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Text-to-Speech Software – How I do my research

Now you may be wondering, how do I know so much about health and nutrition? Where do I find all of the free time to do all of this reading and research if I have a day-job as a computer programmer? Well, the answer lays in Text-to-Speech software. You see, as a computer programmer, I find it very easy and convenient to have my headphones on while I code. When a programmer is in the “zone” having their headphones on and listening to music often helps them do a better job. Well, not for me, I have Text-to-Speech software and I listen to health articles and research papers while I work. It is this that has allowed me to consume hundreds of articles all while doing my regular work.

Of course, since I am very adept with my computer skills, I have also written several Python scripts that extract article text from newsletters. Additionally, if I download a research paper, I open the PDF in Adobe Reader and use the “Save as Text” option. Then I use my knowledge of regular expressions, an advanced programming concept to remove all headers and footers, along with long urls to make my listening experience more efficient.

I will list out a few of the applications which I have sampled and continue to use here:

TextAloud

  • http://www.nextup.com/TextAloud/
  • Cost: $29.95
  • Voice Prices: $35 each
  • My Favorite Voice: British English Peter (by Acapela)
  • Sample: http://ttsdownload.com/acapelasamples/Peter.wav

I purchased a license to the TextAloud system because it supports many foreign languages including Greek. I like to listen to articles all of the time and sometimes I come across an article that is published in a Greek newspaper. The voice of “Dimitris” costs $45 and is worth the price.

IVONA Reader

This is my favorite text-to-speech application. It has a nice voice – “Salli” and can export many documents to mp3 and other formats. IVONA Reader can also read a pdf document to you as well.  They offer many bundles and options, but all you really need is the cheapest edition that comes with the Salli voice.  Don’t worry about missing out on all the other voices, all you need is one really good voice.

Cepstral

The first text-to-speech application that I purchased and was able to install onto my work computer before I got my Administrative rights restored. Give this application a try if you do not have Administrative rights on the computer you are using.  

 Compatibility

All three applications should work on Windows XP and Windows 7 and are suitable for the workplace.

If you want to laugh a little… I initially started researching Text-to-Speech software about a year and a half ago when I was handed a 150-page document which contained an “abridged” version of the Dodd-Frank legislation and was told that this was my “design document” for implementing a portion of a Swap-Execution Facility. So I said… why not listen to it while I scan through the document myself? And after a month… I found the best Text-to-Speech applications listed above.

How to Make Greek Yogurt at Home

You can make Greek yogurt in the comfort of your home using kitchen supplies that you probably already have.  All you need is the following:

  1. Half a gallon of milk (preferably organic, grass-fed pasteurized goat’s or cow’s milk)
  2. a pot with lid that can fit at least half a gallon of milk
  3. A nice thermometer
  4. A towel (Yes, that is a bath towel in the photograph)
  5. A small, porous kitchen towel
  6. A spaghetti strainer
  7. A pot to catch all excess whey

01_Equipment

 

02_Empty Pot With Thermometer

Step 1 – Pour the milk into the pot with the thermometer attached

03_Pot with Milk Pouring In

 

Step 2 – Turn on the heat – not too high, and not too low.  You don’t want to burn the milk that is towards the bottom of the pot, so the higher the temperature, the more you have to stir the milk to keep it from burning.  If you are in a rush, keep the heat high and constantly stir, if you are not in a rush, keep it low and stir it occasionally.

04_Pot with Low Heat On Thermometer In - Start Time 815

 

Step 3 – Take a small cup of Plain Fage yogurt and open the lid and leave it on your counter.  We are doing this to allow the temperature of the yogurt to go to room temperature.

06_Starter Yogurt - Opened to get to Room Temperature

 

Step 4 – Monitor the temperature of the milk, keep heating it until it reaches 180-185 degrees Fahrenheit.

07_Stirring Pot Occasionaly for Equal Heat Distributio

Stir the milk inside the pot occasionally for equal heat distribution and to avoid burning any milk towards the bottom of the potAfter 30 minutes, the temperature of the milk is 150 degrees Fahrenheit

After about 1 hour, the temperature of the milk has reached 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

After about 1 hour, the temperature of the milk has reached 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 5 – Turn off the heat once the milk reached 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and preheat your oven to the lowest temperature – usually 200 degrees is good enough.  Once your oven beeps letting you know that it has been “preheated” aka has reached 200 degrees Fahrenheit, turn your oven off.  This is not necessarily a required step, I simply do this to make sure that when I incubate the yogurt in the oven it is inside a warm environment that will ensure that the milk doesn’t cool down too much at any point during the incubation process)

Start preheating the oven to the lowest possible temperature - 200 degrees Fahrenheit should be fine.

Start preheating the oven to the lowest possible temperature – 200 degrees Fahrenheit should be fine.

Step 6 – Wait for the milk to reach a temperature that is just above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.  This usually takes about half an hour to 45 minutes.  (Depending of course how cold your kitchen is…etc)

Wait for the milk to cool to just over 115 degrees Fahrenheit

Wait for the milk to cool to just over 115 degrees Fahrenheit

Step 7 – Once the milk has reached 115 degrees Fahrenheit, take the yogurt from the Fage cup and mix it in to the milk in the pot.

Add yogurt starter to milk and stir it so that the yogurt spreads out and does not clump up into one small area.

Add yogurt starter to milk and stir it so that the yogurt spreads out and does not clump up into one small area.

Step 8 – Take the thermometer out of the pot, put the lid back on and wrap the pot in the towel.  Remember, the goal here is for the pot to maintain as much of a constant temperature as possible.  Don’t worry about air not being able to get into the pot or anything like that.

Wrap the pot which contains  milk which is roughly 115 degrees Fahrenheit and contains the starter yogurt.

Wrap the pot which contains milk which is roughly 115 degrees Fahrenheit and contains the starter yogurt.

Step 9 – Place the pot wrapped in the towel into the oven and set the oven timer to 8 hours.  Note: Make sure the oven is off!  (Yes, if you forgot your oven on, a fire may break out, or you will start smelling a burning towel before realizing you forgot it on…)

Place pot wrapped in towel into the oven and set the oven timer to 8 hours.

Place pot wrapped in towel into the oven and set the oven timer to 8 hours.

 

Setting the oven timer...

Setting the oven timer…

Step 10 – Take some raw honey (yes, unpasteurized honey that you can get from your local farmers market) and place some into the yogurt that you were unable to scoop out of the fage cup and eat it!  This is a treat and the last time you will likely buy yogurt from the supermarket other than to use for making yogurt)

Treat time - add some honey to your the remaining starter yogurt and eat it!

Treat time – add some honey to your the remaining starter yogurt and eat it!

Step 11 – Return after 11 hours and remove the pot from the oven and enjoy your yogurt!  Or, you can continue this guide to turn this regular yogurt into Greek yogurt…

After 8 hours of incubation...

After 8 hours of incubation…

 

What the yogurt looks like.  Notice the slimy, clear liquid on the top.

What the yogurt looks like. Notice the slimy, clear liquid on the top.

Step 12 – Gather the yogurt straining equipment.  A pot or other similar container to catch the whey is required, a regular wire mesh strainer, and a thin towel.

Straining Equipment 1 of 2

Straining Equipment 1 of 2

 

Straining Equipment 2 of 2

Straining Equipment 2 of 2

Step 13 – Pour the yogurt inside the towel, which is placed over the strainer, which is placed over the pot.

Yogurt has been poured into the towel, which has been placed over the strainer, which has been placed over the pot.

Yogurt has been poured into the towel, which has been placed over the strainer, which has been placed over the pot.

Step 14 – Tie up the towel and hang it up to allow the yogurt to strain.

Towel has been tied up and has been hanged up to allow for the excess why to leave the yogurt.

Towel has been tied up and has been hanged up to allow for the excess why to leave the yogurt.

Step 15 – Unwrap the towel after at least 4 hours.  The longer you leave the yogurt hanging the more dry the yogurt will be.  This all depends on taste.  I personally like my yogurt to have some of its juice in it, but I don’t like it to have all of its juice/whey.  Of course, if you strain it too much you can always add back some whey and stir it back in.  Here is the end result of the batch that I made:

End result

End result

Finish – Amount of yogurt produced:

Amount of yogurt and whey produced from a half gallon of milk.

Amount of yogurt and whey produced from a half gallon of milk.

 

 

 

Chobani – Evaporated Cane Juice Yogurt

What is the biggest mistake that people make on a regular basis when trying to eat a “healthy” diet?

… well, they substitute fat for sugar.

So when I decided to try a store bought brand of “Greek” yogurt, I opted for a Pomegranate flavored Chobani “Greek” Yogurt.  There was no fat in the yogurt, but that is more of a bad thing than a good thing… As you may know, the FDA, requires that ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance according to the weight of each ingredient (21 CFR 501.4) .  So… what is the first ingredient? Nonfat yogurt.  What is the second ingredient? Evaporated cane juice. That’s right, the 2nd largest ingredient of that yogurt is sugar! … And you thought it was good for you???

 

Let me read the Ingredients list off to you:

  • Nonfat Yogurt (Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk,  Live and Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei)
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Pomegranate Juice Concentrate
  • Pectin
  • Natural Flavor
  • Locust Bean Gum
  • Fruit and Vegetable Juice Concentrate
Picture of ingredients list in Chobani Pomegranate flavored Greek Yogurt

Picture of ingredients list in Chobani Pomegranate flavored Greek Yogurt

Think of it this way, if the ingredient after sugar is pomengranate seeds followed by pomengranate juice, then that means that the amount of sugar is greater than each of these ingredients individually.  So when you are eating this yogurt, just look at the massive volume of pomegranate seeds and pomegranate juice and say to yourself, would I add that much sugar to my yogurt?

Surely, your answer would be a strong resounding NO!

But the truth is that there is already that much sugar in the same yogurt which you are eating right now!  So if this product is called “Greek”, when it has nothing to do with coming from the nation of Greece, if it is called “Yogurt” and “Pomegranate”, then why isn’t it called “Evaporated Cane Juice Yogurt”? Because there is more Evaporated Cane Juice in this product than there is pomegranates.

Stop eating low-fat high sugar “Greek” yogurt!

Stop eating sugar laced “health” food products and start eating full-fat yogurt made from whole milk.  This is very simply to do, all you have to do is purchase yogurt that contains a very simple ingredients list: The ingredients on the product must not contain ~any~ sugar or sugar substitutes.  Pomegranates are supposed to have a nice flavor naturally without having to add sugar, so why is Chobani doing so?

Oh yeah, did you continue reading the label? Did you notice another funny ingredient called “Natural Flavor”?  I made it red for a reason…

Natural Flavor

Natural Flavor is a convenient method for manufacturers to sneak GMO’s into their products.  Don’t believe me? Google it…

Heart Disease

Also, for those who may not know this yet, but sugar has recently been vindicated as the cause for heart disease.  Yes, that’s right, sugar is what causes inflamation of your veins and other bodily organs, which as a result become weaker and weaker and then one day they collapse causing what is known as a heart attack… Avoiding fat and cholesterol is so 80s.

It gets worse….  See Fage

Even Fage puts sugar as the first ingredient in most, if not all of its fruit flavored yogurts, except for in their honey flavored yogurt.

Noosa

Noosa has to put sugar even in its honey flavored yogurt.  Tell me something is not wrong here…  Noosa yogurt is supposed to be some new “hot” thing which is Aussie-style yogurt.  I purchased a cup today and noticed that not only was sugar the 2nd ingredient after yogurt, there were various other forms of sugar listed throughout the ingredients list.  So be warned, soon Fage and Chobani will be moving their sugar into other forms of sugar so that they can be moved further down the ingredients list.

As for Noosa, stay away from it right now! As for Fage and Chobani, opt for the plain flavored yogurt and get the higher fat version.  Nonfat doesn’t work, neither does diet or light.  Just look around you, do you see any healthy looking people eating nonfat yogurt? I only see fat people and anorexic looking people eating nonfat yogurt.

IMG_20130624_124343_988

 

Γιατρός (Doctor)

I was at a dinner party where the food was served family style and thought this is a great way to share germs and antibodies!  Our table had a doctor which meant I could consume a lot and get a doctor's note.

At one point, I saw the doctor picking at all the food in the communal plate with his fork.  I thought, how rude? That is almost as disgusting as double dipping in the salsa dish and leaving extra crumbs in there.  I paused, and then I realized why?… he doesn't believe in germ theory!  Germ theory states that if a microscopic germ is present in your food, and you injest that food then you will get sick, whereas the 'other' theory, known as "Soil Theory" says that germs thrive in a toxic environment, rather than creating that toxic environment.

This means that it doesn't matter if the doctor spreads any of his germs via his fork to other members of the table because if each of us is healthy, the germs will avoid us, however, if we are sick or have a toxic environment in our bodies due to eating unhealthy food…etc, then his germs, and all the germs already on your fork will infect you..

Therefore that explains why this Doctor was double-dipping in the lamb plate!  So even though Seinfeld doesn't like you to double-dip, maybe it's more funny than bad for you!

For the curious, here is what the lamb looked like (no, it was not from Butcher Bar, nor was it "organic" or "grass-fed" or "pasture raised"): 

IMG_20130510_220825_498

Notice the abnormal amount of fat on this cut of meat.  That means the animal was probably a lazy couch potato that followed the SAD diet – Standard American Diet.

Response From Solgar Regarding GMO usage in Brewers Yeast

Solgar got back to me in a timely fashion to my request for information regarding their use – if any – of GMO's in the production of their Brewer's Yeast Powder.  (I am just late in posting the reply here…)

They claim that they do not use any GMO's in their products, which is very good, I just don't find it as re-assuring that they have not been able to label their products as such.  I hope they get the proper labeling authority soon and when they do I will consider purchasing their products again.  Thank you Solgar!

 

Reference No. 1302-5460


Dear John,


Thank you for contacting Solgar, Inc.  Brewer's Yeast Powder 14oz (Product No. 380, Bulk No. 67723) is a non-GMO product.


If you have any further questions, our Consumer Affairs Representatives can be reached toll-free at 1-877-765-4274, Monday through Saturday, 9am-7pm EST.  We look forward to serving you in the future.


Kindest regards,


Chris

Product Information

http://www.solgar.com/

Where to Eat Lunch in Midtown Manhattan

If you just bought a brand new car, and its owner's manual instructed you to use premium gas, you wouldn't just put any old brand of generic non-premium gas into your gas tank right?  If your car sustained some damages, you wouldn't get a replacement part from a rusted out hurricane Sandy flooded car, right? So then my question is, why do so many people eat at crappy lunch places?  Why do so many people fill their bodies, which, as machines, are the equivalent of a Rolls Royce, with GMO/chemical laded CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) food?
  See this link for more on what a CAFO is: http://www.epa.gov/region7/water/cafo/.

In case you are following the Would John Eat It Diet, here is a list of approved places to eat lunch in midtown Manhattan that will help you avoid as much as possible the aforementioned "crappy foods" and ingredients such as GMO's.  Of course, there is no substitute for bringing lunch from home, but sometimes you are in a rush or just don't feel like preparing something yourself.  On such days, I recommend eating at one of the locations mentioned below:

  • Dig Inn Seasonal Market (formerly "The Pump")

  • Free Foods NYC

  • Organic Avenue

  • Westerly Natural Market

Dig Inn Seasonal Market (formerly "The Pump")

150 East 52nd Street (Between 3rd and Lexington Avenue)

40 West 55th Street (Between 5th and 6th Avenues)

275 Madison Avenue  (Between 39th and 40th Streets)

www.DigInn.com

Dig Inn is up there as one of my favorite places to have lunch whenever I forget to pack one from home.  As a supporter of local farms, Dig Inn fits the bill as one of the few lunch places that you will not see a SYSCO or a Jane's Quality Natural Truck parked outside delivering "Food Products."

They try to keep it as local as possible, including a list of what farms some of their veggies come from. They are very honest and open with regards to every single one of their ingredients. It is also called a Seasonal Market for a reason, their menu changes every so often because different veggies are available at different times of the year! Wow! What an innovation! See their excellent blog (http://blog.diginn.com/) for both a source of nutrition and diet information as well as the latest information regarding their food farm sources and and upcoming changes to their menu.

In general Digg Inn has good sources of high quality food, so check them out, it is hard to get something that is bad for you from here. In fact, I once brought a friend of mine there and half way through his meal he stops eating and says "This is disgusting." And I respond like a mother to a child saying "Eat your vegetables or no dessert!" The food has no sugar or added sodium to make it taste good, if you are used to eating fast food you will not like this food, but once you get used to it, you will wonder how did you ever eat so unhealthy before…

The closest location to me is on 55th street between 5th and 6th avenues, it has very limited seating so get there before 12 otherwise you will be forced to wait outside in the cold. This place is literally becoming like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld where upon entering you have to select a cardboard plate filled with the base veggie of your choice and you have to be ready to tell the person behind the counter exactly what else you want.

They are all pretty nice and polite and don't get mad at me when I say "I'll have that purple thing over there in the middle." My advice is to avoid the rice base, choose spinach or mixed greens, and I say spinach because most people are iron deficient, especially women of child-bearing age. Then get either the tofu, meatballs or beef. Yeah, good chicken is hard to come by, especially for a restaurant that goes through so much of it… And avoid the sauces and salad dressing if you really want to be healthy, although their sauces do not taste like a lot of sugar or an alternative sweetener has been added to make it taste the way it does.

As for their tzatziki? Not as good as mine… but hey, what are you going to do? I don't have enough to go around!

Oh… and before I forget, you must try their Serious Green juice. A perfect blend of many green vegetables, in a non-pasteurized form, so that means it has to be fresh and it has to be local…

Beware: When you first start eating here you will not like the taste, especially the taste of the Serious Green juice, but to me, their food tastes great and their Serious Green juice tastes like ice cream. How things have changed… So give them a try, and you won't be let down, trust me!

 Free Foods NYC

45th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues

www.FreeFoodsNYC.com

I found out about this place from a little blue book called "Clean Plates" which is a pretty handy guide to restaurants throughout Manhattan that pass a semi-organic test. Free Foods has a nice buffet and many decent sandwiches. I avoid the sandwiches because I try to follow the Paleo diet theory of avoiding grains. Their buffet does have some nice options however, but I avoid the nut-heavy and grain heavy items, as well as any chicken or salmon options. As you know, I avoid chicken from restaurants like the plague, except for one noted exception: Butcher Bar in Astoria. Too bad you can't go there during your lunch break, but more on that in another article, we are talking about midtown right?

So Free Foods also has a nice juice bar and nothing beats their "Bloody Marry" juice which consists of Beets, Apple, Lemon, Celery and Cayenne.

Overall this is a good place, and I once brought another friend here who cringed at the prices… But hey, I'll pay this premium any day to avoid Monsanto and SYSCO food. Want to see a picture of what a "free-range" chicken looks like? Head over to peta.org… here is a direct link:

http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/chicken-industry.aspx

In a picture worth a thousand words, that is why I avoid eating chicken unless I know for a fact what farm it came from and I have seen a picture of that farm as well as the Google Satellite imagery to make sure that it is not a CAFO or CAFO-like operation. That's Consolidated Animal Feeding Operation, a synonym for corporate profits and dividends that are taxed at a much, much lower rate than you are… Think Romney on the right, Warren Buffet on the left, that's right, that's how they make their millions of dollars of money each year and pay so little in taxes… from CAFOs.

Also, remember, think about the children!!! Children in our public schools are fed this crap meat almost every single day! So are you still against school vouchers and other freedoms? PETA convinced me otherwise.

Advice:

Get one of their veggies shakes, don't buy their overpriced Kambucha, bring that from home and try the salad bar. Remember avoid grains, nuts and meat – that includes salmon – from this place.

Pret a Manger

Locations all over midtown, too many to list.

http://www.pret.com/us/

Slowly losing favor in my eyes… No grain-free options.  No quinoa free food.  Their egg yolks are as yellow as a politician… I only buy iced coffee from this place, as their milk is from Organic Valley, which is a quasi-organic milk producer than only Pasteurizes their milk at normal pasteurization temperatures.  By the way, it is said that Louis Pasteur said on his death bed that it is not the germ, but the soil, meaning it doesn't matter what temperature the milk was pasteurized to, what matters is the quality of the soil where it came from – meaning what did those cows eat? So I am removing cow's milk and coffee from Pret a Manger from my list of places to eat at and visit from the "Would John Eat It" Diet.  Don't go to Pret a Manger anymore, just get their coffee while you transition to the better low-acid coffee from Organic Avenue.

Organic Avenue

1701 Broadway (Between 53rd and 54th Streets)

649 Lexington Avenue (Between 54th and 55th Streets)

http://www.organicavenue.com

A vegan's dream. Worthy of a 5th avenue storefront. They sure as hell can afford it… This place is the best for finding healthy, raw, unpasteurized foods. Very paleo friendly, has a variety of raw, unpasteurized juices. Every time I come here I end up spending at least 20$. You know what? At 21 work days per month, that is $420 dollars per month. you know how much your average health insurance plan costs? Much more than that. Why don't we stop requiring people to buy an Obamacare plan and send them to Organic Avenue instead, the food in here will keep you much healthier than any pharmaceutical drug or surgery or anything else that your doctor will do to you.

The current location that I frequent is a "Pop-Up" location which is going to be there temproraily until June 1st, after which another "Pop-Up" location will open up somewhere nearby. The location of this "Pop-Up" is on Broadway between 53rd and 54th Streets, actually it is right next door to the Late Show with David Letterman, I wonder what he has to say about this place?

For Oragnic Avenue, try their Mushroom Wrap, it is my favorite item, must be due to all the shitake mushrooms in it. All of their chocolate desserts are also great, but don't be fooled, they still contain sweeteners, although good ones like Agave and Coconut Sugar. So buy a green juice on Monday, a red juice on Tuesday, a green on Wednesday and so on. Nature made it so that foods of different colors have different nutrients, and you need them all.

Try their Cafe Latte, it is a good way to transition out of drinking coffee in the first place.

Beware however, that many of their pre-packaged health products can also be purcashed at nearby Westerly Natural Market on 8th avenue for much less. But what are you going to do? Take a day off to go to Westerly Natural Market to save 1.50$ on a "Rawnola" bar?

Westerly Natural Market

913 8th Avenue (between 53rd and 54th Streets)

www.westerlynaturalmarket.com

A few blocks away from Organic Avenue is the organic market for the commoner. A place where one does not have to be a member of the 1% or the "rich people who make 100 thousand dollars per year but can't afford a home in New York City people" to be able to eat healthy, clean, organic, non-GMO and real food. Interesting to note that they deliver via UPS. I have never ordered for delivery from them, as I am a walker and prefer to get someplace that nature intended for me to.

You will find everything in this supermarket, from Avalon Organics Shampoo, to Alba Botanica Hair Gel and Cream (my favorites) as well as rawnola bars and a hidden juice bar in the back.

I tend to buy Cod-Liver oil capsules from here and Vitamin D supplements which are really important in the winter. During the warmer months, there is a farmers market nearby on 57th and 9th that has some pretty good produce from Orange County (that's Orange County, New York State, not LA!). I once had a headhunter call me up for a programming gig in Orange County and I got all excited and emailing them back only to find out that they were referring to Los Angeles…

Advice:

Stop in the back right to the juice bar, get a nice juice then walk around the refrigeradors in the back pick up some Kombucha and a vegan ethiopian dish. Then stop in an aisle with tea and pick some weird flavor up, grab some sea vegetables and store them at your desk at work. Then have fun with the rawnola bars and other similar products.

Very easy to spend $50 in this place… you have been warned!

 

So stop eating at those delis and food carts that are all the rage, look for food with quality ingredients.  Explore the ingredients that you eat and don't put water in your gas tank!

 

Brewer’s Yeast – A Powerhouse of Nutrition, Is It Safe?

So I was reading the label of my Solgar Brewer's Yeast this morning to find out how much iron it has. To my joy I saw that it has 33% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of Iron in just two tablespoons!  Now, the RDA is different for adults, children, males and females.  Where a woman of chlid-bearing age requires much more iron than an adult male.  Growing children also require much more.  Nevertheless, the package stated that two tablespoons contain 5.6mg of Iron, I am supposed to get 8mg of Iron per day.  This specific brand of Brewer's Yeast that I normally purchase from the health store is made by Solgar, in Leonia, New Jersey.  That is actually pretty close to New York City! Talk about local?  Here is a picture:

 

Solgar-Brewers-Yeast-033984003804

The reason it is called "Brewer's Yeast" is that it is normally created as a by-product of the beer-brewing process, which results in a very bitter tasting product.  Solgar, however generates its' yeast powder from beet molasses, and this is my cause for concern.  If you are familiar with something called GMOs, otherwise known as Genetically Modified Organisms, you would know that most Corn, Beets, and Cotton created in the United States is GMO.  Since the label does not claim to be free of GMOs or to be organic, well, guess what, we now have a problem.  There is a good chance that the beet molasses used by Solgar to create this Yeast Power is GMO.

So I headed over to the Solgar website at http://www.solgar.com and did not see any mention of Organic or non-GMO in their Yeast products.  What I did find however, was a "Contact Us" page.  I sent them an email inquiring about the organic/GMO status of their products today, I am sure they will get back to me soon.

Although their product is likely GMO, I do not suggest that you stop taking Brewer's Yeast as a morning supplement because although GMO products have been linked to cancer and many other health issues, it still is a very nutritious product and I suggest you contact Solgar and ask them to remove any GMO ingredients from their food while you search for a viable alternative brand of Brewer's Yeast to purchase.

Their email is here:

productinformation@solgar.com

I suggest you send them an email asking for them to respond to whether or not they use GMOs in their products.  This link will create a new email in your default mail program containing the message body filled with the text below: 

productinformation@solgar.com

Dear Solgar,

I am a user of your Brewer's Yeast product and am concerned about the use of any non-Organic or GMO ingredients in the production process of your Brewer's Yeast product.  I understand that using organic/non-GMO ingredients will increase the cost of production of this product and I want to state that I am ready to pay a premium for quality, as my health is worth more than all the money in the world.

Please consider the use of non-GMO/Organic ingredients in your products, and if you already do so, please let me know this status and tell me why your labels do not indicate this.  If the FDA makes it very difficult for you to do so, I will assist you by writing a letter to my congressman/congresswoman to assist the Health Foods market to become stronger.

Sincerely, 

A Health Nut

How Do You Sleep?

Sometimes I sleep and sometimes I pass like night.  But typically I don’t sleep.  I leave the television on, sometimes I put the timer to shut off the television before the morning.  One time I slept to the looped 30 minute biography of Conrad Hilton and woke up the next day ready to write his biography.  John once told me the importance of darkness when sleeping.  The idea sounded boring to me and so I continued with my failed habits.  Then I heard about Circadian rhythms on the HBO show Bored to Death and I thought, cool I need darkness for good sleep.  So I did, I drew the dark curtains of the hotel room, closed all doors, turned off the television, set my alarm clock and fell asleep.  I slept really well, so well that I overslept!

Trip to the Butcher Bar

Seeking good BBQ in New York City for the well traveled may seem ridiculous; why not go for Italian, Asian, or French?  I could just wait until my next trip.  But even then, the so called really good BBQ places in places like Texas, Kansas City, St. Louis, or Oklahoma [many of which I’ve been to] may not always be keen on having grass fed meats.  It’s either good sauces or grass fed, but rarely both.  I’ll never forget some of the BBQ places in Kansas City, which as good as it tasted, was advertised as “corn fed.”  Really?  Was this menu printed in the 90s?

Enter Butcher Bar located on 30th Avenue in Astoria, Queens.  Half butcher, half BBQ, fully fresh, locally sourced, grass-fed meats, this is our new favorite place!  While our food was being prepared we were given a tour of the kitchen and the patio in the back.  No freezers or deep-fryers guarantees that food isn’t frozen forever to be eaten whenever.  Reasonably priced and open for a little over a year, this is one of the top rated BBQ places in New York City.  They’ve been in the NY Times and other newspapers.  They are Michelin recommended in case the opinion of a French tire company is important to you.  But take our word for it and go in for the burnt ends, the brisket, pork belly, or some of the cane-sugar sodas!  And right now it’s a BYOB so bring in your favorite IPA or wine…

All That Fits to Print… for Big Agra

The New York Times put out an article called "What You Think You Know (but Don't) About Wise Eating" on New Years Eve, December 31st, 2012.  It is a free article and can be seen here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/31/what-you-think-you-know-but-dont-about-wise-eating/?smid=fb-nytimes.

This article did not have any content and was mostly full of fluff, its' author, Jane Brody made many accusations that were of the classic FUD type, Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.  A tactic that is commonly used by salespeople and headhunters to scare you into submission of taking a low paying job and working lots of hours.  Jane is akin to the people holding whips making Jews work on building pyramids for the ancient Egyptian Pharo.

I honestly thought that she would at least reference some research put out by the "scientific community" to support her claims, but she did not make even one such argument.  I will go over each of her arguments and summarize her points:

Cured Meats

The article criticizes those who avoid meats cured with nitrates and nitrites, who opt for meats that are cured in a natural way using herbs and spices as being more risk-prone to contamination to bacteria.

Well, first of all, those who are health conscious do not eat cured meats in the first place, they eat meat less frequently than others, and do not eat meat that comes from the other side of the world.  So eating meats that are cured "naturally" isn't part of a wise diet in the first place, nor is it sanctioned by the organic-food eating community.  What the author simply did was take a rare event and say it is mainstream and somehow try to link it to "eating organic" food, sorry, simply not true.  And yes, if your meat is cured using herbs in India or China, and then shipped to the United States, well, then yes, you have a high chance of contamination.

The article also says that many of these meats that are labeled "nitrite and nitrates free" still contain nitrites and nitrates.  Well, you can blame the FDA for its lax food labeling requirements for this one, not the organic food community.  Many food producers aka "corporations formerly known as farmers" pay lobbyists in Washington, DC to push for those standards!  (And of course those same lobbyists pay writers and newspapers for placement of articles in media and movies that further their agenda.  And if you don't think that movies don't have product placement, tell me, how many movie characters are smokers?  Mr. Heisenberg from Breaking Bad "Has cancer, but he never smoked"… think about it)

Meat Glue

The article says that the enzyme transglutaminase, also know as meat glue is classified by the FDA as "generally recognized as safe".  And that means that any concerns with its use in gluing meat together is warrantless.

Okay, yeah, perhaps it is safe, but what about the fact that meat glue is used to take the meat that is sitting on the floor of a slaughterhouse to be "glued" together to make your burger? The problem with that kind of meat is that it is dirty and is not your typical grass-fed beef cut.  So yeah, perhaps "transglutaminase" may be safe, that is only analyzing a small part of the story when looking at products that have been "glued" together using "meat glue".  Again, not hitting the actual problem.

Oh, and if you eat artificial crab meat, you might as well eat gummi bears.  Wait, they feed that to cows because they cost less than GMO corn.  Still think Organic is a hoax? Sounds like the author is using a little bit of projection in her article.

Trans Fats

Yeah, trans fats are not good for you, we know that, but what does this have to do with eating organic food?

Organic or Not

The article says:

I find an ever-widening array of food products labeled "organic" and "natural."

First of all, a product labeled as "organic" is completely different from a product labeled as "natural".  You can thank the FDA for this discrepancy and read more about it here on the FDA website.  Look for the word "Natural" and "Organic" on this page: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Meat_&_Poultry_Labeling_Terms/index.asp

The article says:

Might manure used today on organic farms contain disease-causing micro-organisms?

Yes, might is the right word, because we don't know unless the farmer keeps a clean feed and does things the right way.  However, we do know that GMO and non-organic farms do have pesticides and other chemicals in their feeds and fertilizers.  And we do know that chemicals and pesticides increase levels of cancer-causing agents in our food.

The article says:

Also questionable is whether organic foods, which are certainly kinder to the environment, are more nutritious.

Really? Well, organic foods are certainly kinder to the environment, but saying it is "questionable" that they are more nutritious is not really saying anything.  Almost anything can be classified as "questionable", however, unless you provide any research from the Industry funded University system we cannot "know" for sure, or even make a good guess.

The article also attacks organic food producers, aka farmers saying that they disavow genetic modification which improve's a crop's nutritional content, enhances resistance to pests and diminishes its need for water.  How about the fact that GMO corn causes cancer? Remember that research that just came out on rats being fed GMO-corn for their entire natural lives got cancer? See the research paper here: http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm  Yeah, I know, some "scientists" came out and refuted the study saying it was flawed.  Did you read their accusations?  Among them was that the study was flawed because they used rats with a higher tendency of getting cancer.  But those rats were still shown to get Cancer because of the GMO Corn at a much higher rate than those of the control group! Don't believe me? The link is a few sentences before this one…

Genetic Modification

You mean shooting a bunch of seeds with radiation and selecting a few that have some "good" properties is beneficial to us? Or shooting the DNA of an insect into a tomato is somehow healthy to us? What happens when you mix a horse and a donkey? You get a mule, and what is the characteristic of a mule that everybody knows? They are STERILE.  That's right, if you mix two different animals of a close species together you get a sterile animal, imagine if you go even further and pick two different organisms that have completely different DNA? Think… words don't lie, don't be a jackass and eat GMO!

Farmed Salmon

Go over to the PETA website and watch some of their videos to see what "fish farms" actually look like.  Saying that most of the salmon consumed nowadays is farmed is like saying most of the beef consumed in this country is at McDonalds.  Yes, it is probably true, but that doesn't make it a good thing.  In my life I have learned that if something isn't good for you, then don't eat it.  Yes, that means eating less, but higher quality foods.

http://www.peta.org/tv/videos/vegetarianism-general/1539199788001.aspx

go to minute 1:50, and listen to how they describe the "conditions" for fish in farms and see them for yourself!

See more of an actual fish farm on this video describing "Kosher" fish.

Conclusion

I did not hear any convincing arguments against organic food in this new york times piece.  Of course, the title was very provocative, and most people never really read an article, they only see the title and tell their friends "I heard that organic food is no better for you than GMO food", they don't say "I read an article blah blah blah".  Try it for yourself, ask one of your friends what they think of GMO, then ask them, "what scientific study can you cite to support your arguments?"  I don't know about you, but I can cite many studies to support my arguments, and most of those studies can be correlated with actual individuals that I have met and known in my life and are usually spot on…