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Year in Retrospect from a food standpoint

This has been an interesting year.  I’ve posted nearly 160 posts in 6 months averaging around 26 posts per month in addition to 60 of my favorite recipes.  The blog started in July and now has 72 subscribers averaging over 450 hits per week.  Personally, I’ve gone from a  morbidly obese meat eater to a obese Flexi-vegan.  I’ve learned that there are others out there that care about the quality of their food as I do.  I’ve identified the major problems with our eating and dieting as well as things to watch for in our food chain, food labeling and food additives. We’ve talked about nutrition and diets.  I’ve tried to pin point what to do and what not to do to the point of outlining what should be stocked in our pantries, refrigerators and freezers.

We’ve identified the problems, suggested solutions, provided direction on improving our techniques and offered some fool proof recipes. – NEXT

Next year

This coming year is 2012.  Amazing. 2011 was the worse year of my life in many ways.  2012 is going to be a rebirth, a revival of the economy, my business, my direction of my life and health and the way I approach living.  It’s time for a change.  I’m digging my heals in and I’m not looking back.  Will you join me?

Yes, I know it is easy to make end of the year promises and resolutions because traditionally that is what we all do.  Not this time.  I’m determined to continue to build on what we’ve started this year and create something even better.

We are going to expand on the recipes for vegetarian and vegan dishes.  I’m going to continue to research healthy food and food preparation.  In fact I’ve got a plan in the works to put together meals, menus and shopping lists, not just recipes.  Did you know that it is important to consider the foods we combine and eat together.  Our body receives food in different ways.  We need to eat in the right combinations.

Conclusions and Considerations

I’m concluding to try harder in 2012.  I’d like you to consider participating and offering suggestions and questions for me to find the answers to.  If you are enjoying the blog, please refer us to your friends.  If you have your own blog please link to the Farm and we’ll both build readership.  Don’t forget to use the Company Store to find the products you like at great prices with quick shipping through Amazon.  Thanks for following Jughandle’s Fat Farm – jug

Why Brush Your Teeth?

We, and by we I mean the “baby boomer” generation, are the first generation that is expected to keep our natural teeth until we die.  I remember my grandparents putting their teeth in a jar at night and telling me that I should take care of my teeth so I wouldn’t have to do the same thing.

Then there is the dentist every 6 months for a cleaning and of course we always brush twice a day, don’t you?  Fluoride was all the rage for a while then the hard brush, the soft brush the electric brush that went back and forth and now the spinning tooth brush and teeth whiteners.  Gees e pezz e.  What’s next?

Dental Plaque

Cutting right to the heart of the subject, plaque is a biofilm, light yellow in color in the mouth formed by colonizing bacteria.  In the short run, plaque protects the teeth and thus the body from the colonization of microorganisms that may be pathogenic.  If plaque is not removed with in 48 hours it turns very hard and it difficult to remove and in about 10 days turns to tartar which is rock hard and can promote decay and lead to gum disease.  For an in depth look at Plaque and the micro buddies that live with it to to PLAQUE

How to Brush correctly

The enamel on our teeth is hard but can be worn away by over brushing through the years.  The American Dental Association says we should brush our teeth at least twice a day and even as much as after every meal.  More importantly, we should floss every day.

Most people think they brush for 2 mins or more.  Wrong.  Most people really brush for 30 secs or less and to make things worse, they brush hard and fast.

You should take your time brushing, using a soft bristle brush gently for roughly 2 mins.  Then floss, because if you don’t floss you are missing 35% of the tooth surface.  My electric tooth brush has a pause function every 30 sec to let me brush in one area until the pause then move on to the next area until I’m done.

If you brush too hard you not only are abrading your enamel but you most likely are damaging your gums.

Toothpaste

My personal study finds that it isn’t as important to use a commercial tooth paste as it is to just brush.  But, that said, it is important to use something, even if it is just salt or baking soda.

The benefit of a commercial paste is that they include fine abrasives to help remove plaque.  Some include fluorides which have beneficial effects on our tooth enamel.  Also found in tooth paste are surfactants which act as a foaming agent to supposedly get deep into the cracks and crevices of our teeth.  Not to forget the Antibacterial agents which reduce tartar and bad breath as well as flavorants to make it all taste good.

Are Tooth pastes toxic?

Hell yes!  In small quantities, not so much, but don’t swallow.  In fact in 2007 a Chinese-made additive used in many brands of toothpaste lead to a multi-nation recall and ban on the use of diethylene glycol in toothpaste.  Duh.  That stuff is ANTIFREEZE, AND WILL DAMAGE YOUR LIVER AND KIDNEYS AND KILL YOU.  I’m just going to say it – don’t by products that you know have ANYTHING manufactured in China in it or on it.

Tooth Whitening

The Fat Farm does not endorse the use of whitening tooth pastes that whiten by the means of an abrasive.  Even if they include  peroxide it isn’t the peroxide that make the teeth whiter it is the abrasive removing the tartar.  In reallity the only effective way to whiten teeth is by bleaching.  There are several to bleach teeth but none will last longer than a few months.  Less if you drink coffee, tea or smoke.  Some of the risks include:

 

 

  • Chemical burns
  • Over bleaching
  • Pain if you have sensitive teeth
  • Risk of increased hot/cold sensitivity
  • Increased risk of tongue cancer

The really, really important part

Our teeth, gums, tongue and mouth are the gateways to our entire body, digestive system and blood stream.  Did you know that if you have mitro-valve prolapse in your heart and you don’t tell your dentist about it you can die from a simple teeth cleaning.  Yes, really.  The cleaning can force bacteria into the blood stream and it can set up and infection in the heart.  Your dentist will prescribe you a strong one time antibiotic pill to take the day before your cleaning if they know about it.

If a cleaning can cause a heart infection then just think how bad it would be to let tooth decay or an abscessed tooth go untreated.

Conclusions

The Fat Farm concludes that it is very important to brush regularly and to see a dentist often.  Our mouth is the first stop in our journey to better health. – jughandle

Vegetarianism and the path not taken

I’ve always had a tendency to embrace the different, the abnormal, the path not taken.  I’ve been called white bread, main stream or even normal by those who haven’t taken the time to know me.  I’ve always felt that it was the 1 or 2 percent of the population that leads the flock.  Not that I’m part of that 1 or 2 percent, but those people are my heros.  In a flock of white sheep, I’m not the black sheep.  God knows being an out right radical would take too much energy and I’m already working hard not to be lazy.  If you understand that sentence, you understand me.  I’m more of a grey sheep.  The sheep who doesn’t clean up with the rest of the flock, the one who says, “hey, lets take this muddy path, the grass just might be greener”.   Yes, of course, 80 percent of the time, it’s just a muddy path, but wow, those other times are what make all the difference.

Some Day

I thought that if being my own boss, didn’t work out I’d just go back to being a normal sheep and get a job like everyone else.  Life is interesting.  Life doesn’t allow me to make easy decisions  like that, something always stands in my way.  I’ve always had a fear of the end, the long nap, the transition, change.  I guess it is more of a fear of the unknown.  I’ve known many people who have gone on without me.  My Great-grandparents,Grandparents, my Father, my brother, aunts and uncles, close personal friends.  Each a every one of us must deal with death in our own way and face it alone.  I’m going to be 60 this next year, too late to go back, my path has been chosen.  Twice in my life I was told I wouldn’t live to see that birthday.  Four other times I shouldn’t have lived at all.  God must have a purpose for me.  Please God, show me what it is.

My Path

I’ve had an amazing life.  A life very few people have or will be blessed enough to enjoy.  I don’t need a bucket list, because I’ve done most everything I’ve ever wanted to do.  I was given the gift of “jump” early in my life and in a small way it allowed me to be part of an elite group.  I’ve been a winner and I’ve been a loser.  I always learn more when I lose.  I’ve made a couple of good choices but I’ve guessed mostly wrong or was not given a choice at all in most of the changes in my life.  No regrets, none.

I digress

Sorry, my first bloody mary just kicked in and I lost my train of thought.  My point was vegetarianizum

To be or not to be

Vegetarian Times shows that there are roughly 7.3 million vegetarians in the U.S.  An additional 22.8 million are flexi-tarians, which means they try to be vegetarians but eat meat every once in a while.  Of the 7.3 million vegetarians, 1 million are vegans who don’t eat any animal based foods at all.  I’ve been a vegetarian for 88 days now.  It really hasn’t been hard, I’ve even cooked meat dishes for others.  I’ve come to the point now that I need a change.  I’m finding myself eating way too much cheese and dairy, which doesn’t allow me to reach my goal of reversing any plaque or heart disease I might have.

Today is Christmas day.  My Mother, my brother and his wife and my wife are all going to cook a nice Christmas meal together.  I’m going to join in the consumption of meat.  Today will start the next phase of my plan.  I am intending to take the next step.  After today, I will become a Vegan.  Yes, I can say the word now.  I plan on eating meat or dairy only 1 time per week and transition to eating meat or dairy 1 time per month for the entire year of 2012.  But my main focus will be strictly a plant-based diet with no eggs, cheese, milk or meat.

Wish me Luck

Wish me luck, is a line for those who still don’t know me.  I believe that luck is the point where preparation meets opportunity.

Conclusions

I’m happy doing this,  join the 2 percent if you dare.  What do you have to lose?  You can always go back, right?  Take it one day at a time. – jughandle

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL YOU FAT FARMERS OUT THERE.

Last week I did an informational post on the fungi Chaga and it’s anti tumor properties.  Yesterday we had a comment from one of our readers suggesting that we look further into its properties.  The following contains information from Bob’s suggested reading site.

 

From the Oriveda site

Chaga – Unparalleled repository of medicinal qualities ?

Chaga on a tree

Chaga is the Russian name for a mushroom with remarkable medicinal qualities (Inonotus Obliquus being its botanical name).

It’s natural habitat are the birch forests in the coldest areas of the Northern hemisphere, mainly Siberia and parts of North America, North-Korea and China. It’s medicinal properties have been utilized since time immemorial by the inhabitants of Siberia, native Americans and of course the Chinese.

Since the ’50s Chaga has been the subject of intensive scientific research. Our ‘Resources‘ section contains quite a few downloadable publications, and more are added each month. You can also go to Pubmed (an immense governmental database with links to scientific research articles) and use “Chaga‘ or “Inonotus Obliquus” as a search term.

The statements made below are all based on this research.

What is so special about Chaga ?

Its main active ingredients are a special type of carbohydrates – (the so-called mushroompolysaccharides / beta-glucans), and betulinic acid, a compound only found in Chaga mushrooms.

Apart from these but definitely worth mentioning are several phytosterols (mainly lanosterol and inotodiol) and a very high amount of melanin, a natural anti-oxidant that gives this mushroom its black color and is responsible for Chaga having one of the highest levels of anti-oxidants found in natural foods.

What does all this mean ?

The polysaccharides are common in all medicinal mushrooms. What they do ? Well, scientific research showed that these polysaccharides have the power to balance and normalize our immune system. How they do that is still not fully understood by science.

Polysaccharides

To put it simple, they help our body to get healthy and to stay healthy, by stimulating and supporting the existing immune system. Chaga does not fight a specific disease or symptom, but it helps the body to heal itself and to stay healthy. That’s why we can state that Chaga has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and detoxing qualities. It is the perfect supplement for people looking to prevent diseases, but also for people under stress: mental, physical and environmental stress are all very taxing on the immune system. And with age the immune system also starts to become less effective. For elderly people Chaga is an excellent prophylactic.

Betulinic acid

The betulinic acid that Chaga derives from the birches on which it grows give this mushroom additional healing qualities. First and foremost: it breaks down excessive ‘bad’ cholesterol in the bloodstream, without any side effects. The effect is purely normalizing.

Apart from that, research showed this betulinic acid being able to kill cancer cells without affecting healthy cells – a mechanism that is not yet fully understood by science but that appears to work as follows: cancer cells have a different ph-value than healthy cells and somehow the betulinic acid is able to use this property to trigger apoptosis (natural cell death) in these cells, without affecting healthy cells, actually without any side effects at all. Medical science is aware of this property and has been researching this since the 50s. A major problem was always that betulin / betulinic acid is indigestible by humans. However, this is where the ‘magic’ of Chaga lies: it already converted the betulin into a digestible form of betulinic acid. In Russia an anti-cancer medicine based on Chaga was developed in the 1950s and it’s still in use under the name Befungin.

Add this to the immune balancing properties of the polysaccharides and you have an exceptional potent anti-cancer agent: not only does it fight cancer itself but it also supports standard treatments like chemo and radiation by neutralizing the nasty side effects these treatments have on the immune system.

Phytosterols and anti-oxidants

And as if all this is not enough the phytosterols (of which lanosterol takes 45%, inotodiol 25% and the remaining 30% consists of ergosterol, fecosterol, episterol et.al.) present in Chaga were also found to possess strong anti-cancer qualities. The existing synergybetween these components (polysaccharides, betulinic acid, phytosterols) turns Chaga into one of the most potent health supplements known to man.

But we almost forgot another potent property: Chaga’s anti-oxidant qualities. Themelanin component protects the mushroom against the harsh environment (extreme cold, UV radiation e.g.) in which it has to survive. The chemical components of this melanin were found to have DNA-regenerating and protective properties. One could say it’s a type of natural anti-rust. A way to determine the level of this activity is to determine the so-calledORAC-level (oxygen radical absorbance capacity). Chaga was found to have one of the highest levels ever found in natural foods. This adds anti-aging and revitalizing properties to the already impressive list of Chaga’s qualities. In addition several research articles also pointed out Chaga’s anti-ulcer and anti-gastritis capacities.

Summarizing:

  • immune balancing
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-gastritis / anti-ulcer
  • anti-viral
  • normalizes cholesterol levels
  • detoxing
  • anti-aging
  • anti-cancer
  • suppresses the side effects of powerful pharmaceuticals
  • anti-oxidant

 

Chaga supplementsCapsules with extract

So, does this mean you can just go and buy whatever Chaga supplement you can find on the internet ?

No, you have to be careful. Many supplements are virtually worthless. Why ?

Well, Chaga is a mushroom, and raw mushrooms are largely indigestible by humans. We lack the enzyme chitinase, which is needed to digest the chitin cellsall mushrooms are made of. Raw or dried and powdered Chaga would simply pass through our bodies without leaving much traces. And the majority of supplements and teas are just that: dried and powdered Chaga.

How can you tell the good from the not-so-good, you wonder ? Well, the label will tell you. Keep reading!

The native population in Siberia used to prepare Chaga tea, which is a good way to break those chitin cells open and release the medicinal components locked inside. But often overlooked nowadays is the amount of time involved: dried raw Chaga needs to brew for at least 8-10 hours to have any therapeutic effect, which was no problem in the old days using a samovar, but nowadays..?

extraction facility

Science developed special extraction protocols to deal with these ‘problems’. The main tool used is heat.

Extracts based on hot water extraction (comparable to brewing tea) will contain the water soluble compounds; polysaccharides and polyphenolics mainly. No phytosterols and no betulinic acid!

For those one needs also alcohol / ethanol extraction – this will add those non-water solubles. Do not confuse this with alcohol tinctures, though – simply mixing alcohol with dry Chaga will not break down chitin effectively. Alcohol tinctures do work very well with herbs (=cellulose), but not with mushrooms (=chitin).

Mushroom supplements’ labels will tell you a lot, be it by inclusion or ommission of information: general statements on the label in general mean you are dealing with simple dried and indigestible powder. The producer is simply not able to provide a detailed breakdown because the percentage of ingredients can only be determined after being extracted. So, detailed breakdowns of ingredients can be considered a good indication of quality, but even then some sellers tend to exaggerate or simply try to deceive you.

To be sure you can always ask for a Certificate of Analysis. A reliable supplement producer will have no problem mailing it to you. It will also tell you the contamination levels(mushrooms can contain dangerous levels of heavy metals like lead and cadmium) which you’ll never see on a label.

Oriveda extracts

Oriveda extracts are prepared using a combination of hot water and alcohol extraction. Which is why we can list both the percentage of polysaccharides and the betulinic acid on our label.

The ORAC Certificate of Analysis (COA) issued by Brunswick Labs indicates 146.700 TE-units p/100 grams, putting Oriveda’s Chaga extract in the top 10 right away. It’s also the highest ORAC-VALUE ever measured in a Chaga product. The COA is available on request.

 

Our extracts are comparable to the extracts used in scientific research – the research results you read about you now can achieve yourself. Our mushroom extracts have the highest levels of active ingredients worldwide.

If you want to verify this: Certificates of Analysis are available upon request .

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

 

Olives

No, olives don’t grow on the tree with the pimento already in them.  In fact, most olives are very bitter when they are fresh and usually need to be processed or cured in lye or a brine to give them the familiar flavor we know.  Green olives are allowed to ferment before being brined while California Black olives are not which gives them a milder flavor than the green ones.  It is the phenolic compounds in the raw fruit that make them bitter.  The fermentation and brining remove those compounds.

Whole Foods Olives

Even though more attention has been sometimes been given to their delicious oil than their whole food delights, olives are one of the world’s most widely enjoyed foods. Technically classified as fruits of the Olea europea tree (an amazing tree that typically lives for hundreds of years) we commonly think about olives not as fruit but as a zesty vegetable that can be added are harvested in September but available year round to make a zesty additionto salads, meat and poultry dishes and, of course, pizza.

via WHFoods: Olives.

Georgia Olives

The US produces less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the world’s olive oil.  Georgia was a big producer of olives in the 1600’s.  Spanish settlers planted trees at missions in southeast Georgia in the 1590’s.  Olives were grown in Georgia well into the 1800’s until the Civil War and other problems eliminated the crop.  Recently there has been a resurgence of olive crops in that same area.

Nutritional value

1 once or about 8 olives have the following :

41 calories

4 g total fat

1 g saturated fat

3.7 g monounsaturated fat

.4 g polyunsaturated fat

436 mg of sodium

1 g carbohydrates

1 g dietary fiber

26.3 mg total Omega-3 fatty acids

340 mg total Omega-6 fatty acids

2% vitamin A

1% calcium

1% iron

Rates 0 on the glycemic load index

Rates a 24 and are mildly anti-inflammatory

Conclusions

Olives and their oil are a good source of “good” fat and there fore a good substitute for animal fat that has cholesterol in it.  I love all things olives and recommend them completely. – jughandle

Sources

Great prices on bulk olives on Amazon

Georgia Olive Oil on line

or Nuts.com for Olives click here

Arsenic Alert

Arsenic levels in several of our common foods and drinks have recently been found to be very high.  I’m going to bring us up to date on the danger that might be present and what to do about it. – Jughandle

Arsenic

Arsenic is a chemical element found in nature.  It is a metal and is used in industry to strengthen alloys of copper and lead in car batteries as an example.  It is also used extensively in semiconductors.  The bottom line here and what we are worried about is that arsenic is a notorious poison and has been used in pesticides, herbicides and insecticides for years.  Arsenic in drinking water causes poisoning throughout the world.  Levels of 10 parts per billion are the standard for the World Health Organization as the maximum allowed.  Arsenic can cause cancer when levels reach 150 parts per billion.

In the US arsenic has been used as a wood preservative for many, many years but has recently been taken off the market.

Toxicity

The short story is that arsenic causes death from multi-organ failure, by necrotic cell death.  Basically you bleed to death from every cell in your body.  But that is just for ingesting a large dose all at once.  For long term exposure there is a marked increase in bladder, kidney, lung, liver and colon cancer.  For more in depth information go to Arsenic in Wikipedia.

 Treatment

Treatment of chronic arsenic poisoning is easily accomplished. British anti-lewisite (dimercaprol) is prescribed in dosages of 5 mg/kg up to 300 mg each 4 hours for the first day. Then administer the same dosage each 6 hours for the second day. Then prescribe this dosage each 8 hours for eight additional days. However the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) states that the long-term effects of arsenic exposure cannot be predicted. Blood, urine, hair, and nails may be tested for arsenic; however, these tests cannot foresee possible health outcomes from the exposure.Excretion occurs in the urine and long-term exposure to arsenic has been linked to bladder and kidney cancer in addition to cancer of the liver, prostate, skin, lungs and nasal cavity.

Apple Juice

Recently the “Dr. Oz” show did a report on a finding that 10% of apple juice and grape juice samples had total arsenic levels above the 10 parts per billion allowed in drinking water.  The FDA says that the current avg level of arsenic in these juices is 23 parts per billion, over twice what is allowed in drinking water.  As you may expect, US apple juice is generally made from concentrate, which over 60% in imported from China and China has a terrible track record on food safety.  The US Food and Drug Administration prevented over 9000 unsafe products from entering the US between 2006 and 2010 but only 2% of imported food is inspected.  Apple juice is considered a healthy staple of many children’s diets.  This is a serious long term problem.

Chickens

There is a shocking amount of arsenic in chicken, because there is arsenic in the chicken feed.  If you buy organic you will be getting food that has been produced under much stricter standards.

Rice

It has recently been found that the level of arsenic in rice is also way above the federal water standard of 10 parts per billion.  I have been eating much more rice on my plant-based diet.  Rice is grown in fields that are flooded and arsenic is found in the ground and ground water world wide.

Conclusions

This blog has been a short informational piece to make you aware of the problem.  I have by no means even covered the tip of the iceberg.  Please do your own research and let us know your findings.  Read the labels of your food.  Buy organic food from the United States when every possible.  Rotate the juices that you feed your children.  As always, filtered water is the best liquid to put in to your body.  Be safe Farmers – Jughandle

 

Links:

Food Renegad

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