Archive for the ‘nutrition’ Category

Speaking of whole grains, in the last post, remind me (and scares me!) that we’re almost halfway through another year. Yeesh!

I don’t recall now whether we made our New Year’s resolutions at Rosh Hashanah or in late December, but I thought I’d post them and see how we’re doing.

These are our family resolutions, rather than any personal ones. We pledged to help each other achieve them.

  • Eat Healthier, specifically have a whole-grain veggie meal for dinner at least twice a week, buy only organics when possible, no more bread with white flour, sugar, or corn syrup as substantial ingredients, drink less diet soda (splenda) and more tea/water/juice. Very Good; most of these things are fait accompli; still falling prey to the Cookie Monsters about once a month; Mike is drinking way too much diet (splenda) soda, but it’s still a shift from all diet coke, and has him at only 3 cans coke per day maximum.
  • Exercise! Moar!. Mike, gym 2 – 3 times week, including training session. Strata, daily half-hour cardio plus gym twice a week, incl training session. Mike: Great! Strata: Flunking out; health and work issues got me off-track and I haven’t gotten back on, been to the gym maybe a dozen times in 6 months, ugh!!! At least I’m gardening.
  • Downsize, specifically get rid of stuff we’re not using, buy less, reduce our carbon footprint, etc. bouts of freecycling that need to be resumed while I’m on ‘vacation’ (ha, you should see my to-do list), exercise restraint at flea markets, online catalogs, etc. Very Good
  • Puff Appreciation; be nicer to the Puffs, they are getting old; spoil them more, get the yard fenced so they can enjoy the garden, get better food. The fencing got off the ground this spring, first one neighbor and then the other, plus we hired a guy to close off one side and put in a gate. He’ll be back after Memorial Day to close off the other side. The pet food scare really got me off the ground trying a raw diet for the cats, but they rebelled. On the other hand, they are now off dry food entirely, and getting canned stuff 2 – 3 times a day; all the canned is organic and/or human quality, and no more ‘products’ or ‘by-products’ allowed in it. Little or no grain, only rice flour. Boo’s habitual arthritis and tail dandruff has all but vanished! I make more time for them, and they mug me for love more often. Excellent!
  • Clean Up Our Act!, keep the house neater, declutter it, maintain stuff more, such as outdoor painting touchup, regular window washing, and similar. Poor; we played catch-up for Passover and my Mom’s visit, but the house has been mostly a pit. Contemplating a Roomba and maybe a Scooba. Realized that the “Downsize” item is strongly linked– less stuff, looks better, we keep cleaner.
  • Green Up Our Act by doing more recycling, conservation, etc. Bought TerraPass offsets for both vehicles and our house; recycling cardboard, mail, and paper cartons regularly now in addition to plastics/glass. Continuing to use the city yardwaste bin for garden stuff. Trying to keep to 100-Mile Diet when possible; buying local. Switch to more LED lights at home. Very Good, so far. Watch our act plummet if we bring Birdie back on the road, at 6mpg, ugh. Will TerraPass it, but still!
  • Get Out More Often and just be social, see friends, etc. Poor, as life has been deadline driven for both of us for most of the year so far, and our uncleaned-up living space prevents impromptu at-home socializing. Gotta do better. No, we can’t hire cleaners, it doesn’t really help and it’s too expensive for us right now.
  • Public Service by Choice; stop saying ‘yes’ to too many things and concentrate on the ones that matter, like our chairing of the Emergency Preparedness Committee here, or my seed distribution and community garden stuff. We made time for the SNAP class, keep up with SPECS, are sworn Disaster Services peeps with Sunnyvale. Good, but let’s see how the 2nd half of the year goes. Strata is interested in SAR support work (logistics, support for SAR active personnel), which is part of the possibly revving up Birdie equation. Mike agrees, and wants to finish Birdie’s comms infr to support that.
  • Active Investment; somewhere along the line, we stopped putting away $X/month and started using it to pay extra on the mortgage and to get us both going to fitness training. It’s been over a year since we made those choices, which we noticed were just on autopilot around the new year. Need to re-examine those choices, and rebalance our life energy and our financial investment portfolios. No action on this yet. Flunking Out!
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    I’ve been cooking to specific purposes a lot lately, usually without specifically realizing it. I figured it out this morning when I had some leftovers and thought, oh, I don’t need this anymore, that was to fix (such-n-so). I’d made a root soup with fresh beets from my garden, organic carrots n celery, white fungus (too damn much of it!), shiitake, lily bud, and fresh whole wheat noodle. It’s red red red, and pungent.

    I just had some for breakfast and my system is going, um, no, wrong, bzzt. The only real mistake was making it in meal + 2 – 3 quantity, which is how I make most things these days. I don’t actually want more of this, and it’s best fresh. Bah.

    The other night I ordered the wrong dish at a restaurant and found it to be beef chunks n eggplant chunks, and the latter were too spicy for me to eat. So I ate the beef chunks and felt mostly fine, but the next day I wanted mostly nothing but some corn tortillas with butter and ginger preserves.

    This week I’ve totally CRAVED kefir, so I got some and have had a small glass nightly.

    Fortunately I didn’t meddle with either of my standard pilaf recipes this week; just ran out of red rice, red quinoa, brown flax seed pilaf Thursday night, made a batch of brown rice, yellow split pea, pepitas (pumpkin seed), frozen tomato on Friday morning. Mike likes them both, and I’m happy he’s eating whole-grain twice a week or more.

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    Grew up drinking it, never got sick from it. Buying it these days when I can (spendy stuff). Too bad I don’t have any neighbors who want to keep a couple of goats. 🙂

    Find your own! Not convinced? Try this article, of which I’ve excerpted about 20%

    Invariably, whenever raw milk is condemned, pasteurization is presented as the only path to salvation from milk-borne pathogens such as E. coli 0157:H7. Interestingly, however, the official government anti-raw milk statements and reports never seem to mention the numerous outbreaks of food-related illness associated with pasteurized milk that also occur every year. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that pasteurized milk may even be more likely to cause illness than the raw stuff.

    In one dispatch from Emerging Infectious Diseases, the CDC’s monthly bulletin, investigators discuss an April 2000 outbreak of multiple drug resistant Salmonella enterica in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in which 93 people became ill with bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever, and vomiting after drinking pasteurized milk. Six people were hospitalized, and the bacteria was eventually traced back to a source the report identifies as “dairy plant X,” where it was determined that unsanitary conditions had contaminated the milk after pasteurization. The report also makes reference to eight other pasteurized milk-related outbreaks spanning the last 25 years, plus a table listing still others.

    Of course, other foods can–and very frequently do–make us sick. Seventy-six million Americans are felled by food-borne illnesses each year, the CDC reports. Some 325,000 of those so sickened are hospitalized, and 5,000 die. Chew on that while considering that the FDA says raw milk-related illnesses sickened “more than 300 people” in 2001 and “nearly 200” in ’02.

    There is actual science behind romantic-sounding notions of living milk and its white-hat bacteria. … Organic Pastures owner Mark McAfee … hired an independent lab to introduce pathogens into raw milk from his dairy to see what would happen. He duplicated the test in his own lab, using his own diagnostic equipment. “We looked at salmonella, E. coli 0157:H7, listeria, and tuberculosis,” … “In every case, the pathogen levels either did not increase or disappeared entirely.” … In other words, the raw milk killed the bad bugs.

    It’s a startling fact that E. coli 0157:H7, the most lethal food-borne pathogen of all, did not exist before 1982. It apparently evolved in the acid guts of feedlot cattle standing around all day in their own feces, eating a diet of stuff the cows’ systems were never designed to accommodate. We, the American people, with our oxymoronic national obsession with cheap abundance created one of the most lethal food-borne pathogens in nature, or are at least responsible for perverting nature to create the conditions that allowed it to evolve.

    What I learned both disturbed and frightened me. … Once milk leaves the farm it goes to a processing plant where it is essentially remade during a process that few ever witness. A Los Angeles Times reporter made it into one such plant back in 2000 and describes the procedure:

    :: First it is separated in centrifuges into fat, protein, and various other solids and liquids. Once segregated, these are reconstituted to various levels for whole, lowfat, and no-fat milks. What is left over will go to butter, cream, cheese, dried milk, and a host of other milk products. Of the reconstituted milks, whole milk will most closely approximate original cow’s milk. When fat is removed, it is replaced with protein- and vitamin-rich skimmed milk powder or concentrate. Standardization also ensures that the milk is consistent: that one glass of any given type tastes exactly like the next.::

    The article goes on to state, “Once processed, the milk will last for weeks, not days.” Because of this extended shelf life … and the expensive facilities required to create it, milk processing has become increasingly centralized. … 70 percent of the nation’s milk supply is produced by four large corporations: Nearly one-third of America’s milk–30 percent–comes from one processor alone. Small family-owned dairy farms, which for centuries provided the nation’s milk supply on nearby pasture, have difficulty competing with factory-farmed milk. In 2002, 16 dairy farms went out of business each day, according to an article in U.S. News and World Report.

    [later in the article, the author says “Currently, dairy farmers get about $1 per gallon for their milk–about the same earned at the close of World War II. If they were able to sell raw milk directly to consumers, they’d get about six times that amount.”]

    Milk from cows fed on grain all or even most of the time has fewer beneficial components like omega-3 fatty acids, fewer beneficial microbes, and even reduced amounts of plain old protein and vitamins: All these occur in abundance in milk from grass-fed cows. To put it plainly, pasteurized or not, today’s industrially farmed milk from grain-fed cows kept in confinement facilities or grassless feedlots has fewer nutrients and more potential for contamination than milk from traditionally raised dairy cows.

    Of course, there are still quality-conscious dairy farmers out there producing excellent milk from healthy herds for the conventional milk market, but, unfortunately, during processing their milk gets mixed in with that of the factory dairies’. Paying extra for organic milk may or may not ensure better quality; the only difference between the milk from Horizon Organics, which owns more than half of the nation’s organic milk market, and that from any feedlot dairy is that Horizon’s cows eat organic instead of conventionally grown grain while crowded together in their grassless pens, and when they get sick (as do many cows living in these conditions do; mastitis, for example, affects an estimated 40 percent of the U.S. dairy herd) they don’t get antibiotics–they get slaughtered.

    The way conventional milk is processed doesn’t help matters. When milk is heated to 161 degrees for 15 seconds, as is done in HTST (high temperature short time) pasteurization, the process not only kills the bad bacteria but also the many beneficial (probiotic) bacteria that proliferate in raw milk, along with enzymes that aid in digesting and metabolizing the milk (hello, lactose intolerance) and infection-fighting antibodies. In addition, C- and B-complex vitamins and minerals like zinc and iron are reduced or destroyed through pasteurization. In fact, standard pasteurization reduces the calcium content of milk by 21 percent.

    A newer and increasingly popular process, UHT (ultra-high temperature) pasteurization takes milk to 285 degrees Fahrenheit for two seconds, and then flash cools it. This process, also called ultrapasteurization, denatures milk even further than the standard method but extends its shelf life exponentially.

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