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I Wish I Knew Chicken Could Cause Cancer Earlier

I Wish I Knew Chicken Could Cause Cancer Earlier

There are times when I see a subject that I just have to write about. Sometimes this compulsion is spurred on by my interest in the topic. Other times, it’s based on the amount of anger I feel when reading the title. In this case, it’s the latter that caused me to choose to write this article. I mean, how could one not feel angry after learning that there’s a connection between chicken and cancer?

Lend me your hand and I’ll guide you through some of the troubling details I learned upon conducting research. Don’t worry, this isn’t complicated stuff. You won’t need a science degree to understand this article. What follows is a cautionary tale. Watch your step.

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1. Arsenic? What’s that?

It doesn’t take a chemistry major to know that humans and arsenic don’t exactly mix well. Yet many farmers feed dangerous arsenic laced food to their chickens, which end up in trace amounts in the food you serve your family. Indeed, the “FDA says its own research shows that the arsenic added to…chicken feed ends up in the chicken meat where it is consumed by humans.” Before the FDA was really pressed about all of this, most people gobbled up the propaganda spewed by some farmers that arsenic in chicken feed never made it into the final product. They insisted it was expelled in the animal’s waste. Of course, it turns that this wasn’t and isn’t the case. I imagine you’d probably like to know where this all began. First, we turn to the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer…

2. How did arsenic make its way into your chicken?

Well, I suppose it isn’t Pfizer, per se, that laces chicken feed with harmful poison, it’s one of its subsidiaries: Alpharma LLC. After finally being caught red-handed (or whatever color arsenic happens to be), they agreed to stop distributing their carcinogenic chicken feed (known as Roxarsone) in the United States. That said, Alpharma made no promises of halting the use of this dangerous substance in foreign countries, unless explicitly told to do so by their regulatory agencies. A neat little legal workaround isn’t it? So, to review, how did this process work?

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3. Let’s review.

  • Pfizer, a company known for its prescription drugs and vaccines, gets into the food industry.

  • Their subsidiary, Alpharma LLC, produces an arsenic laced chicken feed known as Roxarsone. They are protected by the National Chicken Council.

  • Roxarsone is shipped to farmers, who feed it to their chickens.

  • The chickens are exposed to the carcinogen arsenic, and it never leaves their systems. You might remember how this poison used to kill many people in the past, including Napoleon.

  • Chickens are slaughtered, shipped, bought, and eaten by you and me.

  • Arsenic-fed chickens are being taken off of the shelves, but they still might be present in some locations (especially outside of the United States).

  • The FDA refuses to acknowledge that there is (or ever was) a problem.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this story helps illuminate the extent to which big business and corporations control the health of the general population. Pfizer, under the protection of the FDA and the National Chicken Council (lobbyists), was able to serve contaminated food products to us for decades with no consequences. I’m not trying to imply that the system is completely broken. I’m trying to caution you. This company was able to get away with this for sixty years, before finally being forced to stop.

The relationship between big business and cancer doesn’t end there. Susan G. Komen recently made a bit of a strange deal with oil companies in order to spread the word about breast cancer. To make a long story short, she’s essentially trying to fight cancer by working with an industry whose main product is chock full of carcinogenic chemicals. Oh, the irony. By giving these companies good press and associating them with cancer research, Komen might be perpetuating society’s acceptance for burning fossil fuels; which, in the end, also hurts the fight against cancer.

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Unfortunately, chicken is merely the tip of the iceberg. The more research conducted, the more we find that companies like Pfizer would rather cover up the use of questionable ingredients, than make a change for the better. Indeed, KFC and a handful of other fast food restaurants demonstrated this in relation to the presence of the carcinogen acrylamide in their potato products, refusing to list warnings to their customers in states not requiring them to do so. The argument made by their public relations departments was that acrylamide is present within many products. Therefore, the fast food industry shouldn’t be punished by having to be the only ones forced to advertise the presence of this carcinogen to their customers. A weak argument at best, but currently it’s enough to keep federal regulators at bay. It also makes you wonder: if acrylamide is so ubiquitous, and every industry is fighting against having to be the first ones to disclose its presence in their products, wouldn’t that mean we’re essentially being exposed to far more carcinogens than we should be? And all for the sake of a legal argument?

These last two example are meant to demonstrate that, while we’ve finally forced Pfizer to stop putting arsenic in our chicken, we’ve really only just begun the fight to ensure the safety of our food. To me, this sounds like The Jungle of the 21st century. Who will be our Upton Sinclair?

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Featured photo credit: Fried Chicken/ stu_spivack via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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