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The Spartan Diet
Please join our mailing list (link below) and we'll keep you posted on the diet and the upcoming Spartan Diet book!
Please join our mailing list (link below) and we'll keep you posted on the diet and the upcoming Spartan Diet book!


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What's Wrong With Our Food?

We're living in an incredible age of discovery about health, diet and fitness. As a civilization, we know far more about which foods promote health, and which contribute to disease, than we did ten years ago, or even five. Thanks to the news media and the Internet, the facts resulting from these discoveries are boiled down into laymen's terms, and disseminated broadly at little cost.

Taken together, and broadly speaking, these discoveries tell us that some of our most recent food innovations -- trans fats, artificial colors, preservatives, canning, chemical additives, drugs and hormones for domesticated animals, pesticides and others -- collectively and over time make us fat, weak and sick. Science tells us clearly that foods untouched by these "advancements" -- raw, whole, fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and legumes and the avoidance of domesticated animals -- make us healthy and strong.

Given all we know, or should know, why are so many people afflicted by "lifestyle" diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and some cancers? Even many people without diseases are afflicted by poor food quality, feeling constant fatigue, poor sleep, sexual dysfunction, asthma, depression, anxiety, muscle weakness, mental "fogginess," bad skin and a host of other unnecessary symptoms.

We obsess over weight, millions of Americans on any given day are currently "on a diet" and trying to lose weight. But weight is only the most obvious and visible symptom of our unhealthy diet.

About one third of all Americans between the ages of 20 and 74 are technically obese, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And another third are overweight but not obese. That means a solid majority -- two-thirds -- are overweight. Of the remaining third, many are underweight, have weakened muscles, stunted growth, cardiovascular disease or other problems directly relating to diet.

What is less understood is that most overweight people are in fact undernourished. Our industrialized modern diet provides far too many calories and far too few vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants than humans need for health.

The combination of toxic foods and non-foods, excess, low-quality fats, plus malnutrition, leads to at least two outcomes that further promote weight gain and weaken our muscles, organs and immune systems. First, our bodies are designed to seek out nutrition when they're not getting enough. So if you starve yourself of nutrients, your body triggers a hunger reflex. People who eat a standard diet can have intense, overwhelming feelings of hunger, which leads to overeating. Second, junk food affects metabolism, which also tends to promote weight gain.

Our diet is literally killing us, and before it does, it ruins or at least complicates and degrades our lives.

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Why You Should Never Buy Honey at the Store

When you buy honey from the Farmer's Market, the seller can tell you what plants the bees are frequenting. Which is important, because you don't want honey from bees that are pollinating conventional agriculture, as they'll pick up pesticides and other nasty stuff.

You should never, ever buy "conventional" honey from the supermarket. Besides the quality being degraded by pasteurization, filtering and other processing, you really don't know what it is you're buying.

A brilliant investigative piece published today in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer uncovers a common practice in the international honey trade called "honey laundering" -- low quality, fake and even toxic honey from China is often re-labeled as originating in other countries (such as India, Australia or Malaysia) and sent to the United States, where it is mixed with honey from elsewhere and sold in supermarkets.

In most cases, the honey company is the one being duped. They believe they're buying honey from one country, when in fact it originates in another. Hardly any of it is inspected or tested.

Some of the honey is diluted with sugar water or corn syrup, according to the article, or "tainted with pesticides or antibiotics." Chinese honey producers often use an antibiotic called chloramphenicol to treat bee disease epidemics, an antibiotic banned by the FDA. Chloramphenicol can cause illness or even death among some people.

Use only local, raw, wild, unfiltered honey.
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Some hot dogs contain human DNA

A new startup called Clear Labs is applying "next-generation genomic technology" to finding out what exactly is in food. They buy food in the supermarket, open the package, then examine what's in there at the molecular level. 

They rate foods using what they call a Clear Score. That's based on how closely what's actually in the food matches what's listed in the ingredients section of the label or package. They deduct points for ingredients not listed, so the higher the Clear Score, the better. 

They then compare the nutrition information (fats, carbs, protein, etc.) against the nutritional composition of what's actually in the food. 

Their first report looked at hot dogs from seventy-five different brands, and the results weren't pretty. 

The biggest shocker was that that around 2/3rds of the vegetarian hot dog samples tested contained human DNA. Some 2% of the meat hot dogs had human DNA. 

They also found meat not listed in the ingredients in a huge number of samples. For example, 3% contained pork, though pork wasn't listed as an ingredient. (The kosher samples were all pork-free.) 

Some 10% of vegetarian hot dogs contained meat, and a huge number of vegetarian products contained "hygienic issues."


Still, Clear Labs is a great service, and can look at one aspect of adulterated food or misleading labeling. But they don't test for other important aspects of food. For example, they're looking at DNA. So they're not catching the presence of chemicals that have no DNA.

As The Atlantic pointed out, Clear Labs "could not have detected the industrial compound melamine in the milk powder that sickened 300,000 babies in China in 2008, killing six." They can't test for dangerous levels of pesticides or other harmful ingredients, residues or what the industry calls "manufacturing aids" (chemicals that the law doesn't require them to add to the label). 

They also can't test for food quality. If your food says "beef," you don't know if that's a prime cut of steak or the cow's eyeballs. 

Still, it's a great service and they're funding on Kickstarter. Go here to contribute:
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A Spartan Diet dinner.

+Amira Elgan put this together last night. 
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No, the government does not test for food safety.

American consumers generally believe that if a food is on the shelf at the supermarket, the ingredients in that product must have been tested by the FDA for safety. If it’s there, it must be OK, right? 

It turns out that such a belief is false. Here's why:

#foodadditives   #foodsafety  
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US industrial meat overwhelmingly contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Consumer Reports tested a ground turkey from a wide range of retail stores and found that 90% is contaminated with "superbugs" -- antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

In addition to that highly dangerous bacteria, 90 percent of turkey tested "contained at least one of five strains of bacteria, including fecal bacteria and types that cause food poisoning, such as salmonella and staphylococcus aureus." 

Turkey labeled with "no antibiotics," "organic," or "raised without antibiotics" also contained bacteria, but those were less likely to be antibiotic-­resistant superbugs.

Earlier this month, the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System released a report that found more than half of samples of ground turkey, pork chops and ground beef bought in US supermarkets contained antibiotic-resistant superbugs. 

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System is a group jointly formed by the Food and Drug Administration and the Agriculture Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The study percentage of contaminated samples is alarming in part because it's a huge increase over the past -- the problem is growing fast. 

The sources of this overwhelming contamination of the food supply with disease-causing bacteria that can't be treated with our strongest antibiotics is the direct result of the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock to make them bigger and also to keep them in cramped, unhealthy conditions without dying of the diseases that spread in such an environment. 

Almost 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used in animal agriculture. 

The bottom line is that consumers buy meat based on price, and antibiotics makes it cheaper. 

The take-away: Overwhelming marketing, packaging and propaganda has convinced everyone that highly industrialized food is clean and safe and that it's been tested and approved.

The truth is the opposite: Industrialized food is generally filthy, dangerous and, by the way, environmentally damaging and there is no big government agency testing or inspecting your food before you get it.

Also: Cheap food isn't cheap. 

Both the safety and cheapness of industrial foods are delusions. ​

The Spartan Diet rejects all industrialized food, opting instead for post-industrially produced food and wild fish, game and fowl. ​
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How the junk food industry uses science to make their products addictive.
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New discoveries.

Excess protein linked to development of Parkinson's disease

New concern raised over nanoparticles in food: 

Phthalates, found in most plastic containers, have anti-androgenic effects and may disrupt fat and carb metabolism. 

Binge drinking appears to cause inflammation in the brain region that oversees metabolic signaling 
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Understanding industrial food.

Our definition of industrial food is any food that has been modified to make it a better product, but not a better food. 

BloombergBusinessweek recently wrote a nice piece about some of the known information about how the Simply Orange brand of orange juice is processed. (The company is owned by Coca Cola.) 

Most consumers would think that the product is, well, simply orange juice. They grow oranges, squeeze them and put them in a bottle, right? 

Well, that's what they want you to think, and that desire to make consumers believe that foods are fresh, natural and basic is part of the industrial food approach. 

According the BloombergBusinessweek investigation, Simply Orange juice involves "satellite imagery, complicated data algorithms" and "even a juice pipeline." 

One of the most interesting aspects of how Simply Orange is produced is a secret algorithm called Black Book, which blends many different juices from many different orchards, regions and harvests to achieve a consistent flavor year round. 

A guy named Bob Cross, identified as the "architect of Coke’s juice model," says Black Book "requires analyzing up to 1 quintillion decision variables to consistently deliver the optimal blend, despite the whims of Mother Nature." These variables include more than 600 individually identifiable flavors possible in orange juice. 

The company uses satellite imaging to tell growers when to pick the oranges in order to deliver the needed flavor compounds demanded by Black Book. 

After the juice is squeezed by factory machines, and pulp, oil and peel are removed, the juice is "flash-pasteurized," then piped into giant tanks where they'll be held for up to eight months. 

After eight months, the juice isn't fresh, but freshness is simulated by storing it under a cloud of nitrogen that prevents oxygen from interacting with the juice and allowing it to spoil. 

The juice is kept around for so long so it can be blended with juice of different ages and harvests to achieve the consistent, pre-determined flavor. 

Before bottling, an orange juice "air traffic control center" enables technicians using Black Book to blend various juices. 

The juice is transported 1.2 miles from the orange processing facility to the packaging plant in an underground pipeline. 

The juice is bottled in a container with a green lid, and a label that shows the picture of a fresh orange over the words "not from concentrate." 

One of the three varieties of Simply Orange is called "grove made," suggesting falsely that it's squeezed at the site of an orchard, bottled fresh and shipped quickly to stores. 

In nearly all these innovative processing systems, a "food" has been improved and optimized as a product for sale in the marketplace in ways that degrades it as a food. 

Most of the high-tech interventions are designed to eliminate variety in flavor, texture, color and so on, which is a fundamental attribute of natural food. 

Here's a summary of the attributes of industrial food production exhibited by Simply Orange juice, according to the BloombergBusinessweek investigation. 

1. The manipulation of natural food variety to eliminate that variety. 

2. The "embalming" of food and the intervention in the decomposition process to simulate freshness in old food. 

3. The combination of massive quantities of foods so that a single bottle may contain juice from thousands or even hundreds of thousands of oranges. 

4. Pasteurization and semi-sterilization, eliminating the opportunity to obtain health-boosting micro-flora from the environment. 

5. Greenwashing and farmwashing, the use of colors, pictures and words to instill in the minds of consumers naturalness, farm-freshness and wholesomeness, when the actual food inside is the opposite of what the consumer is choosing the product for. 

In general, however, industrial food processing involves the optimization of the product (lower price, long shelf life, consistent flavor and so on.) at the expense of food variety, freshness and quality.
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New Discoveries!

New research reveals how antibiotics produce changes in the microbial and metabolic patterns of the gut. 

Bees need good gut microbes to stay healthy, too: 

The diet of actual Paleolithic man was higher in carbs and lower in fat than modern #PaleoDiet fans: 

Food labeled and sold as organic often isn’t 

Tomatoes may protect from depression 

Saturated fats tied to falling sperm counts in Danes: study 
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