Yes, You Absolutely Should Be Drinking Organic Milk

Vermont_cowWell, that is, if you are drinking milk. A while back I wrote a post on organic produce, the point of which was essentially “Meh, nutritionally organic and conventional produce are very similar”. But that’s not gong to be the point of this article. The point of this article is that if you put dairy products into your body, they better damn well be organic 99% of the time.

How Milk Is Made

Conventional dairy farming can be a nasty business. Cows live in close quarters, are fed corn/grains (not the natural diet of a pastured animal) and receive antibiotics (scary fact: somewhere around 80% of antibiotics produced in the US are given to animals). None of these things is particularly healthy for the cow. And I haven’t even gotten into the pooping – how much, where it goes, and what that does to the environment. I’m not going to either, there’s enough on that circulating the web. (Or, if you’re interested in a comprehensive book on industrial dairy and meat production in the US, check out Animal Factory).

In contrast, the standards for organic livestock include: Continue reading Yes, You Absolutely Should Be Drinking Organic Milk

In Olive Oil V. Canola Oil – Is There A Winner?

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Olive oil has been well recognized for its health benefits, and is a oft stated feature of the Mediterranean diet. And canola oil has been making headway in the US as a “healthy oil”. Multiple sources cite it as having the following benefits:

  • Less saturated fat (only about 6%) than any other oil
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Higher level of mono-unsaturated fats (observed to be good for cholesterol) than any oil except olive

But what really IS canola oil? There is, after all, no such thing as a “canola” plant. And is it really healthier than other oils, like olive? Continue reading In Olive Oil V. Canola Oil – Is There A Winner?

Should You Be Drinking Gatorade?

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 10.02.51 AMIf you played sports as a kid, you probably grew up on the delicious, refreshing beverage called Gatorade (or Powerade, although I think Gatorade is better). Originally invented at the University of Florida (Go Gators) to hydrate the football team during hot summer games, Gatorade now produces a regular and low calorie drink, “natural”versions of these beverages, as well as energy chews and nutrition bars. And their marketing has been stellar – watch any Gatorade ad and you’re pretty much convinced that you should drink this stuff because that’s what the badass athletes do (and who doesn’t want to be a badass athlete). They’re all about that inspiring stuff like hard work and determination. Well, at least most kids probably think that. As adults, we’re just trained to crave it. If I go running in sub 75 degree weather for longer than 30 minutes, I come back craving a blue Gatorade (because maybe the flavor is inspired by some kind of fruit, but in all likelihood it contains no part of said fruit, and we just know it by the color anyway. Yellow is a close second for me). Of course, Gatorade has also gotten some negative press surrounding their use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO) – which they’ve since discontinued using – because it had been patented as a flame retardant and is banned in Japan and the European Union.  But, is it OK to drink or should you avoid it? Continue reading Should You Be Drinking Gatorade?