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"Super Size Me" vs. "Fat Head" - let's talk about junk food  RSS feed

 
master steward
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Jocelyn and I made a podcast about this.

We watched "Super Size Me" first.  A festering turd of a movie about how if you gorge yourself every day for 30 days you get fat.  But you won't sell many movie tickets doing that at home, so drag in McDonald's and try to make them out to be the bad guys. 

If you want to bash junk food, let's talk about candy, HFCS, aspartame and food that is just shy of industrial waste. 

McDonald's is a far cry from what I want in a restaurant, but so is Denny's, which is, apparently, not junk food.  And a big mac is, in my opinion, far healthier than a meal of oreos and diet coke.

I think that there are problems I would like to see addressed, and McDonald's has some of the problems I would like to see addressed.  But let's focus on the problems rather than throwing stupid at it and claiming it is a problem.

The movie "Fat Head" is a far superior movie.  First, "Fat Head" appropriately beats up "Super Size Me".  The creator points out that if a person were to eat three big meals a day at McDonalds, they would be eating about 3500 to 4000 calories a day.  But in "Super Size Me" the guy eats "over 5000 calories a day".  A huge part of which is sugar.  One day he force feeds himself so much he pukes. 

In "Fat Head" the guy eats three meals a day from "junk food" restaurants for 28 days and loses 12 pounds.

Further, the "Fat Head" movie covers a lot of Pollan-esque stuff, like eating foods that you can figure out how it came to be.  Food that our grandparents ate.  Pre-ag food. 

Here's a clip from "Fat Head":



I was able to see both movies on netflix instant view.  I suspect that they might both be available in other online spots too. 

So now I have a powerful interest in getting back to lard.  Specifically, organic lard.  After all, if pigs are fed anything with pesticides, the toxic gick will concentrate in their fat cells. 

This is phase one of what may be a year long rant.



 
paul wheaton
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found it here:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/196879/fat-head

Sorry there are commercials, but hey its free
 
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I have such a giant soapbox devoted to that subject that I have to keep it in the carport.  I personally believe that every thing that is in the grocery store nowdays is junk food.
 
paul wheaton
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I think the solution is to have some trusted outfit go around and stick numbers on things.  Numbers like 0.22 and 0.40,  1.15, 4.79 and 0.15.  Numbers with a lot of resolution so that companies will have an incentive to be slightly better every year.  Thus improving their profit as they improve their product. 

Currently there are just two states:

0)  allowed for sale as food.

1)  organic.

Whole foods has introduced a new level that is something like

0.45)  allowed for sale at whole foods.

I would like to see diet coke labeled as 0.00 and organic milk at walmart is 1.00.  And local organic apples is 2.11 and pasture bred, born and raised beef salatin style is 7.61

I would like to see the three big fast food burger joints get an overall number.  And each of their menu items get a number.  Maybe those numbers will be something like 0.14, 0.16 and 0.19.  Then you will see all three of them race for 0.30!



 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Unfortunately the term organic does not mean it is a ‘whole’ ‘real’ food.  I am at work right now so I can’t run out to the store and check the label on the organic milk.  I was stunned to find that organic milk often has other things in it besides milk.  Why do I want palm oil in my milk – and why are vitamins added?   That is why I now by raw milk from two local dairies.  I want the milk ingredients to say MILK.

Same with organic soy milk.  Soy PROTIEN and soy BEAN are not usually the same thing.  Several brands of organic soy milk have an ingredients list as long as my arm.  Westsoy organic unsweetened soy milk ingredients says:  Soybeans, water.  Those are two items that I can visualize in their natural state.

Pasta -  Ingredients should read:  Seminole wheat flour, or rice flour, etc. and maybe water.   I cannot visualize ‘enriched’ flour in its natural state; what I am visualizing there are buckets of chemicals added to grain under the guise of increasing our vitamin intake. 
My bottom line is this:  If I cannot visualize an ingredient in its natural state then it probably is not good for me.
  Note:  I can visualize rum and bourbon in its’ natural state so it is on my must have list.
 
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I think they're assinine experiments.. If the person wouldn't normally put themselves on the line (by eating shitty food), I think it's totally silly for them to for a little media attention (via a film).

The real krux is lack of a dedicated exercise regimes (on top of a foul diet). In fact, my great friend is a heart surgeon, and stresses exercise is totally and absolutely indispensable when it comes to optimal physiology / optimal processes and interactions within us. Dedicated exercise offsets so many medical conditions you couldn't count them on both hands. How many of you here workout hard for 30 minutes-1 hour or more a day? It's easy to sit back and critique these guinea pigs when you aren't bettering yourself daily either.

As long as the USDA and FDA have a stranglehold on what goes in and what goes out, you may as well forget the notion that they care about 'improving their product' to suit your needs. They create and label packages with a myriad of colors and decorative patterns and deceive the fool out of most every day. You needn't worry about their profiteering. They're doing JUST FINE and more. Colossal in fact. Beyond our comprehension.

I'm beginning to think the USDA 'organic' regulatory agencies are lynchpinned to the greater monster that is the commercialized food industry. I'm being very brunt here. I'd actually like to see some chemical/substance breakdowns/examinations of certified USDA organic food products to be absolutely positive the people aren't all being tooled. I grow a lot myself, and bypass the modern market at all costs.  I do strongly believe it's important to know your local farmer, because you just never know what you're buying elsewhere.

It's something to consider.

You can't always just kick back and find resolve in 'labels'. Of any kind.
 
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This might be helpful from one of my favorite websites.  Dr. Price's book was required reading for everyone study nutrition back before corporate influence altered
the curriculum in the US university system. 

http://westonaprice.org/know-your-fats
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Fast food; pick up tomato, take a bite.  Now that' really fast - and affordable.
 
Steven Baxter
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So "Nourishing Traditions" would be a good guideline?
 
Dave Bennett
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oracle wrote:
So "Nourishing Traditions" would be a good guideline?

Yes it is an excellent book.

My well worn copy is sitting right over there --------->
 
Dave Bennett
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This is why I always grind my own meat and also why I rarely if ever eat in restaurants.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/144904/yummy!_ammonia-treated_pink_slime_now_in_most_u.s._ground_beef
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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paul wheaton wrote:
Whole foods has introduced a new level that is something like
0.45)  allowed for sale at whole foods.


Paul, while I absolutely love Whole Foods, and we are finally getting one in a nearby town, I still read every label and I do find things at Whole Foods that I don't consider a real food.

Earth Fare, which I believe may still be confined to the eastern US, has a specific list that applies to every product that they carry in their stores.

http://www.earthfare.com/What-You-Eat/~/media/Boot%20List%2062711%20ONLINE%20nos%20only.pdf

I really appreciate this list and have used it as a guidline when I am shopping in areas where Earth Fare is not available.  As much as I  try to avoid any processed food I too accept the reality that I am not going to spend every moment that I have at home to prepare foods from scratch.  The Earth Fare list has helped me to decipher some of the techno stuff that we see on prepared food labels.

If you do find an item on this list in one of their stores they will give you a $50 credit and make sure that the item is removed. 

I think that by providing this list they are helping educate customers about food instead of us just relying on someone else to tell us if it is good for us or not.  I also appreciate
that they think we may be smart enough to digest this information - no pun intended.
 
Dave Bennett
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This is a spectacularly great book also.  You don't have to have Diabetes or Insulin Resistance to benefit from this dietary advice.  I do suffer from Insulin Resistance and this book allowed me to better understand which carbs a very slow acting.

http://www.diabetes-book.com/
 
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magicdave wrote:
This is a spectacularly great book also.  You don't have to have Diabetes or Insulin Resistance to benefit from this dietary advice...


Another good resource, which gives the "glycemic index" (effect on blood sugar from carbs) and "glycemic load" (carb quantity) of all sorts of food, is the free database at <http://www.glycemicindex.com/>. Those researchers have a book out, too, but I only use their database, as it's free. They're in Australia and sometimes they different terms from the North American usual -- courgette, aubergine, etc. But that's easily sorted.

It can be really surprising to see the high GI and GL of all sorts of foods.
 
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One of the rules I follow is that if I don't want to make it in my kitchen with pretty basic equipment and the knowledge I possess from raw ingredients in their natural state, I shouldn't eat it.

Thus no refined sugar, but honey is ok. Flour is kind of iffy, because I realize I'm usually too lazy to take the extra step to grind the flour (except when it comes to buckwheat pancakes). So I shouldn't eat a lot of flour, and only whole grain flour when I do, because I sure am not going to go to the trouble of de-braning and de-germing it myself.

I do eat a lot of butter and chicken fat and such, because I've made both myself, but I still do eat olive oil and coconut oil because I know how they are made, it's relativity simple, and people have been eating it for quite a while.
 
Dave Bennett
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Speaking as someone that has to use medication to control my blood glucose I have to say that it is extremely important to read Diabetes Solution.  It is much more important to learn which carbs are slow acting and which are not.  Just using the glycemic index and thinking "it's all good" isn't really good enough, as an example I will use a slice of whole wheat bread and compare it with a slice of whole rye bread without getting into the anti-nutrients that are in all grains.  If both slices of bread are adjusted so that they contain the same number of grams of carbohydrates, the slice of whole wheat bread will make your blood glucose rise more than twice as fast as the rye bread.  Dr. Bernstein is an insulin dependent diabetic that lost his job as an engineer because he went blind and lost his career.  While living at home with his wife who is a physician he heard about the newly developed blood glucose meter.  Back in those days it was literally the size of the veritable bread box.  Engineers are generally known as having somewhat anal personality traits he took the time to test and record a fairly comprehensive list of foods that raise blood glucose very slowly and those foods that people with blood glucose problems should rarely if ever eat.  I gave up eating tomatoes with the exception of tiny spoons of sun dried tomato just for the flavor.  The glycemic index is important but learning which carbs are which is in my opinion much more important.  My younger sister purchased a glucose meter and began monitoring her blood glucose and worked to keep it below 100 and over a year she lost all of the extra weight she had been fighting to lose for decades.  She is not diabetic but what she learned was that there seems to be a genetic metabolic trait in our family that has to do with elevated blood glucose levels.  I was very athletic all of my life and was really surprised when my doctor told me I was diabetic.  My diet has been extremely well balanced for well over 4 decades and I exercised every day of the week except Sunday for the same period.  I was not a candidate for type II diabetes but here I am suffering from extensive peripheral neuropathy.
 
Dave Bennett
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Anna C. wrote:
One of the rules I follow is that if I don't want to make it in my kitchen with pretty basic equipment and the knowledge I possess from raw ingredients in their natural state, I shouldn't eat it.

Thus no refined sugar, but honey is ok. Flour is kind of iffy, because I realize I'm usually too lazy to take the extra step to grind the flour (except when it comes to buckwheat pancakes). So I shouldn't eat a lot of flour, and only whole grain flour when I do, because I sure am not going to go to the trouble of de-braning and de-germing it myself.

I do eat a lot of butter and chicken fat and such, because I've made both myself, but I still do eat olive oil and coconut oil because I know how they are made, it's relativity simple, and people have been eating it for quite a while.



I agree with the "make it yourself" rule.  I do the same.  I do not even eat at restaurants......ever.  When I travel I carry my own food with me.

Regarding grains: I think it would be a good idea to read this article.  Grains are anti-nutrients unless properly prepared.
http://westonaprice.org/food-features/1893-living-with-phytic-acid

Not using coconut oil because you know how it is made?  This might be of interest.  http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/ ; Virgin Coconut Oil is one of the most healthy vegetable oils on earth.  Palm oil is the number one cooking oil on earth if you remove North America from the equation.  Soy oil is king here in the land of heart disease.
 
Anna Carter
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I very rarely eat any grains anymore- I looked up all the vitamins we're are supposed to need to get from grains, and they were all abundant in the other foods I eat (lots and lots of leafy greens, brassicas, meats, eggs, etc). It's also a bit too much bother to grind them myself.

I love coconut oil, especially for cooking with spiced sweet potatoes. I did look up how it's made, and while I realize I myself won't be making it, it is a relatively simple process that people have been capable of using for quite some time.
 
Dave Bennett
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Tropical Traditions makes their Virgin Coconut by hand.  The "old" way.  Their Gold Label is certified organic and is the best oil I have ever used.  I even cook with it although they do have organic expeller pressed oil that has been heated so it is scentless and tasteless, I love the coconut oil taste.  I literally eat 3 or 4 tablespoons of it every day.  It lowers blood glucose very well.  As soon as my Bitter Melon is ripe I am hopeful that I can greatly reduce my dependence upon prescription Beta cell stimulators because they eventually burn out the Beta cells and then I would be insulin dependent.  That won't work for me.
 
chip sanft
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magicdave wrote:
...he took the time to test and record a fairly comprehensive list of foods that raise blood glucose very slowly and those foods that people with blood glucose problems should rarely if ever eat.  I gave up eating tomatoes with the exception of tiny spoons of sun dried tomato just for the flavor.  The glycemic index is important but learning which carbs are....


Just to clarify: The researchers who do < http://www.glycemicindex.com > use the term "glycemic index" to describe the effect on blood sugar -- basically the same thing you're talking about. The carbs in a food with a low glycemic index as they use the term will be absorbed slowly and have a less drastic effect on blood sugar levels.

The researchers use they term "glycemic load" to talk about the quantity.

Probably this is different people working with similar concepts. 
 
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Since this thread is about "Junk Food", not specialized diets, I will try to steer it back that direction.
I do agree that 90% of what is sold in the supermarkets should be classified as junk food.
But for millions of Americans, that fast-food burger is the closest they will ever get to a balanced meal!  Meat, dairy, veggies, grain: it is all in there.  A real burger is actually a healthy (and delicious) meal.  What the fast food joints pass off for a burger leaves a lot to be desired, but it is still a more complete meal thnt what millions eat each and every day.  The same can be said for a real, well made pizza.
 
chip sanft
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John Polk wrote:
Since this thread is about "Junk Food", not specialized diets, I will try to steer it back that direction.


One of the things that looking at the glycemic index shows you is how quickly junk food hits the system. This helps to explain why people like fast food so much: it's not just that it's fast and cheap, it also gives a quick blood sugar boost.
 
pollinator
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love love loved the movie Fathead..also the book Good Calorie Bad Calorie
 
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I just 'wasted' almost two hours watching the movie Fat Head -- I put the word wasted in quote marks because I don't really think the time was wasted.  I've known most of what was talked about in the movie for a long time, but it was a good review for me, and was excellent to send to several people for them to watch. 

On grains, though....we don't eat a lot of them, but I do have some stored.  That's the primary reason that grains (and dry legumes, which I also have stored) originally became such a big part of the human diet -- because they store well through the winter.  When green and fresh foods are scarce, or completely gone at the end of the winter, sometimes grains were all the poor people had left to eat.  Due to the insulin issues discussed in the movie, too many carbs in the diet tend to be 'addicting,' so I suppose what probably happened to our ancestors was that, craving the 'high' they got from eating grains, they ate more of them whenever they could.  Passed that type of diet down to us, and as we have cheaper food, we can afford to eat all we want of things that aren't good for us, but that we tend to crave.  I know that my grandmother ALWAYS had bread on the table at every meal.  There were usually other carbs served, as well.  One thing I tried to do when I was raising my own children was to limit the number of different carbs at each meal -- if we were having potatoes, there was no need to also serve bread.  And we didn't need to have dessert after lunch and supper every single day!  (My ex-husband was raised that way.)  I was raised having dessert usually only once a week, and that's plenty. 

As far as fast food from restaurants is concerned, we very seldom eat out -- less than once a month.  DD and I both have celiac disease, and it's just too hard to be sure that food from a restaurant is gluten-free.  In addition, it's a lot less expensive to eat at home, or to carry food from home when we are going to be out at mealtimes.

Kathleen
 
Dave Bennett
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I will eat in an organic restaurant but most of them only sell organic veggies selections and no organic meat so I stay home and fix my own meals.  I have nothing against vegetarians but just because a restaurant calls themselves an organic restaurant that shouldn't preclude offering organic meats too.
 
pollinator
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Just watched Fat Head and got a lot out of it. Am curious though about plant-based oils other than coconut. Do people have a sense if grapeseed, safflower, and olive oils are good to consume? I always thought olive oil was, but then my friend told me something about it overwhelming your splein and being harder to digest
 
Suzy Bean
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Also, I am curious what people think of focusing on omega-3 fatty acids over omega-6s. Because coconut oil mostly has omega 6s I believe. I don't fully understand the stuff
 
master steward
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Suzy, I think this link from Dave is brilliant for how to use oils:

Dave Bennett wrote:
This might be helpful from one of my favorite websites.  Dr. Price's book was required reading for everyone study nutrition back before corporate influence altered
the curriculum in the US university system. 

http://westonaprice.org/know-your-fats


Confused About Fats? The following nutrient-rich traditional fats have nourished healthy population groups for thousands of years:

For Cooking

    Butter
    Tallow and suet from beef and lamb
    Lard from pigs
    Chicken, goose and duck fat
    Coconut, palm and palm kernel oils

For Salads

    Extra virgin olive oil (also OK for cooking)
    Expeller-expressed sesame and peanut oils
    Expeller-expressed flax oil (in small amounts)

For Fat-Soluble Vitamins

    Fish liver oils such as cod liver oil (preferable to fish oils, which do not provide fat-soluble vitamins, can cause an overdose of unsaturated fatty acids and usually come from farmed fish.)

The following newfangled fats can cause cancer, heart disease, immune system dysfunction, sterility, learning disabilities, growth problems and osteoporosis:

    All hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils
    Industrially processed liquid oils such as soy, corn, safflower, cottonseed and canola
    Fats and oils (especially vegetable oils) heated to very high temperatures in processing and frying.



I've shifted close to this model, but see that I have more changes I want to make. I have been concerned about heating vegetable oils too high in my cooking.
 
Suzy Bean
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Awesome Jocelyn, thanks. I was surprised to find Safflower oil on the bad list. So much mixed information out there! I will still keep an eye out for info on grapeseed oil.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Well, the list came from that Weston Price Foundation link from Dave Bennett!

Yes, the safflower is surprising, but I wonder if some companies do have ways to expeller-express that now instead of when that list might have been created (you know, if that list is a bit old).

I have seen safflower plants before (I harvested their blooms on a dried flower farm once upon a time) and the whole plant is a sticky thing - seems full of oil! Though I don't know from what part of the plant the oil is expressed and whether that might be part of it.
 
Dave Bennett
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I use virgin coconut oil, virgin palm oil (red oil),extra virgin olive oil, lard and vatious animals fats from the meats that I buy (all organic).  I also use Palm Oil shortening for baking.  I do not use any "temperate" vegetable oils with the exception of olive oil.  I wrote a research paper when I was in college(1973) tracing the rise of cardiovascular disease it's correlation with the increased use of temperate oils but specifically soybean oil.  The number 1 cooking oil in the world is palm oil if you remove North America from the equation.  Cardiovascular disease is practically nonexistent in countries that use tropical oils with the caveat that they have not adopted a "western" diet. 
 
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The countries where people tend to be slimmer and have less cardiovascular disease are the countries where the people are not so educated on so called "healthy eating". Incredible isn't it?
 
pollinator
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Be aware much palm oil comes from areas where native forests are leveled to install palm oil plantations, destroying habitat for orangutans and other folks.

http://www.cmzoo.org/conservation/palmOilCrisis/

http://www.cspinet.org/palm/
 
Dave Bennett
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Be aware much palm oil comes from areas where native forests are leveled to install palm oil plantations, destroying habitat for orangutans and other folks.

http://www.cmzoo.org/conservation/palmOilCrisis/

http://www.cspinet.org/palm/

My palm oil comes from fair trade organic farms in Africa.  I only buy it from one company and it is certified organic. 
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Dave Bennett wrote:
My palm oil comes from fair trade organic farms in Africa.  I only buy it from one company and it is certified organic. 


What brand is it, Dave? I've used Spectrum's organic palm oil shortening (see the image here in the cast iron thread).
 
Tyler Ludens
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I kind of figured that, Dave, but just wanted to mention the main problem with palm oil. 

 
Dave Bennett
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It is my opinion that Tropical Traditions has the best oils.  Having used Spectrum and Tropical Traditions, there is no comparison.  Tropical Traditions blows Spectrum out of the water.  Incidentally I buy my Virgin Palm Oil by the gallon because I eat a heaping tablespoon of it every day.  Excellent Vitamin E.....the best.  I also use 3-4 tablespoons of Virgin Coconut Oil to keep my blood glucose levels lowered.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Thanks Dave. I found their (expansive!) website, http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/, and will be looking into their products.
 
John Polk
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From my experience "fair trade organic" is not sustainable nor eco-friendly.  It is usually a small local production of a monocrop once the forest has been cleared.  I tend to shy away from that label, as I realize that it is a thinly veiled marketing ploy for maximum profit per acre.  I do not begrudge a farmer the right to a decent profit, but using environmentally unfriendly methods degrades the product (and label).
Just my humble opinion.


 
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