Saturday, October 30, 2010


Urinary tract infection in women
This is a very complete article from the Univ. of Maryland Medical Center website about a fairly common women's ailment.  It has a number of food and herb suggestions that I'm copying here, but the whole article is certainly worth reading.  
Nutrition and Supplements

Following these nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms:

  • Drink a lot of fluids, such as herbal teas and water. Avoid sweetened fruit juices and other sweetened drinks.
  • Cranberries and blueberries contain substances that inhibit the binding of bacteria to bladder tissue. Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice regularly helps lower the risk of UTIs.
  • Try to eliminate potential food allergens, including dairy, wheat (gluten), corn, preservatives, and food additives. Your health care provider may want to test for food sensitivities.If you are susceptible to UTIs, drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills may help prevent recurrence.
  • Eat antioxidant foods, including fruits (such as blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes), and vegetables (such as squash and bell peppers).
  • Eat more high fiber foods, including beans, oats, root vegetables (such as potatoes and yams), and psyllium seed.
  • Avoid refined foods such as white breads, pastas, and especially sugar.
  • Eat fewer red meats and more lean meats, cold water fish, tofu (soy, if no allergy is present) or beans for protein.
  • Use healthy cooking oils, such as olive oil or vegetable oil.
  • Reduce or eliminate trans fatty acids, found in commercially baked goods, such as cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods, and margarine.
  • Avoid coffee and other stimulants, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Drink 6 - 8 glasses of filtered water daily.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week.

You may address nutritional deficiencies with the following supplements:

  • A multivitamin daily, containing the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, the B-complex vitamins and trace minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium.
  • Vitamin C, 500 - 1,000 mg 1 - 2 times daily, as an antioxidant and for immune support.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, 1 - 2 capsules or 1 tablespoonful oil 1 - 2 times daily, to help decrease inflammation and promote general health. Cold water fish, such as salmon or halibut, are good sources. Fish oil supplements can increase the effects of certain blood thinning medications.
  • IP-6 (Inositol hexophosphonate), 1 - 8 grams daily on an empty stomach, for kidney health. Check with your health care provider for proper dosing.
  • L-glutamine, 500 - 1,000 mg 3 times daily, for support of gastrointestinal health and immunity.
  • Probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus acidophilus), 5 - 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) a day, for maintenance of gastrointestinal and immune health. There is strong scientific evidence to support the use of probiotics for urological conditions. Refrigerate probiotic supplements for best results.
  • Grapefruit seed extract (Citrus paradisi), 100 mg capsule or 5 - 10 drops (in favorite beverage) 3 times daily, for antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activity.

Natural hormone replacement therapy may help prevent UTIs. Ask your health care provider about this treatment.


Herbs are generally a safe way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your health care provider to diagnose your problem before starting treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 - 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 - 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 - 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted. Many herbs interact with medications, so you should always tell your doctor about any herbal therapies you are using or considering using. The following herbs may be useful for short term treatment of a urinary tract infection.

  • Green tea (Camellia sinensis) standardized extract, 250 - 500 mg daily, for antioxidant, anticancer and immune effects. Use caffeine free products. You may also prepare teas from the leaf of this herb.
  • Cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa) standardized extract, 20 mg 3 times a day, for anticancer, immune and antibacterial or antifungal activity. Cat's claw can interact with many different medications. Speak to your health care provider. Do not take cat's claw if you have Leukemia.
  • Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) standardized extract, 150 - 300 mg 2 - 3 times daily, for anticancer and immune effects. You may also take a tincture of this mushroom extract, 30 - 60 drops 2 - 3 times a day. High doses of Reishi may have a blood thinning effect, so speak to your doctor if you are on blood thinning medications.
  • Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seed standardized extract, 80 - 160 mg 2 - 3 times daily, for detoxification support.
  • Uva-ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) standardized extract, 250 - 500 mg 3 times daily for no more than 4 days. You may also prepare teas from the leaf of this herb.
  • Buchu (Barosma betulina) 200 mg 1 - 3 times daily for antibacterial effects. Buchu can interact with Lithium and with blood thinning medications.

Friday, October 29, 2010


In 1990 my now husband and I started a fresh foods market in New Boston, NH.  We sold local produce, meat, eggs and baked goods.  It was always a labor of love and never a money maker and eventually we had to stop.  But the years of buying and displaying and trying to sell this food and associating with the producers made me a believer.  I am a food fundamentalist and I want everyone to be born again eaters.  I believe  that the growing, handling, preparing, and eating of locally grown food are intrinsic parts of the human experience and should be protected as such.  

What is more important than the food we eat?  What can we do for our families that is more important than feed them the foods that are the best for them?    

Perhaps the local food movement's greatest hero is Michael Pollan.  Here is the presentation he gave at the last Bioneers conference.  At the end he warns us to keep an eye on our government's food legislation, particularly the farm bill.  It's another  thing to keep in mind before you vote next Tuesday.  Do you know where your candidates stand on the food issues?  

Beyond The Barcode: The Local Food Revolution

by Michael Pollan

Much of my education and the hopes for transforming our food chain I owe to a Bioneer—Joel Salatin. When I was first writing about organic agriculture and the gradual industrialization of what had been organic agriculture, I spoke to Kenny, and he said you really need to talk to one of the most important critics of organic agriculture, Joel Salatin. I called him, first to get some salty quotes about Whole Foods and the Organic Empire as he calls it, and I’d heard about this wonderful pastured chicken and grass-fed beef he was raising. So I’d hoped he would send me a chicken or a steak.

Well, I got the salty quotes I was looking for. He went on about the clash of paradigms and the Western conquistador mentality that was ruining our food system—both organic and industrial—but when I asked him for a chicken he said, “Sorry I can’t do that.”

Michael Pollan

“What? You’re not set up for shipping? I could have the FedEx man come with the dry ice and the box and the whole thing.”

He said, “No, no, you don’t get it. I don’t believe it’s organic or sustainable to FedEx meat across the country. If you want to try my meat, you have to come down here to Virginia.” Which I promptly did. Thus began my education in one of the most interesting agricultures going on in this country. I won’t walk you through it. I just want to give you a little close-up vignette because something I saw on that farm was a real paradigm shift for me. I think it holds the kernel of a completely different way of looking at our relationship with nature.

Joel calls himself a grass farmer. If you ask him are you a rancher, or chicken farmer, an egg farmer, he’ll say, “I’m a grass farmer.” When I got to the farm he insisted before I met any of his animals that I get down on the ground and meet his grass. And he explained something very interesting as to what happened. He grows these six different animals in a very complex rotation. It’s kind of an animal rotation based on manures and grubs and all that kind of stuff. As soon as the grass is sheared by the ruminant, the grass plant does something that all gardeners understand. It strives to restore its root/shoot ratio. It strives to balance the root mass with the leaf mass that it’s lost. So it promptly sheds as much root as grass, that has been eaten by the cow.

That’s a very interesting process. Essentially it’s killing off its roots. What happens to those roots? Mycelium goes to work along with the bacteria and protozoa and they break down those roots. That is precisely how soil is made. We build soil from the bottom up. And that is how the prairies were made, in a reciprocal relationship between the bison and the grass and all the wilderness of life that takes place in the earth’s stomach—the soil.

Joel adds to this kind of pulsing of the pasture, the element of bringing in the chickens to add nitrogen to it and within six weeks the grass is back and you can run it again. And the key thing to know here is that at the end of the year he has taken off an immense amount of animal protein from his farm. 40,000 pounds of beef, 30,000 pounds of pork, 10,000 broilers, 1200 turkeys, 1000 rabbits, 35,000 dozen eggs from 100 acres. If anyone asks can organic feed the world, take him to this farm. There is no question that sustainable agriculture can feed the world when it is done right.

The really important thing to remember is that at the end of that year when all that food has come off this land, there is more soil, not less. There is more biodiversity, not less. There is more fertility, not less.

Now, why is that significant? It’s significant because most of us carry in our heads a model of our relationship to nature that is zero sum. That is, for us to get what we want from nature—whether it’s oil, energy, whether it’s food, whether it’s entertainment—nature is diminished. We assume this to be true. We see examples of it all around. What a well managed pasture shows is that it is not necessarily the case. There is a non-zero sum way for us to engage with the natural world. And for me that is one of the most hopeful things I’ve observed in 25 years about writing about the human relationship with nature.

I don’t have time to go through my whole Paris Hilton adventure. I worked on the farm as a farm hand for a week and it was a brutally difficult week. I want to go right to some of the lessons that came out of this.

In challenging the zero sum idea, it’s not just about our relationship to nature. It is also challenging our zero sum attitude toward economics. I want to move to economics and politics and put forth the proposition that some of the most important politics going on in this country today are being transacted at farmer’s markets.

There is a direct line from the kind of healthy soils underneath Joel Salatin’s farm and other farms like his too, as Albert Howard reminded us a long time ago—a link from those healthy soils to healthy plants to healthy animals to healthy eaters and healthy economies.

I think local food is one of the most important political movements going on. It’s much bigger than food. It is the most important protest against what Wendell Berry has called, “the rise of the total economy.” The total economy is the globalized world in which everything is a commodity. Everything is produced wherever it can be produced most cheaply, which is to say most destructively, of people and resources, and moved to wherever it can be sold most dearly. This is zero sum food economy. It means more cheap food for us, less for the soil, less for the workers and much less for the animals.

Make no mistake: under this regime—and this is the regime of free trade and food that we’re hearing is so important—food is about to go the way of clothing, of consumer electronics.

Our food, in the vision of the globalizers and the vision of the total economy, will come from wherever in the world it can be produced most cheaply, freeing American labor and land for higher uses. I frankly don’t know what higher use there is for labor and land than growing food. But in the view of the economist, people like Steven Blank at UC Davis, American’s farming is like Ph.D.’s doing child’s play. This is the technocratic vision.

Now make no mistake: organic food is on the same path today, as organic food has gotten industrialized. We found a product such as Stonyfield Organic Yogurt made from organic milk powder from New Zealand, strawberries from China, apple purée from Turkey, blueberries from Canada. We are in the age of organic feedlots, organic factory farms. These are words that were never meant to be attached to one another.

Local food economies are our best hope for checking the drift toward the total global economy. And food is where these economies beginA revolt is underway across this country. A revolt of the small producers and consumers and some of the most important politics today, as I said, are happening at the farmer’s market.

Now we’re told all this is very sentimental to go back to a local food economy, even reactionary. And surely there are reasons for buying local that might strike the unsentimental as a little softheaded. We like the idea of keeping farmers and their wisdom in our communities. We like eating food in season picked at the peak of its taste and nutritional value. You find no processed food, no high fructose corn syrup at the farmer’s market. We like the idea of keeping land near us in production for food rather than houses and strip malls, defending the landscapes we love.

We like what happens socially at the farmer’s market, which is quickly emerging as the new public square in this country. If you compare what happens in the aisles at the grocery store with the farmer’s market, think about what a world of difference that is. At the farmer’s market country meets city. Children are introduced to where their food comes from. They learn often for the first time that a carrot is not a glossy orange bullet that comes in a plastic bag, but is actually a root. How amazing!

People politic. They have petitions. They schmooze. It’s just an incredibly vibrant space. We like how the farmer’s market or CSA lets us reconnect through these plants, animals and their farmers to the natural world. We’ve always looked to food for that connection. Food will always give us that connection. Even the Twinkie has its origins in the natural world. It’s only obscure to us.

I’m fully prepared to defend local food on those so-called sentimental grounds. But I would point out here that all those benefits suggest this is a non zero sum economic relationship, or social relationship. There is a lot more is going on in that marketplace than the exchange of money for food.

But let me move briefly on to other ground. Let me move on to their ground. Let me suggest that it is the globalizers of food that are the real sentimentalists who are, as Wendell Barry says, “acting on a faith without any justification,” very much like the Soviet Communists, the last great destroyers of global food economies. They tell us we need to sacrifice things we like here and now—landscapes, relationships, local enterprises—for a promise of future prosperity, that we must break a few eggs to make an omelet.

What could be more unrealistic, more soft headed than to propose we should destroy things we have and love in the present for the uncertain prospect of some future benefit? Let me remind you that the Soviet Union was founded precisely on the issue of food. Let’s stick with the eggs. Let’s not make this omelet. Let me suggest that there’s nothing more hardheaded or realistic than building and defending local food economies. Indeed, to do so is a matter not of sentiment, but of critical importance to national security and public health. Let me quickly run through a couple of reasons.

Energy. The total economy depends on cheap energy, not to mention peace and no threat from terrorism, in order to move these goods from point of cheapest production to point of highest purchase. We will not reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy or confront the issue of climate change without dealing with this industrial food system. This food system is consuming 17% of our fossil fuel. That’s to grow the food with fossil fuel fertilizers, to use diesel on the farm, to use diesel to move the food and to process the food. You know the statistics. We’re moving all the food 1500 miles on average. By the way, supermarket organic food is moved even further today. You could buy local tulips in Seattle at Whole Foods. But in fact, they’ve been shipped down to a regional warehouse in California and then sent back to Seattle. This is the rationalization of our distribution system. There are people in Denmark eating American sugar cookies. And there are people in America eating Danish sugar cookies. As economist Herman Daly said, it would be much more efficient for them to swap recipes.

So energy is one reason to buy local. Sovereignty is another. Do we really want to go down the path we have gone down with our energy with food? Do we really want to find ourselves in a position where all our grain is coming from South America, our produce from Mexico? The projections right now are that in the state of California at the end of this century there will be no more food production in the Central Valley. It will be houses and highways wall to wall, mountain to mountain. Do we want to go down that path? Do we want to give away our food independence?

National security. Our government knows better than we the eaters the risk of a highly centralized food system. Tommy Thompson, when he left the Department of Homeland Security, in his last press conference, said something very interesting. He said, “I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do.” When all your hamburgers are being ground in the same factory. When all your salad is being washed in the same sink it is a very precarious way to eat. (Read the rest of the article.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010


MEATLESS MONDAYS ARE ALL THE RAGE  Wency Leung (from The Globe and Mail)

As the name of his restaurant suggests, chef Scott Vivian of Toronto’s Beast is known for preparing animal parts. But he broke away from his reputation for one evening this week when he gathered some Southern Ontario meat-centric chefs and challenged them to cook a special, vegetarian meal.

The event, at which guests dined on faux scallops (made of seared parsnips), green apple soup and smoked- ricotta-stuffed pasta, was partly an excuse to bring local culinary talent together, Mr. Vivian says, but also to demonstrate how even carnivorous chefs like himself “can also cook vegetables.”

“When you take the crux out of a chef’s repertoire, it causes them to be even more creative than they normally would be,” he says, explaining that cooking without pork belly and duck fat forced him to innovate. “There’s so many things you can do [with vegetables] besides boiling them, cutting them up and serving them.”

While Mr. Vivian’s veggie metamorphosis was temporary, it points to a subtle but significant culinary shift.

Fresh, high-quality produce is edging meats to the side, as a small but growing number of chefs are curbing the use of animal protein and bringing vegetables to the fore, thanks to a greater emphasis on locally farmed produce, on-site restaurant gardens and heirloom varieties.

“It used to be a joke years ago, we’d all sort of chide people ... to finish their vegetables, and now you’re chiding them to finish their proteins,” says Neil Ingram, a partner at Vancouver’s Boneta restaurant.

Mr. Ingram says Boneta prides itself on sourcing its vegetables locally, sometimes from as close as three blocks away at urban farms in the Downtown Eastside – and that pride has translated into rewording the restaurant’s menu “to really highlight the vegetables rather than the primary proteins.” For example, he describes a dish as a mix of “locally sourced vegetables with braised cheek,” rather than the other way around.

Mr. Ingram attributes the shift partly to U.S. food activist Michael Pollan’s famous mantra: “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

For health and environmental reasons, that concept “is something that I think everyone’s taking to heart,” he says, adding that it helps that the days of being served mushy broccoli are over. “Now, people take [vegetables] seriously in the preparation. You’ll never get bad vegetables again.”

At L.A.B. restaurant in Toronto, co-chef Chris Scott says meat-eaters are gravitating toward the restaurant’s vegan and vegetarian dishes, which outnumber the meat options.

The meat-vegetable role reversal is even more pronounced in certain culinary circles in the U.S. The famously pork-loving chef Mario Batali made headlines this year when he began offering vegetarian dishes at his restaurants as part of the Meatless Monday campaign to encourage people to eat less meat.

Meanwhile, Toronto native Gail Simmons, a regular judge on Bravo TV’s Top Chef series, named vegetables as the latest trend in an interview this month with food website Eater. “[W]e’d like to think that the year of the vegetables is upon us,” Ms. Simmons said.

In September, industry website Nation’s Restaurant News also offered the same prediction that restaurants would start recasting meat and fish as “fringe players” and emphasizing vegetables.

John Fraser, whose Dovetail restaurant in New York earned a Michelin star this month, is among the chefs at the forefront of this veg-heavy trend. Independent of the meatless-Monday movement, Mr. Fraser says he introduced a “Monday-night veg menu” last year to inspire himself and his cooks to think creatively. The menu, which offers vegan, vegetarian or “vegetable-focused” dishes, has been such a success that he is considering opening a restaurant based on the concept.

Mr. Fraser says one of his favourite vegetable-focused dishes is mushroom gnocchi, finished with a drizzle of Bordelaise sauce made with a veal base. “That’s the only meat that appears there. But because your palate is not overwrought with big massive pieces of fatty beef, it’s very sensitive to the idea of a little bit of red-wine veal jus,” he explains. (Read rest of article and The Globe and Mail)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I kept seeing a headline a couple of weeks ago about a study involving breast cancer and black women. But if you click on the link at the bottom, you can read how the study relates to all women with breasts.

Evidently, a few servings of carrots a week and some vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brusselsprouts, have a positive effect against breast cancer.  If you hate those veggies, get over it.  You're not thinking creatively.  

Here are two posts that will get you to recipes for carrots and recipes for delicious puréed soups of cauliflower, broccoli, or carrots.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I have to admit that walking for breast cancer has never impressed me as a way to help anyone except maybe the people who are getting the exercise. It had not occurred to me, however, that Breast Cancer Awareness Month might actually be Harmful to the women it's supposed to help. Then I ran across this article:

(NaturalNews) For over 25 years, the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) organization has been conducting campaigns to "promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services." But since such campaigns began, breast cancer mortality rates have remained virtually the same, while more women than ever needlessly undergo dangerous treatments for a disease they do not even have.

Groups like the American Cancer Society (ACS), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation all support breast cancer awareness initiatives, which include urging women to get annual mammograms and to undergo conventional treatments like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy at the first signs of a tumor. But many professors, scientists and healthprofessionals now say that such programs and recommendations have not only failed to achieve positive results, but have actually put more women in harm's way. (Read rest of article.)

My mother died of breast cancer at the age of 60. I think her cancer might have been a result of her poor eating habits. Her type 2 diabetes certainly was. After the diabetes diagnosis, she still wasn't able to stop her unhealthy eating habits even though when she stuck to the diabetes diet she lost weight and felt better. She never could control her cravings for sweets. Even though she walked every day, it wasn't enough to burn off the extra calories she consumed. I feel so sad about that. I wish she'd been able to conquer her addiction. I wish she'd done it when I was young and could've set that example for me and my siblings.

I look at the sizes of the people around me and read the statistics about overweight adults and know that my mother was not unique. I wonder whether a movement as well organized and publicized as Cancer Awareness Month, that stressed the importance of fruits and vegetables and had a huge awareness walk, would have an impact. But who would organize it so it wouldn't become commercialized and corrupted by the food industry who has done so much to create the problem?

Aside: I just used the Breast Cancer Assessment Tool to determine my chance of developing breast cancer. Even though my mother died of breast cancer, my chance is 2.3% in the next 5 years. That's not enough to get me to subject myself to a mammogram. Thanks, Dr. Northrup for directing me to that site! I believed my chances were much higher.

If you're planning your next mammogram you might be interested in reading Dr. Northrup's article about an alternative, less invasive, and more accurate type of screening.

Monday, October 25, 2010


My heart rate has been going nuts off and on since late August.  This happened once before, long ago. I remember wearing a heart monitor for a couple of days and then being told it was no big deal -- it just happens sometimes.  So I've been expecting this heart craziness to just go away.  But actually it's been getting worse.  

Finally I turned to Dr. Christiane Northrup's The Wisdom of Menopause and read, "At midlife our hearts and bodies often become increasingly sensitive to those things that don't serve us, like caffeine, aspartame, or monosodium glutamate, all of which may over stimulate our hearts."  Since the rapid heart rate subsides by evening, I connected it to my morning coffee, and decided to quit. I've gone three days without and most of the rapid heart beat has stopped. However, I'm continuing to read about heart disease. 

This morning I read a fascinating interview from last October in the Huffington Post between Kathy Freston and with Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.  This was the part that put me into a tailspin:

In autopsy studies of our GI's who died in the Vietnam and Korean wars almost 80% at an average age of 20 years, had (heart) disease that could be seen without a microscope. Forty years later in 1999, a study of young persons between the ages of 16-34 years who have died of accidents, homicides and suicides, finds the disease is now ubiquitous.
I have a lot of kids in that age group, and I think that report is a lot scarier than my own heart palpitations.  In fact it gives me heart palpitations.  Did I cause this by feeding them wrong?  It turns out YES!  I did.  Out of ignorance.  

I'm so depressed!

The good news is that the damage is reversible.  The bad news is that their eating habits are their own.  They've flown the coop.  Except Alice who is really chunkier than any of them were at 13.  And we're living in Mexico where the child obesity rate is the highest in the world (the US is first in adult obesity).  This happens not just because parents are ignorant.  It's because junk food and fatty foods are served EVERYWHERE including school.  Alice definitely has a taste for it.  So although I'm feeding her fruits and vegetables at every opportunity, I'm not sure I can balance the damage.

How do you talk to a 13 year old about heart disease?  Diabetes?  The Mexican government IS trying to figure that out.  

Thank goodness that according to Dr. Esselstyn the damage IS reversible.  Hope you'll read the HP article.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Red cabbage and pomegranates are two foods which always attracted my eye because they're so COLORFUL but I didn't really know how to use them, so I always stayed away.  However, here in Morelia in the San Juan market you can buy clear bags of fresh pomegranate seeds all red and juicy and I just had to buy a bag.   On the same day I also found a head of red cabbage, about the size of a small dog's head.  I grabbed it too.  And today they both appeared in probably the prettiest salad I've ever made and it tasted fabulous!

Ingredients besides green lettuce:  Mandarin orange slices cut in half, grated carrot, grated red cabbage, pomegranate seeds, candied nuts.  This was a color concept salad.  Warm colors set off by the green lettuce.   Beautiful!  

A NOTE ABOUT CANDIED NUTS:  They're great for getting non-salad eaters to enjoy a salad.  I put them in a plastic bag and smash them to bits with a hammer so they spread onto everything.   The first time I used them, Alice said,  "Always put those nuts in the salad no matter what."  (I don't always put them in mine, but I'm trying to keep them on hand to put on hers.)

A NOTE ABOUT DRESSING A SALAD: I always dress the whole salad before serving it and I always use my just-washed-and-dried hands to do the mixing.  Whether I pour a little olive oil and vinegar or a squeeze of lime and a little salt and pepper directly on the salad and then toss, or whether I premix the ingredients in a cup and pour it over, or if I use a bottled dressing,  I always get my hands in there and mix until it feels like everything is nice and coated. And I don't use a lot of dressing!  A little goes a long way as long as you take care to really mix well with your hands.

NOTE:  I buy my nuts already candied.  But there are a million recipes on line and here's a nifty little video about a very easy recipe.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Geoff and I met a couple of friends for a beer and a film on Tuesday and the conversation turned to diet. Rodger contended that you can cure virtually anything with a good diet and he's been eating strictly vegetarian.  He says that since all the cells in our bodies renew themselves every seven years, we can totally rebuild sick bodies into healthy ones by eating healthy foods. That sounds hopeful, right?  

Then Lucille said that cutting out meat can be dangerous because not getting enough vitamin B12 is dangerous and you can only get it from animal sources.  Rodger replied that he's not against meat, but that even in Mexico, a lot of the meat is being raised "the American way" with hormones and antibiotics and he's avoiding it.  He takes a B12 supplement.  I said I don't care for supplements and that I want to get everything I need from my diet but not from the animals he described. 

Today I received a link from Lucille to this very helpful article on the site explaining the top 10 sources of B12.  I'm sure I'm getting plenty, because I do eat a little meat, fish on Fridays, yogurt every day, and cheese pretty often.  
I love having smart friends who care about me!
Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin B-12, or Cobalamin, is the largest and most complex vitamin currently known to man. A slight deficiency of vitamin B-12 can lead to anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression, while a long term deficiency can potentially cause permanent damage to the brain and central nervous system. Vitamin B-12 can only be manufactured by bacteria and can only be found naturally in animal products, however, synthetic forms are widely available and added to many foods like cereals. Vitamin B-12 can be consumed in large doses because excess is excreted by the body or stored in the liver for use when supplies are scarce. Stores of B-12 can last for up to a year. Below is a list of the top ten vitamin b12 rich foods.

#1: Clams, Oysters, and Mussels 
Shellfish are a great source of vitamin B12 and can be eaten raw, baked, steamed, fried, or made into chowder. In addition to vitamin B12 shellfish are a good source of zinccopper, and iron. Clams provide the most vitamin B-12 with 98.9μg per 100g serving, accounting for 1648% of the RDA. That is 84μg (1401% RDA) per 3 ounce serving, and 187.9μg (3132% RDA) in 20 small clams, or 9.4μg (156.6 %RDA) in one small clam. Mussels and oysters are also good sources of B12 providing 600% RDA and 400% RDA per 100 gram serving. Click to see complete nutrition facts

#2: Liver 
Often appearing on the culinary scene as pâté, liver can also be prepared steamed or fried with onions and herbs. The liver of most any animal is packed with vitamin B-12, the highest on the list are: Lamb, beef, veal, moose, turkey, duck, and goose respectively. Lamb liver provides 85.7μg (1428% RDA) of vitamin B12 per 100g serving, or 72.85μg (230% RDA) in a 3 ounce serving. Click to see complete nutrition facts.

#3: Caviar (Fish Eggs) 
Caviar and fish eggs are most often eaten as a garnish or spread. The eggs of whitefish contain the most vitamin B-12 with 56.4μg (940% RDA) per 100g serving. Caviar contains a third of that with 20μg (333% RDA) of vitamin B12 per 100g serving, 5.6μg (93% RDA) per ounce, and 3.2μg (53% RDA) per tablespoon. Chicken eggs, by comparison, only offer 1.29μg (22% RDA) of vitamin B-12 per 100g serving, or 0.65μg (11% RDA) per egg. 
Click to see complete nutrition facts.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010


This morning I was googling try a new food 10 times in an attempt to find where that advice comes from and if it really gets a child to eat. The first two sites I came to had parents describing their kids' eating habits. Now I'm totally depressed. Here are excerpts from the two sites and links to the advice they're given. What is most remarkable to me is that neither parent thinks feeding "food products" to their kids might be part of the problem.

we have a 6 year old that is used to TV dinners, pizza rolls, ramen noodles, an chef boyardee soup, mainly a few others here an there. but when we talk him into trying a new food it hits his mouth an gags an pukes an we do not know what to try, please help. any advice. he is also kind of getting tired of the same old stuff he used to eat,

My Child Will Not Try New Food Please Help!


My little boy Daniel is 4, he is a cheeky monkey bless him but it is absolutely driving me to distraction with his fussiness over eating. Like alot of toddlers, he used to be great and would eat anything and everything whereas now talk about frustrating. Here is a list of what he will eat:

Frostie Cereal Bars
Chocalate Digestives (only McVities)
Cheese and Onion crips (only Walkers)
Chocalate Buttons Milk and White
Milky Bars
Jam Sandwich (no butter)
Fish Fingers (Struggle)
Chicken Nuggets (struggle)
Pizza (only from a take away)
Eggy Bread (with tiny sprinkle of sugar on)

That is about it, he will not remotely try anything new, he won't so much as even lick something, because you'd think if he got the taste on his tongue, well no is the answer to that.

Thankfully he far from looks mal nourished or unhealthy, he is not under or over weight, but I am absolutely sick and tired of meal times and having to give him the same old cr**. His teacher has pointed out to me on days when he may have misbehaved at school that his packed lunch is very sugar orientated, but to be honest I have literally no other choice and I am sorry I just cannot bare the thought of him being hungry at school!

I admit that I do give in but he certainly does'nt, when I try and get him to try anything.

Can anyone please suggest a way of getting him to try new things, I have tried Broccolli trees and telling him certain foods will give him super powers etc, not a chance does he fall for it. He will not eat any single form of fruit or veg and I am fed up, to put it mildly, of mealtimes. My eldest son who is 9 is also quite fussy and I have started a thread about him as I am worried about his weight as he is over weight and I don't want it spiralling out of control.

Like I say any suggestions would be so appreciated. Please bare in mind that being a Forces Wife I live in Germany so don't have the luxury of English supermarkets which I so desperately miss. Thanks for reading xx

read responses

Meanwhile over at, the chatroom is full of parents discussing what they're putting in their kids' smoothies in the morning.

It's not one world yet...

I still don't know whether offering a food 10 times has any proven validity. I'll pick up that thread another day.