Archives

Category Archive for: ‘Vegan’
How to Test Your pH

Snake Oil

When talking about pH my biggest concern in discussing this topic is to be taken seriously.  When a health method isn’t totally embraced by the traditional health community, it seems as though the snake oil salesmen display an inordinate number of cure-all methods and substances you can take to cure everything from gout to cancer.

As with most things you should stay toward the middle of the road.  Don’t believe anyone who says they can cure you over night.  Most of our problems took a long, long time to develop and will take almost as long to fix.  There are no silver bullets, just rational science.

Why Test Your pH?

pH is an indicator that our body chemistry is either good or bad.  If your pH is out of range for a long period of time, changes in our blood, organs and skin will take place to compensate for an acidic condition.  These changes aren’t good and can be dealt with before real damage is done.  An acidic pH level is an indicator that something is out of balance.  Make corrections.  Don’t ignore the “engine warning” light.

phtestigenstrips

Now to Test Your pH

My Urologist is trying to bring my very acid urine pH from a 5.0 to some where close to 7.0.  He has me on 45 mg of  Potassium Citrate three times a day.  Because your pH changes throughout the day it is important to test it several times during the day, maybe once a week or so.

Urine – Test your second pee of the day by placing the test strip in the urine stream for a few seconds.  You test the second pee (before coffee) because the first pee from storing it overnight will be more acidic.  The kidney’s job is to remove acid from the system.  Wait 10-15 seconds or what ever your brand of test strips recommends and compare the color to the chart provided in the test kit.  Write down this number and time and do it again 2 – 3 more times during the day.  Remember to test either before eating a meal or 2 hours after a meal for most accurate results.

Saliva – First thing in the morning, either flush your mouth with your own saliva and spit or rinse with water and wait 30 mins before testing.  Wet the strip with your saliva and check against the chart as with your urine.  Write the number and time down.  As with the urine, test 2-3 more times during the day.

You can average the numbers then chart them over time to see what difference changes in your diet can make.

ph - ion

 

The Chart

Remember that the pH chart with your kit is like an earthquake chart, it is logarithmic which means each step, ie; 4.5 to 5.5 is ten times the previous.

phi-01001-3_1_

Which Strips?

You can find test strips in most pharmacies and health food stores or you can find them on line.  On my blog page there is a tab for “Company Store” which houses links to products I use and recommend on a daily basis.  I research these products to find the lowest prices and I don’t profit from you purchasing from my page.

I personally use PHion Balance Diagnostic pH Test Strips.  They are available through my store for 90 strips.

Please let me know if you can find them less expensively, I will pass it along.

What Results Should we Expect?

What’s normal pH…
There are a number of body systems which all have their own specifically preferred pH. Overall, the body’s internal chemical environment normally changes from a weak acid to a weak base within a 24-hour period, usually more acid at dawn and most base at sunset. These physiolical changes occur on a sine curve during this period. The slightly acid time period early morning: pH < 7.0 is optimal for the activity of the nerves, hormones and neurotransmitters such as adrenaline. thyroxine, histamine, acetylcholine and other biogenic amines. In this pH, the acidic connective tissue substances (stored acidic wastes) are dissolved by the hyaluronidase into liquid form and thereafter excreted from the body as wastes.


Blood pH:

The bloodstream is the most critically buffered system of the entire body, far more sensitive than any other. Arterial and venous blood must maintain a slightly alkaline pH: arterial blood pH = 7.41 and venous blood pH = 7.36. Because the normal pH of arterial blood is 7.41, a person is considered to have acidosis when the pH of blood falls below this value and to have alkalosis when the pH rises above 7.41.

Figure 3. Range of Arterial pH Values

 

ACIDOSIS
pH = 1 to 7.40
NEUTRAL
pH = 7.41
ALKALOSIS
pH = 7.42 to 14.0

 

 

 

Interstitial fluids and connective tissue pH:

A normal pH in these areas is 7.34 and 7.40, a slightly more acid profile, because body cells dump as much free hydrogen (H+) as possible, buffering the blood as much as possible. However, pH in these areas can dangerously drop to concentrations of pH = 5.0.

 

Urine pH values:

In a pH balanced body. urine is slightly acid in the morning, (pH = 6.5 – 7.0) generally becoming more alkaline (pH = 7.5 – 8.0) by evening in healthy people primarily because no food or beverages are consumed while sleeping. Whereas, during the day the body buffers the pH of the food and beverages consumed by releasing electrolytes and the pH level goes up. This process allows the kidneys to begin the elimination process slowly.

Outside the range implies that cells are being burdened with caustic pH fluids within and without surroundings. Long term experience outside this range is unhealthy. However, the pH of urine can range from an extremely unhealthy low of 4.5 to a high if 8.5, which it tolerates a little easier, depending on the acid/base status of the extracellular fluids. A high pH value may indicate the body is over buffering to compensate for a physiological system that is too acidic.

 

 Range of Urine pH Values.

 

UNHEALTHY
pH < 6.0
NEUTRAL
pH = 6.5 TO 8.0
UNHEALTHY
pH > 8.5

 

 

 

Generally, when urine pH is 6.0 and below for extended periods of time, it is an indication that the body’s fluids elsewhere are too acid, and it is working overtime to rid itself of an acid medium. Thus, when urine pH is normal, then the blood pH is normal, but when the urine pH is overly acid, the body releases too many electrolytes to keep the pH level normal and maintain life. Easy to take urine buffer test strips are available to indirectly determine the safety of all body fluids, including blood.


Results may vary. These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S.A. Food and Drug Administration and this product is not intended to treat, cure or prevent disease.

What to Do?

More later – jughandle

Meat substitutes

Meat substitutes.  Check out this page on One Green Planet titled “10 Vegetables That Can Substitute for Meat“.

Not your hippie friend’s meat substitute

Not too long ago vegan friendly substitutes for meat were like eating cardboard.  Not to mention they were highly processed and contained a lot of chemicals.  Not so much today.  There are quite a few products that are very good and can even stand on their own without being called a “substitute”.

Cutting down on meat?

If you aren’t, you really should be.  I have been on a vegan experiment for the last 6 months or so with interesting results.  That is a story for another day, but suffice it to say if you are pushing 65 as I am or even 45 for that matter, it’s time to consider your long term diet, in order to have a “long term” at all.  I’m not saying to stop meat completely, in fact I’ve started back on a limited protein serving a couple of times per week.  I’ll explain that another time.

The products and the companies producing meat substitutes that I’m going to list below are a great way to expand your eating options and improve your health at the same.  Back off on the red, white and fowl meats.  Don’t stop by any means, but just imagine how much better they’ll taste when you aren’t eating them as often.

5 Options

Veggie Patch Products –  This is a large line of veggie and meatless products that might interest even the pickiest carnivore.  No artificial flavors, preservative and no trans fat.  These products include Meatless meatballs, chick’n Nuggets and Ultimate Meatless Burgers and many more. Click on the link to find who carries them in your area.

Trader Joe’s Meatless Corn Dogs and Morningstar Farms Veggie Corn Dogs – If you or your kids like corn dogs, try one of these substitutes and see if any one even can tell the difference. Trader Joe provide excellent products throughout their store and Morningstar is a leader in the vegan market.

Quorn –  While I’m not personally familiar with this brand, it is highly recommended.  Click on the link and check out the products for yourself.  They have meat and meatless products.

Quorn

Quorn

Turtle Island Foods –  I recently had my first Tempeh…. wait for it… wait for it… and I loved it.  Great texture, good flavor and cooks well with out falling apart.  Turtle Island carried Tofurky, tofurky pizza, tempeh and tempeh bacon.  I can’t yet vouch for all of these products, but the tempeh is great.

Gardein Seven – the article says about Gardein

“Gardein’s ad campaign advises consumers to “cheat on meat,” and their products make it easy to do just that. To boot, these breaded tenders contain heart healthy grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth and Kamut and have 8 grams of protein per serving”

Conclusions

I have concluded for myself that I am cutting down on meat and I will eat more of the products I’ve list above.  I recommend you come to the same conclusion, as I need to keep all the readers I have.  – jughandle

 

Food Source – Chef Kern’s fine foods

In the Cumming, GA area.  This place is worth the drive.  Chef Kern’s has been catering special events with his great Cajun food since the 1980’s.  I wanted to make sure you knew you could visit his store and buy food to take home.  Note that the dishes on his menu usually serve at least 2 people.  These are great prices on exceptional food with weekly specials. – jughandle

Chef Kern, Inc.

Chef Kern, Inc. is a quality full service catering and fine foods company servicing Atlanta and North Georgia since 1988. Chef Kern’s specialties include Cajun, French, Italian, Southwestern, Mediterranean and Classic Southern Cuisines. Chef Kern Chiasson applies creative fresh ideas and knowledge to his defined style of seasoning, always committed to providing the freshest food available.

“The total palate pleasing adventure”!

 

CHEF KERN, INC  – Kerns Fine Foods.

Onsite Catering Division

3060 Keith Bridge Road

Cumming, GA 30041

Office: 770-889-8800

Fax: 770-889-8838

Web: chefkern.com

Email: Chef Kern Chiasson

Store Hours

Monday Closed
Tuesday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Wednesday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sunday Closed

 

Directions

From Atlanta
Take GA 400 north to exit 17, hwy. 306. Turn right toward Gainesville. We are 1/2 mile down on the right, in the Lock Inns development. Second building back, look for the big red KERN’S sign

From Dahlonega
Take GA 400 south to exit 17, hwy. 306. Turn left toward Gainesville. We are 1 mile down on the right, in the Lock Inns development. Second building back, look for the big red KERN’S sign

From Gainesville
Take hwy. 53 toward Dawsonville; take a left onto hwy. 306 toward Cumming 1/4 mile past the intersection of hwy. 306 & 369. We are on the left, in the Lock Inns development second building back, look for the big red KERN’S sign

Fresh In The Store This Week

Weekly Specials

 

We are committed to providing our customers with the freshest, highest quality domestic ingredients available.

  • No Artificial Additives, Flavors or Colorings
  • No Preservatives or MSG
  • No Heavy Creams or Half & Half
Canary in the Vegetable patch

You may be familiar with the use of a Canary to warn miners in coal mines when toxic levels of gas or the lack of O2 was imminent.  The bird would sing it’s happy song until a problem was present and then it would either die or at least stop singing which was a warning to the miners that there was a problem and to get the hell out.  The canary was much more sensitive to the change in the environment than the miners.   Today of course we have electronic sensors to warn of such problems, but nature has and always will be the best indicator of problems to which humans as the top of the food chain should pay close attention to.


frog

Turtles, Frogs and Fish are the Canaries of our crops and waters

Amphibians, not unlike the canary, are many times more sensitive to chemicals and changes in the water chemistry and soil make up than are humans.  When large populations of amphibians start to die or move to other more suitable locations we NEED TO PAY ATTENTION!

Sad when we change our eating habits only to find our vegetables are tainted too!

It makes me mad to do all the research into finding a more healthy diet only to find that the so called “good” things we eat have problems too.  Farmers and scientists have been partnered up for years to find ways to grow fruits and vegetables larger, more quickly and with more nutrition than ever before.  It isn’t surprising then to imagine that some of these partnerships could get carried away with their experiments and approach the “Frankenstein” level of experimentation.

Scientists now are finding ways to kill pests and weeds but also make growing easier for the farmer resulting in producing more yield per acre than ever before.

crop-duster-mtopper

Growing food isn’t easy

It may seem that growing food is as easy as putting it in the ground and adding water and maybe some fertilizer.  You then wait, and when nature is done growing the seed you gather your crop and sell it.  Not so much.  First of all, changes are being made even in the seeds and the way the ground, or soil is being handled.  There are genetically altered seeds that can be cast upon un-tilled soil.  Not only that, but the farmer doesn’t worry about weeds hogging the nutrients from the crop.  All the farmer has to do is have a crop duster spray the entire crop with Round-up.  Oh, you might be thinking, Round-Up kills everything.  It is a herbicide after all.  Not any more.  There are genetically altered crops that are “Round-Up Ready”, meaning that the crop itself is resistant to Round-Up while the weeds around it die.  Seems great doesn’t it?  Just wait.  There will be huge problems.  Already the base chemical in Round-Up, Glyphosate, can be detected in the rain in many states like Nebraska and Kansas where large amounts of crops are treated this way.  Soon there will be weeds that are resistant to glyphosate just like there are rats and roaches that are resistant to the poisons humans use on them.  I won’t bore you with why there are diseases resistant to antibiotics.

So that I don’t lose your attention, I will try to get to the point.  Fast forward to the teams of farmers and scientists who are bored with making faster growing, larger producing crops.  There are still some problems to address in the growing cycle.  Under certain conditions crops can be damaged by fungus that can stunt the growth or even kill a plant.  This happen mostly on crops that are low to the ground and leafy, such as lettuce, strawberries, kale, beets and such.

Fungicides Kill Amphibians Quickly! Are our Children Next?

A chemical fungicide commonly used on the crops I mentioned before, called pyraclostrobin, has been shown to kill amphibians in as fast as MINUTES!

Residues of this chemical are found on non-organic supermarket greens and berries.. In the US, chemicals are often approved for farming or industrial use without adequate research to make clear what their health effect might be. Current findings show even minuscule exposures to certain chemicals at important times in human development such as, in utero and in early childhood, in particular, could affect a person’s life and health decades down the line, or even that of possible future generations.

dog pooping in yard

family playing in yard

Doesn’t Effect You?

From Health Hazards of Pesticides by Leah Zerbe – Rodale

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, in addition to its use as a fungicide, pyraclostrobin is used for its ability to speed the growth of plants. It’s also a go-to fungus killer for lawns and golf courses, a potential problem because rainstorms create runoff from the grass that can carry the amphibian-killing chemical into surface waters.

Frogs around the globe are facing extreme extinction pressure, and this new study provides insight into one of the possible major contributors to these amphibians’ decline. Aside from pyraclostrobin, British researchers also looked at other common fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides. Another startling finding? The insect-killing chemical dimethoate, an insecticide sometimes found on spinach, killed about 40 percent of exposed frogs within a seven-day period.

Plus, if you or your lawn company are using a spray treatment on your grass, just think of the danger it potentially has for your children, who play in the yard, or your pets who walk across it, then lick their paws.

Short term Solution

There are many things that need to be done about this problem, but YOU are the most important key to change.  First, you need to be aware that there is a problem.  Hopefully I’ve helped with that in this article.  Then, right away, today, next time at the market, buy organically grown food of all kinds.

 

I could write for days on this subject, but I’ve been told to “leave them wanting more”, so if you have a burning question or would like to make a statement, please respond to this post. – jughandle

Oli and Ve – Premium Olive Oil & Vinegars

While driving through old town Roswell, Ga, the other day we stopped at a completely unique and totally fun, shop called Oli+Ve Premium Oils & Vinegars.  Jughandle has only recommended a handful of places to our readers.  This is one to pay close attention to.

As the name suggests, the owners are proprietors of fine Olive Oils and Vinegar.  We here on the Farm have been searching high and low for a good consistent  reasonably priced source for olive oil for a long time.  The bonus with Oli + Ve is the amazing collection of  quality balsamic vinegars.

If you click on the link above you will be taken to the shop’s online store where you can purchase and have shipped to your home, their products.  Obviously, you will realize a saving of at least the shipping cost by visiting either of their two stores.  They also have cooking classes and recipes available.

olive oil pics

Olive Oils

The available oils vary by season and range from mild to full intensity flavors.  This being the winter season in the US, the available oils are from Sicily, Australia, Portugal and Chile.  You can sample as many of the oils as you would like to, try that at Kroger, with the recommendation of the owners to go from mild to medium to Robust flavors and then to the flavored oil and finally the vinegars. Prices for the oils are $9.95 for a 200 ml bottle, $17.95 for a 375 ml bottle and $29.95 for the large 750 ml bottle.

All of the offered oils are of the Extra Virgin or EVOO type, which is the highest quality oil available.  While the “single” variety EVOO had 9 different oils to chose from at our visit, there are also a number of Flavored or infused oils ranging in flavor from Basil to Blood Orange, Butter, Cilantro & Roasted Onion, garlic and Eureka Lemon.  To be honest we were a touch overwhelmed by all our options, so we chose to sample just the single variety and a handful of the vinegars on this trip.

Also offered are 4 specialty oils which we chose not to sample this time, but I look forward to on our next visit.  Those are Almond oil, Sesame, Walnut and White Truffle oil.  The first three sell for $18.95 and the White Truffle for $38.95 in a 375 ml bottle, which seem very reasonable to me.

Vinegars

While we were drawn to the shop for it’s olive oil, be became extremely excited about their vinegars.  Where to start?  Well, first of all balsamic vinegar MUST be made in Modena, Italy to be true, balsamic vinegar, just as Champagne is just sparkling wine if it doesn’t come from Champagne France.

Oli+Ve offer dark balsamic vinegars in around 25 different flavors.  I tried, Fig, Dark Chocolate, Blackberry Ginger, and Peach.  There were too many for one visit, but their website will list all of them.  Oh, ALL of the ones I tasted were KILLER.  Some flavors would make great desert sauces, some would be great BBQ sauces.  I tried the Cinnamon Pear on an ice cream sample I was offered. WOW!

Specialty vinegars include, premium white vinegar and red wine vinegar.

Keep in mind that you aren’t buying cheap boiled down vinegar with added sugar.  You are getting barrel aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy.

 

Our Purchases

We bought, a 750 ml bottle of the Robust, Organic Mission from California, which had just arrived, for every day use.  I got a 200 ml bottle of Eureka Lemon EVOO for dressings, and a 200 ml bottle of Fig Balsamic vinegar.  My wife, Darlene bought Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar for desert use.  We can’t wait to go back.  As another bonus, we received 6 check offs against our frequent shopper card that will get us a free bottle after 10 checks.  That won’t be hard at all. Oh, oh, oh, you can also bring back your clean bottle to be refilled and receive a $1 off.

I want everyone to frequent this shop, because quality products like these are hard to find and I’d like them to stay in business for a long time.  And make sure you tell them Jughandle’s Fat Farm sent you.  – jughandle

 

 

Farmers’ Market Scams

This post is taken from a recent article from Organic Gardening.com

So you’ve decided to try and eat organic vegetables?  You might even think that buying produce at local Farmers’ markets would even be better.  Maybe, maybe not.

Types of Markets

Generally there are two types of farmers markets and various combinations there of.

Real Farmers Markets – are small markets, usually set up seasonally that feature produce from local farmers.  It is up to you to ask whether or not the farmer grew their produce organically or not.  These markets are “producer-only” markets where only the farmer can sell their own product.  Keep in mind that the offerings may not be as large as a wholesale market.  After all your local climate dictates when the produce is ripe.  You don’t get watermelon in May in Atlanta, GA.

Re-sellers Farmers Markets – more often than not, you’ll find small farmers markets on the side of the road set up just like the real farmers markets, but the produce they are selling has been bought from a wholesale grocery or marketer that has gotten the produce from other states, or even other countries.

Look for Certified organic

If your market doesn’t certify that it’s food is grown organically it might be just as likely to contain chemicals as your local grocery store.  National Organic Program, farmers who market their product as “organic” must become certified by a USDA-accredited third party and keep very detailed records regarding their farming practices. There is an exception: If growers earn less than $5,000 a year, they can legally market their produce as organic, provided they keep records to prove they are organic. They just don’t have to go through the certifying process.

Unless the farm is certified as organic you have no way to know if the farmer’s claims are true.

If your grower says he or she grows organic produce but is avoiding organic certification because of the cost, take that excuse with a grain of salt. “I find that particular argument to be very frustrating,” says Franczyk. “The smallest growers are exempt from certification under the National Organic Program.” Beyond that, growers who gross between $5,001 and $20,000 a year generally only pay about $100 a year when it’s all said and done because the federally subsidized program refunds up to three-quarters of the cost. “That is pretty cheap for putting a trained third-party inspector on farm every year,” says Franczyk. Again, some farmers may be truly organic but opt out of the certification program. But you’ll want to ask more questions to be sure that they’re not talking the talk without walking the walk.

Bugs on your food

If you are truly buying direct from an organic farmer, don’t worry if you find a bug or two on your produce when you get it home.  Wash it and refrigerate as normal.

Tempeh?????

Just when I thought there was nothing left in the world that could surprise me, along comes Tempeh.

What the heck?

Tempeh is another soy product in patty form.  Yes, it is fermented.  Temp’h is made with whole soybeans that undergo very little processing.  It is high in protein, as most soy products and is therefore a great vegan protein source.

Why do we care?

We care because of the texture.  Ahhhh, the texture is that of meat.  I’m not going to pretend that I don’t love everything about meat, with the exception of what it does to my body.  I miss the texture, the mouth feel, the chew of a steak, bbq, a simple hamburger.  Is tempeh the answer?  I sure hope so.

Where to get it

The author of at least one of the articles I read about tempeh feels that because of the complicated nature of the fermentation process necessary to make tempeh, they do not recommend making your own.  This is one of those pre-packaged foods you’ll want to buy.

“You can find tempeh pre-packaged in the refrigerated section of most natural foods stores. Unlike tofu, it hasn’t made it to most mainstream groceries just yet, but try requesting it and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover they’ll stock it, or order it for you. If you have to order in bulk, that’s okay because it can be frozen until ready to use.

Because soy bean crops are almost always grown with GMOs  (Genetically Modified Organisms ), your soy products (and corn products, for that matter) should always, always, always be made with organic soy. And this is no exception. So be sure to check your labels to be sure it’s organic. Sometimes it says it on the cover of the package, and sometimes it says it in the actual ingredient list, so check both.”

How To Clean and Prep Tempeh

There are basically two types of tempeh which you can find, one is fresh (or fresh frozen) and one is vacuum-sealed and found in the refrigerated section of your store.

The vacuum-sealed tempehs are almost always pasteurized. This is not in all actuality “pre-cooking” but a way to kill bacteria and molds and other harmful organisims. The pasteurization ensures that all the bacteria is killed off (including, unfortunately, beneficial bacteria) so it can be packaged and sold in stores. These are ready-to-eat and usually do not have to be pre-cooked.

The fresh tempeh is more rare, but seems to be healthier because all the fantastic nutritional qualities are still intact. It’s definitely a food filled with live cultures and such. Fresh tempeh must be pre-cooked for at least 20 minutes before eating. Fresh tempeh can also be frozen in this fresh state.

(When I called my local Whole Foods store to ask if they have any fresh frozen non-pasteurized tempeh, they said it’s illegal for them to sell non-pasteurized tempeh.)

So in the end, the consumer really has to be vigilant. It the package says ready to eat, that means it’s likely been pasteurized and is good to go. If the package says to cook first, then it’s very important to do so.

No matter which tempeh you choose the soybeans are fermented so it’s much easier for our bodies to digest. And of course the tempeh is a nice source of protein. I might recommend that, as with all pre-packaged foods, one not rely on them on a daily basis but try to focus on eating whole foods as nature intended.

Now, having said all that I recommend you cook your tempeh before using it in your recipe. First of all, it helps to remove some of tempeh’s bitter flavor. Secondly, it helps to make the tempeh soft and moist which makes for scrumptious tempeh recipes. And if you would like to marinate your tempeh, cooking it first helps the tempeh to accept more of the marinade.

If you would like to steam it first, you can learn how to do that here: How To Steam Your Tempeh. I recommend steaming it for 20 minutes.

 

Recommendations

I haven’t yet tried tempeh, but I’m going to today.  If this is the next coming of the faux meat, I’ll let you know, believe me – jughandle