Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

Archive for August 15th, 2011

Turkey Tracks: New Bread Pans

with 3 comments

Turkey Tracks:  August 15, 2011

New Bread Pans

I’ve had some metal bread pans for many years now.  But, they had some sort of black coating, and it began to flake off.  Substantially flake off.  So, I tossed them into the trash.

I tried to use my glass pans, but the bread tended to stick to them, even though I liberally coated them with coconut oil.  Also, the crust just wasn’t the same.

I went online to King Arthur flour since their web site is excellent.  But, though the price was right ($15.95), their bread pan was a mixture of recycled steel and ALUMINUM.  King Arthur, what are you thinking???  Aluminum is TOXIC.  I’ve thrown out all my aluminum cook ware.  I didn’t have much, actually, as aluminum is very thin and light.  I like heavier pots and pans.  Besides, Tami made me throw out the last Asian steamer I had where the lightness was an asset.  It was time.

So, I started googling other kinds of bread pans and came up with cast iron pans that looked lovely and were already seasoned.  Here’s the web site:

http://www.campchef.com/cast-iron-bread-pan.html.  The pans came promptly and were also around $15.

And, these pans baked beautifully!!!  Look at  that beautiful loaf of my wild yeast, sourdough bread!


Written by louisaenright

August 15, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Turkey Tracks: Pulling the Garlic

leave a comment »

Turkey Tracks:  August 15, 2011

Pulling the Garlic

Garlic gets planted in the fall.  It’s a miracle to me that over the winter and the summer, one tiny clove grows into a whole bulb AND gives us a garlic scape just when the stored garlic is running out or has molded sometime in June.

I pulled our garlic Saturday.  It was a beautiful, sunshiny day, and I sat on the grass to trim off the bulbs and put the into a box.  They’re now in a single layer in three boxes in the garage attic, curing.  Soon the garage will smell like garlic.

Garlic is always listed as an immune system booster, so we eat LOTS of garlic.  It’s no accident that it can ward off a vampire since it is so powerful a protector of human health.

Here’s what a year’s supply of garlic for two people who have lots of guests looks like:

Here’s a close-up.  You can see that the stalks are quite spent now.  And you can see the flush of red under the coating of mud on the Russian Red bulbs.

Here’s a box full of fall and winter riches!

Garlic is super easy to grow and doesn’t take much space.  I amend my garden soil with chicken bedding, my kitchen compost, and worm castings in the fall.  In the spring I add whatever kitchen compost I’ve accumulated over the winter.  I cover my garden beds with straw, which breaks down over the winter, which adds more compost.  And, I add ground seaweed meal and azomite.  Garlic really likes azomite, and I do think it helps the garlic not to mold as winter stretches into early spring.

Here’s a picture of the size of the garlic bed this year.  It’s not large, as you can see.  It’s just that bare rectangle bounded by the kale and rock at the top, the La Ratte potatoes on the left, and the celery and lettuce below.

And, here’s a picture of the black, rich soil the worms make for us.  This batch is two years worth since we somehow didn’t empty the bin last fall.  I recover a batch of the worms to start again; the rest stay in the soil.  Or, go into the chickens, who have been working the garden since I turned them loose the other day.  The egg shells will get crushed up, and they add calcium back into the soil.

Speaking of La Ratte fingerling potatoes, I grabbled some for Saturday night dinner.  “Grabbled” is just a fancy word for digging some new potatoes before the green tops start showing yellow and falling over.  Here’s what they look like:

The one vine had about a dozen potatoes under it.  I boiled them in salted water, and they were heavenly:  nutty, buttery, and altogether wonderful.   We had them with grilled New  York strip steaks, Haricot Verte green beans from the garden, and a big, fresh salad with our lettuce, our green onions, and the first of the cukes and tomatoes we’re now getting–thanks to our CSA, Hope’s Edge.

Written by louisaenright

August 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Turkey Tracks: Ten Year Journals

leave a comment »

Turkey Tracks:  August 15, 2011

Ten-Year  Journals

I’m on my second 10-year journal.

The first was a marvelous gift from my Falls Church, VA, neighbor Yoshi Hazen.

You’d be amazed at how useful these journals are for tracking down information you don’t want to forget.

And, for seeing what the weather was like in past years; or who visited when; or when it’s someone’s birthday (I put those on top of the page and highlight them with a marker); or when a repairman came last; or when someone married, had a baby, or…whatever.   You get the picture.

The first year we had chickens, I kept track of the number of eggs we got.  There were well over 900, and that’s with no laying in the short days/long nights part of the year.

It’s fun to see things like, yes, I guess the garlic is ready to be pulled since I pulled it on this day a year ago…

I keep it open on my desk and just jot down the key events first thing in the morning usually.  Or, sometime during the day.  Anyone could help keep it–like a child who is learning to write well, etc.  It could be a very fun family project.

I just ordered mine online and had no trouble finding a reasonably priced one.

Written by louisaenright

August 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Mainely Tipping Points 32: Fiber Menace

with 2 comments

Tipping Points 32:  Fiber Menace


One of the most striking things I’ve discovered while researching food and health issues over the past few years is how often strong personalities (usually males with a fervent belief system and either money or political power) drastically change what we think is healthy to eat.  Science refuting belief is ignored, obfuscated, or denied.  And, when industry becomes involved, the changes are permanently cemented into cultural truth.  Such is the case with our current practice of overeating fiber.   

Konstantin Monastyrsky, in FIBER MENACE:  THE TRUTH ABOUT FIBER’S ROLE IN DIET FAILURE, CONSTIPATION, HEMORRHOIDS, IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, ULCERATIVE COLITIS, CHROHN’S DISEASE, AND COLON CANCER (2008), identifyies Sylvester Graham (1794-1851) and John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) as agents of dietary change.  Graham, a Presbyterian minister who undoubtedly held the anti-body dictates of Calvinism, “prescribed a high-fiber vegetarian diet” to control lust” (1).  Graham believed men should not have sex until after they were 30 and then only once a month.  He believed white bread caused constipation and recommended “Graham” flour made from coarsely ground wheat.  Graham died alone, and Monastyrsky notes that Graham’s “abrasive, irritable personality” was likely a “manifestation of acute protein deficiency and unstable blood sugar” (1-2).

Kellogg, writes Monastyrsky, was a prominent physician, a celebrated surgeon, a successful entrepreneur, an author, a charitable man, and a health reformer.  Kellogg had a profound impact on the American diet since “he had the resources, the forum, the charisma, the conviction, and the authority to deliver his message over a long, long period of time and to lots and lots of people” (2).  Kellogg, like Graham, was obsessed with chastity and constipation.  He “never made love to his wife.”  To remedy masturbation, he “advocated circumcision without anesthetic for boys and mutilation of the clitoris with carbolic acid for girls.”  He believed constipation caused sexual desire as impacted stools stimulated the prostate gland or the vagina.  He proscribed a coarse vegetarian diet and bran and paraffin oil with every meal—which caused constant anal leakage along with the “decline of libido, functional impotence, and infertility” due to protein deficiencies.  Since he lived to be 91, Kellogg was likely “a typical hypocrite, who didn’t practice what he preached, sex or no sex” (2).

Kellogg’s namesake company is “still minting a fortune by peddling…sugared breakfast cereals fortified with fiber.”  In 2004 alone, the Kellogg Company spent over $3.5 billion just on ` promotional expenditures,’ “ so “no wonder fiber is still on everyone’s mind and in everyone’s stools….” (3).  And so, writes Monastyrsky, “if you believe that the introduction of fiber into the American diet came about as a result of thorough academic research, methodical clinical investigation, and penetrating peer reviews…it didn’t.  It’s actually based on profane sacrilege, fanatical misogynism, medieval prudishness, common quackery, crass commercialism, incomprehensible medical incompetence, and by the legal standards of today, negligence and malpractice” (3). 

There is, writes Monastyrsky, no scientific proof that high-fiber diets are healthy or aid constipation (13).  And a major text for gastroenterologists (ROME II) notes that “`there is little or no relationship between dietary fiber intake and whole gut transit time’ “ (114-115).

Indeed, there are reams of studies demonstrating that anything but “minor quantities of fiber from natural, unprocessed food” upsets the whole digestive chain in ways that leads to the problems listed in FIBER MENACE’s title (13).  Worse, many reputable studies show that high-fiber diets do not provide protection from the second largest cancer killer in the U.S.–colon cancer–and are probably a cause of it–information which has been largely ignored (180-187).  And, studies show that “carbohydrate intake…[is] positively associated with breast cancer risk.”  Yet, health authorities continue to insist that we eat more fiber, avoid meat and animal fat, eat more fruits and vegetables, and drink a lot of water (185).     

But, let’s back up for a moment.  Monastyrsky received medical training and a  pharmacology degree (1977) in Russia (Ukraine) before emigrating to the U.S. in 1978, where he embarked on a very successful career in technology, primarily on Wall Street.  Then, after years of eating a high-fiber vegetarian diet, he became very ill with diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, hemorrhoidal disease, and anal fissures.  He returned to his medical training and research skills to heal himself and  learned that his life-threatening condition often takes decades to develop. 

According to Monastyrsky’s web site (www.gutsense.org), he is a certified nutritional consultant and an expert in forensic nutrition, a new field of science that investigates the connection between supposedly healthy foods and nutrition-related disorders, such as diabetes and obesity.  Treatment is through nutritional intervention.  He’s written two best-selling books in Russian and FIBER MENACE and GUT SENSE in English.  His work is highly respected by the Weston A. Price Foundation and is a fit with other work denouncing the overeating of carbs, the loss or lack of gut flora and fauna (disbacteriosis), and the need to eat nutrient-dense foods for health—such as Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME and Gary Taubes’ WHY WE GET FAT.

Monastyrsky explains the “evolutionary functions of each digestive organ” and notes that each organ specializes in a specific food group.  The mouth macerates and masticates flesh for we are “canine-wielding predators”; the stomach ferments and digests proteins; the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine) mixes chyme (a thick liquid without any solids that arrives from the stomach) with enzymes and absorbs water; the gallbladder uses bile to break down and assimilate fats; the jejunum and ileum (the last two sections of the small intestine) complete digestion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and absorb “their basic components (amino acids, fattly; acids, monosaccharides); and the large intestine recovers remaining water, nutrients and electrolytes, converts “liquid chyme to semi-solid stools,” and expels them (8-9). 

If this process is disturbed by an overabundance of indigestible fiber, the system struggles.  Malabsorption, where needed nutrients are not absorbed, occurs, which leads to malnutrition and disease.  Constipation and/or diarrhea occur, as does bloating and gas.  The stretched digestive system—a condition worsened by drinking water that makes fiber swell–begins to need more and more fiber to function.  The delicate tissues of the normally narrow anal canal are torn and scarred by too-large stools.  The lack of appropriate fats further compounds these disease conditions by causing stool impaction.  Intestines “bloated from inflammatory diseases caused by indigestible fiber” create hernias (28).       

Monastyrsky warns that a lot of fiber is hidden in fake processed foods under obscure names, like “cellulose, B-glucans, pectin, guar gum, cellulose gum, carrageen, agar-agar, hemicellulose, inulin, lignin, oligofructose, fructooligosaccharides, polydextrose, polylos, psyllium, resistant dextrin, resistant starch, and others.”  These factory made ingredients are derived from wood pulp, cotton, seaweed, husks, skins, seeds, tubers, and selected high-yield plants that aren’t suitable for human  consumption without extra processing” (18). 

So, what constitutes constipation?  Monastyrsky notes that mainstream medicine does not recognize constipation as the very serious condition that it is until it is too late and more extreme digestive conditions have developed.  If you’re not experiencing twice-daily easy and complete stools–Monastyrsky describes in detail what a healthy stool should look like using the UK’s Bristol Stool Form Scale—you might want to read FIBER MENACE. 

WARNING:  Monastyrsky warns that one must wean off fiber very gently or one will set off unintended consequences, like increased constipation.  To heal a damaged digestive tract, the GAPS diet, from GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME, is excellent—www.gapsdiet.com.