Click here for information on upcoming sourdough classes.
EarthFare Hosts Sourdough Class
Many thanks to the generous folks at EarthFare in Montgomery for hosting my sourdough class. They provided door prizes and gave very generous coupons to everyone. Tish MacInnis, the Community Relations Coordinator was extremely helpful and friendly and was eager to provide whatever was needed for the class. EarthFare has an excellent employee in Tish!
I would like to thank my eager and very smart students, Deb, Kelli R., Cindy, Jillian, Kelli B., Misty and Madison. It was fun doing a little math together and getting our hands into some play dough. The sourdough samples, drinks on the house, coupons, door prizes and a first take home loaf made this class outstanding and hard to beat. Thanks everyone. Look for more classes at EarthFare soon!
Click here for information on upcoming sourdough classes.
It was first produced in Japan in 1909 so it's been around for over a100 years.
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) is a flavor enhancer that is found in most processed foods. It is added to ice cream, meats, sauces, soups, broths, vegetables, and other foods. Since it is a flavor enhancer then if the food does not taste that great, MSG can come to the rescue. If you were an industry producing processed foods and you did not use MSG but all your competitors did, how do you think this would effect your sales? People purchase food products mainly for taste so the brand that tastes the best will sell the most. I am all for making a product better but does adding MSG to a product make it better? Better, yes, for sales but what about better for your health? Tests are still being conducted on MSG safety but there is big controversy over this at present. MSG was in baby foods until 1969. I would like to know more about this and why they pulled it from baby foods then. Could it be that it was unsafe for babies? If so, even as an adult I would not want to ingest something that was not good for babies and what about a pregnant woman ingesting MSG - how would this effect her baby?
You might can avoid purchasing foods with MSG if you know all the names that it has been given. However somewhere I read that the food industries will just keep changing the name as many times as it takes to keep people buying their products. MSG is named by many as a neurotoxin or excitotoxin and excess MSG in the brain can result in rapid, uncontrolled firing of synapses which can lead to brain cell death. A synapse contains a small gap separating neurons and is a region where nerve impulses are transmitted and received. MSG will effect everyone differently depending on their blood brain barrier. The blood brain barrier protects certain toxins from reaching your brain but stress, poor diet, head trauma, infections, age, drugs, and other illnesses and diseases weakens this barrier. So why don't we all try to help our brains and bodies out a little and learn a few names for MSG so that we can avoid this neurotoxin. Here are a few.
Cow's Milk Vs. Goat's Milk
In response to a question from someone, I would like to post my answer here. She had read that goat’s milk was far better for humans than cow’s milk and wanted to know what I thought.
Well let’s go with the obvious right off the bat. In a visual comparison, goat’s milk looks whiter than cow’s milk (due to the fact that goats convert all carotenes into vitamin A making goat milk higher in vitamin A) and there is no cream line in the jar of goat’s milk like there is in unhomogenized cow’s milk.
Homogenization is what happens to all the cow’s milk that you purchase in the grocery store where it is illegal to buy raw milk. This is a process in which the cream is dispersed throughout the milk causing it not to rise to the top. In my opinion this is an unhealthy process. The fat globules are forced through very small holes at high pressure making them break apart producing free radicals. These free radicals can pentrate the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream and is capable of creating scar damage to the heart and arteries, which in turn may stimulate the body to release cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is not a bad thing, it’s actually good in the fact that it is like a little ambulance crew going to the rescue to patch up weaknesses in arteries. What we need to do is try to eat and live in a way that this litte ambulance crew is not needed quite so often and that means eating a healthy diet with the good fats and leaving off all that sugar and rancid vegetable oils which cause lots of problems. You have all heard of free radicals. They are unstable atoms or molecules that bounce around in your body causing damage to your cells leaving you with many diseases. We age over time due to free radical damage that causes oxidative stress. You have heard of antioxidants, haven’t you? Well antioxidants suppose to counteract oxidative stress. Therefore, homogenization gets a thumbs down vote from me.
Goat milk is naturally homogenized and doesn’t have the cream line because the fat globules in goat milk are smaller than those in cow milk and that means there is more surface volume and so it will be easier to digest.
As goat milk curdles in your stomach it produces softer curds than cow’s milk allowing the protein to be digested easier too. Some people have problems with a certain protein in cow’s milk and this certain protein is far less in goat’s milk allowing many people to be able to drink goat’s milk over cow’s milk. I personally do not have a problem with cow’s milk so I couldn’t speak about this fact.
Also, some have problems with the sugar in cow’s milk called lactose because they lack the enzyme lactase that is needed to digest the lactose making them lactose intolerant. Goat’s milk contains a little less lactose than cow’s milk. One very obvious difference between the milks is that many, including myself, say that goat milk tastes “goaty.” I ordered some farm fresh goat’s milk and I just couldn’t stand the goaty taste so I put it in the freezer until I decide what I will do with it. I have a friend who says it makes the best tasting cheese around so I’m waiting to make cheese with it. The “goaty” taste is due to the fact that the there was a buck around especially during milking time. Bucks have strong smelling scent glands but the females do not and so milk produced in the absence of a buck should produce non “goaty” taste. I also learned that if kept longer than a week the milk can get the “goaty” taste as well.
Cow’s milk is higher in Vitamins B-6 and B-12 but B-6 is destroyed by pasteurization so that is a good reason to try to obtain unpasturized farm fresh milk. Another difference between the two milks is the cost. Cow’s milk is cheaper by far and this alone may make cow’s milk the preferred choice in many homes. I’m sure there are many other differences that could be made but I have chosen a few. Personally, I think that it is best to consume different food items and not eat or drink the same thing all the time. This gives your body a better defense at overcoming allergens.
The bottom line is that this choice will be an individual one depending on how well the milk is tolerated. Goat milk is certainly worth a try if you have digestive problems with cow's milk.
Cow Photo Credit: Flickr Goat Photo Credit: Flickr
Many thanks to this nice group of ladies! They attended the class at Grace Episcopal Church in Pike Road where they learned about sourdough and what makes it work and why it is the healthiest bread to eat and then they sampled breads made with sourdough - cinnamon honey rolls and Italian Garlic Parmesan dinner rolls. Next they put into practice what they had just learned and got their hands into making their first loaf of bread to take home and bake. Great job girls!
See my recommended supplies for sourdough bread making here
For information on joining a sourdough class, click here.
Heavy Metal Toxicity
Do you know your heavy metal toxicity score? I wonder how many people are suffering from chronic pain, fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, migraines, depression and other problems and have been to the doctor numerous times only to be given a pill to fix the problem. And then have to go back later and get another pill to fix the first pill's side effects. There are so many ailments and so many doctor visits and so many pills - I'm sure a healthy diet would cure many illnesses but all those pills are the number one reason for toxicity according to a talk I recently heard last week. I wonder how many doctors think about testing their patients for heavy metal toxicity?
Here's a word from Naturopath Connect at their website: Heavy metal toxicity can produce vague symptoms that sometimes are mistaken for other chronic conditions such as Autism, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, depression, Multiple Sclerosis, and a host of other serious disorders. Discuss heavy metal toxicity with your healthcare professional before receiving any diagnosis or treatment for a serious chronic condition.
So the suggestion is to ask your doctor to discuss metal toxicity before receiving a further dose of toxins from the pill he is about to give you. I know many of these mentioned illnesses have been blamed on poor diet, antibiotics, and vaccines and I don't disagree with that but I wonder too if it's not a combination of things. Every person is different in their makeup as well so what might push me over the edge would not with another person or vice versa.
Photo Credit: Flickr
What's My Name?
What's my name? I'm a thief but I'm in high demand. You don't have to travel far to find me as I'm probably in your house right now. Even though I have my faults, people tend to put up with me anyway. I'm cheap and addicting but by nature I'm really pretty sweet regardless of all my faults and I tend to hang out in breads, cereals, breakfast bars, salad dressings, ketchup, yogurt, pudding, and fruit juices just to name a few. Those are healthy, right?
Do you know who I am? Did you guess, sugar? No, sugar got the boot a long time ago by most processed food industries. I'm really number one now. Some say that I upset the normal appetite function and that I could be a source for mercury, a known neurotoxin, and that I have the ability to destroy your memory. Am I being slandered?
They say that I have no nutritional value and can't be metabolized unless I rob you of a few nutrients and I tend to be stored in your liver and may contribute to cardiovascular disease. I'm mostly extracted from genetically modified corn. But don't look at all my faults, remember I'm really sweet and that should make up for all my faults, right? My name is much more impressive than just plain old sugar - why I'm High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)! I think people love me so much mainly because I'm cheaper than sugar and we all know that in today's world it's all about money. I can help fast food producers and processed food plants by allowing them to make their product cheaper and get it out there to all you good folks just waiting for me, regardless of what effects I may have on your health. Some people like me so much that they have added me to honey to stretch that product.
If you can't find my long name on the food label then maybe you will know me as just plain old corn syrup or corn sugar.
Author's note: This blog is not written in defense of sugar. Sugar also has many unhealthy effects but I would have to say that HFCS takes the cake!
Photo Credit: Flickr
The Eggs-travagant Egg
Extravagant - that's what eggs are! Lacking no restraints, an egg is one of the most nutritious foods in our diet providing protein, vitamins, and minerals but not all eggs contain the same benefits. Eggs from pastured chickens are far superior to store bought eggs from hens who live all of their lives in a little cage not big enough to even stretch, where there is no place for them to have a dust bath in relief of mites or other irritations. It truly breaks my heart to think of how these poor hens are raised. I refuse to contribute to this confined operation. That is one of the reasons I raise chickens.
Eggs from pastured hens even look different from eggs from enclosed hens. The yolk is a deeper color of yellow and the membrane surrounding the yolk is harder to break. The yolk stands up higher and rounder, whereas a yolk from confined hens is flatter and more broad - weaker in a sense.
In my previous blog on butter, I stated that the Standard American Diet contained far too many Omega 6 fats. Well it turns out that pastured eggs contain a great ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats (1:1). Eggs from confined chickens will contain far more Omega 6 than Omega 3 fats (20:1). It's also interesting that cattle fed on mostly grain instead of grass will contain far more Omega 6 fats than Omega 3s.
Follow the money trail again - it's not about our health out there - it's about the money. I'm not really trying to point a finger at any one group - I know it's the devil to make a living these days but facts are just facts. We live in a fallen world and it won't get better until the Lord comes back - so be ready.
In the meantime, try to find a local farmer selling eggs from chickens allowed to roam and eat all the green grass and bugs they can. Oh by the way, the ingredient list on the boxes of processed foods that say eggs are probably the powdered eggs. Powdered eggs are oxidized - not good! And here is one last bit of information that may be helpful. Have you noticed that confined store bought chicken eggs are easy to peel after boiling and farm fresh eggs are not? With my fresh eggs from my hens I have noticed that the eggs are very hard to peal. Wonder why? It's mainly because they are fresh! Older eggs peel easier.
So here is a trick that makes peeling fresh eggs much easier. Put your eggs in the bottom of a boiling pot and fill with water. Add 1/2 cup of the cheapest salt you can find. Yes, that's right, 1/2 cup. I don't know why this works but it does. Bring to a boil, and boil for 6 minutes. Drain and immediately load up the pot with ice cubes and cold water and let soak until cold throughout.
Photo Credit: Flickr
Have you been told a lie for most of your life? I know I have. I'm talking about the subject of butter and margarine.
Let's see here if I can dig up a little history about why most people believe that margarine is better than butter. Many years ago people didn't even have margarine or vegetable oils. They had good old saturated animal fats from animals allowed to graze on green grass, not confined and pumped with antibiotics to keep alive due to improper diet and crowding. Did you know that McDonald's even used beef tallow for their fries until the 1980s?
The first margarine plant opened in the 1870s in America. Margarine is cheaper to produce than butter so most of the time when you think something is not right just remember to follow the money trail.
Did you know that margarine is really not yellow like butter?. In processing plants they bleach and dye it because if you saw the color that it really was when it's processed with high heat and pressure you would not buy it. I know of some people who still remember that when margarine first hit the shelves it came with a packet of yellow dye that you could mix into it. The reason you had to mix it was because the butter people fought the margarine people over selling their product to look like butter so the margarine people just added a color packet for people to mix it themselves.
Not only do processing plants bleach and color, but they have to deodorize it as well, because it smells bad after all that rough treatment of processing causing rancidity. Margarine and vegetable oils are made from very fragile oils and so they go rancid quickly.
Not only does bleaching, coloring and deodorizing occur , these oils contain too many omega 6 fats and the Standard American Diet swings far too much to the omega 6 fats leaving an unhealthy balance with Omega 3 fats and most sources I've checked agree that too many Omega 6's is one of the culprits of heart disease.
Modern vegetable oils and margarine are not real foods that promote health. Choose butter - it's for real, especially if it comes from organically raised cows on green grass. The more yellow the butter the more the green grass the cow was eating. Grain fed cows do not produce this rich yellow color, instead a whiter, waxier butter, but grass fed cows do and this yellow color means that it is richer in carotene and Vitamin A and has a balanced Omega 6 to 3 ratio with many other benefits not mentioned here.
Photo Credit: Flicker
There must be an epidemic of people walking around with low Vitamin D levels. I have talked to several people who have gotten blood tests and most of them have said that it revealed that they were low on Vitamin D.
A couple of the things I have added to my diet on a daily basis is Vitamin D3 and Green Pasture's Cinnamon Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil Blend. Cod liver oil also contains natural vitamin D along with other great nutritional benefits. I take one rounded teaspoon of cod liver oil in the morning and 6,000 IU's of Vitamin D3 at night.
I think the best source of Vitamin D is the sun, and unfortunately in the winter we do not get enough sun. Maybe that's why there are more colds in the winter time.
The only way to know your Vitamin D level is to get a blood test. Here is a great post on Vitamin D from Dr. Mercola:
Photo Credit: Flickr
Sprouted Flours and Grains
Not far from my home is a business called "To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company." I am happy that this company is close so that I can go and pick up their extra healthy sprouted organic freshly milled flour and grain products.
This company takes the grains and simply makes them more nutritious than when they arrived. They sprout the grains (no not until they have green shoots - it's a short sprout time). Sprouting breaks down phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Humans cannot digest phytate so phosphorus would not be available and furthermore, phytate binds with certain minerals like zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium making them non absorbable also.
Peter Reinhart, the famous bread maker, says “When grains are sprouted, starches and proteins are converted into smaller molecules that are easier to digest. That means sprouted breads offer more essential amino acids, minerals, and B vitamins than standard whole-grain varieties. Ounce for ounce, sprouts are the most nutritious of all foods. A sprouted grain has become, in effect, a vegetable.”
Go to To Your Health Sprouted Flour Company to learn more. I deliver these products to Auburn, Alabama once a month. See the Auburn Food Buying Club for details.
Sprouted flour is my flour of choice in my baking and in my sourdough bread and by the way sourdough bread is the healthiest bread you can make. Come to my Sourdough Bread Class to learn why and also to have hands on fun and take home your first homemade loaf. You can also purchase some sprouted flour at my class. See you there!
Photo Credit: Flickr
Debbie Vail, NC
Greetings from east central Alabama and welcome to my site. I am a graduate of Hawthorn University, a leader in holistic education.
See more about me and my educational experience.
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