The Ten Week Challenge Syllabus

I walked people through a ten week challenge, using the following syllabus.

Week 1 - Sugar-free
Week 2 - Whole grains
Week 3 - Wild-caught fish and grass-fed meats
Week 4 - Raw dairy
Week 5 - The microwave
Week 6 - Fats and oils
Week 7 - Cultured and fermented foods
Week 8 - Local and organic produce
Week 9 - Processed foods
Week 10 - Implementing lifestyle changes

Visit my Recipe Index over at Going Green in a Pink World.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Week 3: Chicken 101

Most families eat chicken weekly, and I'd venture to say that the majority of our chicken consumption is NOT organic. Organic chicken is expensive - especially because you don't get that great $1.99 (or less!)/pound sale that conventional chicken does. But conventional chicken frightens me, as does the ways our government and the media have kept the ugly side of their environment and processing under the radar screen.

Conventional Chicken
There's nothing pretty about the chicken we buy at Shaw's or Stop and Shop. Even when it says, "All Natural" all we're getting is something without artificial colors or preservatives added to it. All chicken is "natural." What most people care not to think about are the awful conditions of the chickens:

+cramped, dirty quarters
+unnatural feed

Highest on my list of concerns, however, are the arsenic and chlorine. What? Did I really just say that?! Yes.

Arsenic and Chlorine

The European Union has a BAN on chicken exports from the United States, due to the manner of processing. After conventional chickens have been slaughtered, they are dipped in a chlorine bath, which the US deems acceptable, but the EU believes it poses a heath risk to their citizens, and will not allow our chicken to enter their country. Hmm.

The other disturbing thing I've learned about conventional chickens is that ARSENIC is an approved supplement for keeping down intestinal parasites in chicken. No joke. There are quite a few articles about this. In a peer reviewed journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, a study was published linking high chicken consumption with arsenic consumption, contributing to skin, respiratory, and bladder cancers. Again - hmm.

What Can I Do About It?
Well, I have yet to find a local farm that raises chickens to sell for a price I'd consider paying, but I do occasionally check Local Harvest for listings. Buying organic chicken from the grocery store is a good alternative. You are guaranteed to be consuming chicken free of additives, hormones, and antibiotics. Even if they're not eating insects and routing around in the yard, I feel much better about limiting my arsenic intake, don't you?!

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