JUNK SCI 2007: The Year Of Living Less Dangerously

EDITOR’S NOTE: At no time in recorded history have we possessed so much knowledge about health and nutrition, nor have we ever had such vast and effective machinery for disseminating that knowledge — and yet, for all intents and purposes, we live in hi-tech Dark Age with the vast majority of the global population essentially ignorant or confused about the basic facts of their own biology. How did this happen? Well, that’s a whole six-part mini-series in and of itself, but the short answer is that the bottom line of many a multi-national corporation is dependent on that ignorance, and […]

JUNK SCI: The 12 Carcinogens Of Christmas

BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR Christmas causes cancer. You knew it would come to this sooner or later. Okay, OK, Christmas doesn’t cause cancer, but Christmas trees might, and I’ll get to how both real and fake ones might lead to cancer. But the real point of this column is: If you have a real tree, don’t throw it in the trash! Recycle your tree. Recycle your tree. Recycle your tree. First, which is kinder to the planet — a real Christmas tree or a fake one? No Vinyl, That’s Final. That pretty much says it all. Fake trees are […]

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 […]

JUNK SCI: Does This Holiday Make My Ass Look Big?

    BY ELIZABETH FIEND LIVING EDITOR The holiday season is fast approaching, and I know a lot of you men are starting to worry about how you’ll keep your figure through all that festive, stressful, eating- and holiday-related gathering. It’s football season, too. With games on Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, and Monday night too, that’s a lot of beer. Go Eagles! (Why do I even bother?) Body-image problems are usually considered a women’s issue. But nowadays, men are concerned with their bodies and lookin’ good too. And men have to worry not just about their weight, but things women […]


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 SCI: Offering A ‘Burning Man’ A Drink Of Water

BY ELIZABETH FIEND They burn a pony, not a man. The vibe is chill, not hot. I was trying to describe the difference between Burning Man, which by now every one knows about, and Playa del Fuego, which is still pretty much a secret, to my Burning Man campmates last year, who would be coming to PDF for the first time.) PDF is the mid-Atlantic regional “burn” – one of the many regional off-shoots of Burning Man. Playa del Fuego is nothing and everything like Burning Man. Held in not-so remote Odessa, Delaware, PDF is a four-day campout with a […]

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 […]

YEAR OF THE RAT: Mattel CEO Is Sorry, So Sorry

On Monday, Elizabeth Fiend will school you on why Polly Pocket might have something to do with why Sally Can’t Read. But in the meantime — say, while you’re dismantling the Chinese crib of death — cogitate on which of the Mattel CEO’s three (so far) apologies for the lead-paint debacle you believe. Your choices are: * The one from a few weeks back aimed at U.S. consumers who really need to get started on the Christmas shopping * The one proffered Friday to Chinese officials * The one he says he really meant The state-run New China News Agency […]

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 […]