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Books/Recipes: NOURISHING BROTH, Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD

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Books/Recipes:  April 14, 2015

NOURISHING BROTH

 

The “nourishing” genre of food/cookbooks has been enriched by one:  Sally Fallon Morell and Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD’s NOURISHING BROTH.

You may recall that Sally Fallon Morell wrote NOURISHING TRADITIONS with Dr. Mary Enig, who fought the good fight to show how dangerous trans fats and vegetable oils are and how good for you saturated fats from healthy animals are.  And you may recall that Jennifer McGruther recently published NOURISHING KITCHEN and has a great web site that is a constant resource–as is the Weston A. Price Foundation’s web site.

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So, you cannot read this blog for long without knowing I am a big fan of and great believer in real, homemade bone broths.  Of course I ordered this new book anyway–and it is chock full of the science of bone broths, of why they are so good for us.  And, of course, the book tells you all the ins and outs of making bone broths and how to use them in all sorts of soups, stews, sauces, gravies, and so forth.

After reading the book, I have been defrosting my stored bone broths and heating a cup full for breakfast–instead of drinking tea.  I add raw milk and salt if needed, and am thinking of adding a beaten raw egg, such as you might find in a Chinese or Greek egg soup.  I am finding I have no need for coffee/tea after this gorgeous drink–one that feels good right down to my toes.  And look, ma, no sugar/honey in the morning.  Many cultures drink a hot bone broth soup for breakfast–while we are eating and feeding our children a nutrient nightmare of sugared cereal.  It didn’t take me but one morning to realize what I had been missing.

One of the many things that Morell and Daniel point out is that with the advent of fake bouillon cubes (which have no meat in them and are the beginning of the dangerous excitotoxin MSG), we lost the nourishment we were getting from bone broths that were the base of much of the food we ate.  Bone broths build…bones.  Bone broths are full of gelatin (if made right) and lots of minerals and good fats–all mixed up in a hearty hot broth.

So, in a restaurant, if you encounter a “homemade soup,” ask if the soup is made from bones/meat in the kitchen or if a “base” is used.  Avoid the base soup as it is all made from fake products.

Here’s a little video of Kaayla T. Daniels talking about bone broths and bones:

“Bone Broth” Builds Bone Not Because of Calcium.

Turkey Tracks: Soaking Nuts

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Turkey Tracks:  July 23, 2014

Soaking Nuts

 

All nuts and seeds need to be soaked, sprouted, or fermented in order to get rid of the awesome chemical packages they carry to protect themselves from being eaten before they can sprout and grow.  Some of these chemicals are phytates, and phytates can seriously inhibit your body’s ability to keep or use the minerals it takes in.

When I mention “soaking nuts” before eating them, the listener’s eyes glaze over, and I get slotted into the category of “weird woman.”

But, you know, it isn’t hard to soak nuts.  And they are delicious afterwards.

Here’s a bowl of walnuts soaking in my kitchen the other day:

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Basically you just cover the nuts with water and add some salt.  I used two tablespoons for this lot

After soaking for from 12-24 hours, I scoop them out and dry them in the dehydrator–which does not take all that long.

I put them in a Mason jar and they keep for a long time.  Now I have an asset to use as my heart desires.  All for less than 10 minutes of real work.

These are WALNUTS, which need to be refrigerated, so into the frig they went.

Not all nuts need refrigeration.  And some nuts, like cashews, need only about 6 hours of soaking–or they get mooshy, would be my guess.

For more information on good-food practices, I cannot recommend highly enough getting a copy of NOURISHING TRADITIONS, by Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig, both of The Weston A. Price Foundation.

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July 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Interesting Information: Time’s June 12th Cover, “Eat Butter”

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Interesting Information:  July 2014

“Don’t Blame Fat” by Bryan Walsh

 

Yes, Yes, Yes!

Bryan Walsh’s article on how eating good fats is NOT DANGEROUS appeared in the June 12th TIME magazine.

“Note that “Good” fats are not just any fats–they are saturated animal fats from animals raised in holistic environments where they eat what they are supposed to eat and unprocessed olive and coconut oil.  They are NOT HIGHLY PROCESSED VEGETABLE OR NUT OILS.  Think, especially, of butter, tallow, lard, duck fat, chicken fat, eggs from free-range chickens who are NOT fed soy, raw milk and raw milk products like yogurt, coconut oil, olive oil, organic avocado, and organic nuts and seeds that have been soaked in salt water and dried.

Time Cover, Butter – Google Search.

Friend Judith Valentine–a PhD nutritionist who trained in part under Dr. Mary Enig of The Weston A. Price Foundation (judithvalentine.com), saved the article for me.

What a joy it was to read.

The work of many of the people I’ve written about here on this blog was acknowledged–like Gary Taubes.  And Michael Pollen.  And the Duke Obesity Clinic docs.

Ancel Keyes, the father of the low-fat movement, was properly debunked.

The role of politics was traced.

The fact that it’s really difficult to get reputable science published if it “goes against the momentary grain” of BELIEF was demonstrated.

EAT REAL FOOD and OCCUPY YOUR KITCHEN!

Thank you TIME and Bryan Walsh.

 

Visit your library and read the article.

 

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: Jennifer McGruther’s THE NOURISHED KITCHEN

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Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  April 29, 2014

 

The Nourished Kitchen

Jennifer McGruther

 

WOW!

Here’s a terrific new cookbook that’s playing off of Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig’s book Nourishing Traditions.  Morell and Enig are part of The Weston A. Price Foundation organization.

 

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My friend Rose Thomas, aka “Chicken Rose” to my family as there are others named Rose in my life, dropped by the other day for a cup of tea.  I told her that I had just gotten a really nice new cookbook, and as soon as I picked it up to show her, she said “I just got it too.  On my Kindle.”  But she had a lot of fun actually holding the book in her hands and said so.

So, it’s a book that’s “in the wind” on a number of whole-foods sites.

The author is from Colorado–in the mountains–and seems to have a kind of rural setting.  So there are discussions of foraging for strawberries, wild greens, and cooking wild game.  We might not be able to get elk, but we can get deer and rabbit here in Maine. And our berry gardens are superb.

There’s a terrific chapter on cooking and fermenting ancient grains.  And a resource section that tells where to buy them.

There’s an exciting chapter on fermented foods–with some exciting combinations of ingredients.

Indeed, what’s piquing my interest the most are the different combinations this cook is using in her every day foods.

The section on desserts have some healthy, interesting, delicious looking combinations.

This one is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

PS:  Those are salt-preserved Meyer lemons on the cover–an “asset” I keep in my refrigerator all the time.  I cover with a film of olive oil that is delicious drizzled over any kind of baked fish.  A  tablespoon of the chopped lemon and oil put into smashed potatoes with butter adds a delicious sparkle to the mixture.

Interesting Information: Sugar and Inflammation

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Interesting Information:  November 22, 2013

Sugar and Inflammation

Ellen Davis promotes ketogenic diets, which is a diet where fats provide most of the calories.  She has an article in the July/August 2012 issue of Well Being Journal entitled “Ketogenic Diets:  A Key to Excellent Health” (20-23).  Davis supports the ketogenic diet because she used it to reverse her own metabolic syndrome and to regain her health.  In the process, she lost over 80 pounds.  Her web site is www.healthy-eating-politics.com.  (I’ve written about metabolic syndrome in the essays on this blog.)

I am drawn to more of a balanced diet approach–as long as there are not digestive issues.  If there are digestive issues, then one needs to eat in a healing way for some time.  This ketogenic diet is very like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s GAPS protocol–which has a lot of good science and clinical practice results behind it.  (GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome, and there are essays on this blog about GAPS.)

I do think that most Americans are eating way, way too many carbs–that their eating so many carbs is out-of-balance and is causing chronic disease.  (This statement does not address, also, the toll that toxic poisons in and on American foods, takes.)

And I do think that eating a lot of carbs is causing inflammation in the body–which is one root cause of disease.  For instance, Davis points out that a bagel “breaks down into about sixteen teaspoons of sugar in the bloodstream” (21).  So if you are going to eat one, be sure to put a lot of cream cheese or butter on it to help cut the sugar load–just as you would with a baked potato.  And remember that the cream cheese or the butter is not going to make you fat, but that the bagel will because it turns to sugar in your system.

Davis writes that “oxidative stress is what causes metal to rust, and cooking oils to go rancid when exposed to the air.”  This oxidative stress “can create molecules called reactive oxygen species, or ROS.  These molecules, commonly called free radicals, are chemically reactive and can damage internal cellular structures” (21)

She writes that “if inflammation is present, excessive amounts of ROS are created and overwhelm the cell’s defenses, causing accelerated damage and eventually cell death.  This is why inflammation is linked with so many types of disease processes.”

So, food choices are very important, says Davis:  “…high-carbohydrate foods provide much more glucose than the human body can handle efficiently.  Blood glucose is basically liquid sugar, and if you have ever spilled fruit juice or syrup on your hands, you know how sticky it can be.  In the body, this stickiness’ is called glycation.”  The process of glycation starts a chain of events that increases inflammation and creates “substances called advanced glycation-end-products (AGEs)”–which “interfere with cellular function, and are linked to the progression of many disease processes, including Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and autism.”  The “higher the blood sugar, the more serious the damage” (21).  And I wonder if there is a connection between inflammation in the body and the start of cancer–which may get a toehold when the immune system is overloaded.

Davis quotes Ron Rosedale, MD, from his book Burn Fat, Not Sugar to Lose Weight:

“Health and lifespan are determined by the proportion of fat versus sugar people burn throughout their lifetime.  The more fat that one burns as fuel, the healthier the person will be, and the more likely they will live a long time.  The more sugar a person burns, the more disease ridden and the shorter a lifespan a person is likely to have.”

While I am always leery of MDs who are writing about nutrition–since most have had no nutritional training whatsoever–what Rosedale is saying about fat being healthy is a fit with Dr. Mary Enig’s stance on fat in Eat Fat, Lose Fat, written with Sally Fallon Morell, both of The Weston A. Price Foundation.  Dr. Enig is an internationally recognized expert on dietary fats, and I have written about her work in many places on this blog.

And Rosedale’s statement is a fit with Gary Taube’s work on the hormonal conditions caused by eating too many carbs, in Why We Get Fat.

So, there you have it…

Some interesting information…

Turkey Tracks: How to Feed Your Gut

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Turkey Tracks:  October 15, 2013

How to Feed Your Gut

 

More and more information is appearing daily about the importance of keeping your gut healthy.

You may recall from other postings on this blog that I compromised my gut health over the years–and have paid a pretty hefty price for doing so.  It turns out that I have a genetic sensitivity to gluten–tested by a reputable lab sanctioned by the government with a fecal test.  (Blood tests don’t often catch these kinds of food allergies.)  The hefty price is that when I harmed my gut by eating gluten and other foods that let the opportunistic gut flora and fauna we all carry get out of control–read sugars and too many carbs here–they perforated the walls of my gut and food particles began to escape into my bloodstream–which, in turn, created conditions where my body thinks it is being attacked and produces a classic histamine reaction.  My blood pressure drops, I lose all muscle control, and I pass out and have to be hauled off to the hospital where I recover in time.  It takes days to get my brain fully functioning again.

This falling domino sequence did not happen overnight.  It took years.  And I ignored all the warning signs:  reactions to red wine, allergic runny nose and sneezing after eating a food my body did not like, irritable bowel reactions that could strike without warning, the yo-yo effect of constipation followed by diarrhea, weight gain, and on and on.  I didn’t stop until I started passing out and my list of foods that would set off the reaction began to grow and grow until I was afraid to eat anything for fear of setting off an attack.

You can’t take a pill to “fix” this kind of thing.  The only way out is to heal your gut.  And to do that, you have to stop eating any kind of processed food and to start eating nutrient dense whole clean foods that nourish your body.

So, guess what is one of the very best things you can do?  Eat lots of lacto-fermented foods EVERY DAY at EVERY MEAL.  This food has more probiotics and enzymes than any probiotic product you can buy in a store.  Lacto-fermented foods are changed in ways that make them even better than they were when raw.  It’s how people used to store foods before canning and freezing came along.  And, note that canning kills foods and freezing is an energy drain.  I reserve freezing real estate for things like meat, local fruit, and roasted tomatoes, where it takes many tomatoes roasted down to fill a pint jar.

But, first, let me explain that “lacto” is from the wild ingredient that lives in the air, lactobacillus.  Cultured milk products also contain lactobacillus, so that’s where you might have first heard that term.  And I learned all that and how to make sauerkraut first from The Weston A. Price Foundation’s Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig’s book NOURISHING TRADITIONS (a must have in your library).  Then, I built on that knowledge after a few  years with Sandor Ellis Katz’s book WILD FERMENTATION.

Katz was the Maine Organic Farmers’ and Gardners’ Association keynote speaker at the Common Ground Fair this past September.  He has a new book out that is more comprehensive than WILD FERMENTATION.  The new book, I think it’s called THE ART OF FERMENTATION, includes fermenting meats–like corning beef, for instance–which is something I really want to try.

Thus, Katz was in our region, and that sparked other programs on lacto-fermentation.  One such was given by Ana M. Antaki at the Belfast Library–and Margaret Rauenhorst and I went.

Here’s Margaret outside the library–we got to the program a bit early.  Belfast had all sorts of clever benches done by various local artists and placed all over town.

lacto-ferm, Margaret, Belfast library

Margaret is important here because her recipes differ a little from mine–and it’s important to realize that there are different ways to lacto-ferment foods.  For instance, I first learned to lacto-ferment cabbage into something we call sauerkraut (which bears little resemblance to cooked cabbage that’s fermented) from NOURISHING TRADITIONS–the excellent book from Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig of The Weston A. Price Foundation.  That recipe uses some whey drained from yogurt along with a bit of salt, whereas Katz does not use whey.  And Margaret, who does not refrigerate her sauerkraut at all, says the whey makes it go softer quicker.

And Ana Antaki uses glass jars with a bailer and rubber seal (Fido jars) to lacto-ferment, whereas Katz uses mostly crocks.  Ana likes the bialers and seals as she says they let out gasses that form but do not let in outside air.  I use, in addition to jars with rubber seals and bailers (FIDO jars) and crocks, half-gallon Mason jars because that’s what I have on hand and because I have the refrigerator room to store them so they stay cool.  The crocks require a bit more attention to keeping liquid levels high enough.  The Mason jars maybe need to have the gases inside let out from time to time if the jars are in places that are not cool enough.   I do have questions about the glass Fido jars not letting in enough “wild” organisms not so much to help ferment the foods, but to let even more of the “wild” of nature do even more work.

Ana and her husband Roy put up ALL of their produce from their Weeping Duck Farm every year using methods like lacto-fermentation and dehydration.  They do not buy any fresh produce all winter.  And it’s important to realize that the food inside the jars/crocks stays as fresh and bright as the day you put it into the container.  Ana has kept lacto-fermented jars for as long as five years before eating the contents.

Lacto-fermentation takes only two ingredients:  salt (real sea salt please) and water (no added fluoride or chlorine).  How simple is that?

And there are two methods:  one for foods you want to cut or grate into small pieces and one for foods you can preserve in larger chunks.

Both methods could not be simpler to make and are delicious.

Sauerkraut and Sauerruben (a mixture of grated root veggies) put grated veggies into a bowl.  One then adds salt and whatever spices or herbs one wants.  (Ana adds less salt than Katz, but Katz says to use salt to your own taste.  Ana adds 3 tablespoons of sea salt to about 5 pounds of veggies.)  NOURISHING TRADITIONS adds 4 tablespoons of whey dripped out from yogurt and 1 tablespoon of salt.  (I don’t know if the whey from commercial, processed yogurt would work–it is a dead food.)

Here’s a bowl of grated cabbage with bits of carrot–you could also fine-cut the cabbage with a knife.

Lacto fermented cabbage started

I started using a pestle to bruise the cabbage enough until it started rendering its liquid–until I saw a 6-minute video Katz put on utube that showed him using his hands to squeeze the cabbage.  That seemed to work a bit better.

Once the cabbage renders enough liquid, one just packs it into a jar and lets it sit.  I turn mine upside down a few times a day and refrigerate it after a few days as that slows down the fermenting action.  I still use 4 tablespoons of whey and maybe only one tablespoon of salt, but I don’t stress about it.  I add things like some caraway seeds.  Garlic is good in anything.  You could add some herbs from the garden.  Use what sounds good to YOU.

You can start to eat any of these foods after a few days.  But the longer they ferment, the more they “develop” interesting flavors that are richer and deeper.  Refrigeration slows the reactions.

Here’s the sauerkraut packed into a jar:

Lacto fermented cabbage

After after a few days, I was able to put the contents of the half-filled jar into the full one…

If you use a crock, you need a plate you can push down over the top of the veggies  to make the liquid rise and cover them–and a weight to keep it pushed down–like a Mason jar filled with water–and a clean dish towel or cheesecloth over the top–tied around so fruit flies that are very present this time of year don’t get inside.  You want this food to be able to breathe.

The other method involves cutting up veggies, adding spices and or herbs (I put whole garlic cloves into everything as it is a great immune builder–and I eat them as I go along) and pouring some brine over the mixture until the jar is full.  Ana uses wooden popsicle sticks pushed down into the neck of her jars to keep the liquid covering the food–and that works really well.

The brine is simple–you can mix in 3 tablespoons of sea salt to one liter of water.  Katz uses about 6 tablespoons for about 8 cups and replenishes evaporated liquid with a mixture of 1 tablespoon salt to one cup of water.  You just put the salt into cold water, stir it around, and pour it over the veggies.

Here are my mixed veggies:

lacto-fermented mixed veggies 2

This batch has eggplant cut into chunks, carrots, beans, salad turnips, green peppers, red peppers, and so forth.  Green beans are delicious done this way.  And, of course, Katz has a recipe for New York garlicky pickles that is delicious!  I can’t get enough of them.

It’s wise to always put a fresh jar/crock into a pan or a container so that if there is overflow, it won’t ruin anything.  Especially with the crocks and especially if they are fullish.  With the jars, you will see bubbles rise to the neck of the jar and when you see a ring of bubbles–or bubbles rising if you pick up the jar and shake it–you know all is well.  Again, putting a jar into a cool place slows the reactions.

Remember that the veggies are in an acid environment–so will not go bad.  And remember if using a crock, it’s entirely normal for the top of the liquid to “bloom” with white bits and blue bits.  Just skim those off.  They don’t hurt anything any more than the white and blue bits in blue cheese.  It’s normal.  It’s WILD.

I just tasted a crock I did two weeks ago of grated turnips (about 4 pounds) and carrots (1 pound)–with added sage from the garden.  It is DELICIOUS!  It has no “turnipy” taste at all–is just clear and fresh and lovely.  I’m going to transfer it to a glass jar and think about doing it again and adding in some parsnips…  And, maybe, rutabega as I have some.  I might have grated in some Daikon radish and I did add garlic…   How healthy is that?

So, here’s a picture of the New York garlicky pickles this summer–lots of garlic, grape leaves to keep the pickles crisp, some peppercorns, and fresh dill:

Sour Pickes in crock

And a summer favorite–a bacon, lettuce, tomato (from your garden), slivered onion sandwich with homemade mayo and with a pickle on the side:

Sour Pickles

Interesting Information: A Horror Story

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Interesting Information:  September 24, 2014

A Horror Story

I can tell this story now that my niece (and namesake) has delivered her beautiful second son and is home safely.

To tell this story before this event would have scared my niece to death.  Though she had chosen to use a midwife and to have her son in a birthing center, the birth still took place in a hospital.  And hospitals are not places one wants to be in these days.

Heather Ann (Woodward) Nichols, 29, grew up in Owls Head and Rockland.  She met husband Matt in Portland, and they married int he spring of 2011.  Heather went to one of our best state hospitals to have her first baby in early August.

The baby’s room was all ready, the couple was so excited about the birth of their first child, and the birth apparently went well.  Heather had an episiotomy during the birth process.  Heather went home with her daughter, Ruby Ann, and in a matter of hours, starting experiencing a lot of pain.  She went back to the hospital and died a few days later.  She had picked up a flesh-eating bacteria through the episiotomy–A Streptococcus, or necrotizing fasciitis.  These bacterias LIKE living in hospitals.

NPR’s Diane Rehm has had many programs on the overuse of antibiotics over the many years I’ve listened to her radio show.  She had another one last week (September 2013).  But, the herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner says that it’s way too late now to try to cut back on the heavy use of antibiotics–most of which are used on the animals in our food supply–to promote growth in overcrowded conditions.  The barn door is already open, and we can’t go back.  Worse, there are no magic drugs in the pipeline that can control the super pathogens that we now face.

Herbal Antibiotics

Here’s a quote from Buhner’s HERBAL ANTIBIOTICS (13-14):

The thing that so many people missed, including my ancestors, is that all life on Earth is highly intelligent and very, very adaptable.  Bacteria are the oldest forms of life on this planet and they have learned very, very well how to respond to threats to their well-being.  Among those threats are the thousands if not millions of antibacterial substances that have existed as long as life itself.

One of the crucial understandings that those early researchers ignored, though tremendously obvious now (only hubris could have hidden it so long), is that the world is filled with antibacterial substances, most produced by other bacteria, as well as fungi and plants.  Bacteria, to survive, learned how to respond to those substances a long time ago.  Or as Steven Projan of Wyeth Research puts it, bacteria “are the oldest of living organisms and thus have been the subject to three billion years of evolution in harsh environments and therefore have been selected to withstand chemical assault.”

What makes the problem even more egregious is that most of the antibiotics originally developed by human beings came from fungi, fungi that bacteria had encountered a very long time ago.  Given those circumstances, of course there were going to be problems with our antibiotics.  Perhaps, perhaps, if our antibiotic use had been restrained, the problems would have been minor.  But it hasn’t been; the amount of pure antibiotics being dumped into the environment is unprecedented in evolutionary history.  And that has had tremendous impacts on the bacterial communities of Earth, and the bacteria have set about solving the problem they face very methodically.  Just like us, they want to survive, and just like us, they are very adaptable.  In fact, they are much more adaptable than we ever will be.

What does the overuse of antibiotics look like?  Buhner quantifies the overuse in this way (7):

In 1942 the world’s entire supply of penicillin was a mere 32 liters (its weight? about 64 pounds).  By 1949, 156,000 pounds a year of penicillin and a new antibiotic, streptomycin (isolated from common soil fungi) were being produced.  By 1999–in the United States alone–this figure had grown to an incredible 40 million pounds a year of scores of antibiotics for people, livestock, research, and agricultural plants.  Ten years later some 60 million pounds per year of antibiotics were being used in the United States and scores of millions of pounds more by other countries around the world.  Nearly 30 million pounds were being used in the United States solely on animals raised for human consumption.  And those figures?  That is per year.  Year in, year out.

Buhner also notes that most of these antibiotics pass through animals and are excreted into the various waste stream systems where THEY NEVER GO AWAY.  And, “hospital-acquired resistant infections, by conservative estimates, are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.  And that doesn’t even include the death toll from infectious diseases in general, the same infectious diseases that were going to be eradicated by the year 2000 (11).

Buhner argues in HERBAL ANTIBIOTICS that our only solution is to return to plant-based medicinal strategies.  This book is daunting in its scope.  I feel like I did when I first started reading NOURISHING TRADITIONS with all its information and new ways of handling food.  But, by now I have waded deeply into traditional food ways and into sourcing local foods and into thinking about and researching alternative medical strategies.  So, I will begin with baby steps with finding ways to use herbal antibiotics–remembering that all the most powerful medicines are located in plants, which themselves organize through chemicals.  That would lead to Buhner’s THE LOST LANGUAGE OF PLANTS, which was an eye-opener for me and which I will write about in a separate post.

And, what can we do about this very serious problem of antibiotic resistant diseases–which are part and parcel of ALL the superbugs we have created with our greedy and stupid practices that have ignored the powerful interconnectedness of nature?

Stay out of hospitals if at all possible.  I, for instance, am done with getting blood tests unless I need one because I’m sick.

If you are pregnant, watch the excellent documentary THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN.  You will be shocked to discover how much of pregnancy and birth in the United States has been colonized by practices located in making money, rather than in practices grounded in science.  And, yes, I will write a separate posting on this documentary.  For the moment, note that something like 85 percent of births across the rest of the world are overseen by midwives–and the survival rates are much higher than those in the US.  Note, too, that most OB/GYNs have NEVER SEEN a natural live birth.  These doctors are highly trained surgeons, and we are so lucky to have them if trouble develops, but have them attend normal births is a super, and expensive, overkill.  So, do some research on your own.  Learn for yourself what the issues are.  And make your birth choices not out of fear, but out of knowledge–like my niece recently did.

Mainely Tipping Points 44: THE WHOLE SOY STORY

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Mainely Tipping Points 44:  December 7, 2012

Part I:  THE WHOLE SOY STORY

 

Just the other day I stood in front of a store cooler with $40 worth of a premiere brand of bratwurst sausages in my hand.  How delicious they would be for dinner grilled and served alongside applesauce, pan-sautéed cabbage, corn bread, and assorted pickles and mustards.  Almost absentmindedly, I glanced at the ingredients on the label and was startled to see soy protein isolate.  I put the sausages back into the cooler for two reasons:  I don’t think our food should be padded with soy “meat extenders” so industry can make more money, and I don’t think commercial soy is at all safe to eat, especially the highly processed forms like soy protein isolate. 

The person I rely on for soy information is Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, the author of THE WHOLE SOY STORY:  THE DARK SIDE OF AMERICA’S FAVORITE HEALTH FOOD (2005).  Daniel is known as the “naughty nutritionist” because with outrageous humor she specializes in debunking food myths, like the myths surrounding commercial soy.  And, Daniel comes with the kinds of credentials and training which allow her to understand the value of what she is researching, like why some studies have good designs and are executed properly and why others are corrupt, in that they have been designed and paid for by industry to make commercial soy appear to be safe and, even, healthy, when it is not. 

If you are totally confused by the alphabet soup that follows many names in the nutrition field, take a look at Daniels article “What Should I Do to Be a Nutritionist?   Making Sense of All Those Confusing Degrees and Credentials,” published in the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) journal, “Wise Traditions,” Fall 2009, http://www.westonaprice.org/health-issues/what-should-i-do-to-be-a-nutritionist.  Daniels walks the reader through what kind of nutritional programs are available and what their strengths and pitfalls are.  She explains what kinds of organizations certify people with dietary and nutritional training, which lets them begin to use the coveted initials behind their names. 

You’ll find, too, that this terrain is a minefield of disingenuous claims.  For instance, , anyone can claim to be a nutritionist, so the alphabet soup tells everyone what kind of training and testing has been involved.   And, Daniels notes that Mary Enig, PhD, MACN, “is fond of saying [that] `Dietitians are trained to dispense processed food.’ (That MACN behind Enig’s name is the coveted Master of the American College of Nutrition, “a prestigious category for those who have made outstanding contributions over an extended period of time to the field of nutrition.”)  

Daniels herself studied under the legendary H. Ira Fritz, PhD, CNS, FACN.  The CNS stands for Certified Nutritional Specialist, and the FACN designates that Fritz is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition.  The FACNs, explains Daniels, “hold doctoral degrees, [have] expertise as practitioners or educators and [have] a publication track record.”  (Dr. Enig’s MACN is a step above the FACN, which she also holds.) 

Dr. Fritz is now emeritus professor at both Union and Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and was, in addition to Daniels, mentor to a number of “superstars” in the field of nutrition.  Daniels herself is a CNN, or Certified Clinical Nutritionist, which is a very respected credential.  And, she is a board member (Vice President) of the WAPF and regularly publishes articles in its journal “Wise Traditions,” where she also has a column on soy issues.  And, she blogs at the WAPF web site and on her own blog, http://liberationwellness.com.    

With the publication of THE WHOLE SOY STORY, Daniels acquired a national reputation.  She appeared on the Dr. Oz show, where that megalomaniac did not allow her to speak more than one sentence.  (Oz ended that segment by passing out stalks of soy to the audience, each fluttering with raw edamame pods.)  She appeared on the Oz show as counter to Dr. Mark Hyman, a pro soy advocate, who did not seem to know that soy milk and tofu are not fermented soy products, which are safer to eat.  Her in-depth response to Hyman in the Fall 2010 “Wise Traditions” is worth reading, in that it discusses in a short article many of the myths and dangers of eating untreated soy:  http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert/response-to-dr-mark-hyman.  Daniels has been on ABC’s View From the Bay, NPR’s People’s Pharmacy, and will soon appear on PBS Healing Quest.  She was WAPF’s 2005 recipient of the Integrity in Science Award.

I am taking a lot of time setting up Daniel’s credentials because I hope this activity helps readers understand not only what I am looking for when navigating the maze of whom to believe when it comes to nutrition, but how readers, too, should discern the value of what they are reading.  We can no longer rely on studies from Harvard as being reliable just because they come from Harvard.  One has only to look at the recent study denouncing red meat done to see that Harvard nutrition scientists are perfectly capable of producing terrible, useless studies.  (See my blog, https://louisaenright.wordpress.com/?s=red+meat.).  Daniels has solid credentials, she works with people at the WAPF who also have solid credentials, and for THE WHOLE SOY STORY she looked at the history of soy, at all the major soy studies, at the major soy issues, and at the major soy industry proponents.

We are being besieged at the moment with the idea that we should all eat mostly a plant-based diet.  Vegetables and fruits are touted as being chock full of wonderful ingredients that will make us healthy.  What is being lost in this current moment of insanity is not only that plants are not nutrient dense, but that plants manage their lives chemically and that some of those chemicals are so potent that they can cause quite a bit of harm to humans.  Many of the plants that we eat everyday can, if overdone or eaten without being treated to reduce the chemical load, cause serious trouble.  And, it’s easy to over eat certain foods since they are now available all year round.  Take spinach, for instance. It’s loaded with oxalates, which can cause kidney stones if eaten in excess.  Or, the grains and legumes I wrote about in the  Mainely Tipping Points Essay series on the Paleolithic diet, essays 41, 42, and 43, which are loaded with antinutrients that must be treated to be safe to eat.  For more information in this vein, see Daniels; “Plants Bite Back,” “Wise Traditions,” Spring 2010, http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/plants-bite-back.  

Soy is a dangerous plant food without a long history of use as a food.  And we are feeding it to animals and fish we eat and whose eggs we eat.  We are dumping soy into processed and packaged foods, including things like canned tuna fish and, unlabeled, in the hamburger in your local grocery store.  We are loading it with sugars and drinking it, to include putting it into baby formula.  We are, in short, wallowing in soy.

Here are some quotes from the flyleaf of THE WHOLE SOY STORY:  “Soy is NOT a health food.  Soy is NOT the answer to world hunger.  Soy is NOT a panacea.  Soy has NOT even been proven safe.”

And, here’s a quote to help start off this series on soy, again from the flyleaf:  “Hundreds of epidemiological, clinical and laboratory studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive problems, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, immune system breakdown, even heart disease and cancer.   Most at risk are children given soy formula, vegetarians who eat soy as their main source of protein and adults self-medicating with soy foods and supplements.”   

Next:  how soy got into our food chain.        

Turkey Tracks: Preserving Garlic

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Turkey Tracks:  February 2, 2012

Preserving Garlic

Some of our garlic is starting to go soft and to mold–especially the really big bulbs.  It’s that time of year.

Last year, I jollied the bulbs along by putting them into the refrigerator.  I swore then that I’d take the time to clean them and do SOMETHING with them next year.  For those of you who don’t grow things, one plants garlic in the fall, it winters over in the ground, sprouts in the spring, grows all summer–giving you fresh garlic scapes just when you’re hungry for fresh garlic taste–and one harvests in the early fall when the plants start to turn brown.  After pulling up the bulbs, one dries them in a warm dry place, which makes the true, strong garlic taste develop.  After that, one cuts off the stalks and stores the bulbs.  They need cool, dry storage.

Also, EAT GARLIC!.  It has the most amazing chemical properties which can build up your immune system, drive off colds and infections, and keep you generally healthy.  It didn’t get the reputation for vampire protection for nothing!  If you start coming down with a cold, mash a fresh garlic clove into some butter, spread it over a cracker or something like that, and eat it.  Salt helps.  Three times a day.  You’ll notice that help is occurring almost right away.

So, this year, I brined a jar of garlic, which took care of about half of our crop.  You can see what I have left to do.  You can also see the dusky blue light outside my kitchen window

I used a recipe from NOURISHING TRADITIONS since it uses whey.

Brining Garlic

In a quart Mason jar, place the peeled cloves of about 12 heads of garlic.  (If you roll them under your hands or in a towel, the cloves break free easily–all except for the pesky little ones.)

Add 2 teaspoons of dried oregano (I used a savory herb mixture with a Mediterranean base), 2 teaspoons sea salt, 2 Tablespoons of whey.  If you don’t have whey (you drip it out of yogurt), use another 2 teaspoons of sea salt.  Add water to cover, but leave a good inch free at the top.  You’ll notice I have my jar sitting in a saucer to catch drips if the fermentation process gets going in earnest and bubbles start going over the top.

Leave the jar on the counter for about three days, turning it upside down and shaking it a few times a day to distribute the juices.  Then, put it in a cool place.

You can use the garlic like fresh.  The juice is great in salad dressings.  Or, I suspect, a little would jive up soups.

I’m also going to make some GARLIC ELIXIR–from a recipe in WELL BEING JOURNAL, Jan/Feb 2012.  They took it from Doug Oster’s TOMATOES, GARLIC, BASIL:  THE SIMPLE PLEASURES OF GROWING AND COOKING YOUR GARDEN’S MOST VERSATILE VEGGIES.  Sounds like a good book.

Garlic Elixir

1 cup of garlic cloves, peeled

1/4 cup parsley

1 teaspoon salt (sea salt please)

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Olive oil (1/2 to 1 cup)

1 tsp. black pepper

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

optional:  chopped black olives or capers to taste

Process garlic and parsley in a blender until chopped fine– put optional ingredients in first before blending the garlic and parley if using.  Place in a mixing bowl.  Add salt, vinegar, pepper and lemon juice, stir in olive oil.  Place in a glass jar and cover with thin layer of olive oil.  Will store in refrigerator for up to a month.

Wow!  I’m guessing some of that added to salad dressing would make some fabulous salad dressing.  Wonder if one could freeze it…

Push the cloves do

xxx

Tipping Points 20: Chemical Brews: Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

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Chemical Brews:  Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

The American Dietetic Association groups sweeteners into two major categories:  nutritive and non-nutritive.   Nutritive sweeteners provide energy to the body; non-nutritive sweeteners do not, which means they sweeten without calories.  Thus, non-nutritive sweeteners have been the backbone of the diet industry. 

The FDA currently approves five non-nutritive sweeteners:  aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame K, sucralose, and neotame.  The FDA banned cyclamate in 1969 and has never approved alitame, which is similar to aspartame.

Aspartame, or 1-aspartyl 1-phenylalanine methyl ester, was discovered by accident when James Schlatter, while working on creating new drugs to treat ulcers, accidentally licked his fingers in order to pick up a piece of paper.  Aspartame is 80 times sweeter than sucrose, or table sugar.  And, according to Jim Earle in “Sugar-Free Blues:  Everything You Wanted to Know About Artificial Sweeteners,” February 2004 (http://www.westonaprice.org/modern-foods/570-sugar-free-blues.html ), aspartame            is the most widely used non-nutritive sweetener.  By 1992, Earle writes, Americans were using 8.4 million pounds of aspartame yearly, which represents 80 percent of world demand.  About 70 percent of aspartame is used in soft drinks, but it is added also to “more than 6,000 foods, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals.”  Aspartame is sold under several brand names, including NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonfuls, Canderel, Bienvia, NatraSweet, and Miwan.

Earle explains that during digestion, aspartame degrades into methanol, or wood alcohol, and two amino acids:  phenylalanine, the largest component by weight, and aspartic acid.  Methanol is a known, lethal poison that can cause, Devra Davis notes in THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE WAR ON CANCER (2007), blindness and brain damage.  And, she notes that methanol content of aspartame is “a thousand times greater than most foods under FDA control” (421). 

Phenylalanine, Earle notes, is dangerous to people with phenylketonuria (PKU), an inherited condition.  And, he notes that the FDA recommends that pregnant and lactating women, people with advanced liver disease, and phenylketonurics avoid aspartame.   

The FDA admits also, writes Earle, that “aspartic acid has the potential to cause brain damage,” but the FDA limits the danger to very high doses.  Earle notes that Dr. Christine Lydon, an aspartame researcher, explains that phenylalanine and aspartic acid are amino acids found naturally in foods, but in foods they are eaten alongside other amino acids.  Separated, each enters “the nervous system in abnormally high concentrations, causing aberrant neuronal firing and potential cell death”—which, in turn, is linked to “headaches, mental confusion, balance problems and possibly seizures.” 

Earle notes that Dr. Lydon warns that phenylalanine decomposes into diketopiperazine (DKP) a known carcinogen, when exposed to warm temperatures or prolonged storage.  At cold temperatures, methanol “spontaneously gives rise to a colorless toxin known as formaldehyde.”  Jim Turner’s timeline detailing the history of aspartame’s approval by the FDA notes that aspartame’s unstable nature prompted The National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) to petition the FDA in July 1983 to delay approval “pending further testing because aspartame is very unstable in liquid form” (http://www.swankin-turner.com/hist.html).     

Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon Morell, in NOURISHING TRADITIONS (2000), write that “aspartame…is a neurotoxic substance that has been associated with numerous health problems including dizziness, visual impairment, severe muscle aches, numbing of extremities, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, retinal hemorrhaging, seizures and depression.  It is suspected of causing birth defects and chemical disruptions of the brain.”  And, Enig and Morell report that in 1992 Utah State University researchers reported “that even at low levels aspartame induces adverse changes in the pituitary glands of mice.  The pituitary gland is the master gland upon which the proper function of all biochemical processes depend” (51).     

Davis notes that the U.S. military, in two publications, “warned that aspartame can cause serious brain problems in pilots” (422).  And, Davis points to the flaw in tests that kill and exam rats before they have lived out their natural lifespans—an important factor since cancer can often take decades to develop and killing rats early derails detection of cancer formation.  She cites test results in 2001 showing the development of cancer in multiple organs of rats allowed to live out their natural life spans–even though dosages were well under those allowed in America (50 mg daily).  Davis notes that one can of diet soda contains 200 mg of aspartame (424-425).  She further notes that there is “no evidence at all” that those who use aspartame actually lose weight.  Actually, there is “some indication” that aspartame “creates a sugar deficit” which leads “people to seek more sugar from other sources” (423). 

Earle reports that as of 1995 over 75 percent of the adverse reactions reported to the Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) of the FDA were due to aspartame.  Davis notes that the FDA stopped gathering adverse reaction reports in 1995 (422). 

Saccharin, from the Latin for “sugar,” is 300 times sweeter than sugar.  Saccharin, Earle notes, was also discovered by accident in 1879 when a Johns Hopkins scientist spilled some and noticed the sweet taste.  Saccharin, until 1915, was first used as an antiseptic agent and food preservative.  In 1901, John F. Queeny, started the Monsanto corporation, manufactured saccharin, and shipped it to a Georgia company,  Coca-Cola. 

Saccharin is “the holy grail of the artificial sweetener industry,” writes Earle, because it “is not metabolized by the human body and is excreted rapidly through the urine.”  This kind of compound, Earle explains, tastes sweet, is stable in prepackaged foods and beverages, is thought to be “so foreign to the human diet that our digestive systems cannot metabolize them to create any dietary calories,” and is “dirt cheap to produce in bulk.

World War II brought sugar shortages, but cyclamate, discovered in 1937 when a graduate student at the University of Illinois working on anti-fever drugs accidentally tasted it, came to the rescue and was the chemical of choice.  Saccharin’s original chemical classification lists it as an O-toluene sulfonamide derivative.  Toluene is a colorless liquid hydrocarbon distilled from coal tar, which may, Earle suggests, account for saccharin’s “bitter, metallic aftertaste.”  In 1958, Maryin Eisenstadt mixed saccharin with cyclamate and introduced Sweet’n Low, which we have today, without the cyclamate.    

Dr. Nathanael J.  McKeown, a medical toxologist, writes that “toluene (methylbenzene, toluol, phenylmethane) is an aromatic hydrocarbon (C7 H8) commonly used as an industrial solvent for the manufacturing of paints, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and rubber. …Toluene is found in gasoline, acrylic paints, varnishes, lacquers, paint thinners, adhesives, glues, rubber cement, airplane glue, and shoe polish.  At room temperature, toluene is a colorless, sweet smelling, and volatile liquid” whose fumes are highly toxic (“Toluene, Toxicity,” http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/818939-overview).  (These fumes, sniffed by some to get high, as with glue, affect the Central Nervous System.) 

Saccharin is now, Earle explains, manufactured by a more cost-effective method developed in 1950 that begins with synthetically produced methyl anthranilate.  Wikipedia explains that anthranilic acid successively reacts with nitrous acid, sulfur dioxide, chlorine, and then ammonia to yield saccharin.  Another route, Wikipedia continues, begins with o-chlorotoluene

And, Wikipedia notes that saccharin is also known as ortho sulfobenzoic acid.  Earle notes that as saccharin is a sulfonamide, some people have allergic reactions to it.  Further, saccharin-sweetened infant formula has produced severe, largely muscle, reactions in some babies. 

In 1969, the FDA proposed banning saccharin with cyclamate until its safety was proved, but, Earle notes, significant opposition from a public now concerned with calories saved saccharin.  Canada, however, did ban saccharin in 1977 as a carcinogen.  The US Congress put a two-year moratorium on any ban, but mandated a cautionary label warning of possible health hazards, including cancer.  For the next 26 years, numerous studies (2374) have been performed to prove or disprove saccharin safety until, in 1991, the FDA gave saccharin, as Earle notes, “something of a probationary status,” though the FDA still classifies saccharin as an“anticipated human carcinogen.” 

Acesulfame-K, or acesulfame potassium, or 5,6-dimethyl-1,2,3-oxathiazine-4(3H)-one-2,2-dioxide, or ACK, was also discovered by a German chemist in 1967 when he licked his fingers to pick up a piece of paper.  ACK is, Earle writes, 200 times sweeter than sugar and is thought not metabolized by the body so is excreted unchanged in the urine.  The FDA approved ACK  in 1988 for use in” baked goods, frozen desserts, alcoholic beverages and candies” and, in 1998, for “all other general sweetening purposes.”  ACK has been marketed under the brand names Sunett, Sweet One, Swiss Sweet, and Sweet & Safe.  Pepsi used it in Pepsi One upon its FDA approval.  And, ACK is often blended with aspartame, as it is in Twinsweet. 

Earle notes that there is very little information about ACK.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CPSI), he writes, concluded that the safety tests were of mediocre quality.  And, that “large doses of acetoacetamide, a breakdown product, have been shown to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits and dogs.  ACK, he notes, stimulates insulin secretion which can possibly aggravate hypoglycemia, or low-blood sugar.    

Sucralose, or 1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-BETA-D-fructofukranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha-D-galactopyranoside, was discovered, Earle writes, as a sweetener in 1976 when a grad student misunderstood “testing” for “tasting” and discovered that “many chlorinated sugars are hundreds or thousands of times sweeter than sucrose.”  Splenda is the brand we know. 

Johnson & Johnson claims sucralose is exceptionally stable and that sucralose passes through the body without being broken down.  But, Earle notes, sucralose “has the fewest independent scientific tests to its credit of all non-nutritive sweeteners.”  And, “independent reviewers of Johnson & Johnson’s tests have found them to be inadequate and methodologically flawed.”

Earle notes that “several pre-approval tests still indicated potential toxicity.”  And, research is now showing some alarming physical reactions, including  shrinking of the thymus gland, enlargement of the liver and kidneys, decreased red blood cell count, and decreased fetal body weights.   Earle notes that the FDA’s “own research has shown that 11 to 27 percent of sucralose is absorbed in humans.”  Japanese tests show that as much as 40 percent of sucralose is absorbed.  And, the FDA considers sucralose to be “weakly mutagenic” in some mouse studies.

These effects, Earle notes, are “not fully understood.”  But, detractors are pointing to the chlorinated molecules, which are also “used as the basis for pesticides such as DDT” and which “tend to accumulate in body tissues.” 

Nor is sucralose stable.  Prolonged storage, especially at high temperatures, causes breakdown into chemicals which have not been “specifically tested in terms of safety for human ingestion.” 

Neotame is produced by The NutraSweet Company and is known as “superaspartame.”  It is synthesized from a base of aspartame and 3,3-dimethylbutyraldehyde.    It’s chemical name is N-[N-(3,3-dimethylbutyl)-L-a-aspartyl]-L-phenylalanine 1-methyl ester.  It is 8000 times sweeter than sugar.  Earle poses that The NutraSweet Company is positioning neotame to replace aspartame whose patent rights expired in the 1990s. 

None of these accidentally discovered chemical brews have been shown to be safe for humans.  Many may be, in fact, quite dangerous.  The pattern of FDA approval fits the pattern Davis establishes in THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE WAR ON CANCER:   a profitable but potentially dangerous product appears; industry denies and demonizes science pointing to problems; industry produces flawed studies that obfuscate the safety issues; industry manipulates the legal and political mechanisms meant to protect citizens; industry buys massive advertising to sell the product; and industry achieves a profitable status quo.

Here’s three things you can do.    Stop eating these products.  Buy local, organic, whole foods and cook them yourself.  And recognize that we have to change the values that put profit before people.