Friday, November 30, 2012

5 steps to "green' your scene

1. Make it yourself - use organic products, there's less packaging and no manufacturing processes.

2. Get out of debt - money saved on interest can be used to purchase healthier foods.

3. Stay home - less driving means less fast food drive-thrus.

4. Shop local - the job you save may be your own.

5. Read your favorite magazine on-line - saves trees, gasoline, and landfills.
Source: http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/baby-steps-green-scene.htm

Wild foods are catching on

A new restaurant is opening in Portland with a focus on wild game and wild produce. Chef Eric Bechard of McMinnville's Thistle is still thinking of a name, but they are busy raising some of the animals that will be served such as wood pigeon (featured below), American blue rabbit, fallow deer and canvasback duck. 

 The animals will also be processed using whole animal butchery and smoking, pickling and curing will also be included. This fare offers a sustainable option for sourcing foods by raising it close to where it is being consumed. In addition to the the meat the restaurant will also have greenhouse for growing produce and herbs. Wild mushrooms will also be a part of the menu.
Nettles are a wild food commonly used for culinary purposes.


Chanterelles cannot be cultivated successfully. The only option is to find them wildly.

 Wild crafting foods locally reduces how far food travels before it is consumed at the table. Wild foods often have more nutrition since they are exposed to varied substrates and conditions then those their cultivated counterparts.

Here is an example of some of the menu items: 


Whole braised then grilled rabbit for two (carved tableside)

Pickled elk tongue with its heart, marrow and rose hips

Wood pigeon and root pie for two 

Roasted and raw matsutake with sprouted emmer and smoked apples

Razor clams cooked in shell with spruce and rhubarb juice

Smoked pheasant soup with brassicas, chestnut dumplings and pickled chestnuts

Beetroot, yoghurt, dill, horseradish and oxalis

Stinging nettle and wild garlic soup with duck egg and wood lettuce

Black urchin in vinegar with wood lilly, wild ginger and cress

Birch syrup pie with soured milk

Blood pancakes with huckleberries and hazelnuts


Source: http://www.oregonlive.com/dining/index.ssf/2012/11/thistles_eric_bechard_opening.html

Perfect for anytime of year...

And just in time for the holidays. Here is a different approach to wrapping gifts.


 Try using some different materials that you can gather on a walk or hike. The paper can be purchased or sourced from thrift store or from places like Scrap in Portland, Oregon that redistribute donated art materials. The embellishments are spray painted gold here but they could be spray painted any color or a variety of colors depending on your theme or motif.
Here are some beautiful examples created by a blogger in Bulgaria, Radostina.

Source: 79ways.com

The Dangers of Soy


Starbucks has most of us convinced that soymilk is a healthy alternative to dairy milk for our coffee. Our understanding of Asian culture convinces us that soy products are one reason behind the increased level of health among Asians, but is soy really all that beneficial?

Dr. Joseph Mercola from the Huffington Post explains why soy might not be a healthy alternative to dairy and argues that it is, in fact, detrimental to health especially in women and young children. He cites thousands of studies that have shown connections between soy consumption and increased health problems such as digestive distress, thyroid dysfunction, reproductive disorders and in extreme cases, cancer and heart disease.

He focuses on two critical distinctions between modern-day soy consumption as seen in the United States verses traditional soy consumption as seen in Asia and other parts of the world. One difference is that Americans consume soy that has been genetically modified, and conventionally (non-organically) grown 90% of the time whereas other countries such as France have banned genetically modified organisms (gmo’s). The other difference is that soy products in the United States are unfermented and make up a larger part of Americans day-to-day diets (most processed foods contain soy in one form or another) than in Asia, where the typical individual consumes about two teaspoons of fermented soy daily. Dr Mercola explains the health detriments of consuming unfermented soy, such as tofu, soy milk, TVP, hydrolyzed soy, and infant formula. He lists 10 adverse effects: high phytic acid (a digestive inhibitor), protein denaturing, and MSG to name a few. He even states that one should never feed infants soy formula; “Drinking just two glasses of soymilk daily” he says, “provides enough of these compounds to alter a woman's menstrual cycle. But if you feed soy to your infant or child, these effects are magnified a thousand-fold.” When soy products are fermented, not only are these dangerous substances replaced, they’re replaced with beneficial substances such as vitamin K2. Such fermented products include tempeh, soy sauce, miso and natto. In conclusion, remember Dr. Mercola next time you reach for the tofu in the supermarket thinking that you are avoiding the evils of industrialized meat.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Green Proteins...Literally!

In the search for protein sources that are "sustainable", it is concluded rather quickly that there really are no absolutely sustainable options out there at this point. Most protein is produced (whether animal or plant based) on a fairly massive scale. From the feed produced in large quantities that is shipped in to give animals, to the factories used to package protein, there is usually an expenditure of fossil fuels somewhere in the process. Fossil fuels are not a sustainable energy source but they are used heavily in food production. There are a couple of "green" choices, however. One alternative to purchasing protein that uses up precious fuel sources is to buy goods from a locally cultivated and self-sustaining farm. A self-sustaining farm will grow the feed that they give their animals themselves. They will do the harvesting and separating by hand, and because it is more likely a smaller company it will require less energy via fossil fuels.
Proteins that are produced on a larger scale that are a “more sustainable” choice than others would be plant based proteins – especially algae proteins like spirulina. Talk about a "green" option!

The blue-green algae, Spirulina, is a complete protein so it works great as a supplement. Often it is taken as a tablet or in powder form. Dried spirulina is about 60% protein. Being so dense in protein content means that only a small dosage is required to meet one’s daily intake recommendation. Because of that it is a more sustainable option because people require less of it than other forms of protein, which in turn uses fewer resources to produce. Spriulina is also rich in other vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin K. 

Another algae to consider is chlorella. Chlorella is a type of algae with an extremely high content of magnesium-rich chlorophyll. A 100 g, 411-calorie serving contains 58 g of protein, which is more than twice the protein found in beef. Chlorella also has massive amounts of vitamin A, and is a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and amino acids. But chlorella shows special promise as a substance that can detoxify the body from radiation and other contaminants. Researchers around the world have studied chlorella, and found evidence that it attaches to radioactive particles and helps flush them from the body. Chlorella is also associated with increased production of spleen stem cells and bone marrow.
Remember, be careful to read the labels of any protein you purchase – the way it is raised or produced can have an effect on the quality you will be ingesting. It is always safest to look for proteins that are organic in order to avoid eating food that has been genetically modified or fed genetically modified feed. 

For Further Reading:

Sources:
 

Stop Poisoning Yourself!

A natural and organic food diet should be at the center of a proper nutrition program. Have you ever heard the phrase – you are what you eat? By eating natural and organic foods, and consuming lots of fruits and vegetables through juicing, you can eat your way to good health. Now that is a diet I can live with!

I hate the word diet. It conjures up visions of starving myself to try to shed some pounds. In our society, the word diet has become synonymous with restriction of certain foods to lose weight. However, these fad diets generally do more harm than good. Once the goal is reached – if it is reached – old eating habits return. Generally the weight that was lost is regained quickly. Even worse, during the diet, unhealthy foods are substituted for natural ones, leading to worse general health. Take for instance substituting saccharin or aspartame for sugar. These man-made chemicals can do more harm than good.

The natural and organic food diet is not a temporary fad. It is a lifestyle change that promotes good health and long life. Because the natural and organic food diet is more likely to provide the nutrition your body needs and also has a cleansing effect on your body, it will allow your body to heal itself. By eliminating the foods that introduce or create toxins in your body, and by eating foods that are natural and organic, you will achieve good health.

The premise of the natural and organic food diet is to avoid foods that contain artificial sweeteners and other additives. Since these food additives do not naturally occur in nature and are created by man, the human body does not process them correctly. It causes the body to build up toxins and generally leads to bad health. Similarly, use of non-naturally occurring fats and oils can also lead to compromised health. Also find out why ultra-low fat diets may actually be hurting your health and why some fats are essential to your health.

Farmers feed growth hormones and antibiotics to animals raised for meats and dairy products, in order to increase the output of the farm. Additionally, farmers treat vegetables and fruit they grow with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Therefore, eating natural and organic meats and dairy products and organic produce relieves your body of the added burden of processing these chemicals present in the food we eat.

Source: http://www.the-natural-path.com/natural-and-organic-food.html

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Going Green!



Finding sources of food that are cost effective both to our wallet and from an environmental and sustainable standpoint is only part of the problem these days.  There are a lot of things that we can do save money and help the environment.  How about looking at the water you pour down your drain on a regular basis.  There is a lot of cash to be saved there and conserving freshwater is definitely a huge issue from both an environmental and sustainable standpoint.  You can both save money and conserve water by taking shorter showers, installing a low flow showerhead, making sure that every faucet in your house has an aerator, and just generally looking for energy efficient products when you are shopping for a new dishwasher or washing machine.  What about saving gas?  With the cost of that these days, there is a ton of money to be saved on top of conserving fossil fuels.  Rather than driving try walking or biking.  Not only do you get the benefit of saving money and the environment, but you also get a great workout out of the deal too!  For these and tons of other great ideas on how to Go Green in your everyday life, visit www.worldwatch.org.



Green Eggs!


Purchasing free range eggs or eggs from a local farmer’s market, as opposed to the caged chicken eggs you generally see at the grocery store, is not just an environmental and ethical good deed but it is also a cleaner and more beneficial protein. Many people use eggs to support their body’s protein requirements for a few reasons. Eggs are cheap, easy/quick to cook, and an egg contains just 75 calories yet packs 7 grams of protein. Eggs have many health benefits and by choosing the “green” egg, the health benefits increase. According to nationalgeographic.com free range eggs, on average, contain a third less cholesterol and a fourth less saturated fat that a caged chicken egg. Free range eggs have higher concentrations of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Free range means that the chicken was raised outside and free from a small cage. An egg that has the most health benefits comes from a free range pasture-fed chicken, usually found at a local farm or at a community market. If you purchase your eggs locally, not only are you supporting local environmentally responsible businesses, but you will gain even more nutritional benefits then the already beneficial free range. 



sources:




Smart Protein


Protein is vital to muscle health and growth, but did you know its also vital to brain function? A protein-deficient diet can not only affect your muscles’ ability to repair damage, but it can also affect the neurotransmitters that are responsible for motivation, tranquility, frustration, focus and many other chemical functions. Proteins play a significant role in brain heath in many ways. One way that proteins help the brain function is by acting as a guide for nerve cells heading to their correct locations. Protein also guides the cell bodies and long axons that extend from nerve cell bodies towards nerve cells. Another way that protein affects brain function is through amino acids. One amino acid that has a direct impact on the brain is tryptophan. Tryptophan is found in many proteins from lobster to turkey. Tryptophan creates a feeling of calm, contentment and sleepiness. Find the Tryptophan amounts in the protein you are eating here.  A protein diet can also have amino acids that have the opposite affect on a person’s mood.  Tyrosine is an amino acid that creates alertness and energy. Tyrosine promotes and encourages neurons to create norepinephrine and dopamine. Check out Whole Food Catalogue which has a list of protein-rich foods that have a tyrosine content. Tryptophan and Tyrosine are just two examples of amino acids found in proteins we consume. Both are critical to how we feel and perform. To ensure that your brain is being provided the amino acids it requires to function properly, keep a balanced and diverse diet. Know what you eat and reflect on how your body feels after meals.     



sources:



The cost of too much protein


You see it at the gym, you see it in your fitness magazines, you see it at the nutrition stores. Protein supplements are one of the first things you hear about when looking to build or maintain lean muscle. Does your daily diet provide an appropriate amount of protein? Do you need to buy the supplement to meet your body’s requirement for protein? What impact will too much protein have on your body? These are all questions you need to answer before jumping onto the “protein bandwagon”. For must people, our daily diet provides the amount of protein our bodies need to maintain health. According to the CDC, the recommended daily allowance for protein is 46 grams for an adult female and 56 grams for an adult male. Below is a breakdown of average protein amounts in protein rich foods.



    6 oz. steak = 36 grams of protein
    1 chicken breast = 23 grams of protein
    1 cup of lentils = 18 grams of protein
    1 can of tuna = 42 grams of protein
    1 serving of yogurt = 14 grams of protein
    1 cup of milk = 8 grams of protein





Does your daily diet provide you with the body’s daily requirement? Track your intake and calculate if you are meeting the requirement. If you are protein deficient, a protein supplement may help you reach the right amount. Beware of too much protein intake. Too much protein can be harmful. Excess protein intake can cause damage to your kidneys, reduce bone calcium, cause diarrhea, constipation and dehydration. Knowing your diet and tracking your intake will help prevent a deficiency or excess of protein in your system. In doing so, you will know if a protein supplement is appropriate for you.

Use this chart to help determine your protien intake: protein chart 

sources:


http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50900


Monday, November 26, 2012

Protein, not just for your mouth.

Source Wikimedia Commons

Eggs are one of the better sources of low cost (both monetarily and environmentally) high density (15.6% protein by mass!) protein. But did you know they’re also great for your hair? The vitamins, amino acids (the building blocks which make up proteins) and other nutrients in egg yolks are often added to expensive high end shampoos to help repair and add shine to hair. But why shell out top dollar for fancy hair soap. Either take an egg yolk, whip it and mix it with some of your current shampoo and use as normal; or take a number of egg yolks (depending on how much hair you have) add them to dry hair and cover and let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing out. The same proteins that make eggs a great affordable diet choice will also leave your hair looking strong and healthy. Just make sure you don’t use very hot water when rinsing it out, or you might end up cooking your homemade remedy, and that would leave you with egg on your face. And in your hair!

Quinoa

Harvested raw Quinoa
Chances are, you’ve heard of Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). Originally from the Andes of South America, the plant’s seeds are are boiled and have become popular as a higher fiber alternative to rice. Known as a psuedoceral, being not quite a true grain or a true cereal, quinoa has rocketed to the forefront of health food circles. While it does have twice as much protein by mass as white rice, and would provide a good alternative in that respect, quinoa doesn’t have as high a protein content as most other beans and legumes. For example cooked quinoa has 4.4g protein out of 100 grams versus 5.22g/100g protein in canned kidney beans. However for taste and texture, it’s a new and different alternative. It also grows in low nutrient, low moister, sandy soils, making it more versatile and environmentally friendly than other common grains, some beans, and especially rice, which requires a tremendous amount of water to cultivate. 2013 has also been declared International Year of Quinoa by the UN, as well as international year of Water cooperation, which - given the low moisture requirements of quinoa - seems appropriate.

Cooked Red Quinoa. Photos via Wikimedia Commons


Support your Local Farmers


Purchasing from your local farmers markets will create a ripple effect of positive notions for the economy and your dinner table.  According to Willamette Valley Agriculture, over the past 10 years local farmers are on the rise and have served “An estimated 90,000 visitors per week.”  Many farmers and vendors at the local farmers markets are accepting the Oregon Trail card and have partnered with Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) programs to promote healthy food purchases from your local farmers. This is a Win-Win people! Some items consumers can look for are produce, eggs, meat, dairy, honey, rice, plant starters, and much more!!! There are farmers markets throughout the Willamette Valley. . .

Food for thought. . . “What grows together, goes together” (Julie Fether, A Female Chef, Lane Community College)

When was the last time you went to the farmers market?

Quick Links for Local Farmers Markets

Lane County
http://lanecountyfarmersmarket.org/

Salem Area
http://www.salemsaturdaymarket.com/

Portland Area
http://www.portlandfarmersmarket.org/index.php/markets/

Umpqua Valley
http://www.uvfarmersmarket.org

Eugene Local Foods
http://wwwlocalfoodmarketplace.com/eugene/ProductsList.aspx?categoryId=118&subCatId=147

 
 

http://willamettevalleyagriculture.wikidot.com/farmers-markets

We Could be Heroes


Our current environmental situation faces a number of crisis ranging from global climate change to natural resource scarcity. Mark Bittman, an opinion writer for the New York Times and Time Magazine's food columnist lays out in a short piece entitled appropriately enough “We Could be Heroes” how livestock production and the increasing role of meat in the global diet has negatively impacted a number of pressing environmental issues. Bittman cites the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization’s report titled Livestock's Long Shadow which attributes that roughly 18% of green house gas emissions are directly related to livestock production. This figure was later proposed as being potentially to low and that it could be perhaps as high a figure as 51%. Likewise Water is growing to become an ever scarcer resource and with grain-fed beef requiring up to 2500 gallons of water per pound any choice we as individuals take to eat less meat helps alleviate the ever growing burden on our resources. Bittman puts it best when he says “We have to think about producing and eating meat in those terms [one of scarcity]. Anything else would be unethical.”

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sustainable Food Pyramid



The publication of the Double Pyramid paper in June 2010 sent out the first strong signal of how important it was to pay attention to food choices, not only with regard to health, but also as to environmental protection. This new 2011 edition has tripled the amount of data collected from scientific literature and from public environmental databases.

Sources:

http://cultivatingfoodcoops.net/wp2012/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Environmental-Pyramid.png

http://cultivatingfoodcoops.net/resources/organic/double-pyramid-healthy-food-for-people-sustainable-food-for-the-planet/



New healthy protein powder


In my attempt to find a healthy source of cost effective protein, and being interested in raw food diets, I stumbled upon Garden of Eden’s protein formula. The originators believe that the advantage of consuming protein in a raw form directly from nature is that one obtains more than just protein. In its raw form, protein sources from plants and especially from animals have a more complex structural make-up including vitamins, minerals, probiotics, living enzymes, and the 8 essential amino acids, explain the creators on their website. In fact, one of the reasons that Asian people are generally referred to as having very healthy eating habits, is because they are one of the few remaining cultures that consume large amounts of raw protein—fish.  

Garden of Eden contends, “the importance of consuming live probiotics and enzymes with your protein is critical. In order for your body to get the most out of it, you must first break down and then absorb the protein. Certain enzymes, known as proteases, help digest protein so that your body can properly use it. While your body can produce protein digesting enzymes, raw foods provide both the protein and the enzymes for utilization together as they should be.” 

Before agriculture became industrialized, people naturally consumed these complex proteins. Today, Garden of Eden has found a way of reproducing these natural proteins in their two formulas: RAW Protein, and RAW Meal. What’s more the protein formulas are less expensive than hormone free meats, and offer the benefits of being raw. For example, someone weighing 180 pounds would be able to get their protein needs fulfilled for about 5 days on this protein formula that costs $28. For most people interested in balancing the cost and quality of protein, $5.60 a day is a reasonable expense. For more information check out: http://www.transformyourhealth.com/webnewsletters/aug10/crackingtheproteincodearticle.htm