A NEW EPIDEMIC – ALCOHOLISM ON THE RISE IN AMERICA

by Alex PietrowskiStaff Writer Waking Times

Alcohol is a most destructive drug. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that some 88,000 people a year die from excessive alcohol use, while over 10,000 people die each year as a result of drunk driving, a third of all traffic fatalities. Never-the-less, the alcohol industry continues to grow with nearly $500 billion a year in sales of beer, wine, and spirits. Big business, with big consequences.

American alcohol consumption is on the rise, and it is now estimated that 1 in 8 Americans are alcoholics. This is a growing epidemic, as demonstrated by two surveys showing unprecedented increases in alcoholism.

“Two large surveys carried out in 2001-02 and 2012-13 have found that harmful levels of drinking are increasing among almost all demographics in the US. The number of teetotallers is falling, while high-risk drinking and alcoholism rose sharply during the 11-year period, according to an analysis published in JAMA Psychiatry.” [Source]

The rise is statistically significant, and the greatest increases were seen among those in the ‘severe’ use category, a sign that this trend is likely to produce an increase in alcohol related disease and accidents.

“The number of people who had consumed alcohol in the past 12 months went up 11.2% in the time between surveys. High-risk drinking went up by almost 30%. This means that at present about 29.6 million Americans are putting their health at risk due to their drinking habits.

 

The largest change was in the most severe alcohol use category. The number of people who had received a diagnosis of alcoholism over the period of the two studies shot up by 49%, affecting 12.7% of the total population. This means 1 in 8 Americans received a diagnosis of alcoholism in the year before the latest survey.” [Source]

Some experts blame the affordability of alcohol for the increase in abuse of alcohol.

“The price of alcohol has fallen sharply over recent decades, and that is the most compelling explanation for why the population is drinking more. Even the heaviest drinkers respond to changes in the cost of alcohol.” ~Keith Humphreys, a drug policy expert at Stanford University

This may indeed be relevant, however, it’s not just alcoholism that is rising to startling levels, but also the overuse of opioids and other drugs. As addiction expert Gabor Maté recently explained in an interview with Brian Rose of London Real how alcohol is used as an escape mechanism to dull the pain of unresolved trauma and past experiences which have had a lasting effect on one’s psyche.

READ: 20 COMMON THINGS PEOPLE REALIZE WHEN THEY QUIT DRINKING ALCOHOL

“It is a known by many that ingesting alcohol depresses the nervous system, kills brain cells, is toxic to the liver, weakens the immune system, and has many other harmful effects. We are taught that long-term alcohol use can lead to unwanted weight gain, diseases of the liver, lowering of intelligence, and negative effects on hormones. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can lead to birth defects, mental retardation, and deformities in the developing fetus. Yet still, it is mass promoted and supported by our mainstream culture. Have you ever considered that alcohol is a slick tool of the supporters of the Matrix (global mind control and oppression program) to keep people on a path of disempowerment and sickness?” [Source]

There are also spiritual consequences of drinking alcohol to excess, as noted by Zahra Sita:

“How many times have you or someone you know, after becoming quite intoxicated with alcohol, behaved in a manner uncommon to them? Perhaps you experienced the changing of voice, violence, sexual promiscuity, ingesting of harmful substances, destruction to property, conflictual behavior, and other negative expressions. Consider these experiences and ask yourself – is this the manifestation of light, love, and positivity? Do these occurrences represent a path of consciousness and health?” [Source]

Quitting alcohol has many positive benefits, and many people see common things change in their lives.

“Not drinking alcohol can give you a serious edge in a society where most everyone else is boozing it up on a regular basis. The zeitgeist of alcohol is that it makes life more fun, but the reality is that it is a massive industry pushed onto the public which has created a culture of self-destructive behavior.” ~Sofia Adamson

About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.
This article (A New Epidemic – Alcoholism on the Rise in America) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/08/10/new-epidemic-alcoholism-rise-america/

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The pig on your plate

Resultado de imagem para Limousin sow, Dordogne de Neuvialle (two years old), and her piglet. Photo by Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Getty

Limousin sow, Dordogne de Neuvialle (two years old), and her piglet. Photo by Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Getty

That pigs are smart and sensitive is not in doubt. How can we justify continuing to kill them for food?

by Barbara J King is emerita professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She writes for NPR’s 13.7 Cosmos and Culture blog and her latest books are Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat (2017) and How Animals Grieve (2013).

Domestic pigs, the kind portrayed in hot-pink neon above barbecue joints, curly tailed and carefree, have prodigious memories. In problem-solving with computers, they match wits with little kids and win. They are able to plan ahead, and they live in complex social communities. They recognise other pigs as distinct individuals.

Pigs aren’t just cerebral, though: they have heart. When others are in distress, they can express concern and act with empathy. A description of pig behaviours, derived from scientific experiments and compiled by Lori Marino of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy and Christina M Colvin at Georgia Institute of Technology is so impressive, you might think it was about chimpanzees, elephants or whales.

We eat pigs, though, and we eat them on a scale unparalleled in comparison with the rate at which we consume other brainy mammals. According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, pork is the most consumed meat in the world.

Barbecue is a cultural obsession in many countries, as is bacon, whether served straight up or in more recent innovations such as bacon chocolate and bacon vodka. Plus, once satiated with real bacon, some might even retire to bed after brushing with bacon-flavoured toothpaste.

We value the taste of pigs far more than we value the lives of pigs. Exceptions include pig celebrities, whose personalities are known and cherished, and whom we assign to a different, protected, pet-like non-consumable status. Esther, a 650 lb ‘wonder pig’ who lives in a house with Derek Walter and Steve Jenkins in Ontario, Canada, is a ‘public figure’ on Facebook with more than 1.1 million followers.

Or consider Christopher Hogwood (named after the famed English conductor and musicologist), a pig who lived in a barn at the home of Sy Montgomery and Howard Mansfield in New Hampshire from his infancy until his death at age 14. Christopher grew to a size even larger than Esther, and through Montgomery’s memoir The Good Good Pig(2006) became a poster pig for porcine cognition and emotion.

Montgomery describes how a belly rub in the sun from her, or dinner leftovers from a local chef, plunged Christopher into a state of utter delight visible to all: he telegraphed this rapture through sound (‘unh-unh-unh!’) and body posture. At those moments, he became the ultimate mindful mammal, one who dwelled entirely in the present. But Christopher didn’t live only in the present any more than we do. He built nests, not in a rote instinctual way, but in fussy anticipation of his own needs for soft-hay comfort. His memory for individual humans – his own complex social community – was excellent. Two young children, once neighbours, continued to visit him at irregular intervals even after they moved to another state. ‘He still remembered the little girls next door,’ Montgomery told me, ‘when they had been away not only for a pretty long time, but during a period of adolescent growth in which just a few months will make a big difference – in what you look like, how tall you are, what your voice sounds like, what you smell like.’ Christopher’s ‘voice became softer and lower’ when interacting with people who were visibly sad, a feat of perspective-taking that suggests an empathy response.

Of course, storytelling about pigs as individuals invites people to think differently about pork and bacon. But what does science – the kind of science reviewed by Marino and Colvin – say? That question has preoccupied me for several years.

Some science begins with the presumption that pigs are not particularly intelligent or empathetic animals. Two years ago, a group of swine researchers led by the animal scientist Sophie Brajon then at the Université Laval in Quebec published the paper ‘The Way Humans Behave Modulates the Emotional State of Piglets’. The research is part of a corpus showing that the emotional state of animals, including farmed animals, biases their information-processing. Yet the conclusion reached, that gently handled pigs showed more positive emotional states than roughly handled or neglected ones, conveys a larger message. We have a way to go before that message is accepted, as opposed to the big argument, that farmed animals have emotions and are affected by how we treat them.

A good deal of the science writing on pigs aims to increase awareness of pigs’ capacities so that they are treated better. The biologist Donald Broom and colleagues at the University of Cambridge discovered that pigs, with only five hours of experience, can use a mirror to find the location of a hidden object. Mirror-naïve pigs search behind the mirror to find the treat, but after five hours’ practice, 10 of 11 pigs turned away to find the real location of the savoury items within 23 seconds. (A fan blew the food smells away, so that smell cues didn’t confound the process.) This is a cognitive feat because both the concept of the food and its position must be remembered, as interpreted from the non-real-world view of the mirror…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/what-more-evidence-do-we-need-to-stop-killing-pigs-for-food

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CERBERUS CAPITAL – THE DIABOLICAL PURVEYORS OF CHEAP FOOD AND EXPENSIVE PHARMACEUTICALS

by Cameron S. Bigger, Contributor Waking Times

What if I told you the people creating, pricing and selling us our groceries are the same people in-charge of researching, developing, dispensing, and promoting our most popular prescription medications?

Is it just bad luck or coincidence that in 2017 an American has a heart attack every single 34 seconds, while another has a stroke every 40 seconds? Is it just dumb-luck that over 37.7% of the U.S. population is currently obese, while 34% of the U.S. population has high blood pressure, with over 23.4 million Americans now suffering from diabetes?

Well, these are most likely not coincidences, as the heart disease sector of the U.S. healthcare market is already extremely lucrative—raking in over $318 billion in 2016—while currently rapidly expanding into the global marketplace. In fact, worldwide in 2010, the estimated cost of cardiovascular disease was $863 billion, and it’s estimated to rise to $1044 billion by 2030.

With numbers of this magnitude, it shouldn’t take long to understand why a group of greedy investors might want a piece of this tremendous growth. So badly, that it might even outweigh their moral burdens pertaining to how many people would have to die for them to do so.

Let me explain how this ingenious deception works.

A single, mysteriously hidden, yet, massively rich investment firm called Cerberus Capital Management owns the 2nd largest grocery store chain in North America: Albertson’s Companies, Inc.

Now, Albertson’s is the parent company of multiple other grocery stores, with their largest acquisition being Safeway, meaning that Cerberus currently owns & operates over 2,205 total grocery outlets. Inside the vast majority of these grocery stores, there are pharmacies being operated, often times under different names (such as Sav-On Pharmacies inside of Albertson’s Grocery Stores), but no matter what their name tag may read, all the pharmacies within these over 2,000 stores, are all owned by Cerberus. Along with owning the grocery stores and the pharmacies inside, Cerberus also owns the pharmaceutical research/production company: Covis Pharma.

Again, why not just call it Cerberus Pharma?

The very origin of the word Cerberus, itself, is disturbing: “Cerberus is the monstrous, multi-headed, greek mythological hound dog who guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving.”

Digital Capture

Well, let’s take a look at what the top sellers are for Cerberus—via Covis Pharma:

Covis Pharma’s top products:

  • Altoprev: Statin (lipid-lowering medication)
  • Sular: Calcium Channel Blocker (lowers blood pressure)
  • Betapace: Heart Rhythm Problems (regulates irregular heartbeat)
  • Lanoxin Injections: Congestive Heart Failure (delays heart attacks)
  • Rilutek: Glutamate Blocker (covers up pains associated with MSG consumption)

As we can see, four-out-of-five of Covis’ top products are used to suppress the symptoms (not treat the causes) of heart problems, while the fifth suppresses the symptoms of MSG consumption (a commonly used preservative in processed meats and canned foods that can lead to a host of medical problems, including heart arrhythmia).

So, why just suppress symptoms of heart disease through chemical medications instead of getting rid of them by better promoting and selling heart-healthier foods?

According to the American Heart Association, by 2030, 40.5% of the US population is projected to have some form of cardiovascular disease, and between 2010 and 2030, the real total direct medical costs of cardiovascular disease are projected to triple, from $273 billion to $818 billion.

As one may hopefully now conceptualize, heart disease is a remarkably lucrative business, and therefore, Cerberus is executing an extremely lethal conflict-of-interest, as they are the people who are quietly stocking our grocery shelves while intentionally profiting so massively off our most debilitating modern-day diseases.

How is it not illegal that the same people who are able to own and sell us our groceries, are also allowed to be dramatically increasing their overall profits by creating and leading a constant supply of sick people directly down a path into their long-term, monthly recurring, heart disease medication payments?

Upon really analyzing the situation, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say this corruption runs so deeply that every time a consumer actually makes a heart-healthy selection in any of these 2,205+ stores, it literally compromises the future long-term potential profits of these grocery store/big pharma owners.

In contrast, from a business aspect, it makes sense to the bottom line, and it really is a genius plan. What better way to create a huge, passive, income stream than by secretly poisoning the public in low-dosages through remarkably priced, highly palatable, well-marketed, front-end food products, eventually making them feel ill enough to seek out medical attention, which conveniently generates recurring pharmaceutical sales?

Profit is what Cerberus is ultimately seeking—all the while operating under many different names, banners, and logos to leave the public so confused they wouldn’t even know where to begin tracing the origins of their health problems.

In short, a small group of chemists, business executives and even a former U.S. Vice President are diabolically working together disguised as Cerberus Capital Management Firm and have created a revolving door from food to pharmacy.

Do we really trust this group of individuals to own so much stake in the future of our global food production and health care?

About the Author
Cameron is an internationally-published vegan fitness model & writer who’s passionate about bringing to light the vast medicinal benefits of a whole-foods, plant-based diet, along with consistent exercise.
This article (Cerberus Capital – The Diabolical Purveyors of Cheap Food and Expensive Pharmaceuticals) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Cameron S. Bigger and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio. 

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/07/14/cerberus-capital-diabolical-purveyors-cheap-food-expensive-pharmaceuticals/

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Toxic Exposure: Chemicals are in Our Water, Food, Air and Furniture

by University of California, San Francisco

When her kids were young, Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., MPH, knew more than most people about environmental toxics. After all, she was a senior scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But even she never dreamed, as she rocked her children to sleep at night, that the plastic baby bottles she used to feed them contained toxic chemicals that could leach into the warm milk. 

Back then, in the late 1990s, it wasn’t widely known that the chemicals used in plastic sippy cups and baby bottles can potentially disrupt child development by interfering with the hormone system. That, in turn, could alter the functionality of their reproductive systems or increase their risk of disease later in their lives.

“When I had babies, I did many of the things we now tell people not to do,” says Woodruff, who for the past decade has been the director of UC San Francisco’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE). Also a professor in the University’s Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, she earned her doctorate in 1991 from a joint UCSF-Berkeley program in bioengineering and then completed a postgraduate fellowship at UCSF.

Woodruff’s children have since grown into physically healthy teenagers, but many children are not as lucky. Unregulated chemicals are increasing in use and are prevalent in products Americans use every day. Woodruff is concerned by the concurrent rise in many health conditions, like certain cancers or childhood diseases, and the fact that the environment is likely to play a role in those conditions. What motivates her is the belief that we need to know more about these toxics so we can reduce our exposure to the worst of them and protect ourselves and our children from their harmful effects. (Woodruff points out that the word “toxics” as a noun means any poisonous substances, from either chemical or biological sources, whereas “toxins” are poisons only from biological sources, either plant or animal.)

The PRHE is dedicated to identifying, measuring and preventing exposure to environmental contaminants that affect human reproduction and development. Its work weaves together science, medicine, policy and advocacy.

For example, research over the past 10 years by UCSF scientists and others has showed that bisphenol A (BPA) – an industrial chemical used since the 1950s to harden plastics in baby bottles, toys and other products – is found in the blood of those exposed to items made with BPA and that it can harm the endocrine systems of fetuses and infants. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlawed BPA in baby products in 2012, and some manufacturers developed BPA-free products. But now scientists believe the chemicals that replaced BPA may be just as harmful. 

Furthermore, BPA is only one in a long, long list of chemicals we encounter every day in our homes, schools, workplaces and communities. And scientists have barely scratched the surface of understanding them. Of the thousands and thousands of chemicals registered with the EPA for use by industry, the agency has regulated only a few. 

“In the last 50 years, we have seen a dramatic increase in chemical production in the United States,” Woodruff explains. Concurrently, there’s been an increase in the incidence of conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, childhood cancers, diabetes and obesity. “It’s not just genetic drift,” Woodruff maintains.

And we’re all at risk from increasing chemical exposure. The water we run from our taps, the lotion we smear on our skin, the shampoo we rub in our hair, even the dust in our houses is full of synthetic chemicals.

Preventing exposure in babies

PRHE experts do more than just measure such trends. They also collaborate with clinical scientists and obstetricians at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG), so their findings directly benefit pregnant patients. “We partner with the clinical scientists,” explains Woodruff, “because they look at treatments for disease, and environment might be a missing factor in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Though environmental toxics affect us all, there’s a reason PRHE focuses on pregnant women and children, Woodruff adds. Exposure to even tiny amounts of toxic substances during critical developmental stages can have outsize effects. So exposure to toxics is especially detrimental to fetuses, infants and young children, as well as preteens and teenagers.

“If you prevent the problem at the beginning, you get a lifetime of benefits,” says Woodruff.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began measuring human exposure to chemicals in 1976. These so-called “biomonitoring” studies found a range of toxics in subjects’ blood and urine – substances like DDT, BPA, air pollutants, pesticides, dioxins and phthalates. Phthalates, for example, are a class of chemicals known to be endocrine disruptors but widely used as softeners in plastics and as lubricants in personal-care products. Biomonitoring has determined that women of reproductive age evidence higher levels of phthalates than the population at large. One reason, says Woodruff, is that young women use more products like perfume, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner.

Woodruff herself recently led a study in which UCSF researchers collected blood samples from pregnant women at ZSFG. After the women delivered their babies, the researchers collected umbilical cord blood samples – and discovered that almost 80 percent of the chemicals detected in the maternal blood samples had passed through the placenta to the cord blood. It was the most extensive look yet at how the chemicals that pregnant women are exposed to also appear in their babies’ cord blood (and followed an earlier study by Woodruff that marked the first time anyone had counted the number of chemicals in the blood of pregnant women). Published in the Nov. 1, 2016, print edition of Environmental Science and Technology, the study also found that many chemicals were absorbed at greater levels by the fetuses than by the pregnant women…

more…

https://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2017/06/toxic-exposure-chemicals-are-our-water-food-air-and-furniture

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Why So Many Athletes Have Such Terrible Diets

by John McDermott

In 2013, NBA big man Dwight Howard developed a rare nerve disorder called dysesthesia while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. He had tingling in his extremities and was losing motor function, to the point he had difficulty catching passes.

Dysesthesia is common among prediabetics — not men who make a living physically exerting themselves. But Lakers nutritionist Cate Shanahan knew Howard had a “legendary sweet tooth,” and suspected his tingling was due to his sugar intake. Sure enough, Howard revealed to her he had been consuming an unthinkable amount of sugar. According to ESPN:

“Howard had been scarfing down about two dozen chocolate bars’ worth of sugar every single day for years, possibly as long as a decade. “You name it, he ate it,” she says. Skittles, Starbursts, Rolos, Snickers, Mars bars, Twizzlers, Almond Joys, Kit Kats and oh, how he loved Reese’s Pieces.”

Not even the 6-foot-11, 265-pound Howard could metabolize all those carbohydrates and all that fat.

Howard will likely be remembered as a good player who never achieved his physical potential. Made of nothing but lean, fast-twitch muscle, he is one of the most impressive physical specimens to ever play in the NBA. But he’s averaged less than 20 points per game over his career, and critics will always wonder how much better he might have been had he maintained a healthy diet during his prime.

Dwight Howard

Perhaps the most remarkable (or disturbing) part about the Howard story is that it’s not all that uncommon within the realm of men’s professional sports. There are a startling number of high-profile NBA and NFL players who’ve kept objectively terrible diets during their playing days, including:

  • Kwame Brown: Like Howard, Brown was a highly touted prospect who jumped to the NBA right out of high school. He’s also one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history, recording only one double-digit scoring season in his 13 in the league. That may have been due in part to his dreadful diet. Brown ate Popeye’s fried chicken for every meal, even breakfast, when he entered the league.
  • Caron Butler: Butler admitted he was “addicted” to Mountain Dew for much of his 14 years in the NBA, drinking two liters of the stuff a day.
  • Lamar Odom: Long before he was a bit player in the Kardashian universe, Odom was a professional basketball player with a serious candy habit. He ate candy for breakfast before games, saying it helped fuel his performance on the court. Specifically, he ate Twizzler bites, Gummy bears, peach rings and Hershey’s white-chocolate cookies-and-cream bars (his favorite).
  • Derrick Rose: Back when he was an MVP point guard for the Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose admitted to regularly eating McDonald’s, potato chips and, of course, lots of candy. He kept a Skittles vending machine in his home. “Everybody’s got their poison, and mine is sugar,” Rose told ESPN in 2010

more…

https://melmagazine.com/why-so-many-athletes-have-such-terrible-diets-ee4138e0bf71

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Dining Out Is Just About the Worst Thing You Can Do to Your Finances

Illustration by Sibel Ergener

by John McDermott

It’s not just the check—restaurant meals put us in a ‘consumer mindset’

One of the most common pieces of advice you’ll get from personal finance experts is to eat out less. By cooking at home, you almost always manage to spend less money on food (not to mention eat healthier).

But a new study not only confirms that eating out is bad for your finances, but suggests that eating out is among the worst things you can do for your personal financial health.

“What we saw consistently throughout the study was that when people reported their dining-out budget for the second time during the experiment, it was significantly higher than what they stated the first time,” Penn State professor Amit Sharma, one of the study’s co-authors, tells Futurity. “What this tells us is that obviously they thought they would spend less in a week, but as the week progressed, they realized they were spending a lot more and they rationalized that increase.”

Specifically, people increased their personal dining out budgets from less than $18 in the first week of the study to $55 in week two, when they realized the first figure was unrealistic.

I’m not sure where these study respondents live that any of them think $18 would last them a week’s worth of dining out. They certainly don’t live in L.A., where $18 gets you a tablespoon of quinoa with a side of two fig leaves, or New York, where $18 is the admission price for the privilege of waiting to maybe buy a cronut.

What’s most interesting, though, is the rationalization part. Rather than curb their dining out in the face of that information, people just readjust their budgets to meet their actual spending habits.

People’s tendency to overspend is partially due to valuing immediate gratification over the long-term benefits of saving. In Sharma’s study, people’s weekly budget goals were no match for their pressing desire to go out and eat some delicious food. “We tend to discount the future more than we should and, therefore, place higher value on current consumption,” says Sharma.

Worse, the study suggests that eating out changes people’s mindset from saving to consumption.

Serious savers know that a commitment to saving is about more than abstaining from the occasional splurge — it’s a mindset that informs every aspect of their lives. They understand that while spending $5 at Starbucks may seem like a minor purchase, it’s actually very important. That daily $5 purchase each morning equates to more than $1,200 over the course of a year, so serious savers opt for the shitty office brew. Conduct that calculus on all the small, seemingly inconsequential purchases in one’s life, and you have significant savings.

The people MEL profiled in our Into the Black series, for instance, didn’t pay off their debts because they refrained from buying expensive cars. They did so by identifying and cutting out any and all unnecessary purchases, no matter the size, and letting the savings accumulate over time. They bought cheap beer, hosted game nights and potlucks and took up free hobbies such as rock climbing instead of meeting their friends out at fancy cocktail bars.

But going out to eat seems to take a person out of that vigilant savings mindset: What’s a $5 coffee when I already spent $12 on lunch?

Way more than they could have imagined. In fact, foregoing that morning coffee could turn them into a millionaire, according to personal finance guru David Bach. If you’re younger than 30, and put the money you usually spend on a morning latte into a retirement account, it’ll grow to $1 million by the time you’re retirement age.

And that’s money you can dine out on.

https://melmagazine.com/dining-out-is-just-about-the-worst-thing-you-can-do-for-your-finances-bbee7062048e#.yywk7ha3p

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Hamburgers Are Bigger Than Ever, but the Meat Has Always Been Questionable

 

by Quinn Myers

From ‘pink slime’ to bug burgers, a look at the quintessential American meal

For most of the world, the symbol most associated with America isn’t the bald eagle, George Washington or even the stars and stripes—it’s the hamburger and fries. But how much has this simple meal — a ground-beef sandwich with fried potatoes — changed since its glory days of the 1950s? Let’s find out.

The Ingredients

1950s: According to Andrew Smith, author of The Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food, the quality of hamburger meat was so bad in the early 20th century that by the 1950s, customers needed reassuring that what they were getting was actual meat. “Heading into the ‘50s, White Castle had beef slabs delivered to each outlet a couple times a day,” Smith says. “It was ground up in front of any customers in the store to assure everyone that their beef did come from a cow, as opposed to a variety of meat and other products from other slaughtered animals.”

White Castle employee pointing out a White Castle inspected meat sign

So during the burger’s heyday, most people could feel confident that they were, in fact, getting 100 percent ground beef, while the fries were exactly as advertised: Potatoes, sliced in the restaurant and fried in animal oil.

Today: In 2008, a study by Brigid Prayson of the Cleveland Clinical Foundation tried to find out whether it was even possible for America to produce as much beef as was apparently being consumed — an interesting question, considering that there are fewer cattle being raised now than in the 1970s, and yet we’re eating more beef than we were then. The answers weren’t encouraging, and a test of a variety of fast-food burgers found that the amount of real meat in burgers ranged from just 2 to 14 percent. The rest was made up of what has become known as “pink slime,” or in the words of the study, “a mash of connective tissue, blood vessels, peripheral nerve, plant material, cartilage and bone.”

This nauseating goop was then doused in ammonium hydroxide, an antimicrobial agent once classified by the Department of Agriculture as “generally recognized as safe,” though the practice is banned in the European Union. McDonald’s and other chains have since claimed that they no longer use the stuff, but after a brief public backlash, it has crept back into grocery stores, with a 2014 study claiming that up to 70 percent of the ground beef sold in stores contains the dreaded pink slime.

McDonald’s pink slime

The meat isn’t the only thing chock-full of chemicals now, either. A quick look at the fry ingredients listed on McDonald’s website reveals not just potatoes but rather a dozen different things, including chemicals with such appetizing names as sodium acid pyrophosphate (that’s the one that maintains their friendly yellow color). Essentially, most of the water in the fries has been replaced with fat, and a bunch of chemicals are added to make them taste like they were fried in animal fat, rather than the mix of corn and soybean oil they’re actually fried in.

The Size

1950s: “The combo of french fries and burgers as a meal became solidified during World War II, since meat was rationed and you needed to bolster what small amount of it you had with something else,” says Smith. How small exactly were the burgers? In 1950, the average burger weighed just 3.9 ounces—not so much bigger than a modern-day White Castle slider, at 2.2 ounces, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For their part, an average order of fries weighed roughly 2.4 ounces.

Today: As rationing came to an end, burgers began to fatten up. “Chains like Burger King came along offering bigger burgers with more meat, and the increased competition led to an arms race of the sizes and the styles of burgers,” Smith says. As a result, the average fast-food burger has quadrupled in size since the 1950s and now stands at a gut-busting 12 ounces. Fries, meanwhile, have nearly doubled in size, weighing in at 6.7 ounces (again according to the CDC)…

more…

https://melmagazine.com/hamburgers-are-bigger-than-ever-but-the-meat-has-always-been-questionable-ba04dc37f0e7#.mugo2w70w

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