>> Wednesday, November 25, 2009
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>> Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A reader asked me today what my opinion of Emergen-C was, considering that I recommended against supplementing with Airborne to combat colds and flu. Honestly, I enter this analysis with feelings of ambivalence; I've used Emergen-C quite a number of times, and believe that were I to go look, I could probably still find a bunch of packets in our cupboards at home or even my drawers at work.
On the other hand, the more I have studied healing and nutrition through consumption of real (organic, local) food, I've also found reason to suspect Emergen-C, too, might not be all that it's cracked up to be.
>> Monday, November 23, 2009
Don't forget, too, that true food advocates such as Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle advise eating non-processed foods as much as and whenever possible. Never forget that aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are as far from natural as you can get.
Respect your body and don't poison it.
in reference to:
"When ingested, the methyl ether in aspartame becomes highly toxic methyl alcohol which is also known as methanol or wood alcohol and can be lethal in doses as small as four ounces. The methanol from aspartame is broken down into formaldehyde which is dangerous toxin that the body is unable to eliminate."
- Why You'd Be Crazy to Consume Aspartame (view on Google Sidewiki)
>> Friday, November 20, 2009
I'm right in the middle of a book that I can't put down. It's called The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O'Brien and Rachel Kranz. I highly recommend it! I love how these things just find their way into my life. I hadn't even heard of this book and one day last week my wife brought it home from the library. It's about Robyn's personal journey of discovery about how the food we eat is controlled by major corporations and government agencies - to our detriment.
At the beginning of chapter five she relates her feelings of self-blame mixed with a sense of despair at how people she knew didn't seem to want to know the truth. I can empathize with her. It takes strength to discuss with someone just how bad things like HFCS or Splenda are while they're sipping away at their favorite carbonated beverage. It hurts to see a loved one eating deceptively bad foods - like Yoplait yogurts or wheat bread that's really white - when you know these things can be making them sick, and it feels like a heavy burden trying to push the truth to places where it's not welcome.
Here is that excerpt from the book that I thought particularly moving:
|The next morning, I sat down at the breakfast table with my four children. |
"You know how Mommy has been really busy with her computer lately?"
They all nodded.
"Well, Mommy is learning a lot of new things about chemicals in the food that we eat, and it makes me worried."
Five-year old Colin quietly gave me a hug. John buzzed around the table, and six-year old Lexy asked, "Is it about Tory's allergies?"
"Well, sort of. But it's not only Tory," I said. "There are chemicals in our food that might be bad for all of us. Now that I know this, I have to do something about it to protect all of you. And I have to help other people learn, so that their kids are safe, too."
This was the point when Colin absolutely floored me. He asked, "How many people are on your team?"
I almost had to laught. "Not too many right now, Colin. But luckily I've got you, Lexy, John, Tory, and Daddy -- that's my team."
Colin shook his head and looked me straight in the eye. "Mommy," he said, "you need a bigger team."
It's at this point in reading that I realized I've got a good team - even if we're not literally working together, we're all working for a common goal. Sometimes my team is indeed hand-in-hand, as in the case of my wife whom I'm eternally grateful for. She, like I, and like Robyn O'Brien, is unceasingly working for a good, healthy life for our children - all of our children. But this other part of my "team" are all of these other people out there online, or in the public, standing up and being outspoken about our right to real food.
In a "Follow Friday" fashion, but with a little more detail, here some of the people I look up to and appreciate knowing on Twitter and the web:
vinmiller : Tweets the right amount of high-quality information and links. Inspirational and has positive attitude to share. He's interested in diet, exercise, the pharmaceutical industry, and more - plus he slips some entertaining tidbits in every now and again.
cheeseslave : You can't look very far in the twittersphere without running into something being retweeted from or by her. Reading her stuff is like listening to a real person who cares about you and your health. She posts a lot about the foods that you may have been told are bad for you - and you'll probably learn a lot from her.
kitchenkop : Talks about making and eating real food, and isn't afraid to be politically incorrect about it! She lists recipes and food tips, and above all else encourages you to do your own research.
kathleenshow : She started in the pharmaceutical industry - a regular insider, a legal pusher ;) But she realized what she was doing one day and now fights back. She's made movies and has a regular radio/podcast talk show. Her positive attitude is infectious!
PlasticLess : As you might guess from the name, he talks about reducing the use of plastic, recycling, and keeping the planet clean. He's also concerned with green technology like solar power and has another account, SolarIdeas, where he talks about that. Plastic use is related to healthy food because it is both a direct, short-term contaminant as well as a hidden, long-term one.
JamButter : A foodie I wouldn't be surprised to see in a documentary as an expert some time! He's down with local, organic food and talks about the business/industrial food sphere as well. He has SO much information to share, and says it in a way that's easy to take in.
Unfortunately, I can't list all of you all right now - there are so many to mention! ... But I'll keep moving through the list every so often as I go about blogging. You're my heroes, and I am so appreciative that you're ALL there, standing up for our kids, and our world!
One last thank-you to someone who I've recently bumped into online, though. Thank you, KC, for leading me on to Zemanta by using it yourself. I can't seem to find a Twitter account for you, so if you read this, let's hook up there.
>> Thursday, November 19, 2009
As if reading my thoughts, a recent visitor to Psychic Lunch has put in detail a personal review and recommendation of this food practice: Kc tells us why lacto-fermentation should be part of our diets:
Lacto-fermented (sometimes called cultured) vegetables also contain powerful probiotics for a healthy digestive system. This is especially good news for people that can't tolerate yogurt or other dairy ferments. Besides adding zest and interest to any dish, these homemade pickles actually help protect you from intestinal upsets and side effects of antibiotics. One spoonful of fermented veggies will also cure heartburn and derail sugar cravings. Vegetables that have undergone lacto-fermentation have been proven to contain more vitamins and minerals than the same vegetables in either raw or cooked states. They also help stimulate stomach acid aiding digestion hence the age-old tradition of serving vegetable or fruit relishes with high protein meals (cranberry sauce with turkey, sauerkraut with sausages, chutney with lamb, etc.). All condiments, salsas, chutneys, and jellies started out as fermented products and I intend to work up to one day eating only homemade fermented condiments. Just imagine getting beneficial probiotics into your children every time they use ketchup or mustard.Kc, Living It Up Corn Free, Nov 2009You should read the whole article.
>> Wednesday, November 18, 2009
My wife being Ukrainian, we get our share of beets in our family's meal options, which is just fine with me. There was a time when I had a little too much borscht, because the typical method of cooking this soup is in a container meant for a large crowd - or a whole week, for our size of family. It's delicious, but eating it daily can get to you. But I've gotten over that, or else we're not having it as often, and I'm raving about it again.
I would say that the beet is not an overly popular vegetable in America - at least not beyond the Eastern European immigrant families! This is too bad, because it's a long-lasting root vegetable with many significant health benefits.
A beet is packed with calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and a little B-complex. They also have betaines, which give beets their red color, and sulphur. It has been found in numerous studies all over the world that fruits, vegetables, and some spices all containing sulphur have a proven track record for preventing as well as treating tumors - that is, cancer.
At our house we eat it in a few ways, frequently. As I mentioned, borscht is a staple recipe for beets and it is well-deserved. Every cook makes it slightly different, pretty much every time it's made, and with a dollop of sour cream (go for the REAL stuff) it is simple and elegant at the same time.
I also highly recommend juicing a raw beet along with a few carrots. If you have a centrifugal juicer or better yet a Vita-mix, this is an easy way to get the maximum benefit of all the beet's nutrients. You can also try adding in a clove of garlic, romaine lettuce, or other greens for various flavor kicks.
Another way that my wife often prepares beets is in her own beet salad. I've never seen a recipe like this, and it's really good. It's sweet, earthy, and just plain good-for-you.
Olena's Beet Salad
- 3 medium red beets, without stems or root tips
- Mayonnaise* to taste, about 3 tbsp
- A handful of walnuts or pecans
- A handful of prunes
- 3 cloves of garlic
Keep in mind that these amounts can be approximated and you'll still wind up with pretty much the same results - so don't worry about how much of each you really have.
Either roast or boil the beets until they're soft. At least an hour. Let them cool, and then peel and shred them using a food processor.
Chop the walnuts and prunes as finely as you wish, mince the garlic, and dump everything into a bowl for stirring together. Let the salad cool in the refridgetator and then serve!
As a tasty variation, instead of mixing everything together in a bowl, throw all of the ingredients minus half the nuts and prunes into a Vita-mix and blend until somewhat smooth. Pour it out, and then mix in the remaining nuts and prunes. This gives the whole salad a somewhat creamy, yet crunchy texture.
*When it comes to mayonnaise - make your own! It's really easy and if you can't find a recipe elsewhere online, there will be one available on Psychic Lunch for you, soon. Making your own will let you rest assured that you're not eating any rancid oils or preservatives, which almost all store-bought mayonnaise has.
John Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices.
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday - go read more real food stories!
>> Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It is probably ingrained within each of us not only to strive for personal and cultural betterment, but also the assumption of it as well. This is a grave mistake that is nearly always overlooked until it is too late, whereupon something catastrophic occurs to remind us of our humanity. We as humans simply assume that progress is good in and of itself, and that assumption could not have been more wrong than in the application of pasteurization to the process of milk production.
Before pasteurization, all milk was raw or fermented. People have consumed milk since Biblical times or earlier. It is plain, common sense that had raw milk actually ever been as dangerous as we typically assume now, we would not be alive today. But it wasn't and isn't dangerous - not until mankind decided, due to rising urban pressures and industrialization, to try to streamline the process. The poor sanitary conditions of the cows and workers used in this streamlining process only contributed to the deaths of many people - especially infants over the coming years of industrialization. The only solution, then, for massive dairies to provide milk free from contamination was to pasteurize it, thus killing all the good parts along with the bad.
Decades passed then, with the proponents of industrial dairies having apparently "won" the battle of the cow. But truth never goes away and is always remembered and practiced by a very few. Today, thanks to unavoidable news such as E.Coli infected, mass-produced beef, or the more recent swine flu, the public slowly begins to awaken, sleepy-eyed and stretching, to the abominable state of industrial agriculture. People are beginning to talk to their neighbors who raise cattle and drink their raw milk - and learning that nothing harmful is happening to them! Isn't it amazing? Then those people get online and share it with more friends, and the word spreads.
The cow is considered wealth in many countries, and has been considered wealth in almost all countries in the past. People are finally realizing once again that milk is life, and doesn't need to be pasteurized killed.
>> Monday, November 16, 2009
In Manfred's rebuttal he claims to quote opposing facts, but his facts range from agreeing to the production method of powdered milk to simply stating that he doesn't know of any contrary evidence.
He claims that the cholesterol amount in skim milk powder would be insignificant. I am not an expert on milk, so that certainly could be true. However, this does not address two important facts. There still will be SOME oxidized cholesterol in the powdered milk, and the amount of this you want to consume is NONE. Also, adding oxidized milk (i.e. powdered) to non-oxidized milk will soon contaminate all the milk.
But rather than debating his so-called facts, I think the more important question would be to ask who he is, and why he is interested in defending industrial milk production.
He is a German-born man and he gradutated from a professional dairy trade school later attaining a PhD, MS, and BS in dairy science.
He has been involved in dairy processes his entire life, but this time would also have been during the already-established industrial-style dairy production. Thus, Mr. Kroger would most likely have been taught and trained in typical manner. He has also, then, held numerous professorships in the realms of dairy science. This all could be either for or against his case.
It gets more interesting when you look at his professional memberships, positions, and awards.
He has spent decades of his life belonging to organizations intent on promoting industrialization and homogenization of agricultural (dairy) practices. These organizations, among other things, do not believe that farms produce food. Their concern is for the industrial commodities that farms unite to create resources for. These are not the type of organizations that would ever have any intention on promoting small, individual farms OR the small-scale production of certified milk.
He is a current editorial advisor for Prevention magazine, a publication known for its heavy promotion of mainstream foods, production methods, and pharmaceuticals.
He is a board member of numerous dairy science boards and journals. He is advisor to multiple foundations and associations of milk producers and dealers.
It is immediately clear that Manfred Kroger, PhD, has made a lifetime of promoting modern dairy practices and is financially interested in maintaining these practices.
Follow the money.
in reference to: Silly Statements about Skim Milk (view on Google Sidewiki)
article/milk-a-glassful-of- goodness/ d75150d1fa803110VgnVCM10000013 281eac____/nutrition.recipes/ nutrition.basics/eating. healthy
>> Sunday, November 15, 2009
We attended the plenary session all day on Saturday, which covered the topics of raw milk, cod liver oil, and fertility foods, as well as general information about what is and is not a healthy food. Having taken some notes on these, I'll review what I learned in the coming days, but let me say for now that the conference was worth attending. It's encouraging to be around people who understand and embrace real food. It is also relieving to be able to eat what foods are offered or available (lunch was amazing) and be confident that there is no hidden trans fat, sugar, or other disease-causing agent.
There is so much more to learn. There is so much more to share. I am thankful and excited to be living in a time like this, where we can finally know what we're eating. While I understand that some of the tweeple I've talked with were also in attendance, and feel that it would have been nice to put real faces to the names, my only real regret from this weekend was that we couldn't attend the entire conference.
Bring on the healing!
>> Tuesday, November 10, 2009
When food is cooked above 119 degrees Fahrenheit (48 celsius), all enzymes in the food are killed. This makes it more difficult for your body to digest whatever it is you're eating, and you lose out on some of the amazing, life-giving nutrients that nature has made available for you.
Your body can begin to feel overworked and stressed based on the kinds of food that you put into it, so choose that which is good for you. You have the same opportunity every single day to choose what kind of fuel to run your body on. Cooked and/or processed foods are more equal to fillers or additives in gasoline than they are to actual fuel itself, but if you choose a mostly-raw diet, you're filling up on premium.
Some of the difficulties with healthy eating are cost and convenience. Indeed, these are the direct factors that guide people to choose convenient, fast- or processed- food in the first place? Why spend a half hour preparing breakfast in the morning when you can pick up a quick bite for a couple bucks on the way? Well, as most of the diligent students of raw and/or organic foods will be able to tell you, any cost you save now by eating cheaply are simply deferred until you get older. Those payments even come back with interest due in the form of surgeries and expensive drugs.
There are hidden bonuses for choosing healthy options now as well - you will probably find by eating raw and organic foods that you have more energy throughout the day. Your skin will look and feel younger, getting to sleep will probably be easier, and you even may have natural weight loss by making the switch.
You should make the effort now, today, without waiting - and as you try, be sure to take every available shortcut that isn't a cheat, so that it's easier for your body to break into these new habits. Once you've reached the mecca of true healthy food, you will be surprised and proud to be able to announce your freedom from things like sugary pop and fried foods.
To help you along your way, here is an adaptation of a raw recipe for chocolate salad from Freedom's Raw Recipes. It's been changed so that it's easier to make, having more common ingredients, and is a wonderful recipe that combines a rich, tropical essence with a natural crunch. It's natural, raw, and combines sweet with bitter in a way that shouldn't be possible. However not only is this possible, it's delicious.
Chocolate Crunch Salad
- 5 bananas
- 5 hearts celery
- 2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder
- 2 medjool dates
- 1/2 cup almond milk 1
- 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut butter 2
- To create the salad itself, slice the bananas and celery and combine in a bowl.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender at high speed until smooth and pour over salad in individual portions, on plates.
2 Peanut butter is the common choice, but coconut cream concentrate is recommended. It's organic and has lauric acid your body needs that the peanut butter does not. You can order this online from Tropical Traditions; please refer Psychic Lunch if you do! #3408055 If you're a first-time customer and you use this referral code, you'll also get a free Virgin Coconut Oil book that has 85+ recipes :)
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, this week hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.
>> Monday, November 9, 2009
Hospital Nutrition - an oxymoron?
Our family has not had much experience with hospitals, for which we count our blessings. We've luckily never gotten in any accident that required surgery and we've always followed fairly to very good guidelines when it comes to food and exercise. Fear, I suppose, drove us to have our children at the hospital. That "what if" question really got a hold of us. I hear tell now that the homebirth trend is growing, especially with experienced midwives. But the point of this story is that we were there in the hospital and were able to witness firsthand the healthiness, or lack thereof, of the food served to patients in the hospital.
This was a while ago now since our youngest was two, but it sticks in my memory as if it were yesterday. As I think about what they served us (for they did bring enough for the husband) I have terrible flashbacks to lunchtime at school. The processing and overcooking at hospitals is bad enough that it seemed they were shouting out that they knew nothing about nutrients and organic, natural foods. I recall there being chicken for some of the main courses, but odds are very, very high that they were as processed as chicken breasts can get. That was probably the healthiest of the food selection. There were green beans that were either canned or cooked so much there could not have been any valuable nutrients left. There were apple sauce- and pudding-cups. Skim milk and coffee. Overall, you may as well have been getting prison food - except that prisoners probably eat healthier than that.
Thankfully there was an organic deli and grocery a couple of blocks away from the hospital, so that I could actually go buy some real food. When I returned I met with the nutritionist at the hospital to complain, but it turns out that regardless of her knowledge, she was actually unable to change much in what they served to patients; the decisions were based on contracts and thus mostly out of her hands. It all comes back to that, doesn't it? It's all driven by how much profit can be made for the business, regardless of the end-user's best interest.
A Hospital Lacking in Cleanliness
Medications were not given on time and her husband was in constant pain as it turned out that he was having an allergic reaction to what they were giving him. The doctor and nurse were aware of this reaction, but decided to go ahead with their planned medication rather than attempt any different ones. Only upon Alice's demanding did the nurse call to change the treatment.
The doctor never came to see her husband before he was released, and Alice found, upon asking about it, that the nurse rudely - to the point of being nasty about it - stated that the doctor had indeed been in twice to see him. Alice's husband hadn't slept a wink the whole time he was there, and would have remembered the doctor's visit.
I'm sure there must be good hospital experiences that people have had out there, and in fact I'd hope there are. But from what I've seen, when a person goes to a hospital, they become a number, placed in a soulless room, fed under-nourishing food, and sent home with a bill that's too embarrassingly large to even think about. This is not the description of a place where one feels safe and well, and are sent home with drugs and stress-laden bills.
A friend of mine says that it depends on the hospital, and the doctors and nurses within it. I can understand that like life you're going to find a lot of good and a lot of bad together in a lot of places. Naturally, stories related to hospital experiences are going to be filled with hope, frustration, caring, anger, love, sadness, and a whole host of other emotions. I write about this topic knowing I have little real-world direct knowledge to base a judgement on, but my experiences all lead me to distrust practitioners who have been taught that their way is the only way to do something, who refuse to open their minds to learn new things, or display a learned ignorance toward things that to me are common sense.
>> Friday, November 6, 2009
How do you keep your children healthy when some of the best natural remedies can be a little strong for even an adult who is ready for it? The author's solution for treating them with oregano oil is to place a few drops in a gel capsule first, so they can swallow it whole. This would work of course, providing the children don't object to swallowing pills. I can see other downsides to it; you'll have to always have some gelcaps on hand, and there are some who object to using gelcaps.
It has been said before that you should never put something on your skin that you wouldn't put in your mouth, because your body absorbs nutrients and chemicals through your skin almost as easily as eating it. Using this bit of knowledge you can boost your kids' immune system while they sleep by applying the proper oil mixture to their feet and other sensitive skin areas. Naturally, the same goes for any other healthy oil you might want to slip into their system unnoticed.
Try to keep them away from situations in which they'll have a higher chance of getting sick. Indoor playgrounds are a prime example, especially during the colder months. These things are not always cleaned as often as they should be - how can they be? The pipes and platforms can't be sterilized as the children play on them, and that's the time when germs are getting exchanged. Fast food restaurants that still have playgrounds are especially noted for their toys' uncleanliness.
Speaking of fast food restaurants, that's another thing to keep your children away from - and of course, yourself as well. They're cheap in every sense of the word; plenty of low-cost, unhealthy food and plenty of customers to pass on more germs. While you might think yourself frugal for saving a buck and some time by eating out, you'll wind up paying for it in the end. You'll get sick now from germs, or sick later from a lifetime of non-nutritious food.
Be smart, and pro-active. Running to clean their hands after they've already wiped their noses with hands that just touched an aquarium glass is probably not the way of keeping them safe. Encourage them to eat the right foods, and guide them by example.
>> Thursday, November 5, 2009
Oil of oregano? The spice that makes spaghetti tasty also makes you healthy? Bring on the pasta!
Okay, it's not really like that. It is the same family of plants, but the healthy oil extracted from oregano comes from a different kind than that which is used for cooking. The kind extracted from the origanum vulgare contains carvacrol, and has all kinds of good-health-supporting properties which is why it can keep you healthy by strengthening your immune system during cold and flu season.
This is one of those things that you should start or increase when or if you feel a cold coming on. This oil is good at killing the bugs that cause colds, sore throats, and so on. You don't need to be in the habit of taking it daily; it may make iron more difficult for your body to absorb. Alternatively, if you feel the need to be covered at all times, a drop or two each day under the tongue coupled with some good iron supplements will keep your defenses up.
There are other reasons to have oregano oil as part of your diet besides fighting off colds. It's good for digestion, flexibility, skin, and more. Just remember to use very small doses - no more than three drops at a time, probably no more than three drops per day. To take it internally either place the drops underneath your tongue or mix it with a glass of juice. The latter method is probably easier for most people because the pure oil - even a couple of drops - can be spicy enough to make you cough. If you apply it to your skin, be sure to thoroughly dilute it with olive or coconut oil.
The keys to your health are all around you. You just have to clear away the man-made junk to find it. Oil of oregano is very easy to use. What's stopping you from being healthy?
Here is my Amazon Affiliate link for the oregano oil I actually use: N.American Herb Spice - Oreganol (Oil Of Oregano).
>> Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Not unlike the Photoshopped toy box for The Invisible Man that depicted an empty plastic container for an action figure that you couldn't see, T-Mobile is selling empty cases in their brick-and-mortar stores of cell phone shells that you design online.
Although it might be hard to tell from the picture, what you're seeing is literally an empty case around a cardboard cutout which tells you that you can build your own protective case online and have it shipped to you. Hopefully this is never actually purchased by the customer, since it would make sense not to create hundreds of thousands of empty plastic cases, but who knows? In a world that creates "All Natural" plastic pick-up sticks, anything is possible.
There were four of these empty boxes on the hangar, so at best there were probably only several thousand of these wastes of space created. Way to think about the environment, T-Mobile.
Welcome to America, where we sell miniature, plastic-wrapped bales of straw to people who want to pretend that they've been hard at work harvesting the crops.
These tiny bales cost a whopping $20.00. They're really only about as big as a medium-sized dog, so the consumer is obviously going to have to buy more than one - probably at least three - if they intend to have any kind of realistic, faux display of the harvest season. On top of all that, they've wrapped these tiny bales completely in plastic simply for the sake of convenience. God forbid if straw gets scattered about the shipping trucks or the store while these miniscule bales packaged theft get shipped about and stacked for display.
At least this is a step up from the giant, plastic, inflated Santa Clauses that were soon to be seeing. This doesn't waste energy when you plop it out on your lawn and it promotes the economy since you'll need to buy more next year.