Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Can Learn From Heidi

I slow-cooked chick peas (that had been soaked for 24 hours) in the crock pot all day today. I crushed garlic (lots of it for swine-flu protection) with salt in my mortar and pestle and added it to chopped tomatoes, fresh parsley, olive oil, mustard and lemon juice. Then I mixed in feta cheese and the chick-peas. I think rice could be added to this for the complete protein.

On a much more positive note than yesterday, I am going to praise Heidi. I am reading this lovely book with my daughter and it is so inspiring I feel like moving to Switzerland and becoming a goat-herder (well maybe not that inspiring). At each meal they relish the fresh bread with toasted cheese and fresh goat's milk. It seems that that's about all they eat. Oh, and some cured meat as well. Doesn't that just sound delightful? The beauty of it for me is that it is so simple, yet infinitely nourishing. And Heidi has such a lust for life that she appreciates it all and stands in awe at the simplest of things.

This is the kind of value I would like to see my children embrace. First, I suppose I have to embrace it. Unfortunately, living simply seems to be quite complicated.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine-Flu Ranting

When I eat a hamburger I cook it just enough to brown the outside and then I smother it in my homemade pickles, mayo, mustard and ketchup. I don't use a roll, that detracts from the taste and I'm off gluten anyway. Fermenting your own condiments is a fun and surprisingly easy way to increase nutrient-bang-for-your-buck. These condiments are fermented naturally with salt and whey so they are loaded with life-giving enzymes that take some of the burden off of your body to digest the food.

So, I feel the need to rant and rave about this swine-flu thing. I know, everyone is pretty sick of hearing about it but there are 2 issues that I want to think about and I haven't seen them addressed in mainstream media.

The first issue is cytokine storms. In a very layman's nutshell a cytokine storm is an exaggerated immune system response to a previously unknown pathogen. Normally cytokine acts as a sort of dispatcher to immune cells. It tells them where to go and keeps them on their toes to do their job killing the bad guys. The problem is that sometimes these cytokines get out of control, start acting wild and don't do their dispatch job correctly. This can be quite damaging to the body because if there are too many of these immune cells going all crazy your body can't handle this. An example is if a cytokine storm occurs in the lungs then the overabundance of the immune cells can block airways and cause death.

This was a major problem in the 1918 influenza pandemic. Those with strong immune systems tend to be the victims of cytokine storms, hence the death of many people in the age-range of 20-45 years old. This has been the case in the current swine-flu outbreak as well.

It would be nice to see some media coverage on this one. They keep saying education is key, blah, blah, blah, but they're not saying anything useful. "Wash your hands". Gee, thanks.

I did find this website:, which gives helpful information about treating for bird flu (with cytokine storms in mind). They recommend some things that are anti-viral and some that inhibit cytokine production. It is very helpful. Some things listed are: raw garlic (anti-viral), Vit C (anti-viral and cytokine inhibitor), green tea (anti-viral and cytokine inhibitor), St. Johns Wort (anti-viral and cytokine inhibitor), freshly squeezed apple juice (anti-viral) and more. Some things to avoid were: elderberry juice, honey, chocolate, Kim chi (they all enhance cytokine production) and more. Check out this page if you're worried.

Another bone I have to pick is with the fact that there is absolutely no coverage of the origination of the flu virus! It has been reported (all over Mexico) that the virus comes from a "pig farm" in Perote, Mexico. Ah, guys, that place is no more a farm than my backyard. What it is is a Confined Animal Feeding Operation or CAFO (our gov came up with this name). Do you want to see Wikipedia's definition?

"Confinement at high stocking density is one part of a systematic effort to produce the highest output at the lowest cost by relying on economies of scale, modern machinery, biotechnology, and global trade. Confinement at high stocking density requires antibiotics and pesticides to mitigate the spread of disease and pestilence exacerbated by these crowded living conditions."

(Just in case you didn't know, we are talking about animals here, live animals that actually have nerve endings and everything)

And they go on to say:

"The UN and OIE estimate that in coming decades there will be billions of additional consumers in developing countries eating meat factory farmed in developing countries, but currently only about 40 out of the around 200 countries in the world have the capacity to adequately respond to a health crisis originating from animal disease (such as avian flu, West Nile virus, bluetongue, and foot and mouth disease). Widespread use of antibiotics increases the chance of a pandemic resistant to known measures, which is exacerbated by a globally distributed food system. Decreased genetic diversity increases the chance of a food crisis."

I don't know about you but I have two reactions to this. One, why are those friggin' things allowed to exist?! Two, why are those friggin' things allowed to exist?! Oh, but wait, don't tell me, because I know why.....without them the industrial agriculture giants cannot make billions and billions of dollars. Well we wouldn't want to jeopardize their bottom line in the name of say, reducing the risk of a pandemic virus killing untold numbers of people, now would we? Oh, and what about allowing the doomed animal to live a decent life? No, that would go against everything you are taught in business school about maximizing profits and lowering costs.

Do you want to know what I read in a great book called, The Untold Story of Milk, by Ron Schmid? On page 206-207 he quotes an article from the New York Times Magazine written by Michael Pollan, "To Visit a Modern CAFO".

" Piglets in confinement operations are weaned from their mothers 10 days after birth (compared with 13 weeks in nature) because they gain weight faster on their hormone- and antibiotic -fortified feed. This premature weaning leaves the pigs with a lifelong craving to suck and chew, a desire they gratify in confinement by biting the tail of the animal in front of them. A normal pig would fight off his molester, but a demoralized pig has stopped caring. 'Learned helplessness' is the psychological term, and it's not uncommon in confinement operations, where tens of thousands of hogs spend their lives ignorant of sunshine or earth or straw, crowded together beneath a metal roof upon metal slats suspended over a manure pit.

"So its not surprising that an animal as sensitive and intelligent as a pig would get depressed, and a depressed pig will allow his tail to be chewed on to the point of infection. Sick pigs, being underperforming 'production units', are clubbed to death on the spot. The USDA's recommended solution to the problem is called 'tail docking'. Using a pair of pliers (and no anesthetic), most but not all of the tail is snipped off. Why the little stump? Because the whole point of the exercise is not to remove the object of tail-biting so much as to render it more sensitive. Now, a bite on the tail is so painful that even the most demoralized pig will mount a struggle to avoid it."

That might make you think twice about buying conventional meat again. And just because it is organic, doesn't mean that they're not doing this to the animals. The key to buying quality meat is small-scale, local and pasture-raised animals. These animals are not forced to endure the horrors of mass-production confinement operations. If we buy from local conscientious farmers we are speaking with the loudest voice there is, dollars (or pesos). Let's take our money away from fat corporations with absolutely no regard for the animals nor for the health of the general public, and give it to local farmers who are struggling to survive with no government subsidies and not a lot of consumer love.

And perhaps we won't have to live in fear of catching some bizarre pathogen that crosses 4 species?

Monday, April 27, 2009

French Onion Soup

My french onion soup is just so delectable! I saute 5 onions in about 3-4 tablespoons of butter and another 3 of olive oil and a pinch of thyme for about 15 minutes. Then I lower the heat and simmer for another hour or so. I then add 2 tablespoons of high quality cognac and cook it off. Then I add about 5 cups of home-made beef stock, bring to a boil and simmer for another 20 minutes. I transfer the soup to an oven-safe pot with a lid (I forget what these are called), grate in about 1/2 lb of comte cheese, then bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. I don't add bread because of the gluten-free thing but it's good either way, I've found. Yumilicious!

If food can cure then this soup must be very effective.

I'm really on the countdown now. Four more days of eating. OK, I'm getting nervous.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Beef High

As my husband would say, "mmmmmm, pork". His home country has pork as the national animal, he, he, he. One day I decided to marinate some pork chops in soy sauce, garlic and lemon and I cooked it up the next day with brown rice slow-cooked in beef stock. My husband thought he had died and gone to heaven. "This is Pork Adobo!" he breathed, as he abandoned his fork, grabbed another piece and began to chew on some fat.

There is a peace in our house now, that wasn't there before. And it's not just because my husband is finally married to a woman who cooks what he actually wants to eat. Rather, it is due to, what I call, the "beef high" (although this term is somewhat self-limiting). With the drastic change in our diet came lots of lovely endorphins.

I was brought up in a "hippy household" I suppose. We had a huge garden, we ate tofu, brown rice and fresh veggies. Meat was taboo, especially after my step-father took a part-time job at a local chicken slaughterhouse. When I was little I craved meat and sugar and ate them whenever I had the chance. As an adult I unconciously accepted the theory that meat is bad for you but at the same time I was never fully convinced. I trudged along on pasta, chicken, veggies and more pasta. Food was never really very satisfying. Oh, things did taste good but I was never satisfied, somehow I was looking for more. Maybe that's why I was able to scarf down 3 heaping bowls of pasta in one meal. Oh, and that's probably why I gained a lot of weight.

But once I started eating high quality red meat, pork, seafood and a lot more fat I began to get endorphin rushes at almost every meal. And one day I realized that my overall mood was much calmer and peaceful than it had been. That feeling is still with me, 6 months later. It is hard to describe but it is something like; now I am blessed with a sweet contentment that stays with me all day. And "pork bliss" aside, my husband has noticed he feels the same way.

Now, I liken this to driving a VW for a long time and then getting behind the wheel of a mercedes. You may have been perfectly content with the VW but it wasn't until you drove the mercedes that you realized something was sorely lacking (lucky for us the good food is more accessible than the mercedes).

If nothing else, I think we should enjoy life. That is why I want to drive the mercedes and eat wholesome food that gives me a rush.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Food Renegade's Fight Back Fridays

Another real food lover has a blog called "Food Renegade". Every Friday bloggers, all holding the common interest of fighting to get real food the norm, share links from her site to our various posts on the topic.

Quoted from Food Renegade:

"Well, fellow Food Renegades, it’s that time of the week again! We are bringing together a collection of recipes, tips, anecdotes, and testimonies — each from a lover of Real Food.

Last week’s carnival was inspiring! Thirty-seven bloggers participated, many of them first timers. If you didn’t check it out, you should. You’ll find a wealth of great articles and posts there. It’s my personal hope that Fight Back Fridays will unite many of us coming from within different circles of the Real Food Revolution so that our influence can grow, so that we can change the way America (and the industrialized world) eats!

So, let’s have some fun."

Check it out. Lots of great posts:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Indulge No More

Words cannot express how wonderful it is to be eating a nice juicy steak! And this isn't just any steak. It is tenderloin from a pasture-raised cow that has been broiled in garlic, mushrooms, sea salt and sherry, just enough to brown the outside. This delectable delight was served with short-grain brown rice that was slow cooked in butter, beef stock and sea salt. I know your mouth is watering.

I have finally gotten used to not eating bread. I am going gluten-free until after the milk diet because I've read that gluten is a common cause of many health problems, one of which is Hashimoto's (which I have). I also thought that it would be easier to do the milk diet if I slowly cut back on things that I really relish so that I'm not going through multiple with-drawls all at once. I just love having my lovely home-made rolls with tons of butter and raw honey. Oh, I don't even want to think about it. But my cravings for it have passed now (after about a week).

So the gluten thing is a non-issue now (although I hope to be able to tolerate small amounts later on). I'm going to make a nice big batch of peanut butter cookies and carob chews. Those are to be eaten at night with large and luscious glasses of raw milk. Can you hear me sighing?

But, they have to be finished by next Monday because that is when I stop that sort of indulgence. I think that by May 1st, when I start my 2-day fast, I should be over craving those carob chews and peanut butter cookies.

Carob Chews, if you are not familiar, are simply wonderful, delightful snacks. I got the recipe from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.

You will need:
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup carob powder
1 Tbls vanilla extract
1 Tbls almond extract
1 cup almonds
1 cup cashews
1 cup coconut meat
1 tsp sea salt

First I grind the almonds, cashews and salt in my food processor (mind you I have soaked and dried the nuts beforehand). Then I gently heat the raw honey (just to body temperature so the enzymes stay alive) in a double-broiler. I add the carob and extracts to the honey and mix with a wooden spoon. Then I pour the mixture into the ground nuts and add the coconut meat and mix in the food processor. After, I spread the mixture out on a cookie sheet and refrigerate. When it's cooled I take it out, let it warm a little and cut into little squares and re-refrigerate. They are a great, energy-boosting snack that kids love!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yes, I Admit It, Milk Can Be Nasty

Leftovers. Still good though. But I added some lightly steamed broccoli with my all-time favorite dip: yogurt with mashed garlic, salt and lemon. So simple, so tasty!

For those of you whose reaction to hearing that I will consume only raw milk for one month is, "that is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard of", I understand where you're coming from. I too found milk pretty repulsive, basically my whole life. But the thing that you are thinking of when I say milk is quite different from the heavenly liquid I will be consuming in large amounts in May.

Conventional milk that you buy in most supermarkets is stuff that I would avoid at all costs. If it is ultra-pasteurized and homogenized (almost all of it is) and lowfat you are talking about something that is completely different from the original product.

The original product itself is pretty nasty. Think about it, cows forced to stand continuously on concrete floors while they are milked incessantly (average over 6 gallons a day) and fed anything from GMO grains and soy by-products to bovine growth hormones (so bad they are illegal in Canada) and "sludge" (ethanol by-product filled with lovely chemical residues). And don't forget the antibiotics and pus that come out of these heavily medicated yet sickly animals (average life span is 42 months for a confinement cow as opposed to 12-15 years for a pasture-raised one).

And since there is so much nastiness in the original product, pasteurization is a wonderful tool. Who needs to worry about keeping pathogens out when you're going to cook it anyway? Ultra-pasteurized milk is cooked at a cozy temperature of 230 to 285 degrees F! Boiled milk anyone?
Yes, it kills all the bad stuff, but it kills the good stuff too. You know, the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and beneficial, pathogen-killing bacteria. Mmmmm, my favorite, dead bacteria in my cereal! Don't think that just because it's dead it can't affect you, some say that this cooked bacteria can cause an immune response that leads to autism. I don't think this theory has been subjected to much research but why risk it?

Homogenization breaks down the size of the fat globules in milk. Makes' em tiny so we don't have to see how much fat is in there. Although people used to like that because it gave them a clue as to how healthy the cows were that the milk came from. The healthier the cow (good diet of grass and hay and lots of time outdoors usually did the trick) the more cream would be in the milk. Oh, yeah and homogenization has been linked to heart disease.

But why would big dairy manufacturers care about your health? Ultra-pasteurization and homogenization make it possible for milk to be shipped across the country. This stuff does not go bad! You don't even have to refrigerate it for up to 6 months! They just put it in the cooler section because no one wants to buy milk that doesn't need to be refrigerated.

And don't think that just because it's organic that you're in the clear. Read the label. Almost all organic milk you see these days has been ultra-pasteurized and much of it comes from cows living out their dreary lives in confinement.

Lowfat is not where it's at. In the process of making skim milk nitrates are produced (carcinogenic) and cholesterol is oxidized (linked to plaque build-up in the arteries). Not happy news for those drinking skim milk to avoid cancer and heart disease! And although there is lots of protein in the milk there is not enough fat for our bodies to absorb it properly. So our body calls in the Vitamin A reserves from the liver to help out. Sigh.

OK, so all of you milk-haters, we're on the same page with that stuff. But raw milk that comes from healthy, happy cows who spend their time grazing pesticide-free grass is just brimming with good stuff. Maybe I'll touch on it lightly and save more for another day. But for now let me just say that the raw milk I'm thinking of has the following: phosphorus, chlorine, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, vitamins A, C, B6, B12, and K2, and is loaded with protective bacteria and life-sustaining enzymes. And there is lots of fat, making it quite easy for your body to digest and absorb these nutrients.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Flouride or Fat?

Fabulous fish chowder! Yesterday I started a fish stock from a lovely red snapper. Today I sauteed onions in butter, added some fresh thyme and a bay leaf, then put some potatoes and my still-hot fish stock in the pot and simmered. After awhile I added the snapper meat, sea salt and some fresh raw cream, heated a little more and it was ready to enjoy. I served it with salad and a lovely eggplant torta (courtesy of Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Fallon). A gluten-free tasty meal!

One day last October, while I was brushing my younger daughter's teeth I noticed that there were some funky brown spots on her teeth. Ahhhhhhh! My child is not perfect?! Cavities?! How could it be?

This is what really started me on my journey to find out if food can cure, although that wasn't my intention at the time. I absolutely refused to accept the party line that says, "if you're child has a cavity the problem is in her mouth, and if we extract the cavity, all will be fine". I saw the cavity as a symptom of some hidden problem in her body.

I went to a "holistic" dentist just in case (I've also discovered on this journey that so many "holistic" care-providers have an agenda to sell their stuff or some other stuff like vitamins, etc and it's really quite a shame) and she said my daughter has 2 borderline cavities. She recommended a massive dose of flouride to stall the decay (so much for holistic care). Of course I refused the treatment. But at this point I felt better knowing that her teeth weren't about to fall out or anything.

Then I discovered a book called "Cure Tooth Decay" by Ramiel Nagel. And in it I was introduced to the concept of stopping tooth decay through a healthy diet and also to the teachings of Weston A. Price. Wow! This was a new world I was entering!

Up until that point I was like most health-conscious thinking people in America, I thought that cholesterol, saturated fat and basically meat were all things to avoid whenever possible. Vegetables, chicken and well, I don't even know what, tofu maybe, were all good things to eat. Low-fat was the way to go. I have to say that up until that point I hadn't really ever been committed to one style of eating for health reasons. I more just went with food I enjoyed eating that didn't make me sick (like I wouldn't eat McDonalds because it made me feel horrible but I would eat a ton of Haagen Dazs).

Suddenly, I was allowed to eat cream and butter and red meat and whole milk and more cream! On the other hand, I did feel chained to the kitchen because now I had to soak my grains, nuts and legumes (to neutralize the phytates that block mineral absorption), I could no longer buy boxed cereal and granola bars for my kids snacks and I had to make my own sauerkraut and yogurt. Local, pasture-raised meats and dairy, fresh veggies, and lots of good fat were to be the mainstay of my diet. Processed foods, rancid and oxidized vegetable oils and refined sugars were out.

Over time I became accustomed to slaving in the kitchen (which I really do enjoy at heart) and things became easier. Now I feel like somewhat of a pro and the food I cook is, if I may say so myself, fabulous!

Oh yeah, my daughter's cavities have not progressed at all. Yay!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why Is My Thyroid Sick?

I have to ponder this question.

But first, I have to talk about what I ate for dinner! Because that is infinitely more exciting....

I slow-cooked my short grain brown rice in coconut milk and home-made chicken stock (made with chicken feet) and sea salt for a long time. I also cleaned some wild-caught shrimp and grated some horseradish into some of my special home-made ketchup to make a cocktail sauce. And of course there was my famous salad and sauteed greens. We ate some of the shrimp raw and some flash-boiled. It was pretty good and it is such a simple meal (and can be done more quickly if you buy cleaned shrimp.

So in January I went to a routine check-up at the doc and did some bloodwork. He called me a week later to tell me my TSH (that is the hormone that stimulates the thyroid to do it's job) was extraordinarily high. He was shocked because I had no symptoms. Needless to say, I was shocked too.

So what followed was a month or two of anxiety, filled with countless doctor visits and lots of deep breathing moments. You see, I was unwilling to just go pick up the synthroid as my (now fired) doctor had advised. I knew I had a crazy, out of control number on my bloodwork (TSH: 147) and I didn't really know much else about hypothyroidism. So my mission was to find out what was causing the problem and to find the least invasive way to manage it.

The more I read, the more disheartened I became. I subsequently found out that I had Hashimoto's (an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your thyroid). Even the doctors with the "alternative" approach agree that once you go autoimmune you never go back. And as my anxiety increased I began to have numbness and tingling in my feet and hands when I laid down at night. I was told it wasn't phsychosematic but I realize now that stress aggravates thryoid issues and that my stress was bringing about these symptoms. The more I felt the symptoms, the more stressed I got.

So, I eventually started taking a somewhat "natural" medication called Armour. It is made of pig thyroid hormone (not the synthetically produced hormone in Synthroid and others). I take a very low dose of 30 mg a day. The funny thing is that even before I started taking the Armour my TSH had gone down to 41 (in about one month). I know that my diet can take the credit for this one!

I recently got more bloodwork done and my TSH is now 7. I'm not sure if the Armour did it or not but my (new) doc was shocked at how quickly my TSH and antibodies had improved (especially on such a low dose). She recommended I continue to do whatever the heck it is I'm doing.

So I sort of do know why my thryoid is sick but it's still a mystery as to why my immune system is malfunctioning. Will raw milk change things??

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Cow Said YES!

And yet another move toward the milk month! I have officially gotten my cow to agree to give me enough milk! This was the final step and now that I’ve taken it I suppose there is no turning back. I’m excited and still a little nervous.

Let’s see, I had leftover chili tonight. Oh, but for lunch I had a good one. My special salad (2-3 types of lettuce, avocado, tomatoes tossed with wheat-free soy sauce, beet kvass, raw vinegar and olive oil) with a can of skinless, boneless sardines smothered with my delish home-made mayonnaise. This was an intensely satisfying dish but I was craving a glass of milk afterward and we’re all out.

The funny thing is that about 30 minutes later I was overcome with wave after wave of nausea (something I haven’t experienced much since eating the “real food” way). It was pretty bad so I put a tablespoon of whey (the real stuff baby) in a glass of water, drank it and within 5 minutes the nausea had vanished. Coincidence? Perhaps.....

So I think we are guilty of programming our children to enjoy sweets from very early on. What would you think if you saw a mom denying her child cake at a birthday party? Perhaps you would pity the child for missing out on one of the joys of being a child? Maybe criticize mom for being so rigid?

Why are we so sure this is what kids need? Is it because we want it so badly? Is it possible for us to stop the rampant addiction to sugar by denying it to our children. Do we even want to? Why do people feel compelled to give sugary sweets to kids? I would have to say that there are two distinct groups on this (well there may be more but these are the 2 types of parents I usually encounter). Group 1 tries to avoid giving sugar, somehow fails with all the peer pressure and then feels guilty or uneasy when their little ones indulge. Group 2 has no problem at all with it, thinks it is just part of being a kid and that it probably doesn’t do all that much damage anyway. And I suppose this is neither here nor there but those of us who try to avoid it are really annoyed at Group 2’s behavior. Why do we succumb? Why does a group 2 even exist?

I have to venture a guess to say we succumb because our genes tell us to. Basically, we really do give a s**t what people think about us because societal acceptance is a precursor to survival. Back in the day when we were hunter/gatherers we needed husbands to stick around (or wives or partners) to help keep the kids alive and we needed neighbors and kin around to help us stay alive too. The best way to keep them around was to follow social rules. This present day longing to belong comes from the ancient necessity to belong. So when everyone else is pouring pounds of sugar down their kids throats without a thought we figure that’s the norm so we do it too. OK, this is over-simplified but doesn’t it make sense?

Now does Group 2 exist because of the same reason? Peer pressure? Maybe that was the norm when they were growing up so it will be the norm for their kids? maybe they felt deprived as a child? Of food or love? Maybe they feel guilty for something they are not providing to their child, like wholesome food or love? Maybe they just want to be cool parents?

The only thing I can say is that they surely are NOT setting their kids up to survive. They may have the appearance of being able to survive (popularity brings friends and mates) but their bodies are more likely to be sickly (in the short or long-term).

Friday, April 17, 2009

Raw Milk Diet Progress

I’ve made another move toward “the raw milk diet” today. I’ve found a home for my gallons and gallons of milk bottles! A friend will store them in their basement refrigerator. This is wonderful because it was one of the obstacles to doing the diet.

Today I made my most delicious “wild caribbean chili” (recipe courtesy of The Joy Of Cooking). Yum! Ground beef sauteed with onions and garlic, add some cumin, salt, pepper, lime and orange juice, a little unrefined whole cane sugar, black beans, beef stock and crushed tomatoes. It is soooo tasty and the combination of the ground beef with the beef stock makes it delightfully digestible.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why Do We Love Sugar?

Alaskan salmon that’s been slow-cooked with butter, cream, fish stock, dill, shallots and sea salt with quinoa that has been soaked overnight then slow-cooked with coconut milk, beef stock and sea salt. And collard greens sauteed with butter, garlic and sea salt and my daily salad; 2-3 types of lettuce, avocado, tomatoes tossed with wheat-free soy sauce, beet kvass, raw vinegar and olive oil. That was dinner.

The Brazilian cheese bread was OK yesterday but not so good re-heated today. I think I need to mix it, bake enough for that day and freeze the rest.

I went to the doctor today. She OKed my raw milk diet! She said she is not too excited about it but she’s not against it. We will monitor my liver and kidneys. She’s a pretty good doctor though. She actually listened to me and didn’t say I was crazy.

My blood work was better too. I take small doses of Armour (30mg day) and my TSH (Thyoid Stimulating Hormone) went from 41 on Feb. 13 (down from 147 on Jan 5 and that was before I took the armour) to 7 on April 2nd. My antibodies improved greatly as well. I’m still not within normal range on these things but everything is moving in the right direction. This is where I make a plug for the way I eat. The doctor was amazed at how quickly my levels are adjusting on such a small amount of thyroid hormone. I’m convinced that it is because of how I eat and my regular practice of yoga. Now, if I can discontinue this gluten-free thing that would be great (as I bite into my day-old, dry Brazilian cheese bread). I can’t help it, I love my freshly baked whole wheat rolls! I still have to cook them for my family and my mouth drools watching them.

Now my thought of the day. What stops people from eating well? I know this is a huge question. But I want to ponder it. I’ll start with sugar. Addiction to sugar is rampant in our world today. The average sugar consumption for Americans is huge! Anywhere from 64 to 150 pounds a year, depending on who is talking. Now it’s pretty common knowledge that humans have been gifted with an innate sweet tooth, to facilitate breast-feeding (breast-milk is sweet!). But back when we were running around catching animals and picking berries we didn’t have too many chances to munch on a snickers, so there weren’t very many sugar addicts. Now that sugar is readily available, like on every street corner and checkout aisle, it is pretty hard for us to resist. And what we often forget is that every time we eat a french fry or a piece of white bread there occurs a peak in blood sugar levels. Those empty carbs are converted into sugar right away. So don’t think you deserve desert after you’ve had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread (even the peanut butter may have sugar in it). But you will most likely crave something sweet.

One of the major problems here is that most of what we eat is not satisfying. Why is it not satisfying? Because it is nutritionally empty. Let’s look at a typical meal for me one year ago.

Breakfast: boxed cereal (organic honey Os perhaps) with low-fat milk, then an all-natural turkey sausage and organic egg on an english muffin

boxed cereal: highly processed under high heat and pressure (shown to be extremely difficult to digest and to cause peaks in blood sugar production, perhaps even more than sugar). Any nutritional content is pretty much useless because my body was unable to absorb it.

organic low-fat milk: A highly processed, dead liquid devoid of valuable enzymes and containing only small amounts of nutrients. Being low-fat it had some of the natural fat replaced with a powdered form of milk that was commercially dehydrated causing oxidation of the cholesterol in it. And it is highly likely that the original product was extracted from sickly, undernourished, over-pumped cows fed an unnatural diet of soy and corn (yes, even organic milk can be bad)
turkey sausage: A highly processed product with a high-sodium content, but at least there must have been some nutrients in the meat.

organic egg: this was probably the most nutritious thing I ate all day

english muffin: it was white! oh boy, blood sugar peaks, empty calories, no nutrients

So what was my breakfast? Pretty crappy! The egg was really the only saving grace and that wasn’t from a pasture-raised chicken so it was of less value.

So after I consume this breakfast that actually did more damage than good, what did I feel like eating? Some sugar anyone? My body was crying out for more, more, more! I had given it some energy but not much else.....where was the calcium, magnesium, Vit A, Vit D, Vit C? So the bodies natural reaction is to ask for more! This is one reason why people can’t control themselves, their bodies are calling out for more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is Gluten Our Enemy?

I started off the day with the usual: yogurt and eggs. Yummy! So, is it possible that we have eaten too much wheat? Throughout history, when wheat (and other grains and legumes) were consumed, they were usually first fermented or sprouted. Now we know this was done to neutralize the phytates and difficult-to-digest elements such as gluten. Humans consumed grains this way for thousands and thousands of years (times vary depending on the grain) without our developing heart disease, diabetes and leaky-gut syndrome. But as civilization “advanced” people came to seek easier and quicker ways to make food. Quick-rise breads came with the discovery of the wonders of yeast (as opposed to the slow-rise of sourdough breads). And people probably started to consume more bread-products.

With the industrial revolution families began to leave the farms and to work out of the home more. More and more people moved to metropolitan areas and more women left the home to work. This necessitated a lot more “quick” meals. Breast-feeding and cooking began their wane. By the 1920s people were still mostly cooking and breast-feeding but not as they had done 50 years earlier. Women had tasted freedom and who could blame them for wanting more? With these changes on the home-front and technological advances in machinery the concept of industrialized food processing became very appealing for profit-minded businesses (well, what other kind is there?). Companies began to find more and more inroads to alleviate the workload of working moms. How convenient it would be to buy your bread instead of slaving at home?
Fast-forward to now. It is all too common for women to work out of the home, even with tiny newborns. The average American consumes a large amount of processed food. And we eat a ton of wheat products, almost none of which have been fermented or sprouted. A lot of our health problems today are probably derived from the way we eat grains. (Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are also big culprits in the demise of our health) Unfortunately for us it would be way too costly (read: lower executive salaries) for big food manufacturers to soak or ferment grains. Don’t want to mess with the bottom-line. And now big pharma is there to pick up the slack. They are making billions on our sick, diseased, fat bodies. It seems it is easier for us to take medication than to change our ways.

So perhaps gluten is not the enemy. Maybe we need to get back into the kitchen and start soaking and fermenting our grains from their whole form. Gluten is a friend (unless you are already gluten-sensitive), and that boxed food is not!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Raw Milk Challenge

I start this blog on a rather bold front. I am now on a countdown to the beginning of my exclusive raw milk diet. I will be drinking nothing but milk for 4 weeks. There, I said it, I can’t turn around now! I’ve begun preparing my body by completely cutting out gluten. I’ve heard that gluten causes all kinds of nasty diseases. I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (HT) and it certainly sounds like a nasty disease. It also just so happens that many people who have gluten-intolerance also have HT (and other autoimmune diseases), and when they stop eating gluten they are able to alleviate many symptoms.
Now this brings me to an interesting thought that has been rattling about in my head. Why are people so intolerant of so many things (and I’m not talking prejudice here, that’s another conversation)? You’re either gluten-sensitive, or lactose intolerant or you suffer from multiple allergies or something. There is a long list of possible culprits, let me tell you. And there are champions of each of these causes. See because I believe that our bodies used to be pretty darn perfect, we functioned quite wonderfully, a long time ago. Now we’re all broken down and fat and diseased and tired and stressed out! What the heck is going on?
I am on a quest to answer this question to my own satisfaction. I have always been curious about this stuff. Like, why do so many people need glasses? How could we have carried on our species way back when we were hunter/gatherers (HG) if half of us couldn’t see the darn animals?! We would have died out pretty quickly. So I’m guessing all this vision trouble is a relatively new thing. But my real probing of the question of why we are so messed up really picked up speed when I found out I was one of the sick ones!
I will ponder on this regularly. One thought I have is, perhaps we just eat a bunch of junk and it’s killing us. What do you think? A possibility?