The Medicine Matrix

If our western diet is so healthy why are we so sick? Diabetes is rising, Obesity is epidemic, heart disease is #1 and we are a developed nation. In the last year I have become more aware of how our medical system works. We treat symptoms not illnesses. Think about it. You have a pain. You are given a pill to get rid of the pain. But what about, what caused the pain in the first place? I have some personal experiences that speak to this.

A few years ago, I went in for a physical. The doctor said I had high blood pressure. I didn’t agree but I took the medication anyway. Big mistake. I took a couple of doses. I felt worst after taking them than I did before. They dropped my blood pressure so low I could not function. I stopped taking them but continued to take the diuretic. I later discovered that the diuretic lowered blood pressure also. I stopped taking them. I increased my vegetable intake and reduced the sodas and fried foods. Every check up for a year showed I did not have high blood pressure. The symptom- high blood pressure, the cause- bad eating habits. Recently, I went through the same thing with a different doctor. I said no pills. I started eating fast food again. Not all the time but just enough to have an affect. I stopped. Pressure decreased. Had I not taken charge and convinced them to try regulating my pressure with a change in my eating habits, I would be stuck taking pills that are hard to get off of. Their pills would not have fixed the problem.

I had another doctor tell me recently that she was delighted that I didn’t want pills. She said it was rare to find patients who didn’t want pills but wanted to find the problem and solve it. Most people wanted what they thought was a quick fix. the pill. It is just a band-aide.

Don’t get me wrong, doctors have their place and so do pills. But a healthy body is not provided by pills. Getting to the source of the dis-ease and treating it does. Most of our dis-ease is caused by eating this western diet that is meat, fast food convenient, low vegetable and low fruit, high sugar based.

I am also convinced had we continued more diligently to eat a high plant, low meat diet my husband would not have had this last heart attack.  We have not been eating as well as before but we are returning to our whole vegetable and fruit juices, no soda and minimal fast food. I am continuing my laboratory (kitchen) visits. Real minimal. I can’t say none because sometimes life will get in the way of good plans.

I am returning to Hippocrates’ declaration.

Let medicine be your food and food your medicine.

This is my focus and intent. Modern medicine is the emergency plan.

Breaking out of the Food and Medicine Matrix as much as possible. My education continues.

The Food Matrix

Where is our Food Morpheus? Where is Food Neo? The Local, State, and Federal system has “matrixized” us.

Food industrialization has caused us to ignore the food system that was very healthy for us: the family garden and the local vegetable market. When I was a child, eating out meant having dinner at a friend’s or relative’s home. Fast food meant heating up leftovers or making a sandwich. I didn’t know or understand just how good I had it. Other than childhood diseases I got the flu or had a cold only when the seasons changed. The rest of the year I was free of disease. Most remedies for the flu or a cold was natural. They were plant or herb based. Oh yeah, there was cod liver oil or castor oil. That cured or killed everything. Pills in the medicine cabinet were few. Those were my good old days.

I was taught in grade school the basic food groups and how much I should eat. I tried to change my home habits but thankfully my grandmother ignored me. We ate red meat and chicken but we ate more vegetables from the family gardens. By the way it was non-GMO and organic. Food was back then. There were some things that infiltrated our home, like white bread, white flour and white rice. I guess that was our beginning of “matrixation.”

The things we were taught:

  1. You MUST eat meat to get enough protein.
  2. You Must have milk and milk products to get enough calcium and more protein.
  3. Vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds don’t provide enough of either for healthy bodies.

We bought it because we trusted the FDA and other agencies that influenced our food supply. Those 3 axioms really only provided convenience for us and profit for the dairy and meat industry. Tell me, if dairy was so great, why wasn’t it fed to cows after they were weaned. They were fed grass and grain. The very things that weren’t enough for us.

Recently, our food pyramid changed to a food plate with the vegetable division the largest delineation. That’s good but now we have to deal with genetically modified organisms introduced into the plant crops. That’s another post, but suffice it to say, our non- organic vegetables, fruit and non-organic fed animals may be more harmful than we realize.

This matrix that we live in is suppose to maximize our health but we are sicker now than we were back in the day. There are more pills prescribed than every before. Our pills require pills to deal with their side effects. If the pills don’t work, there is always surgery.

So how is this meat-ladened lifestyle working for us?

 

 

Continued Search for Gluten free Sandwich bread

I like a good sandwich but good organic gluten free bread is expensive. The one’s I have bought are quite dense. I found this recipe  online while researching  rice flour. Two of the ingredients, white rice flour and cornstarch, are not my favorite but I didn’t want to change the recipe until I had tried it. The results are a tasty bread; soft inside with a toasty crust. I let it cool before I sliced it. It held together; no crumbling. I am interested to see how Brown rice flour and arrowroot starch or psyllium husks will work.

Into the pan after mixing
Right out of the oven
Beautiful loaf
Hmm good 

RECIPE by Christy E. Allrecipes.com

1 Tbl active dry yeast

3 Tbls white sugar (I used raw organic sugar)

1 1/4 c warm water

2/3 c sorghum flour

1 1/3 c white rice flour

1/2 c potato starch

1/2 c cornstarch

1/3 c vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)

3 eggs

1 Tbl xanthum gum

1 1/2 top salt (I used Himalayan  sea salt)

Homemade Mustard Trials Revisited

A few months ago I tried a Dijon mustard recipe from The Homemade Vegan Pantry. I thought I had used a white wine that was too dry. The mustard had a very bitter taste. I tried it again with a less dry white wine. I allowed it to sit longer hoping it would be mellower. Today I tested it and it was just as bitter as the first. I gave up on that recipe. I decided to try a different recipe. It was taken from the Homemade Condiment cookbook: the Spicy Brown Mustard.  The ingredients: powdered yellow mustard, kosher salt, tumeric, paprika, water, white wine vinegar, and brown sugar to taste. I used a few drops of agave. I didn’t have white wine vinegar so I used white cooking wine. 20160827_133353

The result is a smooth, spicy mustard paste. It is usable now but I think I will let it mellow a bit. It has a little bitter tinge but nothing like the other recipe. I wonder what would happen if I used white wine vinegar?20160827_133433

Well, I am getting back in the lab. Happy cooking.

 

GMO Link to Obesity

This morning I read a blog post from Sherry Brescia. Many shrug off GMO’s and the effect they have on our health. I know we cannot escape them completely but we should pay more attention to what we are eating and the possibility that we are enabling our own demise. Ms. Brescia has written an informative article that warrants re-posting. GMO–Genetically Modified Organism or Getting Massively Obese?

We seem to care more about losing weight than being healthy so maybe this will get some people’s attention.

Necessity Brings Joy

So now what is that crazy woman talking about? Necessity brings joy. Sometimes when you have a need, the satisfying of that need brings greater joy than you expected.

Here’s the deal, Saturday, I ran out of almond milk. I had no cash. I didn’t want to u20160716_132308 (2)se a credit card for a gallon of milk. I looked around the pantry and saw that I had some cashews. I had been meaning to try making cashew milk. This seemed like the perfect time. It is simple. Put the cashews and water in a blender and let it rip. In minutes, there was milk.

I looked in  my vegan cookbook to get an idea of the ratio of cashews to water for a reasonable milk consistency. It was 2/3 cup of whole cashews to 4 cups of milk. That seemed like a lot of water for so few cashews so I increased it to a full cup of cashews. To my surprise I stumbled upon cashew cream. I did some research on the uses for cashew cream and discovered I had solved another dilemma I was facing. This cashew cream provides the creaminess and consistency I needed for both these projects.I wanted to make vegan ice cream without making a sugary syrup for a sorbet. This will be my substitute. I also needed a sour cream impostor to try in a new cornbread recipe I found. I will try adding vinegar to the cream to sour it. I’ll let you know the outcome.

Back to the milk. I used the ratio suggested by the experienced vegan and was rewarded with a good tasting cashew milk. There are no preservatives, no sweetener, no added anything. Two and two/thirds cup of cashews will make a gallon of milk.  What makes this most appealing is no added cost for  cream.

For you who like a little coffee in your cream, this is a healthy, tasteful preferred choice to the coffee creamers you buy in the store. I don’t usually add cream to my coffee but I tried a little. It was very good and flavorful.

So the necessity for almond milk provided the joy of cashew milk and cream. It was a good day.

 

Sorghum – What Is It?

When i was a little girl, I loved to visit my great-grandparents in the country. That is what city folks called the very rural areas. I especially loved Sunday morning breakfast. My great-grandmother, Momma Lula, served “from scratch” biscuits, homemade butter, eggs from her hen house and some kind of meat. Now, the meat was either bacon or sausage that my great-grandfather’s friends had smoked and seasoned from their slaughter season or chicken from Momma Lula’s yard. Yeah, the raised them for meat and eggs. But the days that were the best was when Daddy Bush went to get the sorghum syrup from another farmer.  He had to walk a mile both ways to get the syrup. That was good eating with those hot biscuits. I never knew sorghum could also come in the form of flour.

I ran across a recipe for waffles using gluten free flour and I decided to substitute sorghum flour for the one listed. I also changed the milk to almond milk and the vegetable oil to coconut oil. The outcome was quite pleasing and they weren’t green.

Recipe

2 eggs    1 3/4 c almond milk     1/4 c coconut oil     2/3 c sorghum flour

2 Tbs Agave Nectar         4 tsps baking powder          1/3 c potato starch

1 3/4 tsp xanthum gum      1 tsp salt20160716_103545

Mix it all up and put in the waffle maker. In the picture you will see so
me waffles are darker than others. That’s because the darker ones were cooked at a higher setting. They were crisper. So set your waffle maker to the crispness you desire.

About Sorghum

It was probably used as flour before syrup. This ancient grain as it is being described was widely used in Africa and Australia. It has many health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant properties. It is high in fiber, B-vitamins and protein. According to the World Grain Council it is the 5th most important flour in the world and the 3rd in the USA. So for what was it used in the USA? Animal feed and fuel. Once again we treat our animals better than ourselves. It seems only those with wheat allergies or gluten sensitivities were aware of this flour and its nutritional benefits. I also like the fact that it is non-GMO. Being gluten-free is another plus. Diabetics, cancer patients and cardiac patients may benefit from the eating of sorghum flour. Caution, like any other grain, don’t over indulge. Even with all of its nutritional benefits some people cannot tolerate it.

It is suggested that it be used in combination with other gluten free flours, such as potato or in recipes where a small amount of flour is used because it does not have a good rising ability. Flatbreads here I come.

I am going to try some other recipes I have found that use sorghum flour. I am not quite ready to give up bread completely, so healthier alternatives are definitely on my radar. If you have any other suggestions, please share.

Aaagh! Their Green!!

Okay that might be a little dramatic but it is actually what I thought when I opened the waffle maker. My next thought was candidate for a SyFy scene. I opened the waffle iron and saw green and brown waffles. It doesn’t show how dark green but the dark grid lin20160704_085731es were green.I don’t know what in the ingredients caused this phenomenon. I used buckwheat flour, almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, almond milk, salt, coconut oil and eggs. Does that sound green to you?

The Experiment

  1. Use a whole wheat flour waffle recipe as a guide.
  2. Change the flour to another grain or combination of grains.
  3. Use coconut oil instead of shortening.
  4. Almond milk and baking soda instead of buttermilk.

The Discoveries

  1. Baking soda was added because I didn’t have buttermilk.  Must have added too much because the taste was really strong.
  2. Didn’t need the baking soda at all on further research
  3. 1/2 cup of coconut oil was too much for the flour combination.
  4. Let the batter sit about 5 minutes to thicken before pouring in the waffle maker.
  5. And then there is green.
  6. After removing from the waffle iron and a little cooling, the color changed to golden brown.20160704_090345

 

The Whole Wheat Recipe           My Changes

2 c whole-wheat flour                     1 c buckwheat flour, 1 cup almond flour

4 tsps baking powder                      2 tsps baking powder, 2 tsps baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1/2 c melted shortening                  1/2 c coconut oil

1 3/4 c buttermilk                             1 3/4 almond milk

Tumeric Tea Blog Repost

I found this blog post from the “unconventional baker” while I was looking for gluten free and tumeric recipes. I have not made it yet but after reading it, I realized I am familiar with all the ingredients and will probably enjoy it. Even if I don’t I am going to drink it. When you have arthritis you will try healthy things that have a chance of relieving the pain. I would love to hear from those of you who try it and I am sure the “unconventional baker” would also.

Anti-Inflammatory Lemon Ginger Turmeric Iced Tea

My New Find – Macadamia Nut Oil

Many of you know I make my own vegan butter. Last week I was standing in the grocery store getting oil to make more. I use coconut oil but I wanted to try another mild oil. I have used grapeseed, almond, olive and sunflower seed oil. Almond and olive oil had been the best so far. I looked at all those choices and read the descriptions. About two oils in I read this oil has a “butter-y, mild nutty flavor. Butter-y was the keyword. So I decided to try it. It was Macadamia nut oil. I thought it would taste strongly like macadamia. It did not. My butter tasted wonderful. I used it this morning to fry some potatoes. It has a high smoke point and it put grapeseed to shame. It got hot really fast and required me to pay attention. I am sold. This is my new go to oil for stir-frying, frying and grilling.

I got excited about my new find and then that other person in me rose up and said, “But is it healthy?”  I went to my computer and discovered it is very healthy and has uses beyond cooking. It is used for skin care, makeup, sunblock, hair care, and eating. Coconut oil has just found a an “alternative to olive oil” partner because I use it for my hair, skin and cooking.

I read some reports on the benefits of macadamia nut oil and they get quite technical. Suffice it to say, it is an intense moisturizer and has powerful antioxidant properties.