Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Americans demand knowledge of the origins of their food

Here it is.  We have removed ourselves so completely, so decisively from our food's origins that the Federal Government has now stepped in to set things strait.  Of course when approaching problems such as these, the grand gestures of bureaucracy more often then not have the greatest effect upon the least vital elements.  

So what has happened?  According to the fed, food must now be labeled clearly to display its Country of Origin.  This may be via sticker, twist tie, whatever, paint em up if you want, but a $1000 fine will be (sparsely, carelessly) enforced on those that do not label their foods.

This will cause a stir in the food industry, as fruits, vegetables, and meats will need to be segregated for labeling and shipping in situations where they might formerly have ridden together, so to speak.  The reasons for this newfound desire of the Fed to follow your food around like a hawk lie in the recent outbreaks of e. coli, and such among american produce.  

I just don't have the energy for this one.  I know exactly where my food comes from.  If there is a problem I can drag the farmer who sold me the bad product out of his/her tent and onto the long meadow of Prospect Park, beat them senseless, steal their truck, and generally lay waste to the life of myself and any others that get in my way.

If Captain Pathmark, or Jimmy Charger for that matter, has a problem with their food, who are they going to go to for answers?  Even if the little sticker says "Made in Uraguay"  or "proudly grown in the republic of my shitty mc'shit-alot" what then?  Do they drive to the country in question, asking passersby where the farm with the bad tomatoes is?  A "country of origin" label gets you pretty close to the problem if your food comes in from lichtenstein, or Trinidad and Tobago, but what if your food came from Argentina, Brazil, The USA, Canada, China?  How do you find out who fucked the peppers over if your searchable radius is 3000 miles?

There is just no way to legislate integrity.  

Our protections from the perpetration of this wildly overgrown culture of consumption do not lie in the federal fucking government.  Our saving grace is to renew our connections with those that grow and cultivate and process our foods.  I know the farmer who sells me my bacon, my lamb, my steak, my apples, pears, mustard greens, mushrooms, milk, pasta, cheese, bread, and grains.  I know where every vendor lives, because their addresses are written on the signs above their tents.  Or building, in the case of my pasta, which comes from Caputo's on Court st, run by 3 generations of a local family.  Where are these people going to go if they poison my food?  Where can they hide when I drag my sick body and my lawyer into their establishments and hold up the paperwork with "CRIMINAL NEGLIGANCE" written all over it.  Are they going to point sheepishly at a 2 million square mile swath of the republic of god knows where and say "it was THEM"?

The system is juked to protect producers that fuck with your food.  Protect yourself, get back to the real free market economy, in which we police ourselves, and our farmer's produce quality food not because someone tells them to, but because they depend on our business with their very livelihood.  

Eat small.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Choices made easier

Eat Well Guide has put out regional food guides for several metropolitan areas. Check out the New York City Guide.


between the mets, the absurdity of politics, and moving into a new apartment, it has been difficult to think about writing.  but i have returned.  so fear not, new information is on its way.

Although, October baseball and November elections are almost upon us...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

San Francisco goes local

Gavin Newsom is at it again.  First he fought the good fight for marriage equity.  Now he is trying to convert all city meals to local sourcing.  Read all about it here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The rabbit hole: Omega Fatty Acids

I was just talking to a friend who has some troubles with inflammation.  I have been studying metabolism this term, and have finally figured out what exactly these Omega Fatty Acids are all about:

Omega 3's and 6's are the fundemental fats in the production of arachidonic acid.  The concise story on this is that arachadonic acid's actions (via it's offspring) are in regulating inflammation.  

So if inflammation is a major problem, it is likely that your fatty acid balance is off. It is possible that your ratio of 6's to 3's is as much as 3 or 4 times too high. The ratio should be about 3:1 (O6:O3), but the average american has a ratio of about 15:1. This translates to much higher inflammation rates throughout the body.  

low ratio - low inflammation, strong bowel mucosa
high ratio - high inflammation, a host of other problems in the long run, such as atherosclerosis, etc.

Here's the problem:  trying to get back to a healthy ratio basically requires traveling back in time to before industrial farming destroyed the fat chemistry of our foods.  You can get good foods, but you must be vigilant.  

If you are a strait veggie, invest in some flax seed oil (in the dark thick bottles) and have a teaspoon with dinner, or use it in dressing and the like.  This should be kept back in the cupboard, as flax seed oil is touchy when exposed to light.

if you eat eggs, milk and meat, you must only eat from pastured animals (i.e. grass-fed beef/milk cows, and pasture chickens).  When animals are fed grain their fatty acid ratio goes out of whack.  Pasture raised, grass finished beef is the best, as it has a nearly perfect ratio, and it has a lot of great healthy fat.

a lot of people recommend good fish oil also, but this should probably not be consumed in high quantities.  Or just eat some good fish.  

From what I have read, problems with inflammation can be reigned in tremendously by simply altering the O6:O3 ratio.  

So, if you have allergies, constant inflammatory conditions, atherosclerosis, etc etc, you may find some benefit to altering the diet to bring the Fatty Acids under control.  

Where to shop:  Farmer's markets.  The eggs, meats and milk are mostly from pastured animals.  Look here for farms near your area.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Eat your fats

I was looking for studies on fiber and I stumbled on this one from JAMA.  The framers of the study looked at 147 studies of diet and Coronary Heart Disease in order to come up with a picture of a healthy diet in terms of CHD.
One finding was that "simply lowering the percentage of energy from total fat in the diet is unlikely to improve lipid profile or reduce CHD incidence".

So eat up people.  The total fat intake is not related, as we have been told for generations, to fat intake. There is much to be learned, as we must parse the types of fat to get a better picture.

i will drop some fat guidelines:

1. No hydrogenated fats (trans fats)
2. Cook with Saturated fats - butter, ghee, pork fat, beef fat, coconut oil are all high in saturated fat.
3. Use poly's, but don't cook with them - vegetable oils, avocado oil, sesame oil - great to use, but do not cook in them.
4. Mono-unsaturated is likely the healthiest - Beef, pork and chicken are high in mono, as is Olive Oil. I have been told not to cook with olive oil, but I still do.  I am thinking of switching over to Ghee, but I have to learn to properly make it.

Eat it.