Friday, July 6, 2012

Do You Want Hot Dogs With That? Nitrates. Clostridium. Red Meat. Mark Twain. Beatles. Satchmo. Navy Ladies. Piper Alpha Rig.

In Search of... a Healthy Hot Dog?

By CNCA on Jul 04 2012

“There’s no doubt that Americans love hot dogs. During peak hot dog season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, we typically consume 7 billion hot dogs or 818 hot dogs every second.

But hot dogs have a bad reputation, (not without merit) for being unhealthy. While it’s true that many hot dogs are made with low quality meat, fillers and chemicals including nitrates, there are a growing number of healthier options.

Today there are hot dogs made from premium cuts of beef, alternative meats like turkey and chicken, as well as organic and vegan options. How you dress your hot dog can also improve the nutritional value of this American classic.

What to Look For

Scan the Ingredients List and Nutrition Facts. Ideally a hot dog should be made of premium cuts of meat and/or poultry. Watch out for meat/poultry ingredients described as “mechanically separated” or “variety meats” which are terms for lower quality meat trimmings.

Choose organic hot dogs if you can find them. They are made from organically raised animals, not treated with antibiotics or hormones. Plus they skip the nitrites and nitrates.

Other than a meat or vegan protein source, you should see spices like garlic and paprika and no fillers or chemicals on the ingredients list.

A healthier hot dog will have less than 150 calories and 14 grams of fat (with no more that 6 grams of saturated fat) and no more than 450 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Cured vs. Uncured

We couldn’t talk about hot dogs without touching on the subject of preservatives used in curing. Traditionally, sodium nitrite/nitrate is added to cure products like hot dogs, bacon and ham to prevent spoilage. It also gives cured meats a pink color and distinctive flavor.

Unfortunately studies have linked high consumption of processed meats containing nitrates to cancer.  When cooked, especially at high temperatures such as boiling or grilling, nitrites can combine with amines in meat to form nitrosamines which are considered carcinogens.

You can reduce the formation of nitrosamines, by cooking meat at 350 degrees or less. Antioxidants like Vitamin C and E also reduce the formation of nitrosamines and are often added to cured products.

Still, some argue that cured meats contain relatively low nitrite levels. According to the American Meat Institute, nearly 93% of the nitrites that we ingest on a daily basis are derived from vegetables and water. Less than 5% come from cured meats.

An alternative to sodium nitrate are natural nitrates, derived from vegetables, typically celery powder. The FDA requires that naturally cured products are labeled “uncured” as only meats with synthetic sodium nitrite are considered “cured.”

Dressing Your Dog

What you put on or under your hot dog can also make or break a healthy meal.

  • A refined white bun delivers a shot of simple carbohydrates and no fiber. Opt instead for a more nutritious whole wheat bun and avoid the insulin spike.
  • Go light on the ketchup, mustard and relish. A tablespoon of each can add about 500 mg of added sodium. You can reduce your sodium intake by half by using two tablespoons of sauerkraut instead.
  • Top your dog with fresh tomato, onions, peppers, avocado or lettuce. They are naturally lower in sodium and provide vitamin C, lycopene and fiber. Avocado adds heart healthy fat.
  • Skip the cheese and save about 90 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat and over 500 grams of sodium.”




"Nitrates aren't actually cancer-causing agents until they're in the body where they're converted to nitrites. nitrites are extremely carcinogenic and can increase your risk of developing colon polyps (which, if they become malignant, can lead to cancer). Studies have found that eating processed meat could make you 1.5 to 2 times more likely to develop colorectal polyps and/or cancer.  We've established that meat and dairy products can include hormones, antibiotics, and nitrates, but an even more shocking source of toxins is what is known as "rendered" food materials."
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, Health Begins in the Colon


"For example, nitrites, an additive used to cure meats such as bacon and hot dogs, combine with amino acids in the stomach and form compounds called nitrosamines, which are highly carcinogenic. Nitrosamines can destroy DNA and lead to cancerous changes in cells. There are many other common foods consumed by Americans that can reduce the damage of nitrosamines.

Two years ago, Cornell University food scientists published data showing that eating green peppers, pineapples, carrots, strawberries, and, especially, tomatoes, can suppress the formation of nitrosamines in humans."
- Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Earl Mindell's Secret Remedies

More at:


Processed meats: Friend or Foe?

“Processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs and luncheon meat contain chemical compounds called nitrates and nitrites. These substances are used to preserve the meat and prevent food-borne illness such as botulism. Nitrates and nitrites also give cured meats their distinctive pink coloring and "cured" flavor. However, dietary nitrates or nitrites can react with amino acid byproducts in your digestive tract (or in the meat itself) to form nitrosamines, a known carcinogen.

Are Nitrate/Nitrite Free food safe?

So what about all those supposedly "nitrate-free" hot dogs, bacon and other so-called "uncured" products? Since completely uncured hot dogs are not palatable to consumers, it's very rare to find a product totally nitrate-free. Instead, manufacturers make claims such as "no nitrates added." The reality is that companies that make nitrate-free hot dogs have to use something to substitute for the sodium nitrate. Celery juice is a popular choice. And guess what celery juice contains lots of? Sodium nitrate. And guess what that sodium nitrate turns into when you eat it? Sodium nitrite!

This does not mean that celery causes cancer or that people should reduce their intake of celery, but no study has confirmed the safety of using celery extract, juice, or powder in curing meats.  By adding celery juice to their hot dogs, manufacturers can make products loaded with sodium nitrate while legally being able to claim "no added nitrates” because all the nitrates are in the celery juice. As a matter of fact, these supposedly "natural" or "organic" products sometimes contain twice as much sodium nitrate, even up to a whopping ten times as much sodium nitrate, as conventional products.

The Bottom Line:  Celery extract, juice, or powder used in curing meats is not free of nitrates or nitrites, so buyers beware! Using vegetable-derived extract as a source of nitrates for curing instead of “added nitrates/nitrites” to meats does not address the real issue on hand: The key is eating less processed foods and reducing dietary intake of nitrates/nitrites whenever possible.”  Complete article at:


How About a Side of Clostridium With Your Chicken Salad?   By Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD

“I’ve been to a lot of outdoor cookouts this summer and as a dietitian, you’d probably think I am horrified by the amount of charred red meat and nitrate sticks (aka, hot dogs) that my friends and family are eating.

While true, I am, I am MUCH more scared when I see the chicken salad that was placed on the picnic table at noon is still there at 4 p.m.
I’ve realized that people are so focused on the company that they forget the importance of basic food safety in hot temperatures. While having a great cookout for your friends can make you the toast of the town, sickening your guests can be a surefire way for your cookout to be blacklisted next year. So keep your friends and your normal digestive function this summer by following these 3 basic rules:

  1. Nasty bacteria start growing when it gets nice and warm, so limit the amount of time your perishable items stay outside to 2 hours.
  2. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold: keep that lasagna in a heating pan or the egg salad (and other perishable items) in an ice bath.
  3. When traveling to a cookout, keep your foods in a cooler packed with ice in the backseat of your air-conditioned car, not the hot trunk.”



How to Move Away From Old Meat Habits

By Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD

“Recently, two studies were published that demonstrate the connection between red and processed meat and disease. One study, published in the journal Stroke and spanning 20 years of data, found that high red meat consumption was linked to ischemic stroke. Another study, published in the British Journal of Cancer found that bacon and sausage were modestly linked to pancreatic cancer. Luckily, if you are a faithful Dr. Oz viewer, you already knew these foods were not the healthiest additions to your diet and you've chosen to include some better options.

But what if you’re just starting your journey toward healthier living? What baby steps can you take to help you live longer and better by cutting out a few favored foods?

The first step is to eliminate red meat from your diet. The easiest way to transition away from red meat is to try chicken or turkey. You can use either of these in place of red meat in recipes for chili, meatballs, taco toppings, etc. Your best bet is to cook with chicken or turkey breast since the dark meat contains more saturated fat.

Second, try and ease out of your bacon habit by trying turkey bacon. Many versions have less than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving, which is lower than bacon and not as hard on you arteries. In addition, pay attention to the amount of sodium per serving in any processed meat. Aim for 480 mg or less per serving. Finally, what can you substitute for sausage? Try a few varieties of soy sausage patties or links. You may be surprised how great they taste!

Although it may seem difficult at first, making these small changes are great steps toward finding optimal health in 2012!”  From:


On This Day:

Mark Twain begins reporting in Virginia City, Jul 6, 1862:

Writing under the name of Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens begins publishing news stories in the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.

Born in Missouri in 1835, Clemens followed a circuitous route to becoming an observer and writer of the American West. As a young man he apprenticed as a printer and worked in St. Louis, New York, and Philadelphia. In 1856, he briefly considered a trip to South America where he thought he could make money collecting coca leaves. A year later, he became a riverboat pilot apprentice on the Mississippi River, and worked on the water for the next four years.”


John meets Paul for the first time, Jul 6, 1957:

The front-page headline of the Liverpool Evening Express on July 6, 1957, read "MERSEYSIDE SIZZLES," in reference to the heat wave then gripping not just northern England, but all of Europe. The same headline could well have been used over a story that received no coverage at all that day: The story of the first encounter between two Liverpool teenagers named John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Like the personal and professional relationship it would lead to, their historic first meeting was a highly charged combination of excitement, rivalry and mutual respect.

As Jim O'Donnell writes in The Day John Met Paul, his book-length account of this historic moment in music history, "A young man not easily astonished, Lennon is astonished." Paul's musicianship far outstripped the older Lennon's, but more than that, John recognized in Paul the same passion Paul had detected in John during his earlier onstage performance. Soon Paul was teaching a rapt John how to tune his guitar and writing out the chords and lyrics to some of the songs he'd just played.”


Satchmo dies, Jul 6, 1971:

“Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, dies in New York City at the age of 69. A world-renowned jazz trumpeter and vocalist, he pioneered jazz improvisation and the style known as swing.”


Women inducted into U.S. Naval Academy, Jul 6, 1976:

“In Annapolis, Maryland, the United State Naval Academy admits women for the first time in its history with the induction of 81 female midshipmen. In May 1980, Elizabeth Anne Rowe became the first woman member of the class to graduate. Four years later, Kristine Holderied became the first female midshipman to graduate at the top of her class.

The U.S. Naval Academy opened in Annapolis in October 1845, with 50 midshipmen students and seven professors. Known as the Naval School until 1850, the curriculum included mathematics, navigation, gunnery, steam, chemistry, English, natural philosophy, and French. The Naval School officially became the U.S. Naval Academy in 1850, and a new curriculum went into effect requiring midshipmen to study at the Academy for four years and to train aboard ships each summer--the basic format that remains at the academy to this day.”


Explosion on North Sea oil rig, Jul 6, 1988:

“On this day in 1988, an explosion rips through an oil rig in the North Sea, killing 167 workers. It was the worst offshore oil-rig disaster in history.

The Piper Alpha rig, which was the largest in the North Sea, was owned by Occidental Oil and had approximately 225 workers onboard at the time of the explosion. It was located about 120 miles off the northeast coast of Scotland. On the evening of July 6, a gas leak led to a massive explosion and fire on the rig. A fireball 350 feet high erupted from the platform.”



Misty and I went to get Jay, as he wanted to get out of the subdivision for a while, and go shopping with me.

We went to Conroe on SH75 instead of I-45 so we could stop at several places going south.  One, the big feed store in our little town to get Prime some more venison “Taste of The Wild” grain-free dry cat food.  She only gets about 1/3 cup at 8.00PM, as she has her wet food at 8.00AM and 5.00PM.  But if she had her way she would live on Taste of the Wild dry, which like any diet of all dry, would not be good for her.  For the last two days I have been out of it, so she would look at the substitute and then at me, as if to say, where’s my Taste of The Wild?

Then a stop at the water company to pay the bill, as I had missed getting it there in time by a couple of hours with ‘Bill Pay’.  I am glad that it shows on Bill Pay what day it should arrive there, or I would have had nasty late charges on 2 water bills.  By stopping at the office it was 5 days early.  On down SH 75 to a certain service station to get Jay his favorite cigarettes, Pall Mall Red, which he says don’t burn down like the others. They are cheaper there. 

Next stop was St. Marks Thrift shop, and we unloaded all the recycle paper in their container.  They had something on their outside donation table which they gave me, because they didn’t know what it was.  Just some panels of sturdy wire mesh held together with c-clips.  It looks like it is two homemade cages, I’ll know more when I get them out of the van.  They might come in handy for a foster mom.  Or even someone trying to grow veggies without inference from rabbits, etc., as they have no bottoms.

On to the Assistance League Thrift shop, and I found a really nice gilt-edged, leather bound, NIV Bible with the book thumb holes. 50 cents! A lot smaller to carry to church than my cumbersome one with a concordance. I have other smaller ones, but I liked that one the best, as the pages flicked better.  The new one has those very thin pages which are easy to handle, too.  I had left my visor at home, and it was so bright that I needed one, so I bought a nice straw one there, it even has a removable, washable headband. $1!


At Lowes, we each returned something, and I found a roof turbine to replace one which blew off my roof during Hurricane Ike. $30! It was in the clearance dept., as the screws are missing.  I know I have any kind of screws, or nuts and bolts.

This is just one section of screws. All the bins are labeled.  

Some $6 Titebond Wood glue was $1, as some of the label was missing.  I bought the hinges for the new cabinet door in the cargo trailer, too.

It was very hot and sunny so we had to put up the windshield screens to try to keep the van cool at each stop, but Jay said it was too hot to go to Petsmart, even though they have shady parking spots.  I wanted to get some really good food for my rescue fish.   I could have kept going, but after a few items at Kroger’s, we had to head home, as Jay was so tired.

Later on in the afternoon, Claudia and Jay pulled up in my driveway with her car just a’steaming like a locomotive.  Their neighbor picked them up. She had just had the car serviced, but she had to leave it here until a wrecker picked it up. She had parked behind my van, so it was a good thing I didn’t need to go out again yesterday.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Sounds like you had a very busy day.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, Dick.

It seems that most days go by too fast, the older you get. But at my age, I am grateful for each one!

Happy Tails, and Trails, Penny, TX