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Farmers’ Market Scams

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

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

Types of Markets

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

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

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

Look for Certified organic

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

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

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

Bugs on your food

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

Tempeh?????

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

What the heck?

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

Why do we care?

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

Where to get it

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

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

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

How To Clean and Prep Tempeh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Recommendations

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

Soak Your Nuts

I was given a heads up by a friend on an article about eating and soaking nuts grains, seeds and legumes before eating them.  The following is a loose synopsis of the article

Natures way

No, not the “Spirit” song.  Nature is one smart old broad.  And I mean that in the nicest way.  Nature includes some digestive and decay resistant chemicals in nuts and seeds, etc., to keep them viable until they have the opportunity to sprout and grow.  It only make sense that these chemicals would be toxic to animals and wash off easily with water.

Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?

1. To remove or reduce phytic acid.

2. To remove or reduce tannins.

3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.

4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.

5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.

6. To break down gluten and make digestion easier.

7. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.

8. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.

9. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.

10. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.

“Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amount of many vitamins, especially B vitamins. During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.”

What to Soak them In and how long?

Now, I’ve always soaked my dried beans overnight in water to make them easier to cook, but I didn’t know about the seeds and nuts and grains.  There are many methods suggested, but the simplest is plan old warm water.  Soak for 7 to 24 hours to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.

If they start to sprout, all the better for you.

There you go.  You can then dry them in the refrigerator or eat them wet.  What ever you deside to do you’ll be a little healthier for doing it -thanks B – jughandle

To get the full article – click here

 

You Can Be 90% healthy too!

Can any one be 90 percent health?  I believe you can, but my point here is to make living a strict life style, such as vegan eating, easily attainable.

The art of the cheat

I never really liked the word “cheat”.  It implies that you’ve done something wrong.  In this case, lets do something right.  Let’s call it the “10 percent solution”.  For me, and I think, one of my failings in life, I have a strong need to keep my options open. I believe there are way too many rules in life already, why self-impose more. When I’m restricted I have a strong desire toward that restriction.  Weird?  What you resist you get?

So, I came up with a personal solution that might serve you as well.  I use a “10 percent solution”.  It’s easy doing something for a short period of time, am I right?  I make available to me the possibility to eat anything and everything I want at any time.  I can dream about the food, I can plan menus with it, I can even cook it.  I know that if I really want to, I can partake of the forbidden.  But I don’t 90 % of the time.  I leave the door open to eating meat and/or dairy and eggs, one day per week.  Funny thing is that by making it possible, I don’t want it as often.  Only about 10 percent of the time, not even once per week.

Removing the NO-NO

If you remove the forbidden, amazingly the deep lingering desire also is gone.  At least for me.  Since starting this plan around mid December (yes I know that it’s only been a month) I have planned to eat meat every weekend only to find I didn’t really want it.  In fact, I’ve exercised the 10% rule only twice this month.

Conclusions and recommendations

I concluded long ago that if I eat a 90% vegan diet, I will clean the plaque from my arteries and in turn lose the 100 pounds I’ve gained from having no testosterone in my body. I’m a two time testicular cancer survivor.  The goal is to accomplish this in the year 2012.

I recommend that if you have dietary health issues that are causing you to be uncomfortable or to worry about your longevity, join the fun.  We’ll work through it together, it really isn’t that hard.  It can even be fun watching people squirm when you tell them you are a vegan. Tell them you are a member of  Jughandle’s Fat Farm and start a conversation.  What can it hurt? – Jughandle

Bill Clinton – the Vegan

Yes, the former President of the United States is a vegan.  He once stuffed himself with barbecue, chicken enchiladas and he loved his hamburgers.  President Clinton like myself has a family history of heart disease.

Bill Clinton declares vegan victory

The former president, known for his love of burgers, barbecue and junk food, has gone from a meat lover to a vegan, the strictest form of a vegetarian diet. He says he eats fruits, vegetables and beans, but no red meat, chicken or dairy. continue

The Los Angeles Times

Bill Clinton talks about being a vegan

  • Former President Bill Clinton during a recent visit to Haiti. Clinton says that his vegan diet is improving his cardiovascular health.
Former President Bill Clinton during a recent visit to Haiti. Clinton says… (EPA / Andres Martinez Casares)
August 18, 2011|By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / continue reading

Bill Clinton a Vegan? Now we’ve heard everything

August 19th, 2011 from Healthy Living
Read the complete article

What is a typical vegan meal?

The following is a typical 2300 calorie vegan meal plan for 3 days from VeganHealth.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This diet is roughly 53% carbs 15% protein and 32% fat

Day 1

Breakfast 

  •  1 serving scrambled Tofu
  • Whole wheat bread – 2 slices
  • 2 medium wedges of cantaloup
  • 1 T margarine spread

Morning Snack

  • 6 oz cup of Soy yougurt
  • 2 T Flax seed

Lunch

  • 1.5 servings of Black Bean and sweet potato salad
  • 1 whole grapefruit

Afternoon Snack

  • 2 oz trail mix snack

Dinner

  • 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 1 serving of grilled vegetables
Evening Snack
  • 1 cup of fruit salad

Day 2

Breakfast 

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 8 oz green tea
  • 1 cup Kashi breakfast pilaf
  • 4 T english walnuts
  • 1 cup of soymilk

Morning Snack

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 T almond butter

Lunch

  • 1 orange
  • 2 cups raw lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsp flaxseed oil
  • 1 T balsamic wine vinegar dressing
  • 1 non-dairy burrito
  • 1 oz no salt sunflower seeds
Afternoon Snack
  • 4 T hummus
  • 8 medium baby carrots
  • 4 slices crisp rye bread

Dinner

  • 2 cups whole wheat spaghetti, cooked
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 7 vegetarian meatballs
  • 1 cup broccoli, boiled with salt

Day 3

This day is 66% carbs 14% protein and 19% fat

Breakfast 

  •  1 cup vanilla soymilk
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup raisin bran

Morning Snack

  • 2 medium wedges of cantaloupe
  • 5 whole wheat vegetable crackers, nonfat

Lunch

  • 1.5 servings of vegan chili
  • 1 serving dry salad
  • 1 piece of cornbread

Afternoon Snack

  • 6 oz of orange juice with calcium
  • 3 T mixed nuts

Dinner

  • 1.5 servings of brown rice and lentil pilaf
  • 1.5 servings of broccoli with garlic and olive oil

Conclusions

I conclude that we can make a better menu than that and I’m going to get a jump on next year by working the rest of this year on it.  Stay tuned Fat Farmers, this won’t be as hard as you might think (he said with a shaky voice) – 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.

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

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

What Gives?

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

What Happens?

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

Bottom Line

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

 

Questions? – jug

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