The Processed Food Monopolies

A few days ago I shared an infographic about the media monopolies controlling our news.

Yesterday I shared a post about mass produced meat being fed with an over-abundance of drugs.

And today we’ll build a bridge between the two ideas and look at the monopolies controlling our processed food industry. Although, it stretches beyond food. It’s more like “life products.”

10 companies controlling almost all of the isles in the grocery store.

Does something seem wrong with so much power in the hands of so few? How much influence do you think these companies play in the world of politics?

Food Monopoly

Food Monopoly

Majority of Americans Want Food Without Drugs. Duh.

Consumer Reports has started a new campaign to fight the use of antibiotics in the mass production of the meats we eat; “Meat Without Drugs.”

Evidence shows that the vast majority of Americans support this cause.

Duh.

Doesn’t it seem like a lot of the issues facing the world are obvious?

Yes, please put antibiotics in our meat so you can grow animals faster and larger, and please keep them in ridiculously gross conditions that will severely disturb us if we actually pay attention to it. And when super bugs form that are resistant to said antibiotics, let’s just add more…and ignore the obvious issues.

I’ll end my rant, which has the potential to veer in a wide variety of directions, but take a peek at the video. It seems to make a lot of sense to the Dude.

There are no shortage of remedies needed for the issues creeping up on our society, but this is a great place to start. Stop poisoning our food. Makes sense.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_pr1T33-EM&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

And here is the press release from Consumer Reports:

A majority of Americans want meat raised without antibiotics to be sold in their local supermarket, according to a new national poll conducted by Consumer Reports. The poll is part of a report released today, “Meat On Drugs: The Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animals and What Supermarkets and Consumers Can Do to Stop It,” available online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

Consumers Union, the public policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, has simultaneously launched a new marketplace campaign, urging supermarkets to sell only meat raised without antibiotics─starting with Trader Joe’s, one of the leading national chains best poised to make this commitment. It also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking it to tighten labeling standards for meat raised without antibiotics.

Consumer Reports sent “secret shoppers” out to stores in the 13 largest supermarket chains around the country to see whether and to what degree those stores offer meat and poultry raised without antibiotics. We also conducted additional label research. The shoppers found wide differences among the stores─from Whole Foods, where all meat and poultry sold is raised without antibiotics, to Sam’s Club, Food 4 Less, Food Lion, and Save-A-Lot, where they could not locate such products at the stores visited.

“We are asking supermarkets to step up to the challenge and tell their suppliers to procure only meat and poultry that has been raised without antibiotics,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumers Union. “Antibiotics are losing their potency in people, leading to a major national health crisis, and we need to drastically reduce their use in food animals. We are calling on Trader Joe’s to be a leader and make this change now.”

Key Findings

  • Eighty-six percent of consumers polled indicated that meat raised without antibiotics should be available in their local supermarket.
  • More than 60 percent of respondents stated that they would be willing to pay at least five cents a pound more for meat raised without antibiotics. More than a third (37%) would pay a dollar or more extra per pound.
  • The majority of respondents (72%) were extremely or very concerned about the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed, including the potential to create “superbugs” that are immune or resistant to antibiotics. More than 60 percent were just as concerned with the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed allowing them to be raised in unsanitary and crowded conditions for livestock, human consumption of antibiotic residue, and environmental effects due to agricultural runoff containing antibiotics.
  • Consumer Reports’ shoppers visited 136 supermarkets in 23 states, including at least five stores belonging to each of the 13 largest (by sales) supermarket chains in the nation, and collected data on more than 1,100 different “no antibiotics” meat and poultry items. The shoppers found wide geographic availability, and big differences among chains and stores in availability of meat and poultry raised without antibiotics. Whole Foods guarantees that all meat and poultry sold in its stores is never treated with antibiotics. Shoppers also found wide selections of meat and poultry raised without antibiotics at Giant, Hannaford, Shaw’s and Stop & Shop. Shoppers at Sam’s Club, Food 4 Less, Food Lion, and Save-A-Lot stores, however, could not find any meat or poultry indicating they were raised without antibiotics.
  • Meat and poultry raised without antibiotics does not have to be expensive. While prices of “no antibiotics administered” meat and poultry varied considerably depending on store, type of meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey) and cut, in some cases our shoppers found prices that were actually lower than the national average for all of that type of meat. Chicken raised without antibiotics was available for as little as $1.29 a pound at several stores including Trader Joe’s, Publix and Jewel-Osco.

Label Findings

Consumer Reports’ shoppers found more than 20 different labels related to antibiotic use, such as “never ever given antibiotics” and “humanely raised on family farms without antibiotics.” Consumer Reports analyzed the labels, conducted additional label research and concluded that consumers can always rely on the “organic” label, which by definition means no antibiotics can ever be used. In addition, consumers can generally rely on labels that imply that no antibiotics were used especially if they are also “USDA Process Verified” (this means USDA has checked up on the producer).

However, Consumer Reports identified a few labels that consumers should not rely upon as indicators that a product has truly had no antibiotics throughout the growing process. Labels such as “antibiotic-free,” “no antibiotic residues,” and “no antibiotic growth promotants” are not approved by USDA and should not appear in the marketplace. They could mislead consumers. Also misleading but USDA-approved is “natural” which can be confusing since it does not ensure that antibiotics were not used.

“Consumers who want to buy meat raised without antibiotics need a system they can rely on to feel secure that the labels on those products are meaningful and accurate. Our shoppers and research found several instances of labels that could mislead consumers to believe they were buying meat from animals that were not given antibiotics, when in fact that is not necessarily the case,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Director, Consumer Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports. “Consumers would benefit from one standard, meaningful, USDA-verified label that is consistent on all meat and poultry products from animals raised without antibiotics.”

In letter dated June 18, 2012, Consumer Reports called on the USDA to establish such a standard label and publish the names of the companies who are approved to use it, and for what products. It is asking that USDA also take action against labels that fall short of its definition.

You Should Stand More.

Seriously, you should stand more.

The Dude has been dropping some healthy living knowledge recently. Although, now that I mention that, what qualifies me to drop health knowledge?

Nothing, really. Other than the fact I’ve been trying to develop a healthy lifestyle for myself for many moons. As I mentioned, I was a certified personal trainer, but that just means I passed a test; I never used it as an occupation. But I have been researching and developing my healthful approach to life for years.

So, bam. I just qualified myself. Maybe all the book knowledge from The Man just gets in health professionals’ way anyway.

But back to the subject of this post, from someone that has no qualifications to discuss this subject; standing. You should stand more.

I’ll preface this post by saying that this may seem a bit strange, but challenging the status qua is a good thing. Strange is a good thing. Embrace it.

I came across this “stand more” idea a while ago, and I committed to standing at my home computer about a year ago. I sit all day at work, so standing at home made complete sense after I dug into it a bit.

Although, I kept sitting at work. I guess I let the strangeness “stand in my way” – you like that play on words? 🙂

A couple weeks ago I started standing at work too. And I love it. I vary between sitting and standing, but that’s probably because I don’t have a standing desk to be comfortable at.  Here’s what the Dude is rocking for his standing desk…

I’m standing more than sitting these days, and it’s super rad. My butt hurts if I sit for much time now.

But (bam, playing on words), don’t take my word for it. Check out all of this stand-up cheer-leading…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csJlN-k1F5I&feature=youtube_gdata[/youtube]

 

Hemingway Standing Desk

Hemingway Standing Desk

  •  Last, but not least, a great infographic about the “The Harm of Sitting Constantly” – love the deathly graphics 🙂 – aka “Sitting is Killing You.

 

Sitting is Killing You Infographic

Sitting is Killing You Infographic

You should stand more.

Dude’s Workout

Happy belated Memorial Day. Hope you had a great unofficial start to the summer.

Memorial Day is one of the best holidays – other than the whole memorializing dead people thing – because of the all the promise the upcoming summer holds. It will go quick, it always does, but it’s a given that the next few months will be filled with all sorts of greatness.

To help kickoff the summer, The Dudes welcomed The Lady in the Shoe and her family – all 27 kids. Luckily, her husband – the Dude’s brother-in-law – tagged along as well. And he helped me accomplish a major task, cutting down a couple big trees.

So, to start this post, I want give a huge thank you to the bro-in-law for all the help. And this big task is part of a bigger discussion we had over the extended weekend, workouts.

I could stretch this workout discussion in all sorts of directions, but I’m going to keep it simple – with the thought in mind that I will circle back with some more workout/health related ideas later.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the Dude has been dabbling in health and fitness for a long time. Many moons ago I was even a certified personal trainer, but my main interest over the years has been to develop an efficient training and health regimen for myself. And I’m closer now than I’ve ever been.

I’m always looking for ideas to improve my systems, methods, exercises, etc., but my current regimen is very streamlined and effective.

I get into workout discussions from time to time, and I’ve shared my ideas on a number of occasions; so after a workout discussion with the bro-in-law this weekend, I figure it’s worth a blog post to toss out my thoughts.

This is already dragging on longer than I hoped, so let’s get to it. Below is a down and dirty on the Dude’s Workout. Keep in mind that my goal is to get results, be healthy, and do it as quickly, as effectively, and as fun as possible.

Oh, and no gym membership, done at home.

Before I dive into it, I need to point out that general health and desired results depend heavily on diet. I estimate as much as 80%, in fact…maybe more. Yes, diet is that important. My diet discussion will most likely spiral in all sorts of directions, so I’m not going to hit it YET, but if you want to do a little research on your own, check out Mark’s Daily Apple. I can’t suggest that site highly enough. I dig Mark’s ideas big time. Snoop around, you’ll be amazed, and much of my thoughts incorporate Mark’s ideas.

Here we go….the Dude’s workout for a week:

  • 2 days of heavy lifting
  • 4 days of movement
  • 1 day of sprints

Heavy Lifting – I use a dive belt with 28 pounds for weight:

  • Weighted push-ups
    • 16 reps –  failure
    • Exhale up and down, hold for a full inhale at the bottom.
  • Weighted pull-ups
    • 16 reps – failure
  • Squats or lunges
    • 20 reps
  • Shoulder press
    • 10 reps
    • Kneel on a bench or chair (I use a piano bench), bend over and put your hands on the ground, push. You’ll be amazed.
  • Planks
    • 35 seconds. Front, and each side.
    • If you don’t know planks, do a quick search, and you’ll get all you need to know. Basically, get in a push-up position, but on your elbows, and hold it.

A Few Notes:

  • Only go to about 80-90% range of motion for each exercise. In other words, keep tension on the active muscles at all times; don’t fully extend and give your muscles a chance to relax in between reps.
  • I’d love to do lower reps, but it’s tough to have enough weight at home.
    • Lower reps – 6-8 – are best for building muscle.
  • It is amazing how great the workout can be at home. It’s just a matter of the right exercises – and the right diet.
  • I have a couple other routines I’m working towards, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I’ll share when I do.

4 Days of Movement:

  • This can be anything; just get out and move. Walking is great, ride a bike, kayak, jump rope, play on a playground – anything you can do to move.
  • I do yoga a couple days a week, and I also incorporate deep tissue massage with a lacrosse ball, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post – this massage will blow your mind.
  • I also work in walking, riding a bike, kayaking, gardening, surfing, chasing the kiddos, yada, yada, yada. Basically, get outside, move, and have fun.

Sprints:

  • This is a key ingredient. Drop the long runs. They are not healthy or good for you. Again, read Mark’s Daily Apple.
  • However, I must admit, I’m a bit slack here. I was very consistent for a couple months, but I’ve been stretched in other directions recently.
  • My routine is 6, 120 yard sprints – a full football field including end-zones. Sprint – as in as fast as you can – one way and walk back to catch your breath. Repeat 6 times.
  • There are a wide variety of options thought – swim, jump rope, kayak, ride a bike – anything that you can sprint with.

There it is the down and dirty Dude workout. Be flexible, but be consistent. Have fun, save money, and get in shape. The summer is full of promise; so now’s a great time to start.

Before I roll, how about a couple great pictures of the tree cutting. Which brings me full circle, and gives me a chance to make a final note. Life is full of exercise, we just need to find it. Cutting down trees and hauling wood all day is a great example of a day full of heavy lifting. Sure, it’s not a specific routine, but damn straight that counts as one of the two heavy lifting days for the week.

Thanks for the workout and the lack of trees bro-in-law.

Best Exercises to Keep a Dude Healthy

Whole9Life.com

Whole9Life.com

A few posts ago I opened the door to a new line of discussion here on DKB; health. That post discussed mobility – the often ignored ideas of stretching, massage and range of motion. The mobility blog I shared in that post is spot on, and the mobility dude is the shiz. I highly recommend.

I’m eager to continue down this line of healthy thought. Mainly because these are ideas that I’m exploring, and it’s fun to share ideas. Hopefully there is some use for you too.

“Health” has always been a significant focus for the Dude. I’ve always been active, played sports, and experimented with bodybuilding techniques. But the definition of “health” is difficult to pin down; it’s in a constant state of flux based on who you ask, and more importantly, based on your stage of life. My focus on health has shifted significantly over the years.

I’ve gone from lifting as much heavy weight as possible, eating as much as I could, and spending hours in the gym to a very streamlined approach to my activity and my diet. And I’m happy to say that I believe I’m in much better shape – and health – based on the evolution of my understanding of “health.”

Recently, my quest has led me to a wealth of information that has refined my views even further. I’m convinced that the majority of us are eating the wrong diets, wasting time in the gym, and being disappointed by the lack of results and performance.

We reside ourselves to the fact that “we’re getting old,” and accept declining health, mobility, and fitness as a fact of nature. Maybe we are just practicing the wrong techniques and taking direction from the wrong sources – ah hem, The Man. Perhaps there are simple changes that can bring significant improvements.

I’ll continue with this line of thinking as DKB progresses, and today I want to begin with a focus on some important exercises that we should consider adding to the core of our workout routines – yes, everyone should have a workout routine.

As I mentioned, I was an avid gym rat for years. But as life progressed over the last few years, my daily schedule became a bit tighter, and I gave up the gym. I’ve been working out at home for a couple years, and over time, I’ve been refining my routine(s).

I no longer believe in a monthly payment to a gym. With the right direction and a little ingenuity, health and fitness can be accomplished at home. No question. Saving time, saving money, and in the Dude’s opinion, better results.

I’m a believer that my routine(s) will continually evolve, and the below discussion of core exercises will help with this evolution. This is from a new blog I just found; Whole9Life.com. I’m still exploring it, but at first glance, I’m digging their thoughts.

I’ll let the blog offer the full details, but I’ll share a quick synopsis and a some great highlights. Here’s the premise of this post:

Whole 9 Life “brought together 12 fitness experts from a broad range of backgrounds–with bodies of experience ranging from weightlifting to track and field to mixed martial arts, and over two centuries of collective coaching experience–to ask them all the same question:

If you could only perform five exercise movements for the rest of your life, which five would you do? (Assuming your goals are general health, fitness and longevity.)”

Great idea, right? Experts sharing what we all need to know. How do we stay in shape, maintain our health – or improve it – and increase our longevity. The secrets that we all need to know.

So, forget what the Dr. said, ignore your cousin who is a personal trainer, and start to think along “unconventional” lines. This is the highlight of a three part blog series from Whole9Life.com. The first two parts offer more specifics about the exercises and the experts, but the overview in part three ties it all together.

Highlights & takeaways…use these ideas to build your routine. Drop the gym, save time, save money, and take care of yourself – you’re the only one who can.

  • All of the exercises selected are multi-joint (compound) exercises. As in 100%. No single-joint exercise belongs on a list like this.
  • The vast majority of the exercises are ground-based, either with feet flat on the ground, or with some sort of transition between body-on-the-ground and standing positions. The real world happens with objects in unrestricted planes of motion, and so should your training. The only “resistance” you need is your body and something heavy to pick up or carry.
  • There is a significant emphasis on movements that are “big, strong” movements. For long-term health, building and maintaining strength must be a central feature of your program.
  • Locomotion was a common response. We are bipedal creatures, and training the reciprocal patterns of walking, running, lunging, stepping, and crawling, strongly echoes the three-dimensional ways that we move in the “real world”. Stabilizing our trunk while shifting and supporting weight is not only beneficial, it’s fundamentally human. We learn it as infants, but far too many of us lose that ability in adulthood. Get it back.
  • Squatting is not the end-all-be-all. Sure, we have to squat to be able to stand from a chair, but little else occurs where our feet are symmetrical and neatly spaced outside of hip width. Gardening, all field and court sports, moving furniture, and wrestling all share the staggered stance position where stabilizing the body’s mass on top of a narrow or unilateral base of support is critical.
  • We found it fascinating that an Olympic weightlifting coach (Greg Everett) did not include a single explosive movement in his list. If that doesn’t illustrate the priority of building full-body strength with basic movements, we don’t know what does.
  • Almost everyone included putting weight overhead: press, clean & jerk, overhead squat, etc.If you aren’t putting heavy things overhead on a regular basis, your program should change.
  • Almost everyone included a pulling movement (a pull-up or row variation), and no one mentioned kipping.
  • Note that one of our experts selected both swimming and walking. We believe the training and therapeutic value of both of those movements is under-rated. They might not sound very bad-ass, but [p]erpetually chasing performance is not the same as creating excellent health. Don’t be afraid to slow down.

Take Care of Yourself

There’s only one person who can take care of you. You.

The other day I mentioned that I was going to expand Dude Knows Best to include some more of the “Dude’s Flow” – i.e. anything that the Dude is currently into. Maintaining my core focus on family life, but also including the Dude’s hobbies of the moment.

Nobody sticks the Dude in the corner.

One of the topics I’ll throw out there from time to time is health. That’s a broad category, but we’ll narrow it down from time to time.

Let’s start with mobility. Strange place to start a discussion on health? Not really. We all need to move well, and to do that we need to focus on maintenance. Mobility is one of the foundations of good health.

Mobility may not seem as exciting as diet and exercise, but the results are immediate and often overlooked.

“All human beings should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves” – Kelly Starrett, DPT

I love stretching and yoga, but there’s a lot more to mobility than stretching. We need to have a consistent focus on maintaining our bodies. It feels great – in a painful way – and you’ll thank yourself for the effort.

This Kelly Starrett cat is legit. His videos are quick and packed with practical info you can use on a regular basis.

Don’t get caught up in every detail of every video. Or get overloaded on info too quickly. Pick the info that makes sense for you.

Two pieces that I’ll point out:

  1. This couch stretch is amazing. Do it while you watch tv. It will hurt…a lot. But that means it’s working. Your hips need to be opened. And this will do it.
    1. And Kelly is entertaining – “Patting the dog…that’s what we’re talking about.”

 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZX1QMTdAC4[/youtube]

  1. Get a lacrosse ball – or “pain ball” as Kelly calls it. Start a regular practice of deep tissue massage. You have knots that need to be worked out. It will hurt. But also feel great.
    1. The video is of the shoulder, but this works for all muscle groups.
    2. And Kelly is entertaining. “Don’t ever pass out drunk on your lacrosse ball.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA56ZCzYGTA&feature=plcp&context=C476bcc0VDvjVQa1PpcFOq-qJSvqR-V7LJcSncMlFYyVHJwzw2chQ=[/youtube]

Take care of yourself.