Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Why be normal? Rolls the Chef Roy Way

So my son asked me to make some stuff for him. Lunch meat sandwiches that are in reality, well, rolls. Easy to do, so I went to Winco for groceries. (I love Winco, employee owned, fair pricing and huge selection, and not supporting the mega corporations funding of personal excesses) I purchases some dry salami and turkey breasts. And some jalapeno jack cheese. I cut thick slabs of the cheese and rolled it up in alternating layers of the cold cuts.

Then I made basic whole wheat bread dough, let rise an hour and then took golf ball sized bits and pressed out into rectangle on counter. Placed the rolled cheese and luncheon meats onto the bread dough and just pulled the sides up and pinched them all together to form little loaf. Make sure they are sealed well because if they aren't, then the cheese will melt and leak out all over the sheet pans. Let rise in warm place. Right now since it's raining and I have the windows open (YAY summer is over) it's pretty cool and so I let oven warm up a bit and then just let the rolls rise in the warm oven. Let double in size. Then take out and preheat the oven to 425. Throw a few ice cubes in and that steam helps let the rolls rise in those first couple minutes in the oven.  Let bake until golden brown, rotating the pan about 10 minutes into the baking. Total baking time was about 22 minutes. Cool on rack and bag them, suck the air out and throw in the freezer. A couple minutes in the microwave and a nice hot sandwich for on the go or nice snack at work


Monday, October 5, 2015

Just about the heartiest soup ever made

Yikes, bold statement, but make it once, and you will agree with me. The soup is pretty easy, and unbelievably nutritious as well as tasty as all get out. To start, take a half cup of lentils, a half cup of wild rice, and a half cup of rye berries. Rye is very hearty and bold, so I thought it would go well in this mix. Feel free to use whole oats, wheat or barley. In a pinch, brown rice would work as well. Rinse, put in pressure cooker and cover with a quart of water, bring to boil and pressure for 20 minutes. Let cool until pressure drops, open cooker and pour all the stuff into a bowl. Put the cooker back on the stove and heat back to medium high and film with 3 tablespoons olive oil and then add two sliced leeks, 4 ribs celery sliced, a red pepper diced and 3 jalapenos seeded and diced. I also added a cup and a half of chopped smoked mushrooms. Not something everyone has around the house, I have them because I smoke a lot of stuff in my smoker (mostly my goat cheese that I sell) and so I often just slice up mushrooms and put out there. You can omit or just add regular mushrooms. They add just a nice faint smokiness that I find pleasant. Cook over medium high about 8 to 10 minutes, a little color on the veggies is fine and adds to the flavor. When getting a bit softened, dump the grains back into the pot. Now, here I added 2 packages of my Tuscan Sun Dip Mix for a fantastic seasoning combination. You know, not necessary to use that specific product, but if you want to try it, come see me at the farmers market or order online (upper right corner) or just add a bunch of your favorite Italian seasoning blend. And I mean a lot, at least two ounces or so. Then I added a bunch of fresh ground black pepper, brought the thing to a boil, then added four finely chopped Kale leaves. Add the lid to the pressure cooker and cook under pressure for about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from stove and cool to remove lid. Serve as is or with chopped parsley and a whole wheat roll on the side. 

You know, this was sooooo easy and it tasted fantastic. Even my son got up from his office (work from home day) and went out to the kitchen when he smelled the stuff. He had told me he wanted a burrito but ended up eating this. 

It makes a huge pot, and I imagine that tomorrow it will taste even better than today.  

Tomorrow I am going to take this thick soup, really a stew, and mix in a skillet with some cooked brown rice. Let the rice absorb all the liquid, let it cool and mix in some shredded cheese and stuff into green bells that I cored. I'll put them into another pressure cooker and cook under pressure about 8 minutes or so to cook the peppers through. More cheese on top to serve and I think the entire neighborhood will be knocking on the door cuz it will smell that good.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Chapter 12 of my novel, I am god's emissary

Well, after a week and a half of being miserable and having to eat horrific hospital food for four days, I'm home, feeling better and writing again. Here's chapter 12, and there are black birds in it

Chapter 12
The quarter was flipped into the air where it spun around and landed lightly on the blanket of the worn old bunk on which the emissary now sat. He made a hash mark under the column for heads on the yellow pad next to him. Then he picked up the coin and flipped it once again. Another mark, then the emissary stood, once again hearing that horrific music coming from the earpieces of Jake the aide's music deliver system. Standing, he moved to the door and opened it as the knock came. Jake stood blocking the door, a curious look on his face, then for the first time, he spoke. "Mr. Marshall, how come you always open the door just as I start to knock?"
"I can hear your music Jake."
Satisfied, he led the emissary through the maze to the office of the psychiatrist. There he entered after the knock and acclamation to enter. Once again he avoided looking at the chair, then shook hands with the priest and sat in the third chair once again ready for an interrogation. As the emissary looked at the two staring at him, the doctor preparing her notepad and the priest with a look of both frustration and acceptance, he decided to take control and steer things for today. "Doc. Do you remember the second day we met you asked me a question. You asked if there was but the one god for the entire universe or one for each of the seven planes of existence. I told you that at that time, you would be unable to understand the answer. What about now?"
She stopped writing. Putting the pencil into her mouth, she clamped down on it as if to chew it into three pieces. Relaxing, she removed it and answered. "That one I remember. And yes, I would have to say that now, well, I do. I think we have talked about the nature of the Universal Consciousness, and I do understand that god being here, even if god is only presenting to you and no one else, that god is the same god in all planes of existence, however god is different in each as well. And what used to sound crazy and impossible to me, now has a certain logic to it. So yeah."
"Well then, I guess it's a good time to talk about Mother Earth."
The priest leaned forward a bit and interjected, "What about karma, we didn't get to it last week and I thought we should learn about that."
"Well Jake, I think that you, well, at least the Doc here, is ready for some stuff that you won't at all believe. And yet, it is."
"Okay Mr. Marshall, if you think I'm ready, let's go." And she sort of gave a weird smile to her friend the priest whose face then became unreadable.
"As I stated in the past, Mother Earth is alive. Remember that the Universal Consciousness, the UC, consists of everything in our universe. It gets down to the basic structure of matter, and that it is made of light. It's really only a matter of time before the physicists out there come to that conclusion. Now, remember, at one time, there was only light. The universe was nothing but light. But within that which was, there were individual essences. Individual consciousnesses, separate, but all connected into one big UC. And when the vain part left, the major part, the UC formed the universe. And they formed the universe out of themselves. Light."
Now the priest interrupted, "But light moves, it can't be a solid object."
"Well that's only partially correct. Remember we talked about, and well you brought it up as well Jake, the quantum representation of reality is that physical reality alters depending on whether or not that reality is being viewed. You've heard of those experiments haven't you?"
"Yes Mr. Marshall, but even in those experiments, the photons being observed were still traveling at the speed of light."
"Were they? Only when the experiment was set up to observe the photons in motion. It was a one sided experiment designed to view light and also, electrons, when in motion but not what they did when not observed. And all that is irrelevant, science today is in its infancy and has much to learn. And of course unlearn as well, so much we have wrong."
"Wrong. Are you saying science is wrong?"
"Well, yeah. Jake, that's why we're here talking. So much about the universe is based on observable phenomena and no attention is given to what and how the physical laws apply to the universe when not observed. And especially just the entire concept that the universe, and our Mother Earth, are all alive, cognizant beings. That right there is the part that you both are unable to deal with. And that's why I thought I should focus on that aspect today."
The three sat once again in silence for several minutes.
"Silence is golden." the emissary started. "For thousands of years the societies on earth lived in balance with Mother Earth. They ate the produce and feasted on the fatted animals and for the most part, had time to look at the world about themselves and observe the natural order of things. And as life was simpler then, less for the internal dialogue to filter out, there were many that stopped the dialogue and became more attuned to the universe. Now I don't know what happened then, whether they talked to god, this god, or another god. I don't know, and god won't say, but I know that the things that those men or women saw gave them at least a small understanding on how to live, in balance. And the big one, how to see that our Mother Earth is alive and working to help us. Every civilization began with people looking about them and realizing the patterns of life, and their own interaction with their physical environment. And of course seeing the repetition of existence. The movement of the stars, the seasons changing, just that basic night turns into day; it's all a varied cataclysm of repetition within a wild variety of life. Many saw the good path, many did not. The Aztec and Mayans, Rome, well, so many others, they grew too fast, forgot the teachings of their shamans and led themselves into an existence based on vanity. Well, their leaders did. Pretty much a common story for most of the great civilizations in the past. Or the present. That's all it takes, the people in power having that desire to have more, do more, be more than any one else around that upsets the balance. And people, once shown a path that is divergent from the path to Oneness, one filled with happy wondrous things, well, that path gets lost next to the road for personal pleasure and gratification."
The priest looked puzzled by the turn of conversation and said so, "That's all history, what does that have to do with us?"
"Well Jake, that's the whole point, we've forgotten our history. We don't have shamans anymore teaching us the path to Oneness, we've had prophets. And our home, Mother Earth has suffered ever since we lost those teachings from those men and women that looked upon the world and saw the signs of life, and the help She gives us in our lives."
The priest looked at his friend and back again to the emissary. "Again, sorry, how does this all tie in with our learning about your system of existence in these differing planes? I fail to see any connection whatsoever."
"Patience Monsignor, patience." The emissary returned, using his formal title. "We actually have one of the oldest and most observant civilizations living amongst us now. An ancient people that have since time untold, been able to see without the ID, and learn how our world actually is. And we very nearly wiped them from the face of the earth with our silly prejudices and unending quest for power."
Now the doctor finally said something. "Mr. Marshall, I think you're referring to the Native Americans, aren't you?"
"Yes, I've been blessed with a wide variety of friends in my life. I have two very good friends that are Dineh. Navajo. And one that is Yaqui. In my youth, we hunted, we drank too much together and told lies and laughed all night. And we learned together from elders. We have gone on vision quests and I learned impossible things only to find that now, with my ability to stop my internal dialogue, those things are even closer to the truth than I ever thought possible."    
The priest looked uncomfortable and fidgeted in his seat a moment. "I think I know where this is going, witch doctors. Indians were savages when we came to this country Mr. Marshall, history tells us the truth about them, the various tribes fought one another and even practiced cannibalism. There is nothing to learn from that past."
"Shamans Jake, not witch doctors. I hope your personal prejudices won't prevent you from at least attempting to review this information with a little bit of cultural relativism."
"And what might that refer to." The priest appeared quizzical for now.
Then the doctor jumped in again, "Jake, that basically means that we need to try to understand those beliefs and activities as a part of their own culture and not to immediately inflict our own biases and beliefs unto their cultural system. Really Jake, you do that all the time. When you council people, you have to look past the person in front of you, their race, their circumstances, poverty, even marriage. Anything that is different from your way of life, you have to look past and see them as people and not somehow living in their own life setting which could be and often is, extremely different from what you know and how you were raised and can often be quite repellant."
The priest thought about this a moment, then agreed. "All right. Go ahead."
"Well, one of the most often seen concepts in just about every early culture so far has been that of messengers. Now don't dismiss this outright Jake, it's a foundation of the church, visitations to man by angels."
The two sat a moment waiting for a response from the cleric, and it was but a moment. "I think that you want to entertain concepts other than that of the Christian angel though. So I will listen, go on Mr. Marshall."
"Thank you Jake. It goes back to our Mother Earth being alive. And a part of us as well. We are all parts of the Universal Consciousness. The UC didn't just create this universe and allow us as humans to develop enough to accept our individual consciousnesses and hope for the best. Our existence has always had guidance. Some cultures had angels. And prophets that came into the lives of men and gave them inspiration as well as specific concepts of good, evil, life, death and yeah, even heaven and hell. However, those haven't been the only modes of guidance that have been with us to help us live lives leading to Oneness. And here again Jake, you might not recognize it, but the concept of Oneness encompasses every single ideal within the Church and pretty much all of the major religions in the world. That idea, that concept of achieving the goal of a suitable wondrous afterlife is basic to every belief system. Even the idea of reincarnation encompasses growth in spirit through worldly existence that will through the living of multiple incarnations lead to Oneness with the Universe or commonly referred to as ascension or enlightenment. Your whole belief is that living your life and accepting Jesus as your savior will lead to an afterlife living with your god. The concept is universal, literally, in this the Third Plane of Existence. And all these concepts have been given to us by angels, messengers and prophets."
"All right Mr. Marshall, I will accept that the premise of your system goes along with every other belief out there. You do seem to have good intentions with this."
"Thanks Jake, it might seem hard to believe, but I never, well, still don't want this. But, to continue, messengers. They have come in many forms, and pretty much the Native Americans are the people that paid the most attention to them and were able through careful recognition and assessment, categorize and determine the nature of messengers and commonality. Well, most of the more peaceful tribes did this, the more warlike factions were more concerned with taking things from others instead of working for them. Not unlike politicians and the like today. But, I can specifically tell you about the Yaqui and Dineh. Their findings were virtually the same and have been passed down for generations. And here's the thing, I have experienced this phenomena on a very personal level. It has happened to me and saved my life. I believe in it, and have for most of my adult life."
His pause lasted a minute, probably for a dramatic effect. The doctor jumped in, "Okay so tell us about this Mr. Marshall, how did this belief save your life?"
Sort of rocking his head back and forth with not a smile, but a weird grimace, he began. "Well, remember, I learned about this stuff in my late teens and early twenties. Stuff taught to my friends and I that for the most part I learned, but didn't truly believe. The big one is that of black birds. There are many others, owls, wolfs, even butterflies at opportune moments have a message for us; but black birds are the biggest and most universally accept harbingers of assistance from Mother Earth. Now, just for a moment Doc, think back to the first time we met and talked. I told you that god didn't exist here to watch over our lives continuously as is the belief of most of the churches out there?"
"Yes, I do remember that. I was a bit surprised." answered the doctor.
"Yeah, well in a roundabout way, that's not exactly true. We have Mother Earth here looking after our daily existence. Not exactly god, at least not the God of the Church and all that, but Mother Earth is a part of the Universal Consciousness which in a way is the totality of all existence and could be considered God."
The priest suddenly leaned forward with a new question. "Well answer this for me then Mr. Marshall, is the Mother Earth just one individual consciousness that is part of the universal total or is it more than one and they are all living together within this physical construct, the planet earth?"
The other two stared at the priest for a moment before he continued. "I told you before that I am allowed to listen and learn, which I quite willingly do. But so far it hasn't changed my mind or my beliefs."
"Well then, thank you I think. I suppose if I thought about it, you do come every week so there must be some interest." he paused as the priest nodded. "I'm sorry Jake, actually I don't have an answer to that question and will have wait until next week after I speak with god again. But it does pose an interesting concept and I will endeavor to find out. So, messengers. Probably the biggest and most common messenger that you will notice is that of a black bird flying across your path. If the bird flies across your path going from your left to your right, that is a very serious omen and it means that you must stop the direction you are heading. See, the looks on your faces right now is priceless. You both look astonished at this."
Indeed, the two sat, mouths open, quite simply aghast at this latest revelation. The priest took the lead, "Mr. Marshall, do you honestly expect people to believe that a bird will give you directions for travel? It's, it's, ludicrous. I see birds all the time, everyone does. They are no more indicative of the outcome of daily events in the lives of human beings than are eclipses of the sun and moon which I might add were portents of disaster and numerous other things in ancient times. It's totally ridiculous."
"Doc?" the emissary asked quietly.
She exhaled loudly, more than a sigh, an outcry of frustration. "Mr. Marshall, logic tells me that Jake is right. But my time with you tells me that you wouldn't tell us this if you didn't have some explanation that will alleviate the doubts of any who listen. So, I'm open."
"Thanks Doc, ummm, Jake, let me ask you, do you believe that your God is with you always, pays attention to your actions and knows what troubles you, and by that I mean the difficulties with interactions among you, peers, acolytes, well the world itself? And even more important, when you pray, do you believe, and I mean absolutely without any doubt whatsoever, that God listens to you and answers your prayers?"
The priest looked intently at the man for several moments before answering. "Hmm, it, well, I've been asked similar things in the past, and with the intent to, well, ridicule myself and my beliefs. But, well, okay. I will have to agree with Marie and accept your questioning at face value as a prelude to new and interesting revelations. So, yes."
"Well, thank you, both of you. In the interest of fairness, the questions were in fact meant to make you take a stand. One that I will attempt to, well, not destroy, but to build upon. You see, we aren't all that different Jake. I firmly believe that Mother Earth is with me, and everyone as well, all the time. Mother Earth knows what troubles us, hears our wishes, hopes, desires and fears. and understands our interaction with society, probably better than we do ourselves. Not unlike the Catholic faith in their God, the need, that desire to have God on your side guiding your existence in preparation for afterlife. The difference is that Mother Earth uses her other creatures to give us that guidance. We just don't look anymore. It's a simple thing, when there is a need, then messengers are summoned. It's not magic or rocket science either, animals are influenced by conditioned response and Mother Nature has that ability to influence actions in animals like black birds, owl, a coyote or two, and butterflies. Now there are a lot of specific details about any appearance and what it means, we really don't need to go into all that, suffice it to say that it happens and those that took the time to observe their physical world were able to determine what coincided with the actual visitation by the messenger. Over generations those perceptions were collected and passed down to newer members of clans or tribes or whatever and that collective knowledge was used in pretty much everyone's daily existence. And as I said earlier, there was one specific instance where it saved my life. I can tell you if you would like."
The enormity of this revelation was a bit much for the two and they sat somewhat stunned for a couple minutes. Then the priest nodded, "Sure, go ahead."
"Well this was a long time ago, 25, 26 years ago. I drove up to visit my sister and when i left I was driving out and stopped at the stop sign that was at the long leg of the "T" and there was a car coming, and it was a ways down the road and I was about to step on the gas and go left onto the road that only went about a hundred yards and ended at a stop light. Just then, a black bird flew across my windshield from my left and crossed my path. I was shocked. Now for years I had thought about my youth and teachings from elders and I paid attention to birds and stuff. This shocked me, and I froze. I let the car pass by, then my wife told me to go, there were no cars coming. We took off and as I straightened out from the turn the stop light at the corner turned green and the car that had passed me moved into the intersection when a car ran the red and T-boned him. The driver died. It could have been us."
Silence. The emissary was unsure what it meant this time, so he waited right along with the other two. Finally the priest cleared his throat and began, "I can tell that you place a great deal of significance on this one event and use this coincidence to rationalize things that you were told when an impressionable youth. But, umm, really, Mr. Marshall, think about it, this is simply an instance in your life that you hold onto and use it to give credence to this entire concept that you have, well, I don't know. Dreamed up, read somewhere, I don't understand how you came up with the idea behind all this, but it isn't in any way confirmation of your belief system."
"Jake, sorry, but the same can be said of your bible. There is no actual proof that it is the word of your god. Sure it is a great compilation of stories about the lives of people and self professed prophets living at that time period. But there is no proof, no actual physical proof that what is written isn't just that, tales told and retold for generations about miracles that probably grew larger and larger with every telling. The only proof is that you have faith in it. I have faith in what my god has told me and that reinforces and supports what I was taught four decades ago. I have faith, and the real problem I think is that it has a logic to it all and that's what scares you. My belief system as you call it defines the universe, it actually gives credence and explains why the bible is what it is. It actually supports all of the principles in the bible and goes further to encompass not just the bible, but every belief system held by man on the planet. And that's what scares you, to think that you're not the only ones that are right, but that they all are."
  The doctor was furiously writing on her pad, the priest looked angry, too angry to speak. The ultimate insult, buffered with acclimation that his faith was real but only slightly wrong was more than he wanted to go into in this environment where he was an invited guest that was there to give opinions and not get into a debate. So he sat.
The emissary leaned his head to one side, and began again. "Sorry Jake, I didn't mean to upset you, these are tough subjects and I'm sure you've come up against this before, well, not exactly like this, but similar. Anyway, before our time is up, I just want to talk a minute or two about ghosts."
The doctor stopped writing and looked at the emissary, the priest had a sudden look of shock and his jaw dropped. Then he asked, "You, no, you're not going to tell me that ghosts are real now are you?"
"No, no, of course not. Ghosts don't exist. But, and this is a big but, what have at times been perceived by people, and that's a lot of people, things that are called ghosts; well, are actually living things. Yeah, I know, it's weird. But here we have all this science stuff about how life as we know it can only exist based on carbon and we need water and blah blah blah. It's just that science hasn't ever thought to look at the world about us and see what is there. Ghosts are actually life forms living here among us that are gaseous. They aren't based on carbon, they do however need water to exist, but they are gases. And like other messengers, Mother Earth has at times called upon their kind to show themselves for that purpose. And don't ask, I don't know how they live, I asked god, and god just told me they exist, and that's all I got. So, sorry, Jake the aide is here and that concludes another discussion. I apologize to you both if I offended either of you, it's never my intent. But until next week, I hope to see you again Jake."
And with that he stood and opened the door just as the knock came.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

FOOD NEWS Most people don't have access to this stuff, so I'm filling you all in on the top poop

Yeah, there is a lot of stuff that goes on in the world of food manufacturing and corporate intrigue and mystery. Never important enough for the standard media to report on, why would they, the Kardasian's are making news all the time and they and all their fellow leaders in the world of fluff and whinery (a made up word, the art of whining) take precedence over anything important in your lives. 

Anheuser Busch has made it known they intend to take over Miller in a move that will make the company worth about 275 BILLION dollars and will then control over a third of ALL beer production in the WORLD.

Yesterday, the 29th, the FBI announced that companies that use the new "Internet of Things" should be aware that they need to be diligent about security matters as using the IoT makes them vulnerable to cyber attacks which could be damaging to business practices and safety. No really, they did.

Mondalez International, just about the largest biscuit and cookie maker in the world announced on Monday the 28th plans to introduce Oreo cookies to all of Russia.

J M Smuckers announced that in the next twelve months they intend to introduce over a hundred new products. They are in response to consumer demand for healthier products with a focus on simple ingredients and convenience. Me, I think Smuckers is and has been a leader in the deception of consumers for decades. We'll see how it works out. 

Yeah, one of the weirdest things to be announced last week was from Korea. It seems that the hottest thing at the market there is something called "Honey Butter Chips" and they are just potato chips with honey and butter on them. The company that makes them has increased production by 40% and they still sell out at stores within minutes of them being put on shelves. Now, get this, they are only available in Korea but they have been sold on Ebay for prices up to $103.00 a bag. They sell for a buck and a half at stores in Korea. This one's kind of wacko.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Global Warming, Drought and Desertification, NOT what you might think

You know how all of the big trendy conservation groups and ecological heavy hitting activists and the magazines and really anyone spouting off about how to save the world from the coming disaster caused by global warming are ALL telling us that our problems center around the extensive use of fossil fuels to power our planet?

It's all a bunch of crap.

Sorry, but it's true. Even if tomorrow scientists were to create a magical solar receptor that was cheap, nearly a 100% efficient and within five years at minimal cost every single use of fossil fuels was abandoned; then global warming would continue at very nearly the same rate, desertification would continue unchecked and drought, deserts would grow and sea levels would rise all across the planet as temperatures rose. 

Well, that just doesn't seem right. However, it's very true. The biggest cause of Global Warming has little to do with burning fossil fuels, it's all about the production of meat. Burgers, chicken nuggets, sausages and all things meaty are the biggest factors. Well, granted, it's only one percent, but the fact is that production of meat using modern methods of farming contributes 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions. 

Well that doesn't seem right now does it?

Unfortunately it's true. It isn't just a bunch of cows and pigs farting, that's actually a very tiny part of the total amount. It's all the associated processes involved that are generating not just carbon dioxide but a lot of methane as well. If you believe all the scientists working on this (hey, they have nothing to gain by lying, not like so many many many corporate shills on payroll ordered to give specific results about stuff as is commonplace in the world today) then they tell us that methane is up to four times worse for greenhouse effects than carbon dioxide. Well, so I know this sounds a bit incredulous, so here I will attempt to explain how it happens. First, there is the carbon sequestration effect. Also called the carbon sink. This basically is what happens in the natural wild world. Plants have to capture carbon from the atmosphere and use it to grow. Then animals eat the plants, they remove nutrients and the remaining plant is excreted back into the environment where it decomposes and some of the carbon stays in the soil and effectively traps quite a bit of that carbon so it is unable to go up and form that greenhouse effect that is destroying the planet. It's pretty simple. However what man can change, man changes. And make no mistake, man has dramatically change the carbon sink. 

What seems simple, is pretty complex. First, the production of meat no longer involves the grazing of food animals in open land where the waste could effectively be utilized to help the carbon sink. For the most part, those animal wastes are stored separately and through several means available is then disposed of in a manner that does not capture the carbon. In fact most of the time the waste is put into ponds and allowed to decompose where the carbon is returned to the atmosphere and not the land. It doesn't stop there, most of the animals are now fed soy, corn and some other crops grown specifically for feed. No manure is returned to the soil so artificial fertilizers are needed to grow the plants. Fertilizers are made using petrochemicals. More carbon put into the atmosphere. The drive to manufacture ever greater and cheaper quantities of meats has gone to tropical countries where large corporations are buying virgin rainforests, slashing the trees and planting soy to feed animals destined for dinner tables throughout America and Europe. No trees, no carbon sink, more carbon in the atmosphere. The feed has to be transported to where the animals are raised, transportation uses petrochemicals, more carbon into the atmosphere.

Yeah, the production of meat adds more greenhouse gases than anything else. 

Water. The biggest user of water in the world is not industrial or home use. Or even all the endless golf courses every where. It's the production of meat. A pound of beef takes up to 2000 gallons of water to produce. Most produce or grains take around a hundred gallons to grow a pound of the stuff. Well, broccoli is a lot less. Avocados are about 148 gallons of water to a pound of Avos. In my youth I dreamed of becoming an Avocado rancher, but I couldn't ride a horse.

Anyway, all this is just to show us how the change in the eating habits of mankind is destroying our world. A culture based on a meat diet is not good for humans, and even less so for the planet.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hey, what's that stuff there in my meat? Ah hah, it's the American Chemical Feast

Well, now that's not something you hear everyday. Well other than the jokes about the worms in the supermarket salmon. But stuff in meat, naw, no one puts stuff in meat, right? C'mon Chef Roy, no one puts stuff in meat, meat is meat. Well, maybe Taco Bell, or Wendy's and earthworms. And pink slime at the golden arches, but real meat. It's just meat.

Silly made up human voice, sorry, we live in the Chemical Feast and stuff is just rampant at the stockyards and pigpens. There are just so many different things making up stuff, I could write a book about them all. Except I don't need to, some one already did. A joint venture of the FAO and WHO and their scientists wrote a fascinating and incredibly scary book titled "Toxicological Evaluation of Certain Veterinary Drug Residues in Food"  Available at Amazon, only 42 bucks. I'm not makin' this stuff up. So, today I don't want to get too scary, I just want to go into a few things about ractopamine. Yes, it's stuff. It's fed to livestock along with their regular standard diet of corn, soy, cottonseed meal, dried and ground up chicken litter including chicken feces and dead chickens, and a variety of other agricultural waste products. And of course lots and lots of antibiotics. Remember, the cattle or pigs pretty much live their lives standing, kneeling, sleeping and over all existing on top of piles of their own piss and shit. They get sick and they get sores and burns and various ailments afflict them because of their living conditions. But cattlemen are trying to help out their livestock, (cattle, pigs and others) by force feeding them a product called ractopamine. The help is indirect, the drug forces animals to put on lean muscle mass faster and grow a bit faster. Thus they only have to live in those conditions a little less time. That's sort of being humane.

So, what is this stuff that has my ire irked. Ractopamine is a class of drugs called beta agonists. Specifically it is a Beta adrenergic agonist that was first created for use in humans as a suppressant for asthma. It was never approved for use in humans because it for the most part killed humans. It increased heart rates, for extended periods of time, and then it did what it was supposed to do, dilated airways and some other stuff. Long term use it was discovered, caused the user to gain muscle mass. This was thought to be a boon to body builders if it wasn't for that unpleasant side effect, death. Along with just the typical stuff, tachycardia, tremors, muscle spasms and high arterial pressure. So it was never approved for human use but that never stopped big pharma from making money on their creations. There was that big big side effect, increase lean muscle mass. And so it came to pass that the manufacturer, Eli Lilly, soon changed its marketing tactics and pursued the livestock meat industry as a potential customer. And with great success. The stuff has become synonymous with American pork, beef and turkey products. So much so that two of the largest importers of beef and pork have recently refused to purchase any American products because of the contamination with ractopamine. Russia and China. The Chinese really want to buy untainted pork for their population and so have gone so far as to purchase the world's largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods with the intent to alter production methods within their own farms to eliminate the use of ractopamine for pork destined for export back to the home country. 

So we really can't talk about ractopamine without talking about the Downer's Decision. This is where we learn the true depths of disdain with which American Corporate leaders hold consumers. It all started back in 2007 when some activists made some movies about the horrific conditions at slaughterhouses. I'm not going to put a link here to the videos, you can look it up if you want, suffice it to say that I was grossed out. And I don't really care about the actual process of killing feed animals, that's not why I'm a vegetarian. But this was ghastly. And it all comes down to what are known as Downers. Animals that are either too sick, too deformed, too doped up, and too wild and uncontrollable to be forced up the chute to be killed for slaughter. In 2009 the State of California passed a law that made it illegal to slaughter for human food any animal that was deemed, Downer. This was also put into effect because of the very real danger of BSE getting into the food supply. BSE is mad cow disease. The problems also encompassed animals that were so grossly deformed with unnaturally occurring muscle tissue that they were unable to walk, or because they were crazed and either unable to respond or wildly uncontrollable. Well, all those were side effects of excessive use of ractopamine. And in some instances, those wild animal's actions mimicked BSE, or again, Mad Cow Disease. The cattlemen's association took the State of California to court, and eventually it went up to the Supreme Court which gave its unanimous decision that those that raise animals for human consumption have the right to slaughter and put into the system any animal they wanted to whether it could walk or not or was acting in any way different from normal. No matter what's wrong, we get to eat it. Well, literally as well as figuratively.

So, anyway, if we look at ractopamine uptake and half life within the system and amounts excreted in 24, 48 and 96 hour intervals and blah blah blah blah, boring stuff, buy the book listed above. We look at the actual figures resulting in why the use of ractopamine is so very popular with American animal ranchers. It makes them extra money. Now, here I get several different figures. Most of the USDA figures show that on average, a farmer can realize an extra 3 to 4 dollars per hog when using ractopamine. Cattle will bring from 7 to 11 dollars per head. Turkeys, about 20 cents per bird. Think about it, in America, profit is so revered, so needed, so required that tunnel vision occurs and the belief that making an extra one third to very nearly a WHOLE cent per pound profit on animals causes farmers and ranchers to just completely look the other way and use a known harmful substance that is banned in over 160 countries as being too dangerous to allow into their food supply.

Well, it's up to me to draw even more conclusions. This is something that I have tried to find out about, and have spent an inordinate amount of time looking with no results. And that is of course, just how much ractopamine gets into the environment. We know how much is excreted (up to 92% in 96 hours) after being fed the stuff, so there really is only one place for it to go. Into the huge piles of animal waste outside the places where they raise the animals. In most of the country, that waste is dumped into holding ponds and allowed to rot. Not so much here in the Southwest. Here it's too dry so they pile it up and let it dry and hope for the big storms to come blow large portions of it away. Yeah, most of the people living here in the Valley of the Sun don't know that a large portion of those huge walls of dust blowing in from the south east comes from all the huge dairy and cattle feedlots down north of Tucson. And the dust contains a huge amount of cattle manure. But that's another story. Elsewhere, the manure from feeding operations is supposed to decompose in those large holding ponds. Supposed to. What I tried to find out was how long it took for the ractopamine within the manure to decompose. So I went to the ScienceLab and tried to find the MSDS. It isn't there. I went to the EPA and they had no data on half life deterioration in the environment. I went to the PAN, no luck. I went to the ATSDR and was not helped. I went to the National Toxicology Program part of Health and Human Services, and found zilch. I went to the FDA, and they seem to believe there is no such problem, they have declared ractopamine safe. Well, except for humans. I probably could go elsewhere, but I am confident that if it isn't in these places, it won't be anywhere else. Why is it a problem, well, let's try to remember that in the past I have talked about animal poop. And this very problem. It seems that the USDA demands that anyone (and let's remember that in America, corporations are people) that owns an animal feeding facility MUST make provisions to contain the waste. The most common and accepted method is a pond to let the stuff stink up the surrounding ten or so square miles and eventually drain it and remove the leftover stuff that didn't turn to methane and further cause greenhouse gas problems. All that's okay, and if severe weather were to hit the area and most of the waste were to wash out into the public waterways, neighboring produce fields or possibly into municipal water supplies; that was perfectly fine and in accordance with the American way of life. Don't believe me? You can read the court's decision here (Circuit Court Decision)  And especially look on page two where they have determined that in areas with normally heavy rainfall occurs, ZERO Discharge is not mandated. So how big a problem is it? We probably will never know. However, if you look ractopamine up in the Wikipedia, we are informed that anyone with cardiovascular problems should avoid meat products containing ractopamine as it could causes serious problems. How much ractopamine is in meat, how much is in our water supplies because of runoff, how much do we breathe in as dust?

Is the concept of making an extra penny per pound in profit such a single minded focus for American producers that they lose sight of what these things are doing to our environment, our bodies and our future?

We indeed live within the American Chemical Feast

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

CHEATS. Oh how American Business Rulers love those cheats. Better living through the Chemical Feast

Cheating, It's not just Tom Brady and a little gas, or the incredibly slow and seemingly stupid lineman back in high school biology copying answers from you so he could pass and go on to make 3 mil a year in the NFL; it's pretty much the American way of life. Cheating encompasses just about every aspect of our existence and is widely accepted by our political leaders, CEO's of every major (and even most of the minor) producers of foods and drugs, and yes, even every single individual consumer. Yeah, it's true, our government has legitimized cheating. And we as consumers, for the majority anyway, don't care. It's all right there, all you have to do is be aware of what you buy and eat, read the ingredients. You'll see it. Most of the processed foods on the shelves will tell you that they are cheats. And most of America, don't care. 

Cheats come in a number of categories. I know this sounds weird, but a lot of foods that we consume as traditional staples in our diets, contain large amounts of added salt, sugar, or fat. These are natural cheats. The addition of these into any recipe by the manufacturer are for the purpose of increasing mouthfeel and taste perception. Yikes, that's a tough one. They don't always increase taste, they increase the perception of flavor. And there is a difference there. Adding larger amounts of these (what are perceived as natural) ingredients increases that perception of flavor. And as we all know, flavor actually is about 80% sensed within our sense of smell. Food processing pretty much
removes most of the natural scents intrinsic within the foods we eat so the addition of basic sensory flavors salt and sweet have a greater perception for consumers. And of course some of the big agrigiants take that concept to the extreme. Here we see the ingredients to peanut butter Cap'n Crunch. If you look at the first line, we see that the amount of sodium is actually above the amount of 2300 mg that the USDA recommends daily. And there is a significant amount of sugar. Over 30% of the cereal by weight, is sugar. But that much sugar is needed to mask the huge amount of salt. And let's not forget that these figures are for a standard serving size of three quarters of a cup of cereal. When I was a kid, I filled a cereal bowl with stuff like this, it wasn't any three quarters of a cup. 

Well, let's get past that, and go on to other flavor cheats. Flavor enhancers. Simple ones we have known about for a long time now are MSG and it's family of derivatives. There is a lot of controversy about MSG, scientists all over the world are publishing findings that show it to destroy nerve cells and interfere with normal brain function. And the manufacturers of the stuff and those agrigiants that use the stuff to enhance whatever flavor is left after processing, cite the US FDA (that does ABSOLUTELY no testing itself on ingredient safety) states that MSG and any product made with concentrated glutamate compounds, is safe to use. (Okay, a side note, the FDA approves the use of azodicarbonamide for food use. The EPA declares it too toxic for use in food. ((FDA and poison)) and only to be used in the US for industrial purposes.) I know, just because the feds say it's safe, I personally don't believe them. Science, being the highly subjective discipline it is and dependent on funding from manufacturers for the most part really will never have any specific definitive opinion on anything. 

But then there are a whole family of other flavor enhancers that are coming into vogue. I've talked about them before, back when I did the "What's in your food" series a few months ago. But they are related, some bad, some not so bad, like the Disodium twins - guanylate and inosinate. Which are not specifically seen to be mutagenic or carcinogenic. At least there haven't been any research done yet on the stuff. Inosinic acid, a whole family of ribonucleotides and the most expensive (therefore rarely used) but probably the safest, Guanylic Acid. And lesser known and used because it is less effective are the Maltol and Ethyl Maltol, which comes from larch tree bark or pine needles. All these compounds and additives are available to food manufacturers and are known collectively by the title of this article, cheats. They have one function, to alter the perceived flavor profile of the manufactured food product in which they are added. Cheats. Cheating. Prestidigitation. Sleight of hand, or perhaps, your food dollars.

Sometimes I think that I'm the only person in America that believes this is wrong.

Depending on your point of view, whether it be that of one of those placing their faith on evolution, or of one that believes that we, the planet and all living things on it were created in one swift wave of the hand, or command of the almighty; none of the cheats were included as standard fare for consumption by humans in any scenario. They all are, created by men specifically for one purpose, to make dull crappy foods bright and vibrant tasting. With as little cost as possible and with few detectable side effects. And of course, to be able to achieve regulatory approval easily. In today's world, that's a big one. The FDA right now has a three year backlog for reviewing new applications for NEW food additives. The EAFUS right now has over 10,000 entries in it. However the scary part is that only 3,500 of those are considered GRAS (EAFUS Everything Added to Food in the US and GRAS Generally Recognized as Safe) So, even the FDA is confused about GRAS, you can go here, and go to item 16 and see how the CFR is disjointed and does not contain a complete list of GRAS ingredients as they just are unable to maintain the database (FDA on GRAS) And the companion piece (EAFUS)

Now I'm all about science, for the most part science gives us a very reasonable view of the universe we live in. Food science though is a bit different, especially the parts about adulterating the food products presented to Americans, and the world, so that they give the APPEARANCE of being wholesome healthy and wondrous. Now I understand the constraints of the socioeconomic system that we live under that forces most families to work more than would be possible for them to be at home and cook healthy food items for themselves and families. I understand that. We've allowed that to happen to us, and this piece isn't about any sort of revolution or anything, it's about trying to torture you with the concept that the food presented to you isn't healthy and in fact, may be damaging to your health over time. Let me see if I can explain that.

Back some time ago, businesses learned of a new process for rice called polishing. They took brown rice and polished it to make it white. The new product was pretty cool. It was easier to cook, it had greater texture appeal, it could be warehoused for years instead of the normal 10 to 12 months that plain brown rice suffered, and of course, it was absolutely lacking in most nutrients. If you ate it, it didn't hurt you. You could eat it for years, and you and your kids would grow to have spindly bones and rotting teeth. But it didn't kill you when you ate it. A little after that some scientists built this really cool high speed roller mill that could take wheat and grind it into very very fine flour and at the same time, remove the bran and the germ. The resulting white flour was a miracle to bakers and business men. It could store for years, it could make incredible products and of course, it made everyone money. It was of course, denuded of all the nutritive value and those that ate it as a steady diet got sick. Well scientists are a willing lot. What they destroy they are willing to fiddle with and find a fix to the problem. Which they did, enhancements of vitamins and minerals helped. And yes, I understand that this was a long time ago, and it isn't the exact same thing as adding chemicals to foods today, but the principal is nearly the same, business leaders and their paid minions, scientists, tell us things are safe without really doing long term testing or as so often has happened, even thinking about the consequences of what they have done.

Now we come to the cheating part. Scientists have created all of these wondrous cheats, flavor enhancers, fillers, emulsifiers, and on and on, chemicals to do so many things. And they test them, and find them to be wondrously safe and proficient at making money for their users. And we get to consume them. Now comes the hard part. Just as in the past, it might take decades to harm us. We all know that apples contain arsenic. At small amounts, it won't kill you. It builds up in your kidneys, liver and brain, but a major part of the stuff you ingest in the form of apple juice or almonds, is excreted in your urine. But we all know that if you concentrate arsenic, and put a small amount in your rich husband's coffee everyday, he will die. The thing is, we don't really and truly know what will happen to people that consume these chemicals on a daily basis after ten, twenty, thirty years. Scientists say they know. 

They are paid to say that.