Monday, September 29, 2014

It's not nice to try and fool Mother Nature! Changes in bacterial populations

This is a weird place to start this essay about bacteria, but here goes.  I don't drink milk.  Back in the fifties immunology was in its infancy and since my father and eldest brother had severe asthma, one of the causes was thought to be milk.  Therefore the other children in my family unit were denied milk.  So I never developed a taste for the stuff.  Then later in life, I learned how the stuff was processed, and that just grossed me out to no end and I have never started to drink.  Well once, when living in Austin a few years ago I did happen upon a local raw milk dairy and I did drink some of their offerings, and was pleased with both the flavor and texture of the stuff.  And also the fact that it did not cause flatulence as some milk products do.  (As we know now raw milk contains the enzyme needed to digest the proteins to alleviate farting whereas in pasteurized milk the enzymes are destroyed by heating)(( the single reason why goat milk is better for you is that the enzyme survives pasteurization))  I think we will all agree that bacteria of the incorrect varieties and in too large a number are bad for us humans.  That's sort of the reason why the FDA has made interstate sales of RAW milk illegal and 28 states have banned the sale of raw milk within their own state as well.  Sort of.  It is in fact a very complex issue with the major dairy agrigiants pumping millions of dollars into the open hands of congress every year.  And congress then sets policy of the FDA and USDA for the benefit of the big guys, and destroying the competition of the little guys.  And it all centers around a few common bacteria.  (Watchdogs)

Esherichia Coli or commonly referred to as E. coli is one of the most common bacteria in the world.  It lives generally in the intestinal tracts of warm blooded animals.  Everywhere.  It has specific functions in the environment in which it exists, not the least of which are aid to digestion, maintenance of acidic environment and in no small measure, destroying pathogenic bacterial invaders.  This last bit is some pretty new and still somewhat contested research showing that our intestinal bacteria are in fact responsible for a major portion of our immune system.  The fact that they are so prevalent in the animal kingdom should be convincing evidence, but for many, the obvious is not enough.  Anyway, E. coli have a tendency to help in the digestion of plant material and are necessary for ruminants like cows to have in their systems in order for them to breakdown the feed into usable products.  Now comes the odd part of all this.  Scientists have isolated nearly 200 varieties of E. coli within six specific pathotypes.  For our purposes today we want to look at the Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, or STEC  types including E. coli O157:H7, one of the most troublesome strains found.  These little guys actually produce the very toxic Shiga toxin as their waste product.  Most of the reported hospitalizations from contaminated foods are from STEC from fecal matter through transmission via waterway overflow from large commercial feeding operations.  The unfortunate thing about all that E. Coli getting out into the world is that they not only now crap out toxins in the the form of Shiga, but that because the drive to produce really cheap meat has necessitated that the cows be fed huge amounts of antibiotics in an attempt to keep those STEC out of the cows themselves.  Definitely a revolving problem.  And those STEC then flow out onto fields of produce for humans and poof, fifty million people each year get sick from eating the stuff. 

I guess it's a good time to actually define the phenomena, we know E. coli and other helpful good bacteria live in your lower intestines, however if you ingest them, that is E. coli (and actually all intestinal bacteria) from other creatures that have entirely different strains, it causes problems.  Colloquially referred to as the Hershey Squirts, Montezuma's Revenge, The Runs, The Trots, The Squirts, The......, well you get the idea.  Diarrhea.  The CDC estimates that there are over 50 MILLION cases of food poisoning annually here in the US from humans eating food tainted with bacteria from sources that can be termed fecal contamination.  Nearly half a million people are hospitalized and here comes the big one, the FDA admits to 3,000 dying each year, the CDC tells us that 22,000 die each year.  Who do we believe, well, that is up to you I guess.  Does it matter?  No, not really.  What matters is that the contamination happens.  Here is a list of the Fecal Bacteria that are causing the problems here in America put out by the FDA  (FDA on Bacteria)  It's pretty comprehensive and as I think about it, I really don't need to identify each one as I had set out to do.  The thing that we need to remember is that modern methods of manufacturing cheap meat are the major cause of the Fecal Contamination of food in our society today.  And, the main reason the death rate is as high as it is as well.  When humans consume fecal contaminated foods, their bodies react to the bacteria populations and they get sick.  For the worst cases, the bacteria for the most part are now antibiotic resistant because of the huge amounts of antibiotics fed to livestock.  When you give antibiotics to animals to prevent diseases caused by horrific crowded living conditions, the bacteria that aren't killed outright by the antibiotics pass their resistance on to their progeny. 

So there we have it.  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) The reasons for most of the food 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 wins 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 ruling of the Federal Court, fine and dandy.

Realistically that's only part of the problem.  Live fecal bacteria are present on most of the meat for sale in stores nationwide.   Consumer Reports last year printed a report that 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.  Slightly less for beef and pork.  There's something wrong with our system.

I'll say it again for you, the solution begins with you.  When we as consumers begin (yes, BEGIN) to spend our food dollars with producers utilizing sustainable and healthy farming methods, most of these problems will disappear.  Local farmers, ranchers, dairymen and cottage food industry people make products for people, and do what they can to make sure people live another day to buy from them again.  Agribusinesses manufacturer food in the cheapest way possible, and they do it to make money for corporations.  You can be a part of the solution, think local, buy local, eat healthy.

thanks,  Chef Roy  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Italian Sushi Fusion Cooking

Update, made the meal and pictures at the bottom

 My friend Roberta on the right whom I met and knew for a few years back in Austin helped her friend Mary move here from Des Moines this week and they came over to help me make this meal.  And we had home made ice cream for dessert.  Along with Roberta's fave thing I made for back in Austin, dates stuffed with cream cheese, lemon zest and juice with cumin and wrapped in puff pastry.  Perfect accompaniments to the Disarrono ice cream

 Friday Oct 3 2014  Always good to see old friends, and new

Worked out the recipe previously, just now had time to make it for friends

Italian Sushi Fusion

Something fancy to do, this is not for beginners, but then maybe it is as to me it all seems pretty easy, simple and delicious

the Ravioli
4 sheets nori
1 1/2 cups whole soft wheat flour, ground fresh if possible.  Soft wheat is like cake flour
1 egg
3 tablespoons sake
Whirl the sake, egg and nori in the food processor until smooth.  Add the flour and buzz until a firm ball forms, add a bit more sake if needed.  Using pasta roller, roll into thin sheets, about number 6 on the thickness setting.  Dust with more flour or place between wax paper and set aside to rest. 
1 dozen raw quail eggs
4 ounces salmon roe or some other roe
24 half inch long pieces chives
Take a piece of the rolled dough and place onto the ravioli press.  Use the upper press and gently press down to make the indentations into the bottom piece of dough.  If it tears, return to the food processor and pulse to work the dough a little more.  Reroll into new sheet.  When you have the dough set into the press, add a teaspoon of fish roe into each indentation.  Spread the roe around to make hole for the egg yolk.  Crack each quail egg and separate the yolk and place into the indentation.  Add the chives.  Now, beat some of the egg whites and with a pastry brush coat one side of another piece of the rolled out dough.  Press it firmly onto the ravioli maker and using a rolling pin, press firmly to seal and cut out the ravioli squares.   Separate and refrigerate until needed.  Take the remaining dough and run through the cutter head of the pasta roller to make thin pasta.
8 ounce bottle sake, less the stuff used for the dough
2 small baby bok choy  Just the leaves, cut off the stalks and save stalks for other recipe
2 large shallots, peeled then cut into 1/4 inch rings
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup cream
Bring the sake to boil in small saucepan with the honey ginger and garlic.  When reduced by two thirds, add the shallots and cook until softened.  Add the cream and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes or so.  Add the bok choy leaves and allow to steep until wilted.
Tuna Spider Wraps
Take a 4 ounce piece of tuna and coat on all sides with crushed szechuan pepper and a bit of coarse Himalayan sea salt.  Some nori pieces and black sesame seeds add color and a nice appearance.  In a hot pan, film with a bit of peanut oil with a couple drops sesame oil.  Sear the tuna on all sides.  Set aside to rest a moment.  Take 2 eggs and beat well, pour into a ketchup or mustard dispenser squeeze bottle.  In a well seasoned pan filmed with peanut oil, squirt the egg in a criss cross pattern to make a spider web of egg.  Allow to set, then invert and cook the other side.  Remove from pan and repeat with the remaining egg.  Set aside.
Take the baby bok choy and thinly slice.  In the pan you cooked the egg webs in add some more peanut oil and stir fry the bok choy along with some minced ginger.  To make the spider wraps, lay one web onto a cutting board and then slice the tuna into thin slices.  Place three slices overlapping onto the egg, top with some of the bok choy and then fold up the two outside edges and roll the remainder to make small a small packet.  Repeat with remaining tuna and egg webs
To assemble the dish, cook the ravioli in boiling water for two minutes only, then remove and place in cold water.  Cook the leftover pasta strands and drain, toss with several tablespoons of the sake sauce. When the ravioli are cooled, place into the warm sake sauce.  On a plate, place two of the bok choy leaves, then two of the ravioli and a small mound of the pasta.  On that place one or more of the spider web wraps.  Add some of the sauce and serve.
 Egg, sake, nori before whizzing to make the dough
 After the flour is added whizz until the dough is crumbly
 Press together to make a ball and wrap in plastic and rest a half hour
 Roll the dough into thin sheet, press into the ravioli press and add the fish roe, I added a bit of hourseradish, and the quail egg yolk
 More of a side view.  After yolking them all, top with second sheet and press to make the ravioli
 The scrambled egg nests
 Stuffing the dates with the savory cream cheese then pinching the puff paste to make the fantastic little bites of heaven
 I have the bok choy and shallot cooking on the right and searing the tuna on the left
 Here is the finished dish, the ravioli in front, the noodles from the leftover dough sort of under the egg net wrapped seared tuna and the sake sauce was unbelievable.  Yummy
Oh my god, Roberta used my camera to take that picture of me, I thought it was her camera

Thursday, September 18, 2014

An Epic Battle Rages on Within our Digestive System Every Day. Phytates, versus Phytase

Storage is pretty much a universal problem.  There are rent a storage spaces all over the country and when people collect too much crap, they store it in them.  I'm guilty, stored a lot of my crap in a hundred buck a month locker until I got sick of it and threw out a ton of the stuff.  On a bit more molecular level, everything out there on this planet that is alive, needs a method of storing excess energy, nutrients, and vital things.  We need to store it for times of famine, times of drought, preparation for reproduction, and well, just because we don't want anyone or anything else to have it.  We humans, and most of the animal world, store excesses of gathered foods in the form of fat.  The scourge of swimsuit models everywhere Madison Avenue advertising mogels want Americans to believe that women should look like survivors of concentration camps instead of like humans that enjoy life.  Conversely those same people demand just the opposite of their steak, it must be rippling with extra fat.  Such a dichotomy of belief, but then that is the American way.

The plant world has a system for storage as well.  Not just production of fructose that goes into all the lovely bananas and strawberries being buzzed into smoothies but on a more molecular level, the production of phytic acid.  There are a whole group of these molecules and collectively we call them phytates.  Phytates as a group, are not actual vessels of storage for the end products of photosynthesis, but are storage facilities for the base minerals and compounds needed for the building blocks of life itself.  The big one, phosphorus.  Lots of other minerals get tied up in there as well, and the problem with phytates as a whole is that they do tend to latch
onto other minerals inside our digestive tracts thus making those minerals unavailable to us.  This wondrous snowflake design that makes up most of the phytate family of compounds takes advantage of their shape and molecular polarity to grab other stuff.  Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and pretty much anything else that is around.  That can be a problem.  Those are minerals that we need to grow healthy bones, strong teeth and sharp minds.  Sounds a bit like a dairy promo commercial now doesn't it.  Yeah, maybe a bit.  Wish it were all true though.  The problem with phytates is that they are very prevalent  in our food system.  Grains, legumes, nuts, seeds are the major contributors to our exposure of them.  They have their place in nature, they contain the building blocks of life and that's why seeds have so many of them.  Those seeds also contain the secret to unlocking the minerals within their structure and releasing them so that not only the seedling can grow, but also if a human were to consume it, they could unlock the richness within and get that vitality that nature  promised the new generation of plants.  That secret is the enzyme phytase.

This little enzyme is crucial to seed development, it does indeed breakdown the phytates into usable minerals for their growth. Pretty cool huh?  Nature creates a lock for the goodness, and provides the key as well.  The problem though is man.  We don't always play nice with the bounty provided for us by nature.  Man for centuries has figured out how to unlock the secrets of seeds and activate the phytase enzymes in order for nature's bounty to in fact become mankind's bounty as well.  When we use those techniques to prepare our foods, then we give the phytase a fighting chance for a big win in our digestive system.  Lately, those secrets have gone the wayside in favor of faster production methods (faster means more profit) that leave most of the phytates intact, and destroy the phytase that is so necessary. The big example I will mention here is wheat.  Wheat contains a lot of phytic acids and the phytase that is needed to properly digest the phytates is destroyed in the high speed milling processes used in modern mills.  In the old days, local mills used slow speed stone grinders that did not heat the wheat as it was milled and the phytase was left intact.  They also used to only grind what wheat was needed to bake breads for that day.  Today, high speed mills create so much heat the phytase is destroyed and those millers grind wheat, sift off the good stuff, the bran and germ, and use the starch.  Which is not all that nutritious.  Whole wheat flour in stores, and what most bakers use to make whole wheat bread is not whole wheat.  Real true whole wheat has a very short shelf life, the oils in the germ tend to turn rancid in a week or so and so the Federal government has given permission for the industry to use white flour with some bran added back in to give it color and they can call it whole wheat.  (FDA Title 27CFR137.200 (2))

Never fear, there are still ways to help activate phytase and to actually fool those phytic acid molecules with a substitute.  It's a method that I use, and I like it a lot.  I have talked about here before and you can actually go read the six part series of articles about making healthy foods healthier that I wrote back in May.  This is the first article. (Healthy Food)  The techniques are simple, they do take time, but the overall increase in nutritive value makes doing them worthwhile.  It is all simple, ferment your wheat before baking bread; soak beans, rice, nuts or seeds for 24 hours, then rinse drain and dry or cook before you eat them.  These are all techniques that our ancestors learned through trial and error on how to make the foods we have available to us a bit healthier and more nutritious. 

A lot of this information was garnered from a number of websites, this one in particular (Weston A Price)  It is long, boring and with a lot of specific measurements of residual phytic acid amounts in specific foods prepared using a number of differing techniques.  For me, it was fascinating reading, only fell asleep once.  But who knows, you might love it. 

stuff about bromine

Some stuff I gathered from the internet about bromine
If you are like most people, you probably haven’t spent much time thinking about how much bromine you’re absorbing from your car upholstery or your Mountain Dew. But bromine toxicity is a definite danger from some surprising sources, and it can wreak havoc on your health.
Bromines All Around You
Bromines are common endocrine disruptors, and are part of the halide family, a group of elements that includes fluorine, chlorine and iodine. What makes it so dangerous is that it competes for the same receptors that are used to capture iodine.
If you are exposed to a lot of bromine, your body will not hold on to the iodine that it needs. And iodine affects every tissue in your body -- not just your thyroid.
You are already exposed to far too much chlorine and bromine. Bromine can be found in a number of places in your everyday world, including:
·         Pesticides (specifically methyl bromide, used mainly on strawberries, predominantly in California)
·         Plastics, like those used to make computers
·         Bakery goods and some flours often contain a “dough conditioner” called potassium bromate
·         Soft drinks (including Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Sun Drop, Squirt, Fresca and other citrus-flavored sodas), in the form of brominated vegetable oils (BVOs)
·         Medications such as Atrovent Inhaler, Atrovent Nasal Spray, Pro-Banthine (for ulcers), and anesthesia agents
·         Fire retardants (common one is polybromo diphenyl ethers or PBDEs) used in fabrics, carpets, upholstery, and mattresses
·         Bromine-based hot tub and swimming pool treatments
According to van Leeuwen, who has extensively studied the effects of sodium bromide on thyroid function:
“Although the bromide ion is widely distributed in nature, the main route of exposure in humans stems from bromide residues in food commodities as a result of the abundant use of bromide-containing pesticides, like methylbromide and ethylene dibromide, for soil fumigation in intensive horticulture and for postharvest treatment.”
One clinical consequence of overexposure to bromine is suppression of your thyroid, leading to hypothyroidism, which will be discussed shortly. Another is bromide toxicity.
Bromine -- The Bully of the Halide Group
When you ingest or absorb bromine, it displaces iodine, and this iodine deficiency leads to an increased risk for cancer of the breast, thyroid gland, ovary and prostate -- cancers that we see at alarmingly high rates today. This phenomenon is significant enough to have been given its own name -- the Bromide Dominance Theory.
Aside from its effects on your endocrine glands, bromine is toxic in and of itself. Bromide builds up in your central nervous system and results in many problems. It is a central nervous system depressant and can trigger a number of psychological symptoms such as acute paranoia and other psychotic symptoms.
In fact, in an audio interview, physician Jorge Flechas reported that, between 1920 and 1960, at least 20 percent of all hospital admissions for “acute paranoid schizophrenia” were a result of ingesting bromine-containing products.
In addition to psychiatric problems, bromine toxicity can manifest as the following:
·         Skin rashes and severe acne
·         Loss of appetite and abdominal pain
·         Fatigue
·         Metallic taste
·         Cardiac arrhythmias
Baby Boomers might recall a popular product from the 1950s called Bromo-Seltzer. These effervescent granules, developed by the Emerson Drug Company of Baltimore, were used to treat heartburn, upset stomach, indigestion, headaches and hangovers.
Bromo-Selzer’s original formula contained 3.2 mEq/teaspoon of sodium bromide -- hence the name. The sedative effect probably explained its popularity as a hangover remedy. Bromides were withdrawn from the American market in 1975 due to their toxicity.
Bromo-Selzer is still on the market, but no longer contains bromide.
Bromines in Your Bread Box: Potassium Bromate
The ban on bromines have not prevented them from sneaking into your foods and personal care products.
You probably are not aware of this, but nearly every time you eat bread in a restaurant or consume a hamburger or hotdog bun you are consuming bromide, as it is commonly used in flours.
The use of potassium bromate as an additive to commercial breads and baked goods has been a huge contributor to bromide overload in Western cultures.
Bromated flour is “enriched” with potassium bromate. Commercial baking companies claim it makes the dough more elastic and better able to stand up to bread hooks. However, Pepperidge Farm and other successful companies manage to use only unbromated flour without any of these so-called “structural problems.”
Potassium bromate is also found in some toothpastes and mouthwashes, where it’s added as an antiseptic and astringent. It has been found to cause bleeding and inflammation of gums in people using these products.
Sodium Bromate and BMOs
Mountain Dew, one of the worst beverages you can drink, uses brominated vegetable oil as an emulsifier. Not only that, it contains high fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate, more than 55 mg of caffeine per 12 ounce can, and Yellow Dye #5 (tartrazine, which has been banned in Norway, Austria and Germany.)
A weapon of mass destruction -- in a can.
Even drinking water can be a source of bromide. When drinking water containing bromide is exposed to ozone, bromate ions are formed, which are powerful oxidizing agents. Such was the case in 2004 when Coca Cola Company had to recall Dasani bottled water.
Sodium bromate can also be found in personal care products such as permanent waves, hair dyes, and textile dyes. Benzalkonium is used as a preservative in some cosmetics.
Finally, bromine and chlorine were the most common toxic elements reportedly found in automobiles, according to the blog of David Brownstein, MD (March 2007). They showed up in the seats, armrests, door trim, shift knobs and other areas of the car.
Think about how much time you spend enclosed in your outgassing Chevy… windows up with no air circulation.
The United States is quite behind in putting an end to the egregious practice of allowing bromine chemicals in your foods. In 1990, the United Kingdom banned bromate in bread. In 1994, Canada did the same. Brazil recently outlawed bromide in flour products.
What’s taking us so long? Another case of our government protecting big industry -- instead of protecting you.
Iodine Levels and Cancer Risk
Iodine levels have significantly dropped due to bromine exposure; declining consumption of iodized salt, eggs, fish, and sea vegetables; and soil depletion. In the U.S. population, there was a 50 percent reduction in urinary iodine excretion between 1970 and 1990.
What’s this doing to our country’s health?
The Japanese consume 89 times more iodine than Americans due to their daily consumption of sea vegetables, and they have reduced rates of many chronic diseases, including the lowest rates of cancer in the world. The RDA for iodine in the U.S. is a meager 150 mcg/day, which pales in comparison with the average daily intake of 13800 mcg/day for the Japanese.
There is a large body of evidence suggesting that low cancer rates in Japan are a result of their substantially higher iodine levels. Iodine has documented antioxidant and anti-proliferative properties.
A strong case can be made that your iodine RDA should be closer to what the Japanese consume daily, if breast cancer rates are any indication. Low iodine can lead to fibrocystic breast disease in women (density, lumps and bumps), hyperplasia, and atypical mammary tissue. Such fibrocystic changes in breast tissue have been shown to reverse in the presence of iodine supplementation after 3-4 months.
If you are interested in being tested for iodine deficiency, the urine iodine challenge test is the best way to assess your iodine level.
Bromine and Your Thyroid
Adding to the negative health effects of bromine, the damage to your thyroid health deserves special mention.
As stated in the first part of this article, bromine exposure depletes your body’s iodine by competing with iodine receptors. Iodine is crucial for thyroid function. Without iodine, your thyroid gland would be completely unable to produce thyroid hormone.
Even the names of the different forms of thyroid hormone reflect the number of iodine molecules attached -- T4 has four attached iodine molecules, and T3 (the biologically active form of the hormone) has three--showing what an important part iodine plays in thyroid biochemistry.
Hypothyroidism is far more prevalent than once thought in the U.S. The latest estimates are that 13 million Americans have hypothyroidism, but the actual numbers are probably higher. Some experts claim that 10 to40 percent of Americans have suboptimal thyroid function.
Many of these folks may actually have nothing wrong with their thyroid gland at all -- they may just be suffering from iodine deficiency.
Seven Tips for Avoiding Bromine and Optimizing Iodine
Trying to avoid bromine is like trying to avoid air pollution -- all you can do is minimize your exposure. That said, here are a few things you can do to minimize your risk:
1.      Eat organic as often as possible. Wash all produce thoroughly. This will minimize your pesticide exposure.
2.      Avoid eating or drinking from (or storing food and water in) plastic containers. Use glass and safe ceramic vessels.
3.      Look for organic whole-grain breads and flour. Grind you own grain, if possible. Look for the “no bromine” or “bromine-free” label on commercial baked goods.
4.      Avoid sodas. Drink natural, filtered water instead.
5.      If you own a hot tub, look into an ozone purification system. Such systems make it possible to keep the water clean with minimal chemical treatments.
6.      Look for personal care products that are as chemical-free as possible. Remember -- anything going on you, goes in you.
7.      When in a car or a building, open windows as often as possible, preferably on opposing sides of the space for cross ventilation. Utilize fans to circulate the air. Chemical pollutants are much higher inside buildings (and cars) than outside.
Avoid Unfermented Soy
Another major contributor to thyroid dysfunction that I did not discuss above is unfermented soy. Soy isoflavones can wreak havoc on your thyroid.
Kaayla Daniel's groundbreaking book, The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food is a powerful exposé that reveals the truth about the soy myths that have infiltrated our culture.
It's ironic that soy has become so accepted as a health food when, as Dr. Daniel states, thousands of studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid- and hormonal dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility--even cancer and heart disease.
So if you want to keep your thyroid healthy, you’ll definitely want to avoid unfermented soy products of all kinds, including soy milk.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bread Baking and The Agglutination Properties of Specific Glycoprotein Gliadinin in Gluten

What?  I started to make bread this morning and for me, it is an all day process as I want to negate all of the deleterious effects from some of the components of wheat, mainly the lectin and phytate constituents.  Well I guess in order for you to understand why I do that, or why there is a need, we need to look at what happens in the human body when these compounds are eaten.  With that as a starting point, we can begin to root out some of the mystery, the hype and the controversy surrounding the consumption of one of the staples of life here on planet earth.  Well, actually the controversy is primarily here in America and a little bit in other English speaking countries, but for the most part, it is an American controversy.  I think that this realization is significant for the simple reason that American food manufacturing processes are the reason that lectins and phytates have become a controversial issue.  Traditional preparative techniques used for millenia and throughout the rest of the world take care of the problem.  Here in America, we forgo those processes and lectins now fuel the fires of the bickering discussion between proponents of various factions of food fadists.

Lectins are pretty much everywhere in nature.  With every plant and animal having their own specific lectin groups within their cellular structure.  However; by far and above the very small levels in animal sources are dwarfed by the plant kingdom which has greater numbers and varieties of lectins within their structures.  Lectins are long convoluted chains of glycoproteins with each having some pretty specific functions.  And as great as science is, we are just learning about what most of those functions are.  I can tell you what those lectins DO, and even that is a little controversial.  The why, is all speculation.  I suppose we should ask people like my brother who is a firm solid creationist as to why his god in all his infinite mercy and wisdom would create a world for his chosen people to exist wherein most of the plant life for us to exist by consuming actually contain compounds that are detrimental to our health at best and toxic at worst. 

Agglutination is the process that occurs when lectin glycoproteins come into contact with other living things, their bodily fluids, cells and many even have been found to be hydroscopic, that is they attach themselves to water molecules.  Agglutination is pretty simple, it means that the lectin sticks to things.  Not everything, but certain things.  That is one process that is believed to aid in seed germination.  The lectins not only hold onto water, but their sticky surfaces are believed to attach and hold onto invasive viruses and bacteria during this critical cycle of plant growth.  And that takes us to one thing that we do know, and that is that for the most part everywhere in the plant kingdom, the seeds of plants have higher amounts of lectin in them than in the bodies of the plants themselves.  And although we eat a lot of plants as omnivores, the ones that are at the forefront of all the controversy are the seeds of all the plants out there.  Primarily we are looking at grains.  With wheat being the really big and most controversial subject out there.

And here's the reason why - lectins, specifically those making up the molecules of gluten.  The two specific molecules are gliadin and glutennin, they are sticky, and they not only work together to create that wondrous molecule gluten, but they do still remain sticky after the making of American bread making and readily attach themselves to any cellular walls that they come into contact with.  It's that agglutinative response that causes problems.  The smaller gliadin molecule once it sticks to the microvilli of the intestinal tract have some sort of reaction to a very specific enzyme that a very small percentage of the human population has within their bloodstream.  The tTG or the tissue TransGlutanimase enzyme in a poorly understood role allows the gliadin molecule that once stuck onto the villi to then allow actual damage to the cell structure of the intestinal wall.  What then can happen is that the cell damage interferes with the absorption of nutrients, and in some extreme cases, can cause inflammation to the point where it becomes painful to the individual.  Let's emphasize this, those with the tTG enzyme are generally people that are of Northern European descent and less than 1 percent of those people with the tTG enzyme actually develop Celiac disease and at this time there is no understanding as to why.

Of greater concern here is the media construct called Leaky Gut Syndrome.  This malady has been explained as what happens when the gliadin molcules stick to the villi in the intestine and are able to tear holes into the lining and allow the contents of the intestines to enter the bloodstream.  Please note, there is no medical condition called leaky gut syndrome, it does not exist and is not even possible.  If a human were to have holes in their intestines and fluids and partially digested foods were to leak into your bloodstream, you would die.  Period.  This is a construct of massive proportions that is remotely based on the previous facts about Celiac disease and has at its basis, the very nature of the lectins that form not just gluten in wheat, but exist in all of the other grains, seeds, nuts and legumes.  Let me repeat that, Leaky Gut Syndrome is not a real medical condition.  A whole lot of people make a whole lot of money from promoting the fear that such a thing is real.  There are things about lectins that are real, and I can tell you about them.  The agglutination aspect of lectins causes problems in that the molecules often stick to the intestinal walls and trap a lot of the nutrients that we should be absorbing from the foods we eat.  In reality they trap and hold a lot of the vitamins and minerals and so in fact have antinutrient properties.  The lectins also trap bacteria and viruses that are floating about in the foods we eat and exist in our digestive tract.  Let's remember that there are a lot of bacteria in there, and the good kind thrive in that environment, and that some of the bad ones, love it when they get caught and stuck to the sides of the intestinal walls.  This is pure speculation on my part, but looking at the data on this subject, I conclude that in humans with poor nutrition, with poor bacterial populations in their intestines, probably get stomach aches when they eat fast food, greasy food, candy or anything that isn't upright and healthy for them.

Yes yes yes, it's true that gliadin contact with intestinal villi leads to increases in zonulin production and increased permeability.  Permeability means that nutrients, fluids and even proteins are able to pass through the cell walls with greater ease, as is the purpose of digestion.  That does not mean that it tears holes in the intestinal walls.  I'm sure that there are a few readers that will send me emails about this research, and conclude incorrectly that increased permeability means leaky gut when in fact it does not.

So, back to my bread dough.  Early this morning I took a couple pounds of hard red winter wheat and ground it on the finest setting on my wheat grinder and also mixed in a pound of Kamut.  Only because it was sitting there in the cupboard and I figured I should get rid of it.  I took a tablespoon of local honey and dissolved it in 4 cups of water along with 500 mg of Vitamin C.  I added a half cup of organic yogurt and mixed in enough of the fresh ground flour to make a stiff dough.  I covered it and have let it sit now for almost 6 hours.  In a few minutes I am going to mix a teaspoon of yeast into a half cup of water and when it bubbles up, add it to the mixing bowl and mix it into a stiff but still sticky dough.  After letting it rise for another two hours I will form loaves and let them rise once more then bake them.

This process is one that breaks down most of the lectins in the wheat flour.  It doesn't get rid of all the gliadinn that is needed to form the gluten to allow the bread to rise so it gives me nice soft bread that is incredible in both flavor and texture.  One of the things that Americans have had to deal with is the processing of our foods to suit the needs of the corporate giants that are more concerned with making money and producing a product as rapidly and as cost effective as possible all to the exclusion of the health benefits that processing techniques that were discovered and used over thousands and thousands of years.  Those processes have been found to reduce the lectin content as well as breakdown the phytates that are present and that bind up most of the minerals we need for nutrition.  It is a sad fact that several millennia of our ancestors have through trial and error discovered methods for treating and cooking grains and legumes and within a couple of generations the drive to achieve ever greater wealth has caused a halt to healthy food production.  It is all still possible, eating healthy is easy, if a bit time consuming, but it is worth it in the end.  Look at my six part series here on this blog about Making Healthy Foods Healthier) And here are a few picts of the Kolaches I made and the rolls

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Part Two, Cooking like a Pro

Today, I'm going to talk about stock.  Forget those do-nothings on Wall Street, they live in a make-believe world trading concepts mixed with hopes and dreams interspersed with a smattering of publicity skillfully crafted to mislead and deceive.  I'm talking about real life.  How to make food that you cook for yourself, your family and your friends (if so inclined) taste better and be more nutritious.  And  make no mistake, one of the GREAT secrets of restaurant cooking is the making and incorporation into the foods you serve of the one single greatest concept in cooking, the making of stock. 

Let me tell you a story.  I used to eat meat on a regular basis.  Never beef, that's just unbelievably gross, but poultry and pork.  One Thanksgiving about ten years ago my Nephew Jason invited my then wife and myself over to California for Thanksgiving.  We went, my Niece served an acceptable turkey, and something she called gravy.  I tasted it, it was salty, metallic and just nasty.  I asked how she prepared the gravy and she informed me it was a Costco chicken gravy product in a quart container and you just add water.  I asked why she didn't use the turkey parts to make stock for gravy and was informed that the turkey carcass was tossed and Costco gravy was easy.  Sigh, a sad commentary on America as a whole, convenience products replacing better tasting nutritious foodstuffs.  Needless to say I went to the local Walmart (because they are open on Thanksgiving and for NO OTHER REASON) and bought a cooler and took her turkey carcass home with me back to Mesa.  My, at that time wife, thought the whole thing to be preposterous, but then again, that's just one minor incident in a multitude of reasons we are no longer together.

Anyway, when I go to a Chinese restaurant to eat, I can always tell what kind of restaurant it is by the smell.  If it is a good one, they have pots of bones simmering on their stoves pretty much every day to make good stocks with which to make the sauces for their entrees.  Cheap ones use sauce base out of a jar and use a lot of soy sauce to hide the metallic taste, and the result is dark salty sauces on their stuff.  One visit places for me.  I like food that tastes good.  It is easy to achieve, it just take a little time and effort.  And that is not the American way anymore.  Fast food, fast shortcuts and fast lifestyles make for poor nutrition and an overall complacency of the American populace.  The Gilded Arches et al have record growth, and profits. 

I digress.  As usual.  To the matter at hand.  Stock.  Stock is the easiest thing to make, the greatest use of material in your kitchen and the absolute most incredible enhancement of both flavor and nutrition possible.  All made with what most of Americans throw in the trash.  Yeah, it's true, for the most part, stock is made with garbage.  First off we need to make some assumptions about how you shop and how you prepare your food at home.  I assume that if you are not buying organic produce, meats and stuff, then you do take the time to thoroughly wash everything you buy in acidified water before putting it in your fridge.  It's easy, fill a clean sink with water, add juice of a lemon and a half cup of apple cider vinegar and a drop of baby shampoo.  Oh shut up, it isn't toxic and won't kill you, and it helps with the acids to get in and break down surface pesticides.  No method will get it all, but this helps.  Next, get and keep a couple of big freezer storage bags and put in your freezer.  Whenever you prepare foods for cooking, there is going to be waste.  Carrot tops and peels, celery tops, and wilted leaves and the bottom you cut off, onion skins, squash ends, you know, trash.  Put it all into one of the bags, close it tight and freeze it.  When you are tired and lazy and stop and the local store on the way home from work and buy a rotisserie chicken, eat it all but save the bones and throw in the other bag.  All the bones you get, freeze them.  I guess that if you eat different meats, use different bags for each.  I won't mention here about how nasty beef is for you and how you should never eat the stuff, but if you do, keep the bones.  Now, some day when you have nothing planned and are not going to the movies or the lake, and want to try baking bread or some other stuff in the kitchen, now is the time to make stock. 

Take a large stock pot and put a layer of trash out of your vegetable trash bag in the pot.  Now take all the bones from the bone trash bag and put it in.  Fill the pot about two thirds full of bones and veggies.  Add a dozen bay leaves, stems and stalks from parsley and fresh herbs that you might have used.  Big sprigs of rosemary, and a dozen peppercorns as well.  Fill the pot to within an inch of the top and put on high heat.  When it comes to a boil, turn down to medium and use a skimmer, or spatula or whatever and skim off the foam that builds up.  You need to do this every ten minutes or so for a half hour, and the only reason to do it is to keep the stock clear.  The foam is fats from the meat breaking down and they foam at first, then after awhile they make a sort of cloudy solution that is to many, unappealing.  After that first half hour, cover, turn down to simmer on low, and let it cook for a few hours.  The longer, the more flavor.  All the spices and herbs that you throw in give the stock subtle nuances of flavor adding character and distinction to the final product.  Here again, so many possibilities, a virtual plethora of flavors and profiles that can be achieved using this basic technique.  But back to the process, let it cool a bit and put a big bowl or another stockpot into the sink and a colander in that and pour the stock mix into that.  Now, pretty much all the trash, really is trash and can be composted or thrown out.  Composting is good.  Well, except for beef bones.  Did I mention before how unbelievably nasty and toxic beef is?  Anyway, let the stuff cool, strain through a fine mesh strainer and put it into small plastic jars that you can buy cheap at the dollar stores.  Put tape on them and label what it is and the date and freeze.

Now comes the fun part.  Use that stock to make soup.  Use it to make rice, or cook pasta in,  Or cook potatoes in.  Or use it as a base for baking bread.  OR, use it to make Ramen noodles and just throw out those little toxic chemical laced packets of artificial flavors they include with the packs.  Or, well, the sky is the limit.  Good cooking starts with good ingredients.  If you use fake artificial crap to make your food, it will taste artificial and crappy.  That's how it works.  The big food industry has a whole host of chemicals that they add to processed foods and those things are used to enhance what flavors remain, to mask the flavors of other additives and to suppress the gag reflex of putting the crap in your mouth.  Okay, that last one is just a theory of mine, but it does make sense, most of the processed food and especially Mickey D's food pretty much all makes me gag.

For me, since I cook all the time anyway, making stock is just and extension of improving the basic flavors of the staples with which I live on.  Since I really eat meat only rarely, I still make vegetable stocks all the time.  And I make spicy ones, herby ones, ones with lots of sweet spice undertones and just a whole host of various flavor profiles that make my cooking in and of itself, something to behold. 

Do the same with yours, just do IT!

Monday, September 1, 2014

The BASIC LIE behind the GMO revolution, and politicians perpetuate the lie

I make food products for my livelihood.  I don't exactly create new things, but new and unique versions of already standard staples.  Salsa, spice blends, goat cheeses.  And they are truly unique.  I'm actually pretty good at that.  Many of my products are unlike anything else in the marketplace, and in my little place in the farmers market world, I rule.

Let's talk about Genetically Modified Organisms.  Food.  A lot of our food nowadays is based on GMO technology.  Big biotech companies (Monsanto, Novartis, DuPont, Eli Lily, Dow et al) justify their drive to take over the world food production capabilities with several basic lies.  The biggest, and the one that is designed to tug at the hearts of the masses to the exclusion of reason and reality is that GMO foods are REQUIRED to produce enough staples in order to feed the world now, and in an ever increasing population.  Elanco, the biotech giant, just last month released a huge new report about how their participation in the GMO lie is needed for just this very reason.  You can read it here (Elanco)  It is a slick twenty page report that targets what the biotech industry claims is THE food concern of the future, Food Security.  The Elanco claim is that in order to maximize food production, and to ensure that growing populations in the world have enough of the middle class staples dairy, eggs and meat; then GMO technology is a requirement.  The report also has a small paragraph about how increasing protein intake in schoolchildren increases their test scores. There is also the overall pervasive conclusion that they give the readers, without the Elanco vision of a GMO world, people will die.

Modern American food production of dairy, eggs and meat is almost exclusively genetically engineered.  From the chemical use of rBGH growth hormones in cows to increase milk production to the ractopamine and other beta0agonists that force animals to put on muscle mass in response to the toxin injected into them to the feeding of pesticide laden untested Genetically Modified grains.  An estimate of from 76 to 92 percent of all the dairy, eggs and meat in the US is sourced using Genetically Modified methodology.  And here is the really big thing, it does cut costs in the production of all of these food products.  Is that a good thing?  Well, the safety of GMO products is not today's discussion, it's been done here many times, search in the upper right hand search box for GMO and read some of the stuff.  Today is about security

For better or worse, we have a food system in America that is working.  Americans are lucky, we have a plethora of food choices and ample supplies to feed our population.  We can pretty much all eat what we want.  I eat a lot of brown rice, and I also eat A LOT of salsa.  A large portion of the population eats at the Gilded Arches and other purveyors of products that in a minimalist way resemble food, and they seem to be happy eating there.  I mean those places are making record sales.  But, let's look at a new paradigm.  A new food.  Let's call it Fleedle.  Fleedle is a mixture of algae, bone meal, canola oil, dirt and salt and probably tastes like all that as well.  Our government, Hillary and others all tell us that we need to start to eat Fleedle for our basic food needs because it is the food of the future and as our population increases it will be the primary source of food in the near future.  Fleedle isn't bad tasting, it is just different.  It is cheap though, and our government has told us all that based on the research done by the manufacturer that it is indeed, wondrous to behold.  Well, their profit is anyway. 

Fleedle, The FOOD of the FUTURE!!!

So, do you eat the stuff?  There of course are huge assurances that the stuff is not in anyway like Soylent Green.  So how do you give up the traditional foods that you, your family and all of your ancestors have lived with and become accustomed to in order to have something new, strange and not necessarily unpleasant become the main staple in your diet?  And of course the big one, does the biotech industry have the right to force their profit making products onto the world solely to insure their bottom line profit capabilities?

The biotech industry is not in anyway interested in feeding the world population, they are interested in feeding the growing MIDDLE class world population.  Those humans that live in countries that have healthy economies and are progressing at a rate where it will soon be, or already is, feasible to be markets for GMO food products at a profit.  And to eliminate the sustainable food production methods that are a huge part of the CURRENT methodology of local sustainable farming practices that currently provide food for most of the world population.  Biotech companies want the populations of countries with growing economies to forgo traditional food and switch over to the American style of food that is high in meat and processed low quality foods while being high in fat, salt and residual pesticides.  Fleedle.

Those are my thought on the matter, and I leave you with one more thought, and it is a big one.  Instead of working to make more less nutritious food for a growing population, I believe it would be in the best interests of the ENTIRE WORLD if we started to think differently about the problem.  The real solution is we need to work on limiting population growth so that it doesn't exceed the ability of current healthy methods of food production.  For my Christian friends I think we need to look at the mandate from the bible to go forth and multiply as having been achieved and instead to now interpret the bible mandate as going forth and creating paradise for us all that already exist and improving our environment for the limited numbers of our offspring that follow in the footsteps that we lay today for them.