Friday, March 23, 2012

Quote of the Day

You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching, love like you'll never be hurt, sing like there's nobody listening, and live like it's heaven on earth.
--William W. Purkey

Friday, March 16, 2012

You Are What You Eat: Pink Slime

Okay so here’s today’s riddle:  what is pink, meaty, contains ammonia, and can be found in your hamburger, your taco, your meatballs, and has been in some of your kids’ lunches for years?  Give up?  It’s called pink slime (a.k.a ground beef).  And no, the word ammonia isn’t a typo. 

Pink slime is the result of scraps of meat your butcher would normally throw away that are being used to make ground beef.  These are parts not meant for human consumption because they may contain salmonella. However they are given to dog food manufacturers to use.  Well not wanting to waste this stuff, someone (Beef Products, Inc.) got the bright idea to use ammonia to kill the bacteria.  So apparently they treat it with an ammonia and water solution, drain it, grind it up, and voila!  Hamburger! Now, don’t go looking for ammonia to be listed on the product’s label of ingredients.  It is not required to be there.  Oh, but not to worry though.  Federal regulators say pink slime is safe for human consumption!

Chef Jamie Oliver brought awareness to this outrageous practice last April and asked the public for help.  If you stomach hasn’t completely turned yet (and even if it has), watch this YouTube video (click here) where he informs a group of children and their parents about what really is in their school lunches.  

So here we are the beef eating public for years unknowingly consuming this ahem, meat at fast food joints, supermarkets, and in our kids’ cafeteria lunches. 

Last year McDonalds discontinued use of this product as a result of public outcry.  You should know however, that federal regulators, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Beef Products, Inc. and others have lashed back trying to dispel some of these “myths”, and have websites such as to address your concerns.

But now, after years of eating this stuff, the USDA has announced that it is finally taking steps to eliminate this pink slime product from some school lunches.  However, this won’t take effect until the end of the year due to contract issues.

So maybe in the meantime you might want to pack your kids’ lunches and look for hamburger products at your organic and natural grocers.  But hey, that’s entirely up to you; just remember, as the saying goes, you are what you eat.

For more information, check out this informative article from the New York Times:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Feel Good Moment - Beached Dolphins Rescued

Here's an interesting video I just caught on Right This Minute.  In Brazil, a group of dolphins came to shore beaching themselves, and a group of people rushed into the water to help them by dragging them back out to sea.  Enjoy this feel good moment!  Here's the link:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Chicago: The Windy City?

This week we have had quite a bit of wind in my neck of the woods.   Sitting here at this moment the wind is howling, the tumbleweed is rolling in the fields, and little birds are courageously perching on the birdfeeders holding on tightly as they threaten to swing horizontally in the wind.  Earlier this week, you could add to the scene blankets of dust blowing through the streets and fields.  With this description, one would think this is shaping up to look like an old time movie based on the Wild, Wild West.  And you thought Chicago was the windy city?  However, when the winds calm and the landscape turns silent, the high desert becomes a magnificent sight to behold. 

But speaking of Chicago and its nickname of “the Windy City”, did you know that this nickname has absolutely nothing to do with the weather?  That’s correct.  Instead it was all the big talk, or “wind” that local leading men in 1890 Chicago were blowing about the city’s stature in this country that lead a New York editor to give Chicago its nickname.  I learned of this little known fact several years ago when I read “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson.  At the time this would not have been a typical book that you would find on my shelf (now I read a wider range of genres).  However, I heard it being discussed on the Dom and Jane show, a morning radio program based in Denver, Colorado, and my interest was sparked.  You will find this book in your bookstore’s history section, and if you are a strict reader of fiction then you may find this read a little difficult to get through.  However, if you stick with it, you will be rewarded with a story about a complex and mysterious villain who terrorized the city during the Chicago World’s Fair.  This man was a serial killer who charmed his unsuspecting victims and for many years, successfully got away with it.  This book also has tons of interesting facts.  You’ll learn of when shredded wheat and Cracker Jack got their start and the humble beginnings of the Ferris Wheel. 

Although my first thought for this particular blog was not to turn it into a book review, I think I will put this selection on my “recommended” list.  History buffs will most likely love it, and fiction lovers may not, but hopefully if they give it a chance they may find themselves intrigued by its redeeming qualities – a well written historical account of Chicago during the World’s Fair and the man who chose to terrorize it.   

Well, that’s all for now.  Happy reading and remember, spring is almost here.