JUNK SCIENCE: Frankenfood For Dummies

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Genetic engineering is a biological science that involves modifying plants, animals or any living cell on a genetic level using gene splicing and gene modification. Complex technology allows scientists to isolate DNA from a plant or animal, and also from tinier organisms like bacteria. The DNA is then cut and spliced and either removed from the original source or implanted into another organism. This allows alterations and direct manipulation of hereditary traits of either the original organism, or whichever new host organism into which the DNA has been implanted. OLD SCHOOL Hybridization, the old way […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Confucius Say

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR “You peng zi yuan fang lai, bu yi yue hu?” “Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters?” To the thunderous beat of 2,008 Xia Dynasty drums, 2,008 voices chanted this classic greeting from Confucius in welcoming the 100,000 spectators to the opening of the Summer Olympics in Beijing. The games are now well underway, and it’s impossible to ignore thinking about China, especially after that dazzling opening ceremony. Are the Chinese scary task masters, or did that display show the wonders of a large group of people working together in harmony? […]

JUNK SCIENCE: The Dark Side Of The Soy

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Tempeh (pronounced TEM pay) is a ‘cake’ of halved soybeans bonded together with mold. Mold you say? Yes, mold — sweet, delicious mold. Tempeh is totally different than tofu. I mean, like totally different — in taste, texture, manufacturing process, even having different nutritional attributes. Some people call tempeh the ‘dark meat’ to tofu’s light. Tempeh could be the original veggie burger with its firm, nougat-like texture, nutty, mushroom, yeasty, bean flavor. It really is nothing at all like tofu – except they’re both made of soybeans and I love them both. Most soy foods […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Heavy Metal Fishing Lot

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Subway’s Tuna sandwich is advertised as dolphin-safe but they fail to mention it comes with a side order of heavy metal — mercury, to be exact. Not just hoagies, sushi too. Shocking news outta Manhattan recently. How much mercury did you say was in that sushi? Yikes, just eating two or three pieces a week of bluefin tuna sushi could be a health hazard for an adult. There are dangerous levels of mercury in marlin, shark, and swordfish, too. Tuna is the fish most often consumed by Americans, so this is the vehicle for most […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Mr. Peanut Goes To Washington

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Not just one, but TWO different strains of fungi and a submarine are named after him. He was a man of great spirituality and faith, but subscribed to no specific church. He was recruited by Booker T. (though the MG’s weren’t around yet) and started out growing green onions. Aids to both Gandhi and Stalin asked for his advice. There are rumors that in an unimaginable act of racially-motivated violence he may have been castrated, and other rumors that his disinterest in female companionship simply implied that he was gay. Either way, he was doing […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Salt, The Silent Killer

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Salt has long been on my hit list. I’ve said many times: “Salt — it’s the next transfat.” I’ve waited and waited for everyone else to catch on, and finally, the American Medical Association (AMA) has cornered the Food and Drug Administration to hold public hearings to determine if Americans are facing danger from an overload of sodium, and what to do about it if we are. Ah, my dream come true! Americans aren’t getting a little too much sodium, we’re eating two or three times the healthy amount. And excess of sodium kills. According […]

JUNK SCIENCE: The Brussel Sprout Is Your Friend

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Having diversity in your diet is an often overlooked way to remain healthy. Within each food category lies a cornucopia of nutrient-rich foods. And each one of these foods contains hundreds of unique substances — the good, like antioxidants and phytonutrients, and the not-so-good toxins. By eating a diverse diet, you increase your chance of getting the good and decrease your chance of consuming too much of the bad. Increase eating the good + Decrease eating the bad = Decrease your risk of disease. Prehistoric peoples are thought to have dined on 1,500 different wild […]


BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR You’ve got your spinach, your bok choy (and a zillion other ‘choys’), your soft, dainty salad greens, yer sturdy kales and collards. Dandelion and mustard greens, Chinese broccoli, broccoli rabe, beet and turnip tops — they’re all part of the green family. I also include green, leafy herbs like basil, mint, parsley and cilantro in the green clan. Lots of cultures celebrate greens in their cuisine, but with the exception of a few Southern favorites, your Standard American Diet (SAD) generally ignores these powerhouses of nutrition, taste and versatility. Still I was pretty surprised when […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Are We Having Fun Yet?

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR A special mom/editrix asked me to look into the frenzy surrounding the recall of thousands of toys due to the use of lead paint. She probably was interested in learning exactly how dangerous these toys are to her young tot. She probably didn’t expect that the question would send me into an anti-capitalist seizure. Which it did. What I’ve learned is that you really can’t separate these “accidents” — the lead paint in toys, the tainted pet food, the contaminated toothpaste — from corporate greed and the people’s losing battle against neoliberalism. Unsure what neoliberalism […]

JUNK SCIENCE: Animals, Vegetables & Minerals

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Upon returning from my vacation I was greeted by my two charming 20-something house sitters. They did a great job holding down the fort and loving my big orange cat, Hurricane. They bashfully asked me if it would be OK if they left the remainder of their CSA Farm Share in my fridge. Like many people, seems they?re trying hard to eat right but are at a loss as to how to actually pull it off. Can you image asking ME if it would be OK to unload a bunch of organic fruit and vegetables? […]


BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Never even heard of vitamin F, have you? Well, that’s why I’m here. Vitamin F is more commonly known as a group of three EFAs, or essential fatty acids. If you’ve ever heard the phrase fish is brain food, EFAs are the reason why that’s true. There are three essential fatty acids we require for optimum health. Omega-3, -6 and -9. These fatty acids are required by our bodies to maintain healthy brain, cell and blood function as well as healthy immune, digestive and nervous systems. The “essential” means that this is a nutrient our […]

JUNK SCIENCE: The Revolution Will Be Televised

TONIGHT, Aug. 6th, ON CABLE TV, Philadelphia BiG TeA PaRtY’s Chew on This, written and hosted by Elizabeth Fiend part of DUTV’s Special Indy Movie Presentations Time: 8:53 pm, EST (15 min.) Comcast channel 54 or 62 Chew on This (15 min.) Part game show, part food show and all parts fun, this video is a feast of eye candy and an earful of information, full of Philly food facts and fun fur hats. BiG TeA PaRtY creates their own quiz show by playing the games Dicey Dinner and Tic Tac Tofu. Even Ben Franklin, one of America’s greatest thinkers […]