Monday, October 31, 2011

The Next Year

About 2 months ago I started classes at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition which is an 11 month program that trains people to become health coaches. Classes are all online and at the end you are a Certified Holistic Health Coach (if you pass all of the tests). I decided to go the semi-formal education route because for the past year and a half I have been going in circles. I would find a book, read it, cut something out of my diet, find another book, read it, and cut something else out of my diet. I felt as if I was focusing on needles in a haystack and wanted a broad perspective view on all of this. At IIN they are teaching us the pros and cons of 100 different dietary theories (like Atkins, RAW, Macrobiotics, etc).

Another great aspect of this is that they also put a lot of importance on the rest of your life: relationships, career, stress levels. This is such an important point, because your health is not just about the food that you eat. It is about how you think about things from day to day, how happy you are with your relationships with your family, friends, and significant others. It is about whether you wake up having an anxiety attack or you can think about things rationally. It's about whether the people in your life support you or drain you. It's about the quality of life that you want to have vs. the quality of life that you do have.

When I first started this I really had no idea of what I wanted to do with this certification other than to give me some letters after my name so it looked like I was somewhat credible when I go to try to publish the book I am writing. As some of you know, I am not a doctor, nurse, or PhD. Although I do have a masters degree, it has nothing to do with health and wellness; my formal education is in architecture.

While I have been working on putting together a guide for people to use to transform the way they eat from the typical American diet of a lot of processed foods loaded with bad fats and simple sugars (like me a year and a half ago) to making healthy informed decisions that will impact their health, I have decided what I would like to accomplish with this certification. When my Nani was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer last year, I scrambled around to find information quick about what I could cook that would be healthy for her and also give her energy to get through chemo. I didn't have all of the pieces to the puzzle. I only wish that I had the information back then that I do now. I want to help people recently diagnosed with cancer and their families cope with making the transition from not caring what they eat to eating foods that can help their body heal itself (with or without the use of traditional chemotherapy and/or radiation). I want to help people who know they need to make changes but do not know what to do or where to start.

Over the last week I listened to 5 nights of integrative cancer therapy doctor's, researchers, and cancer survivors. What I heard was absolutely amazing and sealed the deal for me in terms of my belief that what we do to our body has an impact on our health. I REPEAT, THE CHEMICALIZED PROCESSED FOOD THAT WE EAT, THE ALCOHOL THAT WE DRINK, THE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES THAT WE SKIP OVER DEFINITELY HAS AN IMPACT ON OUR BODY'S ABILITY TO FIGHT OFF CANCER. It was roughly 10 hours worth of lecture that I will be summarizing and posting sometime this week.

Anyway, as part of this certification, I need to conduct health histories. A health history is basically an informal interview to talk about your health, your family history, what is going on right now in your life that may be effecting your health, and what you would like to improve. If you are interested in meeting with me for a health history consultation please email me at It is completely confidential, and free. I cannot actually sign clients for another 4 months, but I need the practice. If, at the point I can take clients on, you would like to become my client I would be thrilled. No pressure! So please, email me or call me if you have my phone number (sorry not giving that out over the internet).

Thank you to everyone who reads my stories!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Operation Damage Control

Congrats Laura & Tom!!! Such a fun wedding!
Wedding + old friends + copious amounts of wine + White Castle = HUNGOVER!
Snowy Saturday + no motivation + more wine + Chinese food = OPERATION DAMAGE CONTROL

I'm sure that you can relate. It was a fun filled weekend with childhood friends, lots of wine, unhealthy food, and cigarettes. Yes cigarettes. I hate to admit it, but sometimes when I drink wine I smoke a few cigarettes. You may be saying, "How can you do that? You are supposed to work on being healthy!"

I KNOW! But knowing is half the battle. I know I shouldn't be eating White Castle, but when it's 2 am and I'm drunk...White Castle wins. The cigarette craving is leftover from college (which was when I smoked A LOT when I drank). 

The moral of this story is that you can't be perfect 100% of the time. But when you are done being imperfect...put on your healthy girl panties and go for a run, make a green smoothie, and file those fun times away until next time. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


This is the first papaya I have ever eaten (knowingly). I have never had anything against them, it just never ended up in my shopping cart probably because I didn't know what it looked like. I was introduced to one in the Korean Market last week. So I put it in a smoothie this morning.

  • 1 papaya
  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 1 mango
  • 2 bananas
  • coconut water
  • water
If you recognize the smoothie above it is my FAVORITE smoothie with the addition of papaya. And must I say it was pretty, pretty, pretty good. And beautiful!

Here are a couple compelling reasons to start adding these babies to your morning smoothies:
  • Papayas offer not only the luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics, but are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies.
  • Papayas may be very helpful for the prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Papayas are an excellent source of vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin E and vitamin A (through their concentration of pro-vitamin A carotenoid phytonutrients), three very powerful antioxidants.
  • Papayas are also a good source of fiber, which has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels (and keep the poop shoot flowing properly- this tidbit was not from the original source). The folic acid found in papayas is needed for the conversion of a substance called homocysteine into benign amino acids such as cysteine or methionine. If unconverted, homocysteine can directly damage blood vessel walls and, if levels get too high, is considered a significant risk factor for a heart attack or stroke. Folic acid is also extremely important for pregnant women. (Original Source)
So, if you have never eaten this tropical fruit, I suggest you try it out. Just make sure you scoop the seeds out before you blend because they taste very peppery. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sushi Gone WILD!

Last Friday was the start of a girls weekend at my house with little Lauren and Michelle (my two favorite pseudo- New Yorkers). It was also the night I decided to make sushi for the first time. I have been working up the courage to do this for some time now. I bought seaweed wraps a few weeks ago. I looked up how to make sticky rice last week. I went to Wegman's in search of sushi grade salmon and tuna...SCORE! And they make sticky brown rice too! I also bought some of my favorite veggies- cucumbers, avocado, asparagus, and carrots.
I suggest you start your first sushi making experience off with one of these.
It will help to build your confidence and relax you at the same time.

key ingredient for the beginner sushi maker- they come raw too!

The ends were not as tight as the middle so I ate them before everyone showed up.

When everything is in there, roll it up. If you leave 1" at one end
and moisten it with water it will stick to itself and create a nice seal. 

If you are not lucky enough to live by a Wegman's or other grocery store that has a sushi counter you can make it yourself. I tried it, and it was sticky, but not nearly as sticky as the pre-cooked rice I bought. Cook the brown rice. Bring water, rice vinegar and sugar to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Fold liquid into rice and blend. I think it didn't work because I used the wrong kind of rice, but oh well. It was still really really good! Unless you are planning on becoming a master sushi chef I wouldn't worry about getting the rice perfect.

VERDICT: The sushi was amazing! However, if I was just making it for myself it would be faster and a little cheaper to buy it from a sushi restaurant. If you have some time and aren't worried about pinching pennies this is a really great meal to make for yourself. If you can buy the sticky rice pre-made, and the sushi-grade fish pre-cut, then all you have to do is cut up the veggies and roll them up into the seaweed wraps. It really isn't that scary after all.

Why make it yourself? Well, for one thing you control the ingredients. When I looked at the pre-made sushi rolls at Wegman's there were like 100 ingredients in them. I was expecting rice, seaweed, fish, and assorted vegetables. I'm not kidding. I couldn't pronounce some of the ingredients. WTF? So the moral of the story is READ LABELS! Because even something as straightforward as sushi has garbage ingredients put in (somehow).

Also, you can try making them so you can say that you have made sushi before...could be a great conversation starter.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

RAW: Zucchini Pasta

Sorry for the delay! Time got the best of me. Spirulizing is my new favorite thing to do. I got the idea from Lisa when I tasted her zucchini pasta with pesto sauce- AMAZING! So anyway, I got myself one on Amazon. It is this gadget that has 3 different blade attachments so you can make true spaghetti, curly fries, and these butterfly looking ribbons. So far I have tried all three, and happen to like the spaghetti attachment the most. I LOVE pasta, but am trying to incorporate more raw foods into my life so this is a great thing for me.

Curly Fries
The only vegetable I tried so far was zucchini, but I am looking forward to finding other veggies I can use with this. What can you put on the raw zucchini pasta?

1. pesto (olive oil, basil, fresh garlic, sea salt and pepper)
2. hummus
3. chopped tomatoes, olive oil, oregano, sea salt and pepper, organic Parmesan cheese
4. pasta sauces

The spirulizer costs about $30 and is obviously not a necessity, however, I know that this is going to be a useful tool for me. I am going to be experimenting more with making all raw meals more and more so it helps to be able to replace pasta with a raw vegetable.

If you have any ideas on other recipes that can be done with the spirulizer leave a post below~!

P.S. I just looked at the clock and it was 10:25 on 10/25...making a wish.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I recently found out about chia seeds while I was on a call with my health coach. I don't remember what she said I should do with them, but I did remember that she said I should try them. So I did. You can get them at Whole Foods for sure, not really sure where else but check your local health food stores.

I spent a few minutes looking up what exactly I should do with these seeds. Apparently, they can be used in just about anything. Literally. Here is a link to 40 things you can do with them plus some actual recipes. The consensus is that you can use them whole and raw, ground and raw, whole and soaked in water, whole and cooked; just about any way that you want to use them. They are small like poppy seeds and have a slightly nutty flavor, but are said to take on any flavor they are mixed with.

What makes these little black balls so healthy?

Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
Another advantage: when added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar. (source)
I had grand visions of what I was going to do with these seeds...but instead I just made granola bars. Since chia seeds are high in fiber, I figured it would be best to start off with small amounts. If you are wondering why...let me refresh your memory with the story of what some types of fiber do to me. Anyway, back to granola...
  • 3 c. Irish style oats
  • 3 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp. wheat germ
  • 3 tbsp. flax seeds
  • 1/2 stick organic butter
  • agave nectar (can use honey as well), enough to make a goo
  • 1/2 c. 100% cocoa chocolate nibs
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut
  • 1/2 c. sliced almonds
Toast the oats in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Combine everything else in sauce pan (medium heat) except chocolate, almonds, and coconut.
Simmer while oats are roasting.

In a large bowl, combine roasted oats with chocolate, almonds, & coconut
Pour in goo and mix.
After done "tasting", spread mixture in an 8x8 baking pan.
Pre-cut into bars.
Bake in 300 degree oven for 25 minutes.
Leave in pan and put in refrigerator until cool and hard. 
Or, just eat warm and crumbly right out of the oven!
You can use this as cereal, with yogurt, as granola bars, or a warm topping over ice cream. AND...even though this is a sweet food, it is packed with super foods (chia seeds, flax seeds, 100% cocoa chocolate nibs, almonds, coconut, wheat germ, and whole oats). Yes there is butter in it. BUT FAT ISN'T BAD! Get that out of your head. Everyone needs fat in their diet for our bodies to function properly. And if you are concerned with weight loss, I eat at least one full fat food (butter, olive oil, coconut, avocado) every day, and I have lost a total of 10 lbs in the last year. Figure that one out...oh wait, they have. The "eat low fat products to loose weight" recommendations were not based on science. 

My new rule of thumb is to use the highest quality, most natural, least processed foods I can find.  I am not concerned any more with cutting out one type of food or another because it is labeled as bad. TRUTH: "bad" foods go in and out of style like clothing. One decade it's protein, the next it's fat, the next it's carbs. This has been true of the last century. Just in my lifetime I have seen the badmouthing of fat and carbs (I'm not even 30 yet). 

P.S. Just got a new camera...notice how profesh my pictures are starting to look?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Garden Leftovers

Not sure if I mentioned this, but I started a vegetable garden this year. It was a rather large feat (basically because I underestimated the time necessary for the scope of it. It took a few months to plan, a few days to prep the land, a few more to plant, a few to weed, and a few to harvest.

Now that it is the end of my first year as a gardener, I can look back with 20/20 hindsight and realize how much easier it could have been if I had done it completely differently. For the amount of stuff we planted, I wasn't too impressed with the yield. But it was only the first year.

We got green bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce, kale, collards, chard, leeks (what the hell do I do with leeks?). What I was impressed with, however, was the cayenne peppers. I planted two plants from seed in May, and for a while I wasn't too sure if we were ever going to get anything. But all of a sudden about a month ago, the plants were bursting with peppers. So much so that I didn't really know what to do with them. I like hot peppers and all, but I only use like 3 at a time, once a week if I am lucky.

So what to do with all these peppers?

I happened to have a bottle of olive oil that was 3/4 empty. So I figured that would be the simplest way to use a lot of them. I put a bunch in (until it was probably about 1/2 full) and filled the rest with oil. Voila! I will have spicy olive oil shortly.

Cut the tops off before you put them in the bottle.
Did you know the seeds are the spiciest part of hot peppers?
You can also do this with any other herb or spice. I am eventually going to do a few different kinds just to have for cooking and dipping.

  • Basil
  • Bay Leaves
  • Cilantro
  • Chives
  • Coriander 
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Peppercorns
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Sea Salt
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme

I will report how the cayenne pepper oil turns out after it seasons for a few weeks!

Quick Lunch & Out the Door

It's finally soup season! I am a soup/stew/casserole/big-pot-of-pasta-sauce fanatic during the colder months. Today, unfortunately, I did not have the time to make a big pot of something warm. So I opted for a can of Amy's Organic Soups; this one is the vegetable barley. I haven't found one that I dislike yet. I just added a little thyme (something I am running short on today), heated it in the microwave, and sucked it down. It is a little pricey, but worth it in my opinion if you want to eat something, warm, healthy, and quick. I promise to put up my recipes as I start making them...definitely over the weekend.

Last night I bought new running shoes. Did I ever mention before that I hate working out? Well, I hate it. The only way I have found to successfully build a habit of working out is if I know I am paying someone a lot of money to train me (force me). Don't get me wrong, I know full well the health benefits (both physical and mental) of regularly working out, and I do feel better about myself now than I did even a few months ago, but every day that I am not scheduled to meet with my trainer is a STRUGGLE to get myself to workout. Well, after yesterday's monsoon, I woke up to a beautifully sunny, fall day (and I fear it may be one of the last). So I am going to force myself to put on my new running shoes and get outside for an hour or so. It has taken me over 2 hours to successfully get my ass out from behind my desk and go for a run (fast walk).

Hopefully there will still be butterflies everywhere. They only come around the beach in the fall when these beach weeds (not sure what they are?) bloom.

Wish me luck! (It's really windy out there)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wine & Chocolate: Part Deux

Sunday fun-day was spent at a semi-local winery (Hopewell Valley Vineyards) in the Princeton area with my mom. I love wine tastings and tours (although this is the first tour I had ever been on). It is so great to speak with producers that are experts at what they do and excited to share their knowledge and business with their customers.

The wines were good, although I found that I liked the whites much more than the reds (very unusual). I am a red-wine-kinda-girl 99% of the time.

While I was there I asked the owner about sulfites. I have read that sulfites are what give you headaches (but I would venture a guess that it is drinking too much instead), and that they are unhealthy for you, etc, etc. What the owner of the vineyard had to say in a nutshell was that sulfites are naturally occurring in the skins of the grapes and a wine without sulfites is a problem.

So, that leads me to ask, what do the wine makers that boast "no sulfites detected" do to their wine to get rid of the sulfites? Or is it just that the level of sulfites is naturally so low that it is not detectable by the end of production? And when wine makers add in sulfites, are they natural? or man-made? (I would guess man-made)

These are all great questions, that I plan on delving into, however, if any of you know the answers I would love to hear from you. :)

This is me if you were wondering :) 
After spending a few hours at the vineyard, we decided to go into Princeton for a little afternoon shopping. While it was the most perfect sunny October day and beautiful strolling weather, the shopping sucked. Preppy clothing companies send their most boring and un-stylish clothes to Princeton to die. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy tweed, fur-lined sweaters, pearls, faux-fur vests (see above), riding boots and all other things preppy in the fall. They go with apple picking, horseback riding, and the changing of the leaves. I am not sure if it is that the people who LIVE in Princeton that actually have to buy clothes IN Princeton are too smart to care what they look like, but I am sure as hell glad that I wasn't smart enough to go to school there. BORING!!!! I fit in much better in Savannah with all of my creative art school friends.

Right about the time I was giving up on finding anything preppy to rock this fall, my mother and I found a chocolate store!


AND...I even found a bar that doesn't have any soy in it! I checked all of the bars for my blacklisted ingredients. The 85% was the only bar that didn't have soy lecithin in it. (I love how sometimes companies use "soya lecithin" instead of "soy lecithin" as if that makes it more exotic or something. It's still soy.)

All in all a great Sunday fun-day with my mom! And I learned a little too...not too shabby. I would highly suggest visiting Hopewell Valley, and strongly discourage trying to find anything cute to wear in Princeton.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I got my ears candled- what is that you ask?

that's not me if you are wondering
For over a year now I have been having problems with my ears. I went to an ear nose and throat doctor about a year ago to find out that I had an ear infection. So I took some meds and it cleared up enough to not be extremely aggravating. But the problem never really fully went away.  Long story short I was talking to my brother who suggested I get my ears candled. He apparently does it often and highly recommends it, so I booked an appointment at a spa for the first time because I didn't know what the hell I was doing or what to expect. I wanted to be in the room with an expert and ask questions (basically so I don't have to continue to pay $40 every time I want to clean my ears out). 

Well I was very skeptical about how I would feel afterward. I laid down on my side on the table and the esthetician cut a hole in a paper plate, stuck a long "candle" through it, and placed the tapered end in my ear. I'm not sure how far in it was, but it wasn't uncomfortable. She lit the candle and just let it burn for about 15-20 minutes on each side (and gave the best neck and head massage!- the only reason I would continue to pay to get it done). The only thing you hear is a faint crackling.

Since it was the first time I ever got it done, I naturally wanted to see all the earwax that has built up in my ears. HOLY S-H-I-T! I never imagined that amount of wax could be in a person's ear. I mean she cut the bottom 4+ inches off, unraveled it and I mean it was FULL of ear wax. It wasn't as gross as I thought it would be, just fascinating. 

When I got up from the table, I was like HOLY S-H-I-T! I can hear better! and I feel unclogged!!!!!!
I didn't feel anything in my ears after that. Like, I used to literally stick my fingers in my ears as far in as I could to "get the itch". It's literally gone! 

SO I just researched some benefits of regular ear candling:

  • improved mental clarity
  • relief from vertigo
  • in some cases, restoration of smell and taste
  • increased nail and hair growth
  • regulation of ear pressure
  • better lymphatic circulation
  • proper balancing of ear fluids 
  • balancing of fluids that provoke headaches
  • hygienic treatment of ear
  • activates proper ear fluid circulation
  • can eliminate tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
I'm hooked! The esthetician recommended that I do it at least 4 times a year at the change of season, but she said that a lot of her clients come in once a month. There is a danger in "obsessive-candling" (which I would be prone to). You need ear wax in your ears to protect from bacteria. If there is no wax, you have a better chance of bacteria invading your system through your ears. 

After you finish candling, apply some natural oils like olive, almond, eucalyptus, or coconut inside your ear with a q-tip to protect them for the first hour until your body starts producing its own ear wax again. 

Here is a video showing it in's pretty simple and I would suggest everyone consider doing this. IF you need to talk to your doctor first. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

In my quest to find the best possible food available for myself, I have found (as I have said before) that buying raw milk and raw milk products (milk that has not been pasteurized, homogenized, or processed in any way) is illegal in New Jersey. Why is it illegal for me to buy something that I deem as healthy? Why is raw milk that comes from a small farm (where the farmers actually care about their animals) considered more dangerous than milk that comes from Big Dairy (these shouldn't be called farms, they should be called concentration camps, because that is what they are).

Why is raw milk in the same illegal category as hard core drugs? 

Is that milk or heroine?
The Freedom to Buy and Sell Raw MilkMises Daily: by Karen De Coster (Original Source)
The August 3, 2011, shakedown of the Rawesome food cooperative in Venice, California, in spite of the tragic outcome, has produced one positive result. The ruthless raid on the part of miscellaneous government agencies has sparked a wave of unprecedented discord over the question, How can government dictate what we choose to eat when we each have unique standards for good nutrition? 
This federalista blitzkrieg came at a time when raw milk alarmism had reached an all-time high. The folks who wish to banish raw milk can't leave the issue alone, and instead they have ramped up a cacophonous crusade against one of nature's glories. Day after day, articles and news bits appear in the mainstream media, full of fear mongering and panic-producing propaganda in regard to the safety of raw milk. 
A July 2011 article on has some interesting survey results on comparative raw-milk regulations on a state-by-state basis. To summarize, 30 states allow consumers to transact with raw-milk producers while 20 states prohibit that act of freedom. And don't forget that federal laws prevent the sale of any raw milk over state lines. The federal government's response to the good white stuff moving over state lines is to send in armed soldiers in full battle gear to seize and destroy. 
Thirteen mini-regimes across the United States allow the sale of raw milk on the farm where it was produced, while four of those thirteen allow only "incidental occurrences," with that being defined as "occasional sales, not as a regular course of business; no advertising." Surely, the feds can interpret "occasional" and "regular" and "advertising" in a whole host of capricious ways. After all, it is the use of arbitrary laws with a host of potential interpretations that enables the feds to conduct their criminal operations that consist of seizing product and regulating small producers out of business. 
Four of those 13 states only allow raw goat milk while Kentucky and Rhode Island — now get this — require a prescription from a physician! Of course, you can interpret that to mean raw milkmust be medicinal (ask moms who remedy their child's allergies with raw milk), but then again, there's no such thing as a Big Milk Pharma that exists as a corporate arm of the state to keep its products available for the masses. Lastly, 11 states allow raw milk to be sold in retail stores outside of the farm. 
Several of the states that allow the sale of raw milk for human consumption have various twists and turns in their laws that make it very difficult to get the milk from the farm to the consumer. This essentially limits, or in some cases prevents, the sale of the product. However, imaginative entrepreneurs whose businesses are stifled by the government's despotic decrees have conceived the idea of herd shares, and this allows folks to jump through aboveboard hoops to buy a "piece" of a herd and get their raw milk. Though this is a costly administrative burden for both buyer and seller, any time that people can conjure up visionary ways to skirt the laws of the regime, freedom has taken a small step forward. 
It is important to note that Rawesome was a private, voluntary cooperative of consenting members who took responsibility for any potential risks. Rawesome members even signed waivers before becoming a food-club member. With all of the agencies involved (USDA, FDA, LA County Sheriff, CDC) over a period of a year, this jihad came at great expense to taxpayers. TheLA Weekly described it this way: 

The official word from the DA's office is that Stewart, Palmer & Bloch were arrested on criminal conspiracy charges stemming from the alleged illegal production and sale of unpasteurized goat milk, goat cheese, yogurt and kefir. The arrests are the result of a yearlong sting. The 13-count complaint alleges that an undercover agent received goat milk, stored in a cooler in the back of Healthy Family Farms van, in the parking lot of a grocery store. While it's legal to manufacture and sell unpasteurized dairy products in California, licenses and permits are required. Rawesome may have violated regulations by selling raw dairy products to non-members.
Among the many charges against owner James Stewart is one that immediately stood out: entering into private leasing arrangements with consumers. This charge is still fuzzy, and I am sure the feds can produce a whole book of crimes. 
In a recent edition of the Atlantic, an article was published that does a solid job of covering the Rawesome food-club raid and its aftermath. The Atlantic writer, Ari LeVaux, compares the Rawesome raid by federal and local agencies to the contamination of 36 million pounds of Cargill ground turkey (one tally is 77 known ill people, 1 dead). Rawesome was raided, trashed, and shut down, and meanwhile, Cargill executives were analyzing the costs of a recall vs. the potential for negative publicity from the tainted meat so they could voluntarily decide whether or not to recall the product. 
LeVaux went on to say that food freedom in America is vanishing. A quote from the end of the article states the following: "This is the state of food freedom in America today: It's being sacrificed in the name of food safety." But this is not about safety. These raids that are hostile to food choice are about 
  • seizing power, which benefits federal and local governments and provides justification for their continued growth through the looting of taxpayers;
  • eliminating the competition for the rent-seeking corporate state, meaning the big business–big government alliance;
  • displaying the omnipotent power of the enforcement state (militarized police and federal/state agencies); and
  • affirming rejection of any individual's right to self-ownership, and thus making the case that we are subjects to be ruled, including our behaviors and personal lifestyle choices.
The apostles of safety — assorted lawyers, corporate interests, meddlesome consumers, and other misguided safety advocates — have joined the government's campaign against raw milk to promote their own special interests and opinions. There is no tyranny of good intentions here. 
Another analysis I have not heard mentioned is that this raid was, in fact, a test case for the new powers granted to the FDA under the Food Safety Modernization Act. Yet when I wrote about this totalitarian decree just one year ago (see #1 here and #2 here), I received emails from many folks stating that my concern was embellished and misplaced. Yet this regulatory food bill has opened the doors for federal intrusion at the most basic level of choosing one's food. Food-freedomist author and blogger Dave Gumpert had this interesting comment on his blog: 

I'm beginning to wonder: Is the cruelty of depriving your population of essential foods a war crime? If there were a real war going on, with guns firing, it could be. A United Nations panel has accused the Sri Lanka military of war crimes for denying food to civilians in a war zone.
We're certainly edging closer to war here, as guns have been drawn in the war on Rawesome…. For now, the answer to government attacks on food distribution is to go underground, avoid fixed locations like the Rawesome outlet in Venice, CA. In the meantime, perhaps we should be gathering names for possible war crimes actions against those guilty of this basest of crimes — stealing the people's food. 
Rawesome had been raided previously, in 2010, and here is a very telling — and almost pathetically comical — video of cops barging into the organic-natural food store with guns drawn during the 2010 raid.
Meanwhile, the FDA recently went after Tucker Adkins Dairy of South Carolina like gangbusters. A handful of people allegedly got sick from the dairy's raw milk. So three people were confirmed sick — with diarrhea — and the FDA threw a ton of resources at the issue to propagandize against raw milk and promote the "safety" of the industrial milk product. The FDA even put out a newswire that was nothing more than an expensive propaganda piece. And to think that this massive spin campaign was waged over a few cases of loose stool? 
In spite of the fact that Tucker Adkins Dairy was publicly hung out to dry, the FDA failed in its attempt to cripple the dairy's reputation. The FDA admitted that the raw milk it suspected of harboring campylobacter tested negative. Still, the FDA's reaction was to continue the investigation to determine why a few folks got the runs, and they claimed the number of people who got sick was "probably higher" due to the fact that cases often go unreported. In spite of the lack of findings, one FDA spin doctor stated, "we don't doubt that Campylobacter caused this outbreak." 
One of the most glaring pieces of evidence that this war on raw milk is not about "safety" is this: the laws, for the most part, do not prohibit you from buying this allegedly hazardous product — they only force sellers and buyers to go around the regulations and conduct the transaction by way of a herd-share agreement. A similar thing occurs with cottage-food laws, where sellers of artisanal goods must comply with zillion-page documents that spell out what kind of products they can sell to others, where and how they can prepare them, what they must wear during food preparation, and how they must package and label the products. These cumbersome edicts regulate and restrict market access for small producers, putting them at a major competitive disadvantage. 
The FDA is, in desperation, trying to influence consumers against raw milk. Even so, sales of raw milk keep increasing and new consumers come into the market. Since the FDA does not have the power to regulate intrastate commerce, it is up to the states to regulate raw milk. The FDA's job, then, is to apply pressure on states to restrict or ban the sale of raw milk. 
The fear mongering over the dangers of raw milk is rooted in government–special interest propaganda with no basis in facts or science. In the interest of alarming the populace, the prohibition campaign has portrayed the decision to drink raw milk as a public danger rather than a personal choice. In response, Ted Beals, MD, delivered a presentation at the Third International Raw Milk Symposium in Bloomington, Minnesota, in May 2011, where he delivered these remarks: 
From the perspective of a national public health professional looking at an estimated total of 48 million foodborne illnesses each year; or from the perspective of a healthcare professional looking at a total of 90,771 (data from Healthy People 20204) confirmed bacterial foodborne infections each year (about 0.2 percent), there is no rational justification to focus national attention on raw milk, which may be associated with an average of 42 illnesses maximum among the more than nine million people (about 0.0005 percent) who have chosen to drink milk in its fresh unprocessed form. 
Using this average of 42 illnesses per year, we can show, using government figures, that you are about 35,000 times more likely to become ill from other foods than you are from raw milk. 
in the 2011 legislative session, bills to legalize or expand the sale of raw milk have been introduced in at least ten different states. FDA has already intervened in several of them attempting to persuade legislators not to support the bills. 
In spite of the fed's efforts to contain the states, the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund reports that: 
At my grocery storeDetroit Eastern Market, a farmers' market where 40 thousand people gather each week to buy, sell, and inform, I have noted that the folks who desire food freedom are in high visibility this year, and sales of herd shares are being advertised all over the market. It seems that the more government carries on its safety parade through its futile campaign of disinformation, the more people seem to brush off the spin as nothing more than second-rate hype and ignorable noise. (Original Source)

Here are some links to other articles on this subject:

New Raw Milk Legislation in 9 States Could Deter FDA Scrutiny
State Raw Milk Legislation
For those of you wondering why I am on a hunt for raw milk, here is a link to all of the health benefits. While I do not eat or drink a lot of  dairy, I would like to have the option to get it when I want it. I am just going to have to break the law and travel over state lines to try to find a dairy farmer that will sell to me. It would be the first time, and probably won't be the last. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I should have been born French

I recently watched the movie Julie & Julia (I know it is a few years old) and was instantly enthralled by Julia Child. Honestly I could have done without the Julie character and her story (although that was a great accomplishment to have her blog turned into a major motion picture). They should have just done the movie about Julia Child. Anywho. Julia Child had spend years and in France "mastering the art of French cooking" which coincidentally is the name of her two volume masterpiece. I have not read it yet, but I am going to buy it and start working through it. She also has another book Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking which I think might be right up my alley. 

The real reason I am writing about this is because it occurred to me that she lived to be 92, and, from what I saw and know of her recipes, ate a high fat diet full of pastries and duck, beef and butter (among other things). This was back in the 1950's until the time she died in 2004. I do know that she used real, fresh, quality ingredients, and lots of love. She LOVED to cook and figure out the best ways to prepare any dish. A woman after my own heart. 

This raises the question... do the ingredient matter as much as the quality?

Let's take butter for instance. It is quite possibly my favorite fat and I will put it on anything that I can. According to SELF Magazine's Nutrition Data Website it is 99% fat and 1% protein. It is very inflammatory probably because it is a saturated fat from an animal source (I assume that they are rating this as bad as they are because it is high saturated fat and everyone is under the impression that saturated fats are bad- WRONG - unnatural fats are bad). It has upwards of 20% RDA of Vitamins A, D, E, & K as well as being a complete protein (a complete protein is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans or other animals).

So in butter's case, it is the saturated fat and cholesterol vs. all 9 essential amino "fatty" acids and 4 vitamins. Now obviously you can find these vitamins elsewhere in a wide variety of vegetables. The essential fatty acids are another story.

Two things:

  • The complete proteins are called "essential" fatty or amino acids because our body cannot make them. We need to get them from other sources, and our bodies will not function properly if we are deficient.   
  • The word "fatty" means they come from FAT. Therefore, you will be deficient if you eat a low fat diet. That means, if you only eat egg whites, boneless skinless chicken breast, no butter, and no meat you are running the risk of becoming deficient in one or several of the 9.
Yes you can find some of the 9 amino acids from other sources (legumes, grains, and vegetables) but they tend to be limited in the number of amino acids. Some are notably low, such as corn protein. Hmmmm, didn't I just find out that corn in the United States is genetically modified and shows up in a lot of the processed foods Americans buy? 

These are the foods naturally containing all 9 amino acids:  amaranthbuckwheathempseed, meat, poultry, soybeansquinoaseafood, and spirulina.

How many of those can you say you eat on a regular basis? Personally, I can say 1 regularly (seafood) and 5 occasionally. The three that I have never used in my cooking so far are amaranth, buckwheat, and hempseed. 

It is easy to get all of the essential amino acids if you eat a wide variety of unprocessed foods, but how many of you can say that?

So with all that technical stuff aside, let's get back to quality. After everything that I have read on the science of fats, dairy, the dairy industry, sugar, the sugar industry, soy, the soy industry, etc, it is my humble conclusion that the quality of the fats, sugars, and proteins are more important than the amount of saturated fat in something or the amount of carbs in something else. 

Instead of counting calories and grams of fat, try focusing on these few things that will make a tremendous improvement in your life:

  1. Buy organic egg and dairy products. If you are lucky enough to live in a state or country that allows the sale of raw dairy take advantage. The packaging must say "without antibiotics and growth hormones" and would be a HUGE plus if it says "comes from grass fed/pasture raised animals". Cage Free is does not mean that the chickens live on a farm. They are given slightly better living conditions than normal (which isn't saying much). If you want to know how "conventional" animals are raised look up some videos on YouTube...a lot of it is worse than your wildest imaginations.
  2. Buy meat from "humanely raised" animals. Grass fed is good too, but the regulations for raising grass fed animals go against what is natural for those animal. Animals eat other things than grass in nature. Organic means nothing unless it also says humanely raised or grass fed.
  3. Don't buy processed soy UNLESS it is soy sauce, tofu, tempeh, or miso. Check all ingredients though because manufacturers sneak in bad ingredients to cut costs. 
  4. Cut out as much refined sugar as you possibly can. Fruit sugar is different. We are meant to eat fruit. It has fiber in it which slows down the absorption into our blood stream. Fruit is also bursting with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and cancer-fighting nutrients. 
  5. NO TRANS-FATS. Partially hydrogenated and hydrogenated oils make up this category. They wreak havoc on your bodies in many different ways. 

She was funny too!
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