Mira Calton is a Certified Nutritionist and author of, “RICH FOOD POOR FOOD: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System.” She shares five tips to avoid GMOs and also gives 20 fruits and vegetables that should always be purchased organic. Nowadays, many food labels say “Natural.” The contents actually may not be as “natural” as you may think. Calton explains this, as well as what food coloring is also made of. There’s a lot of marketing going around about placenta pills. They seem healthy, but beware!
Mira Calton, CN, FAAIM, DCCN, CMS, CPFC, BCIH is a Licensed Certified Nutritionist, a Fellow of the American Association of Integrative Medicine, a Diplomate of the College of Clinical Nutrition, a Board Certified Micronutrient Specialist, Certified Personal Fitness Chef, and is Board Certified in Integrative Health. She holds a Diploma in Comprehensive Nutrition from Huntington College of Health Sciences, and has completed the Yale University School of Medicine’s OWCH (Online Weight Management Counseling for Healthcare Providers) program and sits on the American Board of Integrative Health (ABIH). Mira’s interest in the world of nutrition came by way of personal experience.
Prior to beginning her life in the nutritional spotlight, she owned and ran her own successful public relations firm in Manhattan specializing in high-end fashion, film and restaurant promotion. She traveled and lectured extensively throughout Canada and the United States to large corporate clients such as Johnson and Johnson, Price Waterhouse Coopers, CitiGroup and ING direct. However, her bustling career came to an abrupt halt when she was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis at the age of 30. No longer able to run the thriving public relations firm that she had worked so hard to build, Mira went on a mission outside of the traditional medical community to find an answer to her dismal diagnosis. Her drive and determination led her all the way to Orlando, Florida where she met nutritional guru, Jayson Calton. The two worked together to create a drug-free, micronutrient based program, which not only completely reversed Mira’s advanced osteoporosis, but also inspired them both to make the study of micronutrient deficiency the focus of their lives.
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Start of Interview with Mira Calton
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Mira Calton to the show. She is a nutritionist and author of Rich Food Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System. Mira welcome. How are you?
Mira Calton: Oh, I’m doing very well. Thanks for having me today.
Jason Hartman: Well, the pleasure is all mine. I like to give our guests a sense of geography, and you are located in Sarasota, Florida today. Beautiful place, by the way.
Mira Calton: Oh it is. The weather is perfect.
Jason Hartman: That’s good. Well, how did you come to write the book? I guess you became very interested in micronutrients, right?
Mira Calton: Absolutely. When I was 30, I was diagnosed with advanced Osteoporosis, which is very unheard of to have the bone density of an 80 year old at only 30 years of age. It led me on sort of a mission to try and figure out how to heal myself. Which is when I met my husband, who’s a doctor of nutrition. And we worked to basically reverse my bone disease in only two years. We found out really, what was so important in becoming healthy were those micronutrients, those vitamins, minerals and essential fats. And it didn’t matter if it was Osteoporosis, heart disease or high blood pressure. We really found that those things were just so important. So that’s why we have such a love of the micronutrients. It changed my life, and we’ve watched as it’s changed so many other people’s as well.
Jason Hartman: Now, distinguish… you say micronutrients specifically, but is there a difference between just nutrients or nutrition and micronutrients?
Mira Calton: Absolutely. Micronutrients is essentially in small amounts. And those are those vitamins, minerals, essential fats, things we’ve all heard of. Your calcium and vitamin D. But then there’s macronutrients. Those we need in bigger amounts, meaning macro, and that’s your fats, your proteins and your carbohydrates. And that’s what most people really think about when they talk about a diet. They’re really talking about the macronutrients. Our belief is that people are getting plenty of macronutrients; we’re not having a calorie shortage here in the US. We’re having a micronutrients shortage. We’re having a deficiency pandemic right now. 99% of all Americans are deficient in at least one vitamin or mineral.
Jason Hartman: Would it be fair to say these are like empty calories that most Americans are consuming? Would that be a sort of a good way to put it? Empty calories versus full calories?
Mira Calton: I’m going to say naked calories, because that was actually the title of our first book.
Jason Hartman: Oh okay.
Mira Calton: So there you go. Yes, naked calories. And those are things that have been highly processed or grown in poor, depleted soil. It’s those things that supply you with plenty of energy, plenty of calories, but very little nutrition. So Rich Food Poor Food is really that guide that’s going to tell you exactly how to find the richest or most packed with vitamins and minerals food in every single isle, from dairy through to desert.
Jason Hartman: I used to, I hate to say it, but for a large part of my life I had a lot of fast food junk, and now I eat pretty well. And one of the things I notice just anecdotally is that I was always hungry. It’s like I would eat and then in two hours I would want to eat again, rather than four or five hours later.
Mira Calton: And that’s because of what they’re putting in the food. They are manipulating us. They actually put in things like MSG, monosodium glutamate, which actually does that. We’ve all had Chinese food and then said 20 minutes later, wow I’m really hungry again, just like you were saying you have a lot, or used to. And that is because monosodium glutamate is often in the food, which spikes your insulin, then all of the sudden you crash and you’re hungry again in a very short period of time.
Jason Hartman: Well, MSG, that’s a preservative right?
Mira Calton: MSG is a preservative. It’s found in numerous products and it’s often under different names. So that’s what can be so tricky, and people don’t realize how often it’s actually an ingredient in the food that they’re eating.
Jason Hartman: Are they putting it in there purposely in terms of the way a bar might serve you salty pretzels and peanuts to make you thirsty and drink more? Or are they putting it in there just because it makes sense to put it in there as a preservative? Or is it more conspiratorial than that, I guess?
Mira Calton: I would say so, yes. These are food scientists. They are not chefs. These are people who are sitting around in white lab coats going “How can we make people eat more of our product?” and this is every single product on the market. When you buy something in a package, you should know that there’s a bunch of people sitting there tweaking the recipe until you get the maximum bliss point. That’s actually the phrase that they use. It’s a bliss point. It’s that point where you just want more and more and you can’t seem to put it down. And they try to teach algorithms on how to create this in food science.
Jason Hartman: Wow. But how do they know you’re going to eat more of their product rather than just more of someone else’s product? Well, maybe I’ll answer that myself. And feel free to add to this, but if they’re a giant food conglomerate, you’re probably going to eat something they sell anyway, right?
Mira Calton: Yeah, and most of them own so many of the different companies today. But actually these food scientists have gotten so very good that they can actually basically say, this person is not going to be able to even think about grabbing something else. Their brain is not even going to function that well. they do it so sneaky now. They actually do it, the food disappears and evaporates before chewing, very quickly in your mouth, it actually doesn’t send a signal to your brain that you actually ate. So you actually think that you haven’t actually put it in your mouth yet, so you’re going to take another bite. I mean it’s an incredible, incredible journey once you start to look at these ingredients and how they really mess with us and create over eating as a whole.
Jason Hartman: It is really shocking how over weight America is becoming. It’s mind boggling. Just anecdotally, again, living my own life 15, 20 years ago, people weren’t like this. I mean, what is going on out there?
Mira Calton: Yeah. Well we’re definitely having… it’s a combination of things. First of all, it’s that micronutrient deficiency. They did some studies about people who are micronutrient deficient or aren’t getting enough of their vitamins and minerals and they found out that if you are deficient in your essential micronutrients, you have an 80% better chance of being overweight or obese. Not a slight percentage better chance, you have an 80% better chance of being overweight or obese.
Jason Hartman: Can people solve that problem through supplementation, taking just vitamins, or do they have to get it from the food?
Mira Calton: Well, food first is fantastic. We are definitely food first people. But in our studies, what we’ve realized is that a lot of people just aren’t going to meet their sufficiency levels. Most of the foods have been stripped of them, like we said, naked calories. So even if you’re eating an apple, was that an apple that was covered in 42 pesticides causing your body to worry about detoxification using more of your minerals? Was it shipped over 11 hundred miles, which is what the average apple is shipped to your table? And every minute, every mile that your food travels, it loses micronutrients. So, even if you think you’re doing something good, chances are you’re not going to get them all. It’s an unfortunate situation. It doesn’t mean we don’t stop trying v it doesn’t mean we don’t look to our food first, but supplementation can be a great way to just make up whatever might be missing.
Jason Hartman: I want to get to a great little tool that you have. It’s this wallet card, the Fab 14 and the terrible 20, but before we get to that because I think it relates and maybe this will be a better way to get into this, this handy little food card you have on your website, which is fantastic and I want you to give out the web address to tell people where to get that. But talk to us about the GMO, the genetically modified organism, genetically modified food subject. Where do you stand on that?
Mira Calton: We don’t want them in your cart. I certainly don’t want them in your cart, in your mouth or anywhere near you. The problem is that they are just so abundant in the grocery store today. And unless you really have an education on GMOs you can make very simple mistakes. 80%, that’s 80% of all packaged foods in the US, contain genetically modified ingredients. Now a lot of people might be kind of aware of corn and soy, they’ve heard that those are commonly genetically modified. But you might not know the other things that you’re putting in there.
And that’s why we went into great detail in the book about just exactly which ingredients you really have to be careful of. And one that shocked us which is sugar. 55% of all the sugar in packaged foods now, when you see sugar on the label, you used to be able to think to yourself, well that’s sugarcane. That’s what it used to be. But now, because they can make it more inexpensively, they actually use sugar beets as sugar. And 95% of all sugar beets are genetically modified. So that means that 55% of the time, you see sugar on the label in the ingredients list, it is not the sugarcane you think it is. It is a genetically modified ingredient hiding in there that you probably wouldn’t even consider.
Jason Hartman: Okay, but I want to back way up from that. I want to take this from the airplane 40 thousand foot view. What is wrong with GMO?
Mira Calton: Okay. I would say that we don’t have a full understanding yet. I would say that no studies have been done on whether or not they are truly healthy for human beings. There have never been experiments done on human beings. We know that there have been studies done with animals and we know that the animals don’t fair very well.
For example, monarch butterflies which are an endangered species, died by the thousands when their favorite food milkweed was dusted, just dusted with GMO corn pollen. Now these butterflies weren’t even eating the GMO corn. They just got corn pollen and that was enough to kill them off. That’s really scary. So we just want to make sure, because we don’t know. There’s tons of studies. Female rats fed GMO soybeans give birth to stunted and sterile pups. What would the implication be if that actually is true of human beings as well? So we just do not have enough science on what happens to humans.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so I’m glad you’re saying that we don’t know. Because here’s what I don’t understand about it: look at up until maybe a year ago, I was very much in the camp of the I hate Monsanto camp, the GMO thing, who knows, it’s a big wild card… but I’ve heard a lot of questioning of the validity of these studies. I remember biology class in high school or science class in high school and biology in college, farmers have been genetically modifying crops for a long, long time. This is not a new thing. Granted, it’s more scientific nowadays and they’re much more precise about it. And they can do a lot more than they used to do. But making hybrid crops, that’s not new. That’s been going on for a long time, right?
Mira Calton: Well there’s a difference between hybrid and genetic modification.
Jason Hartman: Okay, good. Tell me.
Mira Calton: So, with hybrid things, those are some of the crops that we’ve seen like, goodness, a pear-plum or whatever. There’s a lot of fruits and stuff like that that you don’t have to be scared about. So that’s selective breeding. Those are a product of natural selective breeding and it’s not genetic engineering. So those things are perfectly safe. What isn’t so smart about genetic modification is they’re doing things that could never happen in nature. For example, you’re never going to mate in any way the DNA of a fish with a tomato. That is not something that is natural in any specific way. So that’s what’s so frightening about it. And essentially, we just don’t want to be the guinea pigs. I don’t want to be the guinea pig for a scientific experiment that is going on right now.
Jason Hartman: Well, Whole Foods just came out and said I think by 2018, they’re going to have labeling for GMO and they’re going to do that. California of course had that bill last year in the, I think it was the referendum, that said, or proposition, sorry. But I guess that failed, as I recall? That didn’t pass.
Mira Calton: That did fail. And that was because the people that were pro GMO put a lot of money into a lot of advertising…
Jason Hartman: Of course they did. They’ve got lobbyists and they’ve got lots of money to spend.
Mira Calton: Exactly. But there’s a lot of states now that are really moving forward with this. Vermont is one, I believe Hawaii is doing very well. So we are going to see this change come eventually.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so your take on the GMO is a wild card. You don’t know if it’s good or bad. You’re not saying for sure it’s bad, right? Or maybe you are. I don’t know.
Mira Calton: I’m saying that, from what I can see, what little information we have which is basically how it’s effecting animals, I can see that it’s not a good thing. They don’t do well with it, so I don’t know why we would. A really great rule of thumb is, because we’ve traveled all around the world, is if an animal will eat something, it’s probably okay to eat. They’ve done all these studies where they’ve actually put GMO ingredients, GMO foods in front of animals, they will always, always walk away. They will choose the non GMO counterpart.
Jason Hartman: And are these peer reviewed studies? The studies of the mice or the rats that you mentioned, the animals walking away from the food, or do they have like real validity in the scientific community?
Mira Calton: The ones with the animals do with the rats and stuff like that. Those all do, absolutely. They have rats feeding GMO, they have liver atrophy, there’s all sorts of studies. And we just don’t, because we haven’t given them to humans, we can’t have studies on that. And thank god we don’t have studies on that, because if it ended up just as bad, then there’d be somebody to blame. But the best rule of thumb is if it’s not something that we know is safe, why was it ever allowed in the first place?
Jason Hartman: Well, I’ll tell you. So just playing devil’s advocate for one more moment and then we’ll get off this topic, I promise because I want to ask you about some other stuff.
Mira Calton: No problem.
Jason Hartman: But back in the 70s, I’ve read articles about how things were in the 70s. I’ve watched 70s movies, and there was a big survivalist movement back then and a big movement of people concerned with global famine, and food shortages and scarcity, and oh my gosh the world can’t even handle 3 billion people, now we’re at 7 billion. There was a lot of fear about that. And seemingly for good reason at the time. And now, the world mostly is being fed. And many say in defense of modern corporatized farming is that GMO and putting corn syrup into everything… I’m not saying this is good. But modern agriculture. People are being fed that may have starved otherwise or food might be radically expensive.
Mira Calton: I know exactly what you’re talking about because we’ve looked at that as well, and people do say that it came out of a place of fear. But the problem with fear is it doesn’t allow people to look at things very clearly at the time. What they’ve also figured out is that they’re also saying we couldn’t grow enough. But we’ve actually figured out that organic farming can grow just as much, if not more in years of drought, than regular farming. So a lot of times we’ve just sort of jumped the gun on this and said, let’s just pass it because it might not be safe but we don’t know yet.
But the problem is we should have never let that happen in the first place. You wouldn’t do surgery that you didn’t know was safe on somebody if you didn’t know how to do it. Basically, we should have taken a little more time and gotten some real understanding of what these things are because we took them and made them so prevalent. I mean, they’re in almost everything we eat.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so that’s an interesting point you just made. You said that organic farming can be just as efficient as the widely used corporate farming techniques which are objectionable to many people. Is it just a lot more expensive? Why wouldn’t the companies grow everything organically if it’s just as efficient?
Mira Calton: I think over time they will. This is a recent Rodale study at the Rodale institute. And they actually found that it was just as cost effective. I think it’s just going to take time to switch things over. We also have a lot of young farmers who want to be organic and they make it very, very difficult and very expensive for them to jump through these hoops.
Jason Hartman: Because of the regulation to have the certified organic, right?
Mira Calton: Exactly. So a lot of people are growing organic who can’t label themselves that way just due to the expense. But yeah, all the studies that they did, they actually did it with a huge study. I think a 16 year study that Rodale did on this. And not only was it less expensive, it was equally as expensive, the yield was just as big, and in years of drought I think the yield was like 30% more. You have a lot actually.
Jason Hartman: Tell us about the 20 fruits and vegetables that should always be purchased organically.
Mira Calton: Oh those are the terrible 20. We don’t like those guys. What we do, we took two very popular lists. One is by the EWG which is the environmental working group. They look every year at rich fruits and vegetables, which produce carries the biggest risk of heavy pesticide residue. But that wasn’t enough, because we were like, that’s going to save us from pesticides but it’s not going to say anything to the consumer about genetically modified organisms. So what we did was we also took the fruits and the vegetables that had been genetically modified and put those two lists together and came up with the terrible 20. The terrible 20 is a list of fruits and vegetables that you should always buy organic for those two reasons, because they have a high risk of GMO and pesticide residue.
And the scary thing is, these are the things most people feed their children. It’s horrible. But its apples and peaches and strawberries and grapes and blueberries… it’s a lot of those things. When you go out to a restaurant and they give you a side of vegetables, what do they normally give you? They give you zucchini, the yellow squash and sweet corn because they’re so inexpensive. The reason they’re so inexpensive, people should know, is because they’re genetically modified.
Jason Hartman: And just a question though, is it better to have that GMO vegetable or fruit or pass completely? Say you really don’t have the choice, that’s all the restaurant has, what are you better off doing?
Mira Calton: I personally can generally find something else to opt to. If in one meal you’re not going to get enough carbohydrates form a vegetable source, it’s not going to be the end of your life. You’re not going to get incredibly sick that day, so for me I would just opt not to. Also it’s great to also let your waiters know and let the managers know that you’d like to continue to be a customer and that you’d really love it if they’d also give you another option. Most restaurants, this is about education. This is about the consumers becoming educated and then sharing that knowledge. We’re starting a rich food revolution. We want the consumer to understand that if they go to a restaurant that doesn’t give them another option, it is their pleasure to then say to the manager, I want another vegetable option. Can you put in that request so that in the future there will be? If enough people start asking these things, we will see real change here in America.
Jason Hartman: Well that’s the way a lot of these start is a grass roots consumer just requesting things and that’s the wonderful thing about capitalism. The entrepreneur that owns the restaurant, they want to please their customers, so there you go.
Mira Calton: Absolutely. And grocery stores are the same way. We actually created what we called the rich food request list at our website, and what it is is the UPC code for every single item that we recommended throughout the entire book. Because we figure if you find something in here that you want to have at your grocery store and they don’t offer it, print off the request sheet, circle the item and give it to your store. It’s the same thing. It’s capitalism. Supply and demand; we just want people to request these things and sooner or later the stores will start listening.
Jason Hartman: Okay. Talk to us for a moment about natural. These marketers are so tricky with their wording of things. You mentioned the thing about sugar a few minutes ago. The word natural, has that been completely bastardized and is it very misleading?
Mira Calton: They’ve done studies and producers found out that people like the word natural more than any other word on the package. So therefore you’re going to be seeing it a lot. And there’s certain things that it means and consumers need to know that. But there’s a lot of things that it doesn’t mean. So what it means is that it can’t contain any synthetic or artificial ingredients. And [0:21:34.7] processed, but this is what you don’t know. It can still have some things that we don’t really like. It can have high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, modified food starch, it could have hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, genetic engineering, and sewage sludge. People don’t realize that just because something is natural, doesn’t mean you want to eat it.
Jason Hartman: Yeah. Well, I agree. Hemlock is natural and that’s poisonous.
Mira Calton: Exactly. So you wouldn’t necessarily do that, would you?
Jason Hartman: Right.
Mira Calton: So that’s one of the things we call a misleading misfit. It’s one of those words that customers will see on the front of packages and it can be very misleading. There’s basically three parts to every package and the front would be called the billboard. Because that’s the place where all the manufacturers slap on whatever words they think you like. And that’s what they try to sell you on, is that front billboard.
Jason Hartman: And then there’s the label; the government required labeling.
Mira Calton: That’s the nutrition facts. Yeah, that’s going to tell you what the percentages are of fats and carbohydrates and proteins but that’s really where that one ends. So if you’re a low fat dieter, you look for low fat numbers and if you’re a low card dieter you look for low carb numbers. But that doesn’t really tell you what’s inside the box or the bag. Now, where we want you to look, is we want you to look in the ingredient list. That’s the last bastion of hope for anyone who is health conscious. Because that’s where you’re really going to find out what they put in that product.
Jason Hartman: The ingredient list. Okay, so any tips on looking at that?
Mira Calton: Well, we have 150 different poor food ingredients that we don’t allow into any of our rich food choices. You don’t want to see sugar; you don’t want to see added sugar. We are getting enough sugar in this world, that you don’t want to have to add it to a product. Even if it is cane sugar. Wherever the source, it’s going to cause diabetes, weight gain and all these other things.
We often say that everything in our book is wheat free. There’s a lot of people that are gluten intolerant and wheat has a lot of negative side effects and an addictive nature. So we have left wheat out of our book as well. And basically we teach you how to read all of the other words that you might not know. There’s a lot of words on there that people have no idea what they mean, and some of them are banned in other countries. There’s a lot of dangerous things hiding in these packages.
Jason Hartman: No doubt about that. The population is… it’s just unbelievable how people are just killing themselves with every bite nowadays. It’s just amazing. Not just food, but a bunch of other ways as well. What are placenta pills?
Mira Calton: Oh goodness. Well that was one of those crazes. We probably don’t look at any of those things as possibly being things that we really want people to start taking part in. Really, it should be real food, not these modern fads that a lot of people are going through with these different diets.
Jason Hartman: So what is that though? I’ve never heard of it.
Mira Calton: It’s the placenta of their baby.
Jason Hartman: And they turn it into pills?
Mira Calton: Yes.
Jason Hartman: Oh my gosh, that’s so strange.
Mira Calton: Yeah that’s not something that we’d recommend.
Jason Hartman: Okay, alright.
Mira Calton: They do that so they won’t have post-pardon depression, is the thought process. But basically what they do is they take a vitamin and they put a whole bunch of stuff in it and then they take the placenta. Really, the placenta is meant to detoxify the mother and the child. It’s not meant to then be eaten as a pill later on.
Jason Hartman: Okay. Crazy. I’ve never heard of that. Last subject I want to just ask you about, and that is food coloring. We just had Saint Patrick’s day and hopefully people didn’t drink green beer. I’m sure that coloring in the beer can’t be good for you and I’m sure all these food colorings, they have these funny numbers for them, color number 42 or whatever. This has just got to be terrible stuff, right?
Mira Calton: Well, it’s made from coal tar.
Jason Hartman: Coal tar. Great.
Mira Calton: That’s basically to start off where comes from. We used to use things like beet and paprika and saffron for yellow, but that became uncool I guess and we started to make these different coal tar coloring agents. Five of them are actually banned in other countries because of the fact that they’ve been linked to cancer, they’re linked to ADHD or attention deficit disorder in children, and also human gene mutation. So you want to steer clear of yellow 5, yellow 6, blue 1, blue 2, and red 40. Those are really the most dangerous ones. We would tell you to get rid of all of them. But they put them in there because, again, they can make you eat more of their food if your food is brightly colored.
Jason Hartman: Unbelievable. Yeah.
Mira Calton: And it works.
Jason Hartman: Yeah I believe it. Well give out your website if you would, and just any parting thoughts that you have that maybe we didn’t cover that you want people to know.
Mira Calton: Sure. Our website is CaltonNutrition.com. The book is Rich Food Poor Food; it’s on Amazon, it’s on Barnes & Noble, it’s everywhere, it’s in the stores. We’re going to be in 7,000 grocery stores nationwide. The website has coupons for a lot of the rich food products that we have in the book because we wanted to make sure that it was budget friendly as well as it being safe and healthier. And I think that pretty much covers everything.
Basically what we want people to understand is they’ve voting with their dollars. Every time you buy something you are voting and saying that you want that product to be continued and sold. Just make sure you’re voting for the right foods and stop voting for things that you don’t want to see on store shelves anymore.
Jason Hartman: Very good points. By the way, I should mention: four and a half stars on Amazon.com with 58 reviews, so it looks like the book is being well received. Congratulations on that, and Mira thank you so much for joining us today. This has been a very interesting discussion.
Mira Calton: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Narrator: Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show. Protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show, which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search “Jason Hartman” on iTunes. This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own, and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional. Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. (Image: Flickr | rfduck)
Transcribed by Ralph