Tag Archives: nutrition

Antioxidants and Cancer

Quote for the day:

It is time for conventional medicine to come to terms with their failure in cancer research and embrace selective orthomolecular methods. The public should stick with nutritional therapies while we wait, perhaps for some time, for medicine to focus on patients rather than profits. Don’t be warned off the very substances that can most help you.

My book, How to Stop Colds, Allergies & More, only covers colds, allergies and a few other conditions which can be stopped by simple hygiene measures. Obviously, cancer is way out of my league. But I have relied heavily on orthomolecular.org in my personal research and I have every reason to trust them on this one.

Don’t let the “O” word scare you. It refers to nutritional medicine.

In my opinion, Americans have been overly cautioned against taking natural supplements even though our food supply is sadly lacking in basic nutrition. Please take a look at this article and any others that may be of interest.

Antioxidants Prevent Cancer and Some May Even Cure It

Commentary by Steve Hickey, PhD
(OMNS Jan 24, 2013)

Bacteria Are Us–Part 3

Along with the growing interest in heirloom vegetables and free-range meats and eggs, there is an increasing appreciation for how our ancestors grew and prepared their foods. Now with more knowledge about the importance of probiotics, there is a revival of interest in fermentation of vegetables.

Equipment needed for fermenting vegetables

Equipment needed for fermenting vegetables

My southern grandmother gardened year-round and cooked many types of greens to serve with cornbread. She canned pepper and tomato relishes to use during the winter. My mid-western grandparents also grew lots of vegetables. They had a cellar to store root crops and cabbage for the longer and colder winters when the garden had been put to bed. Based on their ancestry, I am sure they made sauerkraut, but we have no surviving recipe. Perhaps it was so simple that no recipe was needed.

I was pleasantly surprised to find how easy it is to store a nice-sized cabbage in a quart jar. The only unusual tool pictured at left is a wooden stomper, which came with a food grinder. You will also need a large bowl, preferably glass, but stainless steel will do. A grater or slicer would be helpful also. The large white container in the center is my own invention and will be explained later.

If you have any paranoia about germs, please put that aside before you start. The first recipe I found said to sterilize the jar, then proceeded to describe how you should use a wide-mouth quart jar so you can use your hands to tightly compress the cabbage, forcing enough juice out of it to provide the brine. I decided to skip sterilization of the jar, since I cannot sterilize my hands. I had to assume that a process that has been used for thousands of years, and long before discovery of germs, did not really require sterilization of the containers.

The fact is that the bacteria which are naturally on the cabbage and on your skin provide the starter culture. You can add whey or other sources, but none are really required. Other than fresh cabbage, preferably organic, and a teaspoon of unrefined salt, no other ingredients are needed. I used Redmond Real Salt, which contains about 98% sodium chloride and 2% minerals. Extra minerals are beneficial for the microbes, especially if you have to add any filtered or distilled water which contain none. Although some do not require it, my recipe also called for a teaspoon of raw sugar. I used the natural sugar pictured because I had it on hand and it might also contain a bit of minerals.

Ingredients

Ingredients

I found that I could not compress the cabbage in the jar firmly enough by hand to cause juice to appear. So I resorted to the tamping stick which made it much easier. I did like using a wide mouth jar though, because it is easier to pack and also to get the sauerkraut out later.

Today I discovered a video that showed repeated tossing and squeezing of the thin-sliced vegetables in the bowl by hand, after sprinkling a teaspoon of salt over the top. It didn’t take long for a generous amount of liquid to appear, which was enough to cover the mixture when pressed into the jar.

My recipe said to add a little heated salt water if needed to bring the brine over the vegetables, leaving a half-inch of space at the top. Then it said to get out any air bubbles, put the lid on tightly, and put the jar in a container in the corner of the garage for six weeks. It warned that the lid could be tightened, but not loosened, and that there would be plenty of kraut odor. The container was to catch any liquid that might bubble out of the jar.

Since I didn’t have a garage and it was too cold outside for fermenting, I decided to keep the jar in the kitchen. Because of my concern that it might spew or otherwise become a nuisance, I fashioned a container from a plastic milk jug by cutting off the top with scissors, leaving the handle. The sealed jar fit into it perfectly, although it didn’t sit quite level. So I dropped the red plastic cap into the bottom to level the jar. No odor or other reaction was noticed, but after removing the jar from it’s temporary housing, there was a little residue in the bottom, showing that my effort was not wasted.

The beneficial bacteria thrive in a salty, anaerobic (without oxygen) environment and consume sugars. They overcome any bad microbes in the process. The resulting lactic acid culture is beneficial to our health.

The best surprise was that my sauerkraut is milder than any I have eaten. I have read that results may vary, even with the same ingredients, so I would need much more experience and experimentation to speak with any authority.

The most comforting advice was that we don’t have to worry about whether the fermented food is safe to eat. If any discoloration or froth appears on top, it can be dipped off and the rest should be fine. The smell will be noticeably offensive if it is not safe to eat. In that case it can be composted.

I am looking forward to making another batch with shredded carrots added and maybe a little garlic. I have read that onions are not recommended because they can get stronger and overcome all other flavors. I also want to try making my own whey for a starter culture. Most recipes I have seen lately list a much shorter ferment time than six weeks, so that would be nice also.

I may not find a recipe that everyone can agree on. But I would like to teach my grandchildren how to ferment their own vegetables. Since the health benefits are so great, everyone should know how to do it. This is one tradition that deserves to be preserved.

Bacteria Are Us–Part 2

After discovering the importance of microbes to our health and our very existence, we had to take a fresh look at the subject of fermenting vegetables. Gut flora is responsible for immunity and absorption of nutrients, and up to 90% of our immune defense is in our intestines.

Our ancestors used fermentation for preserving foods, long before canned goods appeared in the supermarket. The first thing I discovered is that canned sauerkraut is not the real thing. Food subjected to extreme heat in the canning process is dead and cannot possibly possess the attributes that are afforded by natural fermentation.

Our first exposure to real sauerkraut was by purchasing a refrigerated glass jar from a health food store. It had a crunchy fresh taste, but was almost as sour as the canned type. The only ingredients were cabbage, water and salt, so I assume the lactic acid created the tartness. It should be used unheated, to protect the beneficial bacteria and vitamin C. The big surprise was the cost—over $5.00 for a 25 oz. jar.

We were advised to start out with very small servings of real sauerkraut each day. The beneficial microbes in large amounts could possibly cause a die-off of pathogenic bacteria, virus and fungi, releasing toxins which could cause temporary tiredness, rashes or headaches. We had no problems with it and quickly got accustomed to the taste.

The role of beneficial microbes:

• Rid the body of toxins, including heavy metals
• Enable the gut to produce more serotonin than the brain, benefiting mood
• Improve bowel function
• Increase immunity to illnesses and environmental allergies
• Decrease plaque formation on teeth
• Improve appearance of hair and skin
• Restore the balance of the body if antibiotics must be used

If you would like to learn more about the importance of gut flora, here is an informative 25-minute video by Health Coach Summer Bock: Creating a Thriving Intestinal Ecology.

Also, here is an informative article by Dr. Joseph Mercola: How to Easily and Inexpensively Ferment your own Vegetables.

Part 3 will be about our first experiment with making sauerkraut.

Looks Like an Apple, Tastes Like an Apple?

I received this photo today from my friend, Jerica:

“So I peeled this apple at lunch today but didn’t eat it. I peeled it because it was conventional and I didn’t want to eat the petroleum wax coating. I forgot about the second half, which sat on the counter all day until 8:00 this evening. When I picked it up, I was quite surprised to find that, except in a few bruised places, it had NOT TURNED BROWN AT ALL. And they say irradiated food is ok to eat? It’s totally dead and without enzymes!”

This brought back memories of childhood, when I had negative feelings about a fruit than tended to turn brown before you finished eating it. I thought it was trying to rot before my eyes. Only now do I appreciate the science behind it and the importance of raw foods for the nourishment of our bodies. I always peeled apples, despite being told that the skins contained a large percentage of the nutrients. But now we are told that apples may have as many as 27 different pesticides and other chemicals, many of which are systemic and cannot be peeled off.

Apples are one of the super foods in the American diet. They are filled with antioxidants and have a reputation for fighting asthma, cancer, heart disease and type II diabetes. On the other hand, they also compete for top position on recent lists of the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables–along with peaches, celery and strawberries–because of the toxic chemicals used to grow conventional produce.

Can it still be true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? In my opinion it is possible only if you can find a source of fresh, organic apples. I can’t imagine that members of the dirty dozen would boost immunity to the common cold, allergies or any of the usual maladies that cause most of our visits to the family doctor.

Thank goodness we can rely on plain vitamin C powder to supplement our diet rather than relying solely on fresh fruits and vegetables to get enough vitamin C.

Since we live in the South, our apples are shipped in, and we are usually limited to enjoying them in season, which is best for health anyway. Fuji and Red Delicious apples are reported to have the highest phenolic and flavonoid content. We used to get some beauties from our local discount club, but not any more. I suspect there is a growing demand for organic produce as more people learn the advantages of it.

What do we know for sure that just ain’t so?

Mark Twain once said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” I have noticed more and more examples of the latter lately–especially in the areas of health and wellness.

Like many young mothers, I became more interested in the subject of nutrition when our children were babies. As a result, they did not have frequent colds and allergies like most of their classmates.

I remember when one of our sons came home from school complaining that something was wrong with his nose. I was checking to see if he had gotten bruised or something when he explained that he couldn’t breathe out of one side. I started laughing before I realized his feelings were hurt by my insensitive reaction to the fact that he didn’t even know what a cold was. This was followed by time out for some extra TLC and vitamin C.

The Adele Davis books were my favorite references during those years and the benefits of her advice were obvious, not only for the children but also for the parents, although we didn’t follow her recommendations as closely for ourselves.

After her death, I noticed that at least one of her books was revised by someone who had bought into the new assumptions about the dangers of cholesterol. It turned out, however, that she was right all along–cholesterol is not the culprit in heart disease. See my Resource page at www.howtostopcolds.com for reference to the book by Dr. Tom Levy, showing that our deficiency of vitamin C is actually at fault.

The books by Adele Davis are rather outdated now, but I still use them as a backup reference because some things do not change. No one can know everything, and many scientific advances have been made since her death.

Unfortunately, Adele Davis was discredited by some and labeled a quack. It is discouraging to see the same kind of things happening today to some of our pioneers in nutrition and wellness.