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 “Irrational,” “Reckless,” “Irresponsible”: The EPA Just Accidentally Told the Truth About Trump’s Climate Plan. Oops.

by REBECCA LEBERMAR –

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump visited the Environmental Protection Agency, where he signed an executive order dismantling key Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change. On Thursday morning, the EPA sent out a press release highlighting some wonderful praise that Trump’s order has received from groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, and—of course—Republican politicians. But the top quote in the EPA’s email, attributed to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), had an unexpected message:

EPA
Senator Shelly Moore Capito (W.Va)

With this Executive Order, President Trump has chosen to recklessly bury his head in the sand. Walking away from the Clean Power Plan and other climate initiatives, including critical resiliency projects is not just irresponsible— it’s irrational. Today’s executive order calls into question America’s credibility and our commitment to tackling the greatest environmental challenge of our lifetime. With the world watching, President Trump and Administrator Pruitt have chosen to shirk our responsibility, disregard clear science and undo the significant progress our country has made to ensure we leave a better, more sustainable planet for generations to come.

This is obviously not the glowing review Trump was hoping to get from a coal-state Republican senator. Alas, it appears that someone at the EPA screwed up. That statement actually comes from a Democrat, Sen. Tom Carper (Del.)—not from Capito. If the EPA press release continued to quote from Carper, this would have been the next line:

This order clearly proves that this administration is not serious about protecting jobs and our environment. As a West Virginia native, I understand the plight of coal miners in today’s day and age. But the Clean Power Plan isn’t the coal industry’s problem—market forces are. Let’s be perfectly clear: this executive order will not bring back the coal industry. It is an insult to the men and women who voted for him for Donald Trump to say otherwise.

Trump recognized Capito, the West Virginia senator, multiple times in his speech at the EPA Tuesday. He also declared that coal is clean. At the same event, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke declared the so-called “war on coal” to be over.

The EPA has now sent out a revised version of the press release, correctly quoting Capito’s praise of Trump’s order. And this time, the agency even spelled her name correctly.

Update: An EPA spokesperson emailed me, “An internal draft was mistakenly sent with a quote that belonged to Senator Carper but was wrongly attributed to Senator Capito, whom we originally meant to quote. We apologize for the error and are making sure that our process is improved as we build our team.”

I also reached out to some environmental groups and Carper’s office over email for comment.

“Senator Carper is happy to lend his words to a good cause,” the senator’s spokesman said.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said, “That quote is the first true thing Scott Pruitt’s office has put out yet.”

“MWAHAHAH,” 350.org’s communications director Jamie Henn began. “The Trump Administration’s actions are so outrageous and counter-intuitive that even they can’t keep up with the lies that they’re spinning out to the public. For once, Capito sounds like she’s right on: these executive orders are reckless, irrational, and wildly damaging.”

 

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Immigrants Are Going Hungry Because They’re Worried About Being Deported

 

How Trump’s deportation campaign has people retreating from public life.
 

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UNLEASH YOUR INNER ZEN: 7 WAYS TO BEGIN A MEDITATION PRACTICE

Unleash Your Inner Zen: 7 Ways to Begin a Meditation Practice

Decades of scientific, medical and social research reveals that meditation has quantitative, qualitative benefits to anyone who takes up the practice – everything from lowering blood pressure, combating stress, overcoming insomnia, raising awareness, improving memory, cultivating happiness, reducing anxiety and increasing higher consciousness The message is consistently clear: if you want to feel great, then meditate. Here are seven ways to unleash your inner Zen and begin a meditation practice.

#1) Pick a place. Choose a conducive environment for meditation. That means a peaceful place where you won’t be easily disrupted by other people or loud, harsh sounds. Kathleen McDonald, author of How To Meditate, offers these additional insights: “Ideally, the place should be clean and quiet, where you won’t be disturbed. However, with discipline it is possible to meditate in a crowded, noisy environment; people in prison, for example, often cannot find a quiet place and still become successful meditators. Even if your surroundings are busy and noisy, make your meditation place as pleasing and comfortable as possible, so that you are happy to be there and can’t wait to return.”

#2) Select a time. Generally, establishing a successful meditation practice involves selecting a time and meditating at that same time frequently. Some people find that getting up a few minutes earlier to sit and meditate works well. Others like to meditate at the end of their day, shortly before going to bed. Still others find that a mid-day meditation break recharges them. Find a time that works best with your personality style. If you’re a night person, then likely an evening meditation time may be best for you versus trying to do it early in the morning. Or, if you’re a morning person, then meditate in the morning and avoid night meditation when you are tired and worn out. However, if your schedule is erratic, don’t let that stop you. Just commit to sit and then find times that work with your changing schedule.

#3) Prepare yourself. Meditation is greatly enhanced when two practical matters are dealt with. The first one is clothing. Wear clothes that are comfortable for sitting in meditation. Most find that exercise apparel is ideal. The second is how to sit during meditation. There are many options for sitting. You can sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. You can sit cross legged on a bed, sofa or on a cushion on the floor. If your body is tight and you wish to sit on the floor, you may find it best to have your back leaning against a wall. However you sit, your back should be straight and erect but not rigid. The hands should rest comfortably on your legs or in your lap. At first a meditation posture may feel awkward but as you practice, the posture will begin to feel comfortable and familiar to your body.

#4) Start with a small amount of time. Be reasonable and realistic with yourself when establishing how long you will meditate. Don’t set yourself up for frustration and failure by deciding initially to meditate daily for a lengthy period of time. Remember that your goal is to establish a long lasting practice so it is better to begin slowly and progress gradually. Stephen Bodian, a meditation teacher and author, recommends five minutes as a good start point: “If you’re a beginner, a few minutes can seem like an eternity, so start off slowly and increase the length of your sittings as your interest and enjoyment dictate. You may find that by the time you settle your body and start to focus on your breath, your time is up. If the session seems too short, you can always sit a little longer the next time. As your practice develops, you’ll find that even five minutes can be immeasurably refreshing.”

#5) Choose a meditation practice. While there are an abundance of meditation techniques starting with a traditional Zen breath focus is ideal and simple because your breath is always with you. Gently close your eyes or if you want to leave them open, do so while slightly gazing down toward the floor. Avoid looking around. Take a few deep inhales and exhales to relax. Begin your meditation by counting your breaths. As you gently inhale and exhale say “one” to yourself. As you gently inhale and exhale again, say “two” to yourself. Do this five times and then begin again with the number one. Repeat this pattern again and again until the time you’ve set up for meditation is over. As you continue practicing, you can experiment with other techniques focusing upon those which resonate with you.

#6) Remain focused in spite of distractions. As you sit, a variety of distractions will present themselves. For example, a foot may fall asleep, an itch may call out to you for relief, or you will feel some modest physical discomfort. As much as possible avoid responding to those distractions by moving and fidgeting. Adopt a hospitable attitude toward these irritations. In fact, the ideal is to focus on those annoyances as part of your meditation. In his book Meditation For Beginners, Jack Kornfield tells of an occasion when he was enjoying a deep meditation outside. All of a sudden, a fly landed on his face. “My first impulse was to brush the fly away because it tickled and was unpleasant, but then I thought, ‘Hey, I teach people to observe sensations like this, so I’ll just stay with it.” He sat up a little straighter and just allowed himself to feel the sensations repeating this mantra meditation to himself – “itching, itching, itching.” Then the fly moved to the edge of his nose causing Kornield to become very concerned that he “might accidentally inhale the fly or it might climb up inside my nose and get caught there. I began to feel my belly quiver and I watched the fear rise with these tiny footsteps on the edge of my nostril,” he recalls. The fly continued to wander all over his face for at least ten minutes “and what was interesting to me was that during those ten minutes I was not planning, I was not doing my taxes, there was nothing creative going on, and I was not worrying about anything else. By the end of ten minutes, I was more present and centered and concentrated than if I had gone to a monastery for a month.”

#7) Don’t worry about thoughts. Some meditators erroneously believe that the goal of meditation is to have a blank mind. Actually, the objective of meditation is not to have a blank mind but to reduce mindless mental chatter and slow down the onslaught random thoughts which bring confusion, anxiety, stress and mental overload. Meditation is about a focused mind, not a blank mind. As thoughts appear during your meditation, apply this advice from Dr. Lorin Roche, author of Meditation Made Easy: “When thoughts come, they come. Take a welcoming attitude, as if birds have just landed on your lawn. Let them peck around. When you become aware that you are thinking, then you have a choice: you can finish the thought or you can return to the breath or whatever your focus is. . .do not feel you were wrong to be thinking.”
Finally, keep yourself motivated by working with the wisdom of an old Chinese Zen master who reminded his students: Sun faced Buddha, Moon faced Buddha! By those words he meant that meditation should be done when happy or sad, energetic or tired, healthy or ill. Just meditate however you happen to be on any given day.

 

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Germany boasts the largest artificial sun on the planet

by  –

The Synlight artificial Sun is made of 149 7-kW arc lights(Credit: DLR)

Germany isn’t exactly famous for its sunshine, so to help with the country’s commitment to investigating renewable energy, the German Space Center(DLR) has constructed the world’s largest artificial Sun. Making its public debut today in Jülich, North Rhine-Westphalia, the three-storey “Synlight” electrically-powered sun lamp will be used for various research projects, including developing processes for producing hydrogen fuel using sunlight.

The Sun is one of the greatest potential energy sources available, but developing new technologies to exploit this potential can be hampered because our parent star is a very finicky worker. It refuses to work at night, dislikes cloudy days, doesn’t do as well at higher latitudes, and in some parts of the world it disappears entirely for months at a time.

To provide a more reliable and controllable substitute, scientists and engineers have built their own artificial Sun for laboratory work. Instead of using a giant ball of fusing gas 93 million miles away, DLR has built a huge device that works like a backwards parabolic reflector.

Where a more conventional spot lamp uses a single powerful light source focused by reflecting it off a parabolic mirror, Synlight is a giant parabola made up of 149 7-kW xenon short-arc lamps capable of delivering 11 MW/m2. These can be adjusted to focus on a single spot measuring 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 in) in three different test chambers, two of which are exposed to 220 kW of solar radiant power and the third to 280 kW. At maximum setting, the device can deliver 320 kW, or 10,000 times the normal solar radiation experienced on Earth’s surface, and temperatures of up to 3,000° C (5,400° F).

According to DLR, these extremely high temperatures are necessary to carry out research on processes that use the Sun to produce solar fuels like hydrogen. Though hydrogen is seen by some as the green fuel of the future because it leaves behind only water when it burns, producing it requires large amounts of energy, which usually comes from burning fossil fuels. DLR hopes the Synlight will help researchers to find a more efficient way to split water into hydrogen and oxygen using the Sun. This has already been accomplished in the laboratory, but has yet to be scaled up to industrial levels.

In addition to solar-generated hydrogen, DLR sees Synlight has having other applications, including studies of how materials age under extreme UV rays.

“Synlight fills a gap in the qualification of solar thermal components and processes”, says Dr Kai Wieghardt. “The scale of the new artificial Sun is between laboratory systems like DLR’s high-performance lamps in Cologne and the large-scale technical facilities such as the solar tower here in Jülich.”

The artificial Sun cost a total of €3.5 million (US$3.77 million), most of which was provided by the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, with BMWi contributing €1.1 million (US$1.2 million).

 

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What To Do When You Receive A Surprise Medical Bill

Shutterstock

Are you one of the more than 20% of people who have visited an in-network emergency room only to find yourself surprised by a bill due to an out-of-network doctor or other health care professional that treated you? As someone who made my husband walk home after getting hit by a car on his bike to make sure we were going to an in-network ER, I can relate. It’s safe to say I may go to extremes to make sure that we pay no more than necessary when seeking health care. But consumers are finding that despite their best efforts to stay in-network, they may be unable to avoid being slapped with an out-of-network charge.

I learned this late last year when I had a minor surgical procedure at my in-network doctor for a procedure I knew was covered by insurance, only to find myself with a huge bill from an anesthesiologist that was out of network. When I dug deeper into the issue, I found out that there was basically no way to avoid it. There are no anesthesiologists in-network on my plan and my insurance applied their “allowable” amount to my deductible, but the practice could charge me whatever they wanted and I had to pay it (called “balance billing”). I realized later THAT was the waiver I signed just before going under and probably also why the anesthesiologist was suspiciously nice. I bet she knows that everyone who signs that waiver is in for a surprise medical bill.

A study by the Urban Institute found that almost 24% of non-elderly adults in the U.S. reported past-due medical debt, with percentages higher among millennials and gen Xers. You’d think that since older people tend to have more medical issues that they would be more likely to have unpaid bills, but when you consider the increased complexity and narrowness of certain networks coupled with the huge rise in the popularity of high-deductible health plans, it makes sense. People on Medicare are more likely to expect big medical bills. But when you go through the trouble to research your in-network options only to find out some random person was able to sneak a charge in there anyway, you’re much more likely to set that bill aside until you can do further research into how in the world this happened. That’s definitely what I did.

I recently spoke to Tom Torre, the CEO of medical expense management company Copatient, to see if there was something I was missing. “You are the poster child for everything that’s wrong with our health care system,” he commented when I shared my story. He confirmed what I already suspected: health care providers are always looking for ways to maximize the amount they’re paid and one strategy is simply to be out-of-network as much as possible. “Medical transport [ambulance services] and anesthesiologists are actually notorious for this,” Torre commented. When no relationship is formed between provider and patient, there tends to be little incentive to reduce patient expenses.

In other words, since they can get away with it, they do it. This is a perfect example of the dark side of the U.S. health care system, one that causes an estimated three out of five bankruptcies among consumers. So what can you do if you find yourself the unlucky recipient of a surprise medical bill? Torre recommends the following:

BEFORE YOU GO

Assuming you’re in a non-emergency situation, the short answer is do your homework and make sure you go to an in-network facility in the first place. When I found myself with a 104 degree fever and lower back pain while on vacation in Tucson earlier this year, I used my health insurance app to look up which urgent care facilities were in-network before heading in to be treated for a kidney infection—a move that saved us a couple hundred dollars. If you’re planning ahead for a procedure, ask every provider you encounter if they’re in-network. Don’t assume just because a facility is in-network that the providers will be.

Torre says that the best way to figure out if a provider is in-network is to check against your specific plan. A doctor’s website may say they accept your insurance company, but they may not accept your plan. Make sure you’re logged in to your plan to do your search. Then to be extra cautious, call the provider’s office to confirm.

AFTER YOU GO

If despite all of the above, you’ve been balance-billed by an out-of-network provider, it’s time to begin the journey to try to resolve it. Don’t just assume you’re out of options and have to pay the full amount. Most people’s first call is to their health plan to ask why the bill was for so much. The insurance plan will typically tell you it was out-of-network and there is no resolution.

Your next call should be to the provider to ask why they billed you so much more than your plan’s negotiated rate. You may not get very far with the billing associate who has no authority to do anything, so Torre recommends that you ask to speak to a supervisor or someone in authority. I had several rounds of this where the anesthesiologist was claiming to “dispute” my insurance company’s lack of coverage even though my insurance company had already applied their acceptable amount to my deductible, which is typically what the provider would bill me. Regardless, the anesthesiologist said they were under no obligation to reduce the amount due.

At this point, one option could be to call a billing negotiator like Copatient, who collects the relevant information from you and then looks it over to see if there’s an opportunity to decrease your bill. If they think they can help you, you must give authorization for them to fight on your behalf. These services are typically either offered as an employee benefit through work or they work on a contingency basis in which they collect a percentage of whatever amount they’re able to save you.

In my case, I finally called the billing office of the anesthesiologist and asked if they would be willing to accept the amount my insurance was willing to accept. The billing associate consulted her manager and then offered me a 20% discount. At this point, I was over it, so I accepted, paid the bill and moved on with my life.

Would I have done better by using a service like Copatient? Torre says maybe, but that 20% is a pretty typical amount. Perhaps I have a back-up career as a medical bill negotiator if this financial planning thing doesn’t work out for me.

So could I have done anything differently to avoid this whole maddening debacle in the first place? Other than not having the procedure (which wasn’t an option), everyone I’ve asked has said no. Obviously, the best prevention is to continue to make sure you stay in-network.

But when it’s beyond your control, this is when it’s essential to have an adequately funded emergency fund (or HSA account with your out-of-pocket maximum always in the account), and don’t be afraid to negotiate or call in assistance. “Putting money in an HSA is far and away the best investing decision you can make,” says Torre. I couldn’t agree more.

 

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Regeneron’s New Drug Price Could Disappoint Everyone. Here’s Why That’s A Good Thing

by Matthew Herper –

Leonard Schleifer (right) with Jim Robinson of Astellas at the Forbes Healthcare Summit last December.

Forbes

Leonard Schleifer (right) with Jim Robinson of Astellas at the Forbes Healthcare Summit last December.

It was a symbolic act that spoke volumes. On stage with other pharmaceutical executives to talk about drug pricing at the Forbes Healthcare Summit last December, Regeneron cofounder, chairman and chief executive Leonard Schleifer physically moved his chair away from those of his peers.

“If you look at the prices of drugs, they have gone up, sometimes double digits, twice a year as a very efficient way of increasing profits without being coupled to any innovation,” Schleifer said then. “It’s ridiculous.”

So what does Schleifer, whose Regeneron stake has made him a billionaire, do when the time comes to price his own new drug? Today the Food and Drug Administration approved Dupixent, a medicine made by Regeneron and its partner, Sanofi, to treat severe itching known as atopic dermatitis in patients whose symptoms are not controlled by topical steroids. And Schleifer says that he has made peace with some of the industry’s biggest critics to arrive at what he says is a fair list price: $37,000 per patient per year, a price that he admits is still expensive, but is cost-effective.

“This is really a great example of how it should work,” says Steve Miller, the chief medical officer of Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefit manager, and one of the loudest critics of high drug prices. “Our plans would obviously like a lower price. [Regeneron’s] shareholders would like a higher price. I think the fact we disappointed everyone probably means this came in where it should have.”

The drug was approved based on three placebo-controlled clinical trials with a total of 2,119 adult participants. They were more likely to have clear or almost clear skin if they received Dupizent, an injection, not a placebo. (For more on the drug, read this.)

Miller and Schleifer, who talked with Forbes ahead of the FDA approval, say that their early conversations have led to a situation where patients whose drug benefits are managed by Express Scripts will be able to get Dupixent. Patients will not need special documentation to prove they meet the criteria for taking the drug.

Express Scripts, for instance, chose not to restrict the drug based on what percentage of a patient’s body is covered with broken, itchy skin, even though it could have. “As a clinician, I can tell the number of patients who have this just on their hands, and they have sores and bleeding cracks on their hands,” Miller says. “It’s not a huge body surface area. But it’s debilitating for those patients.”

Biotechnology investors hearing those words from Miller are likely to ask: What happened to Steve Miller? Miller admits he “raised a ruckus” about previous medicines, particularly new treatments for hepatitis C like Sovaldi and Harvoni, from Gilead Sciences. Sovaldi cost $1,000 a pill, or $86,000 per course of treatment, when it launched in 2013.

“Gilead claimed they talked to a lot of payers,” Miller says, using industry jargon for health insurers. “I don’t know any of the payers they talked to. Here you had a unique product, a really outstanding drug, yet no one in the marketplace really understood the pricing at all.”

A more recent example likely weighed on Schleifer’s mind, and on the minds of his partners at Sanofi: that of their cholesterol drug, Praluent, which was expected to be a blockbuster. Instead, sales of the $14,000 drug last year were just $116 million, a major clinical disappointment. Elias Zerhouni, the head of research and development at Sanofi, says Dupixent represents a new frontier in drug discovery, because it is a single antibody that works on multiple chemical targets. Neither Sanofi nor Regeneron can afford to have Dupixent turn out like their last drug.

Regeneron reached out not only to benefit managers like Express Scripts, but also to the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), a nonprofit partly funded by insurers that releases independent judgements over whether drugs are worth the money. A draft report released Friday says that Dupixent is cost-effective, and may be underpriced.

Schleifer points out that Dupixent costs less than drugs for psoriasis, which cost $50,000 per year. But the $37,000-a-year list price of the year is more than the $20,000-to-$30,000 price range expected by analysts at RBC Capital Markets, an investment bank, in their financial models.

It’s not clear that other drug benefit managers will be as ebullient as Express Scripts. CVS Caremark, the other big pharmacy benefit manager, acknowledged that it met with Regeneron, but warns “the drug will be expensive.” CVS says: “As we prepare for the approval of this medication, we are developing programs for our clients to ensure this new therapy is available for those patients with a demonstrated medical need for the drug, based on its indications as approved by the FDA.”

For Regeneron, the stakes are high. Brian Skorney at Baird Equity Research notes that the $200 million in 2017 sales Wall Street analysts expect from Dupixent are higher than the first-quarter sales of Humira or Enbrel, rheumatoid arthritis medicines that are among the world’s best-selling drugs. Can Schleifer’s deal-making really insure Dupixent will be a big hit, and generate more than $3 billion annually within two years, as Wall Street expects? Not everyone believes.

“Len is a classic ‘golden throat’ but the PBMs are careful bean counters and no one dies from [atopic dermatitis],” wrote Ronny Gal, a pharmaceuticals analyst at Bernstein Research on February 9. “We would love for him to be right, but a level of skepticism is appropriate.”

But Schleifer is sure he got the deal right, and, more than that, this this can serve as a model for other companies launching new drugs.

“I think this should be a new paradigm,” Schleifer says. “We have to stop saying that we can’t keep this finger-pointing and chest-beating, where the industry beats its chest at how terrific it is, the payers about how greedy the industry is, the patients get squeezed and then government wants to step in. We have to break this cycle.”

 

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5 times frozen food is the better option

by Melissa Breyer

frozen food

Public Domain International Harvester

While fresh food is the foodie darling, there are times when frozen food can actually be better.

In the era of fresh clean food, the freezer and its contents often get a bum rap, but I’m here to defend them. Aside from the convenience of having food in various states of preparedness on hand, frozen food has a lot of other things going for it, despite its association with bland tv dinners. It can allow for a variety of produce regardless of season, it keeps things from spoiling and going to waste, and some frozen items actually have better nutritive value than their fresh counterparts, as counterintuitive as that may seem.

With this in mind, I was happy and not all that surprised to see Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) new roundup of tips for people who want healthy frozen food, and who want to save time and money, and reduce household food waste all at the same time. “While fresh food is typically the best option, consumers don’t need to bypass all options in the frozen aisle,” the analysis notes.

Last year I wrote about six frozen foods everyone should consider, a subtle love letter (a friendship letter?) to frozen food – there is a lot of overlap with EWG’s list. So rather than just being repetitive, I thought I’d highlight the parts of the EWG tips that really stand out to me: Namely, the instances in which they note that frozen food is actually the better option.

1. Organic vegetables like whole green beans or peas

Unless I am getting green peas as fresh as can be, like still warm from the sun, I generally prefer frozen – peas past their short prime are not nearly as sweet and tender as their frozen brethren since the freezer-aisle ones are frozen right after harvest. EWG adds:

Frozen green beans are half the cost of fresh ones and retain more of their vitamin A and C content than other frozen vegetables. Similarly, frozen green peas are one of the cheapest frozen vegetables and retain more of their vitamin C content than fresh peas that have been stored for five days.

2. Organic fruits like whole strawberries or blackberries

I love frozen berries for their ability to provide a quick and delicious addition of fruit. Their texture is forever transformed by freezing, but they’re great for brightening up any number of dishes – think oatmeal, cereal, ice cream, muffins, cakes, pancakes, cocktails, smoothies, and smashed with sparkling water for a lovely soda alternative. Fresh berries may be the goal, but they have a short shelf life, which is why frozen ones are much appreciated. EWG adds that frozen berries are:

…superior to dehydrated berries, which can lose up to 50 percent of their original vitamin C and 70 percent of their folate content after being exposed to high pressure or temperatures. Compared to frozen versions, vitamin C content was 44 percent lower in freeze-dried strawberries. As an added bonus, frozen blackberries are cheaper on average than fresh ones.

3. Additive free baby and toddler food

I was one of the moms making her own baby food – a very much-appreciated (and sometimes mocked!) luxury. But for those purchasing baby and toddler food from the store, EWG says this:

Consider looking beyond jarred food. In their frozen aisles, some stores are stocking baby food made from fresh fruits and vegetables. Freezing produce helps slow nutritional losses, and helps prevent the growth of most microbes, making preservatives less necessary. And since frozen fruits and vegetables are often harvested at the peak of the season, there’s less need to add flavors, or other additives or fillers to improve taste.

4. Sustainable low-mercury seafood

I didn’t include seafood in my list, but EWG makes some excellent points:

Frozen seafood is typically cheaper and often of higher quality than fresh fish, which can be in transit on ice for more than a week before reaching the grocery store. Frozen fish also helps you add fish to your diet at a reasonable cost, while avoiding the endocrine-disrupting contaminant found in BPA-coated cans that could be used to package fish. This is a rare case when opting for fatty varieties is a good idea – they are higher in omega-3 fats and are more resilient to freezing.

You can check EWG’s Seafood Calculator to choose fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury.

5. Better burritos

A lot of people rely on frozen entrees during the hectic work week. But, notes EWG, “most options in this part of the frozen aisle are loaded with additives and are unnecessarily high in sodium.” Not to worry though, “there are some good finds for that last-minute lunch or dinner.” Like burritos. While some burritos are high in sodium and have added sugars, EWG says:

About a quarter of the frozen burritos in EWG’s Food Scores score in the green [the highest ranking]. But some burritos rose to the top because they highlight beans, a health-promoting and environmentally friendly protein, and have fewer ingredient and processing concerns.

So there you go. Wave your freezer flag and wave it proudly. For more on these, including some great tips on what specifically to look for, visit 5 Fabulous Finds in the Frozen Food Aisle.

 

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