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Carrageenan: The Natural Ingredient You Need To Remove From Your Diet

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Derived from red seaweed, carrageenan is a food grade additive primarily used as a thickener to give various foods and beverages a fattier feel -without the full fat ingredients. On the surface it appears seemingly harmless, but its been regularly tied to various forms of unwanted body inflammation amongst other issues.

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I was first made aware of carrageenan when shopping with a friend of mine at a local health food store. Having opted away from cow’s milk for quite a few years now, I’ve gone through a bevy of satisfying alternatives including rice, oat and almond milk over that time. One of my most recent and recurring choices has been an unsweetened chocolate almond milk that I personally found to be perfect as a part of my morning protein shake. It was as I was grabbing several of these off of the shelf that my friend pointed out to me that the milk I had been purchasing has carrageenan listed as one of its final ingredients. She went on to list a number of the reasons as to why I may want to avoid carrageenan and helped me look for a potential alternative -eventually settling upon a chocolate rice milk.

This experience naturally sparked my curiosity, leading me to do some further research into carrageenan and ultimately to write this article. Here is some of what I found:

What Is Carrageenan?
Carrageenan is a food grade additive derived from red seaweed that is primarily used as a thickener in various foods and beverages. Seaweed variations have been used in food production for quite some time in history to help create a gel-like texture. However in modern day, isolated carrageenan has been the variation most commonly used and it’s the one that has been tied to the most health concerns.

Currently carrageenan can be found in a number of regularly used foods and beverages including but not limited to: dairy products (ice cream, squeezable yogurts, chocolate milk), dairy alternatives (soy milk, hemp milk, almond milk), nutritional drinks (Ensure, Slimfast) and prepared foods (canned soups, microwavable dinners, pet foods).

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What Health Concerns Has Carrageenan Been Tied To?
The biggest health concern that carrageenan has been regularly tied to in humans is inflammation, which may sound relatively minor but with prolonged exposure can be tied to some serious health conditions. The reasoning seems to lie within the chemical structure of carrageenan, which when consumed triggers an autoimmune response within the body. For those that are unaware, an autoimmune response is when your immune system cells begin to attack your body’s healthy tissue much like it would  any bacteria or a virus. The result of this autoimmune response stemming from carrageenan ingestion is most often inflammation of the gastrointestinal system -which is made up of the oral cavity, salivary glands, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gall bladder and pancreas. The inflammation could initially result is something as minor as a bloated stomach but could also extend into irritable bowel syndrome and several related diseases.

Several studies have been conducted to further explore the exact impact that carrageenan has on the human body and the results have been somewhat scattered -primarily over whether or not it warrants classification as a carcinogen. Whether it one day receives that label or not, carrageenan certainly warrants some level of warning and your consumption of it should be at least monitored. I am not a medical professional so I cannot prescribe anything formally, but I can only speak from my own experience and decision -which at this point is to stop consuming the products containing carrageenan (primarily the almond milk in my case) and to see how my body reacts/ feels.

To help with your search for  a possible alternative when it comes to some of the more popular milks, here are some brands currently sold that are supposed to carrageenan-free, but be sure to double check:

Almond Milk: 365 Whole Foods, OMilk NYC, Silk Pure Almond, Simple Truth (Kroger), Trader Joe’s, Tree Of Life, Westsoy
Oat Milk: Pacific Foods (On market both with & without carrageenan so read labels carefully)
Rice Milk: B.R.A.T, Kirkland Signature, Nature’s Promise, Rice Dream, Trader Joe’s

If you have any experiences tied either directly to carrageenan or perhaps to some form of inflammation resulting from consuming a product that contains it, please feel free to share it via the comment section below.

SOURCES:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1242073/
Chris Kesser – http://chriskresser.com/harmful-or-harmless-carrageenan
Sharecare – http://www.sharecare.com/health/immune-lymphatic-system-health/whats-an-autoimmune-response
MyVMC – http://www.myvmc.com/anatomy/gastrointestinal-system/
Cornucopia – http://www.cornucopia.org/shopping-guide-to-avoiding-organic-foods-with-carrageenan/
Whole Green Love – http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/04/07/carrageenan-a-dangerous-sneaky-commonly-used-food-additive/

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Awareness

Box Top$ For Education Is Not Supporting Education (Here’s Why)

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Box Top$ For Education program has kicked off yet again with messaging to suggest it helps schools across the country. However, when you go beyond the surface it's far from what it seems and promotes itself as.

  • Reflect On:

    What labels and initiatives do you let impact your behavior as a consumer?

National Box Tops for Education Week kicks off coast-to-coast fundraising.  For over 20 years, the Box Tops for Education program has provided families a way to help raise money for their school. The program was created to “help support education and benefit American schools” by providing a small amount of money from each item purchased. Does this program truly benefit education and support learning?

Who’s Really Benefitting?

General Mills, Inc., an American multi-billion-dollar multinational manufacturer, and marketer of branded consumer food is genuinely the benefactor. Giving a school 10 cents for every item bought is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money General Mills earns at the expense of our health. At first glance, it appears this company has been extremely generous, donating $719,000,000 in the last 20 years. If you do the math and divide each year’s totals by the 80,000 plus schools in the United States, it equates to a whopping $449 per school. As one can see, General Mills has done a fantastic marketing job, encouraging our kids to eat their garbage. Sure, we can buy school supplies, Kleenex tissues, and a few toxic cleaning products on the list, but what’s the fun in that.

Crappy, Overly-Processed “Food-Like” Products Do Not Support Learning

Diet and nutrition deeply affect a child’s learning ability. Sadly the qualifying products on the Box Top list including Hamburger Helper, Lucky Charms, Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, Fruit Roll-Ups, and alike do not achieve this.

Did You Know? The ingredient list for strawberry fruit roll-ups doesn’t include strawberries!

Instead, it contains genetically modified corn syrup and dextrose (refined sugar derived from GM corn, and artificial food dyes – red 40, yellow 5&6, blue 1 (derived from coal tar and petroleum).

Nutrient-rich homemade meals are being replaced with boxed, frozen, and canned foods due to higher prices of healthy food, our hectic lifestyles, and brainwashing tactics, such TV ads and campaigns such as the Box Top program.

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The Truth

Processed food lacks essential whole food nutrients the brain needs to function correctly. They contain ingredients such as genetically modified corn syrup, refined sugar, synthetic salt, unhealthy fats, artificial colors and flavors, chemical preservatives, and unrevealed heavy metals and pesticides. All of these ingredients work against a child’s ability to learn. 

Pesticides and antibiotics found in food today are detrimental to our healthy gut microbiota which are essential to brain function and development. Both are designed to kill bugs. So, we are destroying our gut bugs that help regulate and keep our immune systems strong and healthy to support our brain.

Studies have also shown that the high sugar content of processed foods may contribute to diabetes, which can affect a student’s learning in many ways. Blood sugar levels can affect cognitive functioning and school performance. According to many scientific journals and newsletters from prestigious universities like Harvard Medical School, processed food consumption are also linked to neurodevelopmental disorders, sleep problems, hyperactivity, attention; and mood symptoms including depression and anxiety.

Boxed foods are also linked to other severe health issues like obesity and high blood pressure. Two extensive European studies published by BMJ in May 2019 links processed foods with a range of health risks, including cardiovascular death. Another scientific study conducted by scientists from Yale University in the U.S. and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany indicated that “excess refined salt used in fast-food restaurants and the over-consumption of sodium from other processed foods may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases.”  Processed foods can also trigger cancer.  The researchers warn that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods “may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades.”

Don’t Be A Victim To The Marketing Ploy

We are poisoning ourselves, and the consequences are starting to show with the incredible rise of neurodevelopmental, mental illness, and diseases like cancer, asthma, diabetes, and many autoimmune disorders. So, let’s forgo the Box Top’s and find healthier and more productive ways to raise money for our schools. These big ag companies have no interest in changing current practices no matter how sick they’re making all of us. Or how many medications we are all dependent on. These companies are generating trillions of dollars of their products, and creating customers for life. General Mills and most food companies are owned by Monsanto/Bayer. They are adhering to FDA guidelines and are not violating any federal laws because they fund the FDA (Industry User Fees).

Fighting big lobbyist groups can seem like an impossibility for most of us, so we need to take our power back by voting with our dollar. We must refuse to purchase products with barcodes that are making 10 cents for our schools. And choose healthy instead.


Looking to help your family overcome ADHD, autism, anxiety and more without medication? Get access to download my FREE eBook ‘Every Parent’s Starter Kit to a Healthy Family’ by signing up HERE.

 

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Awareness

Why Vegan and not Vegetarian? Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh Answers The Question

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh explains why he chooses not to consume any meat or dairy products, and points towards the overwhelmingly cruel food industry.

  • Reflect On:

    What gives us the right to torture animals, steal their babies, abuse them simply for our consumption? Where is our compassion, morality and empathy? Have we been made and brainwashed to believe that it's ok?

The most heartbreaking thing to see and to witness is an innocent benevolent being getting tortured and suffering. This is the realty of eating animal products today. Billions of animals are raised for slaughter every single year, and the overwhelmingly large majority of them go through horrific and terrifying experiences. It’s hard to imagine how anybody could eat or wear the clothes of diseased animals knowing what they went through. It’s also hard to believe that anybody who does eat or purchase products that have used animals in their manufacturing process would do that kind of “labour” themselves.

The truth is that many people still don’t know what these beings are going through. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, immoral, and unethical. Morality, empathy, and love are all emotions that need to return to planet Earth, and as long as we have multiple industries exploiting animals, that can’t happen.

If you’re unaware of what these animals are going through on a daily basis, a recent PETA investigation on two of the world’s top cashmere exporters revealed extreme cruelty, including the violent killing of cashmere goats. You can read more about it and see some footage of that here, if you’re interested.

You can view more examples of graphic footage in the trailer of “The Buddha Bowl,” a documentary in the making featuring personalities and some of the most influential and renowned spiritual leaders from all over the world sharing their perspectives on veganism. These include viewpoints from Buddha himself and from spiritual leaders from the past and present, totalling about 30 interviews on animal rights, environmental issues and health.

One of the people in that documentary is Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who is recognized as a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist. The video below is not part of the documentary listed above, but from an interview taken a few years ago at a conference.

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Are We Even Designed To Eat Meat?

There is no doubt our world is becoming more awake, aware, and compassionate. Millions of people around the world have transitioned towards a plant-based diet. This represents the kind of compassion and empathy our world needs more of, and this diet can do nothing but benefit human health, the planet, and the animals.

It’s no secret that eating meat and animal products is destroying the Earth, as clearing land for animal grazing and slaughter is one of the leading causes of deforestation, and factory farms are an environmental disaster.

More people are also starting to become aware of plant-based diets and their health benefits.

A recent study conducted by researchers in California and France found that meat protein is associated with a very sharp increased risk of heart disease, while protein from nuts and seeds is actually beneficial for the human heart. The study is titled “Patterns of plant and animal protein intake are strongly associated with cardiovascular mortality: The Adventist Health Study-2 cohort,”

It’s one of many studies that’ve emerged over the years showing the benefits of plant-based diets and their ability to reverse diseases. On the other hand, many studies published have shown how the consumption of meat has the exact opposite effect.

Below is a clip from a recent CETV episode where CE founder Joe Martino and I go into the discussion a little deeper, with a specific focus on plant-based protein compared to meat protein. If interested, you can watch the full episode here by signing up for your free trial. CETV is a platform that we created to combat the censorship we’ve experienced over the past couple of years.

I also go into this type of discussion, if you’re interested in reading about it, in an article I recently published: “Another Study Suggests Humans Are Not Designed To Eat Meat.”

The Takeaway

Human beings are born with compassion and empathy. What we are doing to animals on our planet today, and how many continue to ignore it and be unaffected by it, is simply as a result of mass brainwashing and marketing by big food corporations. The truth is that we’ve been taught to ignore it, we’ve been taught to believe that it’s OK and it’s our right to do this to others who share the planet with us. No child would ever stand for such a thing unless they were taught to do so. It’s the same thing as racism, we are not born with it, we are taught it. I urge all those who are reading this to do their research into where the vast majority of our food and clothes are coming from, watch what these animals are going through, look into their eyes and and feel what they are feeling.

The ability to feel and understand the emotions of others, animal or human, is a HUGE and VITAL step towards creating a better world and a better overall human experience.

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Awareness

Food Brands Owned By Monsanto

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Below is a list of food brands currently owned by Monsanto. The list was put out by Vocal Media.

  • Reflect On:

    Are the foods we eat safe? Are the chemicals we eat ingest with them safe? A lot of science has shown otherwise, so what's really going on here.

Monsanto is a biotech corporation that was founded in the early 1900s. They produce genetically modified foods (GMOs) and many chemicals that are sprayed onto our food, including several pesticides. A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research titled, Organic diet intervention significantly reduces urinary pesticide levels in U.S. children and adults” outlined the issue with these chemicals, many of which were actually originally designed by Monsanto as warfare weapons to be used as nerve agents.

The study highlighted that diet is the primary source of pesticide exposure in both children and adults. It found that an organic diet significantly reduced neonicotinoid, OP pyrethroid, 2,4-D exposure, with the greatest reduction observed in malathion, clothianidin, and chlorpyrifos.

The researchers noted that all of us are exposed “to a cocktail of toxic synthetic pesticides linked to a range of health problems from our daily diets.” They explained how “certified organic food is produced without these pesticides,” and attempted to answer the question, “Can eating organic really reduce levels of pesticides in our bodies?”

They tested four American families who typically don’t eat organic food to find out.

First, we tested the levels of pesticides in their bodies on a non-organic diet for six days. We found 14 chemicals representing potential exposure to 40 different pesticides in every study participant. These included organophosphates, pyrethroids, neonicotinoids and the phenoxy herbicide 2,4-D. Some of the pesticides we found are linked to increased risk of cancer, infertility, learning disabilities, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and more. (source)

This is one of multiple studies that’ve shown the benefits of switching to an organic diet.

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When it comes to GMOs, there is a wealth of information that shows corruption with regard to their approval. A great resource to learn more about that is  called Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverte.

The stranglehold that corporations like Monsanto have on governments and government agencies like the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is quite strong. Many senior CDC scientists actually stressed this, but there are several other examples of this type of corruption.

For example, glyphosate, an active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, was recently re-licensed and approved by European Parliament. However, MEPs found the science given to them was plagiarized, full of industry science written by Monsanto. You can read more about that here.

Glyphosate has been implicated in thousands of cancer cases, and Monsanto has already paid out billions of dollars to multiple victims. Dewayne Johnson is one of multiple examples.

Many mainstream foods were also found to be contaminated with glyphosate. Here’s a list of children’s foods that’ve been contaminated.

Monsanto was recently acquired by Bayer Pharmaceuticals. Big food and big pharma are one in the same. They own the press, they own politicians, and they practically dictate government policy. There are a multitude of examples that illustrate the massive amount of corruption that drives these corporations, yet they are still operating despite the fact that the products they offer have been proven to be extremely damaging to human health as well as the environment.

Those of you who have been involved in the past in the battle to protect our children from poorly made vaccines or toxic chemicals in our food or in our water know the power of these industries and how they’ve undermined every institution in our democracy that is supposed to protect little children from powerful, greedy corporations. Even the pharmaceutical companies have been able to purchase congress. They’re the largest lobbying entity in Washington D.C.. They have more lobbyists in Washington D.C. than there are congressman and senators combined. They give twice to congress what the next largest lobbying entity is, which is oil and gas… Imagine the power they exercise over both republicans and democrats. They’ve captured them (our regulatory agencies) and turned them into sock puppets. They’ve compromised the press… and they destroy the publications that publish real science. – Robert F. Kennedy (source)

Today, annual protests are held against the agrochemical company to demonstrate the public’s displeasure with Monsanto’s practices. Not only do the protests illustrate how many people are against genetically modified organisms, but they also represent how many people are against the dangerous pesticides Monsanto produces to kill off pests and insects.

Here are some of the brands that Monsanto works with.

The Brands

This list was recently put out by Vocal Media.

  • Aunt Jemima
  • Aurora Foods
  • Banquet
  • Best Foods
  • Betty Crocker
  • Bisquick
  • Cadbury
  • Campbell’s
  • Capri Sun
  • Carnation
  • Chef Boyardee
  • Coca Cola
  • ConAgra
  • Delicious Brand Cookies
  • Duncan Hines
  • Famous Amos
  • Frito Lay
  • General Mills
  • Green Giant
  • Healthy Choice
  • Heinz
  • Hellman’s
  • Hershey’s Nestle
  • Holsum
  • Hormel
  • Hungry Jack
  • Hunts
  • Interstate Bakeries
  • Jiffy
  • KC Masterpiece
  • Keebler/Flowers Industries
  • Kelloggs
  • Kid Cuisine
  • Knorr
  • Kool-Aid
  • Kraft/Phillip Morris
  • Lean Cuisine
  • Lipton
  • Loma Linda
  • Marie Callenders
  • Minute Maid
  • Morningstar
  • Butterworths
  • Nabisco
  • Nature Valley
  • Ocean Spray
  • Ore-Ida
  • Orville Redenbacher
  • Pasta- Roni
  • Pepperidge Farms
  • Pepsi
  • Pillsbury
  • Pop Secret
  • Post Cereals
  • Power Bar Brand
  • Prego Pasta Sauce
  • Pringles
  • Procter and Gamble
  • Quaker
  • Ragu Sauce
  • Rice-A-Roni
  • Smart Ones
  • Stouffers
  • Shweppes
  • Tombstone Pizza
  • Totinos
  • Uncle Ben’s
  • Unilever
  • V8

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, despite the massive amount of corruption and illegal activities these companies have engaged in, we are the ones buying their products and consuming their foods. All we have to do is make better choices–we can switch to organic produce, we can do our research and purchase from ethical companies, and we can refuse to spray our lawns with herbicides. Vote with your dollar.

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