a medical librarian's adventures in evidence-based living
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Genetically Modified Crops include Bt (Bacillius thuringiensis) Cotton & Corn, and Herbicide-Tolerant (HT) Soy, Cotton, and Corn. Almost All Soybeans Grown in the United States are Now Genetically Modified.
If you received this post via email, click here, to get to the web version with all the links, & to watch "Genetic Roulette"
GMOs in the Grocery Store? What Does It Mean, Exactly?
A little back-story, to get you started.
“Genetic modification” refers to the manipulation of DNA by humans to change the essential makeup of plants and animals. The technology inserts genetic material from one species into another to give a crop or animal a new quality, such as the ability to produce a pesticide.
These DNA transfers could never occur in nature and are not as precise as proponents make them sound.
Some genetically modified crops have been engineered to include genetic material from BT (Bacillus thuringiensis), a natural bacterium found in soil.
Inserting the Bt genes makes the plant itself produce bacterial toxins, thereby killing the insects that could destroy it. The first GM crop carrying Bt genes, potatoes, were approved in the United States in 1995. Today there are Bt versions of corn, potatoes and cotton.
Roundup-Ready crops — soybeans, corn, canola, sugar beets, cotton, alfalfa and Kentucky bluegrass — have been manipulated to be resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broadleaf weedkiller Roundup.
The Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service says that, in 2010, as much as 86 percent of corn, up to 90 percent of all soybeans and nearly 93 percent of cotton were GM varieties.
You’re eating genetically modified foods almost daily unless you grow all of your food or always buy organic."
The pros & cons of GMO food are more than I could begin to tackle in a single blog post.
To get a handle on the concerns with the pervasiveness of GMOs in our food supply--YOU, dear reader, should you choose to accept this assignment--will have do some homework. But, no worries. All the assignments are listed below.
Frankly, the whole GMO issue is something I haven't paid all that much attention to.
That's is--until recently.
The published research into the potential adverse health effects of GMO-foods is on the scant-side, because companies like Monsanto don't have to give out their seeds to be tested. Corporate patent laws protect them from scrutiny.
But, reports from respected physicians, veterinarians, botanists, agriculture researchers, policy makers, government scientists, and farmers present a whole laundry list of worrisome side effects:
Livestock illnesses & malnutrition caused by eating GMO soy & corn (Don Huber, PhD, professor emeritus, Purdue University)
Pet illnesses, especially of the GI tract, from consuming corn or soy pet food
Birth defects in birds & amphibians; cancer, endocrine disruption, DNA & developmental damage to mammals exposed to low doses of glyphosate (that's the active ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide, Round-Up which is used as part of the whole package when farmers use Round-Up resistant seeds) (Check out the 2011 Report "Roundup and Birth Defects: Is the Public Being Kept in the Dark?--a report by 8 international scientists)
Increases in animal infertility, reproduction disorders, & birth defects.
Increases in human food allergies & digestive disorders, like leaky gut--especially in infants & children. (Dr. Michelle Perro)
Increases in inflammation caused by GMO allergies & the toxins "genetically embedded into GMO plants"
Animal liver & kidney toxicity from GMO corn
Possible autism spectrum connections
Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder from Bt-embedded plants, which causes "honey bee dementia"
Intestinal permeability caused by the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) which is genetically implanted into seeds to kill insects. Bt may also be responsible for changing healthy human microflora in the gut.
Autoimmune disorders caused as a response to ingesting an "unnatural gene-modified food"
Infants & children are more sensitive to GMO's in food & formula because of their fast growth rates, high metabolisms, & low body mass. Consider the widespread exposures to GMO-soy formulas like Similac Soy, Gerber Soy, Enfamil soy, & Walmart Soy. Sadly, the WIC soy formulas are all GMO. Non-GMO or organic brands are fine.
So, how is it possible that there is so little published research on the long-term effects of GMOs on human & animal health, considering that GMO-seeds now totally dominate the farming industry?
Turns out, the FDA allowed Monsanta to conduct its own research prior to approval of GMO seeds in the 1990's. That's right! No independent investigators. Monsanto did their own research in-house. And none of the studies were long-term, which would be necessary to show any connection to cancer, birth defects, or reproductive disorders. In fact, there was only one human feeding study conducted, prior to approval of Round-Up ready soy seeds.
The FDA policy commissioner at the time of GMO approval was Michael R. Taylor, who had previous ties to Monsanto as their legal counsel--and has had a revolving door of positions between Monsanto, King & Spalding, a law firm representing Monsanto, & the FDA. Right now, he's the FDA's "Food Safety Czar".
"As the system now stands, biotech companies bring their own research to the government body overseeing their proposed products. The agency may be the US Dept. of Agriculture, the federal Food and Drug Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency.
These government bodies do no independent studies on the safety and efficacy of the proposed products. Instead, they rely strictly on the research conducted by the companies.
"We don’t have the whole picture. That’s no accident. Multibillion-dollar agricultural corporations, including Monsanto and Syngenta, have restricted independent research on their genetically-engineered crops,” wrote Doug Gurion-Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists in a February 2011 Los Angeles Times op-ed piece.
“They have often refused to provide independent scientists with seeds, or they’ve set restrictive conditions that severely limit research options.”
Honestly, the whole corporations-versus-consumer-versus-the-FDA-&-the-USDA controversy is so shrouded with secrecy & accusations that it's hard to get a bottom line on the real risks of GMOs to our health & our environment.
My bottom line: I'm not a GMO fan. I'm concerned. I'm going to make every effort to avoid the stuff. Why wait until it's too late?
Why Not Watch Jeffrey M. Smith's Documentary, "Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives" and Decide About GMO's for Yourself?
Do Not Miss This One!!! It's a worthwhile investment of 1 hr and 24 mins. And besides, it's free online from Sept. 15-22nd only. So don't put this off for too long.
You'll find the link to this disturbing documentary,here. Sorry, I couldn't insert it into the post.
The Lab Rat & I watched "Genetic Roulette" last night. It's a new documentary that "reveals the serious health impacts of genetically engineered foods in our diets." No coincidence that its release is timed to the upcoming California Proposition 37 to label GMOs in food.
We were spellbound--glued to our chairs. Now we "get" what GMO seeds are all about--as well as their potential for harm to humans, animals, & the environment.
Scientists, veterinarians, physicians, policy makers, & farmers, together make one heck of a convincing case against GMO foods-& the biotech invasion into the food industry. But, decide for yourself.
I admit it--I was a little skeptical that it might be sensational pseudo-science. I was wrong (unless someone I respect & trust can convince me otherwise).
Frankly, I was unaware of the health ramifications & the lack of scientific oversight of the GMO industry--by the FDA or the USDA before viewing this documentary. This is one complex story.
Do yourself & your family a favor & watch this film--and then decide for yourself how closely you want to start reading food labels.
There's an accompanying phone app & a shopping guide that you can download to check out which foods are non-GMO. The Lab Rat just checked out his Wheat-a-Bix & then went through the fridge reading labels.
Mark Bittman gets to the bottom of the consumer's "Right to Know" Proposition 37--making GMO food-labeling a law. This quick-must-read explains the big Food-Labeling Fight in California. Big-Agra vs Consumers
How many of us want to know if our food is genetically engineered?
A whopping 91% of Americans--crossing all political party lines. (65% of California's are for Prop 37, 20% against, 15% undecided)
Who's fighting the Proposition 37 in California's Nov. 6th election with tens of millions of $$$?
Monsanto & whole lot of food manufacturers. Why? Because "as California goes, so goes the nation."
"Prop 37 isn’t a ban on foods containing genetically engineered material; it’s a right-to-know law.
Big Food is worried that this is the thin edge of the wedge, and I (Bittman) hope they’re right. If we win the right to know what’s in processed food, we might be inclined to demand to know how other food is produced. (You might think of Prop 37 as the anti-ag-gag law.) If genetically engineered food is so terrific, persuade us; if it’s not, well, fine. In any case, it should be up to us to buy it or not, but first we have to know what it is.
I (Bittman) want to know — quite technically, in all the detail available — how my food is produced, and I’m far from alone. We’d be able to make saner choices, and those choices would greatly affect Big Food’s ability to freely use genetically manipulated materials, an almost unlimited assortment of drugs and inhumane and environmentally destructive animal-production methods."
The Murky Money Story Behind the Funding for the Stanford Organic Food Study
I believed the article's disclaimer: "The authors received no external funding for this study." But, who funds Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, & who funded the researchers' study?
"A simple look at FSI's 2011 annual report shows that it is funded by Cargill and others who have a strong financial interest in Monsanto, McDonalds, Walmart, and other businesses that profit from industrial food practices.
Before you head out to the market, check out this slide show (in Watson's Huff Post article) to see how the Stanford Institute that funded the study gets its money and to see some of the other reasons to choose organic when you can. Tell us which ones you would take with a grain of salt."
Check out: "Uneasy Allies in the Grocery Aisle," by Stephanie Strom, September 13, 2012, New York Times. Get a better handle on the key players fighting the GMO-Labeling California ballot issue, Proposition 37.
If you received this post via email, click here, to get to the web version with all the links, photos, & comments.
As many of you have probably figured out already, I'm doing a lot more posting of health news items/recipes/information, etc. on Facebook than I'm able to write about on my blog.
Please do check out "what's new" daily or weekly--if you're so inclined. No pressure.
You don't even have to have a Facebook account to visit my page. Just click on the link in the upper right-hand corner of my blog--or click here--or just Google Healthy Librarian Facebook--and you'll find me.
If you get that annoying "please log in" message, & you don't have an account, no worries. Just hit the escape button, & continue on reading.
And Now for the Real Post
Breakfast just got even better.
Hands-down, this is the most delicious, most nutritious, most satisfying breakfast I've ever eaten!
Am I exaggerating?
Anne Marie's brilliant suggestion of adding unsweetened cocoa into the oatmeal pudding was sheer genius.
It not only tastes scrumptious, but it also adds all the polyphenol blood pressure lowering benefits of cocoa to this already-tastes-too-good-to-be-healthy-for-you breakfast concoction.
Four servings. Made overnight in your fridge. Layered parfait-style (or not) into a bowl in the morning.
This breakfast pudding parfait has it all!
And it's so easy!!!
Makes enough to last for 4 mornings.
Cholesterol-cutting rolled oats that are loaded with both soluble & insoluble fiber.
The atherosclerosis-preventing polyphenol, avenanthramide, found in oats, boosts the production of artery-saving nitric oxide. This is a dose-response relationship--so the more oats you eat--the more nitric oxide you're producing. Now you can enjoy oatmeal for dessert!
The "miracle polyphenol", epicatechin, found in cocoa. It lowers blood pressure, neutralizes inflammation, increases HDL's, dilates blood vessels, helps prevent atherosclerosis, increases nitric oxide production and more!
The anthocyanins found in berries--that boost memory, tamper inflammation, & clean out "toxic brain junk"--like mini-brain maids.
Buckwheat groats - high in protein, loaded with B vitamins, gluten-free, low-glycemic, & it even steadies blood glucose levels. Groats also lend a nice nutty crunch to this breakfast pudding. Who could ask for anything more?
Chia seeds - you'll get 1 tablespoon per serving, which provides all the omega-3's you'll need for the day (2.7 grams), along with bonus anti-oxidants, protein & fiber.
Walnuts have the highest amount of antioxidants of all the nuts, as well as heart-healthy omega-3s, and a perfect ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. It's the best nut out there, hands down.
First: The Recipe
Second: All the Benefits
Soak the Oats, Cocoa, Chia, Soy Milk, Vanilla, & Smashed Banana Overnight in a Jar or Covered Bowl
Soak the Buckwheat Groats in a Covered Bowl Overnight & Rinse Well in the Morning
Layer Thawed or Fresh Mixed Berries, Chocolate Oat Chia Pudding, Raw Buckwheat Groats, & Top with Chopped Walnuts. Yum!!!
The Healthy LIbrarian's Overnight Chocolate Berry Buckwheat Breakfast Groats & Oats with Chia & Walnuts
Servings: 4 (you can store leftovers in the fridge, & enjoy 4 days worth of already-made breakfasts)
Part 1: The Chocolate Oat Pudding
2/3 cup of old-fashioned (not instant) rolled oats
2 cups of soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
4 tablespoons of chia seeds (white is prettier, but not necessary)
1 medium to large ripe banana, smashed up
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1 tablespoon unsweetened, un-Dutched cocoa (I like Penzey's) (cocoa is optional, of course--it's still good plain)
Optional: 1 packet of stevia
1. Microwave 1/2 cup of the milk until very warm. Mix in the 1 tablespoon of cocoa. Un-Dutched cocoa doesn't dissolve well in cold liquids--that's the reason for this step.
2. Mix everything together (the oats, the milk, the chia, the banana, the vanilla, the cocoa-dissolved-in-the-warmed-milk, & the optional stevia), mix well, & put in a quart jar or sealed bowl to soak overnight in the fridge.
3. Store leftovers in the fridge.
Part 2: The Buckwheat Groats
1 cup of raw buckwheat groats (available from Nuts.com or Bob's Red Mill or your health food store) Not the same as toasted buckwheat or Kasha. We bought the white groats.
3 cups of water
1. Soak groats in 3 cups of water overnight in a sealed container in the fridge.
2. In the morning, rinse very well. A few times, is even better. It removes the sticky coating from the groats.
3. Store leftovers in the fridge.
Part 3: Putting the parfait together
You really don't need to make a parfait--it just looks pretty. It's fine to dump one serving's worth of everything into a bowl--it will taste the same.
MIX UP ONLY ONE SERVING AT A TIME. STORE THE LEFTOVER CHOCOLATE OATMEAL PUDDING & GROATS SEPARATELY. LAYER THEM WHEN MAKE YOUR BREAKFAST
1. Thaw 1 cup of mixed frozen berries, per serving (fresh is fine) in the microwave. I use 1 cup of berries per serving
2. For each serving, layer 1/4 of the chocolate oatmeal pudding, 1/4 of the buckwheat groats, with 1 cup of mixed berries.
3. Top your breakfast with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts.
Nutrition Info Based on Using Eden Extra Soy Milk - Use Less Groats for Fewer Calories
Old news: Oats have a soluble fiber, known as beta-glucan that helps to lower cholesterol by reducing its absorption into the blood stream. They are also low-glycemic, taking a nice leisurely time to digest, so they keep you full longer, and keep your blood sugar steady. All commendable qualities.
New to me news--the Avenanthramides--the heart healthy polyphenol found in oats: Over at the USDA-Agricultural Research Vascular Biology Lab at Tufts University, Dr. Mohsen Meydani is the "oat expert". It turns out that the polyphenols in oats, better known as avenanthramides, are the real power players when it comes to heart health. First off, they prevent LDL from oxidizing, which sets the process of atherosclerosis into motion. They work their magic by "decreasing inflammation in the artery walls, by limiting the growth of artery-stiffening smooth muscle cells inside arteries, and by preventing white blood cells from sticking to artery walls." Harvard Health Letter, May 2010.
But it gets even better. Meydani has recently found that the avenanthramides in oats are not only anti-inflammatory, but they put a stop to the kind of wild cell growth in the artery walls that starts the whole process of atherosclerosis in the first place--which can eventually lead to heart attacks. As if that weren't enough--when you ingest these avenanthramides with your morning oatmeal, you're also preventing atherosclerosis by increasing artery-saving nitric oxide production in the endothelium or lining of your arteries. That's the "magic gas" that keeps the arteries relaxed and dilated. And it's a dose-response--the more avenanthramides, the greater the nitric oxide production. Side benefit: lowered blood pressure. For Meydani's research click here and here.
Curbing colon cancer with avenanthramides, too. We knew that oats and other whole grains helped to reduce colon cancer, but the mechanism wasn't fully understood. Meydani's just-published research in Nutr Cancer 2010 Nov. 62(8):1007-16 found that the avenanthramides in oats tamp down inflammation in the colon, and inhibit the growth of colonic cancer cells.
What's So Good About Cocoa?
The Greek name for cocoa means, "Drink of the Gods". Maybe they were on to something. Epicatechin is the polyphenol in cocoa that does its magic on the cardiovascular system.
It lowers blood pressure
It reduces insulin resistance and improves platelet function
It increases nitric oxide production--that "magic gas" that improves endothelial function, and it has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
In a recent meta-analysis in the journal Circulation, 75 grams of dark chocolate for 3 weeks increased HDLs by 14% and decreased LDL oxidation. Lowering blood pressure took even less cocoa to do the job.
How does cocoa do all this? It's probably because it increases the availability of nitric oxide, and it also increases arginase--which prevents nitric oxide from breaking down. It's a 2-for-one!
Cocoa's best benefit? It inhibits the kind of inflammation that creates atherosclerotic plaque.
This study will give you a good reason to drink cocoa daily. One of the tests for a healthy vasculature is the ability of our blood vessels to dilate. This study looked at the dilation of arteries after drinking a high flavanoid cocoa drink, compared to a low flavonoid drink. There was a significant increase in vasodilation with the high flavonoid drink--and nitric oxide levels increased as the level of flavonoids in the cocoa increased.
Watch out! Avoid cocoa or dark chocolate that is "Dutch-Processed" or is treated with an alkali to decrease its bitterness--that destroys the flavonoids!
Bring on the Berries, Everyday!
Berries, baby! The research is nothing but good, good, good for berries & the brain. In fact, now we know a little bit more about how they do their magic on the brain. They "activate the brain's natural "housekeeper" mechanism, which cleans up and recycles toxic proteins linked to age-related memory loss and other mental decline." Like mini-brain-maids these cells clear out brain junk. I have berries daily in my Green Smoothies, and either on top of my oatmeal, or mixed in plain soy yogurt. Lower-cost mixed berries are at BJ's or Costco. Read more here and here.
If You're Going to Eat Nuts, Stick to Walnuts--For So Many Reasons
In a report [presented at the] 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, scientists presented an analysis showing that walnuts have a combination of more healthful antioxidants and higher quality antioxidants than any other nut.
“Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts,” said Joe Vinson, Ph.D., who did the analysis. “A handful of walnuts contains almost twice as much antioxidants as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. But unfortunately, people don’t eat a lot of them. This study suggests that consumers should eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet.”
Walnuts are the top nut for heart-healthy antioxidants
Vinson noted that nuts in general have an unusual combination of nutritional benefits — in addition those antioxidants — wrapped into a convenient and inexpensive package. Nuts, for instance, contain plenty of high-quality protein that can substitute for meat; vitamins and minerals; dietary fiber; and are dairy- and gluten-free.
Years of research by scientists around the world link regular consumption of small amounts of nuts or peanut butter with decreased risk of heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, gallstones, Type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.
Despite all the previous research, scientists until now had not compared both the amount and quality of antioxidants found in different nuts, Vinson said. He filled that knowledge gap by analyzing antioxidants in nine different types of nuts: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, and pecans. Walnuts had the highest levels of antioxidants.
Vinson also found that the quality, or potency, of antioxidants present in walnuts was highest among the nuts. Antioxidants in walnuts were 2-15 times as potent as vitamin E, renowned for its powerful antioxidant effects that protect the body against damaging natural chemicals involved in causing disease.
“There’s another advantage in choosing walnuts as a source of antioxidants,” said Vinson, who is with the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. “The heat from roasting nuts generally reduces the quality of the antioxidants. People usually eat walnuts raw or unroasted, and get the full effectiveness of those antioxidants.”
Dr. David Katz of the Yale University School of Medicine, published a small randomized-controlled study in 2010, that demonstrated how a walnut-enriched diet improves endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in type 2 diabetic individuals, suggesting a potential reduction in overall cardiac risk.
Chia - For Omega-3's, Anti-Oxidants, & Plenty of Fiber
"Chia seeds are one of the oldest cultivated plants known to man. They are loaded with antioxidants, essential fatty acids (3 and 6), vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Chia seeds maintain blood sugar levels as they slow our body's conversion of carbohydrates into simple sugars. They are great for an athletic person as they can effectively replenish minerals lost in sweat.
Chia seeds can also help in weight loss as they swell up to 10 times their size, which prevents absorption of some calories we eat. Chia puddings are great for breakfast as they will provide you with ample energy throughout the day."
This ancient seed is the highest plant source of omega-3s, and it's also loaded with fiber (soluble & insoluble), antioxidants, protein, calcium, and a laundry list of other vitamins & minerals.
If you've read Christopher McDougall's best-selling book, Born to Run, about the fit & healthy Tarahumara barefoot runners you know what a nutrition powerhouse the chia seed is. McDougall likens chia water to "drinking a smoothie of wild salmon, spinach and human growth hormone". Not at all sure about its human growth hormone similarities!
If the Tarahumara Indians sound familiar to you, it's because they are Dr. Esselstyn's poster children for zero heart disease--thanks to their plant-based diet of squash, corn, and beans.
Now I'm wondering how much a role chia has contributed to their stellar health. That is, until Western food made its way into their once hidden Copper Canyons--bringing along diabetes, obesity, & heart disease.
"...after I satisfied my hunger and thirst with some iskiate, I at once felt new strength, and, to my own astonishment, climbed the great height without much effort. After this I always found iskiate a friend in need, so strengthening and refreshing that I may almost claim it as a discovery." (written by the great Norwegian explorer, Carl Lumholtz in the 1890's)
Months later, I'd (Chris McDougall) learn that iskiate is otherwise know as chia fresca--"Chilly chia." It's brewed up by dissolving chia seed in water with a little sugar and a squirt of lime.
In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone.
As tiny as those seeds are, they're superpacked with omega-3s, omega-6s protein, calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and antioxidants.
If you had to pick just one desert-island food, you couldn't do much better than chia, at least if you were interested in building muscle, lowering cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease; after a few months of the chia diet, you could probably swim home.
Chia was once so treasured, the Aztecs used to deliver it to their king in homage. Aztec runners used to chomp chia seeds as they went into battle, and the Hopis fueled themselves on chia during their epic runs from Arizona to the Pacific Ocean.
Despite its liquid-gold status, chia is ridiculously easy to grow; if you own a Chia Pet, in fact, you're only a few steps away from your own batch of devil drink.
Humble Buckwheat Groats
Buckwheat is the highest source of protein in the plant kingdom, with 50% more B-vitamins than wheat. And it's gluten-free.
Did I mention that it's high in lysine--an important "not-so-easy-to-get" amino acid---and it's high in that "hard-to-find" soluble fiber that slows down digestion, which is helpful for keeping blood sugar levels stable. A plus for diabetics.
It's so satisfying, & I'll vouch for the claim that buckwheat is a slow-release carb. This breakfast keeps me full for four hours. Really.
Gas-free (unlike steel-cut oats), too! A definite plus. Maybe it's because of the soaking.
What's the big deal about buckwheat? For starters, it's not really a cereal grain, but a seed, related to rhubarb & sorrel. It's rich in flavanoids, like the antioxidant, rutin, loads of B Vitamins, sky-high in magnesium, potassium, & phosphorus, & it helps to lower glucose levels.
Read everything you'd ever want to know about buckwheat here and here, in case I missed anything.
I hope you enjoy the breakfast pudding parfait as much as I do.
This year, I'm celebrating the holidays at home, with friends. My kids will be doing the same in Washington, DC & St. Louis. We'll have to wait until Thanksgiving to all be together again.
Sometimes you just have to transform the traditional. Holiday fare doesn't always have to be brisket and matzoh ball soup.
Holidays can't always be celebrated with your family. You can transform humble fare like rice, beans and squash into something truly spectacular.
And if your family lives out-of-town, your friends can be transformed into family.
"Find a way to be grateful for what you do have."
-Transforming Traditions, HHLL Oct. 8, 2009-
First Comes the Reflection Part - Food for the Soul
Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur are kind of like "report card time" for grown-ups. Like a cosmic "Employee Evaluation"--but we have to grade ourselves. And who's comfortable doing that?
In fancy words, it's the season of self-examination of one's spiritual, physical, interpersonal and communal responsibilities.
So, another year's gone by, and how am I doing as a wife, mom, grandmother, sister, friend, sister-in-law, employee, neighbor, acquaintance? Have I done a single thing to make life better for someone else? Gee, I sure hope so. But, goodness knows, I've fallen short. Many times.
And then comes the really tough squirmy part, when we're supposed to think about who we may have knowingly or unknowingly hurt, offended, embarrassed, wronged, disappointed, been unavailable for, slighted, ignored, cheated or worse--and then take responsibility for any wrongdoings by asking that person(s) for forgiveness.
Uhh, that's a whole lot easier said than done, right? Sure, it's not so hard to come up with a whole laundry list of where we messed up or fell short. But, it's a whole other ballgame to actually ask someone for forgiveness. It's just not something most of us are used to doing. How awkward. How difficult. How uncomfortable & embarrassing.
I can’t stand to fly I’m not that naive I’m just out to find The better part of me
-Superman, Five for Fighting-
The cure of the soul begins with a sense of embarrassment, embarrassment at our pettiness, prejudices, envy, and conceit; embarrassment at the profanation of life.
Honestly, making apologies, fixing our mistakes, becoming a better person, & forgiving each other--it's all non-denominational stuff.
Doesn't matter if you're an atheist, agnostic, humanist, Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, Jew, Buddhist, Bahai, Protestant--whatever. We're all in this world together!
Repair by Hanan Harchol
If you don't see the video on your screen, click here
Forgiveness by Hanan Harchol
If you do not see the video on your screen, click here
Now Comes the Recipe Part - Food & Nourishment for the Body
Triple Rice Salad with Dried Fruits and Nuts
This a a long-time family favorite of mine and a crowd-pleaser for meat-eaters & vegans alike. It's a room temperature main dish salad with brown, wild, & basmati rice, that's chock full of dried fruit, pecans (sure, substitute walnuts), & fragrant fresh herbs, like mint, basil, & parsley. Mmmm. What an original combo!
And then comes the secret ingredient that turns it into a main dish: Grilled Field Roast Apple Sage Sausages.
It's all dressed in a garlicky, lemony creamy cashew dressing.
No, it's not low-fat, nor is it Esselstyn-approved, but, it's a special holiday dish that everyone will love. At least I hope so. Click here for the recipe--I recently revised it.
This soup is a subtle-tasting creamy pale green delight, made with fennel, leeks, spinach & vegetable broth. My friend Dick, a talented cook, has been making this soup for years. This is a no-oil version of a 1997 Bon Appetit Passover recipe. It's always a holiday favorite & is so much better with matza balls than plain old "chicken" broth.
Dr. J's version of matza balls are just perfect--and the only kind of no-oil & no-egg matza balls that don't fall apart. Follow her directions EXACTLY.
This is a thick, hearty, easy-to-make mushroom barley soup that I've been making for over 20 years, long before I started eating plant-based. I still have the yellow, faded newspaper clipping it comes from. Perfect for Rosh Hashanah.
"Enlightened" Rockin' Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
Rockin' Roasted Rosemary Potatoes - my family couldn't get enough of these & I've made them at least five times since last Thanksgiving. No-oil & amazing! A crazy crunchy coating made with a little vodka, vermouth, grainy Dijon mustard, garlic, horseradish, caraway seed, smoked paprika, & hot pepper. OMG you're going to LOVE these!
Kale Waldorf Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Honey Crisp Apples, Cranberries/Raisins in a Creamy Dressing (photo by Whole Foods)
This "feeds-a-crowd traditional brisket substitute" is really Susan Voisin's Meatless Loaf (of Fat-Free Vegan fame), and it's glazed with Ellen Allard's Maple Sauce. We all enjoyed it last Thanksgiving--but, it will definitely work for Rosh Hashanah or Erev Yom Kippur. I've also made Ellen's "Meatless Loaf" many times--and it's every bit as delicious as Susan's. My co-worker, Mary, had a hankering for meat loaf this weekend, & just happened to bring Susan's Meatless Loaf leftovers into work yesterday---and trust me on this one--this recipe is a winner. You can use Susan's Mushroom Gravy recipe --or use left-over roasted triple mushroom soup as gravy. Delicious.
Cathy Fisher's Tu-No Salad for Breaking the Fast - Serve It on Alvarado Sprouted Bagels or Crisp Breads
Double the Tu-No Recipe If You're Having a Crowd
I'm hosting a Break Fast at my house, and I definitely plan to make a double batch of Cathy Fisher's Tu-No Salad. I'm thinking of having bagels, sliced tomatoes, and avocado slices to go with it.
If I make something more than 5 times you better believe it's good! My St. Louis kids love Tu-No & even my non-tuna-eating son in DC loves Tu-No--which says a lot!
My gal pals loved it on our "into the woods" get-away. The Lab Rat loves it. And a plant-based pediatrician I know says it's now her favorite "bring-to-work-sandwich". If you haven't tried it, it's high time you did. I use real garlic & add 2 TBS of capers to it--but try it with dill, too. The kelp granules/powder really makes it! The recipe is here: http://www.straightupfood.com/blog/2011/04/15/tu-no-salad-wraps/
Blueberry Peach Cobbler ala Cathy Fisher (My Slight Tweaks)
A Serving of Blueberry Peach Cobbler
The perfect dessert ending for Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur--Blueberry Peach Cobbler. Hmm, I guess you could try this with apples, too! It's the end of the summer, and the last of the summer fruits. This is made with neither sugar or fat, yet it's sweet with a just-right crumbly oat crust. You can find my slightly tweaked version of Cathy Fisher's cobbler here.
So there you have it! Just a few suggestions for your upcoming holiday meals, with a few of my favorite recipes. It's always hard to choose.
Whether you're celebrating the New Year now--or in January--may you all have a Happy, Healthy, Sweet New Year.
I would love to hear what you're making for the holidays!