I agree that often ‘health’ claims and food ‘facts’ sometimes seem to scare people rather than motivate them to maintain healthy diets. Even being skeptical, what food related news, reports or studies that you heed? And what is your deal with NPR?
I am not immune to news about health claims; just this week I was reminded about the benefits of organic milk. There is pretty strong evidence that organic milk is higher in vitamins, has a better Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio and more antioxidants than its conventional counterpart. Food fads and health claims come and go – see Protein v. Carb, but research will probably bear out ideas like vitamins absorbed through food (as opposed to supplements), Omega 3s and antioxidants are going considered good for quite a long time.
I don’t drink milk but I do possess a profound love for plain yogurt, heavy cream sauces, dairy-rich desserts and cheeses. Yet, I will almost always go for the non-organic milk, ½ & ½ or cream in part because I am being a cheap bastard, well that and the there is some doubt to what cooking/heating does to the health attributes.
Then there is the issue that all of the organic products I find in my store are ultra-pasteurized. I don’t like the taste of ultra-pasteurized cream and find it impossible to make it react with acids to make fresh cheese like ricotta. Traditional pasteurization heats liquids to 145 for 30 minutes. Most products in the states undergo High Temperature; Short Time – HTST which heats products to 162 for 15 seconds. Ultra pasteurization quickly brings dairy to 265-300 for 1 to 3 seconds and then immediately cools the food down. With all three methods, the cream is subjected to either higher temperatures or longer heating times.
Pasteurized milk lasts for 2 weeks, the combination of Ultra-Pasteurized and sterile packing containers extend the shelf life months. I understand organic milk is a greater investment to get into the store and a greater expense for the consumer to take home so you don’t want the product going bad, but taste has to account for something doesn’t it? Then again, I don’t think it is reckless to say organic milk isn’t being sold for taste as much as health and the idea of health.
Still, if my body is going to absorb nutrients better with organics, and you multiply out all the acres of pesticide free farming that growers are doing then factor in the fact for the most part organic milk fetches a better price for the farmer than conventional dairy, it does seem like a wise choice.
As for NPR, Cokie Roberts, the firing of Bob Edwards, the non-stop scolding of the Clintons by Cokie Roberts - that outlasted Bill's Presidency, the self-congratulatory ‘reporting’ of Jan & Michael Stern, the hiring of Juan Williams/the firing of Juan Williams - seriously that's what it took when he violated NPR standards every week by giving his opinion on FOX, you wait for that? Then can't even let his contract run out without comment? The they don’t defend their organization or their reporters…if someone calls them a name, they apologize for being whatever name they are called and promise FOX not to be that thing ever again, they are middle-children: pay attention but don't look at me. Getting punked by punk James O'Keefe. Their breathless coverage of the dot com bubble. The fact her name is pronounced Me-Shell. That people who make more money than I do, literally beg me for money during pledge drives, pledge drives that always seem to be on the few times a year I listen in. That and if congress tries to cut funding I get an email saying Elmo is going to get it if we don’t email our representatives at once. Estate planning? You're going to die but Big Bird doesn't have to? A long time ago, after not subscribing for 2 years during my cancer recovery, I wrote our local Oregon Public Broadcasting a big check, sending it with a note this was making up for a few years and that I wouldn’t be doing this again. They mailed me 2 letters a week for 6 months asking for more money. When I called to ask them to stop sending solicitations that was a one time generous gift, not an invitation to keep asking for money - nothing happened. When I called again and told them I wouldn't give them a cent again until they could go 6 months without calling or mailing me they didn't let up that was over 12 years ago. I rather hear a couple Subaru commercials than boring, hyperbolic solicitations for money. For every golden moment of brilliance of Ira Glass is a canceled by a flawed, self-aggrandizing system that truly needs to step back from what they actually are and challenge themselves to be as creative as they think they are. And did I mention Cokie Roberts?