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Turkey Tracks: Lacto-Fermenting Project

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Turkey Tracks:  December 7, 2013

Lacto-Fermenting Project

 

I got it into my head that I needed to make a good bit of lacto-fermented foods right away.

Thursday saw me buying a huge bag full of cabbages (red and white), leeks, turnips, rutabegas, and parsnips.  I already had a big bag carrots.  And the garden is full of kale.

Veggies to Lactoferment

Here’s the spread:

Veggies on counter

And the kale from the garden.  I also brought in handfuls of the last of the sage, which is a bit more winter hardy than the other herbs:

Kale from garde

On Friday, I started food processing.  I had two projects:  to make a new batch of the root veggies I LOVED over the past few months.  The first batch was just turnips, carrots, garlic, and sage.  This batch would have also parsnips (very sweet) and rutabegas and red onion.

I don’t know how to describe the taste of this turnip mixture.  It does not taste like turnip.  It does have a bright, fresh taste that is delightful–much as Sandor Ellis Katz promised in his book WILD FERMENTATION.

The second project was some mixtures of cabbage (red and white), leeks, onions when I ran out of leeks, kale, carrot, one had a turnip, more garlic, and sage.  I decided to do at least two mixtures of just cabbage, carrot, and caraway seeds–the traditional mixture from NOURISHING TRADITIONS (Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig of The Weston A. Price Foundation) with which I started this journey.

The project went rather well:

Lactofermented veggies, 4 gallons

There is a gallon of fermented cabbage in the crock.  I transferred it to jars this morning.  So I have almost 4 gallons of delicious food.

The orange is the root veggie mixture.  The cabbage mixtures will turn bright rosy pink in a few days–from the red cabbage effect.

The kitchen was a mess when I was done.  (You should have seen the floor.)

veggies, kitchen wipeout

But it cleaned up quickly as no grease was involved:

Kitchen clean-up

Hint:  the jars will be so pretty with a red ribbon and a Christmas Card attached, don’t you think?

Shhhhhh…..

And I’m not giving away the big root veggie jar or the jar with the hinge.  They’re for ME!!

Mainely Tipping Points 38: Please Pass the Salt

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Mainely Tipping Points 38:  January 23, 2012

PLEASE PASS THE SALT

If you were to make me choose between sugar and salt, I’d choose salt every time.  I’m almost always the first one at the table to say “please pass the salt.”

I like to think I inherited my salt-loving tendency from my maternal grandmother—Louise Phillips Bryan of Reynolds, Georgia.  So, when the salt wars began in the 1970s—that time when many of the false, unscientific notions about food and body chemistry took root–I didn’t pay a bit of attention.  Grandmother lived to be ninety and ate mostly local, nutrient-dense food.  She ate fried bacon nearly every morning alongside her three (small) buttered pancakes, with, if she had it, homemade blackberry jam.  If not, she had locally made cane syrup, whose molasses-like pungency can curl your toes.   

I think Grandmother would have lived much longer if she hadn’t taken—apparently largely unsupervised– an early form of an estrogen replacement supplement.   Like many women of that time, she was told that post-menopausal estrogen would help keep her facial skin supple.  She died of uterine cancer.     

So, given all the ongoing warnings about the dangers of salt, imagine my delight at discovering in just the past few years that there is a real salt that’s full of good-for-you minerals.  It’s that reasonably priced grey, wet “Celtic” salt that can be found in our local coops (cooperative membership stores) and, sometimes, in expensive, small jars in mainstream grocery stores.  (The pricy, pink Himalayan salts are also ok, but are mined, so some of the nutrients are long-gone.  Nothing beats the barely processed, grey Celtic-type salt for overall health benefits.)   

The first versions of this Celtic-type salt came from the coast of Brittany, in France; thus, the “Celtic” name association.  According to Sally Fallon Morell and Mary Enig, PhD, in NOURISHING TRADITIONS, this real salt contains about 82 percent sodium chloride; 14 percent macro-minerals, “particularly magnesium”; and “nearly 80 trace minerals,” including “organic iodine from the minute bits of plant life that are preserved in the moist Celtic sea salt” (48-49). 

This Celtic-type salt is also made in Maine, up near Machias, by the Maine Sea Salt Company.   Owner Stephen C. Cook evaporates salt water in solar houses without added heat.  He advertises that he never heats this water to speed up the process and never uses drying agents.  He makes both the grey Celtic salt and a whiter, drier salt which might be more processed in that the water might be heated before going into the solar house.  One warning:  real salt attracts moisture, so store it in a covered container or a salt pig. 

I’m finding that this Celtic-type salt is really salty—a little goes a long way.  And, as my taste buds have welcomed real salt, I’m also finding that “pouring” fake salt with added iodine is not very—well–salty.     

White sea salt has usually been highly processed with both heat and chemicals, which kills its nutrients, including the natural iodine salts.  White sea salt is probably better than “pouring” salt because it isn’t a fake salt and it does not contain additives.  But, be sure to check the label.  It is, however, a dead food.    

“Pouring” salt is a fake salt.  Morell and Enig explain that potassium iodide is added in amounts “that can be toxic”–in order “to replace the natural iodine salts removed during processing.”  Additives, including dangerous aluminum compounds, are added to enable the “pouring.”  Dextrose is added to “stabilize the volatile iodide compound,” which turns the mixture purple, so a bleaching agent is used to turn the “salt” white again (48-49). 

Morell and Enig write that the iodine in iodized salt is an inorganic version that can cause thyroid problems if used in excess.  And they note further that certain vegetables, like cabbage and spinach, can block iodine absorption.  In addition to Celtic-type salt, we also get iodine from “sea weeds, fish broth, butter, pineapple, artichokes, asparagus and dark green vegetables.”  Morell and Enig also caution that one needs “sufficient levels of vitamin A, supplied by animal fats” to properly utilize ingested iodine.  Among the signs of iodine deficiency are muscle cramps and cold hands and feet (44).  

Salt is a powerful preservative.  It’s also a powerful enzyme activator.  Morell and Enig write that Dr. Edward Howell, the noted enzyme researcher whose work I’ve referenced in earlier essays, observed that those whose diets are composed almost entirely of raw foods, like the Eskimos, do not need much salt; but those who subsist on a diet composed largely of cooked foods, like the Chinese, require greater amounts of salt to activate enzymes in the intestines” (48). 

Howell’s observation resonates with the growing body of knowledge that links much of our health to how well our gut is functioning.  Anyway, Howell’s observation probably explains why I feel the need to salt the cooked foods I eat and don’t put much salt on salad.  Probably, we each have already found our own salt balances and sensitivities—unless we have been needlessly terrified about salt consumption. 

Morell and Enig note that early research showed a correlation between salt and high-blood pressure.  But, correlation is not causation.  And, indeed, subsequent research, including a “large study conducted in 1983 [Robert A. Holden et al] and published in the July 15, 1983, Journal of the American Medical Association, found that dietary salt did not have any significant effect on blood pressure in the majority of people.  In some cases, salt restriction actually raised blood pressure.”

Since 1983, many studies have demonstrated not only that there are no benefits to a low-sodium diet, but that, as Morell notes in “The Salt of the Earth,” in the Summer 2011 “Wise Traditions,” which is available online,  “lower sodium is associated with higher mortality.”  Major studies vindicating salt are listed in a sidebar article (“More Studies Vindicating Salt”).   Morell cites a 2010 “government-funded study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association” which found that “even modest reductions in salt intake are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death.”  

The Weston A. Price Foundation folks are very worried about our government’s unscientific low-sodium position.  In “The Salt of the Earth,” Fallon writes that salt is “vital to health” and that there is no viable substitute.  The human body’s “interior is salty, and without salt the myriad chemical reactions that support enzyme function, energy production, hormone production, protein transport and many other biochemical processes simply can’t work.”

Anecdotally, I can tell you that one of our family members fell prey to the low-sodium demonization of salt.  She landed up in the hospital in a lock-down ward because she could not distinguish reality from her hallucinations and bad dreams and was utterly terrified.  With restored salt levels, she reclaimed her sanity in short order.     

Fallon explains that though our bodies require “salt concentrations in the blood to be kept constant,” Western people today “consume about half the amount of salt that they consumed traditionally.”  Real salt, writes Fallon, “provides two elements that are essential for life and for good health:  sodium and chloride ions.”  Neither can be manufactured by the body, so must be obtained from food.  Sodium is present in a variety of foods, but chloride ions can only be obtained from salt

So, why do our government’s 2010 food guidelines lower salt from 6 grams to 3.5 grams—which is less than the one teaspoon of our absolute daily salt requirement?  And why are food companies not objecting, since they rely on salt for flavor?  Perhaps it’s because a fake chemical salt is being readied to enter the market. 

Turkey Tracks: Pie Pumpkins and Pie

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Turkey Tracks:  November 13, 2011

Pie Pumpkins and Pie

The best pie pumpkins are long–like a huge salami.  They’re dark green that starts to turn orange in patches–they turn orange when you cook them.

I usually get one from our CSA, Hope’s Edge.  And I buy a few more, roast them, and freeze the meat–for winter pies.  Organic, of course.

Just slice the pumpkins in half, scoop out the seeds, put them on a shallow pan that has some sides–the roasting pumpkins can give off juice–and roast them for at least an hour at 350 degrees.  You’ll know when they are done–they’ll smell delicious and will fork easily.  Let them cool, scoop out the meat, and freeze or make a pie.

It takes about 2 cups of pumpkin to make a 9 or 10-inch pie.  Each of these halves makes about two cups.  Convenient, huh?

My favorite recipe comes from NOURISHING TRADITIONS, by Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig.

Start with a flakey pie crust of your choice.  (Use butter or really good lard–not any of those fake fats like vegetable lards or margarine.)

2 cups pumpkin

3 eggs–if small, use 4 eggs

3/4 cups rapadura–which is dried cane juice.  I also use organic sugar.  The rapadura has a stronger taste, but the pumpkin can take it.

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon each salt, powdered cloves, nutmeg

grated rind of lemon

1 cup piima cream, or creme fraiche–piima is a cultured cream.  You could also use sour cream.

2 tablespoons brandy

Mix everything together well, pour into your pie shell, and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.  The time will depend on the size of your eggs and the liquid in your pumpkin.  I used 3 small eggs, and the pie took more like an hour to puff in the middle.  If it takes longer, cover the  pie with some parchment paper to prevent burning.  (Don’t use aluminum foil!  For anything!!)

 This pie is as light as a feather and absolutely delicious.

Serve with REAL whipped cream.

Turkey Tracks: I Feel Rich: 5 Pounds of Processed Pecans

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Turkey Tracks:  February 1, 2011

I Feel Rich:  5 Pounds of Processed Pecans

 

We’re almost out of the pecans my first cousin Teeny Bryan Epton and her partner brought to us last September.  (Thanks Teeny and Lori!)

With our friends Margaret and Ronald, we order many household items in bulk from Associated Buyers, located in New Hampshire.  AB delivers, also, to all our local coops, or cooperatively owned stores.  I ordered 5 pounds of organic pecans in this last order.  

 I soak the nuts over night, dry them gently in the dehydrator, and store them in Mason jars.  Five pounds lasts for months and months.  I keep pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans, almonds, and, lately, hazelnuts.  Crispy nuts are delicious! 

ALL nuts, seeds, legumes, and tubers need to be processed in some way to remove the phytates that can prevent your body from absorbing nutrients it needs from many foods.  One prepares most nuts by soaking them in salted water over night and drying then in a dehydrator or an oven on very low heat.  Drying can take, sometimes, well over 24 hours.  I found this information and the recipes in Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig’s treasure trove of a book, NOURISHING TRADITIONS.  Fallon and Enig are part of the Weston A. Price Foundation (www.westonapricefoundation.org).  (Be sure to use .org and NOT .com, which is a scam site.)  I trust the WAPF folks because they have the scientific credentials to understand the chemistry of food and human bodies and because they are not affiliated with industry in any way.

Here are the pecans in the four-tray dehydrator:

And, here they are all jarred up.  The big jar is a half-gallon size with which I’ve recently fallen in love.  Now I’m a rich woman!  I have food assets.

Turkey Tracks: Making Yogurt is Easy and CHEAP

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Turkey Tracks:  January 13, 2011

Making Yogurt Is Easy and Cheap

Yesterday morning  when I tasted the yogurt that had been “making” overnight in the oven, I was, again, reminded at how absolutely delicious it is when it is just fresh, when it has not yet been chilled.  This batch had thickened up to a custard consistency, and it was like velvet on the tongue.  John and I each had a big bowl of it drizzled with nonheated local honey and sprinkled with some dried fruits and “crispy” nuts.

CRISPY NUTS:  Crispy nuts have been soaked in salted water over night and dried in a dehydrator or an oven on very, very low heat until “crispy.”  One does this process to remove the phytates present in the nuts and seeds.  Phytates can inhibit the full absorption of nutrients in a serious way.  Plants are way more chemically powerful than people realize.  Put the nuts into a large bowl, fill it with water, and add about 2 tablespoons of salt.  Let them soak from 12 to 24 hours.  They will swell up.  Drain them and dry them.  I prefer to dry my nuts in a dehydrator as it’s easier than my oven.  I never burn the nuts, which are expensive, in the dehydrator.  I got a cheap one for about $30.  But, it’s plastic, and since I use it all the time and since I’m learning that plastic off gasses around heat, I’m saving for a good metal dehydrator.   You can read all about phytates in Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig’s NOURISHING TRADITIONS, which is a book that, among many other things, attempts to recover lost food preparation practices.

Anyway, here’s how you make yogurt so that you don’t even have to dirty a pan.

Milk–I use a half-gallon at a time.  And, of course, I’m using “real” milk.  Try to find milk that is NOT ultrapasteurized as it might not culture.  Ultrapasteurized milk is cooked milk; it’s a dead product.  You can read all about it in my essays.

2 packets of “yogamet”–which is a dried cultured yogurt product.  It comes in a box.  Inside are individual packets.  Look for it in the cooler section of a natural foods store or Whole Foods.  Trader Joe’s might have it.  After your first batch of yogurt, save about about 1/4 cup of yogurt for your next batch.  Yogurt you’ve cultured yourself begins to make the thicker, custardy yogurt that is so delicious–though all the yogurt you make will taste really good.  One packet will culture one quart of milk.

Find a big bowl–non metal–that will hold your milk.

Turn on the oven to 200 degrees, and when it reaches that temperature, turn it off, put your bowl inside and cover it with a plate.   (No plastic or foil please.)  Close the door and go to bed.  In the morning you will have yogurt.  On very cold days, sometimes mine is still too runny.  I put it in a warm place (like under a cabinet light or on the stove or back in the stove with the oven light turned on) and give it more time to jell.  You’ll know if it’s still too runny.  It will not spoil if you leave it out until it jells, and it will jell eventually, as it’s cultured.

****

Greek yogurt is just yogurt with some of the whey–a clear liquid–drained out.  You can make yogurt cheese by draining off all the whey.  Whey is full of protein, though, so when you drain off the whey, you are leaving the milk solids and fat behind, and they need protein to process properly in your body.  So, don’t eat too much Greek Yogurt.

I often drain some of my yogurt to get some whey.  I use it to culture sauerkraut (see that recipe elsewhere on this blog); put some in homemade mayo to culture it so that it lasts for weeks in the refrigerator; use a few tablespoons when soaking dried beans, grains, or flour; and so forth.  Whey is an amazing preservative and a detoxifying agent.   You can drain yogurt by putting a paper towel, a napkin, or some cheesecloth in a colander, putting in some yogurt, and placing the collander over a deep bowl to catch the whey.  I put a plate over the colandar.  Whey keeps for weeks and weeks in the refrigerator.  And yogurt cheese is great drizzled with honey and served with dried fruit (dates!) for a dessert.  Or, drizzled with olive oil and herbs for a spread.

Most prepared yogurt in stores is not only expensive, it is full of additives and sugar.  It is “jelled” with pectin, for instance.  And, the smooth taste comes from seaweed additives.  It won’t even drip out whey.

Wait until you taste your own yogurt.  You’ll understand what has been lost.  And, now, found.

Turkey Tracks: An Asset: Easy, Enzyme-Rich Sauerkraut

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Turkey Tracks:  November 23, 2010

An  Asset:  Easy, Enzyme-Rich Sauerkraut

 

I like to have what I think of as “assets” in my kitchen.  If I have a bone broth, for instance, I have the makings of a soup lunch or dinner.  Salt-preserved lemons topped off with olive oil provide a tasty addition to everything from mashed potatoes to salad dressings to drizzles for baked fish.   Apple chutney is great alongside meat or inside an omelet and keeps for a long time.   I keep piima whole cream which operates like crème fraiche or sour cream and which can be used in tea or coffee to add a different kind of zing.  (Piima is a Finnish cultured milk product that is chock full of enzymes.)  Leftovers can be turned around in new ways for easy meals.  And, lacto-fermented vegetables keep for months in the refrigerator and add zip and enzymes to your plate, especially in the winter when local salad greens are scarce in Maine.  

Sally Fallon and Dr. Mary Enig, in Nourishing Traditions, write that the lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances digestion and promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.  And, lacto-fermented vegetables have antibiotic and anticarciogenic substances.  Plus, eating enzyme-rich food takes pressure off your body to process what you eat.  My favorite lacto-fermented vegetable is sauerkraut.  I put about ¼ cup of sauerkraut on almost every plate we eat in the winter.  People used to lacto-ferment vegetables to preserve them before canning technology arrived.   

Not long ago I dropped the old half-gallon sauerkraut container, and it broke into a million pieces all over the kitchen floor.  It was full of fairly newly made sauerkraut.  So, after I cleaned up the mess, I set about making some more, and in the three days it took to make, we missed having this “asset” around quite a lot.

Here’s a picture of the two new half-gallon containers: 

 

I used a red cabbage and part of a green cabbage.  In a few days, the red cabbage will turn the new sauerkraut a rosy pink.  See?  It will get darker along the way, and it will keep for months, if we don’t eat it first.  That’s beet kvass on the right, another enzyme-rich, healthy product.

 

Here’s the recipe from Nourishing Traditions:

1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded.  I use the slicer on a food processor.

I Tablespoon caraway seeds

1 Tablespoon sea salt

4 Tablespoons *whey (or use 1 additional Tablespoon of salt).

 *Whey is the clear liquid that can be drained from good yogurt.  Most commercial yogurt now is so full of pectin and seaweed that it will not drain whey.  So, be aware that what you’re paying for isn’t a full-milk product, but a product adulterated with fillers—so the producer makes more money.

 I far prefer the whey to additional salt.  You can drain yogurt by putting a paper towel or two, or a coffee filter, into a colander and setting it over a bowl.  Put yogurt into the paper-covered well of the colander and set it over a deeper bowl.  You can put a plate over it if you like.  The whey drains off, leaving you with a delicious spreadable cheese you can flavor with herbs or drizzle with honey.  Don’t worry; this mixture won’t go bad at room temperature.

 I mix the sauerkraut ingredients in a big bowl and pound it a little with something a bit heavy:  a mallet, the handle end of a big spoon, or a mortar grinder.  When the cabbage starts to release its liquid, pack the cabbage into a clean Mason jar, making sure you leave about an inch of free space.  Keep the mixture at room temperature for about three days, turning it upside down to distribute the liquid once or twice a day.  (Don’t leave it upside down—just mix it up.)  You can eat it most anytime, but it’s best after about three days.  Refrigerate it and ENJOY!

Written by louisaenright

December 12, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Mainely Tipping Points 13: The Failure of the Low-Fat, High-Carbohydrate American Diet

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(Oops!  Read TP 12 first; it’s part of a series in the essays) 

Tipping Points 13

The Failure of the Low-Fat, High-Carbohydrate American Diet

 

 When Luise Light and her team of experts attempted to scientifically formulate the 1980 USDA Food Guide, they accepted two current dietary ideas as truth:  fat should be no more than 30 percent of the diet, and since the end of World War II, and especially in the 1960s, Americans had been experiencing “rising rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes” (13, Luise Light, WHAT TO EAT:  THE TEN THINGS YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW TO EAT WELL AND BE HEALTHY).

Current historians show us that the low-fat premise that has governed the American diet for the past fifty years sprang from belief, not science, and became part of American cultural and economic practices when the stars aligned around a constellation that included the political power of a congressional committee, media acceptance of its recommendations, and the firmly-held beliefs of a handful of people.

Science writer Gary Taubes, in his myth-exploding article “The Soft Science of Dietary Fat,” published in “Science” magazine in March 2001, questioned the idea that there ever was an epidemic of heart disease after World War II (http://www.nasw.org/awards/2001/The%20soft%20science.pdf).  When Taubes interviewed Harry Rosenberg, Director of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Rosenberg said a heart disease epidemic never existed.  First, in 1949 the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) added arteriosclerotic heart disease as a new category under the general category of heart diseases.  Between 1948-1949, the new category appeared to raise coronary disease death rates about 20 percent for males and 35 percent for females. 

Again, In 1965, the ICD added a category for coronary heart disease, which added more deaths to the statistical data as physicians began using the new categories.  Furthermore, Rosenberg explained, by the 1950s, Americans were healthier, so more were living to be 50-year-olds who would go on to die of chronic diseases like heart disease, which physicians were now listing on death certificates under the new categories.  Taubes reports that Rosenberg said that, in actuality, risk rates of dying from a heart attack remained unchanged.

Taubes also discussed the fact that between 1989 and 1992, three independent research groups (Harvard Medical School; The University of California, San Francisco, funded by the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office; and McGill University, Montreal) used computer models to work out added life expectancy for a person eating a low-fat diet that controlled saturated fats.  All three models agreed, but their conclusions have been ignored by media. 

The Harvard study showed that if a person’s total fat consumption was less than 30 percent of their daily total calories and if their saturated fat consumption was 10 percent of that 30 percent, a healthy nonsmoker might add from 3 days to 3 months of life.  The latter two studies showed net increase of life expectancy would be from three to four months.  Taubes noted that the U.S. Surgeon General’s office tried to prevent the University of California study from being published in “The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), but JAMA published it in June 1991.

The Lipid Hypothesis is the “scientific” paradigm calling for a low-fat diet.  The Lipid Hypothesis is the premise that ingested fat, especially saturated fat, raises blood cholesterol levels, and high cholesterol levels cause chronic heart disease (CHD).  Yet, many, many scientists now have argued that these cause-and-effect links have never been proven and, in fact, cannot be proven.  More recently than Taubes, Michael Pollan, in IN DEFENSE OF FOOD (2008), traces this history and current thinking on dietary fats in a section entitled “The Melting of the Lipid Hypothesis” (40-50). 

So how did the Lipid Hypothesis and the low-fat paradigm get installed with scant scientific data to support it?  Biochemist Ancel Keys is a key player.  In the mid 1950s, Keys (University of Minnesota) claimed that his epidemiological Seven Countries Study showed a correlation between the consumption of dietary fat and heart disease.  But, an epidemiological study cannot control or eliminate variables, and correlation is not proved causation.  Furthermore, many now, among them Taubes and Uffe Ravnskov, claim that Keys eliminated countries whose statistics did not fit his hypotheses, like France, Holland, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and West Germany, where national populations ate 30 to 40 percent of their calories as fat and whose death rates from CHD were half that of the United States.  Nevertheless, in 1961, the American Heart Association began advocating low-fat diets for men with high cholesterol levels.

Also in the 1950s, Nathan Pritkin, was diagnosed with heart disease.  Though he had no college degree and no scientific training, Pritkin created and published a low-fat, aerobic exercise regime that sold millions of copies.  Pritkin also suffered from leukemia, and it began causing complications and pain in the early 1980s.  Pritkin committed suicide in 1985.        

In 1977, the Congressional Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, chaired by Senator George McGovern, promoted the low-fat hypothesis—despite objections by scientists expert in the field.  Taubes determines that “a handful of McGovern staffers…almost single-handedly changed nutritional policy in this country” by initiating “the process of turning the dietary fat hypothesis into dogma” (4).

In 1976, Taubes reports, after two days of testimony, this committee turned “the task of researching and writing the first `Dietary Goals for the United States’” over to Nick Mottern, a labor reporter with “no experience writing about science, nutrition, or health” (5).  Mottern relied on Harvard School of Public Health nutritionist Mark Hegsted’s low-fat beliefs.  Hegsted, unlike E. H. Ahrens, whose laboratory at the Rockefeller University in New York City was doing seminal research on fat and cholesterol metabolism, saw no risks associated with such a major change to the American diet.  Ahrens, as early as 1969, was concerned that eating less fat or changing the proportions of saturated to unsaturated fats could have profound and harmful effects on the body (3-6).  Nevertheless, the Select Committee published Mottern’s dietary guidelines. 

Next, Taube relates, Carol Tucker Foreman, a political appointee at USDA who later forms a public relations and lobbying firm whose clients have included Phillip Morris, Monsanto (bovine growth hormone), and Procter and Gamble (fake fat Olestra), hired Hegsted to produce “Using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” which supported the McGovern Committee Report.  Foreman hired Hegsted despite the fact that Philip Handler, National Academy of Sciences (NAS) President and an expert on metabolism, had told her that Mottern’s Dietary Goals were “`nonsense’ “ (6).

When NAS released its own dietary guidelines a few months later (watch your weight and everything else will be all right), the media criticized the NAS for having industry connections.  Hegsted later returned to Harvard where his research was funded by Frito-Lay.

So, a consensus was achieved, oneTaube says is “continuously reinforced by physicians, nutritionists, journalists, health organizations, and consumer advocacy groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest” (1).  And, science was “left to catch up” (7).

 Only, science never has.  And, what has emerged is that all calories are not equal and substituting carbohydrates for fat has caused weight gain and diabetes.  And, according to lipid biochemist Mary Enig, substituting highly-processed fats for time-honored, traditional fats is causing chronic heart disease.   

Pollan notes that in a 2001 review of the relevant research and report by “prominent nutrition scientists” at the Harvard School of Public Health, “just about every strut supporting the theory that dietary fat causes heart disease” was removed, except for consuming trans fats and consuming fats that alter ratios of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids (41-42).  Pollan notes the Harvard scientists stated the following in their report’s second paragraph:  “`It is now increasingly recognized that the low-fat campaign has been based on little scientific evidence and may have caused unintended health consequences’ “ (43).    

Pollan assesses that the low-fat ideology of nutritionism has been nutrition’s “supreme test and, as now is coming clear, its most abject failure” (41).