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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

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Learn more about America's "Tomatoland."
Learn more about America's "Tomatoland."

A new definition of opening a can of worms ...

I encourage you to first read a 2011 blog by Dr. Sarah Janssen, a physician and senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Then read Barry Estabrook's most recent blog about the FDA's decision to be made March 31.

Estabrook is a two-time winner of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards for food writing. His first, for a gourmet feature about labor abuses in Florida's tomato fields, led to his acclaimed book "Tomatoland," about how industrial agriculture has ruined one of America's favorite foods.

His blog "Politics of the Plate" earned Estabrook his second Beard award in 2011. He lives on a 30-acre tract in Vermont where he gardens, tends hens, taps maple trees and brews hard cider from his own apples.

An excerpt from Estabrook's most recent blog:

"You almost certainly have BPA in your bloodstream – nine out of 10 Americans do, here are the government's test results. It's also in some of the places most likely to affect the most vulnerable among us: studies have found BPA in breast milk and amniotic fluid in the umbilical cord. BPA, or bisphenol-A, is a compound used to make the plastic that lines the inside of food and beverage cans. Unfortunately, it doesn't stay bound to the containers. Most of the BPA flowing in our veins and arteries enters through packaged food we ingest. It's not the sort of chemical you want flowing through your body. BPA mimics the effects of the female hormone estrogen, causing reproductive problems along with cancer, obesity, and abnormal brain development."

Take a few minutes and follow these links on Dr. Sarah Janssen and Barry Estabrook; they will expand your horizon and Mr. Estabrook's book "Tomatoland" will certainly change your perspective of the tomato industry. 

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Has science finally made a cookie that's good for you?
Has science finally made a cookie that's good for you?

Too good to be true ... WhoNu?

I'll admit it: I have a sweet tooth, much to my chagrin. This past week I was grocery shopping, picking up some basics and longing for the markets to start up again, when behold – I stumbled upon a new product that just came out: WhoNu cookies!

These are modern cookies. Those fatty sugary devilish treats have now magically been transformed into something that is not only delicious but nutritious.

Could it be true? I could actually just couch potato all day long pounding these tasty treats – which I admit taste good and get all my daily nutrients?

Sadly, yet again science has failed us. Sure, these cookies have more vitamins and nutrients than an Oreo. However, if you put the nutrition labels from an Oreo cookie and a WhoNu cookie side by side they are identical ... to a point. The same caloric intake, the same sugar levels and a ton of sodium.

Basically, it's very similar to when you have to medicate your pet – stuff the medicine in a their favorite treat, bury it so they won't find it and then they swallow their pills. These cookies are no different – a multi-vitamin stuffed in a sugary unhealthy treat. Sure, sounds like fun, I'll take my daily vitamins wrapped in a cookie. Do they think we consumers are that dumb?

You know, if you want a cookie, have one. Heck, bake them yourself or with a family member – that's fun. But, if you really want a tasty treat with vitamins hidden inside? Try a carrot. Mother Nature is sneaky that way.