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Let’s Thai Won On – Easy Thai Food

What is Thai Cuisine?

According to Wikipedia “Thai Cuisine is the national cuisine of Thailand. Balance, detail, and variety are of paramount significance to Thai chefs.

Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge. Thai chef McDang  characterizes Thai food as demonstrating “intricacy; attention to detail; texture; color; taste; and the use of ingredients with medicinal benefits, as well as good flavor”, as well as care being given to the food’s appearance, smell and context.  Australian chef David Thompson, an expert on Thai food, observes that unlike many other cuisines,  Thai cooking rejects simplicity and is about “the juggling of disparate elements to create a harmonious finish”.

In 2017, seven of Thailand’s popular dishes appeared on the list of the “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods (Readers’ Pick)”— a worldwide online poll of 35,000 people by CNN Travel. Thailand had more dishes on the list than any other country. They were: tom yam goong (4th), pad Thai (5th), som tam (6th), massaman curry (10th), green curry (19th), Thai fried rice (24th) and moo nam tok (36th).

Sounds good to me.  Let us learn a little about the food. – jughandle

 

Things to Remember

Balance is the KEY to all Thai Food.  Some dishes feature, salty, spicy, sour or sweet flavors, but they don’t overwhelm, they are balanced.  Think sweet and sour, spicy and sweet etc.

 

Thai

Thai Food

 

The current list of the “World’s  Top 50 Most Delicious Foods” from CNN travel, has Massaman Curry #10 so we will start with that.

Massaman Curry

#1 – Massaman Curry

Chicken Massaman Curry

This curry, which can also use beef, is flavored with tamarind and coconut milk, is ready in under an hour. Serve it over plain white rice.

Chicken Massaman Curry Recipe

Tom Yum Goong

Checking in at #4 in the CNN Travel Top 50 world’s dishes is Tom Yum Goong.  This Thai staple is full of shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal (ginger) and kaffir lime leaves. Usually swimming in coconut milk and cream, this hearty soup combines the top four of Thai flavors: sour, salty, spicy and sweet. Best of all is the price: cheap.

Thai food

Tom Yum Goong Recipe

Som Tam

Som Tam is Green Papaya Salad.  CNN Travel ranks this dish 46th of its 50 top dishes world wide.

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam) is the #1 most popular salad in Thailand and is especially loved by Thai women. It’s low in calories and fat, but very high in taste and eating satisfaction, helping you stay slim. This salad recipe is crunchy and delicious.  It can be served as a side dish/appetizer, or as the main course. Cooked shrimp or crab meat can be added (or cashews if vegetarian), or try eating it as they do in Thailand: with a bowl of sticky rice. ENJOY!

Som Tam

Thai Som Tam

Som Tam Recipe

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is translated as stir-fried noodles. The best Pad Thai dishes are served as street food.  Pad Thai can be eaten with seafood or chicken, or as a veggie dish.  Pad Thai is NOT spicy, it has a more sweet and sour flavor.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

pad Thai Recipe

 

Thai fried rice

Thai fried rice is another staple of Thai cooking.  You can order fried rice anywhere.  It can also be ordered with just about any protein.  The meal usually includes either chicken, shrimp, crab or beef. Together with egg, garlic, onions and a delicious seasoning this is an easy go-to meal that can be found at most street vendors.

Fried Rice

Thai Fried Rice

Thai Fried Rice Recipe

 

Nam Tok Moo

(  Sliced grilled pork salad )

pork salad

Sliced grilled pork salad

This is meat version or Nam Tok Moo.  It is made out of rare grilled pork to allow the juices to run together with the beef blood when its thinly sliced  It is then dressed with ground roasted rice, ground dried chillies, fish sauce, lime juice, shallots and mint. The name means “waterfall pork” which is how liquid runs though the meat while it’s sliced. In Thailand this dish is served and eaten with sticky rice and raw vegetables.

This is another must try dish especially when it made into the list of CNN Go’s World’s 50 most delicious foods in 2011

 

Nam Tok Moo Recipe

Baking Soda vs Baking Powder, what’s the difference – Jughandle’s Fat Farm

Baking Soda vs Baking Powder, what’s the difference?  When should we use one over the other?  Are there any other uses for either, than baking or cooking?

If you are a serious cook, you should be able to rattle off the answers to those questions instantly.

Baking is more of a science than an art.  Chemistry and exact proportions are very important to achieving a quality finished product consistently.

Dough Rising

The holes are formed by the expansion of CO2 as the dough rises and sets.

Baking Soda

Sodium bicarbonate, sodium bicarb, bicarb soda, bicarbonate, and bicarb are all names for the same thing – NaHCO

It is a salt made up of sodium and bicarbonate molecules.  For a more in-depth explanation and chemistry, go to Wikipedia.  Sodium Bi-carbonate is used for many things but since our many focus is cooking, let us look at that first.

the leavening difference

without and with

Cooking

In cooking Sodium bi-carbonate is called Baking Soda.  By providing CO2, its primary use is as a leavening agent in batters and dough such as pancakes and breads, but is also used to crisp up the batter in fried foods.  Baking soda is very alkaline and in too large a quantity can leave sodium carbonate, which has a bitter or soapy taste.

What you need to remember is that Baking Soda releases CO2, carbon dioxide gas, that causes the batter or dough to rise by expanding within the lattice like structure of protein, known as gluten, in the dough.  The gluten traps the CO2 gas as it forms to make the bread or batter rise. 

Ok, now dig deeper and recall a little high school chemistry.  Baking Soda, aka: Sodium Bi-carbonate, is a base.  A base will decompose in the presence of of heat, starting at 180 deg F, but give up only half of its its CO2 leaving, proportionately, more of its bitter, soapy flavor, relative to the gas, in the final product.

You may also recall that a base and an acid have a strong chemical reaction.  In the case of Baking Soda, if you also use an acid such as a phosphate, cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa vinegar or even a sourdough batter, you can create a reaction that will release much more of its CO2. Remember that unlike batter or dough that has no acid, which will only rise when CO2 is released at 180 deg when baking.  When your acid and baking soda are mixed the reaction will start immediately and you will need to hurry and start the cooking.

Additionally

You might find useful the fact that when adding baking soda to your coating for fried foods, your crust will be more crispy.  The reason for the crispiness is that the emerging CO2 leaves passages for steam to escape from the food not only keeping the breading from being soggy but also preventing the crust from being blown off during cooking.

Baking Powder

Let us now consider, baking powder.  Not the stuff with a thousand uses that you put open in the refrig, but the powder in a round can that that said
“Double Acting” on it.

Baking powder generally contains around 30% sodium bicarbonate combined with calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminium phosphate  or cream of tartar, which are activated by adding water, not needing acid.  Having both the Baking Soda and other additives make it “double acting”.

While baking soda is alkaline; the acid used in baking powder helps to avoid the metallic, bitter, soapy taste when the chemical change during baking creates sodium carbonate.

Tipsbulletin.com

Tips bulletin is a very informative site that gives tips on all sorts of different topics.  The following are excerpts from their 50+ Amazing Uses of Baking Soda

1. Clean Your Bathtub

Bathtub Cleaner Recipe

  • Baking soda (1/2 Cup)
  • Coarse salt (1 Tbsp)
  • Dish soap (1 Tbsp)
A safe and effective way to wash your bathtub, sink, and surrounding tile is by sprinkling a light layer of baking soda on a clean, damp sponge and scrubbing the tub as usual. Thoroughly rinse the bathtub and wipe it dry with a clean towel.

Baking soda also works well to clean fiberglass and glossy tiles. For extra cleaning power, you can make a paste with the baking soda for a deep-down clean.

9. Clean Furniture

Baking soda is an excellent product if you need to clean or remove marks from painted furniture or walls. Apply baking soda to a clean damp rag or sponge and lightly rub the area that you need to clean.

Baking soda works especially well to clean patio furniture. Using a clean, dry cloth, remove the residue from the furniture or wall. This method will even work for removing crayon marks from your walls and furniture.

17. Natural Fruit and Vegetable Scrub

Even if you buy organic produce, it is important to make sure to wash your fruits and veggies before consuming them. Not only can this get rid of any pesticides that may have seen use during the growing of the produce, but it can remove bacteria from your food.

Baking Soda Uses: Keeps Produce Fresh

You can make a natural produce cleaner by adding one teaspoon of baking powder to one tablespoon water. The paste is an excellent way to get rid of unwanted bacteria and pesticides from your produce.

23. Extinguish Grease Fires

If you encounter a minor grease fire in your kitchen, you can use baking soda to put it out quickly. Pouring baking soda on the fire will instantly stifle the flames. When the baking soda is heated, it discharges carbon dioxide and produces water.

The carbon dioxide doesn’t support combustion like oxygen. It smothers the fire, allowing the water that has formed to cool the fire to below the temperature needed for ignition.

31. Deodorize Recycling Bin

You can make sure your recycling bin doesn’t smell by adding baking soda to the top of the container every time you add to the container.

You can also clean the recycle bin with baking soda after it is empty. Place some baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe down the inside of the recycle bin, followed by a thorough rinse with warm water.

And many others – Check it out – Jughandle

Your Drinking Water

This blog, which I first posted 5 years ago, and many many others, have posted various warnings about our drinking water from our taps.  These warnings are REAL, people!  This country may have the best drinking water in the world, but that doesn’t mean it is safe to drink over years.

The sad part about re-posting this blog in 2018 is that NOTHING has changed.  It’s gotten worse if anything!

Tap Water is NOT Drinking Water

water from the tap

Tap Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tight municipal budgets as well as a lag in technology have caused water-treatment plants to stick with the old standard of using chlorine or rather, chloramine to “shock” the water we drink.  The process has worked for many years but not so much any more.  It seems that chlorine can and does react with organic matter in the water coming from the reservoir to form toxic by-products that have been linked to bladder and liver cancer.

What isn’t being removed

Most municipal water authorities, test and treat for heavy metals in the water, such as lead, mercury and such.  But did you know that some contaminants aren’t even screened, let alone removed.  Those include, but are not limited to, pharmaceutical drugs like prosac, Consumer-product chemicals such as PFOA which is the chemical used to coat clothing and nonstick pans.  BPA which is used on receipts, plastics and canned-food linings is also present in our water, and the new one, “artificial sweeteners“.   Anything we flush down the toilet has the potential to end up in our water supply.

Are you STILL drinking bottled water?

STOP!!!!!

Bottled-water

Bottled Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are, then you didn’t get the memo that 50 percent of all bottled water is supplied from the same place your tap water comes from.  Worse than that, the government water sources have to make public the contaminates they test for and which ones they remove.  Bottled water companies don’t have that requirement.  Bottled water has a shelf life too.  Bacterial can develop in those bottles and toxins from the plastic can leach into the water also.

What are we to do?

Filter your potable water.  Find a filter that fits your budget and paranoia level and USE it!  The best of what is available to us now are reverse osmosis systems.  I use one in our house, but they have expensive filters that need to be replaced every 6-12 months and other maintenance is very important to keep them working properly.

EWG’s Updated Water Filter Buying Guide – click here

reverse osmosis

Reverse Osmosis System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is a diagram of how a reverse osmosis filtration system works. The EWG deems this system, currently, the most effective.

Be safe, drink lots of filtered water – jughandle

 

How to Make the 5 Basic Sauces

No, the French didn’t invent the 5 basic sauces, known as “Mother Sauces”.

The Romans started using sauces around 200 AD to mask the flavor of spoiled meat.  Obviously those sauces were strong and heavy.

For the last couple of hundred years the French have dominated sauce creations.  They have what are known as the five foundation sauces or the base sauces for everything else.  They are bechamel, mayonnaise, veloute, brune  and the blonde sauce.

Today’s modern savory sauces are Bechamel (white sauce), veloute (blond sauce), Brown (demi-glace or Espagnole sauce), hollandaise (butter sauce) and tomato (red sauce).

Many, many savory sauces can be made from the base of these 5 sauces.  Over time I will give you the recipes for many of those but today I’ll start with the 5 basic savory sauces which will also be posted in a “sauce” category under recipes.

1.  Bechamel is just a white sauce made from butter, flour and milk, seasoned with salt and nutmeg.  The following recipe is courtesy of Mario Batali

 

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Directions

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt and nutmeg, and set aside until ready to use.

2.  veloute (blond sauce) is similar to a white sauce in that you start with a roux mixture (equal parts of butter and flour), but the difference is that the blond sauce is finished with chicken stock instead of milk.

 

Ingredients

Directions

In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the stock, 1/2 cup at a time. Whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

3. Brown Sauce is a very complex rich sauce when made correctly.

Ingredients

  • 1 veal shank
  • 2 veal knuckle bones
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, cut in half
  • 1 garlic bulb, cut in half
  • 2 celery ribs, cut in chunks
  • carrots, cut in chunks
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 quart beef broth, low sodium
  • Bouquet Garni, (thyme, parsley, bay leavespeppercorns

Directions

Place the veal shank and knucklebones in a roasting pan, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 45 minutes. When the veal pieces are brown, brush them with 3 tablespoons of tomato paste and season again. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and return the pan to the oven for 15 more minutes. Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Saute the mirepoix (diced carrots, celery and onions) vegetables and thyme in the butter to coat then stir in the remaining tomato paste and continue cooking until the vegetables are caramelized. Pour in the red wine to deglaze, stir. Transfer the browned bones to the stockpot. Whisk in the water and broth. Add the bouquet garni and bring the sauce to a boil. Simmer gently for about 3 hours, skimming periodically. Strain the sauce through cheesecloth or a chinois to remove the bones and vegetable solids. Continue to cook for 1 hour more, skimming any foam that rises to the top, until the sauce is reduced to 2 cups and nicely thickened. Taste for strength and seasoning. May whisk in a pat of softened butter to finish the sauce.

Serve with meats or poultry.

4. Hollandaise sauce is a butter based sauce flavored with lemon.  Hollandaise can be difficult to make (or easy to break) but the following is a very easy method I’ve been using for years with good results.

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs yolk only
  • 1 c butter
  • 8 ts lemon juice
  • 1/2 t hot pepper sauce Tabasco
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 Ts white wine vinegar

Directions

for Hollandaise Sauce

* Place the egg yolks in the food blender or food processor and season with salt and freshly milled black pepper and then blend thoroughly until the yolks lighten in color.
* Heat the lemon juice and white wine vinegar in a small pan until it just simmers.
* Turn the blender on again and slowly add the hot liquid in a steady stream. Turn the blender off.
* Using the same pan, melt the butter over a gentle heat until it just starts to foam.
* Turn the blender on again and trickle in the melted butter, a little at a time.
* Turn the blender off and scrape the sides of the blender clean with a spatula before giving it one last blitz to incorporate everything.

5. Tomato or Red Sauce is obviously a tomato based sauce. There are infinite variations you can accomplish from this.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Spanish onion, 1/4-inch dice
  • garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
  • Salt

Directions

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot, and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

 

That’s it for the basic sauces Fat Farmers.  Enjoy making different variations and let me know what you did. – jughandle

Sugar

I’ve touched on sugar, mostly brown sugar,  in the past “Pantry 101 – Baking and Spices 6-12”  but we got a question from Debbie in California asking what is the difference between  cane sugar, corn sugar, and beet sugar, so we’ll go into depth to answer that question here.

Sugar

Wikipedia defines sugar as:

Sugar is a term for a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucroselactose, and fructose,[1] characterized by a sweet flavor. In food, sugars refer to all monosaccharides and disaccharides present in food, but excludes polyols,[2] while in its singular form, sugar normally refers to sucrose, which in its fully refined (or free sugar) form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet, though is present in natural form in many carbohydrates. Other free sugars are used in industrial food preparation, but are usually known by more specific names—glucosefructose or fruit sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Currently, Brazil has the highest per capita production of sugar.[3] 

Cane Sugar

C&H’s web site says this about cane sugar:

“How Cane Sugar is Better (or, Why cane sugar can't be beet)

Not all sugars are created equal. Lots of us have been brought up thinking that all sugars are—well—pretty much the same, and that the kind of sugar we use won’t make much difference. Even today, most people don’t know that some grocery stores carry two different kinds of sugar: cane sugar and beet sugar. Pure Cane Sugar, the kind C&H uses exclusively, is refined from sugarcane plants. The first cultivated sugar crop, sugarcane is grown above ground, nurtured in fresh tropical breezes under warm sunshine. Beet sugar, found in some store brands and in other makers that often don’t specify the source, is extracted from beets grown underground as a root crop. Cane sugar contains trace minerals that are different from those in beet sugar, and it’s these minerals that many experts say make cane sugar preferable to use. As professional bakers have long noticed, cane sugar has a low melting-point, absorbs fewer extraneous and undesirable odors, blends easily and is less likely to foam up. And that can be very important when you’re caramelizing a syrup, making a delicate glaze, baking a delicious meringue, or simmering your family’s favorite jam recipe.”

Brands

Domino Sugar, Dixie Crystal and C&H are all cane sugar and say so on the label
Holly Sugar, which acquired Spreckles, is beet sugar

Beet Sugar

Chemically identical to cane sugar 99.05 percent.  But that .05 percent makes a big difference when cooking.  Beets are harvested in the fall and are usually grown much further from the processing plant than sugar cane, requiring a higher transportation cost.  Beets are a root vegetable and more processing is required to clean them and separate the greens.  Also important to note is that beets are a rotational crop while sugar cane is a mono crop.  Rotational crops require 4 times as much land to grow as mono crops.  To learn more about how beets are turned into sugar go here.  For all practical purposes the only difference between beet and cane sugar may be how they react to heat.

Corn Sugar

Corn sugar aka corn syrup.  Yes, just like the corn syrup in your pantry.  Now, the difference is that corn syrup has no fructose as opposed to cane sugar or beet sugar.  Table sugar, composed of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose, is from sugar beets or sugar cane.    For a lot of reasons I won’t get into now, but can be found in the movie “King Corn“, corn syrup is much cheaper to produce than cane or beet sugar, but it doesn’t taste the same. In step the scientists to “fix” that problem.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Scientists found a way to chemically alter corn syrup to create a cheap liquid sugar by adding fructose, hence the name high fructose corn syrup.  The corn syrup is high in fructose relative to other corn syrup, not to sugar.  HFCS-55 has a similar fructose ratio to honey and is composed of 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose and is used in soft drinks.  There is also a HFCS-45, which is less sweet than sugar and HFCS-55 and is used in many baked goods, jams, jellies, and cereals. HFCS-45 contains 45 percent fructose and 55 percent glucose.  It is widely believed that because HFCS has been chemically altered that the body doesn’t react to it in the same way as sugar, but that has yet to be proven.

Conclusion

Many believe that caramel made with beet sugar will crystallize and never form caramel where cane sugar works well. Cane sugar on a creme brulee caramelizes while beet sugar burns.  Some cooks believe that making boiled icing with beet sugar is a mess.  If the package of sugar doesn’t say cane, it’s beet.  Some brands mix the two.

 

Happy baking and keep on Farming you Fat Farmers- Jughandle

Best Food To Eat In Winter

Food For Winter

Winter food.  Winter is a time to refit.  To assess the foundation and structure of our body and make adjustments if necessary.  The first and most important thing to look at is our diet.  If you are the type of person that eats the same things year in and year out or even worse, Monday is salad night, and Tuesday is pizza night, etc.  You are causing a number of problems with your health.  Like any organism the body adjusts to the stimuli that confront it.  Food is a very powerful stimulus to the body.  Did you know that you can lose or gain weight eating exactly the same food, but eating it in different combinations or at different times of the day?

Surprise

Surprise your body.  Make it adjust to different foods and different schedules.  It is good for you.  God forbid that you might have to actually think about it!

winter landscape

Winter

Back to winter.  Everything slows down in the winter.  Your body’s metabolism slows to maintain the fat you have stored in case food becomes scarce.  Your immune system is compromised by the lack of water soluble and sunlight provided vitamins, such as B-complex and C which are not stored by the body and must be replaced every day and while Vitamin D, is stored by the body, it is also harder to come by in the winter because our main source is sunlight.  That is why you are more likely to get a cold or the flu during the winter.

Serotonin, a powerful neurotransmitter in the brain, is lost during the winter causing a winter depression.  All of these negative factors are all increased when you stay on your warm weather diet.

limes

Pile_of_Oranges

Winter Foods

If you can’t find sunshine to get your Vitamin D, you can get it in abundance from fresh fish not to mention omega 3 fatty acids:  The following is from Ask DrSears ranking seafood by nutrition:

  • Best sources of omega 3 fatty acids: salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, lake trout, Alaskan halibut, sardines, herring.
  • Highest in protein per serving: tuna, salmon, snapper, swordfish. Most fish are similar in protein content. Best source of protein in grams per calorie of fish are: lobster, shrimp, tuna, cod.
  • Highest vitamin B-12 content: clams, mackerel, herring, blue fin tuna, rainbow trout, and salmon.
  • Highest in iron: clams, shrimp, mackerel, swordfish.
  • Lowest in iron: orange roughy, snapper, sea bass.
  • Highest in zinc: crab, lobster, swordfish, and clams.
  • Highest in calcium: canned salmon with bones.
  • Highest in total fat, saturated fats, and calories: mackerel.
  • Lowest in total fat and saturated fat: lobster, orange roughy.
  • Highest in cholesterol: shrimp, mackerel, lobster.
  • Lowest in cholesterol: yellowfin tuna, albacore, tuna, snapper, halibut, grouper.
  • Most risky fish for pollutants: wild catfish, shrimp, lake trout (warm-water fish and those in lakes from agrochemical run-off).
  • Least risky fish for pollutants: deep-water ocean fish, salmon and tuna.

Water Soluble Vitamins

Most important to eat daily are the foods containing your water soluble vitamins, B-complex and C.  Not only are they important to maintain your energy levels, they contribute to your appetite, vision, blood and nervous system.  The following is a table from the Colorado State University extension site about Water soluble vitamins.

Considerable losses during cooking.Uncommon due to availability in most foods; fatigue; nausea, abdominal cramps; difficulty sleeping.

Table 1: Water-soluble vitamins and their characteristics.
Common food sources Major functions Deficiency symptoms Overconsumption symptoms Stability in foods
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, melon, green pepper, tomatoes, dark green vegetables, potatoes. Formation of collagen (a component of tissues), helps hold them together; wound healing; maintaining blood vessels, bones, teeth; absorption of iron, calcium, folacin; production of brain hormones, immune factors; antioxidant. Bleeding gums; wounds don’t heal; bruise easily; dry, rough skin; scurvy; sore joints and bones; increased infections. Nontoxic under normal conditions; rebound scurvy when high doses discontinued; diarrhea, bloating, cramps; increased incidence of kidney stones. Most unstable under heat, drying, storage; very soluble in water, leaches out of some vegetables during cooking; alkalinity (baking soda) destroys vitamin C.
Thiamin (vitamin B1 )
Pork, liver, whole grains, enriched grain products, peas, meat, legumes. Helps release energy from foods; promotes normal appetite; important in function of nervous system. Mental confusion; muscle weakness, wasting; edema; impaired growth; beriberi. None known. Losses depend on cooking method, length, alkalinity of cooking medium; destroyed by sulfite used to treat dried fruits such as apricots; dissolves in cooking water.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Liver, milk, dark green vegetables, whole and enriched grain products, eggs. Helps release energy from foods; promotes good vision, healthy skin. Cracks at corners of mouth; dermatitis around nose and lips; eyes sensitive to light. None known. Sensitive to light; unstable in alkaline solutions.
Niacin (nicotinamide, nicotinic acid)
Liver, fish, poultry, meat, peanuts, whole and enriched grain products. Energy production from foods; aids digestion, promotes normal appetite; promotes healthy skin, nerves. Skin disorders; diarrhea; weakness; mental confusion; irritability. Abnormal liver function; cramps; nausea; irritability.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine)
Pork, meats, whole grains and cereals, legumes, green, leafy vegetables. Aids in protein metabolism, absorption; aids in red blood cell formation; helps body use fats. Skin disorders, dermatitis, cracks at corners of mouth; irritability; anemia; kidney stones; nausea; smooth tongue. None known.
Folacin (folic acid)
Liver, kidney, dark green leafy vegetables, meats, fish, whole grains, fortified grains and cereals, legumes, citrus fruits. Aids in protein metabolism; promotes red blood cell formation; prevents birth defects of spine, brain; lowers homocystein levels and thus coronary heart disease risk. Anemia; smooth tongue; diarrhea. May mask vitamin B12deficiency (pernicious anemia). Easily destroyed by storing, cooking and other processing.
Vitamin B12
Found only in animal foods: meats, liver, kidney, fish, eggs, milk and milk products, oysters, shellfish. Aids in building of genetic material; aids in development of normal red blood cells; maintenance of nervous system. Pernicious anemia, anemia; neurological disorders; degeneration of peripheral nerves that may cause numbness, tingling in fingers and toes. None known.
Pantothenic acid
Liver, kidney, meats, egg yolk, whole grains, legumes; also made by intestinal bacteria. Involved in energy production; aids in formation of hormones. None known. About half of pantothenic acid is lost in the milling of grains and heavily refined foods.
Biotin
Liver, kidney, egg yolk, milk, most fresh vegetables, also made by intestinal bacteria. Helps release energy from carbohydrates; aids in fat synthesis. Uncommon under normal circumstances; fatigue; loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting; depression; muscle pains; anemia. None known.

 

 Bottom Line

If you want to get the message without doing the reading, eat the following in larger quantities during the winter months:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Water – stay hydrated year round
  • Chocolate – has many mood elevators
  • Citrus – especially oranges, limes and lemons
  • Nuts and Seeds – they contain selenium which will help you avoid the winter blues
  • Whole gains – remember whole grains
  • Cultured Yogurt – will help maintain your digestive system
  • Dark Green Vegetables – spinach, peas, kale all have iron which will help your blood
  • Legumes
  • Turkey
  • Cranberries
  • Winter Squash

 

Eat healthy and feel better.  Click on the highlighted links above for much more information on each subject and as always please ask me anything you’d like – 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