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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Another Reason to Eat Organic – Conventional Meat Contains Twice as Many Superbugs

Aside from the fact that conventionally-raised animals can be pumped with synthetic growth hormones and can be fed genetically-modified grain that has been sprayed with super-toxic pesticides, there is now another scary reason to avoid conventional meat: superbugs.

In results from a just released study, Consumers Reports found that 18 percent of the ground beef samples from conventionally-raised cows contained dangerous superbugs resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics used to treat illness in humans. This is compared with just 9 percent of ground beef from samples that were sustainably produced.

Consumer Reports purchased 300 packages – 458 pounds – of conventionally and sustainably produced ground beef from grocery, big-box, and natural food stores in 26 cities across the country.

The samples were tested for five common types of bacteria associated with beef—Clostridium perfringens, E. coli (including O157 and six other toxin-producing strains), Enterococcus, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus.

This testing, which is among the largest conducted to date, found bacteria on all of the beef samples.

However, ground beef from cows raised more sustainably was significantly less likely to have two potentially harmful bacteria (S. aureus and E.coli) than those from cows raised conventionally.

The sustainably-produced beef came from cows that were raised without antibiotics and in some cases were either organic, grass-fed, or both. Beef from grass-fed and organic cows have access to pasture, are fed a grass-based diet, and are treated more humanely. Conventional cows can live on feedlots, be regularly fed antibiotics, as well as animal waste and other by-products.

“Better ways of producing beef from farm to fork have real impact on the health and safety of our food and the animals themselves,” said Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Food Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports. “Farming animals without antibiotics is the first step toward a more sustainable system. Grass-fed animals and good welfare practices produce fewer public health risks.”

The best label to look for is “grass-fed organic”, which ensures the cattle have not been fed grain and have eaten only organically-grown grass and forage and have not received any antibiotics or hormones.

After that, the next best label to look for is “organic”, which ensures the cattle have only been fed organic grain and have not received any antibiotics or hormones.

To read the full report from Consumer Reports and read its recommendations, click HERE.

THIS IMPACTS VEGANS AS WELL

If you’re not a meat eater and are thinking that this issue doesn’t have any relevance to you, that is a big mistake. Why?

Because superbugs impact everyone, vegans and vegetarians included.

Factory farms routinely use antibiotics and as a result, certain bacteria have grown resistant to drugs — mutating into superbugs.

Not only do these superbugs spread to the entire population – vegans and meat eaters alike – but often there is no cure or treatment for them.

According to Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY), “every year in the United States, two million people get sick from antibiotic resistant infections, and at least 23,000 die. That makes antibiotic resistant infections more deadly than HIV/AIDS and on track to kill more people than cancer by 2050.”

Vani Hari of FoodBabe.com has just started a very important petition to pressure Subway, a major supporter of factory farms, to change the way that it does business.

As the world’s largest restaurant chain in the world, Subway needs to stop the routine use of antibiotics in the production of its meat. Period.

Please sign Vani’s petition by clicking HERE.

Thank you so much for your concern and willingness to help address this deeply serious problem.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Have We Been Misled? 5 Organic Foods That Should Make You Think Twice

I spend an inordinate amount of time learning about the healthiest and newest organic food products available. Through my research at the various trade shows — most notably, Natural Products Expo East and Natural Products Expo West —  talking to industry contacts, roaming supermarket aisles, speaking with as many well-informed food people as I can and reading books, I have come to the following conclusion:

You can take almost any food in the world and some health expert will have something good to say about it while a different health expert will have something bad to say about it.

So, what I do is educate myself as much as I can and then make my own decision about whether I should be eating it or not.

The following five organic foods seem to be the most controversial. While books could be written on all of the foods below and by no means am I covering all of the pros/cons of each, I will try to highlight the most salient points.

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A message from Tradin Organic

How Tradin Organic is Helping Coconut Farmers in The Philippines

For more than a decade, Tradin Organic has been working with local partners in The Philippines to bring a diversified range of organic products to the market, such as coconut oil, tropical fruits and even cocoa.

The company is helping to support local farmers by assisting them with technical support and organic certification, in addition to paying Fairtrade premium on top of the organic premium.

Learn more.

Living Maxwell

Better Choices

Why Organic Coffee is So Important

A girl I used to know in New York City was so fanatical about recycling that she would literally take empty bottles home from bars because she feared that they would be tossed in the garbage.

I’ll never forget the time when we were out one night and she started filling up her designer handbag with empty beer bottles, which weren’t even hers!  She was that committed to the environment.

Yet, when she drank her coffee each morning, organic coffee was never even a consideration.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this didn’t make much sense.  Why?

Because conventionally-grown coffee is incredibly unhealthy for people and the planet.

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Living Maxwell

Better Choices

My Water Habits and The Only Water Bottle I Use – A Glass One

As I have written about many times before, I am a water fanatic. I like clean, ultra-purified water and have a four-stage filter (with a .015 micron filter on filter #2) in my apartment.

When I go to work, there is a Poland Spring cooler but I refuse to drink from it. Why?

The water tastes very, very off and is not purified.

So, I bring my own bottles of water to work each day. This may sound crazy to some people but drinking high quality water is essential to staying healthy.

Given that I take so much effort to drink good water, the type of bottle that I use is also of great importance.

I used to drink from a BPA-free plastic bottle. The problem with that is that it is still plastic and is leaching other chemicals into the water.

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livingmaxwell: a guide to organic food & drink