Sunday, July 19, 2009

Movie Recommendation about GMO Food

The Future of Food is a documentary about genetically modified food. It discusses the history of GMO foods in America, the patenting of life, GMO labeling (and why the US is the only country not requiring it), farming subsidies, and sustainable agriculture. Although most of the documentary talks about the political issues surrounding GMO foods, it also discusses how GMO seeds are made, the health effects of GMO foods and the importance of organic farming. Skip to around 25 minutes, one hour and the last ten minutes for more health-related information.

I found the parts discussing allergies to GMO foods really interesting, and how it is difficult to tell whether someone is having an allergic reaction to the actual food or just the GMO version. As the mother of a child with multiple food allergies, it would be helpful to know whether a food is GMO or not. I am wondering why the United States does not require this?


Pastured Beef

With the creation of factory farms, the diet of the cow has drastically changed. Cows are fed a soybean/grain feed, that is too high in protein for their livers to handle and is full of pesticides. Subsequently, only 5% of the cows that are slaughtered have livers that can be eaten. These cows eat this meal not in an open pasture, but rather in cement feedlots, where they have to be given steroids and antibiotics, as well as synthetic vitamins, in order to stay healthy. All of these toxins are then found in the milk and meat of these cows.

Cows that live in confinement survive an average of 1.8 lactations (births) before they are sent to be slaughtered, whereas cows that are grass-fed/pastured live 10-12 years and usually birth 8-10 calves. This is because a diet of natural grass is much healthier for the cow (and in turn for us) than a diet of grain.

Pastured cow milk contains high levels of vitamins A, D, and E, as well as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This acid is known to protect lab animals against breast cancer. It also increases metabolism, promotes muscle deposition vs. fat, lowers cholesterol and insulin resistance, and boosts the immune system.

Pastured beef contains a better mineral status than grain-fed beef, with especially high levels of zinc and magnesium. Beef is good for your nervous system and heart because of it's vitamin B12 and carnitine content. The palmitoleic acid in beef prevents virus growth and helps with weight loss.

For years we have been told that red meat is bad for you and that it should be avoided for a healthy diet. But, I feel that this only applies to the meat from unhealthy, grain-fed cattle. When cows are given a chance to feed on highly nutritious grass, especially in the spring and early summer, they are much healthier and produce a leaner meat that does not contain the fat that confined beef contains.

A couple of facts about cooking beef:

Don't let the internal temperature of your meat cook above 212 degrees. This makes the meat harder to digest and can allow pathogens to grow in your colon.

Limit your intake of grilled meat, because the flames synthesize the hydrocarbons in the meat (carcinogens). Eating broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, lacto-fermented veggies, or relishes with your grilled meat will help to neutralize these carcinogens, because they contain lactic acid.

The taste of grass-fed beef and butter:

It took some getting used to when we first starting eating grass-fed beef. It gives off an "earthy" smell while cooking and tastes oily, almost like fish. But after eating it for a while, we now prefer the taste to the meat you can buy in the grocery store. It has a better flavor and is much leaner.

The butter from pastured cows is amazing. It is flavorful and sweet, especially in the beginning of the summer.

Where you can find pastured beef and butter:

Try your local farmer's market or health-food store. Even if they don't have it there, if you ask around you can usually find someone who knows a farmer selling it.

Remember that the organic meat in the grocery store, although usually free of antibiotics, hormones and steroids, is not necessarily pastured. Many times that just means the cows were fed organic grain that was free of pesticides.



Fallon, Sally. Nourishing traditions the cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Washington, DC: NewTrends Pub., 1999.

Rubin, Jordan. Maker's diet. New York: Berkley Books, 2005.

"Health Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid." Natural Health Information Articles and Health Newsletter by Dr. Joseph Mercola. 19 July 2009 .

Rubel, William. "Homemade Butter: The Best You'll Ever Have." Mother Earth News June 2009.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How To Make Homemade Cream Cheese and Whey

Place a strainer over a bowl and lay a piece of cheesecloth or a clean dishtowel over the strainer. Take your homemade yogurt and pour it into the cheesecloth.

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Cover the yogurt and after a few hours, tie the cloth to a spoon and hang over a glass container so you can see when it is done dripping.

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When it is done dripping (it took mine 9-10 hours) you have cream cheese and whey. I strained approximately 2 cups of yogurt and got 1 1/4 cups of whey and about four ounces of cream cheese.

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The cream cheese will last for one month in your fridge and the whey has a shelf life of six months refrigerated. I had my cream cheese with some jelly on toast for breakfast and it tasted different than store-bought cream cheese - slightly more sour - but it was still delicious.

Facts about whey:

Ever wonder what the gelatinous goo on the top of your yogurt is? Well, that is whey. Don't throw it down the sink - make sure to mix it back in with your yogurt, because it is really good for you.

Whey is a very high source of natural food sodium, which keeps your joints healthy and your ligaments elastic. It is also high in vitamin B12 and many minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus.

Whey is also great for digestion because of the probiotics. Add one tablespoon to your water and drink three times per day.

If you add homemade whey to your jars of fruits and vegetables it provides lactobacilli, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria and increasing the shelf life.

Whey is a complete protein, containing all of your amino acids, which is why it has become increasingly popular among bodybuilders as a protein powder. To get one tablespoon of dried whey protein powder you would need 2 quarts of regular liquid whey.

Whey can be made into ricotta cheese by heating it, allowing it to ferment, and separating the curds.



Fallon, Sally. Nourishing traditions the cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Washington, DC: NewTrends Pub., 1999.

Jensen, Bernard. Food healing for man. Escondido, CA: B. Jensen, 1983.

"How to Make Ricotta Cheese: 9 steps (with pictures) - wikiHow." WikiHow - The How-to Manual That You Can Edit. 07 July 2009 .

Friday, July 3, 2009

How To Make Homemade Yogurt

Heat one quart of milk on the stove top. For raw milk - do not heat past 110 degrees or you will kill the active cultures.

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Once the milk is heated add 4 tablespoons of yogurt with live cultures or a yogurt starter package. We used plain yogurt that was pasteurized (do not use ultra-pasteurized). For future yogurt batches you can use the yogurt you have already made.

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Mix the yogurt and milk well and pour into a glass container.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and turn off as soon as it reaches the temperature. Wrap your yogurt container in a towel and place on a cookie sheet in the oven for at least 8 hours. You may need to preheat the oven a few times during that time to keep the oven warm.

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Refrigerate overnight before eating. Add fruit, maple syrup or honey to sweeten and enjoy!

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It can also be made in a thermos or crockpot:

  • Fill the thermos with boiling water until it gets hot. Pour out the water and fill with milk/yogurt mixture and let it sit for 8 hours.
  • Here is a crockpot recipe.

How To Make Homemade Raw Milk Butter

Let your milk sit in the fridge for a while so that the cream rises to the top.

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Skim the cream off of the top and place in food processor.

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Add salt if you like your butter salted. Turn the processor on for a few minutes.

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It's that easy - Homemade Raw Milk Butter:

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Make sure you drain all of the buttermilk. It will last for approximately one week in your fridge.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hemp Milk

We have been researching milk alternatives ever since we met with Gabe's nutritionist, who told us that the rice milk we were giving him was inadequate in fat and protein.

Here is a chart I made comparing the amount of fat and protein (in grams), as well as the % RDA of calcium in 8 ounces of each type of milk:

As you can see, the nutritionist was correct - rice milk and almond milk do not compare to any of the other alternatives in terms of fat and protein. Even soy milk falls short in fat. But what surprised me most were the levels in hemp milk, an alternative I had never heard of before.

After doing a little more research about hemp milk I discovered that it is not only high in fat and protein, and contains half of your daily calcium, it also is:

  • high in omega 3/omega 6

  • contains no cholesterol

  • a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids

  • contains potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, and more (sounds better than my prenatal vitamin!)

And don't worry, it does not contain THC.

Hemp milk just became popular a few years ago and is growing as an alternative to dairy, soy, and almond products for people with allergies and intolerances.

I also discovered that rice milk and soy milk can contain phytates (which block the absorption of certain nutrients) and oligosaccharides (which cause gas and stomach problems). Hemp milk does not.

So we switched Gabe over to hemp milk several days ago and he seems to be enjoying it. We are still adding probiotic powder to his breakfast drink and a liquid calcium supplement to his dinner cup to compensate for what it is lacking.

The only brand that we found in our local grocery store was HEMP Dream, made by the same company that makes Gabe's rice milk. It was costly (nearly $6 for 32 ounces) and doesn't contain the same amount of calcium as other brands, so I don't know if we will stick with it.

I have heard good things about the taste of Living Harvest Hemp Milk, which can be ordered here for a very reasonable price. But, the nutritional label shows that it only has half of the protein of other brands.

Manitoba Harvest offers several varieties that are cheaper than HEMP Dream, but also do not contain the optimal amount of calcium.

We are still shopping around to find the right product for Gabe, but are thrilled to know that there is an alternative out there that can give him everything that cow's milk can!



"The Benefits of Organic Hemp Milk Natural Health & Organic Living Blog." 02 July 2009 .