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More about SUGAR

As we’ve discussed before, sugar is the bane of our existence.  Can’t live with it, can’t live with out it.  Since almost everything either has sugar in it or breaks down in our body (carbohydrates) to form sugar, we should avoid excess sugar intake when ever we can.  I am providing the following information about sugar as a FYI blog.  This information comes from Prevention.com and a recent article written by Mandy Oaklander called “10 Sneaky Names for Sugar“.  All of the following images are from the same article.  If you only read one, read the first one.  It is enlightening. – jughandle

 

1. Sucrose

What’s the anatomy of a sugar? Let’s start with table sugar, one of the most common. The scientific name is sucrose: That’s half glucose (starch) and half fructose (sweetness). You might also know it by “cane sugar,” which is 100% sucrose.

Here’s the bad news. While glucose can be metabolized by all your organs, fructose is metabolized almost solely by your liver, writes Robert Lustig, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, in his forthcoming book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease. In other words, fructose taxes your liver. And it’s in every caloric sweetener, from white sugar, to cane sugar, to beet sugar, to agave nectar. It also pops up on food labels by itself.

Published October 2012, Prevention

Updated October 2012

2. Evaporated Cane Juice

Sounds healthier, right? Don’t believe the babble. Evaporated cane juice is little more than a dressed-up name for straight-up sugar.

In October 2009, the FDA issued a guidance statement about the term. “FDA’s current policy is that sweeteners derived from sugar cane syrup should not be declared as ‘evaporated cane juice’ because that term falsely suggests that the sweeteners are juice,” the guidance says. But in reality, evaporated cane juice isn’t even a liquid.

The FDA recommendations aren’t binding. Still, the yogurt company Chobani is under legal fire for its simultaneous use of “evaporated cane juice” and its claim of “no sugar added” products, reports Food Navigator. The lawsuit, brought by a California woman, accuses the company of violating federal law.

Published October 2012, Prevention

Updated October 2012

3. Agave Nectar

Another “health” food favorite, agave nectar is touted as a natural sugar and is widely used in natural baked goods. But agave nectar is higher in fructose than cane sugar. In fact, says Andrew Weil, MD, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, agave is 85% fructose. “Agave’s probably one of the worst,” Dr. Weil says. Not only is it not healthier for you, but it also doesn’t even contain more antioxidants or minerals than other types.  However, it does have a lower glycemic load than other sweeteners, so it causes a less drastic spike in blood sugar. And the stuff is so sweet that you’ll probably use less of it.

Published October 2012, Prevention

Updated October 2012

4. Fruit Juice Concentrate

No matter how healthy your juice looks, chances are good that added fruit juice concentrate is in there. Check labels of juice, flavored yogurt and any other processed food for grape, apple or any other kind of fruit juice concentrate: It’s all too often there. Also look for it in snack bars, applesauce, and other fruity edibles. Concentrate is formed when the water is removed from fruit juice. What’s left? We’ll give you one guess. Yup, sugar.

Published October 2012, Prevention

Updated October 2012

5. 100% Fruit Juice

But what about an organic, natural, no-sugar-added, 100% fruit juice? No concentrate, no problems, right? Sorry to ruin your breakfast, but you might as well go ahead and skip this OJ and have a Snickers.

Whole fruit is good for you, says Dr. Lustig, because it contains lots of fiber. In juice form, which is devoid of fiber, sugar’s sugar—even if you juice it yourself, straight from fresh fruit. “It’s all the same,” Lustig writes of sugar’s many names and forms in his forthcoming book, Fat Chance. “The vehicle is irrelevant; it’s the payload that matters.” By this definition, your 100% orange juice is worse for you than soda: The former contains 5.8 teaspoons of sugar per cup, while soda contains 5.4.

Published October 2012, Prevention

Updated October 2012

6. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Study after study has shown that high fructose corn syrup, made from processed (and usually genetically modified) cornstarch, is technically no different from sucrose. But some research shows that HFCS generates a higher blood fructose level, which could have negative metabolic consequences. High fructose corn syrup has been linked to obesity and diabetes. In 2010, corn refiners petitioned the FDA for permission to start calling HFCS “corn sugar.” They were turned down.

Published October 2012, Prevention

Updated October 2012

7. The -Oses

Watch out for anything –ose, lest you sugar overdose. You’ve met sucrose, glucose, and fructose, but did you know galactose, maltose, dextrose, and lactose? They’re all sugars—some of which occur naturally but can be processed in a lab, too—that can be added to processed foods. Eater beware.

Published October 2012, Prevention

Updated October 2012

8. Blackstrap Molasses

If you were alive in the 1880s, then congratulations! Not only are you at least 132 years old, but you remember when blackstrap molasses was the No. 1 sweetener in the United States. This natural sweetener is sugar too, but, like most things in the olden days, it was better for you. This viscous syrup contains vitamin B6, manganese, calcium, copper, and selenium. And just one tablespoon of molasses has about 4 times the iron as a 3-ounce white chicken breast, according to the American Diatetic Association’s Complete Food & Nutrition Guide. Check out the other antioxidant-rich sugars, including maple syrup, here.

Published October 2012, Prevention

Updated October 2012

9. Organic Brown Rice Syrup

With a name like that, you’ve got to deserve your health halo, right? Not according to a recent Dartmouth College study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. Brown rice sugar is shilled to the natural food market as a “healthier” alternative to high fructose corn syrup. Not only is it still sugar, but it may also be contaminated with arsenic. The study found high levels of arsenic, which is linked to cancer and chronic diseases, in processed foods sweetened with organic brown rice syrup. We’re talking energy bars, cereal bars, and even baby formula. (To protect yourself, you’ll want to take a look at our list of 10 Ways to Avoid Arsenic In Your Food.)

Published October 2012, Prevention

Updated October 2012

10. …and so many more

Barley malt, golden syrup, diastatic malt, diastase, treacle, panocha, sorghum syrup—we couldn’t get to all of you, but that doesn’t mean you’re not lurking in our processed foods, too.

Besides scouring ingredients lists, the key to monitoring your sugar is determining just how much each serving contains. How? Check the nutrition label for total grams of sugar, and divide that by four (each teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4 grams.) That’s how many teaspoons of sugar are really in your cookie, your ketchup, and your no-sugar-added fruit juice.

Published October 2012, Prevention

Updated January 10, 2018

Trust?

Who do you trust?  Who do you not trust? What is trust?  Who should we trust?

My big question is

“Why do we trust that the food in our stores is healthy for us to eat,  just because it is in a package or is sold by the store?”

Ever seen the words – All Natural, Supports the Immune System, Made with Real Fruit, Added Fiber, Low Sugar – or “only 90 calories per serving, then in small hard to find print 5 servings in this container – miss leading at best-  try added BS – jughandle

These are questions that intrigue and confuse me, but I’m easily confused.

Who do you trust?  

God, your parents, family, wife, dog, a few close friends, yourself?  I, most of the time, trust myself to do the right thing and to toe the line.  Maybe the bank, the government, the police, the insurance company you deal with, your broker, your local grocer? No? Yes?

Who don’t you trust?

Sad as it might seem, if you look into this with a microscope, then you might not trust any of those people listed above from time to time, nor should you. History plays a major roll in trust.  What have they done for, or to, you lately? Blind trust will only break your heart or worse.

What is trust?

Wikipedia defines Trust as follows:

In a social context, trust … a situation characterised by the following aspects: One party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future. In addition, the trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other’s actions; he can only develop and evaluate expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired.

In the social sciences, the subtleties of trust are a subject of ongoing research. In sociology and psychology the degree to which one party trusts another is a measure of belief in the honesty, fairness, or benevolence of another party. The term “confidence” is more appropriate for a belief in the competence of the other party. Based on the most recent research, a failure in trust may be forgiven more easily if it is interpreted as a failure of competence rather than a lack of benevolence or honesty. In economics trust is often conceptualized as reliability in transactions. In all cases trust is a heuristic decision rule, allowing the human to deal with complexities that would require unrealistic effort in rational reasoning.

Who should we trust? and to what “degree”

My late father used to say often, “don’t trust nobody, not even your papa.”  Dad was usually right, so I trusted him to have my best interest at heart. That only left me with a lonely conundrum.  But, and it is a large BUT, is the Santa Claus, Easterbunny, tooth fairy issue.  Weren’t those lies, or were they merely white lies … I digress.

 More to the Point

My point is that we sometimes question those we trust or love the most, but we seem to always trust the local grocer to sell ONLY healthy food for us to eat.  After all, if the stores sell it, it must be good or at least safe for me to eat.  If not, what are all the government regulations about?  Indeed!

NOT SO MUCH

In actuality, the only people that might trust the store are its share holders, and that trust is more about the bottom line than anything else.  The store is obligated to its shareholders (its owners) to make as much profit as possible.  In fact, the whole layout of the store is designed to get you to buy the high margin items. Ever question why the food you actually went there for is in the back of the store?   That means that they might turn a blind eye to anything that might be a high seller, but is still questionable as far as “health” goes.  The government’s rules and guidelines are like any other government “rule”;  a line to cross when ever possible by some, a line to question by others.  At best those rules are minimum standards that don’t fully protect anyone.  Some aren’t even completely researched.  At worse, the government makes rules based on lobbyist’s desires or compromise bills.

 Bottom Line

Follow my father’s simple rule -don’t trust nobody, but lets add – especially the food supply.   Buy organic whenever possible.  Eat less meat, more green vegetables.  Be creative.  Most of all read the freak’n labels and Question EVERYTHING – please, don’t trust me.  Do your own research, it will scare the hell out of you and you might join me running around with your hands in the air yelling, watch out for the bus. *– jughandle

Join Foodfacts.com

10 Suspect Causes of Autism

Autism.  Funny, I’ve never thought of myself as an alarmist.  You know, one of those guys that runs around shouting, “look out, look out”.  I still don’t.  I picture myself as someone that sees a population ready to be hit by a bus and I’m shouting, “look out for the bus”.  God, what are we supposed to do? I’m choosing to try and make a few people aware of the problems.

I do know that there has been an 80% increase in Autism and Learning Disabilities in the last few years and it CAN NOT be just genetics.  HELLO, IT HAS TO BE ENVIRONMENTAL! – Picture me running around with my arms in the air shouting, “look out for the bus, look out for the bus”.  For those out there that are a little slow to catch my lame metaphor, the bus is the industrial chemicals being pumped into our systems faster than nature can deal with them.  The result can only be disease, birth defects and species extinction.  Just look at the so called “empty hive” syndrome with the honey bees. -jughandle

The following is a great article from Rodale.com that points out just 10 of the potential causes:

10 Suspect Causes of Autism & Learning Disabilities

Researchers name chemicals suspected of causing autism and other serious disorders in children.
BY LEAH ZERBE

Autism risk: More than just genetics?

When it comes to autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities, genetics is only part of the story. In fact, in trying to figure out what causes autism, researchers are proving that environmental factors—everything from farm chemicals to soda and shampoo ingredients—could be permanently messing with children’s brain development. Today, in an unprecedented move, some of the world’s leading experts published a new list of highly suspect chemicals and heavy metals believed to be behind the surge in cases of autism and other neurodevelopmental diseases. “We have very powerful, very sophisticated tools we can use to measure chemicals at very low levels,” explains Phil Landrigan, MD, coauthor of the list and professor and chair of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Medical School in New York. “It’s now possible to connect early exposure to problems in childhood.”

Dr. Landrigan says the goal of the list, published inEnvironmental Health Perspectives, is to inform more doctors and nurses about the environmental triggers of autism, to increase funding for more studies, and to ultimately change chemical regulation in this country to better protect our children.

1. Lead

This heavy metal has been shown to cause brain damage to developing babies, causing a lifetime of learning and health implications. Lead is also linked to depression in young adults.

Where is it? The powerful neurotoxin is most often found in old paint, but can also leach from older plumbing. (the fat farm recommends that every household have a reverse osmosis water filter for their drinking and cooking water.)

Avoid it! Refrain from removing old paint if you’re trying to become pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding, or if small children are in the house. If you fear your water contains lead, call EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline for help. In the meantime, a diet low in fat and high in calcium and iron, with foods like low-fat dairy and leafy green vegetables, can help block some harmful lead exposure.

 

2. Mercury

The mercury created from coal-fired power plants winds up in rivers, streams, and oceans; the heavy metal is toxic to the brains of developing fetuses and could cause irreversible damage. (If you didn’t know, a large percentage of coal is piped into the plants via pipelines.  The coal is in the form of a slurry and something must be done with the water.  Huge retention ponds are formed to let the water seep back into the ground – yes, ground water and near by streams then carry the chemical containing water into our lakes and oceans for the fish to eat.  The older the fish the more mercury – jughandle)

Where is it? The damaging form of mercury accumulates in species of fatty fish that grow to be large and higher up the food chain; consuming these fish is the No. 1 source of human exposure. Mercury has also been detected in high-fructose corn syrup.

Avoid it! Choose healthier options from the superfish list, including wild-caught Alaskan salmon or Pacific wild sardines.

 

3. PCBs

Once used in electronics, PCBs bear the unfortunate distinction of never breaking down in the environment. And a little of them can do a lot of damage: Small doses can disrupt healthy nerve cell functioning and throw off the body’s natural calcium signaling, which could increase some children’s autism risk.

Where is it? PCBs are found all over the environment—and inside most of us. (it accumulates in the fat of our bodies and the meat we eat)

Avoid it! Eat lower on the food chain; PCBs accumulate in animal fat. Removing fish skin and trimming fatty parts of meat can help cut back on your family’s PCB exposure.

 

4. Organochlorine Pesticides

The now-banned DDT is the most notorious organochlorine pesticide, but others in its class remain in use and are implicated in birth defect and autism clusters.

Where is it? Mostly causing damage in farming communities, this type of bug-killing chemical has been linked to an increased risk in autism among children born to mothers living in high-spray agricultural areas.

Avoid it! Support organic farming to reduce your risk of eating pesticide residues, as well as to protect people who live near or work on chemical farm operations. Children’s greatest organochlorine exposure comes from conventional snap beans, tomatoes, and watermelons, so especially concentrate on sourcing these produce items organically.

5. Automotive Exhaust

Recent studies link air pollution from vehicle exhaust to memory problems, brain damage, and an increased risk of autism. A prior study found that children born to women living within 1,000 feet of major highways are twice as likely to be diagnosed with autism years later.

Where is it? In the air in areas exposed to heavy traffic.

Avoid it! Drive less or carpool to cut back on air pollution, commute during less busy hours, and if you live close to a major roadway, consider investing in a high-quality air purifier that does not produce ozone, such as IQAir models.

6. Brominated Flame Retardants

Created to slow down the rate of burning in the case of a household fire, flame retardants are largely useless and have been shown to actually hasten death from smoke inhalation. Over the long term, children born to mothers with high levels of these chemicals in their bodies have lower IQs and perform more poorly in mental and physical development testing.

Where is it? They’re found in furniture, electronics, certain sodas and sports drinks, and even household dust.

Avoid it! Avoid furniture that meets California’s TB117 law, a regulation that promotes the use of flame retardant chemicals. Be diligent about wet-mopping in the house and use a HEPA-filter-equipped vacuum to reduce flame retardant–laced dust. Opt for natural flooring materials, not carpeting and carpet padding, which could harbor flame retardants. As for the beverage aisle, steer clear of Mountain Dew and certain Gatorade and Powerade flavors that list BVO—brominated vegetable oil, a flame retardant—as an ingredient. (just another reason to limit your liquid intake to water)

7. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Carcinogens that are formed when meat is burned, PAHs are also among a category of 10,000 chemicals created from the burning of oil, garbage, coal, or wood. The compounds can damage DNA, hamper normal development, and impair fetal growth.

Where is it? Aside from burned meat, PAHs are abundant in coal-tar-based driveway sealants and anti-dandruff shampoos, cigarette smoke, and mothballs.

Avoid it! Opt for nontoxic mothball alternatives, shun cigarette smoke, and look for safer driveway sealants that are free of coal-tar ingredients.

8. Organophosphate Pesticides

Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide, is still one of the most widely used farm chemicals in the U.S.

Where is it? Banned from residential uses, this pesticide is still legal in agriculture, and residues have turned up on apples, bell peppers, cranberries, kale, grapes, peaches, and dozens of other foods.

Avoid it! Eat organic as often as possible. Studies have proven that pesticide levels in the body plummet when consumers switch to an organic eating regimen.

9. Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

Prenatal exposure to even tiny doses of hormone-disrupting chemicals could irreversibly alter a child’s health.

Where is it? Bisphenol A (BPA) and plasticizing chemicals called phthalates are prime suspects linked to socialization and aggression problems in children, along with stunted growth, learning disabilities, and lower IQ. These chemicals are used in hundreds of everyday products, including soaps, shampoos, cleaners, and air fresheners.

Avoid it! Keep BPA out of your system by avoiding canned foods and beverages, as well as No. 7 plastics. To reduce phthalate exposure, nix scented candles and air fresheners, and avoid personal care products that list “parfum” or “fragrance” as an ingredient.

10. Nonstick Chemicals

More studies cropping up suggest the convenience of nonstick cookware might not be worth the anticipated health costs: ADHD in children and high cholesterol and infertility issues in adults.

Where is it? In nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, and certain stain-repelling fabrics used in carpeting and furniture.

Avoid it! When you start seeing scratches and chips in your nonstick cookware, replace it with safer American-made cast iron or untreated stainless steel. Also, pass on furniture and carpet treatments offering stain protection. (and never cook with your non stick pan on high- the coating will break down and become vaporized. – 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

Soil and the Organic Garden

According to Wikipedia:

Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotationgreen manurecompost and biological pest control. Organic farming uses fertilizers and pesticides but excludes or strictly limits the use of manufactured (synthetic) fertilizerspesticides (which include herbicidesinsecticides and fungicides), plant growth regulators such as hormones, livestock antibioticsfood additivesgenetically modified organisms,[1] human sewage sludge, and nanomaterials.[2]

Organic agricultural methods are internationally regulated and legally enforced by many nations, based in large part on the standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), an international umbrella organization for organic farming organizations established in 1972.[3] IFOAM defines the overarching goal of organic farming as:

“Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved…”

Soil

Apparently the soil in an organic farm or garden MUST be turned and amended and the crops MUST be rotated to insure problem free growth.

Crop rotation is one of the oldest and most effective strategies for organic pest control and healthy soil culture in your organic garden. Specifically, it means the planned order of vegetables or fruits in garden beds; avoiding planting the same crop in the same space for a two or three year period; and knowing what family your edibles belong to.

Where the same vegetables or fruits are grown in the same patch of soil successively, soil depletion and pest infestation may follow. As organic gardeners don’t use insecticides, preventing pest infestations must be controlled by other means.

Many soil dwelling insects are fairly immobile. Take wireworms for instance. They love to feast on sweet potatoes and carrots. If you plant those edibles in the sameraised bed every year, wireworms will build up in the soil and in a few seasons you’ll have a terrible infestation on your hands. But if you follow carrots or sweet potatoes the following season with a non-root vegetable like lettuce or spinach, the wireworms will lose their food source and will be incapable of multiplying.

The same idea holds true for diseases such as tomato blight. If your tomatoes were infected with blight last year, fungal spores from the blight may overwinter in your soil. Planting tomatoes the following year in the farthest garden bed from the blight infested bed will minimize the chances that your tomatoes will pick up the diseaseagain.

Crop rotation also spares depletion of your garden soil. Every plant requires unique amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium (N-P-K) and other trace minerals. When the same plant makes repeated demands of the same patch of soil, the elements it requires are quickly depleted and may take years to replace. For this reason, heavy composting in between crops is recommended for soil health and using a soil test kit formonitoring levels of N-P-K.

Rotating your vegetables and fruit also greatly reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides. In my organic garden, I have no need for pesticides at all – there simply are no infestations – and I only use a small amount of organic fertilizer, but large amounts of compost.

For more information on crop rotation and identifying which families your vegetables are in, check out this explanation on crop rotation from OrganicLife.

crop rotation potatoes Don’s follow potatoes with potatoes in your garden.

 

What to use in your soil?

Spring Cleaning

I know it is a touch early for Spring, but not to early to clean the toxins out of our systems and get ready for a healthy Spring and Summer, maybe with a detox diet.

 Start Properly

There are dozens of detox diets out there and some are down right bad for your kidneys and liver.  Be careful and use common sense, these diets are not for the faint of heart.  It is important to be prepared both mentally and physically for this diet.  Detox diets are not intended to cure disease, just to allow the body to run more efficiently, kind of like a car tune up.  If you have problems like high blood pressure, kidney disease or heart disease, consult your doctor before starting any diet.  Take the Detox Screening Quiz.

What the Mayo Clinic Says about Detox Diets

Detox diets: Do they work?

Do detox diets offer any health benefits?

Answer

from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Detox, or detoxification, diets are popular, but they’re not scientifically proven.

Detox diets are touted as a way to remove toxins from the body. Specific detox diets vary — but typically a period of fasting is followed by a strict diet of raw vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, and water. In addition, some detox diets advocate using certain herbs and other supplements along with colon cleansing (enemas) to help empty the intestines. Most detox diets last seven to 10 days.

Some people report feeling more focused and energetic during and after detox diets. However, this may be due to a belief that they’re doing something good for their bodies. There’s little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body. Most ingested toxins are efficiently and effectively removed by the kidneys and liver and excreted in urine and stool.

It’s also important to consider possible side effects. Among other problems, detox diets can lead to:

  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

If you’re considering a detox diet, get the OK from your doctor first — and remember, the best diet is a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein.

What is a Detox Diet?

A detox diet is a good idea when you might have been over indulging in the wrong things for a period of time, or if you’d like to get a jump start on losing weight and/or are interested in getting the toxins and chemicals floating around in and on your body, out and off.  A good old detox can get rid of that bloated feeling and restore energy.  Your body will be able to accept more water and oxygen from the food you eat and your skin will look and feel better.  Detox diets generally last from 3 to 21 days.

Why Detox?

As I mentioned before, we ingest an amazing amount of chemicals, pesticides and hormones in the food we normally eat.  Even if you are trying to maintain a healthy life style, you are bound to have eaten some processed or canned food.  Been sick, having headaches, stomach problems, bloated,  had some drugs administered?  You need to detox.  Our bodies naturally remove toxins that we consume but a detox diet gives that body time to remove more toxins before we put more back in.

How to Start

As with most things, I recommend that you start slowly.  If you’ve never been on a detox diet before, start with a 3 day diet and see how it goes.

Juice fasts:

The Master Cleanse – Also know as the Lemonade diet. Nothing but lemonade, maple syrup and cayenne pepper – click here for details

Liquid Diets and Juice Fasting – Nothing but juice – click here for details

Raw Food Diet:

The 28 Day Raw Detox – Basically you can eat anything that isn’t cooked or processed.  click here for details

Conclusions and Recommendations

The Fat Farm does not recommend extreme diets of any kind.  If you must try these diets, start small and don’t go longer than a couple of days.  Here is a link to several more.  click here.

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