Tuesday, November 27, 2007

King Corn

I was listening to public radio while driving. They interviewed two men who made a documentary called King Corn. Because I was driving, I didn't take notes. When the radio story was beginning, I didn't realize that it was going to be so excellent. I couldn't find a recording of the interview on npr.org. So you get what information I remember. In this blog, I call these two men 'the authors.'

Growing an Acre of Corn

The authors spent a year learning about corn, and what is involved in producing and using it. An Iowa farmer allowed them to plant one acre of corn on his land. They made a documentary King Corn, which is supposedly coming out in theaters. I recommend watching the documentary when it becomes available.

Corn is in Everything We Eat

When you read package labels, it is obvious that High Fructose Corn Syrup is an ingredient in many many foods. On the radio, they listed a variety of other ingredients that originated as corn but have names that disguise this origin.

One thing that astonished me was the statistics they gave about the percentage of the beef that we eat that is really corn. Say you eat a hamburger. Between the corn that was fed to the cow and the corn-ingredients that are added in processing, it is a ridiculous percentage. I wish I had stopped the car and written the number down. Even when you eat a steak, you are still getting a lot of corn - that is if the cow was raised in a feed lot, i.e. a factory farm. Before this project both authors were frequent consumers of hamburgers, I believe primarily from fast food restaurants. Because of what they learned, the authors have now modified their diet to exclude hamburgers.

What is Involved in Growing Corn

he authors learned all of the details associated with growing corn. You don't just go down to the field and plant the stuff. Their journey began long before the placing of seeds in the ground. They spent very little time actually working in the corn field. Most of their time was spent learning about and dealing with everything else involved.

Farm Subsidies

Production of staple food commodities is highly subsidized by the United States government. (My brief search shows this to be less so in Canada.) These subsidies guarantee that farmers receive dollar amounts that are determined by the number of acres that they have planted, rather than by the market price for the food. This results in the production of vast surpluses of commodities like corn, soy, and wheat.

Because of farm subsidies, the authors received money well before they actually began growing corn. The amount is paid per acre, so they didn't receive much. The interview did not mention if they later received more.


Prior to planting the corn, the soil was injected with nitrogen fertilizer. I was astonished to hear that the nitrogen for fertilizer is concentrated out of the air. Huge quantities of fossil fuels are burned to produce this nitrogen. I assume that liquid nitrogen is used.

A Note About Ethanol for Use in Fuel Mixtures

A lot of ethanol is produced from corn, for use in automobile gasoline. Supposedly we do this to conserve on fuel. But fossil fuel is burned to condense the nitrogen for making fertilizer to grow the corn! Even if other crop materials are used for making ethanol, if they are fertilized, then it does NOT really save fuel. Wikipedia says that about half the gasoline used in the U.S. contains ethanol, and that its use is expanding in other countries.

Corn is Not Edible - Industrial Material

The interview jumped straight from the innoculation of the soil with fertilizer to describing the mature plants; no details were given about the actual planting, the intervening months, the harvesting, or the transporting of the final crop.

The plants were tall, lush, and healthy looking. The authors pulled ears off to eat, expecting it to be like the sweet corn that is sold in grocery stores. Instead it is all bland starch. They described it as an industrial material that is basically inedible. It is designed to be processed. No wonder it makes cows sick. This is what is in processed foods! Sounds delectable, huh?

What Happens to the Corn?

The authors traveled around the country, learning about all of the ways in which their corn would be used.

A Cow's Life

Feed-lot life for cows is pretty dismal. The authors saw cows crammed into pens, with no room to walk around. The cows stand amidst all of their feces and other waste. Yuck.

Cows eat lots of corn, particularly in the later stages when the 'farmer' is fattening them for slaughter. Corn makes cows sick. Because of this, they are given antibiotics. Apparently, if cows ate corn all the time, they would die. They are fed corn to fatten them up, antibiotics keep them 'alive,' and they are slaughtered before the get so sick that they die.

Does this make you think twice about eating that burger?

I suggest that you get pasture fed meat, whenever possible. The quality is so much better that it is worth the money and effort.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Huge quantities of corn are processed to produce high fructose corn syrup, an ingredient in an astonishing percentage of packaged foods. The authors went to extensive efforts to observe the process of producing it. But they were never allowed inside a production facility, and in fact, they never even saw the final product. They still don't know what high fructose corn syrup looks like.

Do you find this as horrifying as I do?? The fact that observers were completely forbidden tells me that corn must be so highly processed and altered that industry doesn't want people to know what is happening. After all, high fructose corn syrup is put into so many foods that it is difficult for someone to completely exclude it from their diet.

Corn, the industrial material, is processed into many other ingredients that are added to food products. I'm sure the process of making them is equally horrendous.

Eating Corn Free

The authors went one month without eating corn. It was extremely difficult to do. They described becoming so desperate that when they found foods that they could eat, they would binge on them.

Even if the ingredients list on a food label does not mention ingredients that obviously come from corn, this is no guarantee. Such packaged foods may still contain corn, because some ingredients are not listed on the label. I think food manufacturing companies find ways to do this, because some consumers avoid certain ingredients. In other words, reading labels still doesn't give you a guarantee that ingredients you wish to avoid are absent from the foods you buy.

Of course, avoiding consuming corn would have been easier if the authors were starting with fresh whole foods and preparing their meals, rather than eating packaged and restaurant foods. To me, this is obvious. They did not mention if they had tried this at all.

Because of what they learned during their corn-growing year, the authors have stopped eating some foods, including hamburgers. And the farmer whose land they planted has chosen to retire and stop farming corn, perhaps partly as a result of working with the authors.

I Hope You Found This Educational

That's it for my King Corn story.

Eat Whole Fresh Foods!


Sandra Lynn Lee
Certified Healing Codes Practitioner
Miracle Inspirations

Everything in this newsletter is the opinion of the author and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. When information is drawn from outside sources, both credit and access to the source are given, when available.

Copyright 2007 Miracle Inspirations. All rights reserved.

To go to the Breathe - Life's Inspirations With Sandra blog.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cholesterol - Not the Villian We are Led to Believe

"You've got high cholesterol." That's one statement that you really don't want to hear coming out of your doctor's mouth. So down the medical road you go, with the impending doom of potential heart disease following you around forever. But you're in luck. Here to save the day - and your life - we have wonderful cholesterol-lowering statin drugs . . .

Let's freeze that frame and rewind.

The Cholesterol Myth

The story that we get about cholesterol being bad for health is a myth. I think it is criminal that this fallacy has become such a standard fixture of 'truth' in our medical system, media, and government.

Cholesterol is a non-issue. Or perhaps more accurately, it can be described as a manufactured issue. It is in the interests of the pharmaceutical, medical, and food industries that you believe that cholesterol is bad for your health.

Once again, I am going to recommend that you read a book. The Cholesterol Myths, by Uffe Ravnskov contains reams of valuable information. The book's subtitle says it all: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease. Need I say more? Well, okay I'll write more. But read the book, which is available through numerous sources. Also, Dr. Ravnskov's website has a lot of great information.

Diagnoses of high cholesterol are increasingly common, and prescriptions for statin drugs are on the rise. Over time, the medical system has been systematically lowering the level at which an individual is considered to have high cholesterol; this means that a person is more likely to be diagnosed with high cholesterol than in the past, even if their actual cholesterol levels are exactly the same.

This is all supposedly based on clinical studies demonstrating the risks associated with high cholesterol. When I read the book, what most stunned me was realizing how industry manipulates the results of clinical studies to suit their interests. First, industry pays for all the research. Then when the results come out, they are frequently altered; yes the numbers may actually be changed, or at least mis-stated when the results are published. The published interpretation of the results then favors the position that industry wants to prove, even if the actual results of the study contradict this interpretation.

When reviews are conducted of all of the published studies, supposedly to provide a comprehensive perspective encompassing all of the research, they conveniently leave out of the analyses any studies that produced results that disagree with the desirable conclusion.

Based on these studies and reviews, we then get revised government guidelines for health, and new medical recommendations. The media runs with the story, so we all get to hear about the new research results. And we the people swallow it all, believing and trusting in what we are told.

Now that is a stacked deck! How is a person supposed to glean the truth about what is supportive of vibrant health from that?

Our Bodies Need Cholesterol

In many of the studies, it was actually shown that low cholesterol was actually a bigger health risk than high cholesterol. Our bodies need cholesterol to heal and to maintain day to day functions. Cholesterol is critical to the structure and function of each of the cells in our bodies. It is critical to our ability to make hormones. And so so much more.

Here is a quote from Dr. Ravnskov's website. "Your body produces three to four times more cholesterol than you eat."

In other words, if you don't get enough in your food, your body makes it, because it needs cholesterol. So what happens when a person takes statins drugs to forcefully lower cholesterol levels? The body doesn't have what it needs to be healthy.

I leave it to Dr. Ravnskov to tell you the details about why high cholesterol levels aren't dangerous. About how people with low cholesterol can have just as many problems with heart disease as those with high cholesterol.

Do you get it? Cholesterol is not the source of the problem!

Recorded Call

Recently, Dr. Chris Morris, with the Ziquin Educational Group gave a fabulous teleconference lecture about cholesterol and statin drugs. This call was packed full of education about the role that cholesterol plays in our bodies, and about what actually happens in the body when statin drugs are taken.

Ziquin is a company that produces and sells nutritional supplements. But this call was almost purely educational. Ziquin's products were hardly even mentioned. The call is not a sales pitch.

For anyone who is interested in listening to this recording, I have been told that it will be available soon, even for people who are not Ziquin customers.

If you are interested in listening to this recording, please send me an e-mail to that effect. sandra@MiracleInspirations.com

I will send you a link, when and if the recording becomes available. Again, my interest in sharing this with you is to provide you with valuable education. I am not asking you to purchase anything.

Educate Yourself

Read The Cholesterol Myths, by Uffe Ravnskov. At the very least, visit Dr. Ravnskov's website.

Educate yourself and take action accordingly.

One more myth exposed. Whew.

Eat Whole Fresh Foods!


Sandra Lynn Lee
Certified Healing Codes Practitioner
Miracle Inspirations

Everything in this newsletter is the opinion of the author and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. When information is drawn from outside sources, both credit and access to the source are given, when available.

Copyright 2007 Miracle Inspirations. All rights reserved.

To go to the Breathe - Life's Inspirations With Sandra blog.