Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ah darn!! Hoodwinked again….

Well I thought I was doing the right thing and generally speaking I was right.  But even right these days comes with a risk analysis involving a risk-reward curve.  Honestly, I always knew the ham for my daily ham sandwich was packaged in something but always kicked the can down the road about thinking much about what it might be.  Yes, eating low fat ham is a better choice than a lot of choices but my time of reckoning has arrived.  Darn it! 

“The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has just completed a detailed review of more than 7,000 clinical studies covering links between diet and cancer. Its conclusion is rocking the health world with startling bluntness: Processed meats are too dangerous for human consumption. Consumers should stop buying and eating all processed meat products for the rest of their lives. Processed meats include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and virtually all red meat used in frozen prepared meals. They are usually manufactured with a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite. This is used as a color fixer by meat companies to turn packaged meats a bright red color so they look fresh. Unfortunately, sodium nitrite also results in the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines in the human body. And this leads to a sharp increase in cancer risk for those who eat them. A 2005 University of Hawaii study found that processed meats increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67 percent. Another study revealed that every 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 50 percent. These are alarming numbers. Note that these cancer risks do not come from eating fresh, non-processed meats. They only appear in people who regularly consume processed meat products containing sodium nitrite.”

My daily processed meat sandwich includes added water, salt and…..

Dextrose is found in high amounts in many common packaged products and baking foods that are high in sugar such as cake mixes and frosting, cookies, crackers and pretzels. Keep in mind that consuming too much of all sugars, including dextrose, has many negative health effects, including suppressing your immune system and impairing your body's defenses against infectious diseases; causing rapid spikes in your blood sugar levels; problems with your gastrointestinal system; and a possible rise in your cholesterol levels.

Sodium lactate is the sodium salt of lactic acid produced by fermentation of a sugar source, such as corn or beets, and then neutralizing the resulting lactic acid[4] to create a compound having the formula NaC3H5O3. As a food additive, sodium lactate has the E number E325 and naturally is a liquid product, but also is available in powder form. As early as 1836, sodium lactate was recognized as a salt of a weak acid rather than being a base, and it was then known that the lactate had to be metabolized in the liver before the sodium could have any titrating activity.  Sodium lactate has a mild saline taste. It may be used in shampoo products and other similar items such as liquid soaps as it is an effective moisturizer.  Sodium lactate commonly is used to treat arrhythmias caused by overdosing of class I anti-arrythmics, as well as pressor sympathomimetics which can cause hypotension.

Sodium phosphate is a generic term for the salts of sodium hydroxide and phosphoric acid.  Sodium phosphates are often used as meat preservatives, as an alternative to sodium nitrite. This is common in canned meats.

Sodium diacetate is a compound with formula NaH(C2H3O2)2. It is a 1:1 mixture of sodium acetate and acetic acid but is also described as the sodium acid salt of acetic acid. It is a common additive in "Salt and Vinegar" flavored chips.

Sodium ascorbate is a more bio-available form of vitamin C that is an alternative to taking ascorbic acid as a supplement. The molecular formula of this chemical compound is C6H7NaO6. As the sodium salt of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), it is known as a mineral ascorbate.  As a food additive, it has the E number E301 and is used as an antioxidant and an acidity regulator. It is approved for use as a food additive in the EU, USA and Australia and New Zealand.  Sodium ascorbate can reverse the development of atherosclerotic disease, helps in heart attack prevention.  In addition sodium ascorbate plays a significant role in the elimination of chronic and acute infections.   Moreover, it is considered to be an anti-cancer agent. Sodium ascorbate produces cytotoxic effect in an array of malignant cell lines, which include melanoma cells that are particularly susceptible.

Sodium nitrite is the inorganic compound with the chemical formula NaNO2. It is a white to slight yellowish crystalline powder that is very soluble in water and is hygroscopic. It is a useful precursor to a variety of organic compounds, such as pharmaceuticals, dyes, and pesticides, but it is probably best known as a food additive to prevent botulism.  As a food additive, it prevents growth of Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium which causes botulism. It also alters the color of preserved fish and meats. In the European Union it may be used only as a mixture with salt containing at most 0.6% sodium nitrite. It has the E number E250.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I love you Aunt Bobbie…

In the summer of 1971 I returned home to the IL area with my wife Susie Mundinger-Yates. We traveled a nice route which included several of her relatives but also mine and a little tour of “places” that you show people trying to give them an idea about your early life.

I was 24 years old, a 4 year military veteran, was a licensed clinical professional, successfully returned to college, had been accepted to a California University in the fall, had a little money, driving a new sports car and married to a nice attractive woman. In short, I full of myself!

I sported hair then I would find longish today and a full red bed which I wore for several years. I was not doing this for some political statement or meaning, it was just me perhaps relaxing standards after a military stint. But at the time during the anti-war era, judgments were made about such folks and what they stood for based on appearance. Perhaps I forgot this as I made my way from California College to the Mid-Western culture.

So, I pulled into Chrisman, IL and parked on the square in front of the Drug Store where I remembered my Aunt Barbara “Bobbie” George-Yates worked. Almost immediately I could determine she did not recognize me so I altered my course and stopped at the revolving greeting card rack and started browsing the cards. A short time later she approached me and asked if I needed assistance which I said would be kindly appreciated. Without any recognition at all she was standing next to a 6’ 2” beaded beast that was looking downward into the eyes of his barely 5 foot tall Sweet Aunt; oh the moment was delicious!

I explained that I needed a special card for someone and it was important that the message be on target. So, we started through several of the cards and I read the Hallmark message out loud to her and asked if she could interpret the message behind it for me. I think she tolerated the first couple cards pretty well but I could see her frustration beginning to build and I’m thinking she is about to explode. I picked up the last one, pointed at the message as I leaned over towards her as if to ask her to follow along and as she leaned over I said “I love you Aunt Barbara”. She jerked away with a surprised look seemingly trying to understand; then all she could see was this big guy with his arms out to hug her telling her “it’s me Aunt Bobbie, your nephew little Ronnie Yates”. And then the hugging began in earnest and remains one of my sweet memories of an earlier time.