Interesting Information: February 27, 2015
New Dietary Guidelines Reverse Recommendations on Cholesterol
Thanks to John Nixon for alerting me to the fact that the new 2015 Food Guide (put out by the government) will reverse it’s stand on cholesterol–in that they are saying that DIETARY CHOLESTEROL is not related to heart disease.
Scientists have known the truth of the falseness of the connection between dictates against eating foods rich in dietary cholesterol (a crucial ingredient in the proper functioning of our bodies actually) and heart disease for many decades now. There never was any science behind this false assumption. But, belief systems are hard to take down some times–especially when everyone is on a kool-aid bandwagon and just keeps repeating the bad information and refuses to slow down and investigate–even a tiny bit.
Here are two sites for extra reading: a CNN story that cites a Washington Post article, and a Mercola post.
And, here’s a quote from the Mercola post:
Steve Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, told USA Today:5 “It’s the right decision. We got the dietary guidelines wrong. They’ve been wrong for decades.” This message was echoed in Time Magazine, which recently reported that:
“[I]n the latest review6 of studies that investigated the link between dietary fat and causes of death, researchers say the guidelines got it all wrong. In fact, recommendations to reduce the amount of fat we eat every day should never have been made.”
Low-fat diets saw a real upswing in 1977, but according to research published in the Open Heart journal,7 led by Zoe Harcombe, PhD, there was no scientific basis for the recommendations to cut fat from our diet in the first place.
What’s worse, the processed food industry replaced fat with large amounts of sugar, While Dr. Harcombe shies away from making any recommendation about how much dietary fat might be ideal, she suggests that the take-home message here is to simply “eat real food.”
So, today my wish for you is access to REAL FOOD.
Turkey Tracks/Quilting: February 25, 2015
It’s Snowing! Again!
And, for now, it has stopped, after about five hours or so…
Here’s the view from my kitchen doors and through the windows of the lots and lots of snow we have–higher than my window, higher than my height:
Through the open door–you can get some perspective on all that white by looking at in relation to the top of the door the snow shovel, which is more than two feet off the ground:
The paths leading off the deck–I can’t see the hot tub anymore. The stakes on the hill (you can see their tops) are five feet plus tall.
Meanwhile, I’ve been quilting, quilting. It’s always fun to pull a quilt off the long arm and see how the quilting is working over the whole quilt for the first time:
For this very traditional quilt, I used a traditional clam shell quilting pattern done with groovy boards:
The soft green blends with the backing, which is not shown here.
These three scrappy quilts I’ve made recently are brightening up the downstairs sitting room so much.
I’m sewing down the binding on the streak of lightening quilt at night now–but am so drawn to the hand sewing project with the octagons. Those scraps are on the yellow table. And here’s what it’s looking like now. I put in some side triangles last night:
I think I’ll applique this piece when it’s done–to a set of borders–so this will be the center. But, who knows?
I think I’d like the octagons better if they were SMALLER. But, you know I love small pieces for the most part in a quilt…
Interesting Information/Vaccines: February 25, 2015
What If HPV Does Not Cause Cervical Cancer?
A recent study has concluded that neither genetics nor an HPV infection causes cervical cancer.
That’s HUGE news.
Let’s hold our breath and see how long it takes to replicate this study (a standard practice in science) AND how long the mainstream media takes to pick up on this news.
Here’s a quote from the article:
The title of a paper recently published by McCormack et al in Molecular Cytogenetics says it all, “Individual karyotypes at the origins of cervical carcinomas.” If the findings in this paper are true, a vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) is extremely unlikely to protect against cervical cancer.
According to this paper neither genetic predisposition nor HPV infections are necessary for the development of cervical cancer. All cervical cancer cells investigated during the course of this study contained new abnormal karyotypes. The clonality (genetic makeup) of these new abnormal karyotypes indicates the cervical cancers originated with these karyotypes – NOT from a virus.
At issue, of course, is the use of the UNTESTED and FAST-TRACKED vaccine Gardasil–which industry wants to inject into EVERY teenager in this country–females and males.
You can read more in the whole article: What If HPV Does Not Cause Cervical Cancer? | GreenMedInfo.
Interesting Information: February 23, 2015
I brought home the latest Free Press today and saw there was another article by a local doctor promoting vaccines. Said doctor acknowledged that the current flu shot (which is full of mercury) was not at all effective, but promoted it anyway, especially for children. There was a touching story of a school nurse who sponsored a vaccine clinic that vaccinated lots and lots of children in her school. The information that followed was totally anecdotal information, a repeating of the idea of herd immunity, and so forth. There was not one mention of the fact that everyone in power (government, courts) has had to admit that vaccines are NOT safe for all people. Or, effective for all people.
Most Americans today have this blind trust that what’s being said about the efficacy and safety of vaccines is true. That trust is being built by people like this local doctor, whose article contains emotion, but no science.
I wrote to this doctor several months back and begged him to watch THE GREATER GOOD, to dig deeper into the vaccine “evidence,” to acknowledge the potential danger. Clearly he has not done any homework at all, or he could never have written the article I just read. Clearly he’s just going to go right along contributing to this growing problem of the chronic illnesses so many of our children today have–a problem he cites in what he wrote. His solution: Let’s just give them more and more vaccines.
My academic background is the study of how the market and culture relate, of systems of cultural power. This whole vaccine thing is a poster child for the market effects that derive from the highjacking of science, from the endless repetition of lies that work to sell products (profit at any cost), from the people we should be able to trust repeating these lies over and over without ever investigating them at the most basic levels (and many of these people are also profiting from vaccines), and from the creation of lots and lots of fear at multiple levels. The vaccine situation represents for me a massive breakdown of human sanity. That so many people, people who love their children, could fall into such mob hysteria is certainly not a new thing in history. But it is super sad, nevertheless…
Here’s a nice little infograph that came in over the email.
Maybe it will help people start to look deeper–and that’s all I care about really. I believe that if they start to look deeper, they’ll see the problems for themselves. I hope that happens before one of their children gets hurt.
Interesting Information/Books: February 23, 2015
Commercial Bread Yeast: A Monoculture
Michael Pollan, in COOKED…
…explains that “commercial yeast is a purified monoculture of S. cerevisiae, raised on a diet of molasses, then washed, dried, and powdered. Like any monoculture, it does one thing predictably and well: Feed it enough sugars and it will promptly cough up large quantities of carbon dioxide” (218-219).
Commercial yeast is an INDUSTRIAL product and bears no resemblance to traditional sourdough cultures.
So, what’s wrong with that?
Nutritionally, commercial yeast is very limiting. Combine it with white flour, which is mostly just dead starches, and you’re eating something that fills you up, but provides very little in the way of nutrition.
Whole grains are much more biologically active and complex–think living cells–and much harder to control in an industrial setting (220-221).
A sourdough culture is a whole ecosystem, containing “at least twenty types of yeast and fifty different bacteria” (221).
Basically, baking with whole grains and a sourdough culture is all about “managing fermentation”–which can be tricky depending on the weather, the temperature, the strength and point of development of the sourdough culture, and when and how one feeds the sourdough culture. It’s a process that can only be done by a dedicated, skilled baker. The communities that are created in the traditional bread processes cannot be reduced to the “efficiency” that occurs in a factory.
Traditional whole grain sourdough bread can supply a lot of nutrition. It’s too bad that there is so little of it available to most of us today. It’s too bad that we’ve lost the taste of it in favor of the “white felt” we have instead.
Seek it out. Bake it yourself. Find substitutes for the factory bread as it’s not doing you any good at all.
Books and Interesting Information: January 22, 2015
More on Michael Pollan’s COOKED
I think the most exciting part of this book for me was the section on fermentation, called “Earth.” Fermentation undergirds so much of what we eat. Here are a few foods that are fermented: sourdough bread, beer/wine and other bubbly drinks, cheeses, fermented meats (like salami, for instance), all the lacto-fermented foods (like sauerkraut) and on and on. Sandor Katz has a great list that is much, much longer than I am recalling here.
As an aside, the breakdown of Pollan’s organizational schema here is that sourdough bread falls under the “Air” section, not the “Earth” section, but it’s still a ferment…
The most exciting section of “Earth” for me was when Pollan writes about the excitement scientists who are studying the microbiome of the human body have at their recent discoveries. Here’s how Pollan puts it:
The scientists working today on “microbial ecology” are as excited as any I’ve ever interviewed, convinced, as one of them put it, that they “stand on the verge of a paradigm shift in our understanding of health as well as our relationship to other species.” And fermentation–as it unfolds both inside and outside the body–is at the heart of this new understanding (322)
Here’s the shift:
In the decades since Louis Pasteur founded microbiology, medical research has focused mainly on bacteria’s role in causing disease. The bacteria that reside in and on our bodies were generally regarded as either harmless “commensals”–freeloaders, basically–or pathogens to be defended against. Scientists tended to study these bugs one at a time, rather than as communities. This was partly a deeply ingrained habit of reductive science, and partly a function of the available tools (322)
It is still astonishing to me how destructive this artifact of modernity–this focusing on parts rather than wholes–has been. The hubris involved in acting without fully understanding how the whole functions, how the parts relate to each other as well as to the whole, blows my mind. How can you know how something works if you can’t even see all its parts? Pollan continues:
Scientists naturally focused their attention on the bacteria they could see, which meant the handful of individual bugs that could be cultured in a petri dish. There, they found some good guys and some bad guys. But the general stance toward the bacteria we had discovered all around us was shaped by metaphors of war, and in that war, antibiotics became the weapons of choice (322-323).
And, I want to add, pesticides, herbicides, and anything that kills what got deemed as an enemy by THE MARKET, which has happily sold us its products for years and years now without any regard to unintended consequences of NOT FULLY UNDERSTANDING THE FUNCTIONING OF THE WHOLE. (Yes, I’m yelling because the consequences to humans, to our babies, to our earth are…nothing short of dire.)
But it turns out that the overwhelming majority of bacteria residing in the gut simply refuse to grow on a petri dish–a phenomenon now known among researchers as “the great plate anomalluy.” Without realizing it, they were practicing what is sometimes called parking-lot science–named for the human tendency to search for lost keys under the streetlights not because that’s where we lost them but because that is where we can best see. The petri dish was a streetlight. But when, in the early 2000s, researchers developed genetic “batch” sequencing techniques allowing them to catalog all the DNA in a sample of soil, say, or seawater or feces, science suddenly acquired a broad and powerful beam of light that could illuminate the entire parking lot. When it did, we discovered hundreds of new species in the human gukt doing all sorts of unexpected things (323).
We are, it seems, a kind of superorganism. And our health depends on the health of the microbial species within us.
To their surprise, microbiologists discovered that none of every ten cells in our bodies belong not to us, but to these microbial species (most of them residents of our gut), and that 99 percent of the DNA we’re carrying around belongs to those microbes. Some scientists, trained in evolutionary biology, began looking at the human individual in a humbling new light: as a kind of superorganism, a community of several hundred coevolved and interdependent species. War metaphors no longer made much sense. So the microbiologists began borrowing new metaphors from the ecologists (323).
The survival of these microbes depends on our health, writes Pollan, “so they do all sorts of things to keep their host–us–alive and well.” We can no longer think of ourselves as individuals, but as part of a community. Look at the word microbiome itself: micro bio me. Kill the microbes, kill yourself.
These guys are really smart, as Pollan notes:
One theory is that, because microbes can evolve so much more rapidly than the “higher animals” they can respond with much greater speed and agility to changes int eh environment–to threats as well as opportunities. Exquisitely reactive and fungible, bacteria can swap genes and pieces of DNA among themselves, picking t hem up and dropping them almost as if they were tools. This capability is especially handy when a new toxin or food source appears in the environment. The microbiota can swiftly find precisely the right gene needed to fight it–or eat it (325-326).
Feed your gut microbiome properly. Lacto-fermented foods are a good start to restoring gut health. There are recipes on this blog, and this food is easy to make and delicious.
February 21, 2015
“Grand Illusion” Finished
Here she is: Bonnie Hunter’s 2014 Mystery Quilt, “Grand Illusion,” inspired by the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan.
You may recall that Bonnie gives out her colors in early November some time. We all scramble around picking fabrics and getting ready to go. Then she releases the first “clue”–which is the making of the quilt’s first set of units–on the Friday after Thanksgiving. (Why on earth do they call that Friday “Black Friday”?) After that, we are off and running at the pace that each of us can manage. Some times we fall behind, some times we take months to finish the quilt, some times we finish it about a week after Bonnie releases her version–the “reveal”–sometime between Christmas and New Year’s.
I finished mine this week. And I will say up front that I need better pictures of the whole quilt than I have. I’ll get some at our next quilt meeting (we’ve had to cancel both the January and February meetings due to the Maine weather) when friends will hold her up for me.
See the secondary pattern that forms around the turquoise square? See the big blue star? And the diamond that outlines it with the darker pinks?
Here’s the main block in my quilt–surrounded by the green/white/black sashings
Here’s the very cool border. ( I love how the yellow is working in this quilt.)
Here’s the backing fabric–which I think is an INSPIRED choice for this very contemporary quilt. I found the fabric at Fiddlehead in Belfast, Maine.
Bluebirds, bicycles, and daisy’s–both in the bicycle basket and, larger, in the background. The fabric also has a very French feel to it…
I quilted with a warm yellow, using a Daisy pantograph from Anne Bright called “He Loves Me” at 10 inches.
Here’s a view from the front of one daisy:
And one from the back that as chance would have it, kind of overlays one of the white daisies:
It’s an awfully cute quilt–especially for a teen age girl.
(Wild-haired dolly will soon be going to her owner, who will be 2 in April and probably reeling from the shock of a new baby.)