Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Baking Little Bits of Delight part 2

Okay, I have to admit that lately I've been eating everything in sight. The wonderful MRSA infection in my sinuses has been active and after a few trips to the doctors for antibiotics that, get ready for this, the bacteria are resistant to the effects, the doctors finally decide to help me out and give me steroids. I hate steroids, they destroyed my joints and make me eat everything. I mean EVERYTHING. Meat, canned Spam, ice cream, Fritos, mustard sandwiches, and ice cream. I go to the store and buy ice cream, then sit and eat it. Well, I thought it was time to make something a little healthier, something that will satisfy my cravings and still be not so bad for me.
 I bought a container of pitted dates, it's cheaper than buying the big whole dates and so for this I used the pitted ones. I just open them up to verify the pit is gone, if you don't, when you grind them up in the blender you will hear it. But, take a couple cups of dates in a blender, put in three free range eggs and a tablespoon of real vanilla. Then Blended that until smooth. Then in the bowl of the mixer I whipped up two sticks of organic butter, When light and fluffy, I pour in the egg date mixture and blend that well. Then I grind up some wheat berries and put a cup and a half of the flour in a bowl and add a tablespoon baking powder a half teaspoon sea salt and a tablespoon of Cinnamon and half of one of allspice. Mix well and then dump into the mixer and mix about a minute or so, then add four cups of rolled oats, mix a minute, then add in a cup and a half of chopped nuts. I like pecans or slivered almonds, both add an extra level of nutrition. And let's not ever forget the words of one of my heroes, Edgar Cayce. Most have never heard of him but he was a fountain of information for simple home remedies. All the wild beliefs about the Universal Consciousness are just gravy, but anyway Edgar tells us that if we eat 3 almonds everyday we will never get colon cancer. Well that does it for me, almonds every day. For more reasons to eat almonds, check out nuts.com. And these cookies are just about the best way to make that a reality. Back to the recipe, I then add in a cup and a half of dark chocolate chips. If I have them, I add carob chips, but organic ones are hard to find. Mix in what you have, then plop them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 400 for about 10 to 12 minutes then cool on a rack. These cookies have no processed sugar in them so they don't melt out and get real huge like regular cookies like Tollhouse or other sugar based cookies. Remember, they teach us this the first day in baking class at culinary school, sugar counts as a liquid when measuring ingredients. So the cookies won't spread out when baked. A nice hint is to use wet hands and form the dough into balls then sort of squash them down a bit before baking. I love these with plain Greek yogurt and applesauce. Try them out, add whatever nuts you want, with or without chocolate, maybe other fruit, not raisins, eeewww, raisins are kinda gross. But I do love currants, weird hunh? 








Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Chapter Three of God's Emissary

I wrote chapter three today, so posting it here for people to look at, read, laugh about, or whatever. Up for a week. 


I am god's Emissary
Chapter 3

A week had passed and Mr. Marshall made his way to the office of his inquisitor once again. The escort was a young aide, already bored with his job, his chances of advancement, his choices, his life. Leading him to the door, he knocked gently and responded to the request to enter. The aide opened the door and allowed his charge to walk before him. He came in behind. as the Doctor looked up and told him, "Jake, that's fine. You can leave us now." The aide turned, glad perhaps that he would be left to his own thoughts, delights and perhaps demons as well for the next hour.

An almost identical chair had been brought into the room and was placed at a right angle to the line between the desk and the chair where Mr. Marshall normally sat. In the new chair sat a middle aged man with round spectacles wearing a polo shirt and khakis. He stood and shook hands, introducing himself as Monsignor Jacob Amherst. They both sat, and the Monsignor then requested that he be called just Jake.

"I can do that Jake, I'm glad you're not attempting to influence me with any sort of references to your position."

Jake looked at the man and gently asked, "Well, I'm sure you already knew that wouldn't happen though."

Mr. Marshall stared back at him a moment then said, "Jake, I talk to god, I'm not any sort of a fortune teller that predicts the future." And with that he sort of wiggled his fingers around.

"Aahh, yes." And he nodded his head repeatedly. "Why don't you start at the beginning, when did you actually first meet with God. Doctor Anderson wasn't certain of the actual events and how this came about, she says you just sort of glossed over that part. Why don't you tell me exactly what happened."

"Okay Jake. Doc, sorry if we didn't go into the specifics, maybe it's just that you were a bit shocked with the entire revelation of my account, but we can certainly go into it now. It all started about three years ago when I was taken to the ER because I was unable to breathe. I took a whole lot of breathing treatments, they put me on oxygen, shot me full of a bunch of stuff and finally did a CAT scan on me and told me I had six blood clots in my lungs. Four in the left and two in the right. I was told that they would try to dissolve them with medication, but that a large part of my lung tissue would suffer and be damaged because of lack of blood flow. They also told me that as the clots dissolved, the chance of one breaking free and going to my brain and causing a massive stroke was highly probable, and that because there were six, it was an almost certainty."

Looking at the two inquisitors he could se that they were both entranced with the story. "So they moved my bed over to be nearer to the nurse's station and put the monitors on me and told me they had a crash cart next to me should I have a stroke. There was a possibility they could revive me and deal with damages later. Wow, didn't look too good for me. Well, according to the doctors anyway. So I lay back in bed and thought about dying. I assume most people would in that situation. I thought about the biblical concepts, and as I had most of my life, I rejected those. I thought about reincarnation, and hoped for the best. So, with a new outlook, I lay back and just for the first time in my life, I was at peace, and I stopped the internal dialogue within myself. I don't know how much of our conversations the good doctor here has told you Jake, but that was a big part of several books by a native American anthropologist back in the sixties and seventies."

"Go ahead Roy, I'm familiar with the concept, both from Marie here and having read up on the subject in the past couple weeks."

"Well, that's good, it saves me from explaining background material. So anyway, here I was, lying in bed, and I found myself without any thoughts. None. And then, there appeared this apparition there on the foot of my bed. Not human, not animal, certainly not flames nor a horned beast. Just sort of humanesque if that is or can be a concept. I was in this huge room divided by just hanging curtains, and there was this thing. I looked at the monitor, my blood oxygen was at 92, which was actually rising, so I knew it wasn't anoxia causing the apparition. My heart was doing the same things it had been doing, and I began to think thoughts again wondering what this was. It was then that god spoke to me, and as I answered, god sort of shushed me and told me to just think, and god would understand. Well, you can imagine what was going through my mind, here I am thinking I might, well, the doctors were pretty certain I would die, and here I am confronted with something that would happen if indeed I did die. Then god, well, empathically, psychically or whatever, told me I wasn't going to die. That I wasn't to concern myself with such thoughts and that god had plans for me so the problems would be taken care of. If I had any presence of mind I would have asked god to take care of the hip problems as well, but, at that time it didn't occur to me."

"Have you asked God to correct that lately?" Jake asked.

"Yeah, well, I have. And god just sort of laughs about that. Not necessary."

"Well the performance of miracles and of course healing the sick and infirm are just some of the things that Christ has done and for which we are blessed with the governance from God."

"Well look Jake, I think part of the problem we are going to have here is that you have to understand that to god, Christianity is a human construct. The fact is, god isn't a Christian, god is just god. All religions, especially Christianity, were devised by humans for humans for a variety of purposes. And the true purpose is not necessarily the one you were told."

The Monsignor sat back in his chair and looked completely shocked by this last statement. Or perhaps it was just the realization that it was all true. A moment or two later, he relaxed and leaned forward again with another question, "I see. I will take you word for it as something that you believe, and we can continue from there."

Reaching into his back pocket, the man pulled out a folded piece of yellow legal pad and handed it over. He watched, feigning interest, but then he wrote it, and knew what it contained. The church leader sat back as he unfolded it, sort of knowing what it would contain having heard the story about a similar revelation from the doctor sitting off to the side. His eyes grew wide as he read the paper. "None of this is true Mr. Marshall, you do know that don't you?"

"Jake, all I do is deliver the message. This is the ultimate test Jake, nothing else matters from here on out, there are no more pretenses, no more hiding behind your faith, your belief that your immortal soul will be saved because of your acceptance of your God into your heart, this is it."

Letting out a huge long sigh, Jake just seemed to deflate back into the chair. He was relieved, that much was plain to see. Doctor Anderson had this look of shock on her face, she was unaware of what had just happened. However her own revelations in just such a similar piece of paper had deflated her world as well. How could this stranger have known about her affairs, her private feelings. It convinced her, and now to see the same happen to one of her closest friends, she was unsure what might have been in his past to cause this reaction from him.

“Jake, can I speak freely now, or do you want the Doc to leave for a minute?”

“No, that’s fine. I,… well, I suppose that’s okay. Go ahead.”  Utter acceptance and despair filled his voice as he said this.

“Look Jake, the sin is of your own construct. Having sex with a woman is not a sin with god, on the contrary, god tells me that sex between consenting adults is one of the most glorious things about life here on this plane of existence. Celibacy is a concept of man within the Catholic faith, not of god’s.”

“It goes against all that I believe, the knowledge that I sinned has haunted me for many years.”

“Well Jake, everything we’re going to talk about here today is going to go against your faith. I bring a new idea, a new, well, maybe an older more relevant concept of faith. What you do with it is up to you. I’m just god’s emissary.”

They all just sat for a couple minutes, deep in their own thoughts. Finally the Monsignor folded the paper up and placed it in his pocket. A bit of life came back to him and he smiled, “Okay Mr. Marshall, let’s continue with your story.”

“Well, it goes on from there, I had these conversations, learned a lot, and when I happened to mention that I was talking to god to my family, well, I ended up here. The rest has been my revelations about a method to let the world know about what god has in store for us. As humanity I guess. And my trying to understand the universe and explaining it to the good doctor here. All that has been practice really, a way to position what I learn in a way that humanity can understand it all.”

The doctor now chimed in, “Mr. Marshall, have you asked god about those things we spoke of last time?”

“Yes I did Doc. Those were questions that god thought about for awhile before answering. The first one, is this god the same as the god in the other six planes of existence was one that I think I understand. It’s like this, god is god, god is the voice, the sort of symbolic quintessential ambassador of the Universal Consciousness. Remember that all planes of existence exist together, and as god feels the need to give guidance to us, the individual parts of the collective Universal Consciousness as we exist within the confines of each existence, god appears. So yes, god is the same god in all planes, but not the exact same god. This god has no knowledge of what god is doing in the other planes until god returns to the Universal Consciousness and then is aware of what took place. Remember when we talked and I told you that god knows all that was and all that will be when there, but when here, with us, god is only aware of what was as the past is a known factor for god, well for all of us really; but god cannot know what will happen tomorrow as god is limited to the same constraints of time as we are living here on this plane of existence. Does that make sense?”

Nodding her head, the Doctor looked as though she understood, then she asked, “But then does god go back to the Universal Consciousness and know what will happen in the future then come here to talk to you knowing what will come to pass?”

“I asked god that, and god said that god is here to help me be the emissary and that god is here to make that come to be. There is no other reason for god to return, so god is here. And I also asked about why we talk about our conversations if god knew what had transpired. I was told that the questioning was to help me understand. Not just what we, meaning you and I, talked about, but the path to take to fulfill my destiny as well.”

“Well that answers a big question I had about why you talked about our conversations. The next question though was a big one as well, can we see into the other planes of existence?”

“No, we live here in the third level. We cannot see into the other levels. Even god can’t see what is going on there when god is here with us.”

“Okay, and the last one was are the other planes in this universe with us, elsewhere in the cosmos, or are they separate?”

“That one was a bit more difficult. This planet earth is our guardian, our protector. It lives, it breathes, it exists in this universe for us. The other six planes exist for us, as parts of the vain part of the Universal Consciousness in our path toward Oneness again, but they are all separate. That’s all god would say. So the reality is I don’t know.”

Sitting forward for the first time in some moments, Jake then asked, “So I think I understand, based on what Marie has told me so far. But, well, even with this revelation that you know about my past, I still find it difficult to just throw away the faith to which I have devoted my life. I don't know if you knew the woman in question, I have no idea what happened in your life, all of this sounds interesting and granted I was intrigued by Marie's devotion and the things she has told me, but there is no solid proof for me."

The man looked over at him, then began slowly, "Monsignor, do you have any actual proof that your God exists as stated in your bible? Not just the faith that you hold for long standing beliefs and traditions, covenants and writings of people long since deceased, tales of miracles and stories told and retold over generations. That isn't actual physical proof, it's faith. Faith in all that others have told our ancestors and passed to you simply as a belief system in a God. I'm not telling you anything different, just a new updated storyline. Who knows, probably the same God."

Then the Doctor entered the conversation, "Mr. Marshall, you were supposed to also ask of god if you could meet and converse when you were with us. Did you also ask about that?"

"Yeah Doc, I did. I didn't get a no, god just said to try."

They all sat quietly for a couple minutes as the emissary closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. He sighed softly and slowed his breathing and was very quiet. The hum of the hospital appeared to pound through the walls as the two waited. After what seemed an eternity, he opened his eyes and shook his head.

"Mr. Marshall," Jake started, "I know you believe in this, but I need something more. Can you get me some other proof that you are talking to God. We can meet again next week and with that, I would like to ask some more questions as well."

"Sure Jake, I will see what I can do. And ask away."

"Excellent. First, let me ask if others can see and talk to God if they stop the internal dialogue as you did. If that's all it takes, then with the popularity of the books about it I would have thought that there would be a great number of people out there having similar conversations."

The Doctor interrupted then, "Jake, I know you might think it's easy, but I tried years ago and since meeting Mr. Marshall, I've tried daily. With no success. It truly is the hardest thing I have ever tried to do."

"Okay, let's tackle that when and if needed, first we need to know if anyone else can meet God through this method. If not, there's no point in trying. Next, a point you just brought up, is this God the God of the bible?"

"Well Jake, I think we covered that in my first conversation with the Doc here. There have been many prophets, god says there is a need it seems to return and find a new one every once in a while as we seem as humans not to be living the lives of balance needed to pass through this plane to get to the next."

"You're right, I remember her telling me that now. But then again, ask God if there are others that converse with him and you're the only one that he chose to be the new prophet or are you the only one talking with him."

 "Good question Jake, what else?"

"Mr. Marshall, are you aware of a man named John Wheeler?"

"The physicist?"

"Right, Wheeler did the math and came up with an equation that solved the quantum expression of the universe, except the equation would only work if time was static. As if there was no time itself. In your explanation of the universe where the entire universe is made from the individual light beings of the Universal Consciousness you told Marie that to them the past present and future exist together. Would you look up John Wheeler and read about his theory and then ask God if this would explain why his solution left out time?"

"Hmmm, I find that in itself to be fascinating. I will do that right away. What else?"

"If this is indeed God, and although I understand God did not create the heaven and the earth in the biblical manner that I am accustomed to knowing, and as you said God prevented you from dying, is it possible for God to appear and perform miracles for you to help guide public confidence in your new paradigm for this new religion?"

"That one is indeed the most helpful one for me. I did ask god to part the sea for me when I was ready with the book, but god just sort of laughed. I should push that one a bit."

Just then a knock came at the door and the aide came in. The emissary stood, shook the hand of the Monsignor and left to go back to his room.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Baking little bits of delight

So my son seems to like to sleep in late. He wakes at the last minute, showers and runs out the door heading for work. I asked if I made food for him would he eat it rather than buy the nasty fast junk food he seems to eat and leave the wrappers in his car. He said he would, and since he is nice enough to allow me to live in his house, I guess I wouldn't mind making food for him. Even meat type stuff. So I made a simple whole wheat bread dough, same as I've done for many many times. 3 cups water, a half a vitamin C capsule, a quarter cup of plain greek yogurt, about three quarters cup of olive oil and I have been doing something new, I add a half cup of the liquid from my homestyle sourkraut. It has salt in it, plus all those wonderful bacteria. Then I turn the mixer on and mix a nice stiff dough with freshly ground whole wheat that I grind fresh when making bread. Hey, it's the only way to know what you're getting. I let is sit six hours, then add some yeast and a smidge of water. Let the yeast proof then mix it for ten minutes. Let it rise a couple times then it's ready.

I then beat a real pasture raised egg I get from my friend Richard at the farmers market. I beat them individually and fried them to make little flat cooked egg patties. Then cooked a package of breakfast sausages. This is what they looked like when done.






Then I took the dough and rolled it out on the counter and placed an egg, some sliced jalapeno jack and two of the sausages. And brought the edges together and sealed.




Then I put them on a baking sheet and let them rise, baked at 425 for 20 minutes turning once in the middle and voila, wondrous things for my son to eat as a quick breakfast.






Monday, May 11, 2015

I love this guy

I love it when people are just so confidant in conclusions that they personally want be regarded as unquestionable that they set up a website and boldly proclaim that which is ephemeral, to be irrefutable. It cannot be definitively proven one way or another. No matter who does the research. Just for fun, check out the site, I love this guy, and all people like him, my brother included, click this link -> (the ultimate in confidence)  That's confidence. This guy actually has paid ads on Facebook to go to this website page. That's unbelievable confidence.

The concept of science is an ephemeral ideal. There are a few of the sciences that have definitive rules, like arithmetic and geometry. But once past those, mathematics becomes as convoluted and subject to interpretation as the rest. And nowhere are there more ephemeral and disparate interpretations of the observable world than within the science of medicine. Let me amend that, the practice of medicine. I know, when asked most people feel, they truly believe that science is the very concept of precision and without error. Sadly, most people have never taken statistics in college. If they did, they would understand just exactly how imprecise the world of science actually is. Outside basic lower forms of math, ALL sciences are based on interpretations of observable data and conclusions are reached by different methods depending on what is being sought. And more specifically, who is paying.   

However, there are huge numbers of websites that will give interpretations of experimental and observable data with very differing conclusions. But just as we can point out that of the millions of humans that smoke cigarettes, only a small percentage of them will get lung or other cancers. Actually about a third of the women and a fourth of the men. We cannot specifically prove that smoking cigarettes causes cancer. Because not everyone gets cancer that smokes. We can't prove that beginning to vaccinate a new born infant with up to 49 total mandated vaccinations in the first two years of that infant's live will cause any neurological problems. It doesn't happen to every child. We can't prove that vaccinating children causes higher infant deaths even though statistically countries that don't even begin the vaccination process until the child is at least 2 years of age have remarkably lower infant deaths than in America where again, there are 49 mandated vaccinations before the age of two. Cuba has a lower infant mortality than America. But not all infants that are vaccinated die. We are all different. Not all children have super IQ's. Not all of them are allergic to peanuts, or shellfish, or gluten. Not all children are allergic to cats. And not all children get autism. In America 1 in 50 do. In America more infants die before the age of 2 than in 33 other countries. All of which mandate fewer vaccinations.

But for many, the science of vaccination is without error, precise in every aspect, and any person that advocates not getting vaccinations is, well, to some, criminal.  

For further reading I found this site, it cites a number of sound scientific studies that show exactly how imprecise the science of vaccinations really is. I have used some of these references here on my own blog. But since I don't have a PhD then I'm not a "REAL" scientist. Those with the lowly Masters of learning are subhuman it would seem. Anyway, here is the work of some real scientists (TOP 6 Reasons) and just to let you know, you don't need a PhD to understand most of it. Just an open mind.











Friday, May 8, 2015

the Fallacy of America, all men are NOT created equal.

Well, that's a bit harsh for many to hear, because that is the dream of all citizens. We want that to be true, we want to be able to believe with all our being that we, each and every one of us as an individual, has the ability to become great, because we are created equally. Well, 239 years ago when that was written, it wasn't true and the writers of the Declaration knew it. That single phrase was one of the most disputed parts of the document because of the slavery issue. That certainly was a big part, but the reason it isn't true goes much deeper than the desire to unite the commoners to a war for independence that was more for the rich white landowners and white business men than it ever was for the lower classes of commoners. But it was a great battle cry for all the peasants in the land to unite in their, meaning the rich and elite, fight against the one who caused their problems, King George. And because the elite told them they were all equal, the war was fought, nearly lost, but nevertheless won with independence and freedom for all citizens. And the benefactors of that war were of course, white landowners and white businessmen.

Equality, it isn't a reality. Not every person is born with the same social status, some are born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths. Most are born into relative obscurity and some into squalor. None are born equal in the physical sense, some with obvious disabilities, some with gross deformities, and as they age, there are obvious differences in athletic abilities. Many run faster, farther and jump higher than the others. They are stronger and better looking and different from the masses. And then there are the mental abilities. We all see that some have greater comprehension, greater ability to memorize and just plain greater cognitive ability. None are equal in social status, physical ability of mental capacity. 

This isn't a new phenomena, it goes back to paleolithic development. In the stone age, the proto-human that was able to run faster and farther helped the herd kill more meat and was the prize mate. The one that was able to flake better and sharper knives from local flint was the prized mate. The female that learned which mushrooms were safe as well as which grains to eat when and which greens were healing survived, and was a better mate for the herd. This is a controversial statement, but it was all part of the evolution of humans, we changed from the proto-hominids into the humanoids we now are. But just like in those formative millennia, humans are born with differing abilities and mental capacities. A million years ago those sickly less athletic babies didn't survive and often mating wasn't necessarily a sure thing. In today's world, they start software companies and generally do quite well.

The thing is though, none of us are equal. Many of us believe ourselves to be better than the rest, and in some cases they might be correct. However even within our own thought processes, we know for a fact that the calling cry to fight a war for others is not in any way true. We aren't created equal, we each have our own status, ability and intelligence. And probably the most important thing about all this is that we each have differing desires to do something with what we have. If an idiot can become president of the United States, then you can do anything you set your mind to. You won't achieve anything though if you don't try. Maybe that's the message our founding fathers should have presented. Except it isn't as catchy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Shopping, the reason Americans have poor diets. A guide to getting the best and most for your food dollars

I have been aware of this phenomena for a very long time now but just haven't said or done anything about it. When I go to the store, I look for the best that the store, or farmers market or specialty shop has to offer. And I buy that. I read the ingredients on any packaged processed food. I inspect every piece of produce, I look at every potato in the bag.  I shop at specialty shops and I buy spices in bulk, and never in those high priced little containers. I get the best value for my dollar. And it's easy, it just takes a few minutes extra. Last week at the Winco my son said let's buy a cantaloupe. I told him no, they would not be edible. He insisted, and they were on sale for 48 cents. Okay, time to teach a lesson. I explained how melons grew larger depending on temperature and amounts of chemical fertilizer used. Cooler weather, bigger melons are forced to grow with more chemicals used. I showed him how an unripe melon would have the stem cut and the stem end would be firmly attached. I also showed him how if the melon was ripe and soft enough to eat, the blossom end would give and you could press it. None of those melons were ripe, nor soft, nor small. He picked one, we took it home, let it sit on the counter a week, and cut it open last night, it had little taste and was still hard. We tossed it. We had also bought a watermelon, for a 1.98. Same thing. I told him that melons will be available soon at the farmers markets and a real local melon that was organic will be a shock to him if it's been a while since he ate one. Sad for me to think my own son has been buying supermarket produce. Sigh, we try to raise them right, but...

Produce, learn to eat what's in season. Learn to be choosy about what you select.

I'm always amazed at how much produce costs at grocery stores. The markup is truly frightening. I've been in the food business in one way or another most of my life, even today I buy my produce wholesale, or at farmers markets. There is a huge markup at retail in the chain mega and super marts. But then if you look in the dumpsters behind the stores you see why. Traditionally grown produce that isn't in season is trucked in from great distances and generally of the poorest quality. Picked long before it's ripe, the stuff is banged and rattled and most don't do well in transport. That's why so much is tossed. When I shop at the local super or mega mart, I am always amazed that people just walk up to the produce bins and pick up stuff and put it in bags or just toss into their carts. Without even looking. Stuff that I look at and toss back is then picked up by other shoppers right after I reject it outright. I can barely imagine what the stuff in the dumpster looks like. Given appearances though, it seems as though produce is a rarity for some, boxed takeout, pizza and burgers seem to fill the shopping carts and must sustain a major portion of America. But for those wanting to eat better, here is a bit of info on what to look for in produce at the local farmers market, (the preferred place to shop) or if none are available, then at the super market.

Potatoes- loose potatoes dug within a week are fantastic and local farmers in every state grow them. If not available, then look for loose at the mega store, and as a last resort, in the bags. But LOOK at them. If they're green, sprouting, moldy, huge cuts in them, put them back in the bin. Just 'cuz they're there doesn't mean YOU have to buy them, let Joe Average and his uneducated kinfolk buy them and throw them away for the store.

Onions - Black spots, softness, cuts, and again, the black stuff on onions is MOLD and is toxic. Don't buy them, and if they are growing black stuff in your cupboard, toss them and disinfect the area. Now, sweet versus not sweet. Onions have a lot of sugar. More in their younger stage of development. How do you pick a sweet onion, and it isn't by going to the bin that is labeled sweet onions. It's all about picking the onions that are more flat and flying saucer shaped as opposed to the elongated or even globe shaped which all onions begin to change to as they use their sugar stores to begin flowering. If they are really pointy then they are near to flowering and most of the sugar is gone. If they do sprout, as long as they are not mushy, just cut out the green part, that is usually pretty bitter. I guess we could throw garlic in here with the onions, about the same.

Peppers, Summer Squashes, Eggplants - Here the biggest thing to look for is bruising. Well, really in all produce, bruising is the biggest cause of spoilage. Bruising damages the skin which is the actual barrier between the veggie and the real world of bacteria. Dark spots mean bruises. Bruises mean loss of freshness and in all probability spoilage within a day or two. If everything is bruised and you need something for a recipe and are cooking it that day, then okay. But don't expect to buy zucchini that have long dark bruises on them to be good to eat five days from now. They won't be.

Greens -  Bruising here is the cause of most of the spoilage. You can look through the plastic and see dark edges of broken leaves, floppy dark leaves, or downright black in portions of the bags or containers, that means it was good last week, now it's trash. Don't pay the store to toss their trash for them.

Fruits - Apples, peaches, plums, and all related tree fruits will all show you if they have been mishandled and are bruised if you just look. LOOK at them, dark spots are the scourge and pathways for the bad bacteria that live everywhere, especially on commercially grown fruits from corporate growers. THEY DON'T CARE, local farmers care. Farmers markets are the best places to buy any produce. But I've said that before. Commercial strawberries are the dirtiest things at the mega stores. They are grown using more toxic insecticides and petrochemical fertilizers than any other item available to you. Here, again, local farmers markets are the only option. NEVER EVER EVER EAT COMMERCIALLY GROWN STRAWBERRIES.

Melons -  Seasonal, sorry but forget about them in the winter, Those are grown in Central or South America with huge amounts of petrochemical fertilizers to get them to grow FAST. They are picked green and hard and cold shipped with them sometimes spending up to ten weeks in containers. Cantaloupes should have the stem pulled off in one piece and there should be a round indentation where the stem was. That means it was ripe when picked. If the stem is dried up and stuck on, then that melon will never ever get any sweeter. It will get softer, but not sweeter. The blossom end should be softer and will give when pressed. Watermelons will be yellow where it sat on the ground. Thumping is an art and maybe three people in the US understand it. Other melons, just go with the softness of the blossom end. It should give.

Cut up fruit in plastic clamshells- Are you nuts?

That's probably most of the common stuff. If you're eating other more exotic things, good for you and you probably know what to look for. But lets talk about some other stuff. Spices. One of the big differences between restaurant foods and home cooked food is in the spices used. Well, better restaurants, not the crappy ones and boxed takeout kind. Good chefs use a lot of spices and it makes a difference. If you have ever eaten at Mediterranean, African, Latin American, Polynesian or most any other cuisine and liked it, it was probably because the spices used were different than American food. I can only hope that you will go out and try try try to make new and interesting things to eat. Spices do in fact make for a fantastic life. However, don't buy your spices at the spice rack at the local grocery store. Come on, 4.59 for a half ounce of ground ginger in a tiny plastic shaker bottle? I shop for my spices at a restaurant supplier. But then I am in the business. But there are lots of fun places to go that will tantalize you if you have any adventurousness in you at all. Here in Phoenix, there are a number of Oriental Grocers that are the size of the local supermarkets and packed with unique and unusual things. And cheap spices. There are also quite a few Middle Eastern and Mediterranean places as well. And an Ethiopian grocer as well. The only place in town where you can buy Teff at a reasonable price. Go look, smell, have fun. There are also a couple of spice shops with a huge variety of spices and blends. But then again the prices are up there and specialty ethnic grocers have the same stuff for less. Plus, lots and lots of cool things to look at, get grossed out by or just learn to love love love. Lee Lee's in Peoria is where I buy all my seaweed. I started to eat a lot of that for the iodine, and it just tastes good. Just one of a myriad of unique and unusual things available if you just go out and look.

Never be afraid to try new things. Yeah, some are gross. However I do eat fish eye soup, it's pretty tasty. If you are limited to shopping at the local mega mart or super market, then you only have a very limited quality of the foods available to you. Just about everything else in the market other than the stuff on the outside walls, ie, the produce, meat and dairy, is PROCESSED and processing means stripping away nutrients and adding back in Fat, Sugar, MSG, and other chemical additives. It's all done for the convenience of the food manufacturers and has nothing to do with health for the consumer. Just because they print on the box that it is healthy and nutritious doesn't in any way mean it is.

Here I will finish by telling you that if you have any desire at all to consume better healthier foods, shop at local farmers markets, when at the grocer, read the labels of EVERY product before you toss it into your cart. If you can't pronounce the names of the ingredients, it's a pretty safe bet that it isn't good for you. Try new things, make cooking fun, a family and friends experience.

You are what you eat. Don't be a crappy person.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Today, there are one hundred billion different diet plans. You only need one.

I think the big thing to remember here is that MOST of the diet plans out there were concocted for one purpose only, to make money for the person that created it. And I'm an old guy, I've seen some odd stuff, from the Scarsdale diet to the grapefruit diet to low carb ones like Atkins and Paleo to the high carb 80-10-10, to high fat people saying you need as much saturated fat in your diet as possible, up to 85 percent.  And the funny thing about all these diet gurus is that they want you to buy something. Preferably something from them or from someone that pays them a fee when you go buy stuff they recommend.

There are no science based diet plans available anywhere.

None, not even the USDA. Those guys developed the world's second food pyramid and every five years come out with new general nutrition standards and recommendations for Americans. It's actually a big deal as those standards are what are used to determine things like school lunches and WIC guidelines. But ever since the process of developing the pyramid and guides, it has been all a political mess with less to do with science and more to do with keeping the agrigiant corporate food industry happy. I wrote all about that here, (PYRAMID) It's more than a little confusing, and frightening as well. I mean really, what should you eat.

First, nearly every professional will tell us that dieting doesn't work. What you need to choose and then follow is a life style plan for eating. One thing that every professional will agree with is that the Standard American Diet (or SAD) is not in any way healthy. The big food giants disagree, but it is their business to feed you SAD foods. At huge profits for themselves. And not unlike a giant house of cards, the entire foundation of the SAD system is based on billions of dollars in farm subsidies generously paid out to those agrigiants in order to keep their food prices low, and therefore desirable to the SAD people. For those that one day see the light of their SAD existence and desire to break free from the dominance that their agrigiant masters have over them, there is a need to learn what sort of lifestyle and dietary plan is available to them, and why they need to choose one over the multitude of plans out there. Let's look at some of the basic lifeplans available, and at the end, the precautions to be aware of.

These are the major varieties of life style food plans
  1. Vegan
  2. Vegetarian
  3. Balanced
  4. High Carb
  5. Low Carb
  6. High Fat
  7. Standard American Diet, SAD
Vegan is pretty simple, as once described to me by a very beautiful friend Leena when back in Austin, she says she doesn't eat anything that in anyway came from something that had a face. An apt description, a diet plan that is the ultimate vegetarian diet, with all the variety, but with certain pitfalls. Of course we can live this way however it isn't how humans evolved and there is a need for certain things like Omega 3 fats and Vitamin B12. And it is true that you can get a sufficient amount of Omega 3 from plant sources like Chia or Flax seeds, but you have to eat a lot of them and a lot nearly every day. B12 however is from animal sources only and a supplement is needed otherwise it can screw up your brain functions in a very permanent way. One of the things that is happening though is that big agrigiant food companies are out there making pseudo food that they claim is healthy, and vegan. It's processed food, generally with tons of salt, hydrogenated fats and MSG. A vegan diet can be exciting, extremely varied and fulfilling. The problem though is the same with nearly ALL diet lifestyles other than the SAD, it takes time to prepare the foods yourself. If you ate frozen veggie burgers all the time you would probably get sick of it or die. And tofu is just gross, it's made from soybeans which are not in anyway healthy. Soy is only digestible if it is fermented so that the lectins are broken down. Yeah, the agrigiants want us to think soy is healthy, but it isn't.

Vegetarian. There are several varieties of vegetarian, vegan being the most strict and described above; however there are allowances for personal preferences with ways to increase basic nutritional needs. Lacto is the most popular, meaning with the addition of milk products in order to get higher protein and some Omega 3 and B12. Next is Ovo, meaning adding in eggs for greater amounts of those nutrients, and then there is Pisceverous, meaning eating fish and ocean products as well. That's me, Lacto-Ovo-Pisciverous Vegetarian. And for me, because of my age and a touch of arthritis, I eat a bit of beef broth made from grass fed organic beef bones. It really does help. I don't eat this way because I care about animals or any of that bleeding heart crap, I eat this way because of the crap they feed animals and just how disgusting and contaminated our meat industry is here in America. I write about it all the time, here on my blog search "modern meat" or "CAFO" in the upper right hand corner and be prepared to learn the disgusting truth. Anyway, being a vegetarian that is not so strict all the time gives me the best of both worlds, I have the biggest variety of foods available to me, I eat well, maybe too well at times, I am overweight, and I get the life enhancing benefits of reduced toxins in my diet that are added in by farmers, ranchers and food manufacturers. By only eating animals eggs and dairy that are organic and produced in sustainable methods of farming as well as only eating sustainably caught wild seafood instead of the horribly toxic farmed seafood versions; I am a WILD-vegetarian, or maybe Natural. I don't know, I just don't eat process foods and I feel better for it. Last Sunday was a good friend's birthday and I ate some store bought cake, you know the kind with whipped Crisco sugar frosting. I felt like crap Monday. Processed food. SAD.

Balanced Diet. Probably the only diet plan that makes sense. Basically it's all about eating a variety of foods, and adhering to the food pyramid for the most part that was described above. However, as a life plan it is only good if you totally eliminate processed foods from your diet. That means sugars, artificial anything and especially modern meats, with you replacing the toxic BSE laden beef with healthy organic stuff. Read this to learn just how truly sad the America modern meat business has become (MEAT) Anyway the key to sticking to any diet lifestyle is to pick one that will make you happy, give you variety and if you want to cheat once in a while and have a donut, well, it's your lifestyle and your life. It's okay every once in a while.The thing to remember about any diet plan is moderation is the key. With the only exception being lots and lots of fresh vegetables. Raw, steamed lightly, fermented or maybe lightly cooked. You can always eat lots of them, but then add in grains, meats, beans, and fruits. Okay, some sweets every once in a while. However, here again, good healthy food is only available in its most basic forms. Boxed, canned, frozen or from fast food is generally high with bad fat, high in sugar and salt and loaded with additives that manufacturers believe to be safe, or at least believe that only a little won't hurt you. They don't actually know for sure, but one thing is for certain, processing strips nutrients that you need. Even a Micky D's salad is coated with anti-yellowing agents to make the greens that might be weeks old appear fresher, and their dressings have transfats MSG and sugar added.

High Carb Diet. A new one on the market and actually sort of sensible. It more closely resembles the diets of early Paleolithic hominids than any other diet. The big new one out on the internet right now is the 80-10-10 diet with a person eating 80% of their caloric intake being carbohydrates and 10% each of fats and protein. Early proto humans were gatherers, and ate primarily plants. Yeah and a lot of nuts, seeds, rotting meat from other animal's kills, greens, seeds (AKA Grains) and anything they could find. Very little of it ran around on four legs or flew. That came later, and when is a big discussion for paleantologists. I don't care, I just know that if you believe in evolution, early man rarely ate meat. It's that simple. Fire of course changed all that, but it didn't change the fact that men eating meat still ate lots and lots of greens grains and garbage that they could find. Eating meat didn't stop the consumption of everything else and in fact all that other stuff is the reason why civilizations began, to grow all that stuff themselves instead of wasting time looking for it out in the wild. Anyway, for Americans it is hard to accept that we as humans need to eat lots of carbs in the form of grains, legumes and plants plants plants. I mean, modern society is adapted to a burger palace of one form or another on every street corner and it is generally accepted that that food is in actuality, FOOD. It isn't, real food is what your body needs, and the weird reality of it all is that 80% of the world lives on and does quite well with a high carb grain based diet. Western Civilizations are the only ones confusing lots of meat with a good diet, and we call that SAD. Next up, them...

Low Carb Diet. Meat. Meat in all its many forms. Meat. I know a lot of people, some are Paleo people, others just like to eat meat, they believe that it's the penultimate expression of wealth and vitality. Most of them are sick all the time. But hey, I'm sick all the time as well. I wasn't up until I lived in an apartment with black mold in it and the effects haunt me to this day, but yeah, I'm sick a lot as well. But anyway, there are a few studies out about how dangerous a high meat intake diet can be. Especially if all you are eating is modern meat. I'm sorry, it isn't in any way healthy. Not just the concept of high meat diet, but the selection of modern CAFO raised animals fed horrific things and processed in equally horrific conditions. Well, I don't think anyone actually eats this way for any period of time, it would be very expensive, your health would decline, your teeth would fall out and a multitude of maladies would afflict your health. But supplements are for sale on each and every website that proposes that you eat this way.

High Fat Diet. 85% or more of your calories should be in the form of fats. Dr. Mercola is a big proponent of this diet. Gimmee a break. Sheesh. He sells millions of dollars worth of supplements on his site, if you tried this without supplements, you would die. Honestly, I cannot understand how a medical doctor would ever promote this. It is not in anyway based on any science, archeology or common sense. But there are those out there that swear by it. Or so it would appear. 'Nuff said.

the SAD. The Standard American Diet pretty much is universally considered unhealthy by virtually every single professional in the fields of medicine, nutrition and pharmacology. And they all, along with the entire agrigiant food industry love love love this diet. It means money money money for all of them. It makes you sick, the chemicals addict you to the diet and you buy more and more and get sicker and sicker and all your wealth go to those that make money on your desires to live the American Dream by eating the SAD.

What we see here is a pattern. At least I see a pattern. Any diet plan that you can buy at the store or at the fast food places is going to affect your health in a very non-positive way. What you prepare yourself will affect you in a beneficial way. It isn't rocket science. Those that claim science has research that verifies their claims for whatever, usually are selling you stuff, and their interpretations of science are pretty loose and wild in that interpretation. Yeah, Paleo proto-humankind did not subsist on lots and lots of meat, IT NEVER HAPPENED that way. No matter what they claim. What I'm trying to say here is that you might try Atkins or some other fad diet for a bit, but the thing you will find is that they don't work, you will feel terrible get sick and if you lost any weight you will regain it rapidly if you go back to eating your standard diet. I am a big proponent of going vegetarian. Even a nice balanced diet with good high quality organic foods and an occasional meal with organic meat is way way way better for you in the long run. And eliminating processed foods is going to make you feel better and allow you to do some exercise which will help you in your overall battle to reduce your size and make you a healthy long living human. 

You are what you eat, so don't eat crap.
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