Category Archives: Health

An Eggcellent Way to Ruin Easter – Wal-Mart Edition

I have ranted before about the pitfalls and high level of customer disservice at Wal-Mart. This time though it is a matter of public safety. It could potentially be a matter of life and death.

April 2, 2010 – I wandered into the local Wal-Mart store (Oconee County, GA) around 8:00PM in search of something

Eggstra Big Disaster

Actual Photo - 13 hours unrefrigerated!

for the Easter Bunny to leave at my house. There was a large display of egg coloring supplies on a display rack, and on that rack cartons of what appeared to be candy eggs. As I approached the display I noticed that some of these “candy eggs” seemed to be oozing out of the bottom of the cartons. That’s when it hit me that these were not candy eggs, but real eggs sitting there unrefrigerated. WHAT? NO WAY! I opened a carton and sure enough, a broken egg greeted me with open shell.  What do I do? As a former restaurant manager, I know what the food safety guidelines are regarding such matters, so I touched the eggs to see if they were even still cold and they felt as if they had been sat on by a chicken.

I made my way to the customer service counter, and promptly asked to speak to a manager. I was asked if the customer service rep could help me. I explained the gravity of the situation to her and she ran to her supervisor who was also appalled. He called the manager on duty over and I explained to him the concerns in regard to food saftey and explained to him that I would not be purchasing food from his store any longer because I had no confidence that their food was being handled safely. I asked if he knew how long the eggs had been on the shelf. He informed me that the General Manager had asked them to put them out at 8:00 AM and that he had protested, but was told to put them out anyway. “That is 13 hours”, I gasped. “Someone could die if they eat those eggs”, I said. He agreed to remove the eggs from the display, and he did. I told him that I would have to trust that he was going to throw the eggs away and not put them back in the cooler. I still am not sure that they were discarded.

This morning, I contacted the General Manager and confronted him about his decision. At first he made excuses for why it was ok to leave eggs on display and told me that they were being rotated every two to three hours. Then I told him what was said by the manager the night before and the story changed to “I am sorry, I made a bad decision”. I asked him if he understood that his decision to put raw eggs out on display unrefrigerated could potentially kill someone, and he did. I explained that first I feel an obligation to my family to no longer shop in his store, because the safety of my family is more important than saving a few bucks. Next, I feel an obligation to the community to let as many people know that their food is potentially unsafe to eat. I explained that I would be notifying the Health Inspector and other health organizations, that I would be notifying local radio stations, newspapers, everyone I know on Facebook and Twitter as well as my family and friends, all of which I have done. He said that he wishes that he could take his decision back. I explained that in life we make decisions sometime that carry dire consequences, and that this one could cost his store a lot of business as well as costing someone their life. No Wal-Mart lawyer can bring back someones loved one.

I think that what bothers me most about this situation is that in 13 hours many Wal-Mart employees, managers and supervisors walked by that display and didn’t think a thing about it except for the manager that said that he protested. It bothers me that he didn’t take a stand for public safety and refuse to put the eggs out. It bothers me that no one cared enough until I explained the situation. Perhaps they don’t know any better (that’s another issue), or maybe they just don’t care. What i do know is that I will not be giving my business to a company who doesn’t have the safety of their customers at heart. I just hope, for the sake of Wal-Mart and the families involved, that some child doesn’t find one of those eggs under a bush on Easter morning, eat it and meet with ill results.

Here are some links on Egg Safety for your own education:

The Egg Safety Center

FDA Egg Safety

There’s a quarry in my belly!

diamondsHello everyone. It’s me again. I am so happy to be back. I have been away due to a number of reasons. The biggest being a kidney stone, which I am pretty sure is a fate worse than death (never been dead and don’t know for sure). But here I am, two months, two trips to the emergency room, three doctor visits, a few thousand Percocets (grossly exaggerated as a literary device) and one minor surgery later.  I haven’t been able to go without researching where the little stony creatures come from and how exactly to avoid them in the future. And while there are some people in this world that I may not care for, there are none that I hate enough to wish upon them a kidney stone (and I’m not just saying that). So here it is, the definitive guide to avoiding a kidney stone for you and my enemies.

Before you can understand exactly how to avoid kidney stones, you have to know what a kidney stone is. As defined by The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, a kidney stone is a hard mass developed from crystals that separate from the urine within the urinary tract. They are considered to be one of the most painful urological disorders and amazingly but not surprisingly has been plaguing humanity for thousands of years, being found in an ancient Egyptian mummy.

Normally, urine contains chemicals that prevent or inhibit the crystals from forming. These inhibitors do not seem to work for everyone, however, so some people form stones. If the crystals remain tiny enough, they will travel through the urinary tract and pass out of the body in the urine without being noticed. But there are times when these stones do not pass on their own and they continue to build. When this happens it sometimes requires doctor intervention which unlike days of yore is not very invasive and is generally done on an outpatient basis.

A less common type of stone is caused by infection in the urinary tract. This type of stone is called a struvite or infection stone. Another type of stone, uric acid stones, are a bit less common, and cystine stones are rare.

Any of this sound like fun? Ok, let’s examine how to help keep from having to go though this terrible experience. Keep in mind that these are just some tips are are not designed to be medical advice. You need to discuss your options including your diet and lifestyle with your doctor.

Tip #1 To Avoid Kidney Stones, drink water.

Things you can do to avoid kidney stones include drinking water. Your body needs enough fluid to remove waste from your body. If your body doesn’t have enough water you will start to collect pieces of waste in your kidneys and this turns into kidney stones. You should drink enough fluids to make 2 liters or urine per day. Doctors have recommended drinking 8 eight ounce glasses of water a day or adding at least four 8 ounce glasses of water to whatever you are already drinking. Coffee and soda do not count, you need water to remove the impurities from your system.

Tip #2 To Avoid Kidney Stones, increase fiber and decrease protein in your diet.
Eating a diet high fiber and low in protein helps to avoid kidney stones. People with diets high in protein and low in fiber run an increased risk of kidney stones. Uric acid stones are produced if your diet is too rich in protein. You shouldn’t eat more than two servings of meat a day if your body forms kidney stones. A serving should be no more than six to eight ounces. Uric acid type kidney stones are produced when there is too much acid in the urine. Uric acid type kidney stones also can be formed if you are on chemotherapy. When your body decomposes red meats a substance is produced that ends up in your urine.

Tip #3 To Avoid Kidney Stones, decrease the amount of calcium in your diet.
Decreasing the amounts of Calcium you are eating can also help avoid kidney stones. For most people one to two servings of dairy products are okay, even if their body produces calcium based kidney stones.

Tip #4 To Avoid Kidney Stones, decrease sodium intake.
Decreasing your sodium intake also reduces your risk of kidney stones. You should limit your intake of sodium to below 1,500mg daily. Limiting your sodium intake means not only not adding salt to your foods. Limiting sodium from your diet means you read labels and do not eat foods high in sodium. Just because you don’t add salt to everything doesn’t mean that you don’t have a lot of sodium in your diet.

Tip #5 To Avoid Kidney Stones, be active.

Being active will also help to avoid stones. People who are bedridden have an increased risk of kidney stones. Being physically active is good for your overall health. If you are unable to regularly exercise you should still get up and move around on a regular basis. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle you are at risk for kidney stones.

Tip #6 To Avoid Kidney Stones, avoid cranberries.
I know, you are told if you have bladder infections cranberries are the cure-all. If you produce kidney stones cranberries can actually cause you more trouble. Avoiding cranberries and avoiding eating large quantities of tree nuts can help you to avoid kidney stones.

Tip #7 To Avoid Kidney Stones, increase citric acid/vitamin C in your diet.
Increasing the amount of citrus you eat helps your body to dissolve kidney stones. You can do this in many ways, one of the easiest is to add a small amount of lemon to your water that you are drinking. You can also add fresh citrus fruits to your diet along with adding bell peppers and canned mandarin oranges. Fruit juice also helps, just remember if you are trying to avoid kidney stones you probably don’t want the calcium fortified juices.

Tip #8 To Avoid Kidney Stones, listen to your body.
The best tip I can give you is to listen to your body. If you end up feeling sicker after certain foods you should probably avoid them. If you find that drinking a certain amount of fluids is best for you go with it. You can tell when your body is feeling its best.

Most importantly, follow your doctor’s advice. Ask questions. And trust your own judgment (unless you have been proven to not know what you are doing, in that case trust your doctor).

Want to know more? Here are some links you can follow for all the latest:

The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse

WebMD

Give me a black eye . . . pea that is.

So, it’s New Years Day. 2009 is here and 2008 is now the past. Hopefully you have had your greens for money and your black eye peas for luck. Not sure if this really works or not, but eating black eye peas for New Years is a tradition as old as Egyptian times.

bepeas2Interestingly, the belief that black-eyed peas are a symbol of good luck in the New Year originates in the Babylonian Talmud from the early centuries AD.  A Talmud is a compilation of rabbinical discussions outlining Jewish law.  There is evidence that Jewish immigrants to the American south were another source of proliferation of the black-eyed pea.

Also, let’s not forget the Union soilders. It was not uncommon for Union soldiers, after conquering an area of land, to destroy or steal the crops.  The Yanks however, considered common beans, peas and corn inferior products, suitable only for animal fodder.  Subsequently, these items were often sparred .  This oversight, in addition to helping sustain the southern population, allowed for the continued popularity of black-eyed peas. Many believed it “lucky” that these field peas or black eye peas were left behind, seeing it was about the only thing.

So make sure you eat your black eye peas for luck this year. If you don’t believe in that eat them anyway, if for no other reason because they sure are yummy.

Men can suffer from Postpartum Depression too.

depressedIt is a little know fact that new dads can suffer from Postpartum Depression, that is until recently. James F. Paulson, PhD, of the Center for Pediatric Research at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA recently spoke to WebMD about their recent research which says that 2 out of every 1000 new dads meet criteria that meets the standards for moderate to sever Postpartum Depression. The study also shows that new fathers have a 3-5% higher chance of being depressed than the general population.

There is even more shocking news, according to Paulson.

“What we found,” Paulson says, “is that both moms and dads who were depressed were significantly less likely to engage in interactions such as reading, telling stories, and singing songs to their infants.”

But only the dads’ behavior significantly affected their child’s development at 24 months — “specifically in terms of how many words the child used,” Paulson says.

“If their dads were depressed and didn’t read to them, the infants had a much smaller vocabulary,” he says. And according to Paulson, there was no noticeable link between postpartum moms and their children’s vocabulary at 24 months.

For more information, please read the article at WebMD. If you think you are suffering from depression after the birth of a child or if you just want to know even more, visit The Postpartum Dads Project (full disclosure: My wife’s site), Postpartum Men.

For insight into the life of a new father dealing with depression, please visit my other blog, Diary of  Real Man.

I Suffer From Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia

Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is a condition that billions of people worldwide suffer from. Sphenopalatinebrainfreeze ganglioneuralgia, also known as icebergers syndrome, brain freeze or ice-cream headache, is a painful condition. But fear not. It is not fatal and is only temporary. I am sure that you have at some point in your life gotten brain freeze, and I am sure that you already know that it comes from eating or drinking something cold too quickly. But what exactly is taking place when this horrible condition strikes? Well today we clear up that mystery.

The pain is caused by the rapid cooling of the roof of the mouth, which is close to the sphenopalatine nerve, a section of an extensive bundle of nerves running from the face up into the brain.When this nerve gets cold, it fires off a danger signal that the entire head is about to become chilled and warns the vascular system to start pumping more blood to the brain to keep it warm. Vessels open up and the sudden in-rush of warm blood causes a painful sensation, which lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. By that time the body has rewarmed the sphenopalantine nerve and the blood flow to the brain reduces to normal levels, stopping the pain.The source of the pain has been described as being similar to that resulting from sticking hands chilled in winter into a bucket of warm water. The sudden increase in blood flow and associated expansion causes pain. Brain freezes are called “referred pain” because the pain occurs in a location (the brain) that’s different than the location of the stimulus (the roof of the mouth.)

One third of all people are statistically susceptible to brain freezes. They are more often caused by eating ice cream than drinking an iced beverage because ice cream is colder than ice. Also, they are much more common when the weather is warm than when it’s cold, suggesting that it’s the rate or amount of temperature change that’s important.

The quickest way to relieve a brain freeze it to take a drink of warm water and hold it against the roof of your mouth. Since they are over so quickly anyway and it’s unlikely that you’re going to be holding a cup of hot water in one hand at the same time that you are holding an ice cream cone in the other, the next best thing to do is press your tongue against the roof of your mouth to rewarm the nerve.

Prevention is simple: Give up ice-cream . . . OR eat and drink very cold foods slowly.

Reference:

WikipediaBrain Freeze

AnswerBag.comWhat Causes Brain Freeze?

7 Things You Didn’t Know About PETA

petaPeople for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an organization that is dedicated to seeing that all animals are treated ethicly and fairly. Though on the surface this sounds like a great idea, but the organization is also known for it’s radical and extreme protest style, such as throwing red paint on people who are wearing fur. Most recently PETA was in the news because some of their members pelted Lindsay Lohan with a flour (yes baking flour) bomb for a fur stole that she was wearing at a nightclub (see Josip.com).

Here are seven things that you probably didn’t know about PETA, compliments of The Center for Consumer Freedom.

1) According to government documents, PETA employees have killed more than 19,200 dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens since 1998. This behavior continues despite PETA’s moralizing about the “unethical” treatment of animals by farmers, scientists, restaurant owners, circuses, hunters, fishermen, zookeepers, and countless other Americans. PETA puts to death over 90 percent of the animals it accepts from members of the public who expect the group to make a reasonable attempt to find them adoptive homes. PETA holds absolutely no open-adoption shelter hours at its Norfolk, VA headquarters, choosing instead to spend part of its $32 million annual income on a contract with a crematory service to periodically empty hundreds of animal bodies from its large walk-in freezer.

2) PETA president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk has described her group’s overall goal as “total animal liberation.” This means the complete abolition of meat, milk, cheese, eggs, honey, zoos, aquariums, circuses, wool, leather, fur, silk, hunting, fishing, and pet ownership. In a 2003 profile of Newkirk in The New Yorker, author Michael Specter wrote that Newkirk has had at least one seeing-eye dog taken away from its blind owner. PETA is also against all medical research that requires the use of animals, including research aimed at curing AIDS and cancer.

3) PETA has given tens of thousands of dollars to convicted arsonists and other violent criminals. This includes a 2001 donation of $1,500 to the North American Earth Liberation Front (ELF), an FBI-certified “domestic terrorist” group responsible for dozens of firebombs and death threats. During the 1990s, PETA paid $70,200 to Rodney Coronado, an Animal Liberation Front (ALF) serial arsonist convicted of burning down a Michigan State University research laboratory. In his sentencing memorandum, a federal prosecutor implicated PETA president Ingrid Newkirk in that crime. PETA vegetarian campaign coordinator Bruce Friedrich has also told an animal rights convention that “blowing stuff up and smashing windows” is “a great way to bring about animal liberation,” adding, “Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.”

4) PETA activists regularly target children as young as six years old with anti-meat and anti-milk propaganda, even waiting outside their schools to intercept them without notifying their parents. One piece of kid-targeted PETA literature tells small children: “Your Mommy Kills Animals!” PETA brags that its messages reach over 1.2 million minor children, including 30,000 kids between the ages of 6 and 12, all contacted by e-mail without parental supervision. One PETA vice president told the Fox News Channel’s audience: “Our campaigns are always geared towards children, and they always will be.”

5) PETA’s president has said that “even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we would be against it.” And PETA has repeatedly attacked research foundations like the March of Dimes, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the American Cancer Society, solely because they support animal-based research aimed at curing life-threatening diseases and birth defects. And PETA helped to start and manage a quasi-medical front group, the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, to attack medical research head-on.

6) PETA has compared Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust to farm animals and Jesus Christ to pigs.jesus1 PETA’s religious campaigns include a website that claims—despite ample evidence to the contrary—that Jesus Christ was a vegetarian. PETA holds protests at houses of worship, even suing one church that tried to protect its members from Sunday-morning harassment. Its billboards taunt Christians with the message that hogs “died for their sins.” PETA insists, contrary to centuries of rabbinical teaching, that the Jewish ritual of kosher slaughter shouldn’t be allowed. And its infamous “Holocaust on Your Plate” campaign crassly compared the Jewish victims of Nazi genocide to farm animals.

7) PETA frequently looks the other way when its celebrity spokespersons don’t practice what it preaches. As gossip bloggers and Hollywood journalists have noted, Pamela Anderson’s Dodge Viper (auctioned to benefit PETA) had a “luxurious leather interior”; Jenna Jameson was photographed fishing, slurping oysters, and wearing a leather jacket just weeks after launching an anti-leather campaign for PETA; Morrissey got an official “okay” from PETA after eating at a steakhouse; Dita von Teese has written about her love of furs and foie gras; Steve-O built a career out of abusing small animals on film; the officially “anti-fur” Eva Mendes often wears fur anyway; and Charlize Theron’s celebrated October 2007 Vogue cover shoot featured several suede garments. In 2008, “Baby Phat” designer Kimora Lee Simmons became a PETA spokesmodel despite working with fur and leather, after making a $20,000 donation to the animal rights group.

Is the vegan diet really healthy?

In my original post my position was that vegans could not live a healthy life. This position was due to misinformation. I have edited the post below to reflect my change of heart.

A comment on my blog entry yesterday on SPAM from the folks at Vegan.com has got me thinking. I have heard many things about the vegetarian lifestyle and what it means. Can you truly be a vegetarian and be healthy. Yes. But there is a difference in someone who considers them self to be a vegetarian and someone who is a vegan. The main difference is that vegans don’t consume any products that come from animals which includes honey, dairy, or eggs. This poses the question of whether a vegan can truly be healthy.

Let me start by saying that there are many people who live a 100% vegan lifestyle for the betterment of society, animals and the like. Though I may disagree with these people’s views, I can certainly respect their actions and choices, as they need to do what is right for their own morality. So, on that topic I respectfully agree to disagree. This post is about the health value of eating a vegan diet.

I’m sure there are many who call themselves vegans who are very healthy. But it is difficult to get all of the nutrients that the body needs and still be a true vegan. The biggest concern is the body’s need for vitamin B12, and unfortunately B12 is only found in animal tissue. It is not found in any plant. Though B12 is found in some yeasts and molds, some vegans do not include products made from these in their diets.  So how can you get B12 without consuming any animal products? Most “vegans” supplement their diets with B12 in the form of vitamins or other foods fortified with B12, those supplements contain yeasts or molds.

The body needs B12. One of the most important functions of Vitamin B12 is its ability to work together with Folic Acid in the production of DNA. Because of the way it is able to recycle certain enzymes, it plays a significant role in maintaining the proper functioning of cells, blood and nerves. An imbalance of either Vitamin B9 or B12 can negatively impact the way red blood cells divide and lead to a condition known as pernicious anemia.

Vitamin B12 also works to reduce levels of homocysteine, the amino acids that can damage artery walls and increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease. Vitamin B12 is also responsible for ensuring that nerve cells function properly. It’s also possible that Vitamin B12 can treat symptoms associated with a loss of calcium including osteoporosis and damage to the teeth. This vitamin may even be able to relieve some symptoms of depression. It is proven that mothers who do not obtain adequate vitamin B12 in their diet while breastfeeding can cause severe and permanent neurological damage to their infants.

Another concern in the vegan diet is protein. It is certainly possible to gain protein from vegetables and legumes, but it is very important to make sure that enough protein is included in the diet. This is mainly because animal based proteins are absorbed into the diet much faster than synthesized proteins and plant based proteins. Lack of protein can cause severe health issues which include growth failure, loss of muscle mass, a weak immune system, weakening of the heart and respiratory system and the most severe of health issues, death. There are also numerous issues with the lack of protein that are simply just undesirable, though not necessarily health issues, such as the loss of hair, weakness and lack of energy and decrease in sexual desire.

Although it isn’t still well studied- research shows that iron deficiency is more present in vegans than in the general population.  It is important to note that iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies that’s why many nutritionists and dietitians recommend a daily multivitamin. Because of how common iron deficiency is, it is extra important that vegans supplement. There is also evidence that vegans are at a higher risk for vitamin D, calcium and iodine deficiencies. Once again, bringing up the importance of supplementation. Iodine can be supplemented as easily as using iodized salt.

So, back to the question on whether or not you can live a healthy life as a vegan. The answer is yes, but beware. It is of the utmost importance for vegans to supplement their diet to insure proper nutrition. So for those unwilling to take additional supplements, the vegan lifestyle is not for you. Now before you jump on me, understand that I do believe that you can live a healthy life as a vegan, but what it boils down to is that you simply can’t be a vegan and be healthy without educating yourself thoroughly. To do so would simply be detrimental and foolish. I certainly welcome comments to the contrary.

Vegan Diet: Recipe for Disaster?– chetday.com

B12 Suplement Fact Sheet – National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supliments

Thinkquest Vegitarian Library – Thinkquest Library

Vegan.com – Vegan.com