Saturday, September 20, 2014

Are Family Meals Really Stressful?

A recent study by the NCSU on the family meal shows that mothers with children between the ages of 2 and 8 often find it too stressful and difficult to prepare meals for the whole family.

First, as a disclaimer, I don't have a family to cook for. When I first saw this study I thought to myself "why do people have kids that their not able to take care of?" Of course, we need to address our society's lacking nutritional education and not even knowing how to cook or the fact that women have the burden of childrearing. Perhaps the mothers in this study do not know how to prepare and cook meals so they do find it difficult. Many younger people do for that reason. Then again society as a whole is addicted to the connivence and flavor of mac 'n cheese, ravioli, ramen noodles, hamburgers, pizza, cookies, and they'll maybe have a tiny side salad.

Theres already many blogs out there reporting on this NCSU study and using it as a backlash against the food movement. In some ways I can understand the reaction as I wouldn't want to cook for a family of four after coming home from working a 10-hour work shift (see first part of second paragraph again). It also depends on if the family is highly dysfunctional then I wouldn't want to sit down to a family meal either (or male members not doing their share of work). So its important to see all sides of the family dinner dynamics. Then again we need to address the various dynamics in society when it comes to peoples food choices such as setting priorities, meal planning, food budgeting, and food access.

What is the purpose of the food movement? Its purpose is to raise awareness that we should care about our food and the hazards of the industrial food system. We shouldn't simply pull into a fast food drive-thru without a care in the world where the food is coming from or how its produced. The hazards of factory farms  are invisible when a person relies on fast food alone (and those hazards are immense like filthy crowded conditions, sick animals, antibiotic overuse, use of hormones, wrong diet for animals, low quality nutrition). But preparing a meal at home makes us more aware of the food we consume. We might actually pay attention to its nutrient content or how the animals were raised. We might actually realize the environmental destruction wrought by loss of biodiversity and pollution.

Sure, theres many things that need to change in society, but a lot of that starts with paying attention to food. Its not always possible for everyone to enjoy a family meal. It is possible for everyone to give food more attention.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cabbage: Health and Cooking

The past late Summer I've been purchasing a ton of cabbage at the local produce place and experimenting with it in various recipes. Actually, my "recipes" are very simple and keep the original appeal of cabbage. Cabbage is a very versatile food though. Annual cabbage is a member of the diverse Brassicaceae plant family thats also includes mustard, broccoli, kale, and other popular vegetables. The cabbage originated from the Mediterranean cliffs where wild cabbage plant first grew.

In the garden, the cruciferous vegetable is a cool season crop that can be grown well into Winter. The cool season actually makes the taste come out even better. Cabbage is actually a type of flower as you can tell by cutting it in half and looking inside its like a bound up flower. Only this flower has spent centuries being selectively bred to produce todays familiar green head. If allowed to bloom the cabbage loses its flavor and tenderness. 

The important nutrients in cabbage are as follows:
  • Phyto-chemicals like sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, which have anti-cancer functions
  • Glucosinolates have also shown anti-cancer properties
  • Di-indolyl-methane has an immune regulating function
  • Great fiber source along with many other green vegetables
  • Vitamin C in fresh cabbage, also contains folate and the vitamin B complex
  • Contains minerals such as manganese and potassium
The popular cabbage has been the subject of much anti-cancer research with sulforaphane and other compounds having most anticancer benefit. Indole-3-carbinol functions as a regulator of enzymes that eat up carcinogens. But how do these compounds found in cabbage really work? They turn on a nuclear transcription factor necessary for regulating proper cell function or in other words the compounds help numerous cell pathways. Afterall, inflammation is a precursor to chronic disease and anything that regulates the proper functioning of cells against inflammatory conditions is a wholesome food. However, cabbage should either be steamed lightly or kept raw to enjoy its health benefits as too much cooking can ruin the enzymes needed to convert glucosinolates to cancer preventive properties. The red cabbage contains even more nutrients than the green variety.

Heres a current favorite (simple) recipe of mine utilizing green cabbage:

3 cups of cabbage
1 cup of potatoes (or rice)
2 cups of yellow or orange peppers
1 cup of butternut squash (or kale)
1 garlic clove
2 TB curry powder (or seasoning of choice)

Place oil or butter on pan at medium heat and place food into the pan for about 30 minutes. Mix curry in really good. Its done when  potatoes are soft.

Dentistry Without Mercury

Theres a campaign taking place to create a dentistry without mercury by the Consumers For Dental Choice. Mercury is a 19th century metal toxin whos use should have been abandoned years ago when it was obvious that it does accumulate in the body and intentionally placing amalgams in the mouth leads to constant leaching out. Mercury doesn't have a place in todays medicalcare.

The constant exposure to heavy metals like mercury can lead to toxicity affects and mineral deficiency. Heavy metal ingestion leads to the displacement of important minerals like magnesium and sulfur. And this in conjunction with highly processed-foods that already lack in important minerals. The medical system usually ignores metal toxicity and places people on drugs for conditions actually caused by metal exposure.

Its up to consumers to take responsibility for their health. Join the campaign to get mercury out of medical dentistry.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Media War On Vitamins Again

In the ongoing war on vitamins, the media takes up supplement bashing once again in the form of the usual misrepresentations and outright lies by some senator and comedian. Its one more step towards implementing Codex in the US and putting unnecessary restrictions on supplements. The media seems to be self-projecting though (the same way a certain doctor awful does) without mentioning that the pharmaceutical-medical complex has far more wealth and vested interests in the government. The FDA is practically a revolving door for Big Pharma interests.

The media war started with Dr. Oz's weightloss supplements apparently. They fail to mention that the problem is not with the supplement industry as a whole, but with a few low-quality companies and their products. Theres a difference between vitamins and herbs and the fly-by-night weightloss/steroid industry and the government agencies should be competent enough to know the difference. Of course, they are totally ignorant about alternative health. I agree that most of the weightloss industry is a fraud as true weightloss is not found in "magical diet pills". The way to lasting weight reduction is changing your lifestyle and diet.

Its odd that the media takes aim at the supplement industry though as the pharmaceutical industry is full of fraud and corruption. They also have far more control over the US medical system unlike supplement industry. Of course, the medical establishment claims that their drugs are "scientifically-proven" despite the fact that 67% of medical journal retractions are due to fraud and misconduct and the numerous ways that drug studies are based on fraud (publication bias, ghostwritten studies). The FDA constantly threatens to shutdown the whole supplement industry simply based on a few low-quality products found to be contaminated or spiked (ironically the contamination often is a pharmaceutical ingredient).

I'd rather take supplements than take drugs anyways. No TV comedian is going to dissuade me, however, the general population with their ignorant and complacent attitude could end up being persuaded by a media agenda.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Cancer Epidemic & It's Solution

The recent series called "The Truth About Cancer" explored the world of innovative doctors treating cancer with unconventional methods and the often hidden causes of this terrible disease epidemic.

One of the topics of utmost importance was the cause and nature of cancer such as nutrient deficiencies, toxicity from metals and environmental pollution, Standard American Diet, and lack of exercise. The conventional medical community has continuously labeled any cancer therapy not FDA-approved, produced by drug companies as "scientifically unproven" and "quackery". Theres a long history of any unconventional therapy and its advocates being attacked and shutdown by the government and medical societies, even going back before the time Nixon declared a ridiculous War On Cancer. Nevertheless, nonmainstream doctors from around the world continue to experience good results with many of these alternative cancer therapies as you find out in "The Truth About Cancer" series.

The most interesting question posed in the video series is the exact cause of cancer. Of course, its probably a multi-factorial disease with both natural and unnatural roots with different therapies working on different people. We all have a unique biochemistry and are affected differently by environmental toxins and nutrition. Cancer could very well be an adaptive mechanism used by the body to self-heal itself when the internal and external environment become too stressful and toxic. By stress, I mean not just emotionally or spiritually but also stressful in the sense of imbalances within the biochemical structures of the body. The toxic part refers to the outer world we all deal with in everyday life such as chemical agriculture, petrochemicals, cosmetics, city pollution, plastics, and radiation (from many electronic devices).

The fact that cancer is probably both found in nature and yet unnatural opens a window into a different paradigm for approaching disease. Rather than looking at disease as something that "just happens to you" based on the Mechanical drug model you look at disease as the body's attempt to heal itself. No one is born with a deficiency in chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery yet you can have a deficiency in nutrients or correct environment. The medical establishment's pouring of billions of dollars into cancer drug research misses the mark as they don't focus on looking at the individual and what their unique biochemistry shows. In one of the videos the discussion revolves around a mineral deficiency like zinc that can lead to cancer and indeed theres been research showing zinc deficiency plays a role in the development of prostate cancer by way of damaging DNA. Similiarly, the mineral selenium has been implicated in preventing cancer when consumed in sufficient amounts. The other parts of the video series discuss how the zealous use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides over the last couple of decades have led to the damaging of human DNA and the gut flora possibly implicated in todays epidemic of childhood disorders and cancer. The prevalence and lack of safety studies on synergistic toxins used in our immediate environments could have lasting consequences.

The solution to the cancer epidemic may not be found in the holy medical establishment with its War on Cancer, but a new understanding of nature in the context of the body's individuality and environmental stressors.