Archive for the ‘Food-Nutrition-Health’ Category

2017: Clean vs Dirty Dozen Food (whether to buy Organic)

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Free-range chicken farm

By Catherine Haug, March 13, 2017 (Photo, right, from Cornucopia (5)

Cat’s food-shopping tips:

  • Produce: If you can afford Organic, it is highly recommended you choose Certified Organic or Organically-grown. If your budget is limited, see the Clean Dozen and Dirty Dozen food lists, below.
  • Red meats: Pasture/grass raised and finished, locally-raised livestock provide the most healthful meats; see also my posting Why ‘Pasture-Raised’ trumps ‘Organic’.
  • Poultry meats: Your best choice locally raised poultry, provided they have access to the outdoors; and not just a small door to the outdoors, but a door you can use, too. Chickens eat not only seeds but also insects, grubs and worms, and they need the sun for the sunshine vitamin, just like we do.
  • Eggs: Your best choice is eggs from poultry raised in similar way as for ‘poultry meats’ above.
  • Dairy: Buying from a local farmer (who keeps his/her dairy livestock in pasture) is highly recommended. Organic commercial milk is ultra-pasteurized and, in my opinion, ultra-damaged. See my article on Cat’s Kitchen: Raw Milk: A Real, Natural & Perfect Food, which has a discussion about the problems with ultra-pasteurized milk. If drinking raw milk is not for you, choose simply ‘pasteurized’ milk (HTST) from a local dairy, such as Kalispell Kreamery here in the Flathead Valley. See Food Safety & Pasteurization on The EssentiaList for a description of the various pasteurization types.
  • Cheese: This is a dairy food but I give it its own bullet because we have a great source of raw-milk cheeses in Montana: Lifeline brand, from Victor MT. There are also local brands that use simply-pasteurized milk to make their cheeses, such as Flathead Lake Cheese (2) in Polson, and Amaltheia Dairy (3) in Belgrade.
  • Avoid processed foods, even if they say ‘organic’ on the label, because unless they are Certified Organic, they will contain up to 15% non-organic ingredients most of which are GMO. See my posting: Natural vs Organic Labeling for more.

Buying Organic can be expensive, so if your food budget is limited, read on. (more…)

Roundup, Paraquat herbicides lead to liver disease and Parkinson’s

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, February 7, 2017

If you regularly eat processed foods (boxed, bagged, dried, fried, canned or frozen), or meats, dairy and eggs from livestock not raised Organically, you may have a risk for these diseases: (1)

  •  NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), which can lead to cirrhosis and increases likelihood of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes (from exposure to Roundup, (13))
  • Parkinson’s disease (from exposure to Paraquat, (2)).

This is another reason to avoid GMO foods. Read on for more. (more…)

A healthy – and healthful – garden/landscape

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

Veggie Landscape Garden

By Catherine Haug, Jan 21, 2017 (photo, right, from Mercola (2))

I am viewing the online docu-series: The Truth About Cancer, by Ty Bollinger, and I’m picking up on a few of garden/landscape tips that yield healthy plants and a healthier you when you eat them.

One of the things I’ve learned from this series is that cancer cells have more insulin receptors (that initiate take-up of sugar from the blood) than normal cells, and that cancer cells get their energy (life) from only two sources: sugar and glutamine (amino acid). So if you want to protect yourself from cancer or slow tumor growth, avoid sugar.

However, that doesn’t mean to avoid whole-food sources of sugar such as fruits and vegetables, because in whole-food form, the sugar is part of a larger matrix of fiber, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals that protect you. (Caveat #1: fruit juices don’t provide this protection because the matrix is broken, so eat your fruits whole; caveat #2: those fruits and veggies should be organically grown for maximum benefit).

But I digress. The purpose of this posting is to collect gardening and landscaping tips. I will update this posting as I learn more. (more…)

Dietary fish & seafood: Which are/are not healthful – and why

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

Salmon for sale

By Catherine Haug, January 8, 2017 (Photo right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Growing up here in the Flathead, I loved fish – hook to table – from the very beginning. Back then we had landlocked salmon and lots of native cutthroat trout in Flathead Lake, not to mention the huge salmon run up the Swan River every fall. Other than lutefisk, I’d not had much exposure to ocean fish (other than canned tuna). That changed when I went moved to the west coast for college and my career.

Things have changed since my 1950s childhood. Many wild fisheries are now endangered, or gone (like Atlantic salmon). Science has found dangerously high levels of toxic methyl-mercury in the larger game fish. Fish from fish farms are nutritionally deprived and may carry disease. What’s a fish lover to do?

Read on for discussion on which fish are more healthful than others. See also my 2014 posting: Sustainable Seafood in Summertime.

(more…)

What is a microbiome and why it is important

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Bars of Snowbunny Soap

by Catherine Haug, December 11, 2016 (Photo of handmade soap, right, by Kathy Mansfield from her ESP presentation, Making Soap at Home)

Often when I mention the microbiome in conversation, people ask me what it is. So I figure our readers might like to know more about it. It is an ecological community of microbes – microscopic species – that share climatic or environmental conditions in which they live; a sort-of mini-ecosystem. These species include bacteria, fungi and viruses. (1)

A  hot topic in health news these days is the human microbiome, which usually refers to the microbes in the gut, but all parts of our bodies each have their own microbiome, including our skin and our eyes. These communities include both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microbes; even the ‘bad’ or pathogenic microbes have beneficial effects for our health, when kept in balance. (1)

The important take-away is that we, as humans, would not survive without our microbiome. They provide our initial immune response, make vital enzymes, play a role in our psychological health and so much more yet to be understood. (more…)

Continuous-Brew Kombucha

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Kombucha SCOBY

By Catherine Haug, December 11, 2016 (Image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Kombucha is one of my favorite fermented beverages, and a great way to add more fermented foods to your diet, to support your microbiome and immune system. But making serial batches can get old and tiresome. What if you could just make one batch and add to it regularly for a continuous brew?

Kombucha has many health benefits. It contains high levels of antioxidants, b-vitamins, probiotics and glucaric acid in addition to the beneficial microbes. It has been reported to have a variety of health benefits including (1):

  • liver detoxification
  • improved pancreas function
  • increased energy
  • better digestion
  • improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
  • keeps Candida (yeast) under control
  • helps nutrient assimilation

See also Continuous Brewing: Tastier, Easier and Superior Kombucha, by John Moody (2) for the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) website for more about the benefits of Kombucha and the continuous brewing method. Read on for a review of what is needed, and for references.
(more…)