November 11, 2013

Label Madness Monday

Man, those flight suits were comfy! 
How many people get to work in pajamas?
It’s Monday again, folks, and you know what that means! Another look at the weird, wacky, and wild things they’re putting into our foods. But today isn’t just any Monday. It’s Veteran’s Day, so before we get to being label peeping Toms, I’d like to offer a sincere and heartfelt thank you to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, and their families. Whether you’re a veteran or currently in service, please know that I value and respect what you do, and am grateful to you for doing it. You make me proud—and feel safe—to be an American. Technically speaking, I am part of your ranks, although I almost blush when I say so. I served just four years, so in the grand scheme, not exactly a long and storied military career. Most of those four years were spent in training. (I was an airborne linguist, and the training cycle was long enough to take up most of a typical first-time enlistment.) Nevertheless, camaraderie among those in uniform is a sacred bond, and I feel privileged and honored to have worked alongside the people I did. These days, I keep up with them mostly via Facebook (who got married, who has kids now, who’s stationed in Japan/Germany/North Dakota). It’s hard to believe that people who, at one time, were my lifeline to sanity, friendship, and the unique understanding that comes only through shared hardship, are now an electronic wave and a nod. I’m resolving today to keep in touch more faithfully. Being thrown into stressful situations with complete strangers and emerging trusted battle buddies on the other side is one of the things I remember most fondly about the military. (Made-to-order omelets at midnight chow didn’t hurt, either, hehheh.)

I didn’t spend 20+ years in uniform, but I absolutely don’t regret giving the military a try. (And thanks for the free master’s degree, GI Bill! Really appreciate it!) So, in the spirit of today being special, and despite how much I love—truly love­—writing, I’ve given myself the day off from searching the supermarket for food labels with freaky ingredients. But that doesn’t mean we’ll skip our weekly look at how they mess with our food and/or pull the wool over our eyes. Fortunately, Dr. Mike Eades (of Protein Power fame) has done the heavy lifting for us this week, and when someone does such an incredible job of it, it would be silly for me to reinvent the wheel (or blog post, as it were).

Among the ever-lengthening list of post ideas growing in my head, I plan on covering what’s known as the “health halo” effect. This is where a company (or even a small-scale local producer) slaps a label of “organic,” “all-natural,” or “artisanal” on their product and we get fooled into thinking it’s better for us than the mass-produced, conventionally grown, additive-laden version on the shelf next to it, usually at a lower price. Whole stores have this effect, too—something I’ve alluded to in previous posts. (Remember the ones that share initials with Thomas Jefferson and Will Ferrell? Those are the ones I’m talking about, but they’re certainly not the only ones out there.)

So now, I’ll leave it to the good Dr. Eades, who did this issue better justice than I might have:

While you’re there, I recommend clicking on the first link after the third picture. (The one that starts with “The entire blood volume of an adult…”) And if you have some free time, I recommend reading pretty much anything on his blog. Every once in a while, he goes on a tear about politics and economics, but mostly he’s a low-carb/Paleo guy. One who’s a full-on, legitimate medical doctor, who’s not afraid to say in no uncertain terms that most of what we’ve been told about “healthy diets” is wrong. All of his posts about cholesterol, saturated fat, statins, GERD, sugar, and carbohydrates in general are worth reading. This man knows his stuff.

And with that, I bid you a happy Monday and a solemn Veteran’s Day. To the service members and their families, thank you. Godspeed. And stay safe, wherever you are.

You have the con.

Remember: Amy Berger, M.S., NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition.

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