January 27, 2011

The Whole Grain Mystery

With all the whole grain hype we see on labels today, it is easy to get confused and mislead! Every knows that whole grain is better, but why? Unlike refined grains, whole grains have the nutrient rich bran and germ intact. The bran and germ account for most of the wheat's nutritional value. In common white flour the bran and germ are removed. Wheat Bran is the outer shell of the wheat kernel and contains 12 grams of insoluble fiber per ounce. One ounce also contains 40% of the daily RDA for both niacin and magnesium and 15% of the RDA for iron, along with 60 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fat. Wheat germ is the embryo of the kernel, and contains a high proportion of polyunsaturated oils. One ounce contains 100 calories, 9 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of fat. It also contains about one-third of the RDA for thiamine and vitamin E, as well as 10% of the RDA for iron and riboflavin.

Finding the best wheat bread maybe harder than you think. Bread labeled "multi-grain", "stone ground" or "100 % wheat" are often made with refined flour. To be sure you are getting bread with the benefit of whole grains, look at the ingredient list. If "bleached white flour", "unbleached enriched wheat flour" are listed as a top ingredient skip that loaf. Look for the word "whole" in the first few ingredients. Many breads that claim they are whole wheat are mixed with a large amount of refined flour. Even the label whole grain can have added whole grains like rye, but still mixed with refined flour.

Want to try a great healthy alternative to typical store bread? Try Ezekiel 4:9 bread, available at health food stores (and some really great chain grocery stores, too). Usually in the freezer section ( a great sign that whole or sprouted whole grains are used!!) To learn more check out the Ezekiel website: http://www.foodforlife.com/

January 25, 2011


"Our school system does not prepare our young people to live at home and take care of things. It prepares them for export." Wendell Berry

January 11, 2011

Queen Elizabeth Drinks Raw Milk -Karen Selick

Queen Elizabeth drinks her milk raw. She reportedly thinks so highly of unpasteurized milk that, when her grandsons Princes William and Harry were students at Eton, she instructed herdsman Adrian Tomlinson to bottle up raw milk from her Windsor herd and deliver it to them at school.

Canadians, however, are not permitted to emulate their head of state. Raw milk cannot legally be sold in Canada, except into government-authorized “supply management” cartels, where it goes to be pasteurized. Only those who happen to own their own cow can legally consume raw milk.

A group of some 450 B.C. city-dwellers thought they had a solution. They organized Home on the Range Dairy, and jointly acquired a herd of 25 cows. They hired farmer Alice Jongerden to look after their cows – feed them, milk them, bottle the milk and make it available to its owners.

This type of livestock boarding contract has long been known to English law. In fact, there’s even a special name for it: agistment, the taking in of livestock to graze on your land in exchange for payment. Ms. Jongerden is called an agister.

But the Fraser Health Authority disapproved of the arrangement and took Ms. Jongerden to court. The real question, which no B.C. court has yet tackled, is whether she can be considered to be “selling” or “supplying” raw milk in contravention of the Milk Industry Act, when the individuals who receive it are already its owners.

Nevertheless, the B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction this past March prohibiting Ms. Jongerden and others from “packaging and/or distributing raw milk and/or raw milk products for human consumption.” But the cows took no notice of the Supreme Court and continued to fill their udders twice a day. They had to be milked or they would soon be bellowing in pain, risking udder infections and possibly dying.

Ms. Jongerden continued milking, placing the milk in bottles clearly marked “Not for Human Consumption” and “Not for Sale.” The owners could have pasteurized it themselves if they had considered it hazardous. They could have bathed in it, used it as plant fertilizer, or fed it to their pets. Only they know what they actually did with it. Ms. Jongerden, however, was charged with contempt of court. On Sept. 14, a temporary order was made, prohibiting her from engaging in the “further production or distribution of raw milk.” She goes back to court in mid-October.

This leaves the herd owners with three unsatisfactory alternatives:

· Don’t have the cows milked at all, in which case they will suffer cruelly;

· Find a new agister who is not subject to the temporary September order, but who is willing to face his own eventual contempt charges for violating the sweeping March injunction;

· Milk the cows and dump the milk on the ground.

The situation is ridiculous. The milk is there. People have bent over backward to get it. They’re all aware the health authority thinks it’s dangerous. They still want it. But instead, it will probably be destroyed – wasted – purportedly to protect people from taking a risk they are willing to take.

Canada is out of step with the rest of the world. The United Kingdom, France, Germany and many U.S. states have programs that allow public-health authorities to certify a dairy’s output as safe for raw consumption. In France and Italy, there are vending machines dispensing raw milk to eager consumers. B.C. residents can cross the border to Washington State and buy it legally.

Moreover, an overwhelming percentage of conventional Canadian dairy farmers – quota owners who sell milk into the provincial cartels for pasteurization – drink milk raw themselves. In a recent survey of 2,185 milk producers published in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 88.7 per cent “reported that they or their families consume unpasteurized milk from their bulk milk tanks.”

We don’t ban balloons even though some eight or nine children die annually in North America from choking on them. We don’t prohibit skiing, hockey or even parachute jumping, despite the risks of injury or death. We don’t ban seafood, ground beef, poultry or cold cuts, even though they are far more common sources of food poisoning than raw milk.

One can’t help suspecting that the fanaticism of Canadian authorities toward raw milk has more to do with protecting the supply management cartels than protecting public health.

Karen Selick

January 7, 2011

NOFA-NY Winter Conference- January 21-23

Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York Announces 2011 Winter Conference: Diggin’ Diversity

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) announces their 29th annual winter conference, “Diggin’ Diversity”. The conference attracts more than 1,000 people each year and will take place from January 21- 23, 2011 at the Saratoga Hilton and City Center. Over the course of this 3-day event, attendees can choose between more than 80 workshops which explore all types of organic farming, gardening, livestock, fruits and herbs, and policy issues. Friday intensives will cover topics such as food safety, marketing for farmers, holistic planned grazing, diversifying energy, and a brambles intensive. The conference will begin on Thursday evening with a Beginning Farmer mixer to meet new friends and catch up with old ones. As always, a variety of entertainment is planned for the weekend. Friday and Saturday evenings will feature film screenings of “Dirt! The Movie”, an evening of live music and jam sessions led by The Landlines, and contra dance with The Russet Trio & caller Fern Marshall Bradley! And of course, the conference would not be complete without the delicious organic meals, most of which are provided by our very own NOFA-NY members, and our large trade show featuring over 70 vendors.

There is also an exciting line- up of keynote speakers to highlight this year’s conference. Miguel Altieri is a professor of agroecology at the University of California-Berkley. His teaching and research focuses on the role of biodiversity in pest management. Malik Yakini is the Chairperson of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. He is a longtime Detroit activist who has played a critical role in raising awareness about environmental and food justice issues. Kevin Englebert owns a 120-cow dairy farm in Nichols, NY and has diversified into grain and small-scale vegetable production over the last few years. He has also been a member of the National Organic Standards Board advising the USDA National Organic Program.

For more information or to register online, visit www.nofanyconference.org. Contact Matt Robinson,

Education and Outreach Coordinator, for general questions about the winter conference at (585) 271-1979 x503 or email him at conference@nofany.org. For all questions regarding registration, contact

Lynn Barrett, Membership and Registration Coordinator, at (585) 271-1979 x509 or via email at register@nofany.org .

January 2, 2011

10 Real Food Resolutions for 2011 - from nourishedkitchen.com

10 New Year’s Resolutions That’ll Do You Good

1. Give up refined foods: sugars, oils and flours.
The single most effective thing you can do for your health in the new year is simple: remove all refined foods from your cupboards. Give them up. Just like that. Yes, you may have paid good money for that bag of sugar, the gallon of vegetable oil or that bag of flour. Sure, you may think to yourself, “I only use flour (or sugar or canola oil) occasionally.” But, occasionally is still too often. Refined foods can leach micronutrients from your body, contribute to risk of autoimmune disease, cancers, metabolic disorders and heart disease.

To Do: Take a big garbage bag and throw out any vegetable oil, soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, hydrogenated fats, white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, agave nectar, white flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, refined sea salt, iodized salt and any boxed or packaged foods containing these ingredients.

Read More: Modern Sweeteners, When Natural Foods Aren’t Natural: Agave Nectar, A Guide to Natural Sweeteners, Role of Traditional Sweeteners

2. Enjoy more sunshine.
Most of the population, both children and adults, suffer from insufficient or deficient vitamin D levels. Blame an indoor society coupled a near-paralyzing fear of skin cancer that has kept people covered up and slathered in carcinogenic sunscreens. Yes, many sunscreens contain carcinogenic compounds. Kinda defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? Slathering yourself in cancer-causing chemicals to, well, avoid cancer? As a result of an indoor lifestyle coupled with a solar-phobic health community, our nation’s vitamin D levels are suffering. Low vitamin D levels are linked to cognitive dysfunction, depression, autoimmune disorder, cancer and heart disease. Instead, cut yourself a little slack and go outside – dare I say it – without sunscreen. If you’re particularly concerned, use a touch of coconut or sesame oil on your skin both of which have some protective effects. Remember to cover up before you burn, so bring a wide-brimmed hat or loose, long-sleeved clothing to avoid the pain of a sunburn.

To Do: Head outside today, or tomorrow, and don’t cover up in sunscreen. Let the sun warm your face and skin and play to your heart’s content.

Read More: Natural Sources of Vitamin D, Natural Sunscreen Protection with Real Food, Disease & Vitamin D Deficiency, Sunshine Benefits

3. Choose only grass-fed, pastured and wild animal foods.
Grass-fed, pasture-raised and wild caught animal foods are deeply nourishing. Indeed, for thousands of years prior to the advent of industrial agriculture, these were the only animal foods we knew. The manner in which an animal was raised does make a difference, not only to your health but to the health and vibrancy of your local economy and environment. Grass-fed beef and red meat is a richer source of conjugated linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene and retinol than the meat of conventionally raised animals. Moreover, grass- and pasture-based ranching provides environmental benefits as well – nurturing the local fields, improving the diversity and proliferation of native flora and fauna.

To Do: Investigate a source for grass-fed local meat (try Local Harvest), or buy online if high quality local meat isn’t available (see sources).

Read More: CLA, Disease & Diet, How to Pan-fry a Great Steak, 10 Reasons to NOT Give up Red Meat, CLA: The Good Transfat, Grass-finished vs. CAFO Beef

4. Eat more fat: butter, lard, tallow and olive oil.
Fat nourishes our bodies just as it nourished the bodies of our ancestors. Examinations into traditional peoples indicates that most traditional societies reveled in fat – with some peoples consuming up to 80% of their daily calories from fat alone. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble; that is, your body needs fat to properly absorb, metabolize and utilize these critical nutrients. Without wholesome fats, your body is operating at a nutritional loss. Moreover, you’ll miss their unctuous quality and the fullness of flavor they lend to the dishes you produce in your kitchen.

To Do: Pick up some grass-fed butter and ghee (see sources), some unrefined olive oil (see sources) or perhaps even some grass-fed beef tallow (see sources).

Read More: Ghee: A Wholesome Fat, Reader Questions: Animal Fat & Lactic Acid Fermentation, Fats for Cooking & Fats to Eat Uncooked, Fat Soluble Vitamins.

5. Make mineral-rich stock every week.
In our home, mineral-rich stock makes its way to the table every day: a soup, a reduction, a gravy. Incorporating homemade stock into your kitchen is one of the most important improvements you can make for the health of your family. Properly prepared, homemade stock is rich in micronutrients – calcium, magnesium and other minerals as well as more elusive nutrients such as glucosamine chondroitin and collagen. These important nutrients play a role in your body’s ability to respond to infections and attacks, which is why chicken soup may be thought to have curative powers. Besides, a good homemade stock can add subtle nuances of flavor to your dishes and a charm that is lacking in the boxed and canned broths you find at your supermarket. Stock is affordable affordable to prepare as well – requiring only vegetable scraps, water and a few bones – making nutrient-dense food almost free.

To Do: Set aside some time, every week, to prepare at least one gallon of stock. The active preparation time takes minutes, and you can use stock in soups, stews, gravies, reduction sauces, as a beverage, for preparing grains and for braising vegetables.

Read More: Chicken Feet Stock, Roast Chicken Stock, Beef Stock Recipe, Chicken Soup Cure, Benefits of Bone Broth, Broth is Beautiful

6. If you eat dairy, make it raw or cultured.
If you eat choose to eat dairy, take great care to make sure you’re eating high quality dairy products in the new year. Fresh, raw milk, cream, butter and cheese from cows fed on pasture is a food held sacred to many cultures and regions across the globe: the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Europe. These wholesome dairy products are rich in food enzymes, beneficial lactobacillus bacteria and natural vitamins that are otherwise destroyed by pasteurization. And while raw milk is not a panacea for every ill, when fresh milk comes from healthy cows, it is deeply nourishing. For those who may not be able to tolerate or who choose not to consume milk on its own, cultured dairy products like yogurt, crème fraîche and bonny clabber offer a nice alternative. Culturing dairy products helps to restore beneficial bacteria to the food, during that process sugars are metabolized reducing the food’s overall glycemic load. Butter, ghee (clarified butter), fresh cream and raw milk cheese deserve a place in every kitchen.

To Do: Find a source of raw milk or begin culturing your own dairy products at home (see sources for cultures an starters).

Read More: Milk Kefir, Homemade Yogurt, 10 Reasons to Drink Your Milk Raw, 10 Cultured Dairy Foods & How to Use Them, How to Choose an Organic Raw Milk Dairy, For the Love of Fresh Cream

7. If you eat grain, always sprout, sour or soak it first.
If you choose to eat grain, always sprout, sour or soak it first. Grain is not an essential or important aspect of a wholesome, nourishing diet. There’s nothing you can find in grain that you can’t find in greater quantities elsewhere. While a crusty loaf of sourdough bread dipped in a fragrant olive oil might be a nice treat, it isn’t essential. Grain should be kept to a minimum, if eaten at all. If you choose to eat grain, this year make sure to prepare it properly in accordance with traditional, time-honored methods. You see, whole gain contains an antinutrient called phytic acid which binds up minerals preventing their full absorption. Which means all those whole grain cereals, crackers and cookies aren’t doing you or your family a lick of good. The effects of these antinutrients can be mitigated by souring, sprouting or soaking which combines whole grain with warmth and slightly acidic solution. This process activates phytase, a food enzyme, that effectively neutralizes phytic acid rendering the whole grain more digestible and its nutrients better absorbed. Make the effort, in the new year, to sour, sprout or soak your grain.

To Do: The next batch of bread you make should be sourdough, and plan meals ahead so you have time to properly prepare your grain for optimal nutrition. Give sprouting a try. If you don’t have time to soak or sour your grains, use sprouted grain flour (see sources) instead.

Read More: Baking with Sprouted Grain Flour, Sprouted Grain: The How & Why, 10 Reasons to Give up Grains, Working with Sourdough: Tips & Tricks

8. Learn to love liver, roe, kidneys, heart and other offal.
Liver, roe, kidneys, heart, tongue: no, they don’t sound all too appealing, do they? These organ meats are among the most nutrient-dense foods available and, for North American palates, their unique, mineral-rich flavor takes some getting used to. They’re worth learning to like, and learning to crave. Liver is an extraordinarily rich source of folate, vitamin A and B vitamins while roe is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins including vitamins A and E. These are potent, and strong foods so you needn’t eat them daily, but try to make sure that liver and roe appear at your dinner table weekly. Take care to prepare and eat other nutrient-dense offal periodically as well.

To Do: Purchase a tub of fish roe from your local fishmonger or online, and stop by your market to pick up some grass-fed beef liver or pasture-raised chicken livers. If you have trouble finding these foods locally, they are available online (see sources). A good first recipe is Sage & Chicken Liver Pâté.

Read More: Best Sources of Vitamins & Minerals, 10 Nutritional Powerhouses that Won’t Break the Bank, The Liver Files

9. Eat cultured or fermented foods daily.
Cultured and fermented foods play an enormous role in traditional diets. First born of practicality, fermenting and actively culturing foods offers benefits beyond its practical beginning as a way to preserve food without refrigeration. Indeed, the natural process of fermentation often increases vitamin content while reducing sugar content; moreover, fermented foods are teeming with beneficial bacteria – those wee beasties that interact with your body by strengthening your immune system, manufacturing vitamins in the gut and warding off pathogens. Make the effort to eat fermented and cultured foods at least daily. In our home, we eat small amounts of yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, sour pickles, kombucha or other fermented foods with nearly every meal.

To Do: Make your first batch of sauerkraut, homemade yogurt or water kefir. If you need a starter culture you can find them online (see sources), and if you need recipe inspiration pick up a copy of Get Cultured, my recipe booklet detailing delicious, nourishing recipes for probiotic foods.

Read More: 10 Dairy-free Probiotics, Prebiotics and Probiotics, Healthy Children Eat Dirt, Fermented Food for Beginners, Fermented & Cultured Foods, Benefits of Lactic Acid Fermentation

10. Give back to your foodshed and to the real food movement.
Lastly, this year make the effort to give back to your local foodshed and to share in the real food movement. Support your farmers markets and CSAs through volunteer work. Support organizations devoted to real food, farmers and consumer rights with your dollars. Every little bit counts. Share your experiences with your real food journey with your friends: online through social media like Facebook and Twitter and off-line in real-world, one-to-one interactions. The movement is growing fast, don’t you want to be a part of it?

To Do: Contact your local farmers market (find one on Local Harvest), and offer to volunteer. Become a member of the Weston A Price Foundation. Give a donation to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

Read More: Get the Most from Your Farmers Market: 10 Tips from a Market Manager