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Unhealthy Foods, Beverages and Cooking Processes


Meat

The Oxford Vegetarian Study was a 15 year research effort that began in Oxford, England in the early 1980's. A total of 11,000 volunteers participated in the study; 6,000 vegetarians and 5,000 non-vegetarians. The results of the study indicated that meat eaters are twice as likely to die from heart disease, have a 60% greater risk of dying from cancer and a 30% higher risk of death from other diseases

The American National Institute of Health, in a study of 50,000 vegetarians, found that the vegetarians live longer and also have an impressively lower incidence of heart disease, and a significantly lower rate of cancer than meat-eating Americans.

Researcher Rollo Russell writes in his Notes on the Causation of Cancer: "I have found of twenty-five nations eating flesh largely, nineteen had a high cancer rate and only one had a low rate, and that of thirty-five nations eating little or no flesh, none of these had a high rate."

A major study conducted in California revealed that the cancer rate among Mormons, who are known to eat very little meat, was 50% lower than in the normal population. An even more comprehensive, 8-year controlled study on 50,000 vegetarians of the Seventh Day Adventist church in California, compared with the same number of non-vegetarians of the same sex and age, produced similar results as in the Oxford Vegetarian Study. The study, which was completed in 1966, found that members of the vegetarian group had an astonishingly low rate of cancer of all types, their life expectancy was significantly longer, and they suffered significantly less from cardiovascular disease than those in the control group.

In the same context, the "forced" vegetarianism of the Danes, due to the allied blockage of Denmark in World War I, led to a 17% reduction of mortality rates in the first year of meat rationing. Norway experienced a similar positive side effect from meat rationing during the years of World War II (1940-1945). There was an immediate drop in national mortality rates from circulatory diseases during the period of meat shortage. The rates returned to pre-war levels when the population resumed meat consumption.

In June 1961, the American Medical Association reported that a vegetarian diet could prevent 90% of our thrombo-embolic disease and 97% of our coronary occlusions. This means that by adopting a vegetarian diet, we would be able to almost completely eradicate heart disease.

Digestion of meat

Let's consider the digestive process. At the heart of the problem lies our inability to properly break down meat protein into amino acids. In a carnivorous animal, unlike in a human, the main digestive work takes place in the stomach, not in the small intestine. Meat stays in their relatively short intestinal tract for only a brief period of time.

In a human, however, chunks of undigested meat pass from the stomach into the intestinal tract. Our small intestine, which is about 16-20 feet (5-6 meters) long, processes most natural foods within a matter of several hours. But if the food happens to be meat, it may stay in the intestinal tract for as long as 24 to 48 hours. By that time, much of it is putrefied or decayed. The rotting process results in the generation of the meat poisons cadaverine, putrescine and other toxic substances. These poisons begin to act as pathogens (causal factors of disease) in the body.

Since the remnants of undigested meat can be held in the large intestinal walls of humans for 20-30 years or longer, it is not surprising to find colon cancers to be so highly prevalent among meat eaters, but virtually non-existent among carnivorous animals and vegetarians. Colon cancer, in most cases, is just another name for constant poisoning through putrefying meat. While being digested, meat is known to generate steroid metabolites possessing carcinogenic (cancer-producing) properties.

The kidneys, which extract waste products from the blood, also suffer from the overload of meat poisons, consisting mostly of nitrogenous wastes. Even moderate meat eaters demand three times more work from their kidneys than do vegetarians. Generally speaking, young people may still be able to cope with this form of stress, but as they grow older the risk of kidney damage greatly increases.

A research study conducted in Germany showed that middle-aged people who consumed meat in the evening were more prone to suffer a heart attack during the next morning. Too many proteins entering the blood can thicken it and drastically cut oxygen supplies to the heart and other organs, such as the brain.

Medications and additives

In his groundbreaking 1987 book, Diet for a New America, John Robbins discussed the inhumane and unhealthy ways in which animals are raised on contemporary "factory farms." One of the areas of great concern is the prolific use of additives, pesticides, hormones, growth and appetite stimulants, tranquilizers and antibiotics that are employed in the rearing of animals for meat consumption.

A 10-year study of government data that was completed in 2003 found that approximately 30 million pounds of antibiotics are used in America each year. Of this amount, 25 million pounds are used in the raising of farm animals! According to a report by the FDA, the antibiotics penicillin and tetracycline alone save the meat industry $1.9 billion a year. Yet the drugs may be breeding deadly antibiotic-resistant organisms in the consumer's body.

One of the chemicals added to animal feed in the United States is the growth hormone diethylstilbestrol (DES). The FDA estimates that it saves American meat producers $500 million annually. DES is highly carcinogenic and banned as a serious health hazard in 32 countries.

Unfortunately, the "farms" of an earlier era have become the "pharms" of the modern day agri-business. There are over 2,500 drugs routinely given to animals to fatten them and to keep them alive. Most of the harmful chemicals are still in the animals at the time of death, and many other drugs are added after the animal has been slaughtered. These drugs will still be present in the meat when it is eaten. Unfortunately, the law does not require listing of the vast array of drugs added to the meat.

Meat contamination

Research has shown that all meat eaters have worms and a high incidence of parasites in the intestines. This is hardly surprising given the fact that dead flesh is a favorite target for micro-organisms of all sorts. A 1996 study by the U. S. Department of Agriculture showed that nearly 80% of ground beef is contaminated with disease-causing microbes. The germs and parasites found in meat weaken the immune system and are the source of many diseases. In fact, most food poisonings today are related to meat eating.

Fish

Many of the issues related to red meat and poultry apply to fish as well. Fish raised in commercial fish tanks are subject to much of the same chemical contamination as animals raised on "factory farms." And with the increasing pollution of our oceans, rivers and lakes, increasing levels of toxic chemicals and substances, such as mercury, are found in fish and shellfish that are harvested from the Earth's natural bodies of water.

Sugar and Sweeteners

The consumption of sugar and artificial sweeteners has increased dramatically in recent years. If one were to plot the increase of sugar consumption year by year alongside the increase in obesity, immune disorders, blood-sugar disorders and a variety of other ailments, one would find similar growth curves. Sugar and sweeteners are undoubtedly not the only reason for declining health trends, especially among young people, but they are certainly a major contributor.

Sugar

Refined sugar is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. The resulting increase in blood sugar level causes the pancreas to secrete insulin in an effort to restore balance. It also stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete adrenalin in an effort to remove the sugar from the bloodstream. Adrenalin levels can increase by as much as 4 times, causing a stress response sometimes referred to as an "adrenalin rush." Afterwards, the blood sugar level drops below normal, which often leads to a state of depression, lethargy and irritability, sometimes referred to as the "sugar blues." In the long term, this can lead to various blood sugar disorders, such as diabetes and hypoglycemia.

Refined sugar lacks vitamins and minerals and must draw upon the body's micro-nutrient stores in order to be metabolized. When these stores are depleted, metabolization of fatty acids and cholesterol is impeded, causing obesity due to higher fatty acid storage and higher cholesterol levels.

In the past 20 years, sugar consumption has increased from 26 pounds to 135 pounds per person per year. Obviously, only a very small percentage of this is added to our foods and beverages at the dinner table in the form of white granular sugar with which we are all familiar. Most of it is insidiously added to processed foods and beverages by food processing companies. Sugar may be found on food package labels under a variety of names such as Glucose, Fructose, Sucrose, Galactose, Maltose and Lactose.

Aspartame

As more and more people have become aware of the health hazards of sugar, there has been a tendency to look for sugar substitutes. The most widely used artificial sweetener today is aspartame, known under trade names such as NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, Equal-Measure, Benevia and NatraTaste. Since the patent on it has now expired, it will undoubtedly show up on the market under a variety of new trade names.

The approval in the U.S. of aspartame for use in beverages and dry foods is one of the most disgraceful chapters of political influence, payoffs and corruption in the history of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a member of the National Soft Drink Association, the Coca-Cola Company opposed FDA approval of aspartame for beverages. Their objections, running to several pages published in the Congressional Record of May 7, 1985, said aspartame is uniquely and inherently unstable and breaks down in the can. It decomposes into formaldehyde, methyl alcohol, formic acid, diketopiperazine and other toxins. In a study on 7 monkeys, 5 had severe seizures and one died - a casualty rate of 86%. In spite of this testimony, after aspartame was approved by the FDA, the Coca-Cola Company introduced Diet Coke, which is laden with aspartame. The story has all too many familiar parallels with the tobacco companies that, in spite of their full knowledge of the severe health risks of smoking, continue to manufacture and promote the use of cigarettes.

The European Common Market has at least banned aspartame for use in all children's products.

Saccharin

Saccharin, the Latin word for "sugar," is a chemical that was discovered in 1879, and was the first artificial sweetener. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar and does not metabolize in the body, so it has no calories. Saccharin, which is derived from coal tar, has a very controversial history. In 1907 it was banned for use in the United States by the forerunner of the FDA because of health concerns. Due to industry pressure, it has been reinstated and then banned again several times since then.

Saccharin continues to be available as little pink packets of Sweet'N Low in most restaurants, and is still used as an artificial sweetener in an array of food products. For example, Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi use a blend of saccharin and aspartame, as does Tab.

Healthy Sweeteners

A bit of sweetness is not out of place in a healthy diet so long as it is in balance with other foods. There are several natural sweeteners that have few, if any, harmful side effects. But just as sweet fruits and fruit juices need to be consumed in moderation, and in appropriate relationship to other types of foods, the same is true of the following natural sweeteners.

Honey

Honey is the oldest known natural sweetener, with references to it dating back virtually as far as recorded history. As we know, it is produced by bees from the nectar they collect from the blossoms of plants and trees. Most honey is gently heated to enable filtering out of the wax and other agents. But the temperatures are kept low (less than 96 F) in order to preserve its enzymes and other nutrients. Such "raw" honey tends to crystallize over a period of time, so much of the honey found in grocery stores and supermarkets has been pasteurized to prevent crystallization. Unfortunately, this destroys the enzymes and many of its inherent nutrients. Therefore, it is much better to find a local source of raw honey. Honey contains various disease-inhibiting antioxidants, similar to some common sweet fruits.

Xylitol

In spite of its ominous-sounding name, Xylitol is a natural carbohydrate that is found in fibrous plants and vegetables, including birch and other hardwood trees, berries, almond hulls and corncobs. It has been approved for use as a sugar substitute in over 35 countries. Xylitol is a sugar alternative that looks and tastes like real sugar, but contains less than 40% of the calories. Xylitol enjoys wide acceptance in Japan and the Scandinavian countries. In Russia it has been used for decades as a sweetener for diabetics, and in Germany in solutions for intravenous feeding. In the United States, Xylitol is approved as a direct food additive for special dietary uses. Numerous clinical and field studies performed over the past 30 years have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Xylitol as a healthy alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. It can be purchased in bulk form from health food stores and many online sources.

Stevia

Stevia is an herb, native to Paraguay, that has been used as a sweetener and flavor enhancer for centuries. The Guarani Indians had known about the unique advantages of this plant long before the arrival of the Spanish invaders. Prior to 1900, stevia had grown only in the wild, and consumption was limited to those having access to its natural habitat. With the gradual introduction of stevia as a commercial crop, it eventually began to attract attention throughout Latin America and beyond. Stevia is usually marketed in the U.S. as an extract, either in liquid or powder form. It can be found in most health and natural food stores.

Other Natural Sweeteners

There are other sweeteners that deserve consideration. Most "natural" sweeteners are certainly preferable to refined sugar or chemical sweeteners.

Date sugar is a powder made by grinding up dried dates, so it enjoys the same health benefits as dates. However, date sugar does not dissolve well in liquids.

Pure maple syrup is made from the sap of sugar maple trees. Although it has a wonderful flavor, the boiling process used to thicken it damages many of its natural nutrients.

Unhealthy Beverages

There are many types of processed beverages widely available that are not healthy for the body. We will focus on three categories of beverages that have the most devastating effects on human health: soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and coffee.

Soft Drinks

The caffeine contained in most soft drinks (Mountain Dew, Coke, Pepsi, etc.) and most power drinks not only stimulates and stresses the central nervous system and immune system, but also acts as a powerful diuretic. For every can of cola you drink, you relinquish up to three times as much water - water that your body cannot afford to give up without suffering some sort of damage. Caffeine removes water from the body faster than the body can absorb it again, thereby generating constant thirst. People who frequently drink soft drinks are never able to really quench their thirst because their bodies continually run out of cellular water. There are some people who drink as many as 10-15 cans of cola a day. Eventually, they tend to confuse their body's never-ending thirst signal with hunger, and they begin to overeat, causing excessive weight gain.

Unfortunately, caffeine is not the only culprit in soft drinks. There are approximately 8 to 9 teaspoons of sugar in a 12-oz. can of Coke, Pepsi or other well-known soft drinks. Because sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream so quickly, the blood sugar level rises dramatically. This causes the pancreas to secrete insulin in order to compensate for the excessive blood sugar. And it stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete adrenalin in an effort to remove sugar from the bloodstream. Adrenalin levels can increase by as much as four times normal, creating a state of "fight or flight" stress response within the body. Many people experience this as a boost of energy that they believe they are getting from the soft drink, but it is anything but that. This stress reaction also increases the production of both cholesterol and cortisone. Cortisone inhibits the immune functions, making one much more vulnerable to colds, the flu and other disorders. Afterwards, the blood sugar level drops below normal, which often leads to a state of depression, lethargy and irritability, sometimes referred to as the "sugar blues." In the long term, this can lead to various blood sugar disorders, such a diabetes or hypoglycemia.

Many people, aware of the adverse effects of sugar, opt for so-called "diet" drinks, such as Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi. Unfortunately, this can lead to even worse health complications. The sweetener that is most commonly used in diet soft drinks is aspartame. The health risks related to aspartame have already been discussed.

Alcoholic Beverages

When a person drinks an alcoholic beverage, about 20% of the alcohol is absorbed in the stomach, with the remaining 80% being absorbed in the small intestine. The alcohol then enters into the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body. As alcohol enters the nerve cells within the brain, it interferes with communication between the nerve cells and all other cells. The excitatory nerve pathways are suppressed, while the inhibitory pathways are stimulated. This has the effect of causing sluggishness of the body, which is characteristic of the behavior of someone who is under the influence of alcohol.

Depending on the level of alcohol within the bloodstream, certain centers of the brain are affected more than others. The first center to be affected is the cerebral cortex, which is why rational thinking tends to become blurred. As the alcohol level rises, it begins to affect the limbic system, involving our emotions and autonomic nervous system. The next center in the brain to be affected is the cerebellum, which among other things, affects our spatial orientation. This is why intoxicated people have difficulty walking in a straight line. And, if the alcohol level continues to increase, the next center to be impacted is the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which together control the entire endocrine system of the body. And finally, excessive alcohol in the bloodstream reaches the medulla (brain stem), acting as a depressant on the entire central nervous system.

The body's natural defense mechanisms attempt to eliminate alcohol from the bloodstream in three different ways:

  • The kidneys eliminate about 5% of the alcohol through the urine.
  • The lungs eliminate about 5% through the breath, which can be detected through a breathalyzer device.
  • The liver chemically breaks down the remaining alcohol into acetic acid.
As discussed earlier, the liver has a wide range of responsibilities related to keeping the body healthy. It functions according to a system of priorities, giving its attention to the most dangerous threats to the body first. Since alcohol is so toxic to the body, it assigns a high priority to the task of breaking it down so that it can be eliminated from the body. But while it is doing this task, other functions of the liver must take a back seat and wait their turn. So regular consumption of alcoholic beverages inhibits the ability of the liver to carry out its normal health-maintenance functions. Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages over a long period of time usually leads to alcoholic liver diseases, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. And alcohol, like caffeine, severely dehydrates the body. In fact, an alcoholic "hangover" is the result of dehydration of the cells of the brain.

Coffee

The primary health risk associated with coffee is its high caffeine content - about 170 milligrams in a regular cup of coffee. Caffeine is a strong diuretic, and the manner in which caffeine tends to dehydrate the body has already been discussed. And, coffee is highly acid-forming, which means that it draws heavily on the alkaline reserve within the body in order to maintain a safe acid/alkaline balance.

Studies have shown that in North America, approximately 85% of adults drink 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day. Since it is a $90 billion industry, concerted efforts are made to downplay the health risks associated with coffee.

One of the incentives for drinking coffee is its perceived ability to serve as a stimulant when one's energy level starts to drop. But since coffee has no real energy of its own, just stimulants, where is the stimulated energy coming from? Obviously, the body is providing it. Stimulants are nerve toxins that trigger a powerful defense reaction in the body. This immune response is what one experiences as a boost in energy when one drinks a cup of coffee. So in reality, the energy boost that one experiences is actually an energy loss for the body. Repeated stimulation by drinking coffee through the day tends to deplete the energy reserve within the body.

If caffeine is the primary ingredient in coffee, and coffee is harmful to health, then what about decaffeinated coffee - does this eliminate the health risks? A recent study was conducted that involved three groups of people: one group drank regular coffee, another group drank decaffeinated coffee, and a third group drank no coffee. The results were reported at a November, 2005 meeting of the American Heart Association. The primary difference noted among the three groups was that those who drank decaffeinated coffee developed a higher level of blood fat associated with harmful LDL cholesterol.

In the October, 2005 issue of American Journal of Epidemiology, Danish researchers reported the effects of coffee on pregnant women. The study found that women who drank 4 to 7 cups of coffee daily while pregnant had a 33% higher risk of fetal death. Further, they found that pregnant women who drank 8 or more cups of coffee a day had a 59% greater risk of fetal death.

Microwave Cooking

Microwave cooking technology was originally developed in Nazi Germany in the early 1940's. The motivation for the development related to logistics of the war effort. If food for troops being deployed to distant locations could be cooked easily and quickly with microwave energy, it would eliminate the need to transport fuels needed for conventional ovens.

At the conclusion of the war, both the Russians and the Americans obtained microwave cooking equipment along with data from tests that had been conducted by the Germans. In Russia, extensive testing related to microwave cooking began about 1957. As the tests ensued, the mounting volumes of data related to the negative impact on human health were so disturbing that in 1974 Russia banned the use of microwaves for cooking in that country, and issued an international warning about its dangers.

The April 1992 Journal of Pediatrics reported that researchers at the Stanford University Medical Center discovered significant changes in human breast milk that was microwaved just enough to warm it. The changes included the destruction of 98% of its immunogloban-A antibodies and 96% of its liposome activity, which inhibits bacterial infections.

In 1991 there was a lawsuit in Oklahoma concerning a woman who had undergone a routine hip surgery. After the surgery, a blood transfusion was administered to her. Blood for transfusions is routinely warmed, but not in microwave ovens. In this particular case however, the nurse, unaware of the risks, did warm the blood in a microwave oven. The patient died 90 minutes after the transfusion. It seems obvious from this case that microwave ovens are doing something to substances other than warming them.

The concerns related to microwave cooking fall into 4 categories:

  • The effects of microwave radiation on people who are in the vicinity of the microwave oven while it is being used.
  • The potential negative impact on the nutritional value of food that has been cooked in a microwave oven.
  • The potential of carcinogens and other health-endangering agents being created within the food as a result of being bombarded by microwave energy.
  • The effects on human health as a result of eating food that has been cooked in a microwave oven.

Microwave Radiation

The dangers of microwave radiation are well known. The hazards first became apparent in conjunction with the development and use of radar, which utilizes bursts of microwave radiation at very high power levels. Until the effects were better understood, and appropriate precautions taken for workers in the vicinity of radar systems, microwave radiation resulted in numerous cases of severe illness and even death.

Although radiation standards have been established for the manufacture of microwave ovens, nobody really knows for certain what levels of radiation can be considered "safe." One thing that is known about the harmful effects of microwave radiation is that they are cumulative. So radiation levels that may be relatively "safe" based on infrequent or occasional use, may not be at all safe for someone who uses a microwave oven on a daily basis.

The intensity of microwave radiation varies exponentially according to the distance from the source. Unfortunately, microwave ovens tend to be located in kitchens based on convenience, rather than safety. Oftentimes this means they are located at eye level, resulting in the greatest radiation exposure to the head. This is particularly disconcerting in view of the fact that one of the common effects of excessive microwave radiation reported by the Russians is a degeneration of brain circuitry and increased levels of disturbance in alpha-, delta-, and theta-wave signal patterns.

The Hertel-Blanc Study

Dr. Hans Hertel worked for many years as a food scientist with one of the major Swiss food companies that conducts business on a global scale. In 1991, he, along with Dr. Bernard Blanc of the University Institute for Biochemistry, conducted a quality clinical study to determine the effects of microwave cooking on food, and the resulting effects on the physiology of those who consumed the food.

The results of the study were sufficiently alarming such that in 1993, a powerful Swiss trade organization filed for, and obtained a "gag" order to prohibit publication of the findings. Finally, in 1998, a Swiss court determined that the gag order prohibiting Hertel from declaring that microwaved food is dangerous to health violated the right to freedom of expression. The order was reversed and the Swiss government was required to pay compensation.

Essentially, the Hertel-Blanc study found that microwave cooking significantly changes the food's nutrients, resulting in changes in the blood that could cause deterioration in the human body. More specifically, the study found a marked increase in the leukocytes in the blood. Leukocytes are of significant concern because they are often signs of pathogenic effects on living systems, such as poisoning and cell damage. The study also showed a decrease in white blood cells after consuming food cooked in a microwave oven.

Summary

Microwave ovens are found in more than 90% of the kitchens in the United States. Virtually every package of frozen or processed food that needs to be heated has instructions for microwave use. Even though there are growing concerns over the increasing incidence of cancer across a wide spectrum of the population, and a proliferation of health-related issues in young people, there has been an alarming void in microwave research conducted in this country. In view of the data from other countries, this void seems more than irresponsible.

Obviously, it is up to each of us to make our own decisions about the use of microwave ovens for cooking our daily meals. Perhaps we can blame the Nazis for inventing microwave ovens, but we can only blame ourselves if we continue to use them in light of the potential risks. Some health conscious people who have decided to discontinue using them for cooking have found a creative use for them - unplug them and use them as a place for storing your vegetarian cookbooks or for growing health-enhancing sprouts!

Recommended Resources

The information in this module has drawn heavily on books and teachings of Andreas Moritz, who is world renown in the field of alternative health. We would especially recommend his following books, all of which are available through his website: www.ener-chi.com.

  • Timeless Secrets of Health & Rejuvenation (This is his most comprehensive book on alternative health.)
  • The Amazing Liver & Gallbladder Flush
  • Cancer is Not a Disease! . . It's a Survival Mechanism
  • Heart Disease No More!
  • Ending the AIDS Myth
  • Diabetes No More!
  • Feel Great, Lose Weight
  • Heal Yourself with Sunlight
  • Simple Steps to Total health
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