EDITORS NOTE: Our friends at Ascent Nutrition have an amazing mushroom blend in capsule form, check them out HERE
Having a home garden is a must for preppers, especially if your goal is to be more self-sufficient. If you want to grow medicinal mushrooms in your garden, read on to learn more. (h/t to TheOrganicPrepper.com)
Before you decide which mushrooms to grow, take note that they require more hard work to grow compared to regular fruits and vegetables. If you can’t grow them in your garden, you have the option to forage for mushrooms.
Garden giant mushrooms
According to a study, garden giant mushrooms contain antioxidants. Rat subjects that consumed the mushrooms also had lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Grow garden giant mushrooms broken shade with well-drained, moist soil. Mix mushroom mycelium with fresh hardwood chips or sawdust. Avoid chips or sawdust from fragrant woods such as cedar, eucalyptus, juniper, pine or redwood. If you don’t have wood chips, use fresh straw instead of hay.
Garden giants can produce from spring through fall. Cut them loose, snap them off or twist them off. Leave a few fruits in the patch for more mycelium production so you can keep harvesting.
Research suggests that giant puffball mushrooms have cholesterol-lowering abilities. The mushrooms are also used to treat traumatic hemorrhage and oral bleeding.
Giant puffballs contain calvacin, a compound that is believed to be an anti-cancer agent.
You can find giant puffballs in timber areas and meadows, fields or even your own yard. Giant puffballs are widespread and fairly common in many areas throughout America.
Pick puffballs during their immature stage, which is when their flesh is perfect for eating. After that, puffballs begin to rot out and become inedible.There are different varieties of true puffballs, but the giant ones are the most popular. Once you take a puffball from the ground, it has an edible span of about two weeks.
Lion’s mane mushrooms
Lion’s mane mushrooms are well-known for what they can do for your nervous system. Studies show that lion’s mane mushrooms can stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) in those with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s or dementia. In turn, this helps protect neurons and cognitive ability.
Data from a study on mice also revealed that lion’s mane mushrooms can help partially recover locomotor frailty and protect the cerebellum. This implies that any age-related decline in movement ability originating from the brain could potentially be slowed with lion’s mane mushrooms.
The mushrooms also contain erinacine and hericenones that can raise dopamine levels, increase dopamine receptors and help prevent depression.
When foraging for lion’s mane mushrooms, look for the tell-tale icicle-like “teeth” hanging from the central stalk. While they start off relatively short, these teeth can grow longer than one centimeter long or even longer.
If you split open a mature lion’s mane mushroom, you’ll see that there’s little body to speak of and a large cluster of icicle-like mushroom teeth. Lion’s mane mushrooms grow on beech trees and hardwood species like oak and maple.
Oyster mushrooms are often considered the easiest to grow. They are full of lovastatin, which can help lower one’s cholesterol levels. There are a wide variety of oyster mushrooms.
In one study that tested grey, pink and white oyster mushrooms, scientists reported that the grey-colored oyster mushrooms had the highest levels of lovastatin.
Shiitake mushrooms are full of eritadenine, another chemical compound that also helps lower one’s cholesterol levels. The mushrooms are also rich in beta-glucans, which limits the gut’s ability to absorb cholesterol.
The compounds also help reduce inflammation within the body.
Beta-glucans are good for your body’s ability to produce white blood cells. The compounds also offer benefits for the immune system.
Shiitake mushrooms are also a good source of selenium.
However, some people have a sensitivity to eating too many shiitake mushrooms because of the chemical lentinan. The compound may cause a skin rash that can last for one to two weeks if you eat too many shiitake mushrooms.
Mushrooms are an amazing superfood, and you should grow them in your home garden if you can. Alternatively, you can learn how to identify them and forage for mushrooms in the wilderness or even in your backyard.
A well-planned whole foods, plant-based lifestyle is a health-promoting, nutritionally smart, delicious, and enjoyable way to live and eat. Plus, it contributes to fewer animals living in abject misery in factory farms, far fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and to a safer and healthier world for future generations. So any and all steps taken toward a more plant-forward way of eating are worth celebrating in my book.
Yet, in my work with thousands of Plant-Powered & Thriving course participants and members of Food Revolution Network’s Whole Life Club, I’ve noticed five common missteps people take in the early days and weeks of plant-based eating.
This isn’t about a one-size-fits-all approach when tranitioning to a vegan or plant-based diet. I don’t believe that there is only one “right” way to eat. Instead, I want to help people make the shift to plant-based in a way that truly works for you — and that’s both sustainable and nourishing, so you stick with it and feel great.
My wish for you is that your eating path serves your overall wellness and quality of life. So in this article, I want to help you figure out how to transition to a plant-based diet by avoiding the five most common mistakes people make when first adopting this way of eating.
What Is a Plant-Based Diet?
Since there’s a lot of confusion out there, let’s start with a definition. When I talk about a plant-based diet, I’m referring to one based predominantly on whole plant foods, that minimizes or excludes animal products and byproducts. So plant-based diets typically include an array of fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), grains, nuts, and seeds.
Eating a plant-based diet minimizes or excludes meat, poultry, eggs, fish and seafood, and dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream made from animals’ milk. A whole foods, plant-based diet also minimizes or avoids processed, refined, and artificial ingredients, including added sugars.
5 Common Mistakes Plant-Based Eaters Make
You might think that going plant-based couldn’t be easier or more straightforward; it’s all there in the name. Get the vast majority of your calories from stuff that grows from the ground and don’t eat things that came from animals or were made in factories.
But as they say, easier said than done. From marketing to habit to availability to busyness, a lot of things can make transition to a vegan or plant-based diet harder. Once you identify what those things are, you can prepare yourself to succeed when they arise.
Some of these mistakes are the result of unnecessary urgency. Take the transition to a plant-based diet at your own pace, rather than out of a perceived need to be “perfect” today. While some folks can turn on a dime, most people don’t do well going cold “tofurky.”
So here goes: the five most common mistakes that get in the way when you shift to a more plant-based diet as well as steps you can take to avoid them. And at the end, you’ll get some delicious recipes to help healthy practice become a healthy habit.
Mistake #1: Relying on Processed Plant-Based Meat & Other Processed Foods
When I was a kid, a veggie burger was something you made in your kitchen out of oats or brown rice, beans or lentils, flax seeds, and veggies. You could see the cubed carrots, kernels of corn, and chopped kale right there on your plate. And it typically fell apart before it reached your mouth. These days, you can fool most meat eaters with a Beyond Burger or Impossible Burger, which looks and tastes so much like ground beef that die-hard meat eaters often can’t tell the difference.
The fact that there are so many meat-free prepared foods and packaged options today is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it’s never been more convenient and easy to steer clear of animal products, as there’s a plant-based or vegan substitute for just about everything you can imagine. In the past, you might have refrained from going plant-based because you just couldn’t imagine “giving up” some favorite animal product — bacon, scrambled eggs, deli meat, burgers, jerky, yogurt, milk, cheese — but now the vegan food industry has you covered. You can even find an array of vegan holiday centerpieces these days.
The problem is, these convenient and delicious options are often highly processed vegan foods. This is one of the key struggles some people face with plant-based and vegan diets: over-reliance on processed foods. Processed vegan dairy and meat substitutes may have a lot of added salt and sugar as well as saturated fat, and in some cases may even be contaminated with pesticides and GMOs — and contain unwanted additives and preservatives.
So beware the slick marketing that slaps the words “plant-based” or “vegan” on processed food to take advantage of the halo effect of these phrases. While meat and dairy analogs can help you transition at the beginning and can serve as occasional treats along the way, they don’t meet the definition of whole plant foods.
Success Step: Instead, prioritize planning a nutrient-dense, plant-based menu. What are some healthy plant foods you want to try? How can you do that? Many people find that meal planning and prepping for the week ahead takes away a lot of stress, and removes the need to make in-the-moment decisions when you’re hungry, tired, or stressed.
Mistake #2: Worrying About Protein When Transitioning to a Vegan or Plant-Based Diet
For as long as I can remember, here’s how the dialogue has gone when people talk about switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet:
Person #1: “I’m vegetarian.” Person #2: (Knits brow, assumes worried expression) “So where do you get your protein?”
The most common misconception around plant-based diets is that they are deficient in protein. This mistake has a long and complicated history, the gist of which is that in many people’s minds, “protein” has been synonymous with “meat,” and has been given the status of the “best” nutrient. Meanwhile fat and carbohydrates battle it out over which one is the “real” villain (spoiler alert: it’s neither).
The problem with this narrative is threefold. First, well-planned diets can provide sufficient plant-based protein to all, including the most extreme athletes. Second, the modern industrialized human eats way more protein than they need. And third, excess protein — in particular, animal protein — actually can be harmful and lead to disease and degeneration.
Plant-based amino acids provide more than enough protein for a human diet. Plant protein is not “inferior” to animal protein, nor should you think of it as an alternative protein source. Animal protein is not “complete,” and plant protein is not “incomplete.” That was an unfortunate myth that took hold in the 1960s and had anxious vegetarians obsessing over food-combining at every meal.
Plants contain all nine essential amino acids. It’s true that some plant foods are low in certain amino acids. For example, some grains are low in lysine while some legumes are low in methionine. Getting adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids isn’t difficult when you eat enough food, in general, and include a variety of plant-based foods. The risk of amino acid deficiency would mostly be an issue for someone who, for example, only ate rice every day or only ate beans every day, and nothing else.
Success Step: Swap beans (and more!) for beef. Excellent plant-based sources of protein include beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy foods; certain grains and legume-based pastas; even fruits and vegetables contribute a small amount. So rather than fret over protein, simply eat a variety of different whole plant foods to cover all your amino acid needs.
Mistake #3: Believing you don’t need supplements for anything
While a varied diet based on whole plant foods will cover most of your nutritional bases, there are a few nutrients that often need to be added via supplementation to prevent deficiencies.
And when shopping supplements, you may want to look for plant-based vitamins or vegan supplements, which aren’t made with animal products, and are disclosed on product packaging.
Vitamin B12 is probably the most important supplement for plant-based eaters (and really for everyone else, too). It’s crucial for red blood formation, reproduction, neurological function, and DNA production.
So if plant-based diets are so great, how come we need to supplement them with B12? It’s at least in part because of changes in our food supply and environment over the past hundred years.
B12 is produced by single-celled microorganisms that live in soil, as well as in the intestines of animals and humans. Some humans appear to have bacteria in their gut that make enough for them, but many do not. And most of us can no longer meet our B12 needs from nature because of modern sterilization practices, chlorinated water, antimicrobial efforts, and industrialized farming practices. Studies estimate that 20–40% of people globally (including many meat-eaters) are B12-deficient.
So most of us — not just vegans — are at risk of B12 deficiency. We can get it from fortified foods, such as some brands of nutritional yeast and plant milks. But the safest way to ensure sufficient vitamin B12 is to take a supplement.
Vitamin D is another nutrient of concern, and again not just for those on plant-based diets. At least 50% of the global population doesn’t get enough of this nutrient, which is important for immunity and bone health. Vitamin D is also being studied for its ability to prevent and lessen the severity of COVID-19 infections.
Like with B12, it’s not necessarily the diet per se that’s the problem, but rather our modern existence. Technically, vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin because we can make it ourselves when our skin is exposed to direct sunlight. It’s only the invention of “indoors” that keeps most people from producing enough vitamin D to meet their bodies’ needs.
Some animal-based foods do provide some vitamin D, including fatty fish and egg yolks. Plant-based eaters can get some vitamin D from fortified plant milks, as well as certain varieties of UV-treated mushrooms. But by far the most reliable way to meet your needs is through a daily vitamin D3 supplement, at least in the winter months if you don’t get much sun where you live, or as a year-round maintenance dose.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain health, skin, and protection from neurodegenerative diseases. It’s easy to get the precursor form of omega-3, called ALA, from plants; the best sources of ALA are flax and chia seeds, and there are smaller amounts in walnuts, hemp seeds, and some leafy greens. We then convert ALA into other forms our bodies also need — principally EPA and DHA. The problem is, the conversion rate is low and varies significantly from person to person.
Fish and other seafood contain DHA + EPA, which they get by consuming algae. If you choose not to consume sea animals or supplements made from their oil, you can skip the middlefish and take a plant-based, algae-derived omega-3 supplement.
There are a few other nutrients that you may want to supplement, depending on your needs and your diet. Iodine is a nutrient crucial to proper thyroid function. We get iodine from sea vegetables and iodized salt, but if you’re trying to limit your sodium intake, the best way to meet your iodine needs may be through supplementation. You can take a dedicated iodine supplement or a multivitamin that contains iodine.
The type of iron in plant foods (non-heme) is different from the type found in animal products (heme), and tends to be less readily absorbed in our bloodstream. Many people get too much iron, so lower bioavailability is often a good thing. But not for everyone.
The best plant sources of iron include legumes, dark leafy greens, seeds, and nuts. You can boost your iron absorption by eating vitamin C-rich foods at the same time. These include citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, and many others.
Vitamin K2 helps support bone and heart health when combined with vitamin D. There are two forms of vitamin K: K1 and K2. K1 is easy to source from leafy greens, but K2 is harder to find in plants, unless you’re a regular eater of a fermented dish called natto. If natto isn’t your thing, vitamin K2 may be found in other fermented foods. While the exact amount of K2 in fermented foods can vary, consuming some sort of fermented foods (like kimchi or sauerkraut) daily may help directly deliver K2 and it may also promote healthy bacteria, which could possibly lead to making K2 in your gut. Or to be sure, you can take a supplement.
Success Step: Find reliable plant-based supplements to support your diet, especially for the nutrients mentioned earlier in this article. And, in consultation with your healthcare provider, make them a regular part of your routine.
Editor’s note: Some friends of ours created Complement Plus to help meet the specific nutrient needs of plant-based eaters. It has a carefully chosen amount of important nutrients that even a healthy plant-based diet may be lacking — including DHA, EPA, B12, D3, Iodine, Selenium, Magnesium, K2, and Zinc. If you’re interested, find out more about this product here. Note: If you make a purchase, Complement will make a contribution in support of FRN’s mission. So you can support your health and healthy, ethical, and sustainable food for all, at the same time!
Mistake #4: Limiting Your Menu
Thanks to Hollywood tropes linking healthy eating to ascetic and joyless lives, there’s a common misconception that to going plant-based means subsisting on leafy greens, with the occasional carrot thrown in for variety. And while I love a big bowl of leafy greens, this is far from the only thing on my menu or the menu of most plant-based eaters today.
One of the best parts of adopting a plant-based diet is the chance to experiment with an abundance of beautiful, colorful, versatile plant foods you may never have tried before.
Most people don’t know this, but each type of plant provides a unique type of fiber. And each type of microbe in our guts needs different types of fiber. So we need many, many different types of fiber in order to feed the diversity of microbes that we need to be healthy. That’s why you’ll thrive the best when eating a wide range of different veggies, legumes, whole grains, fruits, seeds and nuts, mushrooms, etc.
Success Step: Not sure where to start? Check out the recipes below, bookmark a few plant-based blogs (like FRN!) for inspiration, or crack open a plant-based cookbook. If you’re just getting into this way of eating, you might plan to try just one new recipe every week.
Mistake #5: Comparing Your Diet (& Yourself) to Others
When adopting a plant-based diet, remember that it’s a change you’re making for your own reasons. This means that you get to design your own diet, to meet your personal needs and preferences. The best whole foods, plant-based diet is the one that is optimal for you, your health, and your values. It doesn’t have to be identical to mine, your best friend’s, or anyone else’s.
Comparison is a thief of joy, whether we’re talking about our net worth, physique, ability to play the intro to “Purple Haze” on electric guitar, or our diet and lifestyle choices. And it can make it harder to stick to a specific way of eating if you’re constantly trying to measure up and achieve “the best diet.” Make plant-based eating work for you, and don’t worry about whether your version or anyone else’s is healthier, purer, or better.
Success Step: Rather than comparing or competing, connect with others who are also somewhere on the plant-powered path — sharing mutual support, encouragement, socialization, and inspiration. Potlucks, collective meals, and plant-based recipe swaps can help everyone up their healthy eating game — and have more fun in the process. And, if you want to be sure that you’re meeting your nutritional needs, then you might consider meeting with a plant-based dietitian.
Editor’s note: Want ongoing support to help you keep making progress towards your food and health goals? You might want to check out WHOLE Life Club, FRN’s membership community. You’ll get tons of plant-based recipes, action videos, a supportive community, expert interviews, and other invaluable resources to help you implement, sustain, and optimize your healthy lifestyle. Find out more here.
Best Foods for a Healthy Plant-Based Diet
As you’re transitioning to a plant-based diet, be sure to prioritize whole plant foods as much as possible. These provide you the most nutritional bang for your buck, plus they’re delicious — and they get better tasting over time as your taste buds and neural pathways adjust. You’ll learn countless ways to use new foods, even some you thought you didn’t like before. Here’s a quick list of the basics, and some creative ways to use them.
Beans and lentils
Homemade veggie burgers
In spaghetti sauce over pasta
Bean-based no-bake energy snack balls
Roasted chickpeas over salad or as a crunchy seasoned snack
Eat raw, unsalted as a snack or in trail mix with dried fruit
Chop and add to grain or leafy green salads
Use cashews to make cashew cream for soups or a plant-based cheese sauce
Add to smoothies
Spread on toast or in sandwiches, on pancakes and waffles
To experience plant-based ingredients in action, try some of the recipes below.
Recipes to Help You Transition to a Plant-Based Diet
Choosing a variety of nutrient-dense, plant-based foods shouldn’t be difficult when there are over 20,000 edible plants in the world. Of course, not all 20,000 of these may be readily available to you, but many probably are!
The Harvest Grain Breakfast Bowl provides an array of nutrients through a variety of ingredients that also provide plenty of flavor and texture. Choose snacks wisely by picking those that contribute to your overall nutrient intake, like the simple-to-make Pumpkin Oat Bites. You can satisfy the entire family by giving them a taste of nourishing plant-based meals such as Jackfruit Taco Chili. Get a variety of flavors, textures, and nutrients by making and assembling the Beet Burgers with Smashed Avocado and Pickled Red Onions. And give your plant-based meal plan daily reassurance by including the Vitality Smoothie Bowl each day as either breakfast or lunch, a snack, or an after-dinner treat.
Start your day with a well-rounded, nutrient-dense breakfast. The Harvest Grain Breakfast Bowl is packed with a variety of good-for-you ingredients, flavors, and textures that will help you enjoy a plant-based diet. There’s zinc in the pumpkin, protein in the millet, and iron in the beets. It’s satisfying to both your belly and your body! P.S. If you’re not a savory breakfast person, this bowl also serves nicely as lunch or dinner!
Having well-balanced snacks on hand that offer whole-grain carbohydrates, plant-based protein, healthy fat, and plenty of micronutrients will help you stay energized throughout the day. Protein is found in the oats (5 grams per ½ cup rolled oats!), almond butter, hemp seeds, and pecans. You’ll also get healthy omega-3 fats from the hemp seeds. These bite-sized snacks are also a good source of iron from oats, hemp seeds, and dates. Not to mention they’re mighty tasty!
Jackfruit isn’t necessarily known for its protein content, although it does have a bit. It is known as a meat substitute, though, with its pulled pork-like texture. The protein in this dish comes from the beans which also bring iron, while vitamin C-rich tomatoes maximize iron absorption from those beans. If you choose to use salt, use iodized salt unless you’re taking a multivitamin that includes iodine. Add some mushrooms for a mini dose of vitamin D (but don’t forget to get a little sunshine too!).
This burger checks all the boxes — it’s simple to make, tastes delicious, is extremely satisfying, and is packed with nutrition. You’ll get iron from the beets and beans, omega-3 fatty acids from the flax, and prebiotic fiber from the oats and onions, which may help to synthesize vitamin K2 in your gut. Add some healthy bacteria to feed on the prebiotic fiber by adding a tablespoon of fermented kraut or kimchi to each burger!
Smoothies and smoothie bowls are a wonderful and tasty way to add a variety of nutrients that are sometimes a challenge to get on a plant-based diet. One way to include vitamin B12 and vitamin D is to choose a fortified plant-based milk if you use store-bought. (If you make your own plant milk, you may need to get your B12 and vitamin D from other fortified foods, supplements, or in the case of Vitamin D, the sun). Hemp seeds offer omega-3s, though you could get even more if you use chia or flax meal in their place. Spinach and cacao add iron. Add some berries, naturally rich in vitamin C, to maximize iron absorption. Finally, stir in some probiotic-rich and creamy plant-based yogurt to potentially stimulate gut synthesis of vitamin K2.
You Can Avoid These Plant-Based Diet Mistakes
Transitioning to a plant-based diet can be a wonderful thing, not just for your own health but for the health of the animals, the planet, and everyone around you. Plant based food benefits far outweigh any cons of following a vegan or vegetarian diet. And while whole foods, plant-based diets can meet the majority of your nutritional needs, it’s important to supplement appropriately and plan a well-rounded diet that incorporates an array of healthy foods. Make plant-based eating work for you by intentionally designing a plan that meets your needs and preferences. By doing so, you can avoid the most common plant-based eating mistakes and experience all of the wonderful things this diet has to offer.
My family was lucky enough to leave Venezuela for Ecuador and Peru before things got to the peak of craziness, and people struggled with the question of where to find food. We didn’t experience many of the terrible things as other Venezuelans who stayed as a result.
We suffered mostly because we kept using our national currency rather than the US dollar, but there wasn’t much we could do to rectify the situation. Our useless fiat currency was everywhere. The USD was not. Hyperinflation blew everything, and people did not have the means to adjust. For a while. We’re now better, but far from going back on track.
As a result of this hyperinflation, those living in the larger cities had a VERY rough ride back in 2017-2019. This was to be expected. In the smaller towns, where vegetables, meat, poultry, beef, pork, grain, and fruits were raised, things were not as hard.
What are some basics of where to find food during a starving time?
Given the fair weather and our own culture appreciating freshly cooked meals, getting processed food is not that important. We can live without, say, bacon or commercially made ham.
With hyperinflation, raw ingredients will likely still be available. Brand products are going to disappear. Shareholders will close a plant long before any loss can affect their patrimony.
Therefore, the urban prepper should be already prepared to deal with this. Stocking up? Unless you have an extra warehouse to fill up to the roof and be stocked up for the next 5-6 years, I would say that you need to review your plan if this is your main option. Oh, and just for the record: gardening, raising livestock, and growing stuff is incredibly hard for those urbanite fellas.
My suggestion would be to give serious thought to decide what is better for you: investing in some patch of land far away where you can produce (which is NOT easy at all no matter what the permaculture people say!) at least some basic staples, or using that money to stockpile long-term supplies.
(For more information on how to stay fed during a disaster, check out our free QUICKSTART Guide on building a 3-layer food storage system.)
Here are my thoughts on where to find food in collapsed Venezuela…
Let’s take a look at each food product in turn:
Most houses here have an herb garden. If your plot is small, you could use raised beds to save on fertilizer, using scraps for compost, but you will have to learn a lot before you can produce anything else more than a salad per week for two people.
Those with patios here grow cilantro, basil, and common herbs as well. However, in my experience, even in our tropical weather, spice plants will be quickly depleted without external supply if you live in a place with limited space. So, getting a whole bunch in bulk in the harvesting season, drying, and storing for the whole year is the way to go.
It’s very important to have the needed connections to get fresh beef. Our experience with cattle thieves was bad, as you know already. This was because farmers didn’t have the means to defend their property. Calling the guards for help here in Venezuela means to be tied for life to pay them for “protection” in a Mafia-style racket. Some of our farmers don’t care because they pass this cost off to the customer.
But for the non-farmer prepper, purchasing live cattle and splitting the cost between 2-3 families was one of the best approaches we found to work down here.
Pigs don’t require the space that a cow does, so raising them is a much more viable alternative to most preppers than is beef cattle. A friend of mine has very little space, yet he survived the hyperinflation by raising pigs fed off of vegetable scraps he picked up here in town.
It was hard work. He walked 10 km with a wheelbarrow every day to feed those pigs. But he kept his family alive, putting in the daily maintenance for his pigs well over a year. It’s very likely people will be able to raise pork in the vicinity of cities without too much trouble, and derived products should still be accessible post-collapse where you are as well.
Chickens are one of the most common protein sources you’ll find in South America. They’re easy to raise, can be fed with table scraps, and a bag of corn goes a long way in keeping them happy. They roam freely here the whole day, eating insects and plants.
Venezuela is filled with “organic” chickens if you like that word. Really, it’s the same situation with pork here – maybe even easier. When I lived in Lima, people had chickens living on their roofs, and no one seemed to care.
This is a little bit tricky in areas far away from the sea or without rivers (obviously). I have heard reports our nearby lake is a nest of bad guys, and you can’t just go there and fish anymore. So, most of our fish comes from the coast: over 300 km away, by truck, once a week.
From time to time, though, a spontaneous seller roams the streets with a few catches from God-knows-where, but people hardly ever buy these. Why? They’re rotten. Our rivers are depleted of wildlife, and deforestation has diminished their volume. So, fish from these sources are not an option.
One of the most common ways here to preserve and eat fish all year long is by salting them, a very common practice in the coastal region. If you can get fresh fish and smoke it safely at home, so much the better.
Rabbits and other rodents
In my area, rabbits are seen as a delicate kind of cattle to raise. They don’t have much meat, so they’re not so appreciated. However, their fur is useful. People with limited space and who were willing to learn how to raise them properly have done a brisk business here. The speed of their reproduction is a great advantage, and the meat is a good alternative to chicken.
I remember reading signs in several houses around the neighboring subdivisions advertising rabbit meat. So, yes, in a real crisis, they indeed are a good alternative.
These are mostly raised for milk, as their meat is not really appreciated around here. However, these can be a good meat source and surely have a place in a prepper’s cottage. The goat milk here is being used by parents to replace baby formula. Commercial formula is quite expensive (all of it is imported!), and this has been the common recourse.
So yes, this is another good source that has been useful in this crisis.
Fruits and veggies never really disappeared here.
I don’t think you’re likely to have a problem finding them where you are at either post-hyperinflation. Really, the same went for dairy products. The cows didn’t disappear overnight, and people were still able to access dairy derivatives throughout the hyperinflation period as a result.
In general, countryside producers will keep producing after a collapse. The economy may change, the units of currency may change, but those animals are still going to produce food, and rural folk are still going to produce animals.
Now, we have to ask two final questions:
First, do you have the means to reach those producers in your geographical area in an affordable, safe and relatively fast way? If you live downtown in a large city, driving 2 hours one-way trip just to get staples could be…uphill, especially if fuel is scarce. Producers may not be willing to take paper money. (Organizing a group to buy in bulk could mean those producers will be much more willing to come all the way to your location, saving you time, fuel and money.)
And secondly, what do you need to produce some of your staples? The answer is the following:
Knowledge – skills
Basic materials to start with
With those questions answered and dealt with, you’ll have a much better understanding of where to find food post-disaster. But, what are your thoughts on the situation? The above is what I’ve seen play out in Venezuela, but is there more you feel you can add to the story? Let us know in the comments below.
Once upon a time, there was an Ethiopian monk with a problem. According to legend, he just couldn’t stay awake during prayers, which made him look bad to his monastic brothers. One day he was traveling through a field when he happened upon a strange and wondrous sight — a pirouetting shepherd and a herd of capering goats.
Both the shepherd and his flock were dancing up a storm. Even the old buck was leaping like a little kid. The monk asked the shepherd about the fantastic dance party he was witnessing and soon discovered that both man and goats had been feasting on the berries of a nearby coffee bush.
The monk, realizing that he had found the solution to his somnolence, picked handfuls of berries, stuffed his pockets, and continued on his journey. When he returned to the monastery, he reconstituted the now-dried berries by boiling them and drinking the resulting liquid.
As a result, this particular monk became a model of energetic piety, and it wasn’t long before the other monks were also using the wondrous bean to power their own spiritual quests. And that, I’d like to think, is the origin story of the world’s most popular morning drink. And since you won’t find it disproven in any coffee history books, it just might be. Who knows?
Morning Beverage as Ritual
And yet, as popular as coffee remains, other options for morning drinks also abound. Even folks who skip breakfast typically drink something in the morning. And what you choose to drink can influence the rest of your day, as well as your long-term health. Consuming a healthy beverage can be an important part of a suite of positive morning habits and rituals.
So let’s take a look at a number of different beverages you can enjoy in the morning to support your health, mood, and energy. Then we’ll end with seven different drink recipes for you to try.
Consider the Purpose of Your Morning Drinks
In his mega-bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey advised readers to “Begin With the End in Mind®” (Habit 2). Given that many of us begin the day with our cheeks pressed into drool stains on our pillows, that might be a bit of a tall order first thing. But as we choose our morning routines, it’s a good mindset.
So what do you want to get from your morning beverages? Here are some possible answers.
Drinks That Give You Energy in the Morning
If you jump out of bed in the morning quivering in anticipation of the day ahead, just bursting with irrepressible energy, you are very much in the minority. In fact, surveys suggest that almost two-thirds of Americans say they rarely wake up feeling rested and energized. It makes sense, then, that many people want a burst of energy in the morning, which is one reason caffeinated beverages are so popular.
You might begin your day with a beverage to get your motor running, aid with concentration and focus, and boost your mood. While coffee is the poster child for wake-up drinks — and can offer significant health benefits — coffee alternatives can also increase your energy. Some, like black and green teas, coffee-mushroom blends, and commercial energy drinks, also provide caffeine.
But caffeine isn’t for everyone, and not everyone reacts well to it. One person’s “This is a pleasant pick-me-up” may be another’s “Why is my heart thundering like the last lap of a NASCAR race?” So you may want to start some (or all) of your days without caffeinating.
Energy Drinks with Synthetic Caffeine
Also, some drinks with added caffeine are not the healthiest breakfast drinks. Many provide synthetic caffeine, a substance first created by Monsanto (now Bayer) that appears to behave differently than its natural counterpart. Your body absorbs and metabolizes synthetic caffeine faster, which can lead to a quicker spike in energy, as well as a faster and more dramatic crash afterward. And other ingredients in so-called energy drinks, including white sugar and artificial flavors and colors, are cause for concern as well.
(Most of the caffeine that’s used in the beverage industry — for drinks like Red Bull and Rockstar, as well as Coca-Cola and Pepsi — is synthetic caffeine.)
If you’re not partial to caffeine, and are wondering what to drink instead of coffee or tea in the morning, some energizing alternatives include chicory root and maca. Chicory root coffee, a New Orleans staple, comes from a root that’s related to dandelion as well as sharp salad greens like radicchio, frisée, and endive. (Bonus points for wondering if you should pronounce it “en-dive” or “on-deeve” in your head just now. The answer, according to the canonically authoritative Endive.com website: “en-dive” is for curly endive, the disheveled-looking leafy variety, while the elegant “on-deeve” is reserved for the smooth, tightly packed Belgian endive variety.)
Chicory root has sometimes been added to coffee as a tastes-somewhat-like-it filler to help people extend their supply of the more expensive bean. In addition to water, warmth, and taste, chicory root is a rich source of inulin, a kind of insoluble prebiotic fiber that your beneficial gut bacteria absolutely adore. Long prized as an herbal remedy, chicory root’s health benefits have begun to attract scientific attention as well.
Chicory root’s bitter taste can wake up your appetite and trigger the secretion of bile. At the same time, it has also been used to counter the stimulant effects of coffee, as it can induce relaxation and calm in those who consume it. (That sounds like the best of both worlds to me!)
Another plant that makes a fine morning pick-you-up beverage is maca. This root from the cruciferous family, originally from the Andes, has become popular since rumors of its aphrodisiacal properties began circulating on the internet. While this purported effect may not be entirely welcome at 7:30 in the morning when you’re trying to wake up, get the kids dressed and fed, and hit the freeway — or home office desk — by 8:15, there’s more. Maca may also improve mood and brain function, both of which can come in handy when your twins demand an all-potato-chip breakfast, and you are wondering what you did with your keys. (Not that I would know anything about that!)
Healthiest Breakfast Drinks to Hydrate You
Given that most Americans are chronically dehydrated, drinking water at any time of the day is often a good idea. And, since most of us start the day by releasing water from our bodies after a night of breathing and sweating away moisture, the morning is a perfect time to rehydrate.
Many people even wake up feeling dehydrated. A number of things can exacerbate the body’s nightly water loss, including breathing dysregulation (like snoring, mouth breathing, and sleep apnea), night sweats, an over-warm bedroom, hormonal imbalances, and side effects of common meds, such as antidepressants.
Even in the absence of these factors, it’s a good idea to hydrate when you first wake up, especially if you exercise in the morning. Dehydration can cause dry mouth, malaise, foggy thinking, drowsiness, and even dizziness throughout the day. So if you want to perform at your highest level, both mentally and physically, make sure you replace any fluids you’ve lost during the night.
Plus, there’s evidence that water consumption tends to reduce the intake of calories, sugar, and saturated fat — so, bonus!
Drinking Water (or Broth) in the Morning
Plain water is a good place to start. One way to decrease the odds of dehydration first thing is to have drinking water accessible and visible right when you get up. A water bottle, tall glass, or mason jar on your bedside table can serve as a visual cue to drink as soon as you wake. Alternately, set your drinking water on the bathroom counter and drink as soon as you’re done peeing (or do both simultaneously and imagine you’re a straw — I won’t judge).
In addition to pure water, you may want to have some vegetable broth in the morning (which may already have electrolytes like sodium and potassium in it), or add electrolytes to your water. (If you’re a fan of the movie Idiocracy, you’ll smile every time you hear the word.) After all, when you sweat, you lose electrolytes in addition to water. If you like, you can create a homemade electrolyte drink, or add slices of fruit to water.
(Sidenote: My favorite “first thing” morning drink is a tablespoon of Purality Health’s Curcumin Gold mixed into a glass of water. It’s an anti-inflammatory powerhouse, and tastes pretty good, too.)
Healthy Morning Drink Ideas to Kickstart Your Metabolism
Drinking enough fluids in the morning can jumpstart your metabolism, which helps manage your appetite and weight. Make sure to avoid sugary drinks that can cause blood sugar fluctuations and contribute to food cravings throughout the day.
Even plain drinking water can contribute to reductions in weight and body fat. To further enhance these effects, some people add a little bit of apple cider vinegar to their morning glass of water.
We’ve seen that chicory root can get the digestive juices flowing thanks to its compounds that our taste buds find bitter. Another way to boost metabolism and reduce cravings is to add some plant-based protein to your morning beverage. No, I’m not suggesting floating tofu cubes in your morning joe. But you can add nuts, seeds, or nut or seed butters to smoothies and shakes.
There are also compounds in some herbal or “fasting” teas called catechins that promote satiety. Green tea, for example, contains a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that appears to decrease levels of ghrelin, an appetite stimulant gut hormone.
Get Vital Nutrients in the Morning
Water is great, and so are electrolytes, but why stop there? There’s a world of awesome nutrients out there, and drinking your fruits and veggies can get them inside you where they can do good things. Fresh juices and smoothies are wonderful and tasty delivery systems for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and many other valuable phytonutrients.
Green smoothies pack a particularly powerful nutritional wallop, as the blending appears to increase the bioavailability of phytochemicals found in plant foods. And with smoothies, unlike juices, you get fiber as well. To aid in the absorption of some nutrients and prevent later blood sugar crashes, you can add healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, or nut or seed butters. And some teas can also contribute antioxidants to your diet. That EGCG, which as we’ve seen is a catechin and not a New York City punk music club from the 80s, also helps prevent free radicals and so protects your cells from damage.
Relax with a Morning Beverage
What if you don’t want or need a burst of energy first thing in the morning? You can also drink a relaxing hot beverage while you listen to Gregorian Chants, Andean flute music, or the soundtrack of a Wes Anderson movie.
Golden milks and adaptogenic elixirs can be especially comforting in the morning. They provide warmth and comfort on a cold day. And teas in particular can stimulate the production of feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain.
What to Drink in the Morning
Let’s put our morning beverage options in one place. As you can see from this impressive list, you’ve got a lot of choices.
Types of morning drinks include:
Coffee and coffee drinks
Tea and tea drinks
Water (with or without additions like apple cider vinegar, herbs, or fruit slices)
And vegetable stocks and broths deserve an honorable mention, too!
Recipes for Healthy Morning Drinks
Finding a beverage to suit your morning personality could be fairly simple with the options below. Food Revolution Network’s Creamy Golden Milk can add some groundedness to complement natural, early morning energy. Or, swap out your coffee for a more delicate caffeine boost with the Soothing Spiced Matcha Tea.
If you’re the DIY type, then jump to Sweet and Nutty Oat Milk with Cinnamon Spice to experience a sense of accomplishment first thing. For a vibrant visual energy boost that has natural nitrates to stimulate circulation, make (and drink!) the Beet Carrot Turmeric Juice. For a fiber-fueled morning and to keep things running smoothly, turn to the Creamy Kale Pineapple Smoothie. And for mindful creatives, the Tea for the Mind and Creativity is made for you!
Finally, FRN’s potent Fire Cider is meant to be enjoyed as a tonic and not for the faint of heart. Mix it with water for a morning hydration beverage with immune-supporting benefits.
If you’re the get-up-and-go type who jumps out of bed easily in the morning but you want a grounding drink to help balance your natural energy, then Food Revolution Network’s Creamy Golden Milk might be an ideal choice. In addition to enjoying this drink as a morning beverage, we encourage you to take your time with it — sip and savor the earthy creaminess while feeling the nutrients work their way toward your cells and soothe your soul along the way.
Looking to replace those java jitters with something that offers sustained energy without coffee’s sometimes less-than-pleasant side effects? Matcha tea to the rescue! Starting your day with Soothing Spiced Matcha Tea provides calm, lasting energy support and a gentle sense of awareness and focus. A warning, from experience: The feel-good vibes are captivating, and you might not want to start your day without this healing blend of matcha, turmeric, and cinnamon spice ever again!
If you want to feel empowered in the morning by making your own creamy (plant) milk beverage from scratch, then Sweet and Nutty Oat Milk with Cinnamon Spice is your new morning mate. This easy-to-make drink tastes divine, eliminates packaging, and saves on costs while encouraging a sense of peaceful relaxation.
Not only will the beautiful and vibrant array of colors in this Beet Carrot Tumeric Juice help to wake you up, but you’ll also enjoy an anti-inflammatory explosion of flavor and nutrients! Don’t have a juicer? No problem! Blender instructions for this power-packed juice are provided as well.
Like to start your day with plenty of fiber (who doesn’t!)? Look no further than this Creamy Kale Pineapple Smoothie that is rich in prebiotic fiber from bananas, as well as a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber from all of the plant ingredients. It’s also brimming with vitamin C (pineapple), carotenoids (kale), and omega-3s (chia seeds) for a well-rounded smoothie that can support immune, eye, and brain health.
Herbs can have seemingly magical effects, from supporting the immune system to fighting inflammation to boosting cognitive function. Rosemary, sage, mint, and lemon balm have all been shown to support memory, focus, and other cognitive functions. What’s more, steeping them together as a tea is a wonderful way to enjoy a flavorful beverage that hydrates and heals with every sip. Make a large batch for the week; then enjoy it on ice or warm it on the stove as a part of your morning ritual.
After you’ve hydrated in the morning with one to two glasses of water, enjoy an ounce of Food Revolution Network’s Fire Cider, which includes immune-supporting ginger, turmeric, onion, garlic, and horseradish root. These root vegetables have their own unique phytonutrients that contribute to their growth underground and to your health when consumed. This invigorating tonic is sure to wake you up — naturally! If drinking it solo isn’t for you, try mixing it with a glass of water for a morning hydration beverage with immune-supporting benefits.
Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast Beverage!
Waking up with a healthy morning beverage can contribute to your overall health and well-being and help set the tone for your day. What you drink matters. Depending on your needs and goals, there are many drinks to consider.
So tomorrow, when you arise from slumber, consider the different types of morning drinks — and what they can do for you. You may want to add some variety to your morning by giving one of these delicious and healthy recipes a try.
Editor’s note: Pique tea makes antioxidant-loaded, cold brew-extracted tea crystals that are certified organic and triple-toxin screened. They offer special discounts for FRN readers. And if you make a purchase using the links on this site, they’ll make a contribution in support of our educational mission (thank you!). Their delicious options include green teas, immunity-boosting teas, and matcha.
People are buying storable food products in huge quantities right now, but have you actually read the ingredients in some of these foods?
Most storable food manufacturers hide their ingredients to try to prevent the public from seeing what they really contain. That’s no surprise, since most of them are made with genetically modified corn, soy and canola ingredients, along with a toxic stew of other ingredients like artificial colors, hidden sources of MSG and partially hydrogenated oils that are linked to heart disease and cancer.
Here are the top ten most toxic substances to avoid in storable food products:
#1) Textured Vegetable Protein (GMO soy) – Commonly used in meat substitute products like fake beef or fake chicken, TVP is almost always made from genetically modified soy products which are sprayed with pesticides and glyphosate herbicide, linked to cancer. So-called “Roundup Ready Soybeans” are the seeds used to grow most of the soy that ends up being manufactured into TVP.
#2) Partially Hydrogenated oils such as Soybean or Canola (rape seed) – Partially-hydrogenated oils are used to turn oils into solids, often as part of a “creamer” ingredient in storable foods. Popular coffee creamer products are made from the same thing, which is usually derived from hydrogenated soybean oil or canola (rapeseed) oil. Hydrogenation produces trans fatty acids which are widely linked to cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
#3) Maltodextrin (from GMO corn) – This is a common filler ingredient in low-grade storable foods. It’s dirt cheap (around 50 cents per pound) and adds a sweet taste to soup mixes. Nearly all maltodextrin comes from genetically modified corn from Monsanto / Bayer. As a simple sugar, maltodextrin is linked to blood sugar disorders and diabetes. A far healthier alternative that you’ll find in higher end storable foods is tapioca starch, which is always non-GMO.
#4) Pesticides such as organophosphates – Although not technically ingredients, pesticides are used to produce most of the plant-based raw materials that go into low-grade storable food products. Pesticide residues remain in the finished products and can be easily confirmed by mass spec testing of the food samples. All pesticides are designed to kill living systems, which is why they are used in the first place. Organophosphates are especially toxic to human neurology and can transform a healthy brain into an Alzheimer’s-like condition, characterized by lack of cognition, forgetfulness and mood disorders. (Joe Biden, anyone?)
#5) Glyphosate and atrazine (herbicides) – Many low-quality storable foods are grown with glyphosate and atrazine. Glyphosate is a cancer-causing herbicide known to cause cancer (Non-Hodkin’s Lymphoma in particular), while atrazine is a chemical castrator that’s linked to feminization of males and extreme infertility problems. These herbicides are never listed on food labels because the USDA and FDA allow food manufacturers to hide them from consumers. The easiest way to avoid herbicides is to buy USDA certified organic foods, which are grown without the use of chemical herbicides.
#6) Corn Syrup Solids and refined sugars – The cheapest and most toxic sweetener in the food supply chain today is corn syrup. It’s used in sodas, promoting diabetes and obesity around the world. You’ll also find it in many storable food products, where it’s almost always derived from GMO corn, usually grown and processed in China.
#7) Hidden MSG: yeast extract, torula yeast, autolyzed proteins, hydrolyzed proteins – Many storable food manufacturers rely on cheap, low-grade ingredients that taste bland, so they need to enhance the taste withe chemicals like monosodium glutamate. Yeast extract (or autolyzed yeast extract) is a hidden source of MSG, and it’s used to hide MSG on food labels. Torula yeast is another hidden form of MSG, and you’ll find the same chemical in anything that’s “autolyzed” or “hydrolyzed.” These are, for the most part, chemical flavor enhancers. It’s not unusual to find these in “chicken base” or similar ingredients, typically made with maltodextrin and hydrolyzed corn protein. It’s also very common for companies to add yeast extract to meat products in order to “enhance” the meat taste using hidden MSG.
#8) Other GMO corn derivatives: Modified corn starch and citric acid – In addition to maltodextrin, mentioned above, many low-quality storable foods are made with modified corn starch or citric acid, both derived from GMO corn and usually grown and processed in China.
#9) Artificial colors – It’s surprisingly common to find yellow and red chemical dyes in low-grade storable foods, especially in yellowish looking soup mixes that claim to have a cheese sauce of some kind. The cheese color is almost always achieved with toxic food coloring chemicals. Healthier food companies will use annatto, paprika or turmeric for coloring, which actually enhances the nutritional content of the food. Food companies using yellow #5, or red #40 or FD&C blue colors, for example, are just stewing up a bunch of chemicals and calling it “food.”
#10) Sodium aluminosilicate – Used as an anti-caking agent, sodium aluminosilicate contains elemental aluminum, a toxic metal linked to Alzheimer’s and neurological disorders. While aluminum is also present in foods in various molecular forms, the Al3+Na+O- form of aluminum (see molecular diagram below) results in rapid dissociation of the aluminum once this food hits your stomach acid (which contains HCl). This frees the aluminum, creating free aluminum in your blood, which easily travels to organs such as your brain. The best way to eliminate aluminum from your body is to consume orthosilic acid (OSA), which is sold as a dietary supplement and is found naturally in Fiji water. Aluminum is also found in vaccines and is believed to be one of the key contributing factors to vaccine neurotoxicity.
Ingredients I am not concerned about
There are some ingredients that sound like chemicals but are generally harmless. For example, silicon dioxide (O2Si) is a common flow agent and whitening agent in foods. From all the research I’ve seen on this, it’s harmless and passes right through the body undigested. It’s primary elemental component — silicon — is actually beneficial to human health in certain forms. You can think of silicon dioxide as “powdered quartz,” which is actually exactly what it is, since quartz gemstones are made of silicon dioxide.
Guar gum is a common thickening agent that’s also harmless unless you consume huge amounts of it and fail to drink water.
Sunflower lecithin is harmless and also non-GMO by default.
Dipotassium phosphate sounds like a complex chemical (K2HPO4), but it’s mostly just potassium used in a form that helps it function as a texturizer.
The bottom line: Know what you’re buying and eating before you bet your life on it
There are a lot of storable food companies in the market, and they’re all doing swift business these days, but a lot of consumers are in for a real surprise when the day comes that they need to consume these foods they’re buying.
Many buyers will be shocked to discover the storable foods they bought weren’t non-GMO, or nutritious or even healthy. Most of what’s being sold is the equivalent of processed junk food or low-grade prison food. There are exceptions, of course, and the surest way to tell the difference is to read the ingredients before buying.
Sadly, most of the storable foods sold today are achieving high calorie counts using processed filler ingredients like corn syrup or maltodextrin. In my view, these foods should never be considered “survival” foods, since they don’t enhance the survival of the human body. Mostly, they promote disease. Calling them “death foods” would technically be more accurate, especially given all the pesticides and herbicides they contain (which are never listed on labels).
In my view, you’d be far better off going to the grocery store and buying organic quinoa, beans and rice, then storing it all in plastic pails, than buying processed, GMO junk food labeled “survival” food.
Stay informed. More details are coming in a few weeks when I release a free, downloadable audio book entitled, “Survival Nutrition.” Coming soon…
luten-free foods like nuts, seeds, grains and starches are beneficial for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition triggered by gluten intolerance. However, a recent review showed that regular consumption of gluten-free products as part of a gluten-free diet led to higher concentrations of toxic metals like arsenic in the blood and urine.
Published in the NFS Journal, the review also revealed an association between gluten-free diets and the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.\
Gluten-free diet: Health benefits and side effects
Some people might feel abdominal discomfort after eating foods that contain gluten. This reaction might just point to a mild intolerance for the protein. In such cases, the discomfort can easily be avoided by restricting the consumption of foods that contain gluten.
However, severe reactions to gluten including sharp stomachaches, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss and anemia might indicate a more serious problem in the form of celiac disease. People living with this autoimmune condition have to avoid gluten at all costs since it triggers severe intestinal inflammation.
Prior to their purported weight-loss benefits, gluten-free diets were “created,” so to speak, for the benefit of people with celiac disease. But even though celiac disease affects just 1.4 percent of the global population, gluten-free diets grew to become one of the most popular weight-loss diets.
However, there is no evidence to support the reported link between gluten-free diets and weight loss. That said, a gluten-free diet can lead to proper weight management over time since it promotes the regular consumption of whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes and lean meat.
Despite this, gluten-free diets also pose certain health risks and potential side effects. A 2018 review published in the Gastroenterology & Hepatology journal found that the reduced consumption of beneficial whole grains following a gluten-free diet resulted in a higher risk of heart disease. Several studies also reported that adults on gluten-free diets failed to meet all nutritional recommendations due to the severe restriction of food choices.
To date, celiac disease remains the sole acceptable justification for permanent and strict adherence to gluten-free diets.
Some gluten-free products contain toxic metals
A team of researchers from the University of Hohenheim in Germany found that gluten-free diets might be responsible for elevated heavy metal concentrations in the blood and urine. Several studies suggest that the boom of manufactured, non-organic gluten-free products containing rice flour might be responsible for this disturbing health risk.
Most of the available gluten-free products in the market substitute grains with rice-based products. Rice is prone to accumulate toxic substances like arsenic, mercury, cadmium and lead since it is grown under flooded conditions. Experts believe that contaminated irrigation water is to blame for the presence of these toxic substances in rice paddies.
The researchers also found that several studies reported high arsenic concentrations in rice-containing gluten-free products. Arsenic poses serious health risks including skin cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer and heart disease.
Rice from countries like China, Thailand and Indonesia were also found to be contaminated with methylmercury, one of the most toxic organic forms of mercury. Methylmercury is also responsible for most cases of mercury poisoning in humans. Minimal exposure to this organic compound can lead to neurodegenerative diseases, blindness and birth defects.
In addition to these findings, the researchers found studies that reported elevated lead concentrations in people who followed a gluten-free diet. Although the studies failed to determine the link between the two, research on lead poisoning has long since established the harmful effects of lead including learning difficulties, hearing loss and birth defects. Lead exposure is also linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Based on all of these findings, the researchers concluded that some gluten-free products on the market do contain toxic metals that pose serious health risks and consequences for patients with celiac disease and healthy individuals alike.
There are also several gluten-free grains like quinoa, buckwheat and oats that provide good carbohydrates and soluble fiber. Beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas are also gluten-free, as are most root vegetables like potatoes and squash.
Bad news, salt lovers — a recent study says that over 90 percent of salts sold across the world contain microplastics. The study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, looked at 39 salt brands from 21 countries, including the U.S. and China.
Microplastics refer to plastic debris less than five millimeters in length — around the size of a sesame seed. These can come from many sources, like larger plastic debris that have degraded into smaller pieces. Microplastics also refer to microbeads, tiny pieces of polyethylene plastic which were previously added to health and beauty products. In the U.S., the use of microbeads has been banned since 2015, following the passing of the Microbead-Free Waters Act.
According to researchers, the findings indicate that plastic pollution isn’t just limited to the waterways; rather, it’s becoming a consumer concern.
“Recent studies have found plastics in seafood, wildlife, tap water, and now in salt,” said Mikyoung Kim, a campaigner for Greenpeace East Asia, which supported the study. “It’s clear that there is no escape from this plastics crisis, especially as it continues to leak into our waterways and oceans.”
The amount of microplastic in the salt also varied by brand — the worst offenders had as much as 13,000 pieces of microplastic per kilogram of salt while some only contained 28 pieces of microplastic per kilogram. The team also found that Asian brands had the highest levels of microplastics, with those from Indonesia having the highest concentrations. This meant that an average adult potentially consumes around 2,000 pieces of microplastic every year from salt alone.
“The findings suggest that human ingestion of microplastics via marine products is strongly related to plastic emissions in a given region,” explained Seung-Kyu Kim, a marine scientist from Incheon National University in South Korea and a co-author of the study, in a statement. “In order to limit our exposure to microplastics, preventative measures are required, such as controlling the environmental discharge of mismanaged plastics and more importantly, reducing plastic waste.”
People are eating their meals with a side of microplastics
While the presence of microplastics in salt is already a disconcerting fact, another study points out that people in the U.S. could be eating as many as 50,000 pieces of microplastics every year. In their report, biologists at the University of Victoria in Canada looked at studies on microplastic content in certain foods and compared them with current dietary guidelines to determine a person’s average microplastic consumption.
Using these data points, the researchers determined that just by taking into account average intake amounts for seafood, salt, sugar and beer alone, an American adult male can eat as many as 52,000 microplastic pieces every year. For women, the researchers found the number to be slightly lower at 41,000 pieces per year, since they have a smaller food intake. According to the team, the figures can be even higher, especially when estimates for bottled water consumption are added. If an adult, for instance, mostly drinks bottled water, he can ingest up to 127,000 pieces of microplastic per year. (Related: Nearly all bottled water found to contain microplastics… you are drinking “plastic stew” that disrupts human hormones.)
The researchers noted that while these figures are just estimates, the real figures could be even larger. For instance, the team did not include estimates from more common food sources like meat, dairy, cereals and vegetables since their microplastic content is largely unknown.
Environmental toxins are harmful substances that cause a variety of chronic health issues when they accumulate in your body. The problem with these toxins is that they accumulate everywhere, and you may be getting exposed to them regularly without knowing it. They can be found in everything from commercial cleaning products and cosmetics to common household items, and even food.
PCBs are a mixture of individual chlorinated compounds that are known to cause numerous health issues ranging from acne-like skin conditions to fetal brain development issues, and may even cause certain cancers. PCBs are not naturally occurring compounds, and they are most often found in farm-raised fish. Because PCBs have no known taste or smell, it can be hard to tell if they are present in your food supply, which is why it is important to get your fish products from clean and reliable sources.
A toxic herbicide, glyphosate is often sprayed on conventionally grown wheat, which means you might be ingesting traces of glyphosate when you consume commercial wheat products. Exposure to glyphosate is linked to an increased risk of autism and other diseases. Despite its negative effects on overall health, glyphosate continues to be used aggressively in mainstream agriculture.
Fluoride is a known neurotoxin that is added to tap water for its alleged benefits for teeth. However, overexposure to fluoride can actually alter your dental enamel and cause the mottling of teeth. It is also linked to cancer and impaired brain development. (Related: Excessive fluoride exposure leads to altered tooth enamel.)
Phthalates comprise a group of industrial chemicals that are known to disrupt the body’s natural production of hormones, specifically testosterone. You can find phthalates in most vinyl items and vinyl building products such as pipes, tiles and sidings. Exposure to phthalates has been linked to a host of reproductive issues including infertility and birth defects. Inhaling phthalates can also lead to a worsening of asthma and allergy symptoms.
Heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, are particularly hard to avoid because they can be found in many contaminated food items and cosmetic products. Trace amounts of lead naturally occur in soil; however, lead accumulation can occur in soil when an area undergoes rapid economic and industrial development. Crops grown on farms in these regions can end up being contaminated with too much lead.
Meanwhile, many of the world’s oceans and bodies of water contain traces of mercury, which can accumulate in the bodies of large fish and seafood.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Common sources of VOCs include paints, varnishes, hair sprays, deodorants, dry cleaning products and cosmetic products. Inhaling VOCs can result in headaches, memory and respiratory issues, and in some cases, even cancer. However, because VOCs evaporate quickly and are generally colorless and odorless, you won’t even know that you’re breathing in these harmful toxins. To limit your exposure to VOCs, make sure your indoor air space is thoroughly ventilated.
Be wary of produce that may have been sprayed with synthetic pesticides. Not only are these bad for your body, but they are also harmful to the environment. While it is understandable to want your fruits and vegetables to be free of any pests, there are better ways to accomplish this that minimize your exposure to synthetic pesticides. You can buy produce from certified organic farms, which only use non-toxic pesticides derived from natural sources, or you can grow your own produce at home.
Perchlorates are salts that naturally occur in potassium nitrate deposits. These highly reactive salts tend to explode when exposed to high temperatures. As such, you can expect to find them in explosives, fireworks and rocket motors. What you might not anticipate is the presence of perchlorate in your food and water supply. Low-quality food products may be contaminated with this toxin, while urban and industrial runoff may taint your local drinking water supply with perchlorate.
Environmental toxins can be lurking around your home. If you want to maintain a safe and healthy living space, you should try your best to avoid these toxins as much as possible. Find out more about harmful toxins you should avoid by visiting Toxins.news.
In 1985 Dr. Adrian Gross told congress that because aspartame was found capable of causing brain tumors the FDA should not have been able to set an “allowable” daily intake of the substance at any level. His last words to congress were “if the FDA violates its own law, who is left to protect the public?”
Today we will take a lovely stroll through the chemical rich, caca-storm that is the world of Processed Foods. A startling truth for the uninitiated is that the population has allowed our foods to be drugged and poisoned halfway into oblivion, but hey, at least a sick population is good for business right? For those of us who have yet to understand the truth about the FDA, Project Paperclip, Big Pharma and the treat-instead-of-cure-style, slow-kill eugenic agenda I highly recommend delving into those horrific yet pertinent topics at some point when you feel ready to do the actual homework.
There are all kinds of harmful things corporations sneak into our food supply, and this isn’t an issue that is specific to the present either. In 1940’ and 1950’s there was a substance known as DDT that was used to kill bugs that spread malaria and typhus. DDT, or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, was a synthetic pesticide that was eventually deemed harmful as late as 1993. Another harmful substance propagated by the FDA was Thalidomide, which was used commercially to combat morning sickness but lead to children being born without limbs among other birth anomalies.
Today we have no shortage of harmful chemicals in our food supply, a few of the most commonly found are listed and explained below.
Potassium Sorbate: Found in just about anything, potassium sorbate is one of those silent killers we willing ingest on a daily basis. It is not only recommended that people avoid this chemical, it is a necessity that we eliminate it from the public diet. The industry and its paid “scientists” will parrot endless myths about how safe it is but the truth comes from food and toxicology reports calling the drug a carcinogen, showing positive mutation results in the cells of mammals. Other studies have shown broad systemic and toxic effects on reproductive organs in animals.
Sulfur Dioxide: Sulfur additives are toxic, in the US the FDA has permitted its use on raw fruits and vegetables. Adverse reactions include bronchial problems especially for those who suffer from asthma or hypotension. Sulfur Dioxide also destroy vitamins b1 and e and is not recommended for children. It is found in beer, wine, dried fruit, soft drinks, cordials, juices and many potato products.
Sodium Nitrate: Used as a preservative (red flag) as well as for “coloring and “flavoring” in bacon, hot dogs, lunch meat and pretty much all processed meats. Though it may sound harmless it is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the digestive system where it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds which enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc on internal organs. The USDA actually tried to ban this one in the 70’s but was vetoed by food manufacturers who complained that there was “no alternative” to preserving packaged meats.
These are just a few of the things you should consider keeping an eye out for when looking at the ingredients on the back of your favorite processed snacks or gas station beverages. The list goes on and on and includes:
Monosodium glutamate (msg)
High fructose corn syrup
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
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