Raised in the sticks of Southeastern Connecticut, David has always been amazed by the human body and how it functions. Burton received his Associates of Science degree in Nursing in 2005 and has since been working as a registered nurse in the hospital setting on medical, surgical, cardiac, and intensive care units. For 2 years straight he was the President of the International Honors Society, Phi Theta Kappa, and named to the All-Connecticut Academic Team. Now living in Tampa, FL he continues working at a community hospital while pursuing his independent filmmaking career as President and Founder of Sir Rebel Films. David has shot, directed, produced, and edited three short films, two music videos and a documentary. David has spent the past 2 years writing, directing, and editing the documentary inGREEDients, a film that has successfully blended his career as a health care professional with his passion for filmmaking. He is currently focusing all his efforts on getting inGREEDients into every school, health care center and home in America and plans to continue making movies that entertain and make a difference.
Caryn Hartglass: Hi. I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. Thanks for joining me today.
It’s a very cold day in New York. And we’re all doing our best to stay warm and enjoy ourselves.
It’s an interesting day today: perhaps some of you have heard, maybe a little too much and maybe some haven’t heard at all, but it is the 30th Anniversary of the death of John Lennon and I can’t help but think about his song, Imagine, which I haven’t sung in a while. I am a singer and I do like to sing this song. The words are so profound and thirty years later, they still have so much great weight and meaning. Simple song. Just great, great words. Maybe I’ll hum a little bit for you later. Not just yet.
The point is that we are all living on this planet together and if we connected the dots and thought about all of us sharing the same planet: that means sharing the same air; sharing the same water; sharing the same earth; for ourselves and also for future generations. If we were more mindful about just that – it would be such a beautiful place; a better place. And I think that’s basically what he was saying = that if we all lived on this planet together, realizing we share these very basic and simple necessities and that we lived today we would be a lot more careful about the things that we do.
And so, this show is called, It’s All About Food, and food is another one of those very simple things that we can’t live without. We talk very often about how our food choices affect those other, very precious, simple things that we cannot live without: the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the earth – the soil – from which we grow our food that’s necessary to sustain us.
Imagine – imagine all the people living for today.
So when we talk about food and our food choices there are foods that we can choose that not only give us great nutrition but also are gentle on the planet. And there are other foods that we can choose that can do a great amount of damage. So we talk, very often, about factory farming of animals – where animals are confined in these horrific conditions, living in their excrement and filth and their gases help to contribute significantly to global warming and all of that. And then there are plant based ingredients. Now, I’m always encouraging people to consume more and more whole, fresh plant foods. But thanks to technology and thanks to scientists and even chemical engineers (I have a Master’s in Chemical Engineering) and sometimes I’m quite ashamed of my – those folks that share that discipline, because we’ve created things in the laboratory that we call food that should not be called food.
We’re going to talk about one of them today. With my guest – we’ve got David Burton on today. He’s the Director, Writer, Editor of a film called, “Ingreedients.” Ingreedients. A little bio here – he was raised in the sticks of south-eastern Connecticut; he’s always been amazed by the human body and how it functions; he received his Associates of Science Degree in Nursing in 2005; and has since been working as a Registered Nurse in the hospital setting in medical surgery cardiac care intensive units; he now lives in Tampa Florida; continues to work at a community hospital while pursuing his independent film making career as President and Founder of Sir Rebel Films. David has shot, directed, produced and edited three short films, two music videos, and a documentary and he has spent two years writing, directing and editing the documentary, Ingreedients, a film that has successfully blended his career as a health care professional with his passion for film making; and he’s currently focusing all his efforts on getting “Ingreedients” into every school, health care center and home in America and plans to continue making movies that entertain and make a difference. David! Welcome!
David Burton: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you so much for joining me. I imagine in Tampa it’s not quite what it’s feeling like here in New York.
David Burton: No, ma’am, it is not. We had a little bit of cool weather come through the other day, but it’s warming right back up into the 60s for us.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, I don’t think ‘cool’ means the same thing down there like it means here. It is Mmm-Mmm freezing.
David Burton: Well, I’m from Connecticut, so I know all about the cold weather. I visit every now and then, but just to play in the snow as opposed to shoveling it.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, well there is a difference to that when you know and when you acknowledge you are going into the cold snow for playing: it’s very different.
David Burton: Yes it is.
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s talk about “Ingreedients“.
David Burton: Yeah let’s talk about it – thank you very much for having us on. We really appreciate it; we love what you do with the show.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you. This is really an important topic.
David Burton: Chemicals in the food – it’s getting out of control. That’s why I made this movie. Seeing all the disease in the hospital and the sick people and how much of that could be prevented with dietary changes and exercise – it’s just overwhelming how much people that are empowered to make the change aren’t saying that; and then that leaves the rest of us to pick up the pieces and try to spread this message because it’s, for some reason, not getting pushed as much as it should.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right. Now what’s interesting is, you’re a nurse, and many nurses really care about their patients; sometimes we talk about nurses being more on top of things than some of the doctors in a variety of situations.
David Burton: Yeah they are certainly the biggest patient advocate from the bedside in the acute nursing facility and setting.
Caryn Hartglass: But even so, and I don’t know exactly what you learn in nursing as compared to what doctors learn in nursing: I know that doctors don’t really get a lot of background in nutrition – do nurses?
David Burton: We do; we get a couple of semesters of it: I don’t think we get enough, but it’s a lot more than most physicians. And I think maybe not more training, but I think they put more emphasis on how important it is. But definitely not enough: I mean, I learned about nutrition in school a couple of semesters; we learn about carbohydrates, fats and proteins and when treating certain diseases by changing people’s diet – that sort of thing. Nobody really tells you how much you can really prevent diseases from the get go if you are eating properly.
Caryn Hartglass: Isn’t that amazing? I want to think that at some point we’re going to get that but we’re not there yet.
David Burton: It seems that the system is really broken but the problem is that the system is so profitable that nobody’s really working hard to fix it.
Caryn Hartglass: Well it’s profitable for a small group; it’s not profitable for everyone.
David Burton: No. No it isn’t.
Caryn Hartglass: And as a result of these ‘Frankenfoods’ or these whatever you want to call them, these highly processed foods – they make us sick. And is a significant cause to why we are so unhealthy; which raises our health care costs significantly; and it’s just wiping out the economy. A few people might be making money and they’re, unfortunately, making the decisions. But I just think it’s a lose-lose-lose.
David Burton: It certainly is; and that was one of the biggest motivators behind in getting this message out there and pulling it together from a nursing perspective. I think one of the big deciding factors to make the movie was once we found out about hydrogenated oils, trans fats, all the chemicals in our food supply, how toxic they were: once I started talking to some cardiologists and dieticians at work and they didn’t know, that’s when the producer, Jay, and I decided we have to make this movie. The people that are really in the position to be teaching these people about food aren’t doing it.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s really surprising to me, maybe because I’m so focused on it all of the time, but I keep thinking this information has gotten out and yet so many people still seem to be in the dark and is it just because they’ve only heard a hand full of times that it hasn’t sunk in? Or they don’t want to believe it? I’m not really sure what it is, but as a nurse, I’m in awe that you had the opportunity to do this film because I could imagine that you could be really frustrated working in the system the way things are; I had a personal experience a few years back where I was treated for Ovarian Cancer and it wasn’t pretty. I was in the hospital numerous times with major surgery and every time I was lecturing to the doctors; to the nurses; to the dieticians – it just blew me away the garbage that they served you in the hospitals, to begin with. This is the place where people are supposed to be getting well, so, not sure how you felt about the food that’s served in hospitals.
David Burton: Obviously I’m appalled by it; I think it’s disgusting; a prime example for you – our movie’s mostly about partially hydrogenated oil – that’s an ingredient we speak about. We talk about other ones and we have segments on Asperger’s on the DVD; and we talk about flour and enriched vitamins and a lot of different things, but it’s primarily about hydrogenated oil and the fake fats that have, that are in the food supply and for example, we know this, when someone has open heart surgery or any type of surgery – you come out of surgery and you can’t eat anything. And the first time you can you go on a clear liquid diet. Chicken broth, which has partially hydrogenated oil and monosodium glutamate.
Caryn Hartglass: Lots of salt.
David Burton: And as soon as you can eat something solid we move you along to some crackers and the crackers have partially hydrogenated.
Caryn Hartglass: Partially hydrogenated.
David Burton: On and on where we are just giving you the stuff that made you sick to begin with – right out of the gate as soon as we fix you up with some surgery and we’ll see you again next year, or in a couple of months, or whenever that is.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. So how did the – how was the veil lifted for you with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil? When did you see the light?
David Burton: It started on a hiking trip, honestly. It was a backpacking trip with some buddies of mine and one of the guys complaining about, “Yeah – I bought these granola bars that had partially hydrogenated oil and now he had been complaining throughout the trip and we were kind of getting almost annoyed with it and we started doing some research and it was really the folks up at Harvard: Dr Willet and Dr Merschtampford – those guys run the nutritional department and the epidemiology department up at Harvard, and they’ve been doing these long, long term studies – over thirty years’ worth of information gathered up on the hydrogenated oils specifically, and they’ve been going on the record, they’re toxic and going on the petition against the FDA to have them removed and just coming against so much opposition – and this is Harvard. That was kind of the defining moment for us – we went to those guys and said, “Our movie – we knew we had like the Godfather of research on our side” – that’s when we put everything we had into a full feature length film, on it, definitely a big deal.
Caryn Hartglass: Why do we have partially hydrogenated oil in foods?
David Burton: There’s a couple of different reasons: the biggest one is that it’s cheaper and it lasts longer.
Caryn Hartglass: Cheaper than regular oil.
David Burton: Which normally what they would put in the products that have partially hydrogenated oil would be butter or lard or things like that that we’ve always baked with. Just regular oils and fats, but when you have to have a cookie, you know if you make a cookie at home it’s good for a few days or a week; but it doesn’t stay good for months.
Caryn Hartglass: Or years.
David Burton: Or years. But on the grocery store shelf that’s not possible. Foods are made on one end of the country, shipped on the other end of the county or maybe the other end of the world, and they have to sit on the shelf for months and months, and the end consumer expects it to taste exactly the same; no matter where they bought it, no matter when they bought it, no matter when they eat it. So this whole desire to have a fat it could use in the food that doesn’t break down – that was one of the reasons and once they started using it and finding out it’s cheaper – food’s cheaper, it lasts longer, it doesn’t break down, and the demand for processed food is astronomical: everybody wants something pre-made, out of a box, ready to go. Nobody wants to take the time to prepare their meals, anymore. And we’ve got a huge demand for it, as well.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m always encouraging my listeners to find their kitchen. And there are many people here in New York that spend tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars, renovating their kitchens – and they are gorgeous – but they never go in them. And we really need to learn how to prepare food from the simplest of just washing lettuce and making a salad. People have just really forgotten how to prepare simple, healthy food.
David Burton: And that really is the answer to so many of the problems that we face today.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely.
David Burton: I mean, when we do our teachings and I go into schools – I go into a school again Friday, to a Middle School – so I get to sit and talk to thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds, all day long, exactly about what we are talking about, diet is actually connected and when we talk to say, their parents, the first thing they come across with it is, “I can’t afford it.” “I can’t afford all of these fresh fruits and vegetables, only afford .99 box of macaroni and cheese.” When you really start breaking down their budget and how much they’ve already allocated for food, when you take in restaurants, fast food, all these little snack items in between – there’s really a lot more money there available.
Caryn Hartglass: Absolutely.
David Burton: What you said: we get them into the kitchen and taking that money that they normally spend taking their whole family to a restaurant and putting that into groceries. And lo and behold, you have wonderful organic meals that you can make at home, together. They’re fresher, better for you, and it’s a win-win situation. Like you said – in the kitchen.
Caryn Hartglass: History has shown us over and over that many, many communities that are in poverty survive and survive often very well, on beans and rice; or beans and a grain; and they’re like the least expensive foods out there. And you can even up the value a notch, and buy organic beans and organic grains, and you can do a lot of great things with them and they’re really inexpensive and you can prepare big batches of it at the beginning of the week and freeze them or eat them all week. It’s just easy. Healthy. Inexpensive.
David Burton: You have to get away from it; it might take a little more time, sometimes, but does it really take more time than getting in the car and driving out and using up more gasoline and all of that.
Caryn Hartglass: So let’s get back to partially hydrogenated oil – because this is really a fascinating topic. So we understand that it’s something that improves the shelf life of foods. Now, personally, I don’t think it makes food taste fresher or taste fresh. I haven’t had hydrogenated vegetable oil in a long time; but as my memory serves me – foods can still taste stale when they’re old. I really, my palate is very sophisticated at this point, because I’m always eating high quality ingredients. And when they are not, I can taste the difference. And when I mean high quality, I mean fresh; I mean whole; I mean full of nutrition; and not smothered in sugar, salt, and fat.
David Burton: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. What do they do to us? When we consume partially hydrogenated oil?
David Burton: Inside your body is, essentially, they cause heart disease and diabetes.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh yeah. Everybody’s got those.
David Burton: And those are the two that are seen to be the biggest killers. And everybody’s concerned about their cholesterol and there’s a lot of conflicting information about what your numbers should be and how much of it you should have and that’s the thing, but it’s undeniable the research that shows that when you consume hydrogenated oils it actually increases your LDL and increases your HDL. The cholesterol that we know we are supposed to have higher it takes down, and the cholesterol that’s supposed to be a little lower, it brings it up. It’s a double -whammy in no other food in our food supply does that. Foods that aren’t so good, maybe they raise the bad one or they lower the good one; but neither one does the inverse. And then they cause inflammation. Now we know inflammation has a big part to do with heart disease and artery – hardening of the arteries, which is arterial sclerosis; and then you’ve got the whole diabetic where they increase insulin resistance; which means it makes your pancreas have to make more insulin to do the same job that it normally does. And most people are only getting that from processes sugar which is probably a close number two for the worst food in our food supply and many would argue and I could maybe even agree, that it could be number one because it’s so prevalent.
Caryn Hartglass: Right. Or maybe just the high fructose corn syrup – but that’s another movie.
David Burton: That’s my next movie! That’s actually the next movie we’re working on – high fructose corn syrup and all of that.
And then your third component is obesity. They absolutely increase your body size, abdominally. So trans-fat increase abdominal obesity, which is the worst place to actually carry it- which contributes more to heart.
Caryn Hartglass: And diabetes. There’s certain types of fat in different places that will contribute more to diabetes. When you are putting more pressure on the pancreas, too.
David Burton: And then if you start looking at it, all of the diabetics statistically, die of heart disease. So it’s this vicious circle that you’re tied up there – obese – biggest way to combat diabetes and heart disease is by exercising and when you become obese it can be more difficult to exercise. You’re in this cycle between the diabetes, heart disease, and obesity and if you look around, those are the diseases that are climbing through the roof. Diabetes Type 2, has gone over the past 100 years from non-existent to a third of the population. That’s astronomical.
Caryn Hartglass: We used to call it Adult Onset Diabetes and now more and more younger people and children are getting it, unfortunately.
David Burton: And it wasn’t even Adult Onset Diabetes 100 years ago. You were either Type 1 diabetic or you weren’t; either your pancreas worked or it didn’t. And then all of the sudden we had Type 2 come about where later on in your life your pancreas kind of stopped working. Eating so much of the sugar and processed food and now that’s happening in children – essentially we are using up our pancreas in 10 years, now. 15 years.
Caryn Hartglass: Well I quote Jack Lelane very often and he said, “If man made it don’t eat it.” And there’s a lot of truth to that because certainly there are a lot of things we’ve created that we put in foods that are really dangerous. And partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are certainly one of them. Now, do you have children?
David Burton: Yes, I have one daughter. She’s five now.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s a great age. Has she ever had partially hydrogenated vegetable oils?
David Burton: Not a whole lot. I’m sure she’s had it because in this day and age
Caryn Hartglass: It’s really hard.
It’s difficult to control her diet 100% of the time and I’m only with her so often and she has to go to school, and she has to go to birthday parties, these sort of things. So she’s had it before, but she’s going to grow up to be quite a healthy little girl. She is quite lucky that her mother and father found out this information when she was two-years-old and started implementing and changing our whole diet house then. And she lives in a pretty healthy household now.
Caryn Hartglass: Do you communicate this information with friends and family and the schools – about what you want or how you want her to avoid hydrogenated oils?
David Burton: Yeah – we do and let me tell you – making changes like that are so incredibly difficult. We keep pushing on it and we are slowly and methodically making our way through the school system and the hospitals. My hospital won’t change – where I work – and I’ve worked there for four years.
Caryn Hartglass: Have they seen your movie?
David Burton: I know they’ve had to have seen it because I ‘ve handed it to hospital administrators and I know a lot of – every nutritionist there has a copy of it. Every dietician I’ve personally handed them a copy. I give out a copy of this movie out at work all of the time. A lot of people and have a lot of supporters and employees that talk to patients about it. We have actually quite a movement going on there, but haven’t screened the movie or anything like that. Again, it’s really tough sometimes for a school or a hospital to get behind our message because we are coming out in the movie and telling you that a hospital doesn’t really push this type of information and the food pyramid is upside down and the FDA is not really there to protect you and the food companies don’t care about your health.
Caryn Hartglass: And hospitals and schools, they are probably the most that are focusing on really poor financial situations and trying to cut costs everywhere they can.
David Burton: Yeah. So even the school that I’m going to go to this Friday, the teacher’s going to have me speak to everyone of her students for seven periods in a row, I’ll speak for 50 minutes 7 times and I’ll probably get to talk to several hundred students, we can’t get that change that I’m talking about – enacted in the cafeteria.
Caryn Hartglass: What age groups do you speak with?
David Burton: Mostly it’s been Middle School. I’ve spoken to children younger, and I’ve spoken to some older and some colleges – but primarily the Middle School age is just what’s happened in – it’s kind of interesting how it works: if I call up a school and say, “I’d love to come and talk to your kids about this idea” they are usually pretty standoffish – it’s my idea and my movie and of course it’s great! It’s mine, right? But, what happens sometimes is we get articles written in the newspaper or on the radio and a teacher sees that or hears it and if they invite me in, then I get in 100% of the time. And then, usually, have a good turn out and the kids like it and they start learning and the teachers ask me back the next semester. And that’s how the movement started here. I have several teachers that just keep inviting me back, through word of mouth, keeps on spreading like that.
Caryn Hartglass: Unfortunately that’s the way it is with a lot of things when it comes to food – you really need the invitation because if you are just trying to get your message across you can really get a lot of resistence.
David Burton: Honestly, I prefer speaking to somebody that’s say 13 years old anyway, because they are more accepting of this idea of change, what they’ve done for a couple of years not a couple of decades.
Caryn Hartglass: There are some studies actually, that show that middle aged students are more open and receptive to this information that high school students so it’s a good time to get them.
David Burton: Especially if you tell them, “Hey, I’ve got some information that your mother and father don’t even know” “If you could bring it home and share it with them…” Now, they are thinking, “Wow. I’m going to teach my family how to eat.”
Caryn Hartglass: David, I want to talk a lot more about your film and foods that have partially hydrogenated oils and a lot of other things, but we need to take a quick break so stay with us and we’ll be right back.
Caryn Hartglass: Hi I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to It’s All About Food. It’s all about food. Thanks for listening. And if you are listening to our live show and you’re curious and have some questions or comments, you can always call in at 1-888+874-4888. And I know many people listen in the archives or don’t have access to a phone or are at work and really shouldn’t be listening. Whatever it is – you can send me an email anytime; during the show or during the week with comments or questions. Love to hear from you. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Info@realmeals.org.
I am talking with David Burton and he is the director, writer and producer of a great documentary called, Ingreedients, and you can go to the website: Ingreedients movie dot com and I want to spell that because it’s kind of tricky: ingreedientsmovie.com. So there’s a little play on words there with greed in the middle of ‘ingreedients’.
David, you’re with us – I wanted to just talk about one of my favorite foods and two brands in particular and I want to read the ingredients.
Something a lot of people eat, especially kids, is peanut butter. And Skippy’s ingredients, I’m reading it on a website here: roasted peanuts, sugar, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, cottonseed, soybean and rape seed, to prevent separation, and salt. And then, Jif, says: made from roasted peanuts and sugar; contains 2% or less of molasses, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils (rape seed and soy bean) mono and diglycerides, salt.
And there you go – they both have hydrogenated oil and one of my favorite questions to kids is, “What’s in your peanut butter?” And they look at me like, “Huh?” And then I say, “What should be in your peanut butter is peanuts. And in my peanut butter, there’s just peanuts. I don’t even like salt in my peanuts.” But I could get – I wouldn’t get all crazy if I had salt in my peanut butter. But we don’t need this other stuff in there and the way Skippy describes it, it’s to ‘prevent separation’. Have we gotten that lazy where we can’t stir the oil into the peanut butter?
David Burton: I don’t understand how we’re trading in diabetes and heart disease for stirring our peanut butter. But we are.
Caryn Hartglass: And if you stir it and put it in the refrigerator it doesn’t separate.
David Burton: Amazing and bread is so close – very top of the list for hydrogenated products, also. This whole peanut butter sandwich is just such a toxic combination for a lot of people who eat this.
Caryn Hartglass: Something that should really be so simple and so basic.
David Burton: And was for so long and probably has been a wholesome snack or wholesome meal, especially for younger
Caryn Hartglass: And then you add a little Smuckers Jelly and you’ve got your high fructose corn syrup on top.
I was just going to say that, Caryn. It’s so hard to even find a jelly without high fructose corn syrup that’s pretty much all they are is high fructose corn syrup with a little flavoring.
Caryn Hartglass: I always use fruit sweetened jellies. I don’t even want sugar in my jelly. And it’s certainly sweet just like that.
David Burton: Peanut butter – obviously choosey moms do not choose Jif; they do not choose – they choose something that just has peanuts or like you said, peanuts and salt. That’s what mine has here. And you’ve got to mix it up and if you like it warm then you are going to have to stir the jar for a couple of seconds before you make your sandwich and if you really can’t handle that – like you said, put it in the refrigerator. It’s not that
Caryn Hartglass: We do have this luxury of having a refrigerator. But most foods should be eaten fresh and quickly. And the idea of saving foods for weeks and months and years is ridiculous.
David Burton: It is and once people start on this change, peanut butter is sometimes a good one to start with. Say, “Oh I’m this kind. I love Peter Pan or I love….” That’s it. They are branded by that and then they go and say, “Okay. I’ve read the ingredients. It’s got hydrogenated oil; I’ve got to find one without.” And they pick one that just has peanuts and they go, “Whoa. This tastes really like peanuts. This is good. What else is out there? What about cashew butter? What about almond butter?” Now you’ve got a whole new world of peanut butter and jelly at your fingertips with the cashew butter and the almond butter and real peanut butter.
Caryn Hartglass: My partner used to struggle with weight and his parents used to always tell him not to eat peanut butter and not to eat a number of things and now he’s a slim vegan and very happy about it and peanut butter is one of his favorite foods. And he has it whenever he wants. And even though peanuts are a high fat food, I think there is something in they hydrogenated vegetable oil that does more damage than regular fat.
David Burton: That was probably one of the – and maybe I could – the most eye-opening pieces of information we found making our movie, was the fat phobia thing – where everyone is afraid to eat fat. And that’s just such a raw generalization, it’s kind of silly. It’s the type of fat – so you just kind of proved it without even knowing that you did. You can certainly eat fats; we have always eaten fat. There are three main nutrients in our food and they are called carbs, protein and fat. Everything is one of those. So this whole idea of being afraid of fat is silly. It was pretty much – that message came from the USDA and their pyramid which the guys up at Harvard will tell you was built upside down. And that pyramid should be flipped where fats and oils almost should be the base of our diet in things like peanuts. Peanuts have a lot of protein and a lot of natural fat and those are awesome sources of energy.
Caryn Hartglass: Another thing that people don’t know about is that we need fat to deliver certain nutrients to the body. Some nutrients are fat soluble. I often say that I’m always encouraging people to eat a lot of greens, leafy greens. I’m drinking a green juice right now. But it’s important to eat these foods with a small amount of fat, a small amount of nuts or a little peanut butter or something yummy to help transport those nutrients to the right places.
David Burton: And some of them are made out of fat things like hormone and building blocks.
Caryn Hartglass: We definitely need fat – there should be some really basic nutrition classes out there because every decade it seems like one of the macronutrients gets a bad rap. So we had the fat decade where we were fearing fat and everything was no fat and low fat; and then we had the carbohydrate decade with no low carbohydrates. We can’t live without proteins, carbohydrates and fat. But they have to be from whole, real food.
David Burton: Hopefully we’re moving into the chemical-free era where well just eat natural protein, fat and carbohydrates, free of all the heavily process chemical laden foods and I think we’ll be a lot healthier for it.
Caryn Hartglass: Are there any other foods that are at the top of the list, to watch out for?
David Burton: You mentioned corn syrup; I kind of put that in the category of wheat, soy and corn – are pretty much the foods that are subsidized by the US government so that’s what we see in most of our processed food is wheat, soy and corn – over and over in different ways and packaging’s.
Caryn Hartglass: Well soy is another thing that people are very confused about because a lot of the bad soy is genetically modified, not organic, and highly processed. And the simple soy foods that are organic and not genetically modified simply soy foods are healthy foods. The Chinese have been eating tofu for 2 million years.
David Burton: Exactly. And it is not the way it’s in our processed foods. There’s a big problem there, but I put high fructose corn syrup and processed sugar at the top of the list with MSG – mono sodium glutamate.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s a good one.
David Burton: It is and we actually took it out of our movie, the original cut of it, just because it was so overwhelming at first for people to hear about everything that was bad.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s not unfortunate – you have to stick to one thing – we’re such – we have such a reductionist kind of mind where we can only concentrate on one thing or we get overwhelmed and we tune out.
David Burton: We completely tune out. It’s very, very true. It’s the only way to go through this process to say, “Okay. This month I’m going to get rid of hydrogenated oils. Get out of my house.” And by the end of the month it’s going to be in none of the products. Next month, going to work on MSG. The following month, we are going to get corn syrup out. Aspartame. Pick a new one and go down the list. I am saying hydrogenated oils, aspartame, corn syrup, MSG – those are right at the top of the list for just extremely unhealthy foods.
Caryn Hartglass: But another problem is when eating in a restaurant. So many of them use things and you have no idea what’s in the food.
David Burton: We were so surprised when we were making our movie and we called almost every single major food chain asking about partially hydrogenated oil. Like for example, we were going to go to Outback. We called and we say, ,”What has hydrogenated oil in it and what doesn’t?” Oh, starting from the salad, it’s got partially hydrogenated oil in the dressing, croutons, and in the bread stick that we serve you. Triple does of hydrogenated oil in going to a salad as opposed to a steak at Outback. So what we tell a lot of people is you’ve got to get away from the restaurants. First off, it’s just so expensive. People don’t realize how much they are spending there and when you start getting out of the restaurants you can use that money for healthy food at the grocery store or at your organic coop, or wherever it is that you are going to get your food.
Caryn Hartglass: What’s another Italian food chain? That’s…
David Burton: Carabas?
Caryn Hartglass: Oh, I can’t think of it right now but they are always advertising you can get unlimited salad and breadsticks. Olive Garden! Did you talk to them?
David Burton: Yeah we did and you, I believe their breadsticks are partially hydrogenated, as well.
Caryn Hartglass: Probably.
David Burton: But that was two years ago and people are really starting to get hip to the hydrogenated oil thing, especially with the way the labeling law has gone down. Are you familiar with that?
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s talk about that. Let’s just talk about labeling for second. So people can get confused because a product can have partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in it and yet they may advertise that it has zero trans fats.
David Burton: And trans fats come from partially hydrogenated oils.
Caryn Hartglass: So do you know how they get to say that?
David Burton: Absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s a label trick.
David Burton: The good old label trick. That was because of the food manufacturers lobbied the FDA to have the label law written so that you can have up to have a gram of trans fats in a product and still label it as zero.
Caryn Hartglass: So you can make the serving size really tiny and then all of the sudden it has no trans fats in a serving.
David Burton: We are pretty certain a lot of them were doing that, actually changing the serving size. Say if you had three-quarters of a gram of trans fats in your 8 cookie serving, well now we just have to go to a six cookie serving to get it down to .4; as long as we are under .5 we can label it zero. We put ‘NO TRANS FAT’ in big, huge, bright red letters on the front of the package; the customer thinks they are safe.
Caryn Hartglass: That just reminds me of the old days, and it still goes on today, where products are labeled ‘low fat’ or ‘reduced fat’ and it’s another trick because it, the reduced fat product or the low fat product, (I forget exactly how they label it) but the amount of fat is actually the same or not significantly different from the full fat product.
David Burton: There’s a lot of tricks out there and that’s why when we teach people how to read labels, we really, really focus on reading the part that says, ‘ingredients’. It’s why we named the movie, “Ingreedients”. You look at the front of the box and that’s what the food company wants you to know. You flip it over and then you got the fat and the sugar and the protein breakdown and the calorie amount; and that’s kind of important, but no where near as important if you can hone in on that ingredient section and see what actually they are putting in the food – that’s where you can find these products. You’ll easily be able to tell if you should be eating it or not, after reading exactly what’s in it.
Caryn Hartglass: Did you have an opportunity to talk to any high-level people that manufactured some of these questionable foods?
David Burton: No.
Caryn Hartglass: No. Because what I always wonder is – well, you’re a parent – and many of these people are parents and I just don’t know how they make these foods knowing that children are going to eat them and, greed, it’s just a really powerful thing.
David Burton: It’s a really big part of the story and why we put it in the title of the film, that whole ‘greed’ aspect. I don’t know how it happens, but it seems to happen in all aspects of …
Caryn Hartglass: How long is the film? And what do we find when we watch it? I watched it; it was a while ago and I’m going to have to look at it again. But it was really informative. But what are some of the highlights that people would discover.
David Burton: The final cut of the film is sixty minutes; and in that one hour, which we trimmed that down for one hour TV slot and one hour class period for schools. The first version was a little bit longer than that so we cut a few things out. But, what you are going to find is: we are going to tell you what a trans fat is; a hydrogenated oil; we have some animations that go through how they’re made to really get it in your head why you shouldn’t be eating them; we break down what heart disease is, diabetes and obesity. We really teach you how to read the label; explain in detail that labeling law we were just talking about; and then really the second half of the movie, we start talking to some of the legislators that actually push forward to have trans fat removed; and then we start talking about why – if it’s bad enough for New York City to ban trans fat out of all restaurants, and it’s bad enough for the state of California to ban it, why does the rest of us have to consume it? And how that happens and then in the end we kind of wrap up and say, “You can’t blame the government and you can’t blame the food companies, and you can’t blame the FDA: you’ve got to take responsibility” It’s a crazy world out there these days; there’s lots of propaganda; there’s lots of misinformation, disinformation; most people know this inherently. They do. So we say you have got to take the responsibility for what you are putting in your mouth.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s the age-old philosophy.
David Burton: And we live in a toxic environment and there’s, it’s tough to get clean water sometimes, clean air, clean food; but the one thing that you’re constantly putting in your body and growing and developing on, is the food. So it’s the easiest way, I think, to lead a healthy live.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s All About Food – that’s all I’m about. Finding the healthiest, cleanest, foods that make you look good, feel great, age slowly, have lots of energy, reduce the risk of disease, and live a quality life. Why not?
David Burton: Why not? I mean that’s what we do when we get together with our friends, our family, our loved ones, is we get together and we want to eat and talk. It’s just kind of part of our culture as humans.
Caryn Hartglass: And what I discovered, and many other people who follow this path discover, is the food – listen out there – the food tastes better.
David Burton: That’s the biggest thing. We didn’t even know half of these vegetables that we eat now existed. My wife brings me home a new vegetable every month! She goes, “Look what I found! Have you ever had an apple-potato before?” “Where’d you get that?” “Got it at the organic coop.” “Okay – let’s try it.”
Caryn Hartglass: There’s so many reasons to get away from the processed foods, not just because of everything you’ve been talking about – which is really, really important, but we really want to support local farmers, small farmers, rather than this giant, out-of-control agri-business that grows really poor quality food and it’s destroying the growing lands of the country.
David Burton: I can’t get behind that enough. We use local organic coops to get our organic vegetables because, quite honestly, the grocery stores are just too expensive, besides the fact that it’s a big, huge, multi billion dollar corporation that I don’t need to promote. But the reality is you can get your vegetables easier, cheaper, and better tasting if you go somewhere local. You know exactly where it’s coming from.
Caryn Hartglass: We have a few more minutes; I want to talk about French fries. Now, French fries use hydrogenated oils in a lot of the processing steps, not just in one place. That’s like you’re very often getting extra, extra partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, sometimes with some French fries.
David Burton: Yes and it’s absorbed into the fry; a lot of times they will par-cook it and then they’ll freeze them; and then it goes to the restaurant where they finish cook it.
Caryn Hartglass: In more partially hydrogenated…
David Burton: One last time to get that nice glistening hydrogenated coating on it. And then, more often than not, they’ll serve it to you in a restaurant with some sort of dipping sauce that’s got hydrogenated oil, too. Sauces and gravies are a huge culprit for this stuff.
Caryn Hartglass: With hydrogenated oil in them.
David Burton: But like you said, with French fries, people eat a lot of French fries in this country.
Caryn Hartglass: And you know they can fancy it up and serve it in some really nice packaging and make it look really high quality, but if it’s got partially hydrogenated oils in it – it’s deadly.
David Burton: I say grab some local, organic sweet potatoes, chop them up into French fry like blocks, sprinkle some olive oil on it, and salt and pepper and get them in the oven and have the best fries you’ve ever had.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh I was just talking about that this weekend and that’s like one of my favorite foods. They are so easy and I can’t eat a French fry. Not because I know what’s in them, although that’s really significant, but they don’t taste good. The oil kind of coats the tongue right away.
David Burton: It’s a bit greasy when you get used to a little more natural diet. You actually lose your flavor for a lot of these extra greasy, overly processed foods.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay. So what do people do if they want to see this documentary?
David Burton: The easiest way to see the documentary is to go to the website you gave them, “Ingreedients Movie.com“, make sure you spell ingreedients with two e’s; you can order a copy of the DVD. I’m being told that my wife Robin, she really manages the Rebel Films, and she wants to offer anybody listening to your show, a 2 for 1. So go on; you order a copy of the movie; put It’s All About Food at the top of the list under your name, say under your last name, and we’ll send you two movies for the price of one. So that’s the easiest way to get it.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you. That’s really nice. I think this is a great stocking stuffer.
David Burton: Oh yeah – it’s be great for Christmas. You can order a copy for $20 and you’ll get a great stocking stuffer to give out as a gift for the holidays. And when you’re on “Ingreedientsmovie.com” you’ll see where we are offering all kinds of reducing price on a screening packages, where a lot of people – a lot of people that order our movie, you’re going to find this funny, are people that already know the information. Most people that we sell movies to are buying the movie to share, because they have a raw food gathering, or a food coop or on and on and on. There’s so many of these tiny little groups that care, mostly local groups, that are trying to get the word out about healthy eating. And what we’ve found for them is we offer them screenings and we give them movies to sell at the screenings so they can actually make money for their organization.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s really nice.
David Burton: And they can get a little evening together and show the movie, get a discussion going – it always gets great discussions going.
Caryn Hartglass: And you give talks, as well?
David Burton: Yes we speak at schools, we speak to companies, we speak at churches. All over the place. It’s a lot easier if you are local in Florida; but it’s certainly possible if you’re anywhere else, too. Just contact us on line; you’ll see under ‘Contact Us’ button. ‘Robyn@ingreedientsmovie.com. She handles all of the interviews, speaking engagements, screenins and DVD sales.
Caryn Hartglass: We have, we just have a few more minutes left, but I want to end on a positive note. There have been lots of companies that have taken the initiative to improve their products and I should have made a note of which ones, but Triscuit – I think they don’t have partially hydrogenated vegetable oils anymore.
David Burton: No, they don’t.
Caryn Hartglass: And what about Ritz?
David Burton: Ritz –
Caryn Hartglass: You don’t have to know. Not sure –
David Burton: They were quite a culprit for quite a while; we’ve been having to look for an alternative.
Caryn Hartglass: And Oreo cookies –
David Burton: Oreo cookie – now that is a big segment in our film. The CEO of Ban TransFat.com sued Oreo because they had so much hydrogenated oil in them and they were marketing it as a health food. They removed it and that was the beginning of the banning. They removed the trans fats and started a whole movement.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s a good way to end. People are really making a difference. Thank you for your time this hour and for creating the great movie, Ingreedients. Go to the website, Ingreedientsmovie.com. Thank you David Burton, very much.
David Burton: Thank you very much for having us on and enjoy the wonderful song by Mr. Lennon.
Caryn Hartglass: We’re listening to Imagine right now. Thirty years since the death of John Lennon. Great lyrics. I’m Caryn Hartglass; you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Have a delicious week.
Transcribed by Doreen Morton, 4/5/2017