You Should Know – Folks are Living Longer, But…

Check out this story that I read about a week or so ago about life expectancies increasing around the globe:  Life Expectancy up Worldwide

This is always good to hear.  I do not have much to say about this, except for a couple of rhetorical questions:

  1. Why does the United States not make the top 10 for females OR males?
  2. Why is it that all of the countries in which life expectancy is below 55 are in Africa?  (Being african-american, this bothers me).


Picture from under creative commons licensing.  No changes made.


You Should Know – Fire Retardant Chemical to be Removed from Sodas

After a 12 year old girl’s petition to the Pepsi Company for them to remove Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) from her favorite Gatorade drink got over 200,000 signatures, the Pepsi Company removed the chemical from their drinks.  Coca-Cola followed suit after the girl added Powerade to her petition, and by the end of the year, Coca-Cola plans to remove the chemical from all of their drinks by year’s end.

BVO, by the way, contains bromine, which apparently is used as a flame retardant in plastics and other products.  It is also banned for use in food by other countries, as the article states.

What the young lady did in filing that petition was a great deed that has made food just a little bit safer for you and me.  I am sure that she did not expect the petition to make waves as it did.  It shows that consumers actually really do care what is in their food.    It DOES matter to consumers that their food sometimes contains weird ingredients that would usually not be considered for consumption, and are sometimes harmful to the body (i.e. hydrogenated oils, “pink slime”, GMO).

Unfortunately though, we can infer based on the tendency for these kinds of stories to come out that this is not the last of the unwanted chemicals in our food.  There is still plenty on the ingredient lists of our foods that we cannot pronounce…and no telling what some of those ingredients are.  I believe that there is a double-faceted moral to this story:

  1. It is best to eat/drink products that are as natural as possible.  If you avoid the packaged, processed stuff in the aisles, that can take care of most of the weird ingredient problem.
  2. Consumers really do have a voice.  If we want our food to be healthier, sometimes it is just a matter of making it known by how we spend our money, and in this case, by petitioning.

Anyway, just thought you should know.

What do you think about BVO being taken out of drink products?

You Should Know – A Future Without Food??

I came across an article on the New Yorker website that talks about a new food product called Soylent, as well as the founders of the product.  Soylent, in short, is somewhat of a meal replacement, or as one of the founders put it, an “over-all food substitute.”  The general idea is that food as it is now is inefficient due to time, cost and complexity, and the Soylent drink eliminates many of those problems by combining many vitamins and minerals into a glass for each meal.  Just add water.

The drink concept essentially came from the founders mixing several ingredients (mostly supplements) in a blender that together contained 35 nutrients essential for human life, and adding water.  Apparently, this has now turned into a up and coming business that has people curious, has investors looking, and also has even attracted the attention of the US Space Program.

It is definitely true that our food system has a lot of problems.  Meat production has a big detrimental impact on the earth because of methane gas and water consumption, among other things.  The rise of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) plants is producing concern because of how little is known of the possibility of bad health effects.  Vegetables and fruits in general are often heavily sprayed with pesticides that do cause bodily harm.  I will not even go into the gluten issues, processed foods, high sugar and salt products, and so on.

However, is it truly possible to create a product from bottles of supplements that will provide everything that the body needs to survive and to thrive?  A healthy food diet normally consists of raw and cooked foods, with the general understanding that raw, or ‘live’, foods contain higher levels of nutrients since they have not been heated or processed.  Supplements are not alive, and while they can have nutrients as well, will those nutrients be as easily assimilated by the body as the nutrients from real food?

Another thing to consider is that we as humans are as much a part of the natural world as the other plants and animals that we live around; we are just much more intelligent than they are.  It just so happens that many of these things around us that we have eaten for food provide very good nutrition for our bodies.  It is as if they were truly made for us to eat (I believe they were).  Another part of the New Yorker article quotes a doctor’s concern about the fact that ‘real’ food contains phytonutrients, most of which most scientists have yet to discover.  I am sure it is a lot more than 35.

Perhaps this drink  can be another supplement that can be used as a here-and-there meal replacement.  Overall food replacement might be pushing it quite a bit.  There is a lot more to food and to the way our bodies work than 35 nutrients from a combo of food supplements.  As I said in this post, there are other more natural and intuitive ways of reducing our footprint on this world.

But hey, please read the article for yourself and form your own opinion.  Just thought you should know.

What do you think?  Comment below!