too corny

We are a corn people.  Corn, corn, give us more corn.

During the week there was a news blurb about a group proposing to put sodas in the same category as alcohol and cigarettes so that only those 18 years old could purchase.  Why?  Because of the detrimental health effects of course and that continued consumption below the age of reason creates an addiction.  omg, what a news flash.

That ban might just as well include most fruit juices.  Most of the sweeteners in sodas and fruit juices come from high-fructose corn syrup (hfcs).  Even fruit juices stating they are sweetened with apple juice is from apple juice sweetened with more than 50% hfcs.

The problem with hfcs is that all the nutrients have been leached out.  When we consume it, it actually then leaches micronutrients from our bodies.  Prior to 1970 no one ate the stuff.  It didn’t exist.  Now the average American consumes pounds of it.  It was discovered to be much cheaper to produce than table sugar.  And we like cheap.  Bottom line, it’s toxic.

But corn is everywhere.   It’s worked its way in as a flour, starch, oil, sweetener, and a combustible engine fuel.  It’s an ingredient in foods (?) like ketchup, salad dressings and loads of other stuff.  If you consume meat (in the U.S.), most of the beef, pork and chicken products are fed with corn — a completely unnatural product for those animals to eat.  It ends up changing their constitution.  We become what we eat eats.

TJ's 70% cacao with Black Hawaiian Pepper

I recently bought a dark chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s with 70% plus cacao (to add to hot chocolate).  The bar has black sea salt.  On the back of the bar, there is a paragraph about how the black salt is derived and what the benefits are.  It sounds exotic, good.  The chocolate bar says “no artificial colors or flavors, no preservatives.”  But a few ingredients ahead of Hawaiian Black Sea Salt is corn syrup.  It’s no wonder why many natural products are specifying “cane sugar” as the sweetener.

Aji Amarillo

Last year GV brought a packet of Huancaína sauce from Peru.  They make a wonderful dish in Peru called papas huacaína.  The sauce is made from yellow peppers.  However, to make it portable, one of the main ingredients is maltodextrin.  What is maltodextrin?  A food additive, made from corn.

Every once in a while I add a creamer to coffee.  When I do I use(d) a soy based creamer.  I’ve been getting Trader Joe’s organic soy milk creamer — lactose and diary free.  What does it have in it?  Maltodextrin (organic) from corn.  All the biking fuel supplements and recovery drinks have maltodextrin.  You don’t see a sports fuel supplement without it.

at least the corn is organic

Now that we use corn for ethanol fuel, coupled with all the corn in our animal food and sweeteners and food additives, we grow an incredible amount of corn.  Following is an excerpt written about ten years ago discussing effects of  increased corn production:

  • US agriculture in general, and corn production in particular, rely on intensive application of fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides. While these chemicals make a major contribution to agricultural productivity, they also create problems of water pollution, with risks to human health and natural ecosystems. In particular, runoff of excess nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer contaminates surface and groundwater supplies, by promoting algal growth which reduces the dissolved oxygen content (hypoxia) in the water making it difficult for fish or other wildlife to survive. The great quantities of nitrogen carried by the Mississippi River have been implicated in the large “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico where ocean life has been killed off (Keeney and Muller 2000; Runge 2002; Goolsby et al. 1999). Corn production is a major contributor to this effect both through direct nitrogen runoff from fertilizer application on farms and through the use of corn as a feed for livestock whose manure contributes to water pollution.

Ten years later, we still know the above to be true.

But corn is good.  Every year when sweet corn comes to harvest, it’s a treat to get to the markets where sweet corn is available from having been picked earlier that day.  No need for cooking.  Eaten raw right off the cob it’s delicious.  But, we think of corn as a vegetable.  It’s not.  It’s a grain, like wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice.  So we shouldn’t be too corn crazy as we shouldn’t be so grain crazy.  Many argue that we should be more whole fruit and vegetable crazy.

(P.S. Whole fruit has fructose, but fruit fructose is filled with vitamins, minerals, nutrients.  HFCS is void of any of those benefits.  HFCS does not stimulate insulin in our systems which is important in appetite suppression.  HFCS does create toxicity in our systems.  So if you are into toxic, hfcs could be a good thing.)

Still, corn is everywhere in most packaged sweet and even not so sweet foods.  Corn bread, flakes, meal, starch, oil, whiskey, syrup, sugar.  We also use corn in leather tanning, insulation, paint, adhesives, plastics, and dozens of other products.  Is there any connection between the dramatic increase in cancers, diabetes, and other ailments over the last few decades as our consumption of corn has dramatically risen during the same time period?  (blowing whistle pause).  You make the call.

One thing for certain, the consumption of so much corn contributes to an imbalance of Omega 3/Omega 6 in our systems.  Some say that cancer is not a disease but a symptom of an out-of-balance system.  Nutritionists (the good ones) know that that imbalance is highly carcinogenic.

But today is the Super Bowl.  Time for exceptions.  Time to eat corn.  Dump catchup on the hotdog, better yet, make it a corn dog, with some corn chips.  While we are at it, lets heat those kernels up until they pop and toss back a few hundred.

Point is, our bodies are lean, mean machines.  Just don’t let them get too corny.

On another note, the Team Spaghetti apparel is ready for ordering.  Normal retail price would be about 2.5 times higher.  If you are interested, there is a page tab on the home page with details.

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