Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Primal man, in a non primal world. A return to the simple life.

I first heard the song "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears when I saw the movie "Real Genius".  A light comedic romp, a great flick.  (Reminds me of me)  A great song.  And highly descriptive of life, and those living life.  In reality who among us out there gets up every morning and says to themselves that they only want to follow along behind the crowd, living life as an observer, partaking in pleasures cast off by the crowds, never leading, never pushing themselves to excel, to grow, to be the best.  No one I know of wants that, we all want to be the best.  Everyone does.  Being the best means fame, wealth, notoriety.  TV shows us that anyone with big boobs or a great idea can be famous.  And everyone wants to be the next Kardasian, or duck king, or whoever.  I personally don't care about those things, but I would like to rule my World of information about health, and food.  So do a lot of other people, and they are out there working hard to be the rulers of their little slice of the health world.  In fact huge followings have been created around their concepts and pseudoscience.  Some examples are the Paleo diet, the gluten free diet, the wheat free diet, and the Primal diet. 

It is true I think, that everyone out there wants to be free of disease and chronic problems, to live a long and healthy life.  At least I think it's true.  It's just that most people don't seem to equate the consumption of McDonald's and other purveyors of nutrition free meals with degenerative health problems.  Or how destructive soda is to their health.  I mean the reasoning is simple, the government allows it, it must be safe.  Not such great reasoning actually, but the masses have other things to occupy their minds, and for this purpose, they follow.  Perhaps they attempt to rule their world in other ways and areas.  But for many of us out there, we have seen that those that rule us, don't always have our best interests at heart, they only have their own interests and those are motivated by money.  And that's why we have the system of food, drugs and well, everything else out there in America. 

A few, see through it all.  And want to rule the world.  A few examples, Mark's Daily Apple, a website about the Paleo diet (Mark), William Davis, The Wheat Belly (Wheat Belly) and tons of sites about gluten and other wheat free diets.  It seems to me that they all copy from each other and use the same basic science conclusions to show the world that their concepts are in fact true, and that they are in fact, rulers of their world.  Their own little world where they perceive themselves to be king.  Yikes, if only it were all true. 

The gluten thing I have talked about here, and it is true that maybe 1% of people from Northern European ancestry in fact have a problem with gluten.  That isn't in dispute here.  What I have a problem with is the Primal, Paleo, Neolithic, Wheat and grain free diets that are becoming the rage and using science, flawed and inaccurate science, to achieve their goal.  Well, that is sort of on target, I mean their science has a basis in truth, and modern food is at the root of all of the problems that these gurus of nutrition preach.  But then so do I.  Modern food is indeed a far cry from the foods that man evolved eating.  That doesn't mean that the other gurus are right, and that grains are bad, that we need to eat like hunter gatherers; it means we, as cognizant thinking beings need to seek out the foods that were part of our heritage and find out how these foods were prepared so as to capitalize on the experiences that generations of humans that came before us used to determine the most effective methods to overcome the nutritional problems of these grains that modern gurus are spouting about that makes them toxic.  When man was domesticating animals and crops, if those foods were not found to be edible and nutritious, then they were not used.  Most of the food crops we use today do in fact have problems, but ancient peoples knew that there were things that could be done to make them more nutritious.  And they found them through trial and error.  And modern food processors have lost them, and so once again, the foods of our ancestors are no longer beneficial and healthful, and can in fact be harmful. 

Lectins and phytates are the evil parts of the grains that are in question. Both are part of the plants natural defense mechanism.  We know that plants have a somewhat developed system of communication that when insects attack a grouping, then that act triggers a greater production of lectins within individual plants within the grouping.  Stressed plants produce higher amounts of both phytates and lectins.  And many species of plants have gone so far as to make lectins in sufficient quantity as to make the plant itself toxic.  Plants like castor, deadly nightshade, and soy.  Insects don't eat those plants, because they would die.  So most plants produce lectins and phytates, even lettuce and celery contain them.  Just in small amounts.  Wheat and other grains contain quite a few.  That doesn't mean they are inedible, it means they need some adjustments to neutralize the toxic parts so that we as humans, can eat them and receive the maximum benefits.  Just like our neolithic ancestors learned how to do. 

Some simple steps can be done to make most of the grains and legumes we eat safe.  Simple stuff.  Soaking grains and beans removes most of the lectins and phytates.  Fermenting them in an acidic substrate further removes them.  And finally, steaming them or cooking them in a pressure cooker over 212 degrees destroys even more of them.  The problem with modern food is that all of these techniques are expensive.  So it doesn't get done.  That's why I teach healthy cooking, so that people can learn how to make the food you eat, better. 

One last thought I want to mention is about William Davis, the guy that wrote the book "Wheat Belly".  In his book he states that gluten crosses into the blood stream through the intestinal wall and then passes through into the brain serotonin receptors and makes humans overeat.  To the tune of 440 calories more than if they didn't eat any gluten.  This is totally fabricated, gluten is not soluble in blood plasma, and if humans ate 440 calories extra daily they would gain 40 pounds a year.  Oriental cultures consume two to three times the amount of wheat in their diet as Americans and have one tenth the obesity problems.  Wheat might, I repeat, might, have a small part in the problem, but that part is in the products that are consumed in the SAD.  Breads with huge amounts of artificial ingredients, bromine compounds and HFCS sweeteners along with all the other crappy processed and nutritionless wheat products on the market.  However wheat itself is not the problem. 

The other thing about going Paleo, or Neo or Primal is the reliance on meat.  I will again tell you that I don't have a problem with meat, I have a huge problem with Modern Meat.  The stuff in the store is not meat anymore, it is processed flesh of animals bred to make money for large corporations and the animals are fed toxins and waste products as well as live in filth and the stuff is covered with bacterial contamination.  Unless those wanting to truly go back to feeding their bodies the way our ancestors did a hundred thousand years ago, they shouldn't eat today's meat.  And scary as it seems, they should let it rot, and then eat it. 

Yep, that's the real Paleo diet. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Brown Rice, Kale, Mushrooms and Cod

This dish is an extension of my love for brown rice.  If you have read my blog in the past, you know I feel that brown rice is one of the most important foods in the world today.  If you eat it often, dry skin, intestinal distress, eczema, dandruff, and just a whole host of problems disappear.  At least half of the world eats rice, normally brown unpolished rice, daily.  So, to that end, here is the recipe, with pictures.
 1 lb of cod, or other firm fish.  This is optional, I just was at the store and saw the fish, so bought it.
1 package of my newest dip mix - Frantic Foods Tuscan Sun Dip Mix
1 big bunch Tuscan kale
1 half of an onion, large dice
1 bell pepper, this one is a yellow bell, any color will work, large dice
The center of a bunch of celery, sliced
about 6 or 8 large cremini mushrooms cut in half then sliced the opposite way
1 and a half cups of brown rice
olive oil
 3 cups of water, or preferably stock, vegetable if you have it

Take the fish and cut it into large pieces.  Toss with about half the package of dip mix and set aside.  In a large skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the mushrooms until well browned.  Add the other vegetables and cook about another 5 minutes.  Remove the veggies and set aside.  Add another 3 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the fish, turning once.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Saute the rice in the remaining oil stirring often for about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the remainder of the dip
mix and stock or water.  Bring to a boil and cover, reduce heat to low medium.  Meanwhile slice the kale into small pieces.  Lift the lid and dump the kale into the pan.  Cover, then allow to cook for 35 minutes, 40 total.  Remove the lid and add the veggies.  Stir in well.  Put the fish on top.  Sorry, from the pictures it does seem like most of the fish got eaten while waiting for the rice to cook.  But add what ever fish is left.  Maybe next time buy two pounds instead of only one.  Cover again and let the fish and veggies heat through, about another 6 to 8 minutes.  Now, lift the lid, scoop the rice to one side and make sure there is no liquid left.  If there is, put 
 the lid back on and cook another few minutes or until the liquid is gone. 

Serve it.  It is pretty spectacular.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Vegan Bacon Greens. Yep, something different again.

I was just recently turned on to greens.  I find that I like them, a lot.  Not something that was ever served in my home growing up, so never had the chance.  A few years ago I had some smoky greens that were cooked with bacon and ham hocks.  The greens were tasty, even though they were cooked 'till falling apart.  That was my first taste, and since then I have experimented on my own, sans the meat.  I have made a few batches using my Mesquite Smoked Onion Dip Mix I sell from my business, Frantic Foods.  And it is pretty good.  But I recently decided to try incorporating something else into the greens for the fantastic smoky flavor.  So I smoked some portobello mushrooms.  They came out dry, withered and smelling fantastic.

 I took 3/10 ounce and soaked them in some semi sweet muscato wine for an hour, then diced them.  I next took an onion and cut the ends off, cutting the root end just barely under the root ends themselves, and this helps keep the whole onion together.  Then cut that onion in half.  After taking the first layer off, (save that brown skin and layer in your freezer trash bag to make stock out of at a later date) I make longitudinal slices into the onion going toward the center, NOT straight up and down.  Yes yes, I know that's the way they do it on TV, and yes, I was a rebel in culinary school for refusing to do it that way; but it makes sense, the onion layers are curved, cut it that way.  It makes perfect dice.  toss the little remaining ends where the root core is into the freezer garbage bag as well.

In a big pot, heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the diced mushrooms.  Cook them until they sizzle and get browned.  About 4 minutes or so.  Then add the onion and cook a minute.  Then add the greens that you cut into small pieces.  Add the wine you soaked the mushroom in.  I like to use dinosaur or Tuscan Kale.  It is commonly available at farmers markets most of the time and it is very flavorful, rich in nutrients and holds up well to cooking.  Of course if you only go to the chain supermarkets, then you have fewer choices, but go with organic if possible whenever you do.
 Dandelions, turnip greens, and really just about any greens would work here.  I think my favorite Spinach would work well also.  Just don't cook it as long.  Hmmmmm, bacony spinach.  Sounds yummy.  Anyway, cover the greens and let them wilt over medium heat about five minutes.  Remove the lid and make sure there is some liquid in there, add some wine or water if needed.  Cover, and cook over medium low heat for about another 15 minutes or so.  Or until the greens are cooked to the desired tenderness for you.  Me, I like them toothsome, with chew to them.  A lot of people don't, they prefer them to be just totally wilted and nasty falling apart soft and to me, kind of yucky. 

So this is what my finished big ol' bowl of cooked smoky kale looks like.  I can't believe how tasty this things are.  I know, most people, well, my friends anyway, tell me that I am a bit off the wall.  But I took some of these greens, put them on a whole wheat flour tortilla (yes, I make those myself as well) added some of my brand of hot sauce, some humus, and some sunflower seeds and made a burrito that was fantastic.

Hey, to paraphrase some TV guy, "If it's good for you, EAT IT!"

Monday, January 13, 2014

More about the Incorporation of Feces into our food supply, FECEIATION.

I forgot a few things.  Previously I wrote about poop here, (Poop) sort of the same thing.  So today I will write about the other aspects of how and where feces has been integrated into our food supply.  Not necessarily with the blessing of our rulers, but certainly with them turning their cheek and looking the other way while leaving other entities to deal with the problems.  By that I mean the FDA and USDA as well as the EPA are well aware of the problem and causes, but instead of  stepping up and doing something to stop the problem; the agencies simply will not make decisions or instigate rules that would in any way affect the profits of the giant agribusinesses that are at the root.  Instead it is just easier to allow the processes to continue, the profits and associated kickbacks to continue, and the 23,000 annuals deaths to mount up along with the estimated 2 million cases of salmonella contamination to continue.  All those problems are someone else's problems. And so it is, it's our problem.

Right now you can go to the FDA website and then go to the CURRENT recall list of foods that have been recalled.  There is a list of all foods, drugs, pet foods and medical devices that have been recalled and the list is updated daily.  (FDA Recall site) It is winter, so not much there regarding salmonella, but normally from March to October, the numbers of processed produce recalls is staggering.  The reasons for the recalls, Salmonella, Listeria and other bacterial contaminants from animal feces.  Even though the EPA is charged with regulating the disposal of wastes generated from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, the agency does little to regulate the problem.  It is true that they spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with internal rule MAKING, and have established definitive GUIDELINES for agribusinesses to follow; however when it comes to enforcing those guidelines they haven't had a lot of success.  (EPA CAFO rules)  In fact agribusiness usually win in courts when it comes to a question of human safety or spending money to comply with EPA CAFO regulations.  The 2008 decision of the Federal 2nd Circuit Court details pretty distinctly that agribusinesses don't need to worry about runoff effluent from their CAFO operations due to inclement weather conditions, such as rain. (2008 ruling) What this means is that when a giant agribusiness goes into the business of raising animals for milk, egg or meat production, that they are required by the EPA guidelines, to set up a system to deal with the large quantities of animal waste produced.  In practice, the agribusinesses create large settlement ponds and dump most of the waste into the ponds and allow it to settle, ferment and decay.  Then they infrequently drain the water and scoop up the resulting sludge and use this to fertilize farmers fields.  However, if there are storms, and rain overflows the ponds into local waterways where the CAFO fecal material and sludge runoff can then contaminate other farms, or local municipal water sources, that is now, by order of the Federal Court, fine and dandy.

This is where most of the salmonella and other contamination of produce comes from.

The federal government's NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) has this to say about the fecal contamination problem from CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operatons) ((NCBI link)) "Waste from agricultural livestock operations has been a long-standing concern with respect to contamination of water resources.... CAFOs present a greater risk to water quality because of both the increased volume of waste and to contaminants that may be present.....generally accepted livestock waste management practices do not adequately or effectively protect water resources from contamination with excessive nutrients, microbial pathogens, and pharmaceuticals present in the waste..... contaminants pose risks for adverse health impacts in wildlife or humans. The effects of numerous waterborne pathogens on humans are well known, although little is known about potential impacts of such microorganisms on aquatic life."   This is the Federal Government's own organization reporting on the problems of CAFO's back in 2007, the year before the 2nd Circuit Court made the ruling that those guys don't have to spend money to contain the feces from the animals that they make money from; that the feces, once natural forces like rain removes it from their operation, it's someone else's problem.

Feceiation, v. - to knowingly integrate fecal matter into the food supply of humans.

Last week I wrote about Feceiation, and I talked about how agribusinesses are using their influence to set the guidelines that the USDA uses to attempt to insure that the meats offered for sale are not contaminated.   The problem of course is that feces is everywhere on the animals, and throughout their internal systems.  It is pretty hard to remove the feces from the skins, feathers and hides when the animals are that saturated with it.  When the animals are slaughtered, agribusiness demands for profits are so high that safety and cleanliness are put on the back burner in favor of speed.  The Consumer Reports stated that over half of the chicken samples from retail grocery stores had fecal contamination.  Visible fecal contamination.  97% of the chicken was contaminated with salmonella, listeria and other fecal bacterial contaminants.  The USDA just last year, at the request of giant chicken processing agribusinesses raised the speeds at which chicken production facilities are allowed to run thus giving even less time for the USDA certified inspectors to look at each carcass.

Feceiation, n - where animal feces is an integral part of foods meant for human consumption

What a world we live in.  Shit.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What's the TRUE price you pay for cheap meat? Feceiation, a new term by me.

Animal husbandry is the raising of domesticated animals for use as food.  I think that when the term was first coined it meant something different than it does today.  In ancient times, animals were kept in better conditions, close to the home and hearth, treated with respect, fed foods that were of a quality that was comparable to what those raising the animals would eat.  The waste was disposed of in a manner that allowed it to return to the environment in a manner that was conducive to improvements in the land.  And finally, the animals were held with high esteem and their slaughter was an event that commanded reverence, and a sacred practice that allowed many families to rejoice in the rewards of healthful protein with little fear of contamination, diseases, and of course, death.  The science of animal husbandry progressed along a distinct path where various breeds of each animal were cross bred and better, more viable strains of every animal were produced.  And then in the 1950's, everything went sort of backwards.  That's when it all came crashing down as the drive to make money overtook the need to produce viable healthy animals for consumption.

Last October there was another outbreak of Salmonella poisoning from Foster Farms chicken products. The CDC estimates that at a minimum, 2 million Americans are infected with Salmonella poisoning annually.  At least 23,000 die each year.  December 2013, just last month, "Consumer Reports" addressed the Salmonella problem in chicken by doing their good works and testing chicken across the country.  Their results are that 97% of the chicken in stores is contaminated with not only Salmonella bacteria but a large number of other bacteria found in animal feces and many of which are resistant to antibiotics.  From Consumer Reports -"It’s unrealistic to expect that the uncooked chicken you buy won’t contain any potentially harmful bacteria. That’s one reason we advise you to prevent raw chicken or its juices from touching any other food and to cook it to at least 165˚ F...Yet some bacteria are more worrisome than others—and our latest tests produced troubling findings. More than half of the samples contained fecal contaminants. And about half of them harbored at least one bacterium that was resistant to three or more commonly prescribed antibiotics.”

Back in the 50's the new modern method of raising animals in close quarters made sense.  Stick all the animals in a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) and you could maximize profits.  Fewer ranch hands needed, the mountains of feces everywhere could just be scooped up with front end loaders and taken and dumped where ever.  Feed was specialized, animals gained weight faster and all the stupid animals got sick.  Well, realistically they were living in their own shit.  They got sick.  Science triumphed and antibiotics came to the rescue.  Along with some other nasty stuff, like Arsenic.  When it was found out that animals could be fed Arsenic and antibiotics, they didn't get as sick and grew a little faster.  Even while sitting, standing, laying, eating, in their own feces.  Science is indeed a marvel.

Nature is as well, and the natural outcome of the process has been that bacteria are still thriving.  When you get sick, the doctor tells you to take all of the antibiotics, the full course.  That's because antibiotics never kill all the bacteria they come into contact with.  The object of treatment is to kill most of the infection, and then allow the human bodies' natural defenses to get rid of the few remaining stragglers.  The more you don't do that, the more bacteria are left that didn't get killed by the antibiotics.  And they soon begin to have resistance.  Same thing happens in chickens, pigs, cows and turkeys.  They all breed more and more bacteria that are no longer affected by antibiotics.  And as we all know, big business is profit driven, and so the orders go out to produce more, at less cost.  Pack the chickens and cows into the pens ever tighter, ever more feces, urine, uneaten food bits and antibiotic residues clinging to the bodies of animals that will soon be slaughtered for consumption by humans.  Feceiation.  The brand new symbiotic relationship that modern business has created that combines animals with bacteria and antibiotics in a pattern of growth wherein the fecal bacteria are so ingrained and so much a part of the entire animal that there is no way to remove them without destroying the end product itself, modern meat.

USDA regulations for the production of chickens allows each certified USDA inspector just one and a half seconds to inspect each chicken carcass as it passes before them.  They check each carcass for tumors, scabs, leftover bits of lungs, bile, organs and any feces that might be present from the mechanized slaughter, feather removal and eviseration.  And the USDA just allowed the carcass lines to speed up under pressure from the major chicken producers.  So they can make more money.

23,000 people die each year from Salmonella poisoning. EVERY YEAR.  The CDC estimates the death toll to be that high.  Estimates.  The reality is that we don't know how many are misdiagnosed by an ever overcrowded and overworked medical system. 

Ninety-Nine Cent Chicken sandwiches on sale everywhere at every fast food purveyor of fine quality healthy cuisine on every corner on every street in every city all across America.

Do you want that with or without a big ol' extra helping of the Hershey Squirts.

Feceiation, it's here to stay in corporate America.  The price to pay for profits and cheap chicken.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Victory! GMO ingredient in Cheerios is no more.

Cheerios is one of those things that most everyone has had.  From infancy on, it is pretty much a staple in most homes I believe.  The one cereal that is relatively low in sugar (at least regular yellow box Cheerios) has made a place for itself as a great thing for toddlers, kids, teens and adults.  Again, the regular ones only, the rest of the product lineup are all pretty much drenched in sugar, corn syrup and carcinogenic preservatives.  That pretty much describes most of the entire list of breakfast cereal offerings in the stores today.  Cheap, sweet and profitable.  And devastatingly attractive packaging concepts.  Along with massive advertising programs that keep the vision of morning goodness in front of children with the concept that kids influence the buying patterns of their parents.  The scary thing is that it works, parents buy sugar coated crapola for their children by the boxcar load every day.

We know that sugar is addictive.  We're pretty sure that sugar is the actual cause of heart disease.

We don't really know if sugar made from Genetically Modified Beets is worse, or not.

What we do know is that no Genetically Modified Organism has ever been REQUIRED to undergo long term feeding studies to VERIFY that they are safe.  Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta et al are a lot like my ex-wife, they WANT something to be so, and therefore they declare it as being so, and they have the influence to require that the world take them at their word, and it is so.  To go against the word of the agrigiants is tantamount to being labeled a terrorist.  For any scientific people, it is a death sentence to your career.  University funding dries up, industry journals find their advertising gone, and worst of all, published peer reviewed research is retracted  at the behest of the agrigiants and actual research is deemed a fraud for no other reason than that it begins to tear down the facade of lies that have built a concept into a multi billion dollar and multi national industry.  And the will of the mighty becomes the way of the world.

Still, people, consumers, become enlightened and see through the lies, and want the truth.  They see that the food presented to the world as healthy, nutritious, safe and wholesome is anything but.  Not a lot of people have access to multimillion dollar lab facilities to test it all, but some do.  The results are not good.  They in fact show us how the facade of lies, not just about GMO foods, but about the entire agrigiant controlled food industry; is putting profits above the safety of the consumers.  Consumer Reports, Mercola, and a host of other groups have shown just how true that last statement really is.  And the sad part is, that the FDA, the strong arm regulatory agent that generally does the bidding of their masters in the food industry have in fact confirmed just how bad our food system is.

Yesterday General Mills announced that they will remove all Genetically Modified ingredients from their one product, regular yellow box Cheerios.  One product only will they bow to the demands of the consumers and change.  Last year the makers of Cheerios thought they would capitalize on the internet and they developed a Facebook app that would allow internet users the opportunity to tell the world about how wonderful Cheerios are and how much people love the product.  Withing 48 hours General Mills took down the app as they received over a hundred thousand negative comments, most of which were blasting General Mills for giving a million dollars to the campaigns to defeat bills that would require labeling of GMO ingredients in California and Oregon.  Forty eight short hours.  The tech guys at the company could barely delete the posts fast enough.  There are websites out there that captured a bunch.  Pretty brutal.

So, in an effort to bandage the appearance of a company that makes decisions based on profit over concerns of consumers, General Mills announced they will accept the wishes of all of the concerned consumers in the entire world and change one ingredient in one of their products.

That will make everyone happy.

Or so the leaders of the company believe.