Thursday, May 27, 2010

Glutamate Blockers

Millions of dollars are being spent producing Glutamate Blocker pharmaceuticals instead of taking MSG out of our food supply.
Examples of glutamate blockers (I think, I just Googled this quickly, also read truthinlabeling):
  • Dimebon (to treat Alzheimer's)
  • Budipine
  • Abilify (now given to treat autism)
  • Remacemide
  • Memantine
  • Riluzole
  • Lamotrigine
  • Gabapentin
  • GlaxoSmithKline's Lamictal (lamotrigine)
  • ipenoxazone hydrochloride
  • Memantine
  • acamprosate (for schizophrenia)
  • gabapentin
  • Naltrexone
  • Liraglutide (for diabetes and obesity)
  • CoQ10
  • Ibuprofin (but Tylenol does not block glutamate)

Super Size Me

This movie was so revolting. I don't recommend it to anyone. We watched it in two parts, the first half hour and then the rest. I was so disgusted in the first half hour, I didn't want to finish, but forced myself to just to post it on this here blog. I don't know who was a worse sucker for stubbornness: him trying to kill himself eating burgers for a whole month against the advice of his doctors, or me torturing myself through the entire movie just to see what I could get out of his interviews, etc. By the end, I thought I had gotten nothing out of it. Then... I got to thinking, and realized more and more what I learned.

The very best part of this movie, that you'll want to watch, is when he goes into the public school system to see what they're eating. It may vary according to version, but FF to about 51 minutes 20 seconds and watch to 57:52. Amazing! Highly recommended.

I also recommend seeing the GMA lobbyists (FF to Minute 1:22:15) The GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) is a member of the group that promotes "MSG is safe"

Besides that, there's,
Bypass surgery "Desperate problems call for desperate measures."

Advertising Kids that can't even recognize visuals of Washington, Lincoln, or Jesus, correctly identify Ronald McDonald.
In 2001:
  • McD's spent $1.4 billion on radio, television, and print worldwide
  • Pepsi spent $1 billion on direct media advertising
  • Hersheys spent $200 million internationally
  • In its peak year, the 5-a day Fruit and vegetable campaign total advertising budget in all media was $2 million "100 times less than just the direct media budget of [Hershey's] candy company."
Regulations are being passed prohibiting photography of industrial food production They don't want us to see how our food is made! We might not want to eat it.

Nutrition Facts are difficult, if not impossible to find. They're "on the internet," yet he states that an astounding percent of the U.S. populous does not have the internet. How can you argue consumer responsibility, when the nutrition facts aren't even posted?

Naivety of interviewees off the street It was ingenious to ask people off the street, "What is a calorie?" I would have never thought to ask that question, and would have never guessed that so many people didn't have an answer. What is the point of even having food labels if people don't know what a calorie is?

What goes into a chicken nugget You guessed it- a million ingredients, all low quality.

Heavy users defined Seventy-two percent of McD's customers. These guys eat at McD's at least once a week. Those that frequent McD's 3+ times a week that are called super heavy users and total 22% of McD's customers.

See lots of fat people on video And realize how big we are.

and, of course, I guess you have to include the punchline
Spurlock gets life-threateningly ill on his month- long McD's diet He induces a fatty liver and rapid weight gain. He suffers a myriad of other symptoms such as depression, food addiction, and erectile dysfunction.

Spurlock's study methods are totally unscientific; he should have controlled for calories. He was eating 5,000 calories a day. So, was it all due to the food source, or his calories? If he would have stuck to a normal caloric intake it would really show what McDonald's food does to you, overeating aside. He is very good at his statistics, throughout the whole movie, though, which makes watching it enjoyable, including statistics about his own personal health deterioration.

This is not a movie we wanted to watch with toddlers, I mean, if not for the very fact that its like watching one big McDonald's commercial.

*The full-length movie documentary Super Size Me is available in its entirety on YouTube.

Public School House Rock

Super Size Me states that the healthy school lunches actually cost the same as the commercialized ones. What's holding up the system? Junk food companies don't want to be kicked out of school lunch programs, and they latch on. Watch Supersize Me and Killer at Large to see more about our public school lunch program.

Public School House Rock
warning: crude language.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Flu vaccine

If you're not ready to be shocked, don't watch these.
I have to add a disclaimer; I think Alex is making a judgment on people when he says we all look "retarded." Maybe all the people on the beach he was at were just intoxicated with some good feeling sun!

Assault on Babies

Babies and infants are highly vulnerable to all the toxins and poisons we have in our food and water. They are being damaged even before they are born, with neurological damage from MSG, fluorisis before their teeth even rupture, and chromosomal defects from BPA damaging a female child's eggs even before she is born. The damage continues after birth from MSG- and BPA-laden formulas and foods marketed to children.

I really wanted to have a special post on how to avoid these things and keep babies safe for friends using formula, but it takes research. I finally found it! I found a site on MSG in infant formulas. Keep in mind MSG is also in vaccines (along with lots of other toxins). Also read Dr. Blaylock's book on the Effect of Excitotoxins on the Developing Brain.

Bad Science

This video slide show appears to be a college campus lecture on MSG.

Here's a list of the research supporting the fact that MSG is bad for our health, plus another totally different list of research also supporting the fact that MSG is not good. You may ask what does all the research find? Here's an article showing the suppression of information concerning MSG.

Ways that studies are illegitimately claiming MSG to be"safe":

Studies are funded by the sellers of MSG. There are mountains of "MSG is safe" studies, all funded by the glutamate association, and all flawed, which dwarfs the amount of real, objective, research and scientfic work, of which studies are serious and alarming.

Ketone, a known glutamate blocker, is used to anesthetize the animals when they're put to sleep and studied for damage.

Light microscopes and not electron microscopes are used in studies. Light microscopes do not detect neuronal damage, but only neural mortality. Brain damage may be present and not detected.

The toxic effects are cumulative; short studies are inadequate, so its fairly simple to show MSG is "safe".

Claims that glutamate studies on animals do not apply to humans. In fact, humans are four times more sensitive to glutamate toxicity than rats and 20 times more sensitive than rhesus monkeys.

Stating a toxic level that we're able to tolerate. Everyone has a different tolerance level, as is true with alcohol and other drugs. Add to this, though, that the toxic level that is stated "safe" in the FASEB report compiled for the FDA (which was the latest review of MSG by the FDA) was never examined and compared to how much we are eating! The FASEB states "less than 3 grams" is safe for consumption. Meals commonly served at restaurants can contain 5+ grams of MSG.

Human studies are done with placebos that contain aspartate, another excitoxin. What significant difference will there be between experimental groups and controls when they're both getting excitoxins?

Lastly, try airing a show to the public about the truth about MSG. When TV channels are paid by advertisers producing food full of MSG, would it make sense to upset their main contributors? The true studies don't really get to the public because of controlled media.

Diet Foods: Beware

Here's a good article on deceptive "health" or diet foods.

Low-fat foods may be high in calories. Low-fat salad dressings have more MSG and other ingredients to make it taste good. Diet soft-drinks, even though they have zero calories, they trigger insulin and its just like eating lots of sugar.

"We have talked to many individuals over the Internet and personally, who say their hypoglycemic reaction to MSG and aspartame is worse than their reaction to sugar and other carbohydrates. Excitotoxins cause the release of insulin. Insulin triggers fat storage and cravings. It also triggers an adrenalin release. To calm us down and regulate the effects of adrenalin, the brain releases serotonin, our "feel good brain juice." Consequently, serotonin levels are being used up too quickly. As a result, a person develops headaches, weight gain, depression, fatigue, and sleep disorders. Then the cycle begins again as a person reaches for the same jump starters: foods high in excitotoxins, caffeine, and simple carbohydrates." (Anglesey, 59)

"Dr. Arnold Mech, a child psychologist, addiction medical specialist, program developer at the Menninger Clinic, chemical dependency psychologist, eating disorder specialist and NOMSG member for three years. His theme was "Rage Reactions" caused by MSG. He had noticed that many of his patients seemed to be hypoglycemic. One of his patients was a young girl who had the habit of drinking three six-packs of diet cola per day. He gave her the glucose tolerance test and even though she was avoiding sugar, the test came back showing that she was hypoglycemic. He tested other patients and noticed a recurring pattern between aspartame, junk food, and hypoglycemia. He theorized that aspartame and other excitotoxins aggravate hypoglycemia. They cause people to crave more carbohydrates and sugar which sets the body up to release too much insulin which lowers glucose in the blood which in turn continues a cycle of craving more sweets and carbohydrates. But even if they aren't eating a lot of sugar or carbohydrates, excitotoxins like aspartame, can still trick the body into releasing too much insulin, which sets up hypoglycemia.

"When the blood sugar crashes, people turn to caffeine and excitotoxins for an energy "kick" and they need more and more to get that "kick". Their lives begin to revolve around high carbohydrate and high excitotoxic addictive foods and it's big business to the companies that produce them. He called it the "craving and withdrawal" cycle. Kids constantly want cereals and other fast foods high in excitotoxins. First they may be diagnosed with ADD as youngsters, then as teens and young adults, they may develop rage reactions. Many children, and eventually adults, lose their ability to control their impulses. This has shown to have terrible results, not only in eating disorders, but in relationships with other people. Dr. Mech noted that schools send out warning notices to parents to feed their kids well during national standard testing time, suggesting they want to look good as a school district." (Angelsey, 63)

How to Lower Your Fat Thermostat

How do you summarize an entire book? Well, I cheated and used their summary:

The authors theorize that each person has a "thermostat" for weight that their body oscillates around. For some its higher, others lower. There are a few ways to lower your fat thermostat.

1. Exercise will lower the set point

2. Decrease the fat in your diet
excess fat in the diet will get stored on the body. (I'd have to argue this one somewhat, because our low-fat diets have gone to extremes; fat is an essential part of the diet.)

3. Decrease your intake of refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates flood the body with a sudden rush of glucose. This triggers insulin to be released to break down the glucose. "In the presence of excess insulin, a disproportionate share of the sugar in the bloodstream is converted to fat and deposited in the fat stores. Excess insulin also seems to inhibit or slow the breakdown of fats for the energy needs of the body. This combination leads to more reliance on sugar as the major fuel source, a more rapid use of the ingested sugars, the need for more frequent eating, the eating of larger volumes of food, and a preference for sugars in the diet. It also leads to an increase in fat stores and the protection of those fat stores." (p 79)

They use a term called "refined carbohydrate unit" which I think today is called a glycemic index, to identify foods that will have this insulin-fat storage affect on the body. Foods with high glycemic indices are potatoes, white rice, white flour, white sugar. See Natalie's video on glycemic index. In my opinion, this is why the Adkins diet works: we're eating too much white flour, white sugar, and potatoes! But the Adkins diet is not sustainable. We need carbohydrates; and veggies, fruits, and whole grains are fine and don't cause weight gain like refined carbohydrates do.

4. Reduce intake of high-calorie density foods

5. Stop drinking calorie-containing fluids or eating in response to thirst
Drink plenty of water.

6. Eat in harmony with the hunger drives of the body
Eat when you're hungry, stop before you're full. It takes time to get in tune with what our bodies are saying, because so many of us have binged/denied ourselves for so long. Our body knows what its doing. Starvation diets trigger a natural survival technique of the body to go into a hibernation mode and store fat. Thus, yo-yo dieters' bodies (or those with very low calorie diets) get stingier and stingier with energy storage and their bodies are more prone to gain weight.

7. Get proper nutrition
If you're deficient in a certain vitamin, even if your body has had its caloric needs met, its still going to be craving food in an attempt to get nourished.

Glycemic Index

White Sugar

Important Vitamins

Some nutrients I'm finding are very important are K, E, and magnesium. Scavenging vitamins and minerals are: C, E, D, K, beta carotene, selenium, magnesium, and zinc. (Blaylock, 231). Scavenging means that they are antioxidant from free radicals. Whole wheat is rich in E and magnesium.

Omega 3 fatty acids

"Omega 3-fatty acids are derived primarily from coldwater fish. When the diet consists of a high proportion of these oils the generation of arachidonic acid is significantly reduced, thereby reducing the generation of 'bad' eicosanoids. Experimental animal and human studies have both demonstrated a significant reduction in blood coagulation and, hence, the incidence of both strokes and heart attacks.

"We know that cell membranes are critical in receptor function, ion exchange, enzyme function, and nutrient entry into the cell. With aging, the cell membranes lose some of their fluidity. It is also known that dietary omega 3-fatty acid can change the composition of the cell membranes in a short period of time so that the major component of the membrane lipids are then comprised of the two types of oils found in fish oils, mainly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These particular oils inhibit the production of arachidonic acid within the cell membrane. It is the activation and release of arachidonic acid from the cell membrane that triggers the production of eicosanoids, resulting in the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. Many of these products are quite toxic to cells and can generate massive amounts of free radicals, leading to damage to the cell's membranes as well as its genetic structure. As we have seen, this process plays a critical role in glutamate toxicity. The bottom line is that omega 3-fatty acids (fish oils) can block the production of "bad" type ecosanoids.

"Other studies have shown that feeding omega 3-fatty acids to animals can significantly improve nerve conduction within the optic nerve. While no one has measured it, one could safely assume that neural conduction within other parts of the nervous system would improve as well. It is important to buy only quality products free of pesticide residues and mercury. Some brands have high concentration so of omega 3-fatty acids and should be preferred. Another warning, always keep your capsules in the refrigerator. Omega 3-fatty acids are unsaturated and subject to rancid destruction. Because of this, I would recommend taking at least 400iu of alpha-tocopherol per day with your capsules." -(Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., in his book Excitotoxins p230)

Omega 3-fatty acids are so important, it may be necessary to use fish oil supplements, but keep fish oil capsules in the fridge!

If its there, we're going to eat it.

It makes you wonder why there's aspartame, loads of sugar, MSG, and Nitrates in our food. I guess its 'cause the FDA has "tested" it and claimed its safe. For many of these, we don't really know if there's an effect right away; it takes time to see what happens. Now 40 years after scientists first found MSG was bad for us, we see it in the lab (the entire U.S.), we're fat and sick. Can we take it off the market yet?

I thought of a way to test these things before they're given to the general public. Before any new chemicals are introduced (and surely they will) make a welfare program called "Sickville" or some very attractive name, where people get free food and housing but they're testing all these "safe" foods before given to the general public, and we'll see what happens to them... I knew I could never share such a repulsive thought to blog readers...

But, then, I thought of a better idea. To make it more ethical, and fair all across the board (we wouldn't want to target one racial or socioeconomic group), why don't we just feed a whole country a diet of chemicals that we don't really know what they do and have controversial side effects or cause cancer and call it the United States of America, and let them be the guinea pigs.
In the Watchdog Report from JS Online on BPA:

"'The safety of this compound is in major question, and our government is not taking steps to address this,' said Urvashi Rangan, senior analyst for Consumers Union, a watchdog group that regularly tests products. 'Consumers shouldn't have to be the guinea pigs here.'

"Canada has declared BPA a toxin and is moving to ban it from baby bottles, infant formula and other children's products. But U.S. regulators have been conflicted.

"The National Toxicology Program has expressed concern about the chemical for fetuses, newborns and young children. But the FDA has declared it to be safe. That assessment, however, was found to be flawed, and the FDA since has reopened its examination."

Back to my original statement: if its on the shelf, we're going to eat it. I vaguely remember picking up something sugar-free a few months ago, and thinking to myself, "I remember my grandma [who is now deceased] telling me about Nutra-sweet and Equal in the restaurant when we saw the little packets on the table, and her telling me that they've found its bad for you, and you should avoid it and just eat sugar." Then, subconsciously (no real thought pattern), I looked at the sugar free product in front of me (I can't remember what it was) and decided whether I should eat it or not, "if its being sold, and other people eat it, what's the big deal? And, I could save on calories."

Such it is with all other foods. If its out there, its going to be eaten. Although America doesn't think fast food is a healthy choice, if its offered to people, somebody's going to be eating it. Why all the pop machines, tons of cola, all the junk we're selling, and serving in schools? Do we really care about health care or not? Think of how many people don't know what is bad for them? Who's going to be the last in America to know of the harm in our food products? Who's going to be uninformed? Who's out of the loop, doesn't have good connections? Probably the people who need it most! Poor, young, or unborn.

One more thing I've learned: an ingredient label is a warning label, and its probably all the warning you'll get. Why does our cereal say "BHT added to packaging"? Who cares what's added to packaging. That's not an ingredient! Or is it? I think it says that because someone is on top of it and knows its harmful, doesn't want to be eating it, and wants it labeled. I think for some reason the government wants labels on our food so that we can be informed and make our own choices. I had no clue I shouldn't be eating nitrates, though, and who else does? Thus enters consumer responsibility- a joke.

Then, on top of that, you've got laws like the Cheeseburger Bill, that states that food producers have an immunity from causing obesity. MSG, aspartame, aren't really foods, I guess sugar is, but are they going to count in the Cheeseburger Bill? Most positively. At least foods (additives!) don't have an immunity from cancer, yet, I hope.

Just one more drink...

What do you do when:

Your cupboards are full of MSG?

When someone offers you food or candy in public?

When you're at a potluck or party?

You find your kids are fed MSG treats at childcare, nursery, or Institute?

You buy ice cream for a party without an ingredient label on it (ie. Ferdinand's)? Contact the manufacturer! Then when you find it has MSG ingredients? (Yup.)

You get together with relatives (and food).

*In case it isn't obvious, "Just one more drink" is the famous phrase of a lifetime alcoholic.

Mission: Impossible

Did you really try taking MSG out of your diet? Did you really print out a list of hidden MSG ingredients and start reading labels? Hah! You are so gullible.

Just kidding. But it is close to an impossible task, making life ridiculous. I think I'll get the hang of it in about a year.

What really stinks is a lot of mothers have trouble when they send their MSG-free kids off to college, and they get tons of MSG in their diet there. Public institutions are going to have it, unless more of the word gets out and something is done. I think I'm going to have to beg my kids' principals to change what's being served in their schools before they ever set foot in there.

TVP and dry milk

My mom and I were discussing storing meat one day, and she suggested TVP. "TVP?" I asked. "What's that?" I guess its a meat substitute that is dry that can be used in food storage, and my mom says its an okay-tasting substitute. I did find it at my local WinCo store in the bulk section.

Only problem is, TVP (Texturized Vegetable Protein) is one of the sources of hidden MSG. So, TVP: out.

Another common food storage item: dry milk powder. This is another ingredient that often contains MSG due to processing. What to do without dry milk in an emergency situation? Where are we going to get our calcium? (My bread actually tastes fine when I omit it, b.t.w.)

Sounds like a doozy, but milk is not the only source of calcium, perhaps not even the best. To some this may be good news because not liking powdered milk is one of the hurdles of eating food storage food. (blog "Adventures in Self-Reliance" has a dry-milk comparison of brands to help). Other sources of calcium include: broccoli, collards, bok choy, black eye peas, spinach, trail mix, baked beans. (sources:, iloveindia)

Okay, so we're back to square one. How often do I eat these things, especially in food storage? Plus we'll have to be counting our calcium with a list of how much each of these contain instead of just counting glasses of milk (much easier).

This video here states protein inhibits calcium absorption, and of course milk is full of calcium. (Soda also inhibits calcium absorption, and too much calcium can't be absorbed all at once). I'm not sure about the statements made in here, but here it is: Milk the Deadly Poison on Hard Copy I do have to say, my grandmother lived on a dairy farm all her married life, and does have osteoporosis.

My husband says that after taking Biology at WSU, he wondered why we are still drinking milk. He says he really likes it, but he learned that everyone is eventually going to contract lactose intolerance (symptoms: bloating, gas, etc.) and whenever he has those symptoms, he thinks he must finally be lactose intolerant.

Children with autism are recommended trying a diet free of dairy, wheat, artificial sweeteners, and MSG.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kale Sausage Soup

I don't know if the sausage takes away from all the health benefits of the Kale, but:

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb pork sausage halved lengthwise and cut in ¼ inch pieces
3 15 oz cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 C chicken broth
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
4 C kale
Salt and pepper
½ C parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes. Add the beans and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf and kale and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and the cheese.

Sweet Potato Fries

1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp onion powder
2 potatoes

Slice thin and shake ingredients in a bag. Bake 400 for 40-45 minutes.

Yams are often mistaken for sweet potatoes. Make sure you get it right in the store. Sweet potatoes are yellow inside while yams are dark orange.

These are tons better than fries the old way. We've found chopping sweet potatoes into fries to be problematic, though. They're very tough. I'd recommend a food processor, or, be like Ben who uses the apple slicer/corer/peeler crank.


Take the Label off of me
("Overly Conscientious Consumer")

...And put it on the can!

*Surgeon's General Warning*:
monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, plant protein extract, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, yeast extract, textured protein (including TVP), autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed oat flour, corn oil, malt extract, malt flavoring, bouillon, broth, stock, flavoring, natural flavors, "seasoning," "spices," natural beef or chicken flavoring, carageenan, enzymes, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, and whey protein concentrate often contain the excitotoxin MSG, which accelerates Alzheimers, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington's, Multiple sclerosis, and Parkinsons' disease, induce Fibromyalgia, neurological/emotional disorders, migraine headaches, asthma attacks, behavioral disorders, depression, heart irregularities, arthritis, sinus problems, many digestive problems, swollen throat and tongue, racing heart, joint pain, vertigo, skin disorders, sleeping disorders, burning, and/or tightness or redness of face.

Read more.

Developing Brains

The following excerpts are from Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills Chapter 4"Glutamate type-neurons control every neuroendocrine function of the hypothalamus. This neuroendocrine function is designed to control the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, reproductive functions, gonadal function, body growth, and certain aspects of metabolism. But in addition, glutamate controls all the other functions of the hypothalamus, such as the biological clock, the autonomic nervous system, sleep-wake cycles, hunger and satiety, the emotions of anger and rage, and even consciousness itself.

"So we see that anything that disrupts or impairs the normal functioning of the hypothalamus can have devastating effects on the organism as a whole. Early exposure in life to high doses of glutamate, or the other excitotoxins, could theoretically produce a whole array of disorders much later in life, such as obesity, impaired growth, endocrine problems, sleep difficulties, emotional problems including episodic anger, and sexual psychopathology.

"Whether such changes would be reversible or not depends on the dose of excitotoxin given, the timing of the dose, and how long the child was exposed to high doses of excitotoxins. As for timing, we know that for glutamate, the earlier the exposure to the toxin, the more likely is permanent damage. If exposure is delayed until several years after birth, the injury may be less severe. It is also possible that some neurons are injured but not killed. We know that subtoxic concentrations of glutamate can alter the function of hypothalamic neurons without destroying them. Also, earlier exposure would increase the likelihood of abnormal wiring of the circuits within the hypothalamus. So parents, it is important to stop your child's exposure to excitotoxins now!" (Blaylock, 88)

To read more, see Developing Brains II

Crazy kids!

Fish Crackers: Thorn in my side

I don't know what your kids get for a snack when they're at childcare, but its universal in my church that children are fed fish crackers. So, I decided to check what's in them, ducked behind the counter and started reading labels on the pretzels, animal crackers, and goldfish crackers. Well, I knew Goldfish crackers had autolyzed yeast (see hidden MSG list), but all the snacks were pretty much tainted.

So, I thought, should I refuse my child getting these snacks? I hesitated, and it was soon too late.

I go home, and read this: in a study, rats given MSG in the first 9 days of life become obese; they were then taken off MSG and the obesity remained and it was very hard to diet or exercise off. Make me barf.

Have I got a thing against my kids being fat? I'll love them however they are, and I'm quite resigned to the fact that fat is a part of life and I'll never look like a supermodel. But, purposely, avoidably, causing our kids to be obese? Please, no.

So, I'm now on a bring-my-own snack plan, and its working okay so far. Just got to keep it up. And even if I do create upheaval, at least I'll be making a political statement.

If this sounds bizarre, I agree, but its serious how harmful MSG is. More on how excitotoxins affect developing brains from the book Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills by Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D.

Rodents, Insects, and Other Pests

Rodents and insects need to eat, too. They'll chew right through dry-pack pouches and other thin materials, so these items need further protection. Once they find a way into where food storage is, no stopping them; they can crawl through the tiniest cracks.

I had a friend with a rodent problem. She had purchased those heavy plastic 55-gallon storage containers to store her wheat in. The rats chewed holes in the lids. Again, with PETE plastic buckets, they'd chew holes right through the lids and crawl on in. Then what? Throw the whole bucket out? I suggested she get metal bins, instead, not that I've ever seen any, and she said rats chew through metal, too. Did you know they can chew right through a number 10 can? Disgusting.

So, solution? Rat poison.

Insects, I believe, can be avoided merely by rotating your food supply so its fresh, and by taking out the maximum amount of oxygen when you dry pack. Bay leaves are also minimally reliable.

Next, there seems to be a consensus that in the case of an emergency, there will be violent attempts to get peoples' food storage. Some fixes are: disguise where the food is, guns, who knows. Don't want to think about that. Rats will be more violent and starved, too, so I guess a supply of rat poison would be good.

My kids normally don't empty out my food like this, but food storage is one of their top favorite toys. They'll put it in their trike trunk, purses, shopping bags ("I'm grocery shopping" :)) or just take it all out and stack it. Once a can is dented, though, that's it; bacteria can grow in the can. Hopefully someday it will be safely locked away.

More About Me

I don't know if these details are pertinent, but in case it is of curiosity, I'd like to tell a few more details about myself than what is included in the column at right.

I don't buy organic (yet), I don't live off a garden (yet), I see an M.D. and not a midwife, homeopath, or acupuncturist, I have not filtered my water since we used up our wedding present, I don't shop at a health food store, just the generic, to date I've used just disposable diapers, I don't have any known food allergies (yet), I don't even have a food storage right now*, just beans enough to last 3 months, because we're moving soon, my kids are all immunized and I got my flu shot this year (but would change the latter if I could), I don't even read the paper or watch the news (crazy), and again, I'm not an expert on any of the label-topics here!

All of this may change in the near future, though.

* Note: I do have my Excel spreadsheet completed, and the money, so its just a matter of printing off the list and buying it!

Eat what you store, store what you eat

It is quite sad to throw food away that's gone bad, or that you find you don't like, especially a years supply of it. The following excerpt is from

"An unfortunate number of people in our society have developed allergies to one kind of food or another. One of the more common food allergens is wheat. Even more unfortunate is the fact that of those with an allergy to this most common of grains, many of them are not even aware of it. They won't become aware of it until they try to live with wheat as a large part of their diet. This is the reason you should store what you eat and eat what you store: So that ugly surprises such as this don't come up when it's too late to easily avoid them.

A second reason to think about providing a variety of grains in your food storage is appetite fatigue. There are many people who think providing variety in the diet is relatively unimportant and that if and when the time comes they'll eat what they've got and that will be that. For healthy, well-adjusted adults under ordinary circumstances this might be possible without too much difficulty. However, the entire reason for having a long term food storage program is for when circumstances aren't ordinary. Times of crisis produce stress -- possibly physical, but always mental. If you are suddenly forced to eat a diet that is both alien and monotonous, it is going to add just that much more stress on top of what you are already dealing with. If your planning includes the elderly, young children and infants they might just quit eating or refuse to eat sufficient amounts and become unable to survive. This is not a trivial problem and should be given serious consideration. Consider the positive aspects of adding some "comfort foods".

In his book, Making the Best of Basics, James Stevens mentions a post WWII study by Dr. Norman Wright, of the British Food Ministry, which found that people in England and Europe were more likely to reject unfamiliar or distasteful foods during times of stress than under normal conditions. When it's wheat, day in and day out, then wheat's going to start becoming distasteful pretty fast. Far better to have a variety of foods on hand to forestall appetite fatigue and, more importantly, to use those storable foods in your everyday diet so that you'll be accustomed to them."

So, to keep grandma and the kids from "failure to thrive" in an emergency, be sure to have foods they'll eat! And remember that may be one of the more stressful times to find out you don't know how to cook using food storage, or have to try something new like cooking over a fire. This is one of the reasons to go with methods 2-4 of starting a food storage post because it incorporates foods the family is eating.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Top ten (17) reasons to Homecook

The top reasons to do home cooking are

17. Time
16. Dishes
15. Its when you've got pizza dough all over your fingers that you realize you still need to get the pan ready and grease it.
14. Its almost time for dinner and an ingredient or two is missing or rotten.
13. Dinner flat-out ends up all over the floor.
12. Planning and shopping for meals
11. Your significant other always comes home on time.
10. The kids don't eat it.
9. You always know where you'll be at 4pm.
8. Its always kind of a mystery what time it will be ready.
7. You get to pick it up off the floor in bits after dinner's over.
6. After the infant's been crying for an hour and a half because she's a) been neglected and b) smells the really good meal your making for the family that just had a baby, you get all packed in the car and drive off to deliver it when you hear glass shattering. You look in the rear-view mirror and realize that that was their dessert that just slid off the roof of the car (oops) and your 7x11 Pyrex pan is in tiny pieces.
5. The oversized serving spoon gets a little top-heavy in the little 1.5 qt. saucepan and flips out onto the baby. The sauce that was "boiling" runs down his head, through his shirt, and the skin peels off his little chest.
4. Its more nutritious (but still has MSG in it. See pitfalls of homecooking)
3. Get to choose what you eat, make it your way, try something exotic
2. Save money
...and the number one reason to make homemade meals is:
1. You'll be self reliant and ready to cook in an emergency

Dinner solutions

Someone local had the brilliant idea to do a once a month cooking group. (See OAMC blog.) This is how we do it: the leader sets a date, everyone RSVPs, and then we cook enough of the same meal (just times it by the number of participants) for each family plus one for ourselves. We've agreed to make meals that serve 4 persons (1 lb. meat) times the number of participants. On trading night we bring the frozen meals, labeled with the name and cooking directions on it, perhaps copies of the recipe to hand out, our ice chests, and trade with everyone. Sometimes we'll play games too. If there are buns, pasta, rice, tortillas, red sauce, a cup of sour cream, etc., to go with the meal, we provide these, too, and trade them as a duo with our meal. Here's a picture of my freezer containing 17 meals, ice cream, butter, and meat. Once a month cooking is the latest fad in the cooking world, but is not a new idea. You can read all about it if you want to look it up.
The frozen meals can be packaged into zip lock freezer bags, sucked of all the air with a straw, and laid fat in freezer for freezing. With this method a considerable number of frozen meals can fit into a small freezer. Another method is to get aluminum pans, sold at our local grocery for about 60 cents each, and then tightly seal the top with plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil. For meals without sauces, where there could be air trapped such as meatballs, a vaccuum pack sealer can be used.

Not just anything can be frozen. There's a list of ingredients that do not freeze well. Its also important that no air is in the meal either, or it will get freezer burn. Disposable aluminum pans, commonly used for freezer meals or potlucks, may corrode in contact with acidic foods such as tomato sauces. So, use sparingly or for short durations with acidic foods.

We haven't exactly always followed the rules, but here's what we've exchanged lately:
Burritos and spanish rice
Beef enchiladas
Beef pot pie
Beef stroganoff
California Chili
Cheesy rotini
Chicken chow mein
Chicken enchiladas
Chicken pot pie
Chicken rice cream soup
Chicken Saté Sauté
Chili verde with homemade tortillas, cornbread mix
Cowboy Tacos
Garlic Chicken farfalle
Italian chicken
Pineapple chicken
Pizza rolls
Potato casserole
Potato stew
Pulled pork sandwiches
Red turkey chili
Ritz Chicken
Shepherd's pie
Swedish meatballs
Sweet and sour meatballs
Taco casserole
Taco soup
Unstuffed peppers
White turkey chili
Baked ziti

Anyone could start a group like this, or if you're local, you could join ours. I don't know why people aren't flocking to participate. I hear some say they don't want to cook that much, but its just making a big batch of one dinner. I do admit it takes me about 6-7 hours to do it, but when you consider I don't have to make dinner 7+ other nights, it saves a lot of brain work on meals and leaves me free to do other things, which I like. We just pray everyone else brings us something good! Its also possible to just double, triple, etc., your own meals at home and do once a month cooking independently.

We've all had those nights where we just haven't come up with a meal yet. The freezer meals are like gold to me, and I know others share the same sentiment, "when its my husband's turn to cook, he's not allowed to use the freezer meals. Only I can use them," says one friend.

My sister participates in another cooking solution in Provo, UT. She has a group of two other friends, and they each have one night a week that they cook for the entire group. Its the other two girls' responsibility to pick up their meal on the night someone is cooking, or it can be arranged to be dropped off. I'll ask her how its going, or went.

Food Storage in the Scriptures

Three prime examples of food storage in the scriptures are:

First, Joseph of Egypt. See the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on We

He was wrongfully imprisoned and then released when he interpreted Pharaoh's disturbing dream to mean 7 years of famine to follow 7 years of plenty. Pharaoh put him in charge of gathering grains and preparing for the famine. He finally caught up with his family because they were starving in Canaan, and its happily ever after.

Second, Noah.

The Lord commanded Noah and his family to build an ark and take two animals of every kind and board the ship. We don't know how long he was in the boat (the Bible states 40 days and 40 nights), but the number 40 in Hebrew represents a very long time.

The people in Noah's time just laughed when he told them to repent, and particularly at building a boat in the middle of the desert. Then the flood came, and everything was destroyed except Noah, his family, and their passengers aboard the ark.

Third, the Nephites eradicate the Gadianton robbers, found in 3 Nephi 4 in the Book of Mormon
The Nephites were a people that immigrated from Jerusalem to the American continent in 600 B.C. In A.D. 3 a band of robbers was in the surrounding mountains where the Nephites lived. So strong were their places of hiding and their holds that the people could not overpower them; yet, the band of robbers were murdering people en masse.

By A.D. 18 the problem had progressed to the point it was all-out war, and the fall of liberty and takeover of the government was being threatened. The Nephites used food storage (and prayer) to extinguish the robbers. They gathered everyone and all their provisions and horses, cattle, and flocks to subsist for seven years if they needed to. The robbers' food supply was cut off, as they were unable to steal anymore. There was no way for them to continue to exist, as their means of survival was by stealing and murdering. After much struggle, the Nephites were able to defeat the robbers and restore peace.

Read the unedited version in 3 Nephi 2 verse 11 through chapter 5.

Now, how will food storage save God-fearing people in modern times? We shall see!

Food Storage Promo.

Of all videos, why this one? 'Cause he's right on, (man); Joseph in the Bible, wheat becoming more valuable than a Lamborghini in the day, and I love his enthusiasm. But, I do ask, when there is an emergency, what is he going to do with that wheat?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Which are leafy green veggies? Bright orange?

There's four different vegetable promotions I'd like to cover here. The first is to eat more dark green leafy and bright orange vegetables. Greens have lots of health benefits, and are low in carbs so they won't even affect blood sugar levels. They're a great way to fill you up. That's why its recommended to visualize our plate in sections, and make half your plate vegetables. Read more about which nutrients and health benefits greens have at and young womens health.

The USDA recommends 3 cups a week of Dark Green Leafy Vegetables:
  • Beet greens
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Collard greens
  • Dark green leafy lettuce (not iceburg, but I think green, red, and arugula)
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Kale
  • Mesclun
  • Mustard greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens
  • Watercress
I hadn't even heard of some of these. I was hoping peas would make the cut, but in vain. Neither did brussels sprouts, asparagus, artichoke, bean sprouts, and peppers! (The links are to recipes.)

I did learn that its important to add a little oil or other fat to dark green leafy vegetables, because important vitamins found therein, like vitamin K, are fat soluble and need fat to be absorbed. Learn something new every day!

Orange (click on this link for more info. on"orange" veggies):
  • Acorn squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots
  • Hubbard squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potatoes
Some fruits actually fit into the bright orange vegetable group because they contain the same nutrients. These are cantaloupe and apricots.

Third, another promotion is called eat a rainbow. Apparently, although dark green leafy and bright orange are SO rich in things that are good for us, each different color group has its own set of benefits, too. Its strange to me to learn that a yellow pepper has more in common with things in its own color group than it does with the green pepper, so they say. Its also important to get a variety, and not throw all your eggs in one basket and eat all spinach, for example, because variety brings more nutrients and health into play; thus, eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.

I think the most common to us all is "5 a day," commonly stamped on plastic bags, brochures, and produce packaging. This is the minimum. A food exhibit at the PDSC in Pullman displayed a study done over a period of time for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, 7, and 9. With each increase in servings of fruits and vegetables, health benefits increased.

Max Tomlinson recommends eating two fruits and leaving at least 3 slots for vegetables. "As a guide, a portion of fruit is equivalent to one apple, pear, orange or similar-sized fruit; two plums; half a grapefruit or avocado; a handful of grapes or cherries; or a slice of melon or pineapple. A portion of vegetables is equivalent to a medium-sized potato, a large tomato or two medium carrots," he states in his book Clean Up Your Diet.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One Rotten Apple

Heard the saying, "One rotten apple will spoil the whole bunch?" While sitting in on Biology 101 at USU, I learned this is true. Bruising of an apples releases "hormones" that trigger decomposition. They help the whole apple to begin rotting, but in doing so, the hormones emitted affect other apples to begin rotting as well. Pretty soon there's a rotten bunch. So, sort your produce for bad ones, especially when storing.

Apples can be stored for a long time in cool conditions. The apples bought in the store are usually about 1 1/2 years old. Pickers and growers ship apples to storage houses, which store the apples in huge, cool, storage areas and then ship them when they're ready to be sold. They're rotating them, of course, so this years' apples may actually be last years' pick. The cheapest apples are probably the oldest and need to be sold, whereas more expensive ones may be fresher.

Also, only the good apples are fit for selling in store. No one would buy an apple that physically looks bad. The apples that go into apple juice and applesauce are actually the inferior apples, because no one can tell.

TImeless Sayings

What they don't know won't hurt.
If we can't make the connection between MSG and our health, then its not "hurting" us. So true. Its poor genetics, environmental factors, etc.

The health benefits far outweigh the cost.
You'll hear this about vaccines, conventional non-organic apples; I can't quite evaluate the statement about apples...

If you can't read it, don't eat it.
Some things you can read, like natural flavoring, broth, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (sounds healthy, right?) you shouldn't be eating either (see hidden MSG)

I'd like to add one of my own:
If the ingredient list is too long to read, don't eat it.
The number of ingredients in my pizza at home: probably about 17.
Number of ingredients in Freezer pizza sandwiches? astronomical. Certain chips? It'd floor you. Its pretty much been a proven rule in my recent (two-month-longish) label reading experience that if the ingredient label list is long enough you have to take reading breaks, it has stuff in there you wouldn't want to be eating.

A little dirt won't hurt
Of course nothing's wrong with dirt! (Except for the way we're modernly destroying and poisoning it.) I kind of extend this thinking, though, to my vaccines, pesticides, whatever. Hey, my body's tough! It can take it! I've been rethinking this, and I'm not so sure I want much fluoride, chlorine, mercury, all the crazy stuff we get everyday.

Don't believe everything you hear
People use this to say that MSG is safe! They get information about MSG's harmful effects from NOMSG activists, and conclude with this old adage, remaining in ignorance.

12 Food Additives to Avoid

There are so many videos, slideshows, and lists out there like this about which basic additives are harmful and which are safe. Some, I've found, list monosodium glutamate as something to avoid, but use names for hidden MSG as foods that are safe, which totally discredits the information, I think. Also, I think a lot of lists out there on the web are just copies of each other. You see the same basic list over and over (like here's another good one).
  1. Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite
  2. BHA and BHT
  3. Propyl Gallate
  4. MSG
  5. Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
  6. Aspartame
  7. Acesulfame-K
  8. Food Colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6
  9. Olestra
  10. Potassium Bromate
  11. White Sugar/High Fructose Corn Syrup
  12. Sodium Chloride (table salt)
I recommend reading the short article, with photos,
12 Food Additives to Avoid

found on the Healthy Reader: A Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle website.
Did you know there are (rough estimate on my part) over 300 different additives that can be put in our food? Yup. When I was first searching the answer to, "Is there anything else besides BPA, trans-fat, we should be avoiding?" I found a few websites that list the additives in categories of 1. ones to never eat 2. ones to sometimes eat and 3. ones that are safe to eat. I also find these websites rather questionable, because perhaps some had MSG contradictions, but also, what if they're totally be wrong about about an additive, and you're going the lazy way to have the website tell you what to eat and what not to eat and just believing them. Science is always changing, and who knows who's really been reading their literature. (Here's some of the sites: Center for Science in Public Interest (they were interviewed briefly before GMA on Supersize Me), Harmful, Wikipedia)

I admit, with 300+ additives, what can you do but follow the websites? There's so much to research! But, the good news is, I'm not really seeing 300+ different additives in the food we have around our house. They are the same ones, over and over and over. There's a lot to remember, but far less than 300. They are common across all our food.

I guess Food Inc., was right. We think we see a wide variety of products stocked on the shelf in the grocery store, but its just clever reproductions of the same thing! (Food dye, high fructose corn syrup, carageenan, glycerin..........)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Masa Flour: The Magic Miracle of Mayans

After I found that wheat flour was healthiest ground fresh, I figured maybe I'd make my own fresh corn tortillas, too. So I researched it, and, I don't think so. Would you do this? This is a really cool story that shows how modern Mayan women make their food out of corn (maiz, not to be confused with sweet corn) by soaking it with slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) overnight, sifting the soaked corn with their fingers so the hulls come off, taking it to the local mill to be ground into flour (and those that are very poor still grind nixtamalized corn by hand on a grinding stone; grinding stones are sold in the U.S., too, (surpirisingly) in Mexican grocery stores), and then buying more slaked lime in the city for the next day, cooking using fires, etc. Sounds like a hard life.

The resulting flour is called masa flour, from which corn tortillas, corn chips, sopapillas, etc., are made. Masa flour is available at any supermarket, made with lime-treated corn. The story behind this is amazing, and these are great two great articles to tell all about it:

Read Wisdom from the Past: Nixtamalization of Corn (the Nourishing Gourmet) andTortilla Reform

Basically, early Native Americans thousands of years ago somehow made the connection that if ashes from the fire were put in with the rock-hard kernels of corn in water, the hard outer hull would easily dissolve in the water, and the corn could then be ground and eaten. While they thought they were just making it grindable, they were also actually creating a chemical process that allows the nutrient vitamin B3, or niacin, to be released. This helped them stay healthy and thriving, and create some of the greatest civilizations of the Ancient World.
This process of soaking the corn in slaked lime is called "nixtamalization" and is still widely used today in South America as illustrated by this article, and in the U.S. for Maseca. Our bag of corn chips says "corn treated with lime" as the first ingredient.

When people came to the New World, with the terrible scheme of looting gold, etc., they returned home with the corn from this distant land. What they didn't take with them, though, were the primitive cooking practices of the Native Americans. They just ground the corn (as we do today in America, probably, to make corn meal and grits). The people in Europe and Africa ended up getting Pellegra! What's that? Diarrhea, dimentia, and death. Serves you right for spoiling all the Natives' goods. I believe people in the southern states still get pellegra today from eating lots of corn but not nixtamalizing it.Isn't it just amazing how these primitive people accidentally nourished themselves and were able to thrive? Its just a miracle. I marvel, and think of how God was so instrumental in the survival of these people.

Read more about Maseca or "Masa Flour".

Note: the corn used anciently in America was nothing like the corn we grow in Iowa (see King Corn). The corn in Iowa is genetically modified to be herbicide resistant, etc., and with a much lower protein content and larger endosperm, or starch value. It is processed using sulfuric acid, not calcium hydroxide ("lime"), to make high fructose corn syrup. Unwittingly killing ourselves again?...

Heavy metal toxicity

Dietary minerals are essential for normal body function, but in too large an amount causes heavy metal toxicity. These include:

Essential vitamins A, D, and E can also be toxic

Toxic metals not necessary for normal body function, but which also cause heavy metal toxicity are:

Toxic metals can bioaccumulate in the body and in the food chain

Toxic metalloid: Arsenic

toxic nonmetalloids/hallogens: flouride, chlorine

Toxic organic compounds: phosphorus (pesticides: organophosphates), nitrogen (cyanide, nicotine), alcohol

Venom, toxins, and food poisoning are also found in fish/seafood, other vertebrates, arthropods, poisonous plants and poisonous fungi.

See chart

...Okay. So that was a mouthful. Just found that off Wikipedia. Anyways...

We bought a wheat grinder. It was actually a corn grinder, at La Mexicana grocery store in Othello, WA, where I was actually looking for and bought a cheap tortilla press. But, I saw this grinder that was $25, and it grinds corn! Corn I hear is the hardest grain on earth, and some grinders don't grind. So, we didn't have a grinder, still don't, so we bought this. Got home, and it didn't do much more than crack wheat. I guess I could have tried cracked wheat bread, but for some reason I'd prefer that my grinder made flour. So, we found a tightening bolt, and tightened a little, then a little more, then a lot, and it cracked and broke. But it would have been worth the gamble to get a $25 vs. $300 grinder, right?

Well, the wheat grinder and the tortilla press are made with this real shiny coating, I'm not sure what. My husband sees bright shiny little shavings in our cracked wheat. Pretty alarming. We ate it anyway. Once won't hurt, right? But, I'm kind of glad we had our little $25 test run/failure, because it got me thinking about what kind of materials are grinding our grain? You know they come with options to buy more stones once the stones where out, and where did the stones go? In your food, of course.

So, its interesting to think about, if you wanted more iron in your diet, would you get iron grindstones? What if you were getting too much iron anyway, then what kind of stone would you use? And what exactly is steel anyways? (Several grindstones are made of steel.) So, yet another little hang-up on the wheat grinder shopping. I know. I think I've taken this one a little too far. Its probably no big deal. But I did learn about heavy metal toxicity in the meantime, and the delicate balance of getting the right nutrients, and leaving others out.

My husband did come up with this ingenious idea: to get veterinary magnets, like they use for cows, and rub it in the finished product flour, to get some of the metal out. Just have to make sure that the kind of metal your grinding with is attracted to magnets.

The Vitamin Puzzle

The following is what I remember from Vitamin Puzzle by Ann E Weiss, Malcolm E Weiss, and Pat De Aloe available in hardcover from for $.01. Okay, this just proves I'm not an expert on anything when I bounce all the way to the second grade where Mrs. Askins, my teacher at Sunnyside Elementary in Pullman, WA, read us this book.

This book tells the history of how we came to find out about vitamins in food, and the part I remember well enough to tell is a story Mrs. Askins read to us with such animation and postceded by a small discussion to see if we got the story. It was wartime, perhaps WWI, and the government was feeding the military. It wanted to give its military the finest, so it shipped them loads of white rice, which was the latest fine food which had the brown hulls stripped away to make it a real fancy treat for the hardworking men and women.

The military broke out in scurvy, and come to find out, the brown hulls which had been stripped away were actually full of nutrients necessary for well-being. Thus came the realization of vitamins, their role and importance, and since then we have been fortifying our food with synthetic vitamins and minerals as mandated per the FDA.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Whole Grains

Whole grain products include the bran, germ, and endosperm. Examples include amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, whole wheat pasta or whole wheat couscous, flaxseed, maize, millet, oats, popcorn, quinoa, rye, sorghum, spelt, triticale, wheat berries or cracked wheat (bulgur), and wild rice. The kernel is like a little packet image source:
filled with a special mix of nutrients when all are used together.

Most of the grains available locally today are refined. When these grains are milled, or refined, the bran and germ are removed, leaving only the endosperm. The resulting product must then legally be "enriched" with synthetic vitamins and minerals.

Whole unrefined grains are of benefit with lots of nutrients and fiber, and when compared to their refined counterparts, they reduce weight gain, the risk of type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cholesterol levels, and some cancers.

It is sometimes tricky to figure out when a product is whole grain and how to avoid refined carbohydrates. Often breads may say whole wheat on the label, but unless it states it is 100% stoneground, it is mostly made of refined flours. The word "wheat flour" on the ingredients list does not mean the product is made of whole grain. Further, fiber content is not an indicator of the purity of whole grains. Did you know that cornmeal is not made from the whole kernel of corn? It is available specially under the name "whole grain corn meal," such as this one by Bob's Red Mill. Read more about identifying whole grains and how to read ingredient labels at the Whole Grains Council website.

These stamps also aid in finding whole grains. You can find them on your food packaging. I found this a little tutorial link from the Whole Grains Council on how to interpret them.

"Consumers are increasingly aware that fruits and vegetables contain disease-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants, but they do not realize whole grains are often an even better source of these key nutrients.

Moreover, whole grains have some valuable antioxidants not found in fruits and vegetables, as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber."

See more awesome reads about whole grain at

I have heard that whole wheat flour left on the shelf loses 45% of its nutrients to oxidation within the first 24 hours after milling, and 90% after 3 days, and also high heats may damage the vitamins in wheat flour. I am still trying to verify this. Whole wheat flour cannot be dry packed and has a shelf life of "six months" (some say). However, this is only once a wheat berry has been cracked or milled; whole wheat berries can be dry packed and stored forever. Ten-thousand year old wheat berries have been found, planted, and sprouted. The packaging of a wheat berry to preserve itself is amazing!

Tips for first time users: Take it slow. Yes, whole grains are infamous for loosening stools, but it is not a permanent condition; the body needs to get used to eating whole grains, so start small and work up. The body will adjust, but it takes time. (This is especially important for home food storage, because adjusting to eating oatmeal or legumes for that matter can be an added stress if the body doesn't know how to handle it, and more stress is not going to be helpful in an already stressful emergency situation.)

Second, when baking with whole wheat, there are two types of flour. Hard winter wheat varieties make a flour useful for recipes using yeast, such as bread, rolls, and pizza dough. Soft spring wheat is ground to make pastry flour used in goods with baking powder such as pancakes, waffles, muffins, and pie crusts. These things will taste gross if not made with pastry flour, which makes them much lighter.

Third, whole wheat products are subject to mold (for bread) and rancidity (in flour) faster than are refined products. That is the main reason white flour came to be in the first place: it keeps on the shelf longer. The bran and germ that whole grains have contains nutrients and oils which oxidize or feed mold a lot better than the nutrient-poor white flour products. So, its good for us, but spoils fast.

Here's a highly rated bread recipe that first time users might like which comes from Crystal at Easy Whole Wheat Bread and another one without vital wheat gluten added.