An Enlightened Approach to Weight Loss; and the Dangers of Non-stick Cookware

With the surging momentum of spring comes new books, authors, and ideas popping up all over the place. This month, we have captured several of these budding concepts in Vitality and invite you to take a stroll through our garden of inspiration…

Julie Daniluk’s feature, “Slimming Meals That Heal,” is based on her new book of the same name. It introduces a key concept that has been overlooked by just about everyone – namely that the main cause of obesity is not overeating, but inflammation. In my mind, this revolutionary new idea compels us all to take another look at our diets – not from the perspective of how many calories we eat, but rather how much we are fuelling the fires of inflammation. I suspect that getting the hang of this advice may result in significant weight loss – and possibly even recovery from serious chronic diseases caused by inflammation such as arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.

In the preface of Julie’s book, she explains how chronic inflammation causes insulin resistance, which in turn leads to weight gain. The elevated blood sugar levels that result from insulin resistance can exhaust the pancreas, which then leads to more advanced blood sugar abnormalities that are precursors to diabetes. Since diabetes and obesity are reaching epidemic proportions across North America, this book comes at a good time.

We live in an increasingly inflammatory world. “All toxins can trigger inflammation,” explains Daniluk, “and cell injury will result from constant or long-term exposure to irritants like radiation, asbestos, alcohol, heavy metals, pesticides, drugs, tobacco smoke, and free radicals.” To remove inflammation and reduce our risk of disease, the anti-inflammatory recipes in Slimming Meals That Heal come to us just in time for spring cleansing and detoxing. (I especially look forward to trying the divine “Healing Salad in a Jar.”)

You can catch Julie at her public talk coming up on April 26 at the Green Living Show www.greenlivingshow.ca

In fact, April is jam packed with shows, lectures, programs, and demonstrations all over Ontario. Noteworthy among them is the upcoming talk by the Women’s Healthy Environments Network (WHEN) at the Green Living Show entitled “How Safe Are Your Children” on Saturday, April 26. WHEN’s “Cancer Prevention Challenge” article in Vitality this month asks the often overlooked question: “Of the half-billion dollars spent in Canada on cancer research each year, why is less than 2% devoted to finding the causes – and preventing – cancer.” The article goes on to explain: “Most of our homes, schools and workplaces are contaminated with cancer-causing substances that can be reduced or completely eliminated.” So the more detective work we can do to uncover these carcinogenic substances, and the more solutions we can discover, the better our chances for survival.

• One case in point is non-stick cookware, which has been found to emit toxic particles and gases at temperatures lower than previously thought (see report below). The good news is that by simply switching to non-toxic pots and pans, home cooks can significantly reduce their exposure to chemicals and consequently their risk of cancer.         Julia Woodford

Hazards of Non-stick Pots and Pans

According to the Environmental Working Group, North America’s largest environmental health research and advocacy organization: “Non-stick surfaces are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon, a DuPont brand trademark. (Learn more about Teflon and its perfluorinated chemical “family” (PFC’s) in our chemical dictionary.)

Toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms (called “Teflon Flu” or, as scientists describe it, “Polymer fume fever”). Ingesting particles that flake off scratched non-stick cookware isn’t toxic because solid PTFE flakes are inert.

Manufacturers’ labels often warn consumers to avoid high heat when cooking on Teflon. But EWG-commissioned tests conducted in 2003 showed that in just 2 to 5 minutes on a conventional stove top, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces could exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases. When you breathe kitchen air polluted with fumes from overheated Teflon, you’re at risk for developing flu-like symptoms. The long-term effects of routine exposure to Teflon fumes, and from Teflon flu itself, have not been adequately studied.

PFCs have been found in nearly all Americans tested by federal public health officials. Chemicals from this family are associated with smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation, and weakened immune defense against disease.

For more information visit: http://www.ewg.org

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