss Hog from Bacon Today has 10 reasons why bacon is actually healthy for you. I buy it, if for no other reason than to justify the plateful I just consumed.

Of course, Peta has their own list concerning bacon. They have 15 reasons not to eat bacon, which **spoiler alert** consists of 15 pictures of cute pigs. Sure, those pigs are cute…but they are also delicious. I also must point out that they use Babe and Wilbur as examples to how clever pigs are…I didn’t have the heart to tell them that those are fictional characters. Then again, I stopped hunting wabbits because they are so darned clever that I feared one might trick me into walking off a cliff.
But I digress, back to the serious matter at hand. CBS News informed the world that your risk for pancreatic cancer increases with every 2 slices of bacon. If that is true, I should be dead right now, shouldn’t I?

On a positive note, WebMD does have tips on how bacon can be part of a healthy diet. This is exciting. Can it be true? Can bacon be part of a healthy diet? WebMD thinks so and I’ll take them at their word.

Of course, a 105-Year-Old Woman Says Bacon Keeps Her Alive so I think these healthy-bacon-thinkers are on to something…..and I just ate another slice.

Just for fun, you really must watch this YouTube video. It will have you singing about bacon even if you’re a vegematarian….BOOM! PIG!

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Is Milk Good for You?

ImageFrom GMO’s to moo-juice agriculture infiltrates every area of your life. So, the jury is still out on whether or not GMO’s are harmful or helpful (personally I think they are a little mix of both but that’s an argument for another day) but what about that ever present food staple—milk?

From early childhood into parenthood milk has appeared on every food pyramid the USDA (or any other organization) has ever made. It is a breakfast staple, it helps you sleep, it said to be healthy for your bones, and it is plastered all over schools and libraries with the infamous slogan, “Got Milk?” Seriously, who doesn’t love a milk mustache!? But, after all these years there is a new question up for debate:

Is milk good for you? Put in your mouth guard, this debate goes from one extreme to another—and, boy, are people passionate about their milk.

So, first up is a piece from the University of Wisconsin that talks about the benefits of milk and which milks and milk alternatives are best for our kiddos. I think it is safe to say that the professors, researchers, and others at the UW extension office are pro-milk.

Milk Choices for Toddlers and Young Children

On the other end of the spectrum we have Miss Vivian. She has a Masters of Arts degree in Nutritional Sciences and Biochemistry and is very obviously anti-milk. She makes no “bones” about her position on her site, Save Our Bones.

Debunking the Milk Myth: Why Milk Is Bad For You and Your Bones

Despite Miss Vivian’s “milk myth,” seventy two percent of Asia believes dairy is an important part of a balanced diet. They even have research!

Also, Men’s Health asked the question, “Does milk really do a body good?”  The opening line alone of this piece is worth a look: “Milk is a deadly poison…”

Finally, just for fun, I had to check out NotMilk.com. It is a little confusing because of the list of topics that attacks you on their home page but click around for a good laugh.

ImageAs I’m sure you can imagine from my tone alone, I’m a milk fan. I love milk—white or chocolate, it’s all good. However, milk is a hot topic, along with GMO’s, because of the hormone issue. Here’s the skinny, in the early 90’s the FDA approved a hormone called recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). This hormone increased milk production in dairy cows, which relates into cost savings for the farmer and ultimately cost savings for the consumer. It’s all about economics. Unfortunately, the word “hormone” causes the freak-out effect with H.Q. Public.

The issue arises because 1) Cows are getting injected with hormones, 2) (this is the big one) rBGH increases IGF (an insulin-like growth factor) which is linked to cancer.

Here’s the kicker…IGF cannot be absorbed through the stomach or intestines. So, in order to increase your risk of cancer you would have to inject yourself with milk, not drink it. I don’t recommend injectable milk. It’s much too expensive and it lacks in taste. Another noteworthy fact is that, all these bovine hormones are naturally occurring in cows, the farmers are just giving them a boost. So, whether or not the cow was treated with rBGH she still has BGH in her system (the r stands for recombinant, which is gene-splicing, a.k.a. man-made).

If you’d like to learn more—which I strongly recommend—check out this science blog. It’s really good stuff. Just like milk!

So, are you a moo-juicer?Image

Biotech, Shmiotech, What’s it Really all About?

Randy Sprock-Star Farms, Rt.B Rush Hill 573-721-2250 (5)

Biotechnology is a big issue and it’s one that isn’t going away anytime soon. I’ll admit that I don’t know too awful much about biotech but I do know that there are both positives and negatives to every scientific venture. As part of a family farm I know we use biotech seeds. I also know that these seeds help us use less chemicals and water but maintain a good yield. I can’t speak for everyone in this county but I can say that the vast majority all use a biotech seed of some sort. So, are we the epitome of all evil or small business owners utilizing technology?

First, what are biotech seeds? Well, ever heard of GMOs (genetically modified organism)? Biotech are seeds that have been genetically modified to fight off certain pests, diseases, etc. with little chemical intervention. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to spray–it’s not a miracle cure-all that trumps nature–but you don’t have to spray as much and the seeds can survive harsher climactic events.

Now, lets take a look at both sides of the story…

Here is an overview of biotech seeds from U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance  (USFRA). USFRA is a non-profit organization made up of farmers, ranchers, and supported by members and agriculture related businesses. Lets see what they have to say:

http://www.fooddialogues.com/posts/2012/08/22/overview-of-biotechnology-in-seeds

USFRA states that it stands by farmers’ choice of seed and that biotechnology is a means toward the greater good/ultimate goal for adequate food production. There big message, the way I understand it, is to keep an open mind and maintain choice.

Here is a piece on why developing countries reject biotech seeds:

http://ecowatch.com/2013/u-s-state-department-exposed-pushing-biotech-industrys-global-agenda/

Basically, it says that biotech seeds force farmers in developing countries into a “debt treadmill” because of the use of commercial chemicals. It says that in developing countries they can’t farm the way we farm in America so we biotech has no place there.

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Now, this one says that biotech seeds are increasing the availability of seeds to farmers while providing a better way to combat weeds, pests, etc. Which completely contradicts what the previous story said and is typically what you will see when attempting to learn more about this particular subject matter.

http://www.unitedsoybean.org/topics/biotech/the-birth-of-a-biotech-trait-how-biotech-seeds-are-created-and-approved/

Here’s the problem: Everyone has an opinion, theory, research, speculation, etc. on what biotech is and isn’t but the simple truth is that nobody knows yet. The technology is still new but that doesn’t make it bad. It’s easy to cast something off as a negative before we know much about it.

That being said, any kind of gene splicing should be taken with great—and I mean great—care because you don’t know what affects this kind of mad scientists stuff will have 20 years down the road. We can speculate but we don’t really know.

Am I against biotech, GMO’s, or whatever catchy phrase you want to call them? Still on the fence due to lack of information. The point isn’t to pick a side; the point is to keep an open mind. Don’t cast asparagus on someone else’s seeds! Learn more, make a decision but don’t buy the hype. Could be good, could be bad but at least they [researchers/science folk] are trying to make something better.

Everything is possible these days—even failure—but we don’t know if we don’t give it a shot.

So, what are your thoughts on this crazy biotech scene?