Tag: glyphosate

Oatmeal Overrated For Breakfast – (4 Reasons Why)

Oatmeal Overrated For Breakfast - 4 Reasons

Oatmeal is regarded as one of the healthiest things to eat for breakfast. But Chef V doesn’t have much of an appetite for it. Learn why oatmeal might not be as healthy as you think…

What could be more healthy to eat in the morning than a bowl of oatmeal topped with chia seeds, sliced almonds, a handful of blueberries, and maybe a scoop of nut butter, all drizzled with honey?

Sounds super satisfying, right? 

For many people having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast is indeed the perfect meal for sustained energy and to prevent cravings until lunch time. 

If you’re an oatmeal lover I hate to crash your breakfast party but here’s some food for thought…

I have some reasons why you may want to think twice about eating it, or at least eating it every day.

glyphosates and oatmeal

Top Reason Oatmeal is Overrated: Glyphosate

The most heavily sprayed herbicide in the world is a chemical compound called glyphosate, which is lurking in your oatmeal. 

I wrote about glyphosate in detail here. In case you missed it or don’t remember what it was about, let me catch you up to speed…

In 2015, glyphosate was declared “probably carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to humans” by the main cancer research institute of the World Health Organization. 

Glyphosate is a toxic weed-killer and pesticide and the active ingredient in Roundup. Roundup has been the top-selling herbicide brand in the U.S. for many years. 

Heavily sprayed on crops like soy, corn and oats, glyphosate has been blamed in over 125,000 Roundup lawsuits for causing cancer. 

It’s sprayed on oats in order to dry the crop faster so it can be more quickly processed into things like oatmeal and oatmeal cookies. 

Now I don’t want you to freak out if you’ve been eating oatmeal every day for years. The people who have filed Roundup lawsuits have been mostly recreational gardeners that were directly exposed to glyphosate either through the skin or by inhaling the particles. 

But in order to take control of your health, it’s a good idea to limit your intake of foods that contain glyphosate residue. 

According to tests conducted by the Environmental Working Group, out of 45 oat-based products, only two did not contain glyphosate. 

More troubling, the 43 products that did have it contained levels several times higher than what the EWG considers safe.  

So think about that next time you have a bite of conventional oatmeal. And definitely consider these facts if you have kids who eat oatmeal or cereal bars. As the EWG declared, “harmful pesticides don’t belong in kids’ breakfast foods!” 

oatmeal high glycemic index

Oatmeal Overrated: High-Starch Carbs

If you want to get leaner, your biggest enemy is high-starch carbs. What are high-starch carbs? Think mashed potatoes, white bread, wheat bread, anything with white flour and the type of oatmeal most people consume. 

Most people are in a rush and don’t have the luxury of taking an hour to make old-fashioned steel-cut oats. So packets of instant oats it is. 

Microwaveable oatmeal has a high glycemic load. This means that instant oats can significantly raise your blood glucose level after eating it. 

And most people eat way too many starchy carbs to begin with. It’s one thing if you’re limiting your intake of carbs during the day to low-starch veggies and a moderate amount of fruit. 

But if you’re also eating rice, pasta and bread throughout the day, eating oatmeal is like pouring fuel on the fire. Or more accurately, adding more unburned energy (fat) to the body. 

Yeah, but isn’t oatmeal high in fiber? Yes, it is. But that doesn’t mean that your pancreas won’t release insulin in order to control the blood sugar response. 

While getting enough fiber in the diet is critical for healthy elimination, you’re better off getting your fiber from produce, quinoa and ancient grains like teff. 

oatmeal bloating

Antinutrients in Oatmeal

Over 60 million Americans are diagnosed with a digestive disorder, according to the GI Alliance. That’s a lot of bloated bellies and other unpleasant symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders. 

Oats are a type of grain. And grains contain compounds called “antinutrients” that may prevent absorption of vitamins and minerals. Therefore, some people who eat oatmeal may not tolerate it well. 

Most grains, before they are processed into food, contain two compounds that are considered anti-nutrients. 

The first one is phytic acid, which binds to minerals in the oats, preventing us from absorbing them very well. 

So even though you may see on the nutrition label on a box of oatmeal that there are many vitamins and minerals, keep in mind your body may not be up taking them very efficiently.  

Grains such as oats also have something called lectins, which prevent plants from being devoured by parasites and insects. Gluten is technically a type of lectin. But even if you’re not allergic to gluten, you can still experience bloating and other digestive upsets from eating foods with lectin. 

steel cut oats

What’s In Your Oatmeal?

Besides having to worry about glyphosate, antinutrients and the insulin response to oatmeal, here’s something else to consider. 

Oatmeal by itself tastes so bland that the only solution to making it taste appealing, for most people, is usually topping it with something super sweet like sugar or honey. 

Unlike high-starch foods, which convert into sugar, sweet toppings can instantly drive up our blood sugar level. 

And don’t get me started about all that sugar in instant oatmeal packets.

Can’t Quit Oatmeal? Follow This Advice

If you’re trying to get leaner, skip breakfast entirely. Instead, have a tall glass of water with some fresh-squeezed lemon. 

Then wait about half an hour and have 8 to 16 ounces of my Chef V Organic Green Drink. If you’re still hungry later in the morning, have a plant-based protein shake. Do this for a couple weeks and you’ll notice great results!

But if you absolutely love oatmeal, make sure to purchase a non-GMO, organic gluten-free variety. Oats do not naturally contain gluten. But many commercial brands of oatmeal are cross-contaminated with gluten.

And the more old-fashioned the oats are, like steel-cut or porridge, the longer it will take the starches to convert into sugar. And to reduce the antinutrients if your tummy is sensitive to them, try sprouted oats. 

While I may not be on the oatmeal breakfast bandwagon, I do love homemade oat milk. Naturally, I use certified organic, gluten-free oats. Here’s how I make it.

Conclusion

Oatmeal is hyped for lowering blood pressure, being rich in fiber and being good for cholesterol. But that’s not the whole story. 

Here’s to your health!  –  Chef V

Chef V

Glyphosate: Should You Panic If It’s Not Organic?

glyphosates

Weeds drive every gardener, landscaper, groundskeeper and farmer crazy. Besides looking bad, weeds rob ornamental plants of nutrients like nitrogen and potassium (plants need potassium, too!), making them susceptible to diseases and becoming infested with insects. For farmers, weeds are a threat to their livelihood, harming both livestock and crops.

But in pursuit of eradicating weeds from the Earth, are we unwillingly poisoning ourselves? Glyphosate is the main active ingredient in the world’s most popular herbicide: Roundup Weed Killer.

Over 125,000 people have sued the Monsanto Corporation, inventor of both glyphosate and Roundup, alleging that the weed killer causes a particular type of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. (Monsanto is the inventor of another deadly herbicide used during the Vietnam War that killed hundreds of thousands: Agent Orange.)

Sales of Roundup Weed Killer skyrocketed in the mid-1990s, after Monsanto, through genetic engineering, created Roundup-ready crops. Roundup-ready crops such as soy, corn and cotton, are resistant to glyphosate.

Monsanto, the evil corporation that also engineered seeds that don’t reproduce after the first growth. That means most farmers have to buy seeds from Monsanto every year and apply more Roundup Weed Killer to their crops.

Round Up

Glyphosate Contamination In Food

What does this mean for you even if you’re a klutzy green thumb like me and can barely manage to keep a succulent alive? Well, you do eat, don’t you? And unless you’re eating organic 100% of the time, you definitely have glyphosate in your system. Almost every food is contaminated with glyphosate, which was listed in 2015 as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency on Cancer Research, (IACR) which functions under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Only three out of the more than 125,000 Roundup lawsuits have gone to trial. All three trials were wins for plaintiffs, including the case of Dwayne “Lee” Johnson. Johnson was a former groundskeeper in the San Francisco Bay Area who used Roundup on the school grounds where he worked.

One day, Johnson claims he spilled the weed killer on his body. This incident, and the fact that he used it for many years, caused him to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells. Johnson was the first plaintiff to take Monsanto to court. His initial award of $289 million (twice reduced to the current sum of $20 million) opened the floodgates for people to sue Monsanto.

But the crazy thing is, despite the IACR’s designation of glyphosate as probably carcinogenic and the over 125,000 Roundup cancer lawsuits, herbicides with glyphosate are still for sale in the U.S. That’s right, a chemical that one of the leading cancer research groups in the world concluded most likely causes cancer in humans, is still on the marketplace. And you’re being exposed to it everyday even if you’re not a farmer or landscaper.

glyphosates in foods

Foods With Glyphosate

It would be easier to list foods that don’t contain the toxic weed killer. That’s because it’s pretty much pervasive in the entire food supply. If you need yet another reason to avoid heavily-processed and packaged food, add glyphosate to the list. Foods high in calories, salt and sugar, and low in nutrients are made with the two most heavily-sprayed crops: corn and soy.

Speaking of soy, with October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, I think more focus needs to be placed on glyphosate contributing to disease in women. There’s no conclusive evidence to link glyphosate with breast cancer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it at least contributes to it.

Soybean oil is a cheap vegetable oil (like canola) that food manufacturers use, adding hydrogen to it to preserve the shelf life of the packaged food. Consuming lots of foods with soy can cause estrogen dominance, which is linked to breast and ovarian cancer.

So it might not be the glyphosate itself that causes female cancers. It could be that too much soy is the problem.

But it stands to reason that glyphosate, which is sprayed on every non-organic soy crop, just may be contributing to breast cancer.

Besides soy and corn (and corn’s derivatives like high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin), glyphosate is in oats, rice, almonds, sunflower seeds, granola bars and cereals.

shopping bag of veggies

How To Avoid Glyphosate

You can’t completely avoid glyphosate. But you can minimize your exposure to it by not eating chips, crackers, cereal, and other processed foods.

A few years ago, there was a big news item about organic produce not being more nutritious than non-organic fruits and vegetables. While it’s true that an organic orange might have the same vitamin C content as its non-organic counterpart, comparing organic to non-organic is like comparing apples to oranges. One of the biggest reasons to buy organic is that when you do so, you’re consuming a fruit or veggie that hasn’t been sprayed with a pesticide or herbicide (glyphosate is considered both!). Ingesting foods that have been sprayed with toxic chemicals every single day for years on end … well, I’m no scientist, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s not good for your health.

Sure, it may cost more to purchase organic produce, organic grains, and organically-grown nuts and seeds (and organic nut milks). But isn’t your health worth a few extra bucks?

As a small business owner, getting organically-certified is an expense well worth it. I want to give my Organic Green Drink customers the comfort of knowing that when they consume the 7 leafy greens every morning, the health benefits from the produce aren’t diminished by toxic pesticides.

Organic Eggs Aren’t Necessarily Eggceptional

organic eggs

Organic Eggs Aren’t Necessarily Eggceptional For Health

If it’s organic, you’re not supposed to panic, right? 

Well, depending on what brand you purchase, organic eggs might not be all that they’re cracked up to be. 

Before I explain why, let me just weigh in on whether or not eggs are healthy in the first place. Out of all the common foods you can buy in a supermarket, eggs are definitely one of the most controversial. Eggs are supposed to be the perfect food, offering protein, essential fatty acids and vitamins and minerals. 

On the other hand, eggs are super high in cholesterol. Just one egg contains about 70% of the suggested daily limit of dietary cholesterol. But dietary cholesterol doesn’t affect your blood cholesterol levels that much, maybe like 10%. However, some people have a genetic predisposition to developing heart disease, which is caused by a narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels, which is caused by cholesterol buildup in the arteries. 

Even a 10% influence on blood cholesterol can have a huge impact if you’re predisposed to cardiovascular disease. And the only way to know for sure if that’s you is to get a genetic test. The safe thing to do until you get a genetic test is to limit your consumption of eggs. (You can order a DNA cholesterol test online). 

Personally, I’m not a big fan of eggs. If I’m at brunch, maybe I’ll share an omelette. But it’s rare for me to make eggs at home. For one thing, I barely ever eat breakfast. Instead, I just have a Green Drink and then later in the morning I might have a plant-based protein smoothie (with brown rice protein or pea protein powder). 

But for those of you who love eggs and think organic eggs are super healthy, I have some bad news to share with you in a little bit…

chickens in yard

Why Organic Eggs Are Healthier

For sure, it’s important to buy organic for certain types of foods. For instance, I always buy organic produce–and use organic produce for Chef V Green Drinks. Non-organic produce contains the same amount of nutrients as organic but also is heavily sprayed with pesticides like glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Roundup weed killer. 

But for foods like eggs with a hard external barrier (the shell), does buying organic really matter? 

The answer is yes, for two main reasons. For starters, unlike produce, organic eggs are more nutritious than their conventionally grown counterparts. A study from Penn State University found that organic chicken eggs contain three times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, 40% more vitamin A and twice the amount of vitamin E. 

The other reason to eat organic eggs instead of non-organic is that they are free from antibiotics. 

And here’s one more factor in favor of organic over conventional eggs: they contain less arsenic, which is a natural Earth element but highly toxic. Think about these facts the next time you eat eggs at a greasy-spoon diner.

I don’t want you to freak out about eating the occasional egg or two. But reading this should give you food for thought about eating conventional eggs.

organic eggs rated

Not All Organic Eggs Are Created Equal

Now here’s the thing I was shocked to read. According to this Egg Scorecard by Cornucopia, some of the most well-known brands of organic eggs are rated barely better than a conventional egg. 

So if you’re buying organic eggs from the following brands, you might be fooled into thinking that the chickens have been raised in very humane environments:

  • Costco (Kirkland brand)
  • 365 Organic (Whole Foods)
  • Walmart
  • Horizon 
  • Simply Nature (Aldi)
  • Harris Teeter Naturals (Kroger)
  • Sun Valley (Smart & Final)
  • Fairway Market
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Sprout’s
  • Wegman’s
  • Publix
  • Chino Valley Ranchers

These brands were rated by Cornucopia as one egg on a five egg scale. That means the chickens didn’t have meaningful access to the outdoors and the opening often leads to a concrete porch, not a bucolic pasture where the chickens roam free all day. 

Plus, the gateway to the porch is intentionally small so that the chickens aren’t encouraged to go outside in the first place. Essentially, these brands are not much better than industrial, non-organic eggs. I can’t say I’m that totally surprised to have read this info. But I was disappointed that one of my favorite supermarkets, Trader Joe’s, doesn’t have better quality eggs. 

shopping for eggs

Splurge For High Quality Organic Eggs

My take on eggs is to treat them like ice cream: to be enjoyed as an occasional treat. And when you enjoy a rare treat, splurge for it. Buy the best quality possible. It might seem ridiculous to buy a carton of eggs for $8. But if I ever buy eggs, I’d purchase them from a farmer’s market, even if a dozen costs $5 more than a supermarket brand. I’d want to know that the eggs I’m eating come from chickens that live in a mansion of a coop, with easy access to the outdoors where they can forage for worms, grubs and whatever else it is that chickens peck and consume. 

Yes, eggs are a great source of protein. But the truth is you don’t really need as much protein as you think. Besides, there are plenty of plant-based protein-rich sources. But if you’re craving eggs, you may as well treat your body to the highest quality possible. Just like with any other kind of food, shop local for eggs—support your local farmers.

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.