Monday, April 21, 2014
An open letter to Phyllis (she isn't dead yet?) Schlafly from a future leader of America! (Excerpt follows, full text available in link.)
Dear Ms. Schlafly,
I’m a teenage girl who has been reading about you quite a bit in the news lately. It seems to me that you have absolutely no idea what women of my generation are all about. I can understand that because I often deal with older people who think that their generation is superior and my generation is the worst thing ever just because we’re different. Really though, I think since you want to be all up in the public eye, it would really do you a lot of good to understand things from the perspective of one of the young women who will be taking over this country soon.
I’ve been thinking about how I can explain what feminism means to my generation in a way you might not have thought of before. I wanted to try to work from something we have in common, and it’s been kind of hard to find something I have in common with you. Then, it came to me. I bet you wear a bra.
I was reading recently about a company called Yellowberry that was started by a young woman because she took her younger sister bra shopping and her sister didn’t like any of the choices. None of the bras fit her, and she felt the selections were too sexual. So she started a line of bras so that girls would have more options. As for myself, I shop at Victoria’s Secret. It’s not because I want to be sexy or have any grand delusions of looking like one of their models. I shop there because they have different styles of bras so I can find something I think is pretty that fits me. I don’t know where you shop for your bras, but I bet you have a favorite one. I bet you have that one bra that’s comfortable and goes with just about everything. I bet the last thing you were thinking about when you bought that bra was what a man would think about it.
A link to the full article:
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
From "Food Democracy Now!":
After a 6-month investigation into the top shareholders of Monsanto, Food Democracy Now! has learned that the largest shareholders of Monsanto stock are massive institutional investors. They are some of the world’s largest and most popular mutual funds – names like Vanguard, Fidelity and State Street.
This is where millions of Americans invest their hard earned money hoping to be able to retire one day – and they are the top shareholders for Monsanto, giving it the capital and respectability it needs to continue its corporate bullying of farmers and our democracy. Even worse, if you haven’t checked, Monsanto could be hiding in your 401K or pension fund as well.
Harmful and deceitful tobacco corporations such as Philip Morris and RJR Reynolds do not pass the smell test for social responsible investing; neither should Monsanto.
Saturday, March 08, 2014
There's a petition at Moms Rising that could use a few more signatures:
The text reads:
Dear Daniel S. Schwartz, CEO Burger King and Emil Brolick, CEO Wendy’s:
We, the undersigned, write to ask Burger King and Wendy's to strengthen its commitment to providing children with healthy meal options, including by removing soda and other sugary beverages from your children’s menu.
Families eat out almost twice as often as they did in the 1970s, with children consuming about a quarter of their calories at fast-food and other restaurants.Given the growing role of restaurant foods in children’s diets and the high rates of childhood obesity, restaurants should do more to help children eat better.
Soda and other sugary drinks may promote obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the single largest source of sugar in children’s diets, providing nearly half of their added sugars intake. Drinking just one additional sugary drink every day increases a child’s odds of becoming obese. With one in three children overweight or obese in the United States, it no longer makes sense to include sugary beverages in restaurant meals for young children.
We encourage you to remove soda and other sugary drinks from your children’s menu. We look forward to your response.
Monday, March 03, 2014
Yes. This is very, very long. I'm putting this here so I can link to it for anyone who's interested in trying the FlyLady system and is uncomfortable "just jumping in" where she is on any given day without understanding the bigger picture. Without further ado, FlyLady 101!
While FlyLady has some wonderful ideas, her confusing email system makes it sometimes a little difficult to just “jump in where we are”, as she says.
Marla Cilley had always been a disorganized mess until she had an epiphany in January 1999. Her dear husband had politely asked her if she could please just keep one small spot in their kitchen sink empty, so he could wash his coffee cup before he left for work. Feeling guilty, she readily agreed, but decided to go one step further and vowed to keep the ENTIRE sink empty and clean as much of the time as possible. And thus was born the Shiny Sink, and FlyLady!
What she discovered next was pretty amazing. Once she started making the Shiny Sink a priority, KEEPING it shiny eventually became a habit. It took her a whole month to get the habit down pat, but get it down she did.
The Shiny Sink gave her a small sense of accomplishment and pride every day. Even if her day had gone badly and the rest of the house was a mess, at least one spot was always reliably clean and ready for use.
And then she discovered something interesting. The “clean” seemed to spread. Even though all she had committed to was keeping her sink shiny, she found that little by little she was keeping more and more of the kitchen tidy and clean – one countertop, one cabinet, one “hotspot” at a time. The shiny sink was an “anchor habit”.
If you have time, check out Marla's December 1999 message about her discoveries that year. It was originally posted to the “She's In Touch” online forum.
If you don't have the time, this paragraph near the end sums up her philosophy pretty well:
“By telling this story, I hope that I can impress upon you that this is not an overnight fix. We have been sidetracked all of our lives. We have to take one habit at a time and build on what is working. What worked for me may have to be altered to fit your family, but there are a few things that will remain the same. You have to get up and get dressed every day and do your morning routine and your before-bed routine, all the while keeping your kitchen clean and your sink shiny. I want for you what Pam and Peggy’s system has given to me: peace of mind, pride in my home, and a passion for living.”
So, how do you “do” FlyLady?
Here is the Reader's Digest Condensed Version of her system.
1) Every single day you are required to *SHINE YOUR SINK*. Here are the FlyLady instructions for how to deep-clean virtually every kind of sink imaginable. You'll probably only need to be this thorough the first time around. After that, maintaining a Shiny Sink daily usually just means to empty it, rinse it, and wipe it dry at the end of the day:
(If you don't have a kitchen sink, say, because you live in a dorm room or an efficiency apartment, then your “kitchen sink” is probably your bed, so make it up every single day. The idea is that, in most homes the kitchen sink is the pivot point for the whole house, where food is prepared and cooked and cleaned up after. The pivot point of a bedroom or traditional dorm room is the bed.)
2) *DE-CLUTTER* something for 15 minutes every single day. If you have a lot of time available, then you might want to do several 15 minute sessions a day, but try to NEVER take out more stuff at one time than you can deal with in 15 minutes. Believe me, 15 minutes is a surprisingly long time! When you de-clutter you'll find that you have to make decisions on whether or not to keep things or to set them free. Here's a link to Marla's FLYing Lesson on Decluttering:
3) If you plan to do anything at all at home for the day other than loaf and veg out, then *GET DRESSED TO SHOES*. That means shower, dress, and put on actual shoes (not slippers). Get dressed well enough to be able to dash out of the house on a minute's notice and look just fine. This applies even if you're feeling a little under the weather (unless you're flat on your back with the flu or some other malady). If you just have a cold or some mild aches and pains then dress like it's a normal day.
4) *TAKE REGULAR BREAKS*! All work and no play is totally not the FlyLady way! The general rule of thumb is to take a minimum of 15 minutes out of every hour on a break – having some tea, playing with your kids, checking your SparkMail, whatever. This is another great place where your timer comes in handy!
OK. That's it for the main points! Tomorrow, some of the more confusing bits of the system, and whether or not you should bother with them.
The psychological cornerstones of FLYing are:
~ Routines and habits
~ Short but focused, non-negotiable time commitments
~ Pride in your results
And the organizational cornerstones are:
~ Routines and habits
~ Short but focused, non-negotiable time commitments
~ Use your timer!
In FlyLady's world, a routine is not a bad or negative thing. Routines help you get things done without wasting much conscious thought on them. The word “routine” simply means “little route” - a quick way to get from point A to point B.
Now, on to some of the more confusing aspects of the FlyLady system.
FlyLady breaks the house into 5 monthly zones. When you first start FLYing these are the areas where you will focus your de-cluttering on a given week. Then, once you've decluttered most of your space (bear in mind that this could take months!) you will be able to do more detailed cleaning in each weekly Zone, and never need to do Spring Cleaning again.
“But Woubbie, there aren't 5 whole weeks in the month, only 4 weeks plus a few days!” Yup, I said it was confusing.
Zones all begin on Sundays, except for Zone 1.
Zone 1 starts on the first day of any particular month and runs until Saturday of that week. That makes the length of the Zone really variable – it can last as little as 1 day (if the first of the month is a Saturday) or as long as 7 (if the first of the month is a Sunday. Zone 1 covers the Entrance, Front Porch, and Dining Room.
Zone 2 is usually the first full week of the month. Zone 2 is the kitchen.
Zone 3 is normally the second full week of the month, and is the main bathroom plus one other room (of your choice – kids' room, craft room, office, gym, etc).
Zone 4 is usually the third full week of the month and is the master bedroom.
Zone 5 is often very short, depending on what day of the week the month started on and is the living room.
FlyLady always reminds you to adapt her system to fit your lifestyle. If you barely use your kitchen, but your living room is a disaster area, then feel free to adjust her zones accordingly.
January 2014 starts on a Wednesday, so Zone 1 de-cluttering lasts from Wednesday the 1st through Saturday the 4th. Zone 2 starts on the 5th, Zone 3 starts on the 12th, Zone 4 starts on the 19th, and Zone 5 has a whopping 6 days, starting on the 26th.
On to a few more potentially confusing FlyLadyisms.
The most powerful pieces of the system are the Before-Bed and the Morning Routines. (Some people also have an afternoon routine as well.)
The Before-Bed Routine is the linchpin of the day. It's not meant to be done AT BEDTIME; in fact you should probably start it right after dinner. It consists at a minimum of:
~ Policing your “hotspots” - places that just always seem to accumulate “stuff”.
~ Tidying up the kitchen and shining the sink (including drying it, just like the restaurants do) once you're done using it for the day. (This is a great dis-incentive for evening snackers! If you make a mess you have to clean it all up again!)
~ Checking your calendar for tomorrow.
~ Picking out your clothes for tomorrow.
You can add any critical task (think “set coffee-maker”, “pack lunches”, etc.) that will make your morning run smoother. Don't make it too complicated or you won't do it all!
The Morning Routine sets the tone for the whole day. When you first get up:
~ Make your bed as soon as you're done with it (unless someone else is still in it!)
~ Get dressed to shoes (take a shower or bath first if you're a morning bather)
~ “Swish” the toilet and “swipe” the bathroom sink (Just what it sounds like – run the bowl brush around the bowl and wipe off the sink/counter. You're not disinfecting, just tidying.)
Those are the essentials, regardless of whether you work, go to school, are retired, work shifts, etc. Add any essentials to your list that will make your day easier. I usually fold a load of laundry and put it away if there's time (it only takes 5 minutes or less, no really, I swear!)
If you DO work shifts or have unusual hours or work from home, then adapt the routines to YOUR clock. Don't overthink the system too much. I mentioned that some folks also have an afternoon routine, and I'm one. I pick up the mail on the way home, then open it in the kitchen NEXT TO THE GARBAGE CAN. Then I make dinner, put away groceries that I picked up on the way home, get my coffee-maker set for the next day, and check in with the boys.
“Hey, Woubbie, speaking of laundry, how DO you get the laundry done on the FlyLady system?”
I'll get to that in a minute, in the meantime, why not take a break and tackle FlyLady Challenge Number One:
1) Shine Your Sink!
The very first thing a new FlyBaby needs to do is to shine the kitchen sink. The hub of most homes is the kitchen. If the kitchen is a mess, so, usually, is the rest of the house. If you haven't already done that, go do it now:
One daily goal from now on is to keep your kitchen sink ready for action at all times. This doesn't mean you shouldn't ever leave dirty dishes in the sink, it just means that you don't let them sit for long. Most things only need 15 minutes of soaking at most. (You would think that if you had a dishwasher then the shiny sink thing would be really easy, but a lot of people don't put their clean dishes away in order to have room for the dirty ones to go in! Remember, the dishwasher is not a storage cabinet! More on that next week during Zone 2: Kitchen week.)
Challenge Two: Working up your Before Bed Routine
Take a 15 minute break some time today, sit down with a relaxing beverage, and think about your Before Bed Routine. At the minimum you should:
Check your calendar for tomorrow.
Pick out your clothes for tomorrow.
Shine your sink so it looks great when you first see it in the morning.
The rest of the list is up to you. You might need to pack your lunch or get a crock pot set up for tomorrow's dinner. You might need to check with your kids to make sure THEY have their stuff ready for tomorrow. Maybe you'd like to set the table for breakfast. You can also “police your “hotspots” - places that just always seem to accumulate “stuff”. You certainly can set aside time for self-care, renewal, and relaxation – reading, meditation, prayer, socializing with your family.
Write it down or type it out. It doesn't have to be fancy. A post-it note works just fine. Then keep it somewhere where you'll see it every day as a reminder.
Working up your Morning Routine:
Take a 15 minute break some time today, sit down with a relaxing beverage, and think about your Morning Routine. At the minimum you should:
Make your bed unless someone's in it
Get dressed to shoes
Check your calendar for the day
Swish and swipe your bathroom
The rest of the list is up to you. FlyLady does her laundry load first thing in the morning. You could take your meds or vitamins, get your dinner into the crockpot,
Write it down or type it out. It doesn't have to be fancy. A post-it note works just fine. Then keep it somewhere where you'll see it every day as a reminder.
Some FlyLady lingo: Missions
FlyLady only sends out Missions on Monday through Friday. Why? Because part of her point is that you shouldn't need to spend all weekend doing routine cleaning and laundry.
A mission is a mini-challenge that generally takes 15 minutes or less. They're sometimes fun (sofa-diving for loose change and missing pens) and sometimes not (scrubbing the base of the bathroom faucet with a toothbrush and toothpaste).
And finally, on to a big one: Climbing Mount Washmore!
There are 5 parts to laundry: Sort...Wash...Dry...Fold or Hang...Put Away.
Folks can get stuck at any or every one of those steps, but the most common bottlenecks are the last two. More on those in a bit.
How to conquer Mount Washmore? There are two simple routines:
1) Make sorting easier by putting a laundry basket in the place where each person doffs their clothes. Most often that means one (or two, if you sort lights from darks) in each person's closet, but you might also need one in the bathroom.
2) If you own a washer and dryer, do one complete load every single day as part of your routines; if you use a laundromat then designate one day out of the week as laundry day and DO IT LIKE IT'S YOUR JOB, cause it is! (If you have a large household you probably need to do two loads or more a day. Schedule them accordingly.)
Decide the optimal time/s to start a load (this was always part of my afternoon-come-home-from-work routine). Grab any basket that is full and do it. By “do” FlyLady means to complete all 5 steps.
If you're home most of the day then you can just start a load from scratch, set your timer two times, (once to remind you to put the load in the dryer and once to remind you to go get the load) and then fold it and put it away.
If you work or go to school during the day you don't have to follow a single load through all 5 steps. In our house “doing a load” means today's load will get washed, yesterday's load will get dried, and the load from two days ago will come upstairs for folding and putting away.
Ah, the “putting away” step! Here's the secret!
If you have trouble getting your clothes put away there is one likely cause: you have too much stuff. Your closets are crammed and your drawers are so full that you skin your knuckles trying to shove those folded t shirts in there.
The solution to this logjam is regular decluttering.
What size are you currently? Those are the only clothes that should be hanging in your closet and lying in your drawers. If you choose to keep clothes that are too big or too small for you they should be stored somewhere else. Your closet is supposed to be a tool for daily use, not a vault for long term storage.
Don't make a huge deal out of this, simply set your timer for 5 minutes and pull out a few things that you haven't worn in a while and interrogate them:
“Do I love you? Do you make me look my best? Do you fit me? Are you shabby and worn out? Do you “go” with anything else I own?”
The answers to those questions will determine if the item deserves a spot in your closet or dresser. Toss the shabby stuff, store or donate the odd-size stuff, and donate or toss the unlovely things.
When the timer goes off, quit, and put the culled items where they belong – trash in the trash, donations in a bag or bin to go to your car, storage items to the storage location of your choice. (Where do you put your seasonal clothing, for instance?)
As for the donations, do what FlyLady says for ALL donation items, put them straight into a trash bag, even if it's only 2 items, then seal it and take it to the car.
Do this five minute “fifth degree” daily until there's nothing but good stuff in your closet! Then pause to be grateful for your abundance!
If you're way behind on laundry at the moment you can certainly do an all day laundry marathon to get caught up, but remember that if you don't do the decluttering and routinizing on a daily basis you'll be back to square one in a few weeks. Five minutes a day of decluttering and about five minutes a day total per load. (I've timed myself, and seven minutes is all it takes for me to take a presorted load down two flights, swap it out, bring it up two flights, and put it away.
So, hopefully by now you're getting a feel for the system.
Most of what she reminds us to do is to simply FOCUS on specific areas so we don't get sidetracked, and learn to pick up after ourselves and our family members as a matter of ROUTINE. Focus and Routine. Powerful stuff.
One of the reasons I admire her system so much is that it applies to all areas of life as well. Focus on your dietary needs and make good eating a routine instead of an exception, and you've solved half of your health and wellness issues. Focus on your financial challenges and make good management a routine and you've solved half of your fiscal issues.
So, the rest of this post is a recap to give you a bird's eye view of FLYing. (Nice image, no?)
Focus on reinforcing one good MAJOR HABIT. January is the Shiny Sink, February is Decluttering for 15 minutes every day, March is Getting Dressed to Shoes, and so on.
Focus on taking care of one area/ZONE of your house. Give it extra attention.
Focus on building routines specific to you and your house so that housekeeping becomes simple and automatic.
FlyLady also gives each day of the week a special emphasis. Mind you, these are HER priorities – your mileage may vary.
Monday: Weekly “Home Blessing” Hour (I'll talk about that in tomorrow's post.)
Tuesday: Plan and Play Day
Wednesday: Anti-Procrastination Day (my favorite!)
Thursday: Errand Day
Friday: Declutter Your Purse and Car Day, as well as Date Night
Saturday: (Family) Fun Day
Sunday: Renew Your Spirit Day
She has some Seasonal things you can add as well, but they're not essential to the overall system (Cruising Through the Holidays is a great way to get set for November and December's challenges. Wish I'd had time to get on board this year. Would have saved me a lot of irritation.)
Next bit of lingo: Weekly Home Blessing Hour!
FlyLady does hers on Monday, but that doesn't work for a lot of folks who work outside the house, so pick the day that suits you best. (I do mine on Saturday cause it just works better then.)
Doing the Home Blessing kind of assumes that you've done all the major picking up around the house for the week. If your house is still in chaos don't get too worked up about doing this or not. Just keep working at decluttering for now.
Here's FlyLady's list of what needs to be done:
Polish mirrors and doors
Empty all trash
When you do your Weekly Home Blessing, set a timer and spend only 10 minutes per item on the list. When the timer goes off, stop and to the next item. Anything is better than nothing!
If you cannot join FlyLady on Monday for your Weekly Home Blessing, set an appointment for yourself on another day and stick to it. If you are a working FlyBaby, try doing a few tasks in the morning and a few when you get home.
“Housework done incorrectly will still bless your family. It may not be done the way your momma taught you, but it will be done. This will make your home shine, and you will smile. I am so proud of you for blessing your home!” – FlyLady
Here's another Flyism:
“You are NOT behind, just jump in where we are!”
So if you missed a day, sure, you COULD go back and read over the reminder, but you don't have to. No need to worry about catching up on every last mission or detail because it all comes back around next month!
This mental attitude applies to a whole lot of things in life, including getting healthy. You don't need to wait until you can afford a gym membership to get started, just start! And when you fall off the wagon – whether the FlyLady wagon or the health and wellness wagon, just jump right back on, don't try to “catch up”, or wait until just the right day. That's just perfectionism rearing its ugly head.
The next subject is The Control Journal. If you're a perfectionistic procrastinator like me you just envisioned a beautiful bound book with all your daily routines written down in almost calligraphic perfection. One that you'll never write in because you don't want to ruin it!
That's why FlyLady tells you to just get a three ring binder (preferably an inexpensive one), some sheet protectors, some binder paper or copier paper with holes punched, some dividers, a zippered pouch, and some basic office supplies: post-its, pens and pencils, stamps, a glue stick, etc.
Don't worry about it being perfect. Initially it's just a place to record your routines. As time goes on you'll either find that you keep expanding it until it becomes the encyclopedia for your home, or you stop keeping it at all. (I've never had much use for it, so my current one is about 2 or 3 years out of date. But some people swear by them.) If you find it useful there is plenty of time to upgrade and make it as pretty and “you” as you like. Here's her description:
“The Control Journal is your own personal manual for listing and keeping track of your routines. You can use a notebook, a binder, or even a scrapbook, it doesn’t matter — it just has to work for you. You may even want to divide it into two or more books: one that you leave at home, the other that you take with you when shopping, etc. FlyLady uses a notebook with plastic sheet protectors so she can use a dry-erase marker to check off the completed items. She also color codes each section and the zones so they are easy to find.”
“Make your journal special for you; think of it as a positive thing. FlyLady has a zippered pouch for family pictures. She also carries stamps, post-it notes, change, paper clips, money, her credit cards, drivers license, library cards, etc. in the pouch. On the back side of FlyLady’s journal, she has phone numbers for her husband in case of an emergency and a very special poem that her husband read to her.”
“You cannot build a control journal overnight. It takes a while, and even when you think it is done, you will find that you may change your routines once in a while to make them better and more efficient. Go slow — build a control journal that works for you! These are 15 steps to help you build your own control journal. Work on only one at a time; they don’t necessary need to be done in the order given. Work on the section that interests you today.”
Control Journal, Step 2
OK. First step was to gather some office supplies together in a binder. Today you can start filling in some pages. Here's some of what goes in a typical Control Journal:
~ Daily routines and reminders – this is where you list all your daily routines (Morning Routine, Afternoon Routine, Before-Bed routine, etc.)
~ Basic Weekly Plan – this is where you put your weekly appointments with yourself! If you don’t know what a basic weekly plan is, visit the “Basic Weekly Plan” section in the FLYing Lesson for Routines. For this section, you’ll need a sheet of paper labeled for each day of the week.
~ Menus and grocery list – this is where you’ll plan your menus for the week as well as the grocery lists you’ll need for each meal
~ Address Book – this is a section for contact information of friends, family, businesses you use, etc.
~ Personal section – this is where your happiness file and things about you go!
~ Emergency numbers – doctors, police department, schools, etc.
Then, have some additional dividers for your own personal sections.
OK, that's it for now. I have to admit that my binder doesn't look much like this one, and that's fine. The point of a Control Journal is to have a place to put all your to-do lists and references in one place, and to make it personalized so it actually gets used. The one I made that was just like FlyLady's sits in my drawer, unused. The one I threw together gets pulled out several times a week. Mine has bills and paystubs, and passwords and remodeling info, etc. Works for me!
Control Journal: Pantry List
The next section you’ll be creating for your control journal is your Perpetual Pantry List. This is the list of foods you generally keep stocked in your home. Do not go out and buy all the things on your pantry list at once; it takes months to build up a pantry. Slowly buy your supplies over time, starting with those you use the most.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
My sister brought this up at dinner on Sunday (my steak was not quite as rare as I like!), so I decided to read up on it. Just thought it was kinda interesting reading for all of us bad, bad meat eaters. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic. I'm noshing on a salad right now.)
From the Today I Found Out website:
The Red Juice in Raw Red Meat is Not Blood
Daven Hiskey April 20, 2010
Today I Found Out the red juice in raw red meat is not blood. Nearly all blood is removed from meat during slaughter, which is also why you don’t see blood in raw “white meat”; only an extremely small amount of blood remains within the muscle tissue when you get it from the store.
So what is that red liquid you are seeing in red meat? Red meats, such as beef, are composed of quite a bit of water. This water, mixed with a protein called myoglobin, ends up comprising most of that red liquid.
In fact, red meat is distinguished from white meat primarily based on the levels of myoglobin in the meat. The more myoglobin, the redder the meat. Thus most animals, such as mammals, with a high amount of myoglobin, are considered “red meat”, while animals with low levels of myoglobin, like most poultry, or no myoglobin, like some sea-life, are considered “white meat”.
Myoglobin is a protein, that stores oxygen in muscle cells, very similar to its cousin, hemoglobin, that stores oxygen in red blood cells. This is necessary for muscles which need immediate oxygen for energy during frequent, continual usage. Myoglobin is highly pigmented, specifically red; so the more myoglobin, the redder the meat will look and the darker it will get when you cook it.
This darkening effect of the meat when you cook it is also due to the myoglobin; or more specifically, the charge of the iron atom in myoglobin. When the meat is cooked, the iron atom moves from a +2 oxidation state to a +3 oxidation state, having lost an electron. The technical details aren’t important here, though if you want them, read the “Bonus factoids” section, but the bottom line is that this ends up causing the meat to turn from pinkish-red to brown.
It is possible for meat to remain pinkish-red all through the cooking if it has been exposed to nitrites. It is even possible for packagers, through artificial means, to keep the meat looking pink, even after it has spoiled, by binding a molecule of carbon monoxide to produce metmyoglobin. Consumers associate pink meat with “fresh”, so this increases sales, even though the pink color has little to do with the freshness of meat.
Pigs are often considered “white meat”, even though their muscles contain a lot more myoglobin than most other white meat animals. This however, is a much lower concentrate of myoglobin than other “red meat”, such as cows, due to the fact that pigs are lazy and mostly just lay around all day. So depending on who you talk to, pigs can be considered white meat or red meat; they more or less sit in between the two classifications.
Chickens and Turkeys are generally considered white meat, however due to the fact that both use their legs extensively, their leg muscles contain a significant amount of myoglobin which causes their meat to turn dark when cooked; so in some sense they contain both red and white meat. Wild poultry, which tend to fly a lot more, tend to only contain “dark” meat, which contains a higher amount of myoglobin due to the muscles needing more oxygen from frequent, continual usage.
White meat is made up of “fast fibers” that are used for quick bursts of activity. These muscles get energy from glyocogen which, like myoglobin, is stored in the muscles.
Fish are primarily white meat due to the fact that they don’t ever need their muscles to support themselves and thus need much less myoglobin or sometimes none at all in a few cases; they float, so their muscle usage is much less than say a 1000 pound cow who walks around a lot and must deal with gravity. Typically, the only red meat you’ll find on a fish is around their fins and tail, which are used almost constantly.
Some fish, such as sharks and tuna, have red meat because they are fast swimmers and are migratory and thus almost always moving; they use their muscles extensively and so they contain a lot more myoglobin than most other sea-life.
For contrast, the white meat from chickens is made up of about .05% myoglobin with their thighs having about .2% myoglobin; pork and veal contain about .2% myoglobin; non-veal beef contains about 1%-2% of myoglobin, depending on age and muscle use.
The USDA considers all meats obtained from livestock to be “red” because they contain more myoglobin than chicken or fish.
Beef meat that is vacuum sealed, thus not exposed to oxygen, tends to be more of a purple shade. Once the meat is exposed to oxygen, it will gradually turn red over a span of 10-20 minutes as the myoglobin absorbs the oxygen.
Beef stored in the refrigerator for more than 5 days will start to turn brown due to chemical changes in the myoglobin. This doesn’t necessarily mean it has gone bad, though with this length of unfrozen storage, it may have. Best to use your nose to tell for sure, not your eyes.
Before you cook the red meat, the iron atom’s oxidation level is +2 and is bound to a dioxygen molecule (O2) with a red color; as you cook it, this iron loses an electron and goes to a +3 oxidation level, and now coordinates with a water molecule (H2O). This process ends up turning the meat brown.
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