Category Archives: Food Safety

Gluten Freedom — An Essential Guide to Gluten Issues, with Recipes!

glufreeDuring the writing of my own book on cooking to nourish your archetypes, I read Gluten Freedom by Dr. Alessio Fasano, MD, Founder and Director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Given that many of my own recipes feature gluten-free alternatives, I was eager to read an expert’s version of the history of gluten-related illnesses and to learn more about the current state of treatment. Dr. Fasano’s book did not disappoint. The book contains a comprehensive review of the spectrum of gluten-related disorders, and also includes chapters on discussing leaky gut (you’ll get introduced to zonulin) as well as gluten’s influence on brain chemistry. Gluten Freedom also discusses new treatments and therapies, including enzyme therapy, a “celiac pill” treatment, and the possible development of a therapeutic vaccine. The book also talks about methods for prevention including delaying gluten introduction until one year of age, which is now being studied.

Taking the subject to a richer level of detail and creativity, Gluten Freedom also offers several recipes to remove gluten from the menu including all-time favorites like chocolate chip cookies and gluten-free scones. There is a charming chapter called “Dinner with Dr. Fasano” where we learn about the region, Campania, where Dr. Fasano spent his childhood. He then offers what sounds like a heavenly five-course meal of gluten-free specialties including Capri Salad featuring Mozzarella di bufala di Campania — the soft mozzarella cheese from the Dr.’s home region.

I like how this book provides comprehensive information on gluten issues including an appendix of apps for mobile phones as well as an extensive list for recommended reading. There are also some excellent practical features like a “Wheat Alert” table of menu items that contain wheat, and a stage-by-stage life guide for how to avoid gluten from cradle to grave.

After finishing the book, I was still left with a question, which I posed to the authors: “Is there any value in a low-gluten diet even if you don’t have gluten sensitivity? Does it help to diversify the grains we eat? If gluten calories are substituted with more fruits and vegetables, would that be better for overall health?”

Pam Cureton, one of the contributing writers for the book and a registered dietitian at the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment, responded:

“No, there is no advantage to following a low-gluten diet for those who tolerate gluten. There is, however, an advantage to eating more whole, natural foods and reducing the amount of processed foods to reduce unwanted levels of sodium, sugar, fats and extra calories. For people who tolerate gluten, these are the problem ingredients, not the wheat, rye or barley. Including these as whole grains along with other ancient grains, amaranth, millet, sorghum and others, would benefit everyone.”

I’m glad my own oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie recipe contains sorghum! Thanks, Pam! And thanks to Dr. Fasano and all the contributors to Gluten Freedom — helping us navigate this difficult health and dietary issue.

Link to Gluten Freedom on Amazon

S. Korea curbs U.S. beef sales after confirmation of mad cow disease – CNN.com

Maybe it’s a sign from above that we should all just stop eating beef.  For what it’s worth, eating beef is also associated with higher rates of several cancers including pancreatic and breast cancer, and many other of the reproductive cancers.  Eating hamburger also may involve eating pink slime.  So all in all, I’d say it’s been a bad year for beef, and perhaps it will go on to be a bad decade for beef.  Those of us hoping to take steps to improve our health can only hope.  From CNN.com:  S. Korea curbs U.S. beef sales after confirmation of mad cow disease.

Rhode Island Schools Removing ‘Pink Slime’ from the Menu

You may remember the video we posted a few weeks back about Pink Slime.  I’m happy to report that we were part of the national momentum of disgust that has prompted the right response from our state:  School removing ‘pink slime’ from the menu | Turn to 10.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth: “It’s Alcohol without the Buzz”

via Sugar: The Bitter Truth – YouTube.

Just watched this.  It’s long and quite technical in terms of biochemistry, but it makes the case strongly that fructose is a chronic toxin, as in soda is basically “alcohol without the buzz.”

The Truth Behind Hamburger: PINK SLIME!

If you haven’t eaten your last hamburger yet, this video should do it.  I know I’m done.

Kiersten Marek:

Some good guidelines for anti-cancer cooking with tomatoes.

Originally posted on Eat and Beat Cancer:

anti cancer tomatoes Today you’re making tomato sauce. Good choice. Tomatoes are prized for their lycopene, the pigment that turns them red and is associated with anti-cancer activity.

View original 463 more words

Forks over Knives and Portlandia

No, they’re not really related, but both are great viewing material. Forks over Knives is sobering and reminds us all to eat our vegetables. Portlandia is just plain hysterical — skits riffing on all the outrageous people in Portland and beyond. BTW, the Mayor of Portland portrayed in the skits has an uncanny likeness to Linc Chafee. He is seen bouncing on his exercise ball, working on his “core” while chatting with young musicians about writing a song to promote about Portland.

Here’s the trailer for Forks and Knives:

One of the 8,000 Chemicals You Should Definitely Avoid

There is a growing awareness, particularly in our younger generation, that we need to do something about the 8,000 chemicals in our environment that are floating around unregulated. I am hoping for a generation of young warriors who will bring some level of safety standards to our environment and make sure chemical companies pay their fair share for the do-over. One particular chemical that I am joining Dr. Mercola in focusing on is an “anti-foaming agent” that is put on McDonald’s Chicken Mcnuggets. From the good doctor:

Do you put dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent made of silicone, in your chicken dishes?

How about tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a chemical preservative so deadly that just five grams can kill you?

These are just two of the ingredients in a McDonalds Chicken McNugget. Only 50 percent of a McNugget is actually chicken. The other 50 percent includes corn derivatives, sugars, leavening agents and completely synthetic ingredients.

I will admit to eating my share of chicken McNuggets over the years, and I’ve noticed that they have a weird bitter aftertaste, particularly when cold. Well, just one more reason to try to avoid fast food and processed foods whenever possible.

Free Range

So now we are expecting flocks of East Side chickens. They’ll strut around picking at organic wheatgrass, clucking about the young chicks and their ways, laying artisanal eggs and performing on youtube.

I guess we have to live with it– a sign of the times. I saw a contraband chicken in a coop in a back yard in Fox Point some years ago. Will the eggs taste as good without the spice of the forbidden?

Laboring for Health

Since it’s Labor Day, it seems only fitting to share a news item relevant to those who truly know what it is like to endure labor, mothers. The article, which is a couple of weeks old (making it ancient in the Information Age), concerns a potential link between prenatal exposure to pesticides and the future development of attention deficit disorders. That such a link may exist is not entirely surprising. But it is alarming nonetheless. We live amid a multitude of toxins, which individually and in combination may impact the most vulnerable among us in ways that we cannot always imagine or appreciate. At least, not until the body of scientific data and the resulting public uproar become too powerful to ignore. In the meantime, it pays to be attentive and cautious.

From U.S. News & World Report:

Pesticide Exposure in the Womb Increases ADHD Risk

Exposure to pesticides while in the womb may increase the odds that a child will have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to researchers at the University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health. Combine that with research published in May in Pediatrics finding that children exposed to pesticides were more likely to have ADHD, and it’s enough to make parents wonder how to reduce their family’s exposure to pesticides.

The California researchers are studying the impact of environmental exposures on the health of women and children who live in the Salinas Valley, an agricultural region with heavy pesticide use. They tested the urine of pregnant women for pesticide residue, and then tested the behavior of their children at ages 3½ and 5. The 5-year-olds who had been exposed to organophosphate pesticides while in the womb had more problems with attention and behavior than did children who were not exposed. What’s more, the heavier the pesticide exposure, the more likely that the child would have symptoms of ADHD . The results were published online in Environmental Health Perspectives.

This isn’t proof that pesticides cause ADHD, but since organophosphate pesticides are neurotoxins that kill pests by disrupting neurotransmitters that carry signals though the brain, it’s easy to imagine that exposure to organophosphate might interfere with brain function and development. [full article]

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