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Natural is healthy, right?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Cyanide, arsenic, tsunamis, earthquakes and ergot are natural. Does that mean they are good for you?

post #2 of 25

I'd say that since human beings evolved in a natural environment, we are more likely to be adapted to deal with more of the natural substances than we are of man-made substances.  Obviously not all natural stuff is good or healthy.  You forget, in your list, some of the most virulent diseases that are also "natural" cute little bacteria!

I get a little scared at the simplistic "it's natural so it must be good" mentality, since people will take medicines derived from plants forgetting that there are plants that will kill you.  (And forgetting that ALL medicine that works can also poison you in large doses).  Or people taking Bach flowers because "flowers are not harmful" (because they're pretty?  deadly nightshade, opium poppy, belladonna, I'm sure there are hundreds)

 

But if i see a list of man-made chemicals then i will presume guilty until proven innocent, and since you can't really "prove" that something doesn't hurt you, only that it HASN'T YET hurt you, i will always be leery. 

 

There is much more interest in pushing for the acceptance of man-made products because someone makes them and they make someone rich.  (Well, you can say as much for stuff like alternative medicines that also make someone rich, but we forget that).  But the lobby for eggplants or string beans is a little less powerful.  (Not so the lobby for the chemical fertilizers and pesticides that may be used on them). 

 

But if by your post you want to convince me that all the long-word ingredients on the long list on the packages of most commercial food products is ok, just because some natural elements are poison, I won't follow you there. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Siduri, I posted that in reaction to "natural" as a selling point. First off, it's a label that often means nothing, and second, a lot of people trust that label without questioning it.

 

There are a lot of you more informed than I am, but I do see the deceptive marketing and I don't like it. That's what I had in mind.

post #4 of 25

Unfortunately, the "it's natural so it's good for you" idea is incredibly pervasive.

 

I see it all the time with New Agers and phytomedicine, for instance. If you were to believe them, there are no plants that are inherently dagerous to health and well being; no contraindications of any kind; no way that mixing herbs cures can cause a negative reaction.

 

To all of them I have to point out that there's nothing more natural than heroin. And good luck with that one.

 

So, the fact that marketers use it should come as no surprise. What I love is when a product is touted as 100% natural, and few people even ask, "natural what?"

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 25

It's interesting that this topic showed up today.  Hubbydearest just finished coating the deck with linseed oil,  and was complaining about the fumes giving him a headache.  A friend asked if he had worn a mask.  Hubby replied "No, I don't need a mask.  Linseed oil is made from pine." (Implying it's harmless because it's a natural product).  I then remarked "That doesn't mean it's not toxic".  I'm with you,  Oregon Yeti.  Not every natural thing is also healthy.  My opinion of the overuse of the word is that the companies using it most are trying to get consumers to equate natural with organic,  even though there is a great difference between the two terms. 

 

And this leads me to gripe about something else.  Several ads popped up a little while ago, that really disturb me.  Not for what they say so much as what they omit.  In one a man walking with his little girl in a corn field says he discovered that the body can't tell the difference between high fructose corn syrup and sugar.  The last line is "sugar is sugar".   And that is probably true as far as it goes.  What it does not say is that neither is good for you in excessive amounts. 

"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

To all of them I have to point out that there's nothing more natural than heroin. And good luck with that one.

Well there's not much luck needed to refute that utterly wrong statement, KYHeirloomer. Before you make it in public though, you may want to do a little research on the production of heroin. Heroin is about as natural as a twinkie. Maybe think of another example to make your point?
Edited by French Fries - 9/30/11 at 8:17pm
post #7 of 25

Dietetic, Natural, Certified,Organicly grown,Hydroponically grown, Angus ,Low fat.   ALL magic merchandising and selling words to the uninformed consummer       . Caviet Emptor    ( IT"s  ALL ABOUT THE $$$$$$$$)

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #8 of 25
I love how people check their brain at the door when they see certain buzz words.

One of my favorites is a certain brand of red "Licorice" that proudly proclaims that it is LOW FAT!. If you check the ingredients it contains sugar, starch and a long list of chemicals. It is also vegan diet approved since it doesn't contain any nasty animal derived gelatin, which is natural, but does use something that came out of a laboratory instead of an animal. However the company that makes them can slap a big label on the front of the package that will attract parents looking for a healthy snack while hiding the ingredients on the back in micro print. (Follow the money.)

I don't know what the prices are like where you are but here the "ORGANIC" vegetables usually cost two to three times the price of regular vegetables, not to mention being trucked from the states instead of local produce. However, we are still supposed to believe that these growers are worried about the environment and not their profit margin. (Follow the money.)

The Raw Milk cultist are active here screaming the health benefits of "Natural" milk. Recently a local Raw Milk producer lost his appeal of his conviction on a bunch of food handling and safety charges. Naturally the local cultists are screaming about being persecuted by BIG GOVERNMENT, BIG AGRO, and the MEAT EATERS(WTF). They are also screaming that anybody that disagrees with them is stupid, part of the conspiracy, and a big poopy head. Even better they also point out a number of recent food contamination incidents and conclude that less food safety regulation is the solution.

A little bit of research shows that this "gentleman" in question suddenly discovered the benefits of raw milk after the health and agriculture departments ordered him to upgrade his barn for proper ventilation and cleanliness. Install a proper commercial food process area, proper equipment and to implement proper sanitation procedures. Of course he is concerned about the health benefits of raw milk and not the cost of implementing proper food safety. (Follow the money.)
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Beer has no fat, no cholesterol, and it's vegan too. And it must be a vegetable since it's made from plants. Get your veges. Drink all the beer you can.

allanm, that "natural" farmer story is disturbing eek.gif
post #10 of 25

Oil is a natural product but you wouldn't see me drinking it.  Lard is a natural product, but I wouldn't necessarily say its "healthy."  "Natural" or "all natural" are 2 of the most abused phrases in the food industry today, along with low fat and organic.

http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post


Well there's not much luck needed to refute that utterly wrong statement, KYHeirloomer. Before you make it in public though, you may want to do a little research on the production of heroin. Heroin is about as natural as a twinkie. Maybe think of another example to make your point?

marijuana, coca leaves, peyote/mescal, silly mushrooms, valerian root.....??

joey
 

 


Edited by durangojo - 10/5/11 at 2:29am

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by amazingrace View Post
And this leads me to gripe about something else.  Several ads popped up a little while ago, that really disturb me.  Not for what they say so much as what they omit.  In one a man walking with his little girl in a corn field says he discovered that the body can't tell the difference between high fructose corn syrup and sugar.  The last line is "sugar is sugar".   And that is probably true as far as it goes.  What it does not say is that neither is good for you in excessive amounts. 


It isn't even true.  Glucose, fructose, sucrose, they're all different chemicals, aren't they? 

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

It isn't even true.  Glucose, fructose, sucrose, they're all different chemicals, aren't they? 

Yeah, but they are all natural chemicals, correct? crazy.gif
 

 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 

Most of the desserts I like are vegetarian ... weird, huh? I should venture out and try making some chocolate cake with salmon frosting, or something like that.

post #15 of 25

Anyone seen those videos of coke bottles exploding in huge fontains after dropping in some mint dragees? Anyone ever wondered what kind of weird chemical mix coke must be after seing that? ;) Oh wait - I'd rather not know...

post #16 of 25


Originally Posted by durangojo View Post

marijuana, coca leaves, peyote/mescal, silly mushrooms, valerian root.....??

joey 

 



Party at joey's house!

 

BDL

What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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post #17 of 25

oops, 

so sorry...how could i forget about wine? 

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #18 of 25

.

We're born, here for a minute, then gone.


Edited by panini - 10/6/11 at 5:37am

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #19 of 25

yeah, it's quite  a sad day that steve jobs died.... he was a buddist, a vegetarian, a good family man and a recluse...nothing meant more to him then his family and his work...i wouln't be here today proudly using a mac if it weren't for him..the whole battle with bill gates, while i don't remember all the details, was that he sued microsoft for patent infringements(icons)...bad battle if i recall and bill gates won...never had any respect for bill gates after that. i know he(bill) has given prolifically to humanitarian causes but whose to say what he was like back then, when he started...when he was hungry...anyway, my heart is heavy for steve jobs and his family....i love that someone made a computuer for people that weren't all that interested in the technology, just the performance....right brain for right brains....gotta love it...rest in peace,  ant thanks you...

joey

sorry for the side track......what ergot? i thought it was rotting something.....


Edited by durangojo - 10/6/11 at 6:40am

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #20 of 25

I'm gonna bite my tongue about steve jobs, as long as you hook me up with some of that ergot.

Maybe we can do a Saint Vitus dance together.

 

 

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

Yeah, but they are all natural chemicals, correct? crazy.gif

 


well, that's true too, but what i meant was they had different chemical formulas.  They're different substances. 

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #22 of 25

I don't mind being the odd person out.  I don't trust non-natural foods, but that does not mean that ALL natural plants, herbs, etc are good for you, or even safe.  I'm disgusted that Monsanto has "roundup ready" hay (Genuity®) that our cows eat, and now they are putting genetically modified corn in our stores.  All unlabeled, I might add, so even if you want to avoid it, you have no way of knowing if it is Monsanto GE crap or not.

 

Real, natural corn has it's own set of problems for humankind, but GE corn?   No way.    I'm old enough to remember how Stilbesterol was touted as completely "safe".   It took about 20 years to prove it wasn't.  Not even at recommended levels, and farmers were using WAY more than that.    So my knee-jerk inclination is to reject non-natural (highly sprayed &/or treated) and highly processed foods (as in sweeteners,  fake coffee creamer, egg substitutes, etc.) until they have a l-o-n-g track record.   I no longer use canola oil because they've mucked it up, too.

 

But sadly, I like to eat, and so I go ahead and have things I know I probably should not, such as thin skinned fruits that no doubt have nasty stuff that permeated the skin.   Root veggies that have been in contact with contaminated soil too long, and meat that has so much antibiotic and hormone content it is making our men more feminine (& then drug companies want to double up on the poison by selling them Viagra)  and causing women all kinds of unnatural hormone related diseases.  

 

Each person has to decide what level of risk they are willing to take.    But risk is what it is.  No question about that at all in my mind.

DD

post #23 of 25

My .02...

 

1. There is no definition for the label "Natural" when it comes to labeling.  Its so vague and mis-interpreted that you can call anything natural and get away with it as long as it isnt blatently artificial

2. Organic is a HOAX, every heard of the 95/5 rule?  If not go look it up.

3. EVERYTHING is genetically modified, EVERYTHING, and it has been for decades. There is no way around it, there are no pure seeds left to use or work from.

4. Whole Food's idea of local is about 700 miles. Oh by the way that's how long a truck driver is allowed to drive in a given day.  Theres your safe and good for the environment...

5. MSG is a natural substance that is 40% lower in sodium than salt and has fewer ill effects.  Dont believe me, ask the BILLIONS of Asians who live longer healthier lives than the rest of the world. They dont use salt, we do.

6. So called "organic" farmers will tell you they charge more because its more expensive to farm without pesticides, HOGWASH!!  They just have you where they want you and can charge the premium because you will pay it.

7. My last rant,  MOST things that you eat wont harm or make you fat unless you eat too much of it.  MODERATION is the key to life and enjoying all it has to offer.

 

Off the soap box now, sorry if I have offended anyone.

 

Oh and how do I know what I do you may ask, well I have spent the past 25 years as a cook , chef, restaurant and bar owner, a corporate chef for a food manufacturer and now a food scientist.  Its all from doing it everyday for the majority of my life.  I see and deal on a daily basis with what most only think they know about. 


Edited by chefhow - 10/6/11 at 1:21pm
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 

The last two posts were great. :) Two perspectives, and both well said.

 


Edited by OregonYeti - 10/6/11 at 10:07pm
post #25 of 25


Genetically modified, I don't object to.  It is Genetic Engineering, which takes genetic material FROM OTHER SPECIES and inserts it, artificially, into another. This would never happen in nature.  

 

This process is WAY beyond hybridization, which is what I believe you are referring to.  No offense taken but it is an over generalization.  

 

As for MSG, I have no objection to it - yet.   It occurs naturally in fish sauce, garam, etc.  But it does seem to have implications in the whole excess sodium equations.   Perhaps Asians don't add so much synthetic NaCl, additionally, to their food as Westerners do?  (Our modern salt, including Kosher, is synthetically produced, not naturally collected.  But that does not mean other salts would not be bad if used in excess too. Or that synthetic salt is bad.  I use it, it is cheap. I've never used a lot, though.  TG.)

 

DD

Quote:
Originally Posted by chefhow View Post

3. EVERYTHING is genetically modified, EVERYTHING, and it has been for decades. There is no way around it, there are no pure seeds left to use or work from.

 

Off the soap box now, sorry if I have offended anyone.

 

 



 

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