Popcorn is often viewed as the quintessential snack of choice for any movie lover. When the kernels are popped to perfection, it becomes the best accompaniment to the latest episode of your favorite show. It’s a great alternative to sugary snack options for children as well. The quickest option is to drop a bag in the microwave and listen as the kernels pop to completion. However, new research has shown the microwave might not be the safest option for food preparation. Does this extend to microwave popcorn?
Safety of Microwave Popcorn
An occasional treat is fairly safe, but if you frequently consume microwave popcorn, there are some facts you should know. The health and wellness of your children is of the utmost importance, so have all the facts in order to make the best choice for them!
The store-bought bag has a chemical called diacetyl, which is naturally occurring and safe to ingest. This chemical is what gives microwave popcorn the buttery taste and enhances the flavor. However, if you or your child inhale the sweet aroma of popcorn too often, you might have cause for concern. But to be affected, you’d need to eat several bags a day and inhale the aroma every time.
What Happens if you Inhale Too Much?
Recently a new medical phenomenon occurred when a man in Colorado contracted “popcorn lung.” The truth about popcorn lung is in the medical diagnosis of bronchiolitis obliterans, which is a severe respiratory disease.
This disease has been linked to inhaling significant amounts of the diacetyl chemical in the popcorn bag. Factory workers are most susceptible to contracting this, but the Colorado man frequently exposed himself to the aroma. Due to high levels of consumption and inhalation (an average of two bags a day for ten years), he had significantly increased the likelihood of contracting popcorn lung.
Monitoring your child’s intake of popcorn can significantly reduce the likelihood of contracting popcorn lung.
Are the Companies Doing Anything About It?
After popcorn lung surfaced, many manufacturers took the discovery to heart and changed their practices. Act II, Jolly Time, Pop Secret, Orville Redenbacher, and Pop Weaver have since removed the use of diacetyl in their popcorn and bags. This makes it safer not only for your family, but the workers as well.
If you want to take an extra step on your own, simply wait until the bag is cool, allowing the vapor to condense before opening it. Remember, the harmful effects of the chemical are in the aroma!
It’s in the Bag
In addition to diacetyl and the potential of popcorn lung, the bag itself is also lined with other substances that can be harmful to children in the long run. Most popcorn bags are lined with perfluorooctanoic acid, the same kind found on Teflon pots and pans. When heated, as it is when you put the bag in the microwave, the chemical can be tied to cancer and other diseases. While there are currently no long-term studies of this effect, the EPA has listed this acid as a carcinogen.
The Health of It All
Microwave popcorn utilizes various oils and emulsifiers that require GMO ingredients. Again, there are not long-term studies on the health risks of GMOs, but it is part of a rising issue of health concerns. Since most brands are typically not organic, pesticide use is all but guaranteed.
Additionally, some brands utilize trans fats, a fat linked to heart attacks. While this might not be a concern for children at their young age, if microwave popcorn becomes a habit, it could be an issue later on in life.
What Can You Do as a Parent?
Fortunately, there are many alternative options to microwave popcorn. It can be a fun snack time activity as a family! To avoid the health concerns, just try making it yourself! There are a lot of recipes out there that just require oil, popcorn kernels, salt or butter, and a pot with a lid. If popcorn is especially important to your family, you can invest in an at-home popcorn maker, ideal for creating your own kind of popcorn.
How To Detect Fake Honey and the Benefits Of Real Honey
There are many items in the grocery store that are being made in China and are being marketed as real food. While the American FTC in 2001 placed stiff tariffs on Chinese honey after cheap adulterated honey was being marketed as honey, this ‘fake’ honey is still is for sale in our grocery stores.
What is Fake Honey?
Fake honey is common. It can be called adulterated, artificial or impure honey. Fake honey can be made from or contain sugar syrups, corn syrup, molasses, dextrose, and other additives and flavors.
How to Tell if You are Buying Real Honey?
There is a lot of fake honey on the market, which makes it difficult to know what is real and what is not. While the following tests are based on true honey principles, the results may be inconclusive. So, you can try a few of these tests to see if the honey passes or fails. You may need to guess if the honey is real or fake. Here is how you can tell if your honey is real.
Read the Labels
Before you buy honey, you should always read the label. Food producers have to label what is in the honey and the ingredients are listed by percentage, from most to least.
This is very quick and easy way of testing if your honey is real or not. You just need to put a small drop of the honey on your thumb. Check to see if the honey spreads or spills around. If the honey does, it is not pure. Pure honey will stay intact and in place on your thumb.
Place a few teaspoons of honey in a bowl, and heat the honey in the microwave on high heat. Real honey will eventually caramelize, while fake honey will foam and bubble due to the added ingredients. However, you should keep in mind that real honey can also get a layer of ‘foam’ on the top because of the air being cooked out of the honey.
All you need to do this test is a glass of water and the honey. Simply place one tablespoon of honey into the glass. Pure honey will settle right to the bottom of the glass. Artificial honey will dissolve in the water, and some honey will be floating in the water.
Did you know that pure honey is flammable? This is why beeswax is used to make candles. You can also use flames to test if you have real honey or not. For the flame test, you will need a dry matchstick. Dip the matchstick into the honey. Strike the match on the matchbox to light it. If the honey is pure, the match will light with ease. The flame will keep burning off the honey. Impure honey will not light because of the moisture from the impurities in it.
Simply spreading on honey onto a slice of fresh bread can tell you if your honey is real. If the bread becomes hard, the honey is natural. Fake honey has a large amount of water and moisture in it, so it will only dampen the bread.
This can take time to happen, but all natural honey will crystallize after being exposed to air. This is due to the overabundance of sugar in honey. Fake honey does not contain the correct amount of natural sugars or has ingredients that stabilize the mixture. This allows it to keeps its liquid composition.
We have stated that fake honey has a lot of water and other ingredients that contain high amounts of moisture. Real honey has almost no moisture, so placing a few drops of honey on a piece of paper towel can tell you if your honey is real. If the honey is not absorbed, the honey is real. Fake honey will be absorbed within a few minutes.
How to Avoid Fake Honey?
The best way of avoiding fake honey is to buy it from a local honey producer. Most local producers are happy to explain how they produce their products, and may even allow you to visit their production buildings. Bees are important for crop production, so supporting your local honey producers is also helping other food producers.
Buying organic and raw honey still has the risk of being imported from China or being made with other ingredients to help the honey be shelf stable. This is why it is important to always to check the label before buying any honey product.
The Benefits of Real Honey
Real honey has benefits that fake honey does not or has in very low amounts. The main benefit of using real honey is that it is rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants include enzymes, phenols, organic acids, and flavonoids. Increased intake of antioxidants has been linked to lower risk of strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure and some cancer types. They may also improve eye health.
Real honey has also been used for centuries to help with the healing of wounds and burns. In a 2015 review, 26 studies about honey and wound care were evaluated. This review found honey was most effective at healing wounds and burns that were infected. Honey was also found to be an effective treatment for diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetic foot ulcers may have serious complications and can lead to amputation.
Honey has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. It also nourishes the affected tissue.
Honey is also an effective treatment of sore throats and colds, which is due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. There is a study that found honey was more effective than two of the leading cough medications.
There is a growing amount of fake honey in our grocery stores, mainly because real honey is becoming more expensive to produce. It is easy to buy fake honey, but you can easily find out if your honey is real or not. Buying local honey can reduce the need for you to test for fake honey or additives being added. Using real honey offers many benefits and it also supports local businesses and farmers.
Many people chose an organic diet for them and their families because they believe it to be healthier and safer than an un-organic one. But how much do we really know about the safety of the food that we are consuming? Read on to find out the best ways of ensuring the food that you feed your family is safe.
organic foods safety, organic foods, safe organic foods, fillers in organic foods
Organic foods is food that has had only very limited expose to any chemical and toxins in the growing process in line with the current legislation. This means that they are not laced with fertilisers and insect repellent, which can find its way into the food chain. Organic foods, logically, therefore, seem like a healthier option.
The general public certainly believes them to be, and as they have become more health conscious, the purchase of organic foods has risen by 20% annually. In fact, there are plenty of providers making ready made food from organic ingredients on high is the demand.
However is organic foods always the safest option? While in and of itself organic foods is healthier, the way in which is it prepared for sale also affect the safety of the food.
Most food for general sale is processed in large plants, via a machine conveyor belt system. The problem is that such high quantities are prepared at one time, in the same areas, so that if something goes wrong, it can affect a lot of individual units.
organic foods safety, organic foods, safe organic foods, fillers in organic foods
This is what happened in the case in CRF Frozen Foods, where many organic products were recalled because of concern over listeria. If you have any food related issues or concerns be sure to check the FDA site for which products are affected by the recall. It is most definitely better to be safe than sorry in this case.
organic foods safety, organic foods, safe organic foods, fillers in organic foods
Another issue in the safety of organic foods is what is added to the essential ingredients of the items that we buy? Check the labels on organic products as large food manufacturing companies often add in chemicals and preservatives to make the food last longer on the shelves.
There is also a lot of filler in some foods in the form of fat and sugar, and organic foods is not immune to this. This makes the food taste good and is cheap. So it can be used to bulk out the produce in a cost effective way. Unfortunately, while it might taste great, a diet high in fat and sugar is not effective or healthy for humans in the long term.
The problem is that people have become so use to buying food that is like this. That means that they don’t always understand that it is not the correct way to fuel your body. If you would like to eat in a more nutritious and nourishing way, call out the eating movement for some advice.
Apart from the cooking processes needed for some items of food, some are exposed to additional processes. While this is often not the case with organic foods, it is worth checking how things are made as well as what they are made from to be absolutely sure.
organic food safety, organic food, safe organic food, fillers in organic food
Fishy Bait & Switch Continues
New investigation confirms ongoing seafood fraud in markets, sushi bars, and restaurants
ImageBy Craig Weatherby
Vital Choice seafood is exactly what we say it is. Why are we so very confident about the identity of our fish and shellfish? Key Vital Choice people – founder/president Randy Hartnell, COO Dave Hamburg, shipping master Terry Hartnell, and lead buyer Rich Walsh – are former Alaska and Northwest fishermen who know our sources and supply chain intimately.
Last December, we reported on investigations by the Boston Globe and Oceana, which found routine fraud among seafood sellers (see “Fish Fraud Marches On”).
Oceana’s report found that 39 percent of seafood tested in the New York City area was mislabeled on store signs and restaurant menus.
Their report mirrored earlier reports by them and others, which found widespread seafood fraud in other major metropolitan areas.
Now, follow-up DNA tests by Oceana – a non-profit conservation group – confirm that fish fraud remains rampant in supermarkets, fish stores, sushi bars, and restaurants.
Oceana found mislabeling rates varied by region:
Southern California – 52 percent
Austin and Houston – 49 percent
Boston – 48 percent
New York City – 39 percent
Northern California and South Florida – 38 percent
Denver – 36 percent Kansas City – 35 percent
Chicago – 32 percent
Washington D.C. – 26 percent
Seattle – 18 percent
Their study targeted fish with regional significance as well as those found to be frequently mislabeled in previous studies, such as red snapper, cod, tuna, and wild salmon.
From 2010 to 2012, Oceana staff and supporters purchased 1,247 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets – restaurants, sushi bars, grocery stores and seafood markets – in major metropolitan areas in 21 states.
DNA testing found that one-third (33 percent) of the 1,215 samples analyzed nationwide were mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines.
Of the most commonly collected fish types, samples sold as snapper and tuna had the highest mislabeling rates (87 and 59 percent, respectively), with the majority of the samples identified by DNA analysis as something other than what was found on the label.
Halibut, grouper, cod and Chilean sea bass were also mislabeled between 19 and 38 percent of the time, while salmon was mislabeled seven percent of the time. (By the way, “Chilean sea bass” is the consumer-friendly name marketers applied to a once-obscure species called Patagonian toothfish.)
For more on salmon fraud, see “Salmon Scam Rampant in Restaurants” – which contains links to related Vital Choices reports – and “Salmon Buyer Beware: An Eye-Opening Trip to Manhattan’s Fish Market”.
A whopping 44 percent of all the retail outlets visited sold mislabeled fish. Restaurants, grocery stores and sushi venues all sold mislabeled fish, though the chances of being swindled varied greatly.
Oceana’s study identified strong national trends in seafood mislabeling levels among retail outlets, with sushi venues ranking the highest (74 percent), followed by restaurants (38 percent) and grocery stores (18 percent).
The fish fraud found by Oceana also carries potentially serious concerns for the health of consumers, and for the health of our oceans and vulnerable fish populations:
Cheaper farmed fish sold as wild (e.g., tilapia sold as red snapper and farmed salmon sold as wild salmon)
Species carrying health advisories (e.g., high-mercury king mackerel sold as grouper and oily, stomach-upsetting escolar sold as albacore tuna)
Overfished, imperiled or vulnerable species sold as more sustainable catch (e.g. threatened Atlantic halibut sold as abundant Pacific halibut).
Oceana’s DNA tests also turned up exotic species not included among the more than 1,700 the U.S. government recognizes as sold or likely to be sold here.
Seafood fraud harms not only consumers’ pocket books, but also every honest vendor and fisherman.
To learn more, visit the Seafood Labeling & Fraud Issues section of our news archive.
And to see Oceana’s lead investigator interviewed by Dr. Mehmet Oz, click these links:
Supermarket Food Fraud Part 1 (fish discussion starts at 2:20)
Supermarket Food Fraud Part 2
Supermarket Food Fraud Part 3
Oceana. Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide. February, 2013 Accessed at http://oceana.org/sites/default/files/reports/
This is a natural wash you can use to wash all your fruits and vegetables. It will save you money making your own then having to keep buying it at the store. I just put it in a spray bottle and as I’m filling up the bowl with water I spray the fruit or vegetables and then let it soak for about 10 minutes. Rinse the fruit or vegetables really good afterward.
1 cup of water
1 cup of vinegar
5 drops of lemon essential oil ( I use young living or DoTerra)
Shake well before use
Subway is the single largest chain restaurant in the world. That means you’ve probably eaten there at some point in your lifetime and if you are like me could possibly have 10 of these restaurants within a 1 mile radius of your house. But is eating at America’s favorite fast food chain really eating real food?
Subway would certainly like you to think so. With their slogan “Eat Fresh,” marketing with avocados and a guy who lost hundreds of pounds eating their famous sub sandwiches, it’s easy to get duped.
You may also feel tricked when you see a little heart logo, indicating a menu item at Subway is “heart healthy.” Just last week it was announced that the American Heart Association (AHA) has endorsed several menu items at Subway and added the heart logo to indicate which ones.
At every Subway on the “sneeze guard” glass they display one version of their nutritional information – the infamous “6 grams of fat or less” menu. This menu includes calories, fat grams, and that new little heart logo, but doesn’t display anything about the ingredients. Doubting that Subway or the AHA would actually ever create a real food information guide for you, I decided it was time to do this myself. Below are the “6 grams or less” menu items and critical real food information you should know about each choice.
Read the rest of the story here to find out what unbelievable non food ingredients is in Subway bread