Here’s the latest from the “Icky So-Called Food” file: meat glue!
Meat glue is a powder, officially called transglutaminase, that’s produced through bacterial fermentation and designated GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s used mostly with beef, but can be found also in fish products, pork, lamb, etc. “Gluing” has become a common practice in the meat industry to meld scraps of beef together to look like one nice, thick, juicy (and more pricey) cut. Unlike pink slime, which is yucky, but harmless, meat glue can present a real health problem. Typically, from slaughter to table, the outside of a piece of meat picks up bacteria, while the inside is sterile. Cooking usually kills all that off, but glued pieces could contain bacteria like E. coli on the inside, so that a steak cooked rare can harbor deadly pathogens.
Package labels are required to list “transglutaminase” and terms like “formed” or “reformed meat.” But at a restaurant, banquet, cafeteria or hotel, where the “glue” is used most often, you won’t see these words on the menu, and chances are the wait staff hasn’t a clue (but do ask). In any case, you’ll want to think twice about ordering rare. Watch this video!
The reality is that in this 21st century it’s more important than ever to know where your food comes from, how it’s grown or raised. All the more reason to support local, sustainable and organic agriculture and, as Michael Pollan has famously said, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
To your health!
Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy (F.A.C.T.)
P.S. Thanks again for all your comments and donations. Don’t forget to check us out on Facebookand Twitter. And, if you’re looking for good things to do with “real food,” you’ll find lots of ideas inTriumph Over Cancer — My Recipes for Recovery by Doris Sokosh.
Why Music Is Good Medicine
By Amanda L. Chan
Whether it’s the perfect song after a bad break-up, or something relaxing to listen to while studying or puttering, most of us have felt music’s power to make our hearts and souls feel better. Now scientific evidence from a vast array of studies explains why both playing and listening to music can have serious health benefits for our whole body — effects like reducing feelings of physical pain, boosting memory, protecting hearing and heart health.
So whatever your musical inclinations — whether Vivaldi, Explosions in the Sky, Carrie Underwood, Thelonious Monk — or all of the above —check out this round-up of what researchers have discovered and let the music play on! Read More
The following letter was received some 20 years ago by F.A.C.T. President and Co-founder Ruth Sackman from a recovered cancer patient, an M.D., now retired:
I wanted to share with you some basic truths I discovered when waging my successful fight against cancer. First, it is no different from any other disease in that host resistance is the ultimate requirement for survival. Diet and selected supplements, periodic detoxification, sufficient rest, daily exercise — as well as prayer and the replacing of negative stress with positive thinking, all contribute to strengthening that resistance. Read More
Spice of the Month: Ginger
Ginger (Zingiber officinale), not a root but the underground stem (rhizome) of a plant, gets its name from the Sanskrit stringa-vera, meaning “with a body like a horn,” as in antlers. Confucius (551-479 B.C.) mentioned ginger in his writings and, named in the Koran, it was known in Arab lands as far back as 659 A.D. One of the earliest spices in Western Europe, introduced in the 9th century, ginger was so popular that it soon became a table staple, like salt and pepper. In England, barkeepers put out containers of ground ginger to sprinkle into beer — the original ginger ale! Queen Elizabeth I, a great lover of ginger, helped popularize the spice by her invention of the gingerbread man, often presenting visiting dignitaries with one shaped in their likeness.
For thousands of years, traditional healers have used ginger to help calm that queasy feeling — nausea, a prominent symptom of many diseases. Ancient doctors also recognized ginger’s diaphoretic qualities, meaning causing one to sweat, which is why Henry VIII ordered its use as a plague medicine. Mentioned in the Kama Sutra, the spice has been ascribed aphrodisiac powers, while in some Asian countries it’s chewed to expel evil spirits.
Researchers today are seriously interested in ginger. It’s rich in phytonutrients, especially gingerols which have impressive antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, in short, anti-disease properties. By increasing digestive fluids and saliva, it helps relieve indigestion, gas pains, diarrhea, stomach cramping; it loosens and expels phlegm from the lungs to treat respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, etc. As an anti-dote to nausea related to motion or morning sickness, ginger’s been found more effective than many over-the-counter drugs. It also reduces pain and inflammation from arthritis, rheumatism, muscle spasms, stimulates blood circulation and is cleansing to the bowels and kidneys, while nourishing the skin. Read More
The Ginger Foot Bath
The internal and external use of ginger has been an ancient remedy in India and China for thousands of years, but it’s only in the last 30 years that it’s use has been studied in the West, primarily as a result of positive experiences in European anthroposophical hospitals. Ginger has a warming, relaxing effect, enlivening the metabolic forces of the body and enabling the release of mental, emotional and physical tension. The ginger compress has been found effective for treating conditions such as bronchial lung problems, arthritis and anxiety, while the ginger foot bath can relieve sinusitis, headache, flu-like symptoms and musculoskeletal tension.
While the ginger compress requires a degree of expertise, the ginger foot bath is a simple addition to care for common debilitating conditions. Here’s how to do it:
- Use a deep basin (plastic is fine), large enough to fit both feet. Fill with warm water and two teaspoons of ground ginger. Mix the ginger with the hand, using a rhythmic swirling movement for about a minute.
- Sit in a relaxed position for the foot bath, covered in a warm, soft blanket/sheet that’s large enough to wrap around the shoulders and reach to the floor.
- Place both feet in the foot bath for 10 minutes, as long as the “bath” is experienced as warm and pleasant. Then, dry the feet well and put on warm socks.
- If possible, rest a further 15 minutes in a comfortable chair or lying down.
Thanks to Tessa Therkleson, Ph.D., RN in Lilipoh.org