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Ganoderma

Last week we talked about Chaga Mushroom and their anti-tumor benefits.  Today I’d like to extend our converation about fungi and mushrooms to Ganoderma.

  

Back ground

My wife and I play around with melting glass and making candles.  This year we supplemented our hobby by attending craft shows at various schools in the north Atlanta area, to sell our crafts.  We made gas money on the shows, but the real benefit was to meet new people who were both vendors and customers.  It is very interesting what people will get into and find ways to make money on.  Small business is truly the back bone of our country.  One of our neighbor vendors was selling gourmet coffee and tea.  Further investigation uncovered that this pre-brewed powdered coffee was not only good, but contained spores from the Ganoderma fungi.  She explained that these spores provided all kinds of relief from problems including allergies and cancer.  They supposedly have anti-fungal effect, liver protecting effects, antibacterial effects and aid in reducing blood cholesterol.  We bought a package of the coffee from her which was close to 30 servings and should last us a month.  I’m going to give it a month and see if there is any noticeable benefit.  I’ll keep you informed.

Links to Information about Ganoderma

Royal Reishi Ganoderma

Aloha Medicinals Inc.

About.com Alternative Medicine

Youtude.com

Conclusions

Since I don’t want to provide any information that I can’t tell you I’m completely confident in, I don’t have a conclusion yet.  All I can tell you is that I believe that there are health benefits to be had from herbs and fungi that aren’t available to us via the standard medical community.  I’ll be honest with what I find, I’ve got nothing to gain by pushing a product that I’m not familiar with.  As always, I encourage you to do your own research and let the Fat Farm know your personal findings. – jughandle

 

Move Your Bowels

This topic might be a little personal for some of you, but read it any how, because this is a serious subject – Jughandle

How often is enough?

Everyone is different as is the quantity and quality of the food we eat.  Ever noticed that if you eat the same stuff over and over again that your poops start to get farther and farther apart?  Also, if your diet is high in protein, which is harder to digest, your movements may be only every 2 or 3 days.  A diet high in fiber, like mine has been since going vegetarian, will have you visiting the bathroom 2 or 3 times per day.

The Process

The bowels, also known as the large intestines are the lower part of your digestive system, the last stop for processing of the things you put in the other end.  Speaking of your mouth, did you know that the digestive process starts there.  I have heard all my life that you should chew your food completely, but I thought it was so if you had to throw up it would be easier.  Not really.  You chew your food to start the digestion process. Saliva produced by glands in your mouth contain enzymes that start to break down the starches in the food.  These enzymes speed up the digestive process in the body.  So that is why you should chew your food completely.

About 2 quarts of food and liquids make their way through our plumbing system each day, on the average.  In your mouth, the saliva starts to break down the food into usable parts for your body.  The stomach adds more juices to the process then moves the mess along to the small intestine.  Stomach acids digest the protein in your diet.  The reason your stomach acids don’t eat away at your stomach itself is because of a thick lining of mucosa that is able to resist the juice.

The stomach has three mechanical functions.  It serves as a storage tank for the food and liquid you consume.  That much is pretty obvious even to me.  It’s next job is to mix the food with the digestive juices produced by the stomach and thirdly to move the contents slowly to the small intestine.  Carbs move through the stomach the quickest, followed by protein and then fats.  All this time the stomach and intestine is adding digestive fluids from the liver, pancreas and intestine to extract nutrients and further the digestive process pushing everything forward all along.

The now usable nutrients are absorbed into the body through the intestinal walls.  The unusable “waste” of this process and undigested food and fiber are pushed into the colon where they remain until you have a “bowel movement”.  But first, when the mix is in the small intestine, the pancreas kicks in to provide a fluid which has several enzymes that break down carbohydrates, fat and the proteins.  Then the liver produces bile which is stored between uses in the gallbladder.  When needed the bile is squeezed out of the gallbladder through bile ducts into the small intestine to mix with the fat in the food.  The bile contains a emulsifier like substance which allows the fat to mix with the watery contents of the intestine.

Obviously, this description is a symplified version.  For more information and detail go to National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

Moving, moving, moving, keep those bowels a moving….

The easiest way to stay regular is to eat fiber, drink water and exercise.  Those will do the trick.

What if I’m not?

If you don’t eat a lot of fiber and you aren’t regular, the waste in your system, which includes chemicals and other nasties, will stay in your colon for a long time.  Cancer and other problems are known to be caused by such conditions.  Change your evil ways.

What to look for

Ideally your stool should be a torpedo, which is soft, fluffy, large and easy to pass.

If your stool is hard and dry, you maybe doing one of the following:

  • Not drinking enough water
  • taking drugs like blood pressure medicine, antidepressants and histamines that can slow down the GI tract.
  • Eating too much dairy
If your stool consists of Little lumps:
  • This condition is largely do to transit time
  • lack of fluid
  • lack of fiber
  • an unbalanced diet like the Atkins diet that is low in carbohydrates
If it is too liquid
  • The body passes roughly 8 liters of fluid per day.  If your poop is too liquid it may be one of these:
  • a viral infection – which cause the body to release fluids to get stuff out faster
  • a sudden increase in fiber
If your stools are pencil thin:
  • You may have colon cancer or polyps
  • go to your doctor now
If your stools looks pale or gray:
  • You may have a liver or pancreatic disorder
  • again – go to the doctor
If your stool is bright red:
  • It may have just been the beets you ate last night
  • If it is obviously red blood, you may have hemorrhoids
  • go to your doctor if it is blood or the condition persists
If it is too dark:
  • if it is suddenly black or tar-like  it could be the iron in your supplement
  • but if you don’t take iron or supplements then it could be bleeding higher up in your digestive track
  • go to the doctor
If your poop floats:
  • you have too much fat in your diet or
  • your body isn’t absorbing the fat
  • or you are eating the faux fat called Olestra
  • if it continues, see your doctor

Conclusions

I’m all about enjoying life and loving the things we do and eat.  Part of that, long term is to stay healthy.  I’m trying to lead the way and answer questions by experimenting with a plant-based diet and doing the things I blog about before or at least during the time I’m talking about it.  Don’t believe me.  Do your own research, but if you know you are doing yourself harm, please change, if not for me, for you and your family. – jughandle

Cheese

I’ve been putting off writing about cheese because I’ve been afraid of what I might find.  Its been 65 days since I started on my Plant-based diet and I’ve found that I’m not so much missing eating meat but I am eating more cheese.  I know that eventually I’ll need to remove dairy from my diet to accomplish my goal of cleaning my arteries but cheese provides so much to a dish that you can’t get any other way, that I’m afraid the cravings might start.

For those who just have to know about the most expensive stuff in the world. I must admit it is interesting to see what people will pay the big bucks for.  The featured picture is a picture of deer milk cheese.  It is only $500/lb, but the most expensive cheese in the world is Pule cheese, made from donkey milk.  It sells for $616/lb. -pictured below.

 

History

Cheese is around 4000 years old on this planet.  It is made from the milk of all animals but you’ll find it mostly made from cow milk.  There are easily over 700 different popular cheeses in the world.  Cheese can be found hard, semi-hard, semi-soft and soft.  Most cheese is classified as vegetarian, but not vegan.

Serving and Storage Tips 

from Cheese.com

  • Unpasteurized cheese with a range of flavours should not be sliced until purchase otherwise it will start to lose its subtlety and aroma.
  • Keep the cheese in conditions in which it matures. Hard, semi-hard and semi-soft cheeses are stored in the temperatures from around 8 – 13 C.
  • Keep the cheese wrapped in the waxed paper and place it in a loose-fitting food-bag not to lose humidity and maintain the circulation of air.
  • Wrap blue cheeses all over as mould spores spread readily not only to other cheeses but also to everything near.
  • Chilled cheeses should be taken out of the refrigerator one and a half or two hours before serving.
  • Cheeses contain living organisms that must not be cut off from air, yet it is important not to let a cheese dry out.
  • Do not store cheese with other strong-smelling foods. As a cheese breathes it will absorb other aromas and may spoil.
  • Wrap soft cheeses loosely. Use waxed or greaseproof paper rather than cling film.
  • Let cold cheese warm up for about half an hour before eating to allow the flavour and aroma to develop.

Nutritional Facts

This is the part I’ve been afraid of.  Lets take cheddar cheese as an example.

Cheddar cheese is very low on the Glycemic index.  It has a load factor of 1 on a scale of 0 to 250, which means that it releases its energy into the blood stream on a slow, long term basis.  Cheddar is also very low on the inflammation scale with a -120.

That was the good.  The bad is that one ounce of cheddar cheese provides 113 calories, 92 of which are from fat and of the 9 grams of total fat, 6 grams are saturated fat.  Worse than that is 10% of your daily intake of cholesterol will be in that one once of cheese (29 mg).

Cheddar does have 7 grams of protein per ounce and 20% of your daily calcium needs for a 2000 calorie diet.

Parmesan cheese – To show you the difference between hard cheese and even a semi-hard cheese like cheddar, lets look at parmesan which is one of the hardest cheeses.

The good is that Parmesan rates a “0” on the Glycemic load chart and a -7 on the Inflammation chart.  It also contains a lot of phosphorus and calcium, as well as 10 grams of protein.  But…

The bad isn’t quite as bad as with cheddar.  Only 110 calories per ounce of which 64 are fat.  It contains 7 grams of fat of which 5 grams are saturated.  It only has 19 mg of cholesterol but a whopping 449 mg of sodium.

Lets look at one more standard cheese.  Cottage cheese, which is considered a soft cheese.  Cottage cheese ranks a 1 on the Glycemic load chart and a -6 on the Inflammation chart.
Cottage cheese only has 27 calories per ounce, 11 of which are from fat.  The good news is that less than 2% is saturated fat and only 1 gram of total fat.  It does have 5 mg of cholesterol and 102 mg of sodium.

Conclusions

Be your own judge, but by what I’ve found here, it looks like cheese will not be in my future.  If I find a miraculous cheese that you just can’t live with out, I’ll let you know.  Until then, I’m a little depressed, – jughandle

Chia Seeds – Find it, Eat it now!

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are one of the most powerful, functional, and nutritious superfoods in the world.  The chia seed is an amazing source of fiber and protein.  It is full of antioxidants and vitamins, minerals and is the richest plant source of omega-3. Yes, even better than flaxseeds.

A member of the mint family the plant is Salvia Hispanica and grows in southern Mexico.  Chia seeds were a daily component of the Aztec and Mayan diets.  It was thought that 1 T of the seeds could sustain a person for 24 hours.  Aztecs also used chia medicinally to relieve joint pain and skin conditions. It was a major crop in central and southern Mexico well into the 16th century, but it was banned after the Spanish conquest because of its association with the Aztec “pagan” religion.

Easy to grow

Over the past few decades, commercial production has resumed in Latin America.  Insects don’t like the plant, so organic seeds are easy to obtain but since there are no pests on the plants, almost all Chia is grown organically or without chemicals.  Where flaxseed has a very sort shelf life, Chia can be stored for years without getting rancid and the seeds don’t require grinding like the flaxseed, to be able to digest.

Nutrition

2 tablespoons or 25 grams–give you 7 g of fiber as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, niacin, and zinc.  More antioxidants than Blueberries.  More omega-3 than salmon.  More Fiber than bran flakes, more Calcium than 2% milk, more Protein, Fiber & Calcium than flax seeds.  These humble seeds give you a boost of energy that lasts also providing stamina and endurance.  Chia Seeds Reduce Cravings because they absorb so much water and have high soluble fiber levels, they help release natural, unrefined carbohydrate energy slowly into the bloodstream.  They are easy to digest and the fiber content actually helps in that digestion.

Chia is 16 percent protein, 31 percent fat, and 44 percent carbohydrate of which 38 percent is fiber. Most of its fat is the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20 (2007).

The Chia seed has gotten very little press and only a little research since it’s revival, but expect much more soon.

In a preliminary study from the University of Toronto, researchers fed 21 diabetics either a supplement made from chia or grains with similar fiber content.  After 3 months, blood pressure in patients taking chia dropped (10 points diastolic, 5 points systolic) while the grain group’s BP remained steady.

Taste & Uses

The Chia seed has a nutty flavor.  Use them whole on cereal, yogurt or salads.  Mix them into your trail mix.  They can be ground and mixed with flour when baking as their nutritional content isn’t effected by heat.

The seeds have a natural affinity to water and when soaked in water create a gelatinous liquid which is just the soluble fiber releasing,  that can be used as a kind of binder in cooking.  In Mexico, Chia is used to create a drink called Chia Fresca.  Stir 2 T of Chia seeds into 8 to 10 oz of water.  Add lime or lemon, sugar to taste and you have a nutritious health drink.

Nutritious Chia Seed Gel

Chia Seed Gel

ways to prepare and use the seeds

1. Make Chia Gel -Chia Gel can be a healthy substitute for milk, eggs, butter, or oil.

  • Mix 1/3 cup of chia seeds with 2 cups of water.
  • Whisk together briskly.
  • Let the mixture rest for about fifteen minutes.
  • Whisk one more time.
  • Put the mixture in a sealed container and refrigerate.
  • Chia gel will keep 3 weeks in the fridge.
  • 1 egg = 3 T water and 1 T chia seeds either whole or ground

2. Chia Flour

You can also enjoy the health benefits of chia seeds when you grind them into flour. You can do this yourself or purchase ready-made chia flour. Use chia flour to bake pizza crust, pies, bread, cookies, biscuits, and anything else. Combine it with whole wheat or barley flour. Experiment with the ratios until you get what you like. Of course you can also use chia flour alone, but it might take some practice. Chia is gluten-free so there isn’t a problem with that.

3. Chia Butter

Chia butter is a great low-fat, high-protein alternative to regular butter. There is still real butter in the recipe but it’s only half. So you get the creamy flavor of butter, but only 1/2 the fat, and you get the additional health benefits of chia.

  • Take equal proportions of chia gel to softened butter.  Around 3 to 4 oz  of each.
  • Combine them together in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  • Put in an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Use the chia butter anywhere you would use normal butter – on toast, for cooking and baking, or as a sandwich spread.
  • Try adding some fresh herbs and spices for a savory butter
  • Try adding a teaspoon of agave nectar and a handful of ground almonds, spread on toast and sprinkle with cinnamon
Don’t buy Chia oil because all the preservative antioxidants are in the seed shells, therefore making the oil very perishable.

Recommended Dosage

Nutrition experts recommend you take 1-4 tablespoons per day of chia seeds. You can receive the health benefits through chia ingested raw or cooked. Try and take a little chia every day so that your body experiences long-term benefits from the regular intake of omega 3, vitamin B, calcium, potassium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and many other fundamental nutrients.

I have read that there is no need to worry about “overdosing” – chia is a 100% natural food and presents no damaging side effects.  Any extra nutrients should simply pass through your body. So you should be able to eat as much chia as you like!

Conclusions

 I conclude that everyone needs Chia seeds in their diet.  If you are wondering, the old Chia pets are these same Chia seeds.  You should be able to find Chia seeds in white or black at least in the health food department of your store for around $10 -12 per lb.  If you can’t find it, it will be available through the Fat Farm Store with links below. – jughandle

1 lb of Chia seeds – $8.40

 3 lbs of Chia seeds – $13.65

6 lbs of Chia seeds – $21.99

 

Fat – The good and the bad

What is Fat?

Fat is a wide range of compounds found in mammals.  Fat can be either a liquid or a solid at room temperature and is oily, not mixing with water.   Chemically, fats are triglyceridestriesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids.  In animals fat is also know as adipose tissue.

Why do we need fat?

Mammals use fat in their bodies to store energy for extended periods of time.  The location of fat on the body determines its metabolic profile.  Viseral fat is around the stomach wall beneath the abdominal muscles. Viseral fat produces “signaling chemicals” or hormones which include inflammatory tissue responses.  Subcutaneous fat is located under the skin and above the muscles.

Fat in animals, including humans, is a necessary part of our life.  Fats not only act as a storage and delivery device for fatty acids, glycerol, the hormones, insulin, glucagon and epinephrine, but store and release energy (glucose) into our blood stream when needed as other energy sources have been depleted.  Glycerol is stored in the fat by the body and is converted to glucose by the liver when needed.  Fat has 9 calories of energy per gram as opposed to protein and carbohydrates that have only 4.

Some vitamins, such as A, D, E and K are fat-soluble vitamins.  They can only be used by the body in conjuction with lipids/fat.  These vitamins can be stored by the body for longer periods of time in the fat tissue as opposed to water-soluble vitamins like C and B which need to be replaced daily because they are secreted in our sweat and urine.

Fat also plays an important part in having healthy skin and hair as well as aiding in cell production and maintaining our body temperature. Amazingly, fat also protects us from chemical or biotic substances, like diseases, that enter our body.  When an over load occurs that the liver and kidneys can’t handle, the body stores the offending substances in the body’s new fat tissue.  The body then disposes of the offender through hair growth, excretion, urination and bloodletting. That is why some drugs, or toxic chemicals we ingest or breath can be detected in our hair, fat and bone marrow for months or even years after they enter the body.

The good fats and why

Monounsaturated fat

Monounsaturated fat molecules are not saturated with hydrogen atoms – each fat molecule has only the space for one hydrogen atom. Experts seem to agree that the impact on our health of monounsaturated fats is neutral – they are neither good nor bad for you. Many health professionals, however, do say that they reduce a person’s risk of developing heart disease.  For that reason I’m including monounsaturated fat in the good catagory.

Where are monounsaturated fats found?
Olives, ground nut oil, and avocados.

Polyunsaturated fat
There are a number of spaces around each polyunsaturated fat molecule – they are not saturated with hydrogen atoms. Nutritionists say polyunsaturated fat is good for our health, especially those from fish which contain Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids protect us from heart disease as they lower blood cholesterol levels. Professionals say Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may also help reduce the symptoms experienced by people who suffer from arthritis, joint problems in general, and some skin diseases.

Where are Polyunsaturated fats found?
Oily fish (sardines, mackerel, trout, salmon and herring), safflower oil, grapeseed oil, and sunflower oil.

The bad fats and why

Saturated and unsaturated fats differ in their energy content and melting point.  Unsaturated fat contains fewer carbon-hydrogen bonds than a saturated fat with the same number of carbon atoms, unsaturated fats yield slightly less energy during metabolism than saturated fats with the same number of carbon atoms. Saturated fats can stack themselves in a closely packed arrangement, so they can freeze easily and are usually solid at room temperature.  Lard is high in saturated fatty acid content and is solid at room temperature. Olive and linseed oils are highly unsaturated and are liquid at room temp.

Trans fats

Most trans-isomer fats ( know as trans fats) are synthetically made. Trans fatty acids are rare in nature. An industrial process adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. They are also known as partially hydrogentated oils.. Trans fats may still stack like saturated fats, and are not as susceptible to metabolization as other fats. Trans fats may significantly increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Interestingly, trans fats can either be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated like our good fats, but they are never saturated. Trans fats have fewer hydrogen atoms than saturated fats.  Consuming trans fats increases your LDL cholesterol level (bad cholesterol) and lowers levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), which raises your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

Like other things like HFCS, Trans fats have become popular because food companies find them easy to use and cheap to produce. They also last a long time and can give food a nice taste. As trans fats can be used many times in commercial friers they are commonly used in fast food outlets and restaurants.

Where are trans fats commonly found?

  • Fried foods, such as French fries
  • Doughnuts
  • Pies, pastries, biscuits, pizza dough, cookies, crackers, stick margarines, shortenings, and many other baked foods

If the nutritional labeling includes partially hydrogenated oils, it means that food has trans fats. The American Heart Association says your consumption of trans fats should not exceed 1% of your total calorie intake.

Saturated fat

Saturated fats are totally saturated, meaning that each molecule of fat is covered in hydrogen atoms. Nutritionists say saturated fats increase health risks if you consume too much over a long period of time. A large intake of saturated fats will eventually raise cholesterol levels, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and possibly stroke.

Where is saturated fat found?
The largest amounts of saturated fats can be found in meat (mammals), meat products, the skin of poultry, dairy products, many processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, pastries and crisps, as well as coconut oil.

 

The best “fatty” foods

 Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are an the easiest choice for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Nuts and seeds can be eaten in many different ways; whole, made into nut butters, ground into flour, or pressed into oils, like almond oil, walnut oil and sunflower oil. Five to ten whole nuts or one teaspoon of nut oil is a serving size. Some nuts and seeds, like walnuts and flaxseeds, offer critical Omega-3 fatty acids, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Avocado

The avocado is rich in monounsaturated fats, which may be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, reports HelpGuide.org. Avocado can be eaten raw or it can be used as a condiment on sandwiches or Tex-Mex style dishes, added to salads or even as an ingredient in smoothies. You can also include avocado oil in your diet and it works well in high heat situations.

Olives and Olive Oil

Olive oil is the ideal cooking fat. Olive oil is a monounsaturatured fat and a key ingredient in healthful Mediterranean style diets. Replace animal fats, margarine, or tropical oils with olive oil.  Choose extra virgin olive oil to retain all of the health benefits of olive oil, or a more refined version for higher heat cooking.

Fatty Fish

Fatty cold water fish like salmon and herring are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids may have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease and other health issues, according to Helpguide.org. While there is some concern about mercury contamination, include at least two servings of fatty fish in your diet each week or consider a fish oil supplement if advised by your physician.

 The worse “fatty” foods

The following is straight from 10 Surprising Foods That contain Trans fat

#1: Breakfast Cereals

Fruit Loops contain trans fat.

Here’s one that will come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the Breakfast Cereal Comparison. Of the 50 popular brand name cereals I looked at, 12 contained trans fat. In no specific order, they are:

  • Fruity Pebbles (Post)
  • Cocoa Pebbles (Post)
  • Basic 4 (General Mills)
  • Rice Krispies Treats Cereal (Kellogg’s)
  • Froot Loops (Kellogg’s)
  • Oreo O’s (Post)
  • Corn Pops (Kellogg’s)
  • Honey Smacks (Kellogg’s)
  • Smorz (Kellogg’s)
  • Eggo Cereal Maple Syrup (Kellogg’s)
  • Mini-Swirlz Cinnamon Bun (Kellogg’s)
  • Waffle Crisp (Post)

#2: Quaker Oats Chewy Granola Bars

Quaker Chewy Granola Bars contain trans fat.

Most people would see the brand “Quaker” and/or the term “granola bar” and think “healthy.” They certainly wouldn’t think “trans fat.” Well, they’d be wrong. That wholesome Quaker brand isn’t quite so wholesome after all. Their ads implore parents to give these things to their kids as a good quality, healthy snack. Unfortunately, these granola bars contain some amount of trans fat per serving.

These are also one of the many products that go the extra mile to include “0g Trans Fat” right on the front of the package for added emphasis. On the bright side, I’ve been told that there is a tiny asterisk next to this with an even tinier note that basically says “Oh, and by the way, this product actually does contain a small amount of trans fat in each serving.” How family friendly of them.

#3: Saltine Crackers

Nabisco Premium Crackers contain trans fat.

Also called soda crackers, saltine crackers don’t exactly scream trans fat based on the fact that they are, you know, plain, boring, tasteless, white crackers. This apparently doesn’t matter. I haven’t investigated every saltine cracker ever created, but the most popular brands, such as Nabisco’s Premium Crackers and Keebler’s Zesta Saltine Crackers, do indeed contain some amount of trans fat.

This would lead me to assume that there’s a good chance many other brands of these crackers probably do as well.

#4: Special K’s entire line of health/weight loss food.

Special K Protein Meal Bars contain trans fat.

Are you familiar with the brand Special K? You know… they make that typical, useless, empty calorie Special K cereal which they hilariously market as a weight loss product? If so, then you are probably also familiar with the other products they released over the last few years which they also try to sell under the guise of being health/weight loss food (which none of them even remotely are).

Well, here’s a little fun fact for you. Special K’s entire line of these foods all contain some amount of trans fat per serving. Specifically, this includes all types and flavors of their:

  • Protein Snack Bars
  • Protein Meal Bars
  • Bliss Bars
  • Cereal Bars
  • Snack Bites

For those interested, while their newer Chocolatey Delight cereal does indeed contain trans fat as well, their original plain old cereal does NOT. It just contains empty calories — sorry — I meant to say “weight loss magic.” My mistake.

#5: Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookies contain trans fat.

I thought these would be considered “surprising” for 2 reasons. First, they are girl scout cookies. Why on earth would the girl scouts be trying to kill us? Seriously… they’re girl scouts. You’d think these would be completely safe and friendly and truly contain 0 grams of trans fat. And, you’d think wrong.

The second and more important reason these are on this list is that a couple of years ago, the girl scouts made a big deal over the fact that their cookies were going “trans fat free.” I guess at some point girl scout cookies contained a fairly large amount of trans fat, so much so that they felt it necessary to both remove it and then go out of their way to mention that they were removing it. The teeny tiny problem with this removal is the fact that girl scout cookies still contain some amount of trans fat per serving.

I guess they have to get their “Raise A Stranger’s Cholesterol” badge somehow.

#6: Popcorn

Pop Secret Popcorn contains trans fat.

We know snack foods are a common source of trans fat. Potato chips? Sure. Cheese curls/balls/puffs/doodles? Of course. But popcorn too? Well, depending on the brand… yup.

I haven’t looked at every popcorn brand on the planet, but, as far as microwavable popcorn goes, every single type from the brand Pop Secret contains trans fat (in some cases up to 6 grams per serving). As far as regular, ready-to-eat popcorn goes, several types from the brandsHerr’s and Frito-Lay also contain some amount of trans fat per serving, some of which were the “light,” no butter versions.

A bunch of other brands didn’t, but the ones mentioned above did, which leads me to believe at least a few others do as well.

#7: Animal Crackers

Animal Crackers contain trans fat.

As if barely looking like actual animals in the first place wasn’t bad enough, it turns out the 2 most popular brands of animal crackers that I know of, Barnum’s Animal Crackers (by Nabisco) and Stauffer’s Original Animal Crackers, both contain some amount of trans fat per serving.

See kids, animals can be dangerous.

#8: Fig Newtons

Fig Newtons contain trans fat.

If there was ever to be some at least moderately healthy cookie, you’d think the Fig Newton would be that cookie. I mean… it’s a cookie… whose main ingredient is fig. Not chocolate or vanilla filling… but fig. And Nabisco certainly hasn’t been shy about that fact. Five seconds of research has reminded me that they’ve claimed a fig newton contains more fruit than a nutri-grain bar and that it’s “the cookie that thinks it’s a fruit.”

That sounds great and all, but I’d sure like to know what fruit it thinks it is because, last time I checked, no fruit contained trans fat. Fig Newtons on the other hand, do. On the bright side though, their Fat Free Fig Newton honestly does NOT contain any trans fat.

Hopefully someone will inform Brian Regan.

#9: Ritz Crackers

Ritz Crackers contain trans fat.

Sure, these might not be quite as surprising as saltine crackers (as these actually have a taste), but even still, some may find it surprising that Ritz Crackers contain some amount of trans fat per serving. And yeah, even the reduced fat version and the whole wheat version of Ritz Crackers do as well.

Mmmmm, forget the cheese. Let’s put some Lipitor on those Ritz.

#10: Fortune Cookies

Fortune Cookies contain trans fat.

I figured I’d end on a weird one. I first discovered that fortune cookies contain trans fat when one of my fortunes said “Your risk of heart disease will be increasing.” Thank you, I’ll be here all week.

Seriously though, I found this out one time while waiting to pick up an order at my local Chinese food place. I happened to see a big bag of fortune cookies sitting nearby. And, wouldn’t you know, they contained trans fat. Since then I’ve actually seen fortune cookies from 2 other restaurants, and they too contained trans fat. Whether or not the Chinese food joint near you uses fortune cookies that do, I don’t know. However, I’d say the chances are pretty good.

 

Eggs are full of protein and other important nutrients. Those with cholesterol issues may want to avoid dietary cholesterol found in eggs. (ALEX GARCIA/Chicago Tribune)

Quick, name the good fats (and their sources) from the following: monounsaturated, saturated, polyunsaturated, trans.

If you can’t answer right away, don’t worry. You have a lot of company.

According to recent polls, many Americans are dropping low-fat diets for “healthy fat” diets, but only about a third of us can correctly differentiate between so-called good and bad fats.

(By the way, the answers: Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated are good fats, and sources include olive oil, avocados and oily fish.)

But maybe this isn’t so surprising, given the flip-floppy advice the nutrition establishment has issued on fats and cholesterol over the years. Remember when avocados and eggs were considered fatty no-nos, while margarine was seen as a healthful alternative? How times have changed

Conclusion

My conclusion is to avoid trans fat and partially hydrogenized vegetable oil like the plague.  Try to limit intake of saturated fats which mostly come from animal sources and to eat mostly mono or polyunsaturated fats found in vegetables and vegetable oils such as olive oil. For an interesting counter point go to Fat: Infiltrating the Culinary World posted by Melisa – Jug

Life Changing Posts

Important concepts to master.  In the past couple of years, let’s see, we’ve talked about:

Milk and Lactose IntoleranceHow to prevent and reverse heart diseaseSodium and Salt.

How to properly set a table and  Is diet soda good or bad.

I introduced you to Matcha tea and tea in general.

I explained that there are things that you shouldn’t put in the freezer  and what

to stock your pantry with as well as your freezer.

I showed you my favorite carved pumpkins, my favorite blogs to read

and we talked about Grits.

We learned how to de-bone a whole chicken, how to can things, how to blanch and how to cook rice.

We also learned how to make pie dough from scratch and our own scratch pasta.  Then we studied

how to roast vegetables and how to make Kimchi.  We learned about the 5 basic sauces and how to modify them.

We even learned harder looking dishes like Beef Wellington and Sushi.

We studied nutrition and diets and why vegan isn’t a bad idea.  We now know that there are at least 12 foods that are bad for the

planet.

More Important concepts to master

You wanted to learn about fiber and calories as well as the superfoods to eat.   But most of all you wanted to know about

what is in your food and mistakes we make that make us fatter.  I showed you where I get my coupons and how the Kroger Store is laid out.

I warned you about chemicals and pesticides in our food and told you which food is better to be bought organically raised.

 

I’ve shared over 55 of the best recipes I could find.  Now I need to know what else you’d like to learn about.  Please let me know. – Jughandle

 

Milk – Are you Lactose Intolerant? Want to know why?

This is rather simple to answer actually.  Most people have no problem drinking and digesting milk and dairy products when they are young, usually until they are late teenagers.  Then for no explicable reason, a glass of milk or two or a bowl of rich ice cream will cause digestive problems and an upset stomach, maybe even worse.

What Gives?

What gives is that most of us humans and animals for that matter are born with a digestive enzime called  lactase-phlorizin hydrolase or just LPH or lactase.  LPH is the enzyme that digests the lactose sugar in milk.  Animals are much smarter than humans.  When nature takes its course and makes milk unpalatable for a growing animal it moves on from its mothers milk to other nutrition more suitable for their age.  Humans, not so much.  Humans think, “wow, it isn’t cool to suckle my mothers breast any more, but boy I like milk, so I’ll just drink milk from animals to be more PC.”

What Happens?

What happens is that as we grow our bodies don’t need the nutrition that our mother’s milk or animal’s milk might provide in that form, so nature in it’s infinite wisdom reduces the body’s output of lactase.  Some people’s output remains higher than others just like some people are bald and some aren’t.  It’s kind of like developing “shame” when we leave our 20’s so we don’t hurt ourselves doing stupid things any more.

Bottom Line

Bottom line is that once you reach the age of around 20 you don’t need to drink milk any more, so stop.  Easy Pezzy, no more Lactose intolerance.

 

Questions? – jug