More to Processed Food than Meets the Eye

Did you know that many of the additives (synthetic or “found occurring in nature”) in our processed foods come in these (alphabetical) categories?


There are about 3000 additives approved for food. There are many, many more used in processed food that were never approved for food nor tested for food.
Some of these additives are actually engineered nanomaterials. Engineered nanomaterials are defined as any intentionally produced material that has one or more external dimensions of the order of 100 nanometers or less. (Examples of these type of additives: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxide, silver, gold, silicon dioxide and more.)
Nanomaterials - health and environmental concerns - EEB
Hey, that is pretty small! (Some are actually small enough to go through a cell membrane, but your body has lot of cells right?)

Do the food processors of today really think they can produce food that is safe and healthy using all of these unnatural molecular combinations?

I don’t think they care.
They lobby governments hard; to prevent standardization of food package nutritional information, to exempt many types of additives from being included in the ingredient list, and to be allowed to group additives under a benign name. (natural - artificial flavors, (food) coloring - color added, etc.)

And, guess what?
Today a food package is still allowed to contain misleading information, for example:
- small unrealistic serving size to make the daily % look better.
- 0 trans fats if they contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.
- 0 sugar if less than 0.5 grams of sugars per serving.
- no requirement for GMO labelling. Its estimated that 60 to 70 per cent of processed foods on our grocery store shelves contain ingredients that come from genetically modified plants.
- no requirement to list some ingredients, example: interesterified fats, wax coating compounds, sausage casings, hydrogen, etc.
- no requirement to list the ingredients of these components: butter, margarine, shortening, lard, mono & diglycerides, starches, flour, baking powder , milks, cocoa, salt, vinegars, alcoholic beverages, cheese, jams, marmalades, jellies, relish, horseradish, meats, fish, poultry meat, meat by-product or poultry by-product, alimentary paste, bacterial culture, hydrolyzed plant protein, carbonated water, whey, mould culture, chlorinated & fluorinated water, gelatin, etc.
- there are more...
Hint: if a processed food label includes “vegetable oil” as an ingredient, you can be absolutely sure it contains either interesterified fats, or trans fats.
If a processed food product made from vegetable oils (shortening, margarine, etc.) is labeled “0% trans fats” or “no trans fats”, you can be certain it contains either interesterified fats or fully hydrogenated vegetable oils.

Are food processors just in it for the money? Of course they are, most are corporations!
We have all seen these labels: All Natural (sure… salt, corn syrup, and many preservatives are natural but are they good for you?), Multi Grain (doesn’t mean they aren’t processed. Just add food coloring to make them look brown and natural), No Sugar Added (yeah, sure… but are fats and carbohydrates (or fruit purees) added?), Sugar Free (means less than 0.5 grams of sugars per serving, but loaded with fats?), Fat Free (loaded with sugars?), Real Fruit (what? 1, 2, 4% real fruit?).

I think you get the drift; you need to do your best to check the nutritional information and ingredients list, some of these advertised “healthy” processed foods are clearly even worse for you.

Here are the names of some (there are lots more) of the additives that have been found to be questionable or downright dangerous for your health and are still being used:

Artificial Sweeteners (aspartame, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K), saccharin, etc.), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Trans Fat and now new Interesterified Fats, Common Food Dyes: (Blue 1 and Blue 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Orange B, Red dye 3 (also Red 40 – a more current dye), Yellow 5 (Tartrazine), Yellow 6), Propyl Gallate, Sulfites: (Sulfur Dioxide, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium And Potassium Bisulfite, Sodium and Potassium Metabisulfite), Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Potassium Bromate, Olestra (Olean), Heptylparaben, Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Benzoate, Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).
Center for Science in the Public Interest: https://cspinet.org

Ugh, who has time to study them all?

Take note shareholders of General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft Foods, Nestlé, etc., etc. I see a future where class action lawsuits against giant food processors are common.
After all, it appears food processors are just as unethical and have done, and are doing, as much or more damage to people’s health as the giant tobacco companies did and do.

Good corporate citizens indeed.

Luke Vording.

So How Do I Avoid Harmful Processed Foods?

Here is what I think you can eat without worries as long as the food has not been combined with other ingredients and/or additives in the package it comes in.

Whole Fruit

Fruit gets you needed vitamins, minerals, fiber and your body has to make some effort to digest the carbohydrates and turn it into glucose, you’ll be full long before you have ingested too much sugar.
If you get your sweets from the refined sugar used in juices, pop drinks, candy, baked goods etc. or you add it to coffee, tea, other beverages, cereal or berries; you almost certainly are getting too much. Also the sugar in so called “real fruit” juices is too concentrated. A small box of apple juice has as much sugar as 4 - 5 apples and you don’t get the fiber nor much of the nutrients.
If the word on the label ends in “ose” it is a sugar. Watch out for added (HFCS) high fructose corn syrup especially!

Vegetables, Legumes / Beans

Best source of nutrients (vitamins minerals), and fiber. Fresh is best, frozen is ok, canned not so much (additives). The best way to meet your energy needs is from the complex carbohydrates in this group.
Remember to rinse all fresh produce to try and get rid of any lingering pesticide, bacteria, or dirt.

Lean Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Nuts and Seeds

Buy cheap cuts of plain unaltered meat, not processed, marinated or tenderized and eat it seldom. Most livestock, beef pork poultry, being raised today often require some sort of medical intervention just to stay alive and many are being fed antibiotics to promote growth. In most cases you are not eating the flesh of healthy non-medicated animals. It may even contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria
You only need meat because right now it is your best source of protein. Eat nuts and seeds but watch out for added salt and other additives if the nuts or seeds come in a jar or other type of package.


You only need milk because it is a good source of calcium. Don’t consume too much and don’t consume milk products like cheese, yogurt, ice-cream or butter or anything like that. Milk products contain too much salt, sugar, fat and other additives. When we talk about cow's milk we are really talking about breastmilk for calves and that is milk's big downside.
Milk has high levels of saturated fat and proteins (amino acids) which are beneficial to promote growth in infant calves but not so much for us adult humans where it promotes fat. It is also one of the few foods that contains the sugar lactose which requires an enzyme called lactase to digest. Most children have this enzyme and humans now-a-days seem to have the mutation to continue to produce lactase in the small intestines into adulthood, so you likely can handle the odd glass of milk without experiencing cramps, gas, and nausea.


Good source of nutrients and complex carbohydrates but watch out what the grain comes with. Try to find unprocessed whole grains, for example, whole wheat flour, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal, whole cornmeal, and brown rice. To be considered whole grain, the food must contain the three main parts of the kernel; the bran, endosperm, and germ.
Refined grains lose iron, dietary fiber, and many B vitamins. Many breads are not nutritious even if they are colored brown and most breakfast cereals are refined grains and contain too many additives.
Don’t get taken in by multi-grain, stone-ground, 100%-wheat, cracked-wheat, or bran labels etc. Many of the products labeled this way are not unprocessed whole grain products. It needs to say whole grain.

Luke Vording.

Just Another Mouth to Feed

In prehistoric times the people in a tribe were happy to have children. Children grew up to be young adults who could help carry supplies, could help hunt and prepare food, and could help make clothing, utensils, and tools. The tribe needed children to survive and survival was a desperate struggle. So desperate, that when a person grew too old to help and became just another mouth to feed, they were left behind to die. In this society if you weren’t a contributor you were out.

Later, when the people discovered the advantages of agriculture survival was less desperate. In most situations people were allowed to grow old and die of natural causes. Even though they became just another mouth to feed, the community and the family had the resources and could spare the food. Children were still very welcome because of their boundless energy and ability to help with the planting, harvesting, preserving, storing and preparing of food, and to help with the building and maintaining of permanent shelters.

In today’s society, at least in the affluent parts of the world, (so called third world countries are still in the hunter-gatherer / agricultural stage) children are no longer so welcome. In the cities especially, children are at best only part time helpers. The older ones may help baby sit the younger ones and some may help with the cleaning and food preparing chores, but these chores are light and require little time now. In our comfortable world many people are finding children to be a nuisance. Most couples do not produce the “two plus" offspring needed to replicate themselves therefore the well-off population is in decline. There are a lot of people now (and this includes many children) who are just another mouth to feed. But because we are now so prosperous, and because as a whole, humans are capable of love and generosity, few people today are being left to die.

Still, I think it is probably better if you are not just another mouth to feed.

Luke Vording.

Solving Canada’s most pressing problems

We can easily give each-and-every Canadian a guaranteed basic income as a substitute for the approximately $200-billion present-day annual government transfer payments to individuals.

Canada cannot continue to inflate government debt forever. As history has shown, governments truly need to service their debts and central banks truly need to curtail the amount of money that is being created. Just ask a Zimbabwean! Today in Canada, (I'm writing this in 2016), you can buy a can of beans for $1.49 and two months from now perhaps, you buy that same can of beans for $1.54. This price increase is normal. This inflation can be explained by the interest, new money, banks charge on loans. But these increases can easily get out of hand! Lately, a lot of money has been created, especially in the US, and banks, not just central banks, create money out of thin air too! Search online for how money is created.
Economists have an ever-increasing set of theories, some positive and some negative, to try and explain what will happen with all these extra trillions of electronic dollars, but really, a dollar’s supposed worth or value is not pegged to anything at all, it’s just our imagination. We imagine a dollar is worth something. Let’s hope that most of us keep imagining that.

There is another big problem looming. Canada must reverse the recent phenomena of increasing social inequality between the wealthy, the middle class, and the poor. Growth of inequality in Canada cannot be denied Toronto Star. There a growing consensus among scientists from many disciplines, that financial inequality causes a host of conditions to deteriorate. Happiness, mental illness, infant mortality, children’s educational performance, teenage pregnancy, homicide, imprisonment, social trust, and social mobility etc. all get worse as inequality increases. Do we really want to risk repeating history with class warfare? Search online for financial inequality and violence.

So, to balance the budget and decrease social inequality:

  1. Canada must tax fairly and comprehensively.
  2. Canada must replace social assistance.
  3. Canada must get healthcare costs under control.
  4. Canada must get education costs under control.

1. Stop taxing corporations. Corporations are not citizens or people; they are groups of shareholders. Hey, if not taxed, maybe more corporations will set up shop here. That's good right? Anyway, recover the relatively small tax loss, around $30-billion Search online for annual financial report Canada, public accounts Ontario by removing all the deductions and exemptions, which only favour the well-to-do anyway, from our yearly income tax. Because this will simplify income taxes significantly, downsize Revenue Canada as well.
Now legislate a requirement that corporations, all businesses, deduct tax on all payouts, not just the payroll, at the source. This will now include the salary, dividends, wages, payments, and taxable-benefits, etc. paid to all employees, contractors, administrators, directors, and shareholders, etc. No adjustments, no deductions, no exemptions whatsoever. Paying our taxes on our earned income is a fair price to pay for all the numerous benefits we get for being a Canadian citizen.

    A related comment; Giving the rich tax breaks has done nothing to help the economy as the last 20 years has shown. The trickle-down theory has been debunked. Search online for trickle-down economics.  Many rich people, considering the financial support they give to their governments, can be called deadbeats. So, get all the rich to pay their fair share of taxes. No tax havens, shell companies, and other tax avoidance schemes.

2. Shutdown government transfer payments to persons. All humans who have reached maturity should have the right and be allowed the dignity of deciding what to do with their income as they see fit. So, shutdown all government transfer payment programs; welfare, employment insurance, etc., etc., and their associated bureaucracies. Canada has a wide range of government transfer payments to individuals totaling to around $200-billion. Search online for Canadian government transfer payments to persons, federal, provincial. The bureaucracy to handle all these transfers, costs millions more. Use this money instead, to give every adult Canadian a guaranteed basic income based on number of dependants. Say, in todays money, 2016, around $900.00 a month for non-dependant individuals and an additional $300.00 to $400.00 per month for each dependant. Dependants can only be claimed by one individual. Voila! No more poverty! Estimated total cost is less than $250-billion a year. Downsized Revenue Canada should have no problem issuing these cheques, it has the data and expertise.
Important: This basic income must be exempted from income tax to prevent a new economic trap. Currently a person on welfare or employment assistance has no incentive to go to work at a low paying job because after paying taxes the job makes no change to income. This is unacceptable! Search online for welfare trap.
So; now Canadian governments, federal and provincial, no longer need worry about pension plans, old age, housing, unemployment, etc. all the current transfers to individuals. Huge savings! Canada will also be able to downsize the bureaucracy involved with employment and industry. More savings! Of course, all these newly redundant government employees will have guaranteed basic income too which will help while they look for other employment. Business will lose a lot of their power over employees; to keep employees they will have to pay a decent wage and provide good working conditions. Now the worker can always fall back on the guaranteed income if job if the job is not up to par. Unions will probably stay around but may no longer be as necessary. Staff will just quit if they feel they are not being compensated fairly. At risk people; single parents, abuse victims, the mental health and developmentally challenged, and substance-abusing people etc. will still need care from support professionals but many now, will take on part-time work to better their situation because there will be no penalty for doing so. Street people can pool their basic income and rent a place to live. The last positive thing I can think of is that maybe we will have less of the crazies that shoot up everybody, or beat-up on their partners; hopefully less crime in general, because most of the population will be working at a job they like and/or are well compensated for.

3. a) Bundle healthcare payments. To get healthcare costs down the government needs to start paying our healthcare providers based on desired outcomes for specific diagnosed conditions. Search online for bundled payments Healthcare This one payment should cover the costs of everything and everyone required to treat the condition and not more, which will discourage un-necessary tests and treatments. As it is done now, individual payments for each visit, test, surgery, and hospitalization, etc. encourages healthcare providers to pad income by adding more appointments, tests, and treatments. Although I believe that there are only a few doctors, hospital administrators, specialists, etc. out there who abuse our healthcare, under the current system it’s just too easy to get patients to come in. With bundled healthcare doctors, specialists, and other healthcare workers will still get their money; they just must ensure that the condition is/will be treated, before they get paid.

3. b) Add a nominal fee. Most government services today already have a fee-for-use, Ontario levies over 400 service, licence, and permit fees, Search online for service fees Ontario but many of us would object to implementing pay-per-use on healthcare services. The main objection is that people of limited means will be then be unable to avail themselves of healthcare, but that argument no longer holds. Now that we’ve made sure that all Canadians have the means, healthcare services should all have a nominal fee, say a few dollars per service, collected and accounted for by the provider, so that more patients will object to un-necessary visits and treatments. This will limit superfluous usage, and still allow all who need the care to receive it. Nominal service fees work. In Oxford county in Ontario, people are recycling. Everyone used to put out two or three bags of garbage a week before the bag tag fee. Now people usually put out only one bag per week. Some weeks no garbage out at all.

4. Phase out summer holidays. To get education costs down the government needs to have schools open to students all year long. This will save on infrastructure costs. Individual students still attend school for 9 months out of the year, but the periods that groups of students attend school are staggered. Individual students still get 3 months off a year, but that time off will be any three-month period of the year not just in the summer. Only three quarters of all students will be attending school at any one time. This will eventually translate into nearly 25% in savings. Hiring of retired teachers to work part time should also be discouraged. In general, retired teachers cost more, have no new fresh ideas, and have little energy. And finally, phase out more school boards, maybe phase out all school boards, to avoid special interests fights and to save on administrative glut.

    A related comment; There is nothing wrong with students attending university and taking courses that will never translate into jobs. Although taking a university course will make you smarter and everything you learn could add value to your life, the belief that a university degree is a requirement for good employment is a fallacy. This urban legend, which pads university bottom lines, has many people believing that to be considered for a job you need a university degree, even if the job is not related to your studies. But not every Canadian needs to be an administrator, nor will every Canadian be happy in an office. Because of this urban legend even businesses are buying into the misconception that they will get a better employee if the applicant has a university degree. Give me a break! An oil rig worker in Alberta making over 100,000 a year didn’t need an arts degree. He or she needed skills training. This too goes for transit drivers, air traffic controllers, radiation therapists, nuclear reactor operators, web developers, executive chefs, realtors, plumbers, fire chiefs, court reporters, and bartenders etc. highest paying jobs in Canada without a degree Workopolis.

    Another related comment; Community College? Fund one or two optional extra years of schooling past the end of high school, with a nominal fee instead of tuition fees, to immediately teach those trades, skills, or disciplines that are in high demand in the work force. Some of the costs could be recuperated from the businesses that hire the graduates.

There you go; I have just solved all of Canada’s most pressing problems  ☺

Luke Vording.

The Auto-beast

Every time you sit down in the driver’s seat in your vehicle you become the brains of an auto-beast; you become the auto-beast.

When migrating:

1) Always observe the migration speed limit very carefully by making sure that you do not fall below it. If you do fall below, you will be butted from behind or shadowed extremely closely, flanked and agitatedly snorted at. An attempt may be made to make you veer off the route.

2) Be aware that auto-beasts may join or leave your migration from time to time. Some may move into your line at a much slower gallop. Do not attempt to gore them. You are not invincible even though you may think your horns are bigger than theirs. Some may even move into your line by pretending you do not exist.

3) Following the auto-beast in front of you closely will not amuse it. It will begin to pay you close attention. It may start weaving, and altering its gait. It could even stumble.

4) If you want to change lines during your migration and do not have a space to move in, just indicate to the auto-beasts in that line that you want in. The ones that are paying attention will immediately gallop faster to get by you.

5) The auto-beasts on the right lines are generally friendlier and you should stay there, but if you do find yourself in the left line of a multi-line migration route you must gallop as fast or faster than the auto-beasts behind you no matter the speed. If you are overtaken by an auto-beast in the left line, it will immediately attempt to pass you by using the lines to your right. This will cause considerable consternation in the herd, much huffing, puffing, and weaving will occur in the auto-beasts surrounding you. Some may strike you.

When you have finished your migration and are nearing your destination you may still be surrounded by auto-beasts. The ones that jockey around you at a full gallop probably think they are still in a migration.

Luke Vording.

The Tragedy of the Business

Many people have heard the term "the tragedy of the commons" coined by the late Garrett Hardin. Science, New Series, Vol. 162, No. 3859 (Dec. 13, 1968), pp. 1243-1248. The exploitation of publicly held property was noticed centuries ago. In 1832 William Forster Lloyd, a political economist at Oxford University, thinking about the devastation of public pastures in England, asked: "Why are the cattle on a common so puny and stunted? Why is the common itself so bare-worn, and cropped so differently from the adjoining enclosures?"

Even though the herdsmen of the day realized that the public pasture could not support the number of animals grazing there, none were willing to cut back, for fear of losing out. They worried that if they decreased their herds voluntarily others would take advantage and competing herds would be increased. So no one cut back and soon the pasture was depleted so that no herds could feed there. Tragic!

This is happening with business corporations today. Obviously every business leader knows that in order for consumers to buy their products, consumers need disposable income. Yet for 90% of the western population, in real terms, accounting for inflation, income has flattened or decreased since the 1970s. The world economy has been saved from collapse until now because, starting in the 70s, 80s both spouses in most western families went to work. But then around the turn of the century, families, even with the two wage earners, saw disposable income disappear again. Why? The loosening of trade rules allowed business leaders to maximize profit by relocating. This so called globalization resulted in the movement of industry to third world countries and decimated unions. Here in North America that resulted massive losses to well-paying jobs.

So how did consumers manage around the turn of the century? Credit, consumers borrowed! Real estate continued to appreciate and to try and keep their standard of living, consumers eventually even borrowed against their home equity.

As we know, in the U.S. and Europe, real estate came crashing down in 2008 and consumer spending has yet to recover. There really is nothing that can be done. Businesses here need to invest hugely in their employee/consumers, the majority of whom now have high debt-to-equity ratios. Don't hold your breath, each business is busy cutting costs, they want the other businesses to pay the living wages. The world economy is living on borrowed time. Every business is competing in a mad scramble to sell to the last consumer with disposable income. Soon most businesses will realize, as they go bankrupt, that like the grass in public pastures and the herdsmen of yesteryear, there are fewer and fewer consumers able or willing to buy their products, no matter how cheaply they are produced and priced.

Luke Vording.

In winter, many slow drivers can be dangerous drivers

Let me explain: Most people realize they need to slow down in icy, slippery conditions. After all, stopping quickly may not be easy, so driving slowly decreases the chances of hitting people or things.

Here's the catch: someone driving slowly might feel safe, but are they really safe? Not necessarily! Many people don't fully grasp the law of inertia. Sir Isaac Newton made it his first law.

With a car, it goes something like this: Your car just wants to keep on doing what it is doing.

I've followed a car going 40 km/hr in icy conditions and watched it slide right through a stop sign. What happened? Well, in my opinion, the driver forgot about the law of inertia. They drove up to the stop sign at 40 km/hr and then slid right through. Duh!

I've also followed a car (I've been driving for a long time) going 60 km/hr out in the country in icy conditions and again watched it slide right into the ditch on a curve. What happened? Inertia again! A curve that is safe for 80 km/hr in dry conditions may not even be safe for 30 km/hr in icy conditions.

Come on, people: slowing down also means really slowing down on curves and before stops. Always remember that, in icy conditions, your car is only pretty good at keeping going in a straight line.

Luke Vording.

The 10 Times Rule

Studies have been done, here is one, Psychological Science September 2011 22: 1095-1100 that seem to show that in countries where the difference between rich and poor is less, the people are generally happier, they like and trust each other more, and there is less crime.

So why don’t we make a law called the 10 Times Rule.

No one in a corporation, business, company, firm, or conglomerate may be paid more than 10 times its lowest paid employee. In other words if the lowest paid worker, part or full time, gets $20.00 per hour the highest pay may not exceed $200.00 per hour for hours worked. We’re not talking about investment returns here, just wages or salary including bonuses. If you're making money off investments, I salute you…

Also, no one working for, or elected to, any government jurisdiction can be paid 10 times more than the lowest benefit amount a person on social assistance gets from that jurisdiction, or 10 times more than the lowest salary, amount calculated per hour, of a person being employed by that jurisdiction, whichever is less.

Think about it. This will give the people who run things an incentive to help the disadvantaged. What could be wrong with that? If you are one of the people that run things think about how good you'll now feel about becoming wealthier. Because of you others will be better off too!

Luke Vording.

Daytime Television

I happened to catch a glimpse of daytime television the other day.

A mature, intelligent looking woman, presumably an expert in her field, was explaining the reasons many people go into debt in a big way. Apparently these people have low self-esteem. She went on to say that for these people to tackle their debt problem, they must first raise their self-esteem somehow.

Sure makes me feel sorry for those of us who live in those big fancy houses and drive those shiny new cars.

Luke Vording.

Coding in C\C++ is a lot like driving a Model T

People respect and envy Model T owners and actually like the vintage car, especially the cars that have been slaved over and result in what many call a work of art.

People have a high regard for C\C++ programmers too, because of the amount of work and skill required to get something done.

But like Model T drivers, C\C++ programmers invariably find themselves on the side of the road fixing something that has gone wrong.  ☺

Luke Vording.

End of Life Insurance

I dread car insurance time each year because the bill is always so surprising and the cost to insure my children so extraordinarily high. Each time I think about insurance in general...

We have auto insurance (the irritating one, because it's required), home insurance, employment insurance (some of which is paid by our employers), life insurance, work place safety and insurance (employer again), business insurance (good for you if you own a business), travel insurance (nice to be able to travel hey?), loan insurance (this one is a real scam), extended warranties (another scam), disability insurance, and here is the big one: health insurance (you are paying taxes through the nose on this one). Insurance has now become a real growth industry. There are evermore-creative policies being developed to "help us become evermore worry free".

It's like having a huge "hundreds of thousands of dollars" mortgage that most of us get little use of. Wouldn't it be better if, instead of paying for high-rise buildings, we pay this money to ourselves and at retirement use it for a nice multi-year vacation?

Luke Vording.

Cleanliness may be next to Godliness but it kills birds.

I had just washed the windows of my house and was sitting down enjoying the view when, thump... A beautiful cardinal had attempted a shortcut through the house and didn’t see the glass.

This, of course, is yet another example of how the other life on this planet is having a hard time co-existing with us humans.

I like to look outside so I’ll probably keep on washing my windows. I guess mini blinds may help.

Luke Vording.

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