Thursday, May 29, 2014

An Epiphany

I've been looking over my blog here these past few days, getting all excited about the milestone that is nearing so rapidly.  20,000 hits is coming soon, and it feels good.  As I look over the things that I have written over the past year, I had an epiphany.  As I reviewed virtually all of the titles and think about the concepts that I have written about, I realized everything that I wrote, is right and correct.  Sounds odd, but the epiphany was more to do with the world about me than it was just a confirmation that what I believe is infallible, inerrant and righteous.  My epiphany was that other humans believe the same thing.  And that is the part that scares many people, that those humans that stand on street corners dressed in rags and are holding signs begging for money, or the pictures of starving children in various countries that weigh thirty pounds or so, or the people born blind, or missing limbs, or what ever other horrific tragedies befall humans throughout here at home and across the globe; all of them have self awareness.  Each human mind out there believes themselves to be right.

That is a difficult concept to accept.  How can the lowliest most miserable humans on this planet have the same self awareness as I?  And of course there is also the belief that it isn't possible for all those lowly humans out there NOT to believe what I do. How CAN THEY not believe what I do, I mean I am RIGHT about EVERYTHING!!!!  Well, let's be realistic for a moment, I admit I don't know everything, otherwise I would be the new champion on Jeopardy.  It is impossible for any one person to know everything.  That is except my ex, she knew everything, and she let me know it daily, hourly, minute by minute.  And when I questioned her supreme knowledge, horrific consequences were bestowed upon my person.  I guess we were at an impasse as both of us completely and totally believed that we, ourselves, were in fact right.  A paradox, not just in my horrible marriage, but in life itself as I find that pretty much everyone feels the same.  That they indeed, are right.  A paradox, let's face it, not everyone can be right all the time.  There of course is an answer, it lies within my own concept and belief in the Universe.  It just is hard to accept.

A few years back, my very dear friend and exquisitely beautiful person Key, took me to Deeksha.  She felt I needed it.  Sex is a great restorer of faith in oneself, but it doesn't cure one of all the hatred and pent up misery that resides within one's subconscious.  Key recognized that, and took me on my path toward Oneness.  I know I talk about the ex a lot here, and it is in fact meant to be a bit of humor in a sort of Henny Youngman way, "Take my wife, Please!"  And of course there is the very sad reality of the relationship that when I tell people what she actually did to me they are in awe as to how someone could do those things, and wonder how I could ever have remained with her after that first year.  But, I don't think I could have joked about that weird abusive relationship until I found Oneness.  Previously when I talked or even thought about her, it was pure hatred at her and what she did to me.  After the second time at Deeksha, that hatred, that absolute total desire to choke the lying abusive bitch to death completely left me.  And I was then able to joke about it all.  And believe it or not, it came from Deeksha.  This process is the weirdest, goofiest, most incredibly obtuse and convoluted concept I could ever have imagined.  People touch my head, and draw out the bad spirits and allow me to find inner peace.  Criminy, I am a realist, and thought that this was all a bunch of hooey.  Now comes the weird part, I had also read books about the seer Edgar Cayce in my youth and felt that his readings about the nature of the Universe were in fact not just logical, but they were believable and made perfect sense.  Now, with the Givers through Deeksha, I lost my hatred, and actually began to think about my existence and not just my, but every one's part of the Universal Existence.   

Edgar tells us that we are made up of the Universal constant, light.  We, as thinking cognizant beings, are all part of the basic Universal goodness and that in the quest for Oneness, those beings in this existence, are in fact still part of the whole, the Universal Consciousness.  We, as individuals, share part of that Oneness, and in that, we have that cognizance of Oneness and that manifests itself as a conscious knowledge of good.  We all seek good, and we all are aware of Oneness on a subconscious level, and there lies our belief in one's self.  It's that subconscious knowledge that we are all part of the same.  Unfortunately it is the conscious part or our existence here that makes the decisions that govern not just our lives in this existence, but determine how we further the Universal Goodness as a whole in our next plane of existence.  Whew, what a load of weird crap hunh?

I joke about this stuff a lot, those that follow me on Facebook or read my stuff here have seen the arguments with my brother about religion and his absolute and complete belief in his self.  And his bible.  Reality plays no part in his belief, faith covers and explains everything.  I only mention him at this time as a perfect example of someone who believes himself to be right at all costs, and against all argumentative incursions against the reality that he views as the inerrant word of his god.  Of course he, like most believers, only want to live their lives by parts of the bible.  And then explain to us that the book is subject to interpretation as scholars have determined that the meanings of the fables there were written for people living at the time and not for us in our time.  Makes sense, except that should apply to the entire book, and not the sections that they don't want to follow because they realize just how ridiculous it is in modern times.  Nonetheless, my brother, and many such born again, are adamant that they are in fact RIGHT.  I don't argue with my brother anymore, it is a useless exercise and will never achieve anything other than frustration on my part, and perceived victory on his.  But the thing is, that my beliefs do in fact, explain why he feels he is right.  I take no solace in that, I am after all, on a quest for Oneness. 

This short essay was not in any way meant to demean any one's faith in the bible.  I believe that faith is a good thing.  I also believe that an open mind is a lot better way to achieve Oneness than blind faith.  

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Better World, for You and me.

There probably is very little disagreement in that everyone wants a better world for ourselves, and our descendants.  I want a better world, that's why I write this blog and hope that you will read it, tell people about it, and they will tell others and so on and so on.  Public awareness.  A god thing actually, an informed public makes the deceit our rulers pass over on the citizens ever more difficult.  And I think my little ploy may be working, I should hit 20,000 hits to my blog tomorrow.  Nice, thanks.  Perhaps with enough of the world citizens learning about the things I preach here, and others as well, then maybe perhaps some day we can affect real change.
I hate to say it, but back in the sixties and seventies the youth of America protested not just a war, but the very foundation of society.  Heroes of that war on the establishment fell mightily, Jerry Ruben it turned out was an heir to a fortune and never actually had to work a day in his life being a stockholder in many major corporations, Abby Hoffman came back to the US after years in self induced exile and became a part of the establishment he fought against.  Tom Hayden, a politician, ineffective, and like so many of his brethren politicos, prone to corruption. So many others, lost in the quagmire of fuzzy boundaries between reality and idealism.  The fight taken out of them by crass commercialism and money.  The sixties war of revolution to bring back freedom to the people that then seemed foolish to many and righteous to others, was in fact based on the revolution that brought this country into existence.  Foolish at best, it was what it was, an attempt to change our government.  Just as the idealism that drove the revolution in the sixties foundered when the reality of existence in an industrial world became apparent, the needs of the participants to just simply exist overcame the idealism driving the revolution.  So much has been said comparing what we attempted, to the liberation of America from the British that it is difficult to realize that at that time, and with that state of technology, the British could never have won the war just from a logistics standpoint.  The Brits were under supplied, and that fact alone caused them to begin stealing, raping and robbing as they moved through the citizenry and thus becoming ever more hated because of their actions.  Those actions were in fact the prime reason that the third amendment was put into the Bill of Rights.  The citizens had suffered greatly at the hands of the British and their representatives refused to help ratify the new Constitution unless those first ten amendments would be added.  All ten were there to protect personal liberty, from the government itself.
So from our perspective today, what happened to our Constitution.  We don't have the government that was envisioned by our founding fathers.  The senate portion of the bicameral legislative system was in fact intended to represent the rights of states, and ultimately, the power of the elite.  The legislature was for the citizens.  That changed a long time ago.  At the instigation of the elite.  Our Constitution proclaimed that out monetary system would be free from debt, and yet that changed as well, again, instigated by the elite in a system that creates money and pays the founders for the privilege of living high on the hog today and pushing the cost of our excesses onto our progeny.   Our legislative system itself was designed to represent the citizens, but is now a system that creates wealth for the individual legislators in the process of formulating laws that allows corporate america to create and write their own laws and tax rules that benefit themselves, their industries, and their interests all to the exclusion of the basic needs of us, the citizens.  

Buckminster Fuller however expresses the definitive paradigm for change, he is quoted as saying, " You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
Building a new model for our world is easier than you think.  It already exists.  Sustainable farming methods, government and business practices that exhibit integrity and truth in all of their actions and dealings with each other and the public.  Taxation that is in fact proportionate to income, and set at a fixed percentage instead of the current system of the middle class paying higher percentages than the wealthy.  And businesses making decisions based on the health of not only the consumers, but of the earth itself.  The paradigm shift is within our grasp, it is up to us, each and everyone of us to realize this, and to act on it with the POWER that we each have within us.  Don't buy products made by companies that damage the environment, add toxic additives, or don't follow best business practices.  Vote against politicians that demonstrate the inability to follow up on promises and instead place the needs of businesses over that of their constituents.  And finally the ability of every one of us to spread the word of the world that can be, over the world that is.  
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to change the world in which you exist.  The alternative is to live in it as it is, and die a slow death from the toxins in your food and within your environment itself placed there by greed and graft and all within your power to change.   Good luck world citizens.  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Healthier Healthy Foods Techniques Number Five - The Combo

Well, I'm hoping that you, my readers, have gotten a little bit of fun and info from the last few days worth of entries here.  It's been fun writing the stuff.  Only got one email this past week, and it was from some whacko that didn't like my stance on vaccines, but nevertheless, I plod along with my views.  Here today, is the final episode of the series making Healthy Foods Healthier.  We have so far learned about four different methods of preparing basic foods that each and every one of them does a pretty fair job of removing or neutralizing the toxic defense and storage mechanisms of the plant's lectins and phytates. Today, we just look at the obvious, combining those techniques.  

In reality, it's just common sense.  If each technique does a good job, then combining will do a better.  Right?  It's like alcohol, a little makes you feel good, a lot makes you regret that decision.  Sort of the same thing here.  I mean if we look at grains and legumes, soaking then cooking via steam or in a pressure cooker is not at all a bad thing.  They cook faster, added flavor components are injected into the grains or legumes under pressure, most of the lectins and phytates were washed away and the resultant end product is more nutritious, and mighty tasty.  And generally fartless.  However one thing we don't really want to do is soak your legumes, let them sprout, then ferment them a bit, and cook them in steam.  You will get a mess.  There is a limit.  Like waking up to the slug of a person that you remember sitting at the end of the bar and swore you would never ever go talk to but somehow forgot all that after imbibing ever more alcohol.  (Never happened to me)

If you think about it, the first three techniques that I have outlined for you are all about time.  Each one progressively taking ever more time, and in the world of big food manufacturing business, time means money.  That's why it is not done, money.  That's why you can do it at home with anything you do, because the reality is that the time it takes to prepare your own food is pretty minimal.  Soaking beans, three minutes to fill the pot with water, the next day drain rinse and cook, another five minutes.  The gratitude of your family and friends having you not having explosive gas attacks, immeasurable.  Again, let me just say that no one can make these decisions for you, the choice to eat a diet that is cheap and laden with both natural toxins (ie. lectins and phytates) as well as doused liberally with unnatural chemical additives that are approved by the FDA (even though 700 of the GRAS list are classed as Class II Carcinogens by the EPA); is entirely up to you.  Most people don't care, look, see how popular McDonalds and their brethren all are.  And look, see how the grocery store shelves are filled to overflowing with processed foods.  It's your decision, it is in fact, your life, and you have to live, or die, with the consequences.

So, let's take a fun peak at some stuff.

Brown Rice Paella - Brown rice as we all know is undeniably soooooo much better for you health wise.  It just takes longer to cook and doesn't present itself for many of the best recipes that we have enjoyed from other cultures.  Paella is one of those, it is traditionally made with medium grain white rice, for ease of cooking.  We can do the same with the Healthier Health Food techniques.  Take two cups medium grain organic brown rice and add to a quart or more of water and allow to soak.  Bing, technique one.  Drain, rinse, and add to your small pressure cooker, or steamer will work.  Bing, technique four.  Cook in the pressure cooker or steamer for 18 or 35 minutes respectively.  Remove from heat and add a bit of cool water to stop the coking process.  Drain excess water and allow to cool in colander.  Spread onto a baking sheet and allow to get pretty dry.  Then in your large Paella pan, add a quarter cup of olive oil and heat to a shimmer, now brown well four chicken breasts and thighs that you had coated with a spice mixture (recipe at the end) the night before when you started the rice soaking.  Get well browned.  Remove and set aside.  Add some sliced Spanish Chorizo, brown and remove.  Now add a bit more olive oil and a diced onion and red pepper.  Cook stirring abouut two minutes.  Now, add the dry rice and cook, stirring well.  This should take about 8 to 10 minutes, you want to brown the rice grains a bit.  Now add a cup and a half of white wine.  Stir in well, add a big pinch of saffron, some thyme and sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and stick in the chicken and sausages.  Let cook for about five minutes then add mussels, clams, shrimp, langostinos, crawdads or whatever you want.  Then scatter over them a big cup or so of frozen peas thawed.  When all the liquid is absorbed, allow to cook a bit longer to get the crust on the bottom, then dust with chopped parsley and more black pepper.  And serve hot.   Spanish spice mix is easy, just mix in a small jar 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, a tablespoon oregano, crushed, a teaspoon thyme, coriander and cumin, a tablespoon seas salt and two of black pepper.  Also if you have it, some dried lemon zest.  

Cowboy Western Bean - Take a pound of pinto or black beans and look for rocks, then soak in water overnight.  Bing, technique one Rinse, and add to pressure cooker.   Bing, technique four, add enough water to cover by about 2 inches and add two packages of Frantic Foods Mesquite Smoked Onion Dip Mix available from my business, or use any nice spice mix that you like and have used on stuff before.  Cook under pressure for 35 minutes and remove from heat, cool to open and serve incredible flavorful beans.  And leftovers you can smash a bit and reheat as refried beans.  

Jambolaya - Again, here we are going to use brown rice, because I like it, and it is healthier.  Take two cups of long grain brown rice and soak in water overnight. Bing, technique one.  Drain, rinse and drain in colander.  In large pressure cooker,  Bing, technique four, add a quarter cup olive oil and brown a cut up chicken.  Remove.  Now, dice an onion, a bell pepper, eight ribs celery.  Dump half of it all into pot and season well with Cajun seasoning (recipe below)  And cook, stirring until the vegetables are well cooked, and the whole mess is thick and almost solid black mass.  This does take about fifteen minutes over medium high heat.  Now add a couple tablespoons more olive oil and add the remaining veggies plus about ten or more cloves garlic you sliced.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Add the drained rice and stir in well.  Add two cans diced tomatoes and a bottle of beer and one cup water or stock. Add another two tablespoons of the Cajun seasoning.  Bring to a boil and add the chicken and nestle in some cut up sausages.  Cover, bring to pressure and cook under pressure for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, cool the cooker under running water and remove cover.  Add shrimp, fish or whatever seafood you want, put cover back on and place on medium heat until pressure builds.  Turn off heat and allow pressure to drop on its own, about 5 minutes or so.  Remove cover, sprinkle on the chopped parsley and serve.   Cajun seasoning, in jar add 3 tablespoons crushed thyme, 2 each of basil, oregano and dried garlic.  one each of cayenne and paprika.  Add some black pepper and sea salt.  Shake, store in the jar and make flavor happen.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Healthier Healthy Foods, Part Four, Take a Steam

So far I have talked about some knowledge that was acquired from thousands and thousands of years of trial and error.  Well, and a lot was just observation of one's environment.  When early humans looked around at the world about them, they saw that plants grew when it rained, flowers bloomed, fruit and grain came later, and the world's creatures thrived.  And early man, figured it out.  They ate the sprouts and seeds soaked in rainwater, they pounded grains on rocks and formed cakes and baked them on stones near the fire.  They fermented plants in skins and ate the stuff, and drank the liquid that gave them a fun feeling when they did.  And they hung the carcasses of their kills in their caves for a length of time to make it better.  All of those techniques we as humans learned about from the dawn of time.  And of course we promptly forgot it all when businesses told us that cheap imitations of real food doused with chemicals was all good for us.  And with enough MSG, salt, sugar and trans fats added, it even tasted good.  However the fourth method of preparing healthy food to make a healthier product came about just a few centuries ago. 

Steaming.  I hope I don't need to have a basic chemistry lesson here and tell everyone the stuff we should have learned in school, about how water at 212 degrees has considerably less heat energy than steam at 212 degrees.  It takes a lot of energy to turn water to steam, and that extra energy can be quite useful when we turn our attention to cooking.  And of course there is also the really cool benefits of cooking with a pressure cooker.  Remember a couple days ago when I talked about those nasty things in grains, and such, the phytates and the lectins.  Well, lo and behold, those things seem to breakdown a little when they are cooked in traditional methods.  Boiling and baking.  The limiting factor is that 212 degree limit on what can be achieved when cooking the stuff.  Lectins and phytates tend to remain pretty much intact at that temperature.  And as we all know, from basic cooking, that is the limit, you can't cook anything at a higher temperature than 212.  Even if you turn your oven up to 500 degrees, the food you cook in it will cook at 212.  That is up until all the water boils out of the food and then it will begin to burn.  And you wouldn't want to eat it then either.  But, about 3 hundred years ago, the Chinese came up with this impressive method of cooking, they put grains in woven bamboo and put it over boiling water so that the steam actually cooked the grain.  And lo and behold, steaming was born.  Because steam has much greater heat energy it actually cooks the foods at higher temperatures than 212, the standard limit to boiling water.  Sounds weird, it isn't.  It's basic science.  And the coolest way to use the steam heat thing is with a pressure cooker.  When you use one, you can get the internal temperatures of anything in the cooker up to 240 to 250 degrees.  And when you do, poof, most if not all of the lectins and phytates are broken down and become digestible.  And even better for those meat eaters out there, it also breaks down the collagen fibers holding the meat muscle tissue together and it makes meat tender.  Not such a deal with steak, but a pot roast in a pressure cooker is done in a third the time and any flavorings you added to the pot permeate into the meat, under pressure. 

So, what we do know about healthy food is that all that stuff, seeds, grains, legumes and even stuff like broccoli and carrots, are better for you if they are cooked with steam. 

That's all I have to say about this one.  Combining techniques tomorrow will have some more depth to it. 

Healthy Foods Healthier, Part Three, the Ferment

The Ferment.  This process is one thing about cooking that is nearly universally misunderstood.  In America anyway.  Other cultures do it, they just probably don't actually understand it, they just know it happens, and the food that was fermented, is altered.  It tastes different, it can be stored longer, and you feel better after eating it.  Yep, it becomes healthier.  Better.  And yet most people shun the ferment, they think it's bad, stinky, and rotten.  And for those that think "There's stuff growing in it!" all I can say is, "How little you know about the world."

Fermentation has been around since the beginning of life.  It is after all, just bacterial growth. From the beginning of creation, bacteria fed upon the remnants of other bacteria and then plants and animals as evolution (or creation, if you are so inclined in thinking) progressed from single celled things to multi cellular plants and animals.  At some point everything that lives, dies, and then fermentation takes place.  Man, learned a thing or two during their evolutionary path from the jungle to the city, and how to control that ferment is top of the list.  To my friends that claim they don't or won't eat anything stinky or alive, I point out the wonders of the ferment to them.  Alcohol, yogurt, cheese, pickles, (okay, that one is a stretch, no one actually makes real pickles anymore) and just for fun, meat.  WHAT?  MEAT?  Yeah, weird hunh?  Meat for the most part is fermented.  Back in those old Paleolithic days of yore, man learned that after the lions killed it and ate their fill, the leftover meats that sat on the ground for a few days were tastier, more tender, and more easily digested.  So it became the standard practice for our cavemen ancestors that when they finally learned to sharpen sticks and kill their own beasts that they hang it up in their caves for a few days.  A practice that continues to this day, with wild game hanging when shot, and better steak houses dry aging their beef in order to add a premium price to it.  Even the standard grocery store version of modern meat (YUCK) lets the stuff age at least 5 to 7 days, as that allows a bit of fermenting in the flesh as well as lets the natural enzymes begin to breakdown the collagen fibers.  Oh my, look, healthier. 

Yep, my friends eat fermented foods all the time and they don't even know it.  Probably the stuff they and well, most people eat isn't really all that much healthier for them in the long run what with it being provided by modern agrigiant food conglomerates that have learned to harness the ferment and make a buck on the process.  Grocery store yogurt is a far cry from the real deal that anyone can easily make at home, but there are a few live bacteria in the stuff.  And those bacteria are in reality, good for the overall health of our own digestive systems.  Modern research has been alluding to the fact that modern researchers have discovered that our ancestors might have figured out a thing or two about living healthier lives and that the multitude of bacteria living within us can in fact be beneficial to our lives.  And a healthy gut flora leads to a healthy life.  I think that is something that most people in the world knew for generations and it has only been in the last century or so that big business has destroyed the lifestyle of the ancients to provide us with quick and easy foods that make profit and forgo the hard won knowledge from the past.

So, what can we do, what can we eat that will feed our digestive system, satisfy our taste buds and make us into the proverbial Popeyes from the cartoons with health, vigor and life sustaining nutrition?  Look for the stuff, it's there.  Make your own, it's easy.  Hey, think about it, cavemen and ancient people living in mud huts made the stuff, you can too.  Some stuff to look for and try,
  • Kombucha Tea
  • Real yogurt, Kefir, Lebin, Lasso (milk products
  • Real cheeses, un pasteurized boutique produced from small farms (O M G the flavors)
  • Kimchee, real uncooked sour kraut, 
  • Real pickles if you can find them, the fermented kind are FAR FAR FAR superior
  • Natto, Miso and other fermented soy products (fermenting is the only way to make soy edible)
  • Fermented Bean products found in most oriental markets provide a multitude of flavors
  • Bread
I know what your thinking, bread?  Yeah, bread is a fermented product and it has been a traditional ferment product for over a hundred thousand years.  Fermenting the grain actually breaks down the lectins and phytates that make it indigestible and a bit unhealthy and miraculously turn the stuff into a plethora of readily available nutritional powerhouse.  Bread used to be made that way, I can remember as a child an old TV commercial for a bakery that actually advertised that they took the time to allow long rises with the result being better flavor and nutrition.  They don't do that anymore, no one does.  Well, no commercial baker does, it takes time, and time is MONEY.  But that just means that what I preach to everyone here on my blog is in fact real and important.  It only takes a bit of time, but anyone can learn to bake their own bread, and once you get away from the horrors of commercial stuff you won't ever go back.  In fact, once you start eating any of the stuff in the list above, you will see the difference in your over all health, your bowel habits, your increased vigor, vim and vitality.  And you will begin to seek out more and more of the weird stuff not just for the flavor, which in itself is an excursion into realms most people never visit but love love love once there; but to get an extra dose of good healthy bacteria.  We now know that the more varied the varieties of healthy bacteria in your system, the better.  Oh, and just for fun, this link goes to one website that I rip here all the time, Mark's Daily Apple, just one site about Paleo diets that is chock full of misinformation and erroneous conclusions about food.  But they do have this one right about fermented food. 

Anyway, let's just talk about one recipe that you can use to make bread using the time honored tradition of the ferment to make a food product, in this case wheat, healthier.  Start off your bread making excursion the night before.  Grind some wheat into flour, or buy a good high quality whole wheat flour that is ground then packed in nitrogen to prevent oxidation of the nutrients.  Next put two cups water in mixing bowl, dissolve one 500 mg tab of Vitamin C in it.  (Vitamin C does a good job of mimicking the toxic dough conditioners the big agribusinesses use) and add a half cup plain yogurt.  Mix in enough flour to form a think paste.  Cover it and let sit overnight.  The next day, dissolve a tablespoon of yeast in a quarter cup water, and add it to the mixer.  Add some honey, a half teaspoon good sea salt and mix on low for a few minutes.  If not a stiff dough, add just enough flour to make one.  Knead the dough on low speed for eight minutes, then add a stick of butter.  When incorporated into the dough, turn the mixer off and either move to a oiled bowl or just let rise in the mixing bowl for an hour.  Punch the dough down and let rise again for an hour.  Then take globs of the dough out and shape into loaves and put into oiled pans.  Let rise, score the top and bake at 425 until well browned.  This stuff is the bomb. 

Anyway,  a lot of the stuff in the list above you can make at home and even though some of it is a bit stinky, the flavor profiles are remarkable.  I make my own kimchee style sourkrauts and eat it all the time.  I make my own yogurt and kefir and love love love them.  And I bake my own bread.  And of course, I teach all this stuff to people.  Try some yourself, hunt around, check out the local oriental markets for different things, try them, and I am certain you will be surprised. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Part Two - Healthier Healthy Foods

So Chef Roy, how do you justify smoking cigars with a healthy life?  Easy, nothing relaxes you and takes away stress the way a natural handmade aged cigar does.  George Burns, 3 a day, lived to see a hundred.  There's nothin' wrong with cigars, tobacco, in its natural form is not inherently dangerous; tobacco in the hands of big business, becomes a thing to avoid as it really is some nasty stuff.  Why am I bringing this all up?  I have a a very dear friend at the cigar store that I am certain has never tasted a sprout before.  He won't eat lettuce on his meat sandwiches nor salad, nor anything green.  That is kind of sad I think, there is a powerhouse of nutrients in sprouts.  Sprouts are indeed, the miracle of nature and are in all probability the reason humans were able to leave the jungle trees and go out into the savanna and become hunter gatherers.  Yes, it's true, sprouts are the reason humans were able to forage for discarded scraps of meat and that eventually led to humans becoming hunters.  


That might not be such a stretch if we look at the chemistry.  Seeds and grains are powerhouses of stored minerals and amino acids.  And a few vitamins as well.  Eaten as is, they are not so good for us, there is that phytic acid and lectin thing again.  Plus they all pretty much are missing one of the key eight amino acids that are required by humans for complete protein nutrition.  Lysine.  It does seem to be missing from much of the plant world.  And humans can't exactly function without it. and the other seven essential amino acids.  However, in a huge stroke of mother nature's miracles, seeds and grains all change dramatically when they sprout.  They change the stored starches into readily available sugars, they develop a vast array of vitamins, they form phytase, the enzyme that breaks down the phytates, and most of the lectins breakdown as well.  And the big one, they form lysine.  Thus the missing ingredient, that single amino acid that was needed for humans to fully capture ALL of the nutrition possible within a seed or grain's nutritive makeup becomes available and useable.  So did early humans get quart jars and wash seeds a couple times a day until they sprouted.  Sheesh, no, early humans did have a bit bigger brain and they looked around and saw the little seeds sprouting, and ate them.  Most sprouts are a bit sweet, and maybe that's the evolutionary advancement that allowed humans to evolve.  They ate plants that were powerhouses of nutrition and energy.     

So, sprouting.  There are little grated lids you can buy at hippy stores that allow you to make your own sprouts.  The clean way.  It does seem that here in Arizona you can't go to the store and buy sprouts anymore.  Not particularly surprising, when big businesses get involved in anything they allow contamination and bacterial growth through high production methods and just plain not caring.  Anyway, sprouts can be made at home and they are pretty spectacular.  I go to the farmers markets to sell my stuff and lately there are a couple of guys that have been coming to the markets with a new product, micro-greens.  Basically they are sprouts, but grown in a thin layer of soil.  A cool way to get around the legal ban on selling sprouts.  I thought it was a cool idea, and so with a ten inch pot and some soil and a handful of sunflower seeds, I have a whole bunch of sunflower sprouts (or micro-greens) available all the time.  At those same hippy stores where you can buy the jar sprouting gear, you can also buy a whole host of seed options to sprout.  Broccoli, radish, alfalfa, peas, and anything else you can think of.  A great way to add nutrition to your life with very little effort.

Sprouts, big time.  I'm sure most people have enjoyed the most popular version of sprouting available to everyone of us.  Alcohol.  Remember from above that when grains and seeds sprout, they convert the stores of starches into sugars.  When you sprout barley, you get malt sugar.  Barley malt.  And it is the principal ingredient in another of nature's wonders, beer.  A good cigar and a fine crafted beer, sigh, nature at its finest.  Anyway, one of the other things you can do with grains that have sprouted other than make alcohol, is to make bread.  Ezekial bread is the biblical recipe for making bread from sprouted grains.  The actual story behind it is not important, just know that in fact it is one way to make a food product from grains that makes the bread, healthier.  It's pretty simple.  Grains are soaked in water, drained and washed daily until the little sprouts emerge.  Then they are stuck in a powerful blender and ground into a paste which is then mixed with yeast and plopped into pans, allowed to rise and baked into yummy goodness that is inherently healthier because one of the basic techniques of making healthy food healthier is used to make a common food product.  Bread.  Hey, I tried it once, it did not work out.  I probably just need to work on the sprouting timeframes.  All the grains don't sprout at the same time and it was a one time effort, and was nasty.  But, as another of my friends tells me, most stores sell Ezekial bread, and they do a great job of it.  And without any of the toxic additives that make regular bread so nasty.  I on the other hand like to use some of the other techniques to make my bread and I will go into those tomorrow.  But for now, I think this is an introduction into the second tip for eating healthier foods.  Sprouting.  It doesn't hurt, it tastes good, and they are easy to make.  Weird how the store Sprouts, is unable to sell their namesake, sprouts.  But that doesn't mean that you can't make your own, and enjoy the benefits of our ancestral heritage of eating foods that are healthier.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Healthier stuff technique numero uno

Yesterday was a whole lot of stuff, with just a little actual content.  Today starts the way things are.  Techniques on how to get rid of the unwanted stuff and make what you eat better.  To that end, let's start with numero uno, soaking.  Soaking legumes, nuts, seeds and grains does have a quality enhancing effect that really and truly does remove many, repeat, MANY of the harmful phytates and some lectins from them.  But then this is in fact standard advice for most people when they cook, soak your beans first.  Right?  Of course it is, it's standard.  Well, for most people.  Pinto beans, red beans, pretty much any beans.  It helps to remove the lectins within that outer layer and of course, allows for the beans to cook more evenly and more rapidly.  And as many people will tell you, it will help to remove that which causeth the unwanted gasses.  Old wives tales, nope, there is actual scientific proof that this happens.  Weird, but true.  And it works for most of the plant world, any seeds, nuts, grains as well as the legumes.  I suppose that if we looked at it, all four are all the same thing.  They are the part of a plant in which the future generations lie dormant waiting proper conditions before springing forth and growing into a new plant that will itself reproduce and begin the process all over again.  Those seeds, nuts, grains and legumes all hold the future existence of their species within their structures.  It makes sense that nature has developed various methods to try to preserve the keepers of the genetic line safe.  Many of the preservation techniques used are simple, hard shells, impervious skins, dry textures, and poisons. 

Remember from yesterday, lectins and phytates are in fact, for the most part, toxic.  Not just to humans, but to bugs, molds, rabbits, squirrels, and most everything else.  It is the plant world's last defense.  Some plants make a lot of lectins, like soy and castor.  Both are poisonous.  (Yes, soy is very very bad for you)  But when you soak it, or any of the seed family, they let some of the lectins and phytates go out into the soak water.  Many of the paleo diet websites out there recommend that we soak any of the nuts you want to eat for at least 12 hours first, and then spread them out to dry before eating them.  Good advice.  It helps, it makes them more digestible and, healthier. 

This is just one thing that we see with processed food, and how it is bad for us.  Think about it, do you in anyway think it is possible that Taco Bell or for that matter, any of the Burrito Palaces around soak their pinto beans before they cook them and make refried beans.  Or the cans of refries on the store shelf, think they were made using previously soaked beans.  Or the three bean salad on the salad bar?  Or any legume, from the garbanzos in the humus at the store to the kidney beans in the chili con carne you eat with crackers on nights home alone.  Nope, never.  Soaking takes time, and time is money.  And in today's world, processed food is all about making money.  And of course the big issue is how to make it so cheap that you as a consumer will spend money on it instead of taking time to make your own. 

This is how we as consumers in America have been hoodwinked into living a lifestyle that has the appearance of being healthy, yet it is not.  This simple technique, soaking seeds, grains, legumes and nuts before cooking or consuming them was devised from hundreds and hundreds of generations of trial and error of our ancestors working to make their food healthier.  And we as modern American consumers have just dismissed it all as unimportant, and we believe the giant agribusinesses and the federal government when they tell us that we are eating healthy when we eat the foods of our ancestors.  The fact is that those foods are not what our ancestors ate, but they can be.

Simple rule number one.  Make your own food.  Beans, soak overnight, drain, rinse, cook.  Grains, soak overnight, drain, rinse, cook.  Seeds and nuts, soak overnight, drain, rinse, dry and then eat. 

It isn't hard.  It does take time.  It does make a difference. 

Tomorrow, numero dos. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Making Healthy Food, Healthier

Healthier.  That sort of intimates that the food we have available to us as Americans, isn't all that healthy for us.  I would never say that, at least not for this particular little essay about healthy eating, I mean there are a hundred or more essays on my blog about how horrific American food actually is.  But today, I am going to give you some info about how to reduce your intake of two specific components of food that we eat almost daily.  These two things are the favorites of the Paleo and wheat-free diet people: Lectins and Phytates.  Both of which in various forms comprise part of most of the plant material on the earth.  Most, are slightly toxic, many have anti-nutrient properties, and all of them are manufactured by plants themselves as defense, as storage systems for specific minerals, and in reality, are a necessary part of animal life.

 Research into lectins and phytates is relatively new and scientists are learning new things all the time about the interaction of these classes of compounds with the human body.  You know, the technical stuff, why and how this specific carbon sulfide group does this or that.  I suppose that it is all nice to know, but for most people, all we need to know is the same things our ancestors have known for centuries.  Don't eat some plants, other plants are okay, and still more need to be treated in order to be healthy.  Ancient humans learned things using a rather quaint and old fashioned methodology that we call trial and error.  Believe it or not, it worked.  This basic principal of experimentation led to the development of numerous methods for which humans were able to not just exist, but to thrive in the harsh environment here on earth.  It is possible that a few humans died along the way, but their deaths served to further the knowledge of the society at large and civilization progressed.  A few decades ago businessmen decided that the best way to make money was to forgo the knowledge that was hard won through the efforts of our ancestors and to produce food products for society that resembled the foods of our past, but were in fact lacking in the specialized techniques and production methods that were developed over the past millenia through that time tested scientific method of trial and error.  

So, the simple things, like bread, today are not in anyway the same things that our ancestors ate.  And I will admit, that if you ate a lot of the modern product, it might be pretty bad for you.  And it is because of those little compounds known as lectins and phytates.  Well, actually it also is because there are a whole host of artificial chemical compounds added to modern bread (and sooooo many of our food products) that are in themselves toxic and carcinogenic; but this little essay is just about lectins and phytates.  Read these for the other stuff (Bread 1) (Two)  (Three)  Phytates are all members of the phytic acid group of compounds that plants, and animals, produce to store phosphorous. Sounds simple, but in reality many of the phytates, especially in certain plants like wheat, the compounds actually go through our digestive system and form covalent bonds with any unattached minerals there.  This is the basis of the "anti-nutrient" tag that popular literature has affixed to wheat.  And I admit, it is true, to a degree.  There are however a number of specific preparation methods that our ancestors discovered that allow humans to avoid the anti-nutrient properties of not just wheat, but most of the plants we consume.  And actually in the process, they breakdown of the phytates then free up the phosphorous and potassium held within the compound and allow it to be utilized.  Hunh, a good thing indeed.  I'll get to the method in a minute, let's now talk about the other compound in plants that has been tagged as being toxic and horrific to humans.  Lectins.  These are a very very large class of macroproteins that are pretty much all long chain molecules that have numerous functions within and outside cells.  Many lectins are highly toxic, such as ricin from the castor plant, or soy proteins, from the ordinary soy plant.  Many lectins are actually used by viruses as part of their process of attaching to and entering cells during infection.  It is now believed that certain classes of lectins are what actually hold cells together and are in fact the reason we have multicellular organisms.  The functions of lectins are numerous, and research on these proteins is in its infancy as we learn new aspects about their functionality almost weekly.  Suffice it to say that there are goods ones, and very very bad ones.  

There are several methods of processing food that effectively neutralize any deleterious effects of lectins and phytates.  These are all proven methods, centuries of use have given us a way to enjoy the storehouse of energy and nutrients within all plants.  And specifically within nuts, seeds, grains and legumes.  
  • Soaking - the simplest, and the probably the most effective means of removing harmful phytates, lectins and other unwanted compounds.  Simple, however because it takes time, it just isn't done in modern food processing.  
  • Sprouting - just one step up from soaking, when grains, seeds and nuts are allowed to sprout, they begin to breakdown the lectins within their structure and also form phytase, the enzyme that allows the body to breakdown the phytates into usable minerals
  • Fermenting - the best and most effective method of preparing plant products in order to remove toxic compounds and free up nutrients
  • Steaming - cooking any grain, legume, nut, seed or any plant breaks down more of the toxins than any other cooking method.
  • Combining any of the above - greatly enhances the nutritive values of everything.
Sounds simple doesn't it.  It does all take time, and time costs money for businesses, and is hard pressed for parents to use when deciding whether to bake their own bread or spend time with kids.  

That's something everyone has to decide for themselves.  And their families.  I can present the information to you, but it's up to you to decide if you want to eat better foods, or to drink from the fountain of milk and honey provided by the rich agribusinesses and soak up the toxins of their methodology they use for producing food products ignores the centuries of learning from our ancestors.  It's up to you.  Today, I give you the basics on methods that can be used to make food healthier.  In the next few days, I will expand on each method with recipes and advice on how simple it all actually is and how fun it can be to in fact eat healthy, get better nutrition, and not pay money to fast food purveyors of poison.  

Chow baby!

There are five more episodes to this series, one for each technique. With recipes as well. just look in the right hand box showing today's date and click on any of the five articles above this date. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Enough is enough, give us some crap about FOOD Chef Roy!!!!

Alright, I suppose enough is enough.  Most people don't listen to what I actually say about vaccines, toxins in our food allowable by the FDA, nor any of the other crap I write about, so, here we have another recipe.

This one is for my chocolate lasagna.  I will be making this for my friends at Ambassador Fine Cigars West for a feast I will be cooking for them in Celebration of Father's Day in conjunction with My Father Cigars.  The event is Saturday June 7 from 2 to 5 pm.  Just a plug for my friends there, and to let anyone reading this that they can come by, meet great people and enjoy some fantastic food.  Prepared by me. 

Chef Roy's Favorite Chocolate Lasagna Recipe
1: 1 - 12 oz package Gourmet Texas Pasta Chocolate Lasagna
2: 3 cups milk
3: 3 tablespoons each butter and Organic unbleached flour
4: 3/4 cup Organic Evaporated Cane Juice (or sugar)
5: 1/4 cup cocoa powder
6: 2 - 8 ounce packages Mascarpone Cheese
7: 2 - 16 ounce jars natural Raspberry Jam
8: 1 cup pecans, toasted in 2 tablespoons butter
9:  whipped cream and Hershey's syrup for garnish
Directions: Cook the noodles in boiling water with just a bit of salt for 8 to 9 minutes. Drain, rinse and keep in cold water until use. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour, cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk well while bringing to a boil. When thickened, remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar. Spread a half cup into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Place a layer of the cooked noodles over the bottom of the pan. Spread half the jam, pecans and cheese over the noodles. Dot with another half cup of the sauce. Add another layer of the noodles, cheese, pecans and jam. Top with final layer noodles and poor remaining sauce over the top. Bake in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until well bubbly. Remove from oven and cool to room temp. Slice and serve 2 inch squares of the lasagna and serve with whipped cream and drizzle fine lines of the syrup over the whole thing.  Just to let you know, this lasagna is not real sweet, there really isn't a lot of sugar in it.  Try it, see what you think.  It does make a spectacular presentation.  

I used the lasagna noodles that are available from my previous business, Gourmet Texas Pasta, they will ship to you.  Or make your own, they are easy to do.  Or use plain lasagna noodles, just add some chocolate chips with the Marscapone.