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It’s never the same two weeks in a row. A collection of what I find interesting in the world of food, nutrition, health and holistic living. Read what’s on my mind.
Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden – It seems that mainstream science is beginning to realize that wholesale, repeated slaughter of our intestinal flora may not be such a good thing. Holistic practitioners have been saying for decades that supporting the gut is key to supporting health. Starting with a baby’s first inoculation via the birth process to our exposures we build a hopefully healthy intestinal eco-system. When we take antibiotics and wipe out both good and bad bacteria there are negative health effects that accumulate from this overarching destruction. I’m glad to see that mainstream science is beginning to recognize the benefits of a healthy digestive system. If you want to learn more consider reading Liz Lipski’s amazing book, Digestive Wellness.
Meat Without Drugs – For those Omnivore and Flexitarian eaters out there this is a huge deal. The FDA has known for decades that the producers in the meat industry over-use antibiotics in order to keep their animals healthy in spite of overcrowding and filthy conditions. The problem is that those antibiotics are still present in the meat when you eat it, leading to a regular low level exposure. Over 70% of all antibiotic use in this country is in animal feed. That’s an astounding number. It appears that this situation may also be one of the leading causes behind antibiotic resistant bacteria. We are essentially inoculating our bodies over and over again. You can avoid eating meat with antibiotics in it by purchasing organic, purchasing meat labeled “raised without antibiotics”, or purchasing directly from a farmer that you trust. And support this campaign, sign the pledge.
More than honeybees – It turns out the dangers from our damage to the environment are affecting more than just honeybees. One big takeaway from this article is how the loss of meadows and wildflower habitats is affecting the bee population. They need to have a wide mixture of plants available for foraging. All the spaces that we consider weedy and remove or cover over or control by mono-cropping are exactly the spaces needed by the bees. And we need them to pollinate our food. It is, after all, an eco-system and one which we need to respect.
Olive Oil and Slippery Politics – sadly it’s not just in this country that politics and corporate aims challenge the issues of sustainability and environmental responsibility. Unfortunately this compounds the situation already clouded by adulteration of olive oil. To my mind the solution is simple and straightforward. Stop adulterating the product, support small farmers, accept that this is a regional product that does best when produced sustainably. However the EU’s solution is to create an overwhelmingly tragic repeat of what has happened to the dairy industry in this country by paying farmers to stock a reserve which will at some point no longer be acceptable for consumption. It’s difficult as consumers to know what makes a good choice for olive oil, to know who is not adulterating and who is not being squeezed out (sorry) by corporate interests. I know of a few producers that I believe sell a clean, quality product if you are interested in purchasing your olive oil for quality and purity. Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard in Elmendorf, TX, Texas Hill Country Olive Company in Dripping Springs, TX, and the Chaffin Family Orchards in Oroville, CA. High quality olive oil costs more, but you can tell by the flavor that you are getting an amazing product.
Farm to Dumpster – So much of our food is wasted. In a world where there is growing disparity between the food haves and the food have-nots this is a deep shame. In a world where food costs are rising this is sad. In a world where the environment is stressed and global warming is a reality, this is just wrong. We need to do better. We need to be more mindful about our food and how we use it. Learn more and make changes….start with Jonathan Bloom’s excellent book, American Wasteland.
What I’m Reading:
Cooking for Isaiah by Silvana Mardone – This book was on a friend’s cookbook shelf and she pulled it down to share a recipe that she particularly liked with me. Flipping through the pages it looked amazing and, more than that, delicious. I am one of those people who truly does READ a cookbook. Reading through the pages of this one is a journey through foods that signify comfort and love. But they come without gluten and dairy, a huge issue for many people. I was so inspired by this book that before I was done reading it I ran to the grocery store to buy the gluten free flours to make Sivlana’s mix. The one issue with her mix is the use of Xanthan Gum which is a binding agent. Some people can be very sensitive to it and suffer from flatulence or bloating when eating it. I haven’t experimented enough with the mix and the recipes to know if it’s okay to leave it out but I must say the recipes I’ve tried so far have all been amazing.