Proteins

More about proteins for a healthy brain

Is protein important?

This is an essential nutrient for repairing body tissues. Even the healthiest person can easily tear muscles, not to mention athletes who may look fit but can suddenly collapse from a heart attack if the protein levels are too low (and with insufficient energy levels in the blood), and for older people strokes are common with insufficient protein (combined with a minimal mental stress environment). When it comes to healthy and strong blood vessels (and so minimise the risk of strokes), not only do you need protein to keep these vessels intact and strong, but also to control blood pressure to within a normal range (which can be achieved by reducing salt intake).

For the best sources of highest quality lean protein, we recommend fish from the cleanest regions on Earth. Or turn to proteins and fats in plant materials such as nuts and beans.

Why is it that people eating lots of protein don't get fat?

It is because people feel full when eating protein and don't need a lot of protein to achieve this kind of fullness sensation in the stomach. Furthermore, when protein is consumed, the body has to spend a lot of energy at the biochemical level to convert protein into energy. You see, the aim is to get that sensation of fullness, reduce the absorption of energy into the body using more indigestible fibre and, if any energy is absorbed, to use up the energy in some way. One classic way to use up energy is to exercise. The other way is to keep the body busy doing something on the biochemical level, such as extracting energy from protein. You choose!

Can I eat as much protein and fat as I like?

No. Well, to be more accurate, you can eat as much protein as you like. However two factors will reduce your intake: (i) proteins (and fats) from animals contain various quantities of contaminants (1) such as heavy metals, plastics, bacteria and some parasites (if not cooked properly) compared to plant foods and, therefore, you might choose to restrict protein intake; and (ii) your appetite will be more quickly suppressed because the quantity of food through pure protein needed to satisfy hunger is much less.

This is the key. Protein makes you feel full and it suppresses your appetite. So you can't eat as much as you like.

One more thing. There is a long-term health impact associated with consuming certain types of proteins. Protein from animals tends to accumulate contaminants, especially if the animal is old or at the top of its food chain and consumes other animals. It is these contaminants which is believed will affect your brain function, colon tract, kidneys and other organs and eventually reduce your lifespan. The proteins have to be of a high quality, young, grown organically and from very clean sources to be healthy to you. Or better still, rely on quality unsaturated fats and proteins from plant materials such as soya beans since the whole plant material is a more effective filter of unwanted contaminants. Plants usually take up what they need to grow and leaves the rest behind in the soil.

Whatever your source of quality protein, remember one thing. Do not waste money buying books to try various specific diets. People have taken enough out of the environment by way of the extra fibres from the trees needed to make the books (and so give the authors plenty of money). Better to give the fibres to the people to eat and they will lose weight faster than sitting on your backside reading a book about healthy eating.
 

NOTE 1: If you are worried about the possibility that eating meats as a source of protein may increase the incidence of colon cancer (especially the meats that are processed and preserved with nitrites, such as ham and bacon), we strongly recommend you try some fresh and clean white meats such as fish or organic chicken instead of the red meats. It was believed red meats could be the culprit. Although it is possible the preservatives in red meats to make them look red and attractive (and keep them preserved for longer such as salami, ham, bacon and other meat products) and the charcoal left behind after overcooking or sealing the red meats may be the cause of the problem, you need to supplement your diet with other things to minimise the likelihood of getting cancer. Consider combining protein with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits to gather enough anti-cancer properties (e.g. papaya / paw paw, melons etc.). This includes dried prunes to help move the food through the gut more quickly. Alternatively, instead of meat, find concentrated forms of plant-based protein such as tofu and quinoa, which should be the ultimate aim for humanity (i.e., to move away from all animal-based proteins and into plant-based sources of protein). Until scientists can add sufficient quantities of all the proteins we need into plants (and farmers can grow them), we are still in the infancy stage of relying on selected animals for our protein requirements.

NOTE 2: As of July 2016, fewer people in the cities (mainly the educated types) appear to be consuming bacon and cheese products for two reasons: to avoid harmful preservatives (from the bacon) and to reduce fat and high calorie intake (from the cheese). As a result, Subway and other businesses are constantly asking people whether they want the option to add bacon and/or cheese to their sandwiches. And if this is not enough, a new Subway sandwich will come up occasionally and made available that already adds heaps of bacon and cheese and marketed to male consumers to buy it (the ones who are most likely to eat these foods).

The problem with some animal-based proteins (mainly in fats)

On 25 July 2002, scientists from Virginia Tech University and Cornell University have announced the discovery of traces of the harmful mercury in seafood, especially inside a heavy fish such as tuna. Generally, the more massive and long life the fish (including those at the top of the food chain of the predatory variety such as shark, marlin, and swordfish), the higher the levels of mercury. Note that shark is sold as flake in the fish shops; something worth knowing about. At any rate, mercury accumulates inside internal organs and muscles of all fish-eating animals such as the brain where it is believed the toxic metal causes memory problems and low attention span for people regularly consuming high mercury contaminated fish over many years.

The idea of fish containing contaminants is not a new concept. The problem can be found in virtually all animals both on land and in the water. Although fish seems to be highly susceptible to absorbing a broad range of contaminants (e.g. oysters), what makes this news for the U.S. scientists is apparently the discovery of traces of mercury in fish (well actually, this has been known for at least 10 years, but kept quiet by those with a vested interest in the fish industry, including fishermen and the government).

Or maybe the U.S. scientists are noticing a dramatic increase in the levels of mercury in fish which is the real story?

We are none the wiser as to exactly where the mercury comes from. Is it is coming from man-made heavy metal pollutants from industry, rural fertiliser runoff areas along the coast and in interconnecting rivers? Or is it a natural contaminant of seawater? No advice on whether fish in fresh mountain rivers or further offshore in the oceans would make a difference, or what amount of standard "unclean" fish would be needed to be consumed to be considered harmful, the U.S. scientists have suggested to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue a warning to pregnant women not to consume fish quantities greater than two cans of tuna a week (presumably the 425g variety), or a single can of tuna if other seafood is included in their diet.

Until the source of the mercury contaminant is found and dealt with appropriately, you should always choose the freshest and cleanest fish you can buy (or choose small, short-life fish). If necessary, catch the fish yourself in areas you know are pristine and clean (e.g., in pristine mountain waters).

UPDATE
24 June 2003

The Australian Department of Health appears to be keeping quiet on the issue by not doing regular spot checks for fish quality in recent times, not issuing public statements of how safe the consumption of all fish is, and not acknowledging the current levels of mercury in fish today as if the Federal Government is protecting various coastal polluting businesses and people working in the fish industry for the sake of a healthy economy, maximise profit, and to get enough people employed to maintain the current economic system as well as hopefully vote the same government into office in the next election.

This observation of the department was made by the Australian Channel 9 television program, A Current Affairs on 24 June 2003.

UPDATE
18 March 2004

Some food scientists in Australia and New Zealand (e.g. Dr Marion Healy) have taken a closer look at the mercury problem in fish. The fish having highest mercury levels are those near the top of the food chain (i.e. predators or any fish with teeth which consumes other fish) such as,

There is slightly less mercury levels in,

Some scientists say tuna is okay when consumed in moderation (probably the same quantity recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration).

In general, there is universal agreement among the scientists that there is mercury in virtually all types of fish. You will have to choose healthy fish obtained from fresh and clean environments and fish that are not at the top of the salt (and probably freshwater) food chain to minimise the mercury problem.

UPDATE
15 August 2003

Accumulation of contaminants among meat eaters is a risk. Latest research suggests that it is unwise for farmers to feed farm animals that will be destined to reach the supermarket shelves for human consumption, such as cows and pigs, with meat (especially the brains of dead farm animals) as a cheap food substitute and then keep repeating the process for the new-borns. Otherwise, unacceptably high levels of contaminants (e.g. heavy metals such as mercury and lead) will build up (accumulating mostly in certain organs including the nervous system and brain) until eventually the animals and humans eating the animals suffer a fatal disease, such as mad cow disease or the human variant of mad cow disease known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This latter disease is where certain contaminants build up in the brain of humans to such an extent after eating enough of the contaminated meat from cows until it eventually destroys the brain tissues (through a bleaching effect). It takes a long time and potentially several generations in the human population to completely eradicate the disease once the poor farming practice is stopped (or people have decided to turn vegetarians).

The effects of the disease through accumulated contaminants transmitted by eating the infected meat was first noticed among a group of localised villagers native in the eastern part of Papua New Gunea by medical researcher Professor Michael Alpers. At the time the disease was observed — displaying symptoms of uncontrolled muscle tremors, unable to talk, and stand up on two legs — it was known to the village elders as kuru. In the late 1950s, with assistance from anthropologist Professor Shirley Lindenbaum and virologist Carlton Gajdusek, Professor Alpers came to the conclusion that the likely culprit was the practice of cannibalism whereby the natives were eating the brain, blood and other parts of the body of the family's own relatives when they died. Because once the practice was stopped through effective and widespread education in the region in 1959, by 1960 the number of people suffering the disease disappeared. Now only a few cases in older people appear 50 years later showing that it will take several generations to reduce the contamination to safe levels.

UPDATE
2 July 2005

Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere from man-made activity leading to the current climate change of increasing world temperatures is being partly absorbed by the world oceans. This in turn increases the acidic nature of the oceans. As a result, not only are calcium carbonate shells and skeletons of shellfish becoming more difficult to form in the lower pH levels (they will dissolve), but also some toxic metals dissolved in coastal waters could increase and concentrate in the marine life. If this happens, certain fish could contain higher concentrations of mercury.

UPDATE
4 February 2006

Could Australian fish be no better than the imported ones? After four years of noticing a problem, the NSW Government believe the problem has worsened to the point where Sydney-siders have been banned from fishing in Sydney Harbour because of high levels of dioxins in the fish.

What about areas outside Sydney? We are none the wiser after this ban.

UPDATE
19 April 2006

ABC current affairs program The 7.30 Report has conducted and presented the results of a blood test made on a number of Sydney Harbour commercial fishermen and their families. Results of the independent laboratory analysis showed levels of exposure to dioxin is higher than the rest of the Australian population. On televising the results, the NSW government has quickly moved to provide other commercial fishermen free blood tests to help them determine the levels of dioxins in their bloodstream. The Australian people also hope the government will move towards identifying the source of the dioxins and remove them as soon as possible.

UPDATE
29 January 2008

The solution to the mercury and other toxins problem entering the marine environment and on land is now becoming clear. Latest scientific work in Canada is showing promise of certain plants such as ferns in helping to absorb mercury and other toxins before reaching water supplies. The other solution is to get to the source of the toxins and ask why they are produced and are there alternative solutions to producing the food and other products for our society and our economy.

Too much protein consumption?

As of 22 September 2004, fish stocks in the oceans are rapidly depleting. Only three or four known extinctions in the history of life on Earth has seen similar reductions in fish populations. This time it is the human race causing the massive decline in fish numbers. Whether or not it is because people have realised a healthy growing brain requires eating more fish, it is time humans either begin controlling their own population levels or create massive inland aquacultures for growing fish and leaving the natural fish stock in the oceans to return to normal levels.

Alternatively, we could have a few more of those Fukishima nuclear reactor meltdowns in Japan and the level of radioactive caesium in the oceans accumulating in the fish should stop humans from eating the fish for the next 30 years. Then we should be able to get fish level stocks back up to a healthy level (for the fish, not the humans).

In fact, radioactive caesium may even have other unexpected benefits, such as the element protecting the whales from being eaten by Japanese whalers and their customers back home once the meat is contaminated. Then we can thank Japan for saving the whales and the fish throughout the world.

Seriously, given the problems of growing healthy fish by way of being low in fat and high in quality protein (without antibiotics etc) in a mass-production basis by businesses in some aquafarms, it suggests human population levels may need to be curtailed somewhat. As Jenny Goldie, the National Director of Sustainable Population Australia, said in a letter to the editor of The Canberra Times dated 20 September 2003 (p.B11):

"In your front-page report on the parlous state of our [Australian] fish stocks ("Loved to death: our fish stocks in crisis", CT, September 18), it is suggested Australian may have to cut consumption of fish in half.

Such reductions were forecast by CSIRO's Barney Foran and Franzi Poldy in their comprehensive report on population and resources "Future Dilemmas" published last year, except they said so in the context of Australia's population reaching 50 million.

Clearly, the situation is even more urgent than they anticipated.

It does illustrate, however, the central problem of a growing population: that the per-capita availability of resources, such as fresh water or [ocean] fish, progressively declines as the number of people increases [especially if the resources form an integral part of developing human society].

Supply of a natural resource may go into a steep dive at some point, or even irreversible decline.

Cod populations in the North Atlantic, for instance, have not bounced back even after the Canadian fisheries were closed.

Those seeking an ever-higher population for Australia, or are complacent about still-exploding populations in some developing countries, have to understand this basic population/resource balance equation. You simply cannot have unending growth in a world of finite resources."

And even when human populations are finally controlled (if we ever do, unless nature takes care of it for us), we must ensure everyone is treated well on an equal basis including the poor because the self-esteem of the poor and their ability to survive easily will determine how much resources are available to everyone in the long-term. Otherwise we have to deal with the rich and powerful. Because the richer we are, the more we accumulate and buy. And when there is a profit incentive, businesses extract even more resources from the environment to sell to other people.

UPDATE
3 November 2006

Seafood is facing collapse. The word collapse scientifically means 90 percent of all fish and seafood species disappear, and the scientists are now using the word quite confidently. Why? Because of human consumption for the little critters according to a recent study published in the 3 November 2006 issue of the research journal Science. The study has looked at all available data and measured the rate of decline in fish populations and have projected the results to the point where the entire ocean ecosystem will collapse. Humans have 42 years, or around the year 2048, to change behaviour or do something to help dramatically increase fish populations, or face a world where only the very richest people can afford to buy the few fish around (if any). As the lead author for the report, Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, said:

"Species have been disappearing. If the long-term trend continues, all fish and seafood species are projected to collapse within my lifetime. It is a very clear trend, and it is accelerating. We don't have to use models to understand this trend; it is based on all the available data."

To understand how the data was obtained, it is best to give a quote:

"Researchers first analysed the results of 32 experiments that manipulated the fate of marine species on small local scales.

'Next they tracked 1000 years of change in species diversity across 12 coastal areas. In each one they looked at trends affecting between 30 and 80 economically and ecologically important species, drawing information from old archives, fishery records, sediment cores and archaeological data.

'Then the team sifted through all the available catch records for 64 ocean-wide regions spanning the years 1950 to 2003. Collectively, these large marine ecosystems produced 83 per cent of global fisheries yields over the past 50 years.

'Finally, the scientists investigated the recovery of biodiversity in 48 marine reserves and areas closed to fishing." (The Canberra Times: Fish could be off menu in 40 years. 4 November 2006, p.18.)

As of 2006, 29 per cent of fish and seafood species have already gone. The long term consequences of losing 90 percent by 2048 are only beginning to hit home as people realise a massive reduction in species will affect ocean water quality should species designed to filter out contaminants disappear and whether future species can ever survive at all if other species can't preserve the oxygen levels.

So much for making our brains healthy and efficient by eating so much fish if its going to take 42 years to change our behaviour and look after the environment.

Fortunately there is still hope. As Worm said:

"The good news is that it is not too late to turn things around."

Perhaps as a start, if you are going to eat fish, make sure you can use your brain to do something useful for society, such as protecting the environment and helping one another to solve problems. And how about protecting more areas of the ocean from overfishing? Also give people incentives to try alternative natural sources for Omega-3 fats and amino acids from, say, the plant kingdom.

NOTE: The study has shown that just simply closing off areas to fishing has increased species diversity and population levels by an average of 23 per cent. No brain power (or extra Omega-3 fish oils for the brain) needed here!

UPDATE
23 June 2007

In documents released to The Sydney Morning Herald, Primary Industries Minister David Llewellyn of the Tasmanian Government warned the Tasmanian Salmonid Growers' Association of a threat to human health from salmon captured and sold in the fish markets with nearly double the amount of antibiotics originally approved by the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority as diseases rise in the sea pens for holding Atlantic salmon.

Of major concern to the Government is the nearly doubling in the use of the common antibiotic oxytetracycline (OTC) and the proprietary medicine Aquaflor. The Government is also calling for an end to the use of amoxicillin. As Mr Llewellyn stated in a letter to the Association:

"It is disturbing...that the industry has used nearly double the amount of OTC than was anticipated in the permit application." (Darby, Andrew. Salmon farmers warned on antibiotic use: The Sydney Morning Herald. 23-24 June 2007, p.3.)

The threat is mainly one of more resistant and dangerous diseases entering the human chain after prolonged and excessive use of antibiotics in human food supplies.

However, the Tasmanian Salmonid Growers' Association insists on continued use of antibioties for the protection of businesses involved in the growing of Atlantic salmon. Pheroze Jungalwalla, executive officer of the Association, also adds that the industry regularly takes part in a national residue survey program conducted by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries and has found no evidence of residues of antibiotics never reach or exceed and allowable limits:

"These independent, random, surveys have never found salmon that reaches the consumer to reach or exceed maximum permissible residue limits of antibiotics." (Darby, Andrew. Salmon farmers warned on antibiotic use: The Sydney Morning Herald. 23-24 June 2007, p.3.)

If there is any evidence of an impending threat, and already indications are suggesting the industry has to double antibiotic use because of rising diseases, we may need to face the possibility of a health risk at some point in the future. Hopefully a balance can be struck to permit businesses and humans to survive harmoniously. And part of that challenge is to somehow control human population and our profit-mentality from taking out too many fish stocks from the wild or force salmon growers to use more antibiotics to help produce enough salmon to meet human demand.

NOTE: Placing fish in sea pens in the hope the oceans can clean them out is not enough if diseases are on the rise. Fish need a much wider territory to roam freely and with the least amount of stress. Clearly something is not balanced. Either the human population or the methods employed by the farmers are not right.

UPDATE
January 2018

As another disincentive to eat more fish, the amount of plastic waste ending up in the oceans and partially decomposing (very slowly) are being ingested by the fish and staying in the flesh for longer. So your protein intake is likely to be filled with microscopic plastics. The effect of this plastic in our foods to human health is not yet fully understood, but there is a general opinion by experts that this contaminant is probably not good for you. As prevention is better than a cure, we recommend cutting out the plastics we use for packaging and carrying groceries from the supermarket to the home or elsewhere. Or better still, giving how slowly we are changing our habits and still relying on fish, a public health campaign to provide everyone with condoms and other forms of contraceptives might help to reduce the human population and so reduce human impact on fish stocks and plastics in the oceans.

Cooking fish — best practice

There are many ways to prepare and eat fish. In Japan, the best way is not to cook the fish at all but rather let the freshest and cleanest fish provide the flavour and health to the people. In fact, studies have now shown that people in Japan are considered the healthiest in the world (followed by people in the Mediterranean with their consumption of fish and vegetables).

If uncooked fish is not to your liking (or there could be certain health concerns in your part of the world), we recommend grilling (or microwaving) the fish (probably sourced from from freshwater streams away from mercury and plastic contaminants in the oceans) for a few minutes (cook the skin side first for a slightly longer period of time before turning it over to the meat side) without adding extra oil to it (i.e. let the natural fish oils do the work for you unless the fish is naturally dry in which case make a sauce for it or add a little oil).

Certainly don't overcook the fish or you may produce a blackish substance called charcoal which is a known carcinogen and often leads to bowel cancer. Just cook it enough right through the meat to destroy any potential parasites living in the fish so it will leave behind a quality and well cooked meat. If you need more flavour, some parsely or dill, white wine and/or butter, a hint of garlic, and/or a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper will usually do the trick.

The critical thing to remember in all of this is to always make sure the fish is clean and fresh. This is the only way you can be sure the fish retains the maximum health benefits for the growing human body, and tastes the best.

As for those people who may be a little squeamish about eating fish (as there is now new scientific evidence to suggest fish may have the ability to react to pain — in which case the most humane way is to slow their rate of metabolism in a cold environment until they fall asleep e.g.,. ice in water) or any meats, you can either wait until proper and effective genetic engineering can provide all the same health benefits of fish in our plant foods (or there is quinoa for providing reasonable quantities of protein), or somehow survive without fish (i.e. lots of soya beans). Otherwise fish should be seen as your best source of quality proteins and fats for the growing human brain and body.

For more cheaper sources of animal protein, try organically-grown chicken or premium low-fat and "preservative-free" beef mince from animals fed on healthy open pastures.

UPDATE
29 July 2003

When growing vegetables in the garden to add to your protein dish, do not use the termite-protected "copper-chromium-arsenic (CCA)" logs/timbers near your vegetables as garden walls etc. The heavy metals are known to leak out of the logs in water and eventually get absorbed in the vegetables.

NOTE: If growing vegetables and fruit in your garden, do a soil test. Get a local scientific laboratory to test the quality of your soil for producing food. And never burn CCA timber to get rid of it. The ash from the burning CCA timber is highly toxic (i.e. it concentrates the arsenic, copper and chromium to high levels in the ash). It will rise into the air, only to fall later when it is cooler into drinking water supplies and the household gardens.

UPDATE
20 September 2002

If you must rely on vegetables and other foods from a can, make sure you know the true fat content of the food in terms of the amount of sugar and carbohydrates the food contains.

Many food manufacturers continue to emphasise the fat content of foods in packaging and television advertisements in terms of saturated and unsaturated fats from oils and butter and then claim their foods is very low in fats, or has no saturated fats. While you should reduce fat content to a sensible level for people with heart disease (with special emphasis on the saturated fat variety), you must also look at the sugar and carbohydrates because these are the substances that will make you fat when you consume them in high quantities. Food manufacturers claiming a food product is 97 per cent fat free may be true, but don't think you will not get fat. The product could easily contain high amounts of sugar and other easily digestible carbohydrates in the supposedly fat-free food. Combine this with limited or no exercise and the energy gets converted into fat to be stored in the body.

Remember, it is not the butter, oil and other fats already present in the food product which makes you fat, it is the sugar and other refined carbohydrates together with limited or no exercise that contributes significantly to the problem of people getting fat.

NOTE: In fact, you need some fats in your food for the body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (e.g., Vitamins A and D) and minerals just as much as the water-soluble vitamins and minerals in vegetables and fruit. However, to stop the body from converting excess sugar in the blood into fat, reduce your consumption of highly digestible carbohydrates such as white flour, refined sugar, pasta etc.

UPDATE
14 April 2004

The way you cook vegetables is important. Microwaving many vegetables can lose between 74 and 97 per cent of all natural antioxidants and other nutrients. Boiling vegetables tend to wash out most of the vitamins and minerals. While steaming retains more nutrients than either of the above two methods (a common favourite technique for Chinese people).

Better still, to get the most vitamins and minerals possible from your food, choose the freshest and cleanest vegetables and eat them raw. Make a tasty salad with the right salad dressing to get all the raw vegetables eaten with gusto. Or make a raw fruit and/or vegetable juice instead and get the combination right for the best taste.

UPDATE
September 2018

There is a desire by restaurateurs to leave meat as partially rare in the middle because this is seen as the best way to cook meat (i.e., has the most taste and makes them more tender to eat). In terms of your health and knowing live parasites can live in the raw meat, always cook through the meat properly.

The same is true of eggs. Chefs will often state how much better in terms of taste to leave partially uncooked yolk believing this is the best way to cook eggs. You may have to re-think this approach after reading this article. Salmonella and other bacteria can still be present in the yolk. You are better off properly cooking through the egg, and choose high quality organic eggs from free-range chickens that are able to roam the countryside (i.e., should not be caged).

Choosing the right cooking surface

As for the cooking surface underneath the fish or any other type of food, this is also an important consideration for your long-term health. Choose the wrong cooking surface and your body and brain may acquire extra chemicals and heavy metals in your food which you don't need and this can lead to serious health problems in later life.

For example, the use of Teflon as a non-stick surface for fry pans may be excellent for the convenience of being able to clean the pan quickly and easily after it has been used. And very little oil is needed to cook foods given the highly slippery surface at hot temperatures. However new research is suggesting at high temperatures approaching 300ºC, the gases emitted by Teflon can enter your food and cause health problems.

As for the aluminium pans, pots, utensils, foil (sometimes called tinfoil) and cheap "made in China" sardine cans, it is a well known fact in the laboratory that pure aluminium will dissolve in either an alkaline or acidic liquids. Actually, the higher the temperature and the more alkaline or acidic the liquid, the more aluminium that will get dissolved in the liquid. Thus tomato sauce (an acidic substance) or even milk or cream (an alkaline substance), if left in an aluminium pot for a period of time and/or the food is raised to a high enough temperature, can accelerate the dissolving of aluminium from the pot and into your food than ordinary pure "pH neutralised" water inside the pot. Aluminium is one of those metals suspected of causing serious and irreversible brain damage such as Alzheimer's Disease.

NOTE: Some Teflon pans try to be lightweight by using aluminium. But as soon as you scratch the teflon surface, you will expose the aluminium underneath. Avoid these types of pans.

Also avoid cheaper plastics for holding and heating foods. A chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA) — used to make brittle and cheaper polybicarbonate plastic and used to make the white lining inside food cans, aluminium drink cans, plastic food containers and plastic baby bottles — can leech into the foods (the rate of which increases at higher temperatures) causing hormone imbalances and has been linked to breast cancer. Look for the recycling symbol with the number 7 or "Other" below it for the plastic type and avoid this substance like the plague.

Your best cooking surfaces should be made of the special high-temperature resistant and chemically inert glass as used by chemists in the laboratory (the stuff used to make beakers and other scientific glassware known as pyrex), pure marine-grade stainless steel (e.g. Scanpan), or titanium metal (or an alloy of titanium that is highly chemically-inert, such as adding nickel) with no coatings or plastic parts of any kind, or a quality ceramic pot for cooking inside the oven.

And use glass or steel containers to hold the food for storage purposes. Furthermore, if the containers break, they can be recycled and new ones obtained without hurting the environment with harmful chemicals during the manufacturing process.

UPDATE
10-11 July 2004

The US Environmental Protection Agency has charged one of the world's largest chemical company DuPont for "multiple failures" in not releasing evidence between 1981 and 2001 on the health effects of a key chemical ingredient used to make non-stick surfaces in pots and baking trays known as Teflon. According to the agency, a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in Teflon material poses "substantial risk of injury to human health or the environment." (2)

UPDATE
7 January 2007

Du Pont, the manufacturer of Teflon pans, says independent government testing supports a temperature of under 260ºC as being safe for cooking. In real life situations, cooking say chicken or sausages in its own oil in a Teflon pan at a maximum stove gas setting rarely gets above 185ºC. However, what is not mentioned in the testing and has been shown in real life situations is how a teflon pan left on a stove on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes will easily exceed 260ºC and in some cases as high as 320ºC. The chemicals released into the air (and released in the foods) by a Teflon pan above 260ºC is noticeable. So don't leave an empty Teflon pan unattended on a stove. If you must choose a non-stick pan, a better quality product where the non-stick surface stays on for longer is the Circulon range. Expensive, but might be worth the investment. Otherwise choose something else.

The future for protein

Protein will remain an important nutrient for all animals. Humans are no exception. The question is where we should find the protein? Animals are one source. However, as the environment degrades and the cost to grow farm animals on land is getting increasingly more significant, the only best sources of protein will be from:

  1. Plant-based foods
  2. Seafood
  3. Insects

Seafood quantities in the oceans are going down. We see this in the cost of the seafood in the fish markets (i.e., it is getting more and more expensive).

While people with clear signs of Alzheimer's disease are considered too far advanced for medical science to find a solution, people with no signs of memory loss but with minor amyloid plaques developing in the brain are wise to consume enough fish oil from seafood. For males, a combination of fish oil and testosterone are showing promising signs of clearing out the amyloid plaques.

Insects are the next source of protein, but if humans consume too much of the insects while the human population continues to increase, the natural environment of animals and plants will suddenly collapse. There may not even be enough humans to take over the work of insects in pollinating enough plants, or places to grow the plants as global warming reaches critical levels.

This brings us to the final and most obvious solution to the protein situation and in protecting the environment. Leave the rest of the animals alone, focus on re-building the environment and making it food productive, and for humans to become vegetarians. There are enough plants to produce all the proteins humans ever need.