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Archive for March, 2009

“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

Spring is here, so I wanted to continue this series for a little while longer, before we go onward. I’ll periodically post new diabetic recipes, especially as the seasons change.  It is important to use seasonal foods, and they are less expensive, too.

The most famous spring foods are rhubarb and asparagus.

Rhubarb is pH acid-forming, and should be used sparingly, if at all. (Do not eat the leaves; they are poisonous!). Rhubarb is great paired with strawberries, later in the Spring (like May).

Asparagus is very alkaline and a great body-wide internal cleanser. For people on a budget, this IS the time to buy it for detoxification purposes and for help balancing your cellular pH levels. Spring cleaning your body is necessary after the winter.

Steaming and stir-frying are the best ways to prepare asparagus, with just a tiny bit of organic butter and lemon juice at serving, if alone. Asparagus is wonderful in any stir-fry dish, and depending on diameter, should be added earlier in the mix of veggies, in a multiple ingredient dish, but it’s good stir-fried by itself, too.

The only time to have “pencil-thin” asparagus is in the first weeks of Spring. After that, you should get the biggest stalks possible, as slender ones are NOT mature and do NOT have all the nutrition needed. Yes, there will be more “woody” stem ends on wider asparagus, but just chop them off at the “break-point”, and use them to make a veggie broth.

For steamed asparagus, watch it carefully; you do not want to lose its bright-green color, and you need to stage the meal so you can serve it immediately. But, it’s great in cold salads, too, so after steaming, plunge it immediately into a large bowl of cold water, with ice-cubes already added. Then drain and put into containers in the refrigerator. A recipe I shared with you earlier is found at: Em’s Lemony Celtic Asparagus Salad

Speaking of vegetables — Michelle Obama got everyone, even the White House chefs, out on the White House’s South Lawn last Friday to dig an 1,100 sq. foot organic veggie garden in.

Well, they went about it all wrong, and should have consulted the White House gardeners, at the very least. While the sentiments are laudable and worthy of emulation, it is necessary to learn before doing.

They should have included Alice Waters, famed Berkeley, CA chef, who has advocated for this for decades along with her successful Edible Schoolyard Project and they should have asked a couple of other advocates like Roger Doiron* and Michael Pollan. Probably any of these people could have told them they needed sod-cutters etc. etc. etc. Did anything ever actually get planted yet? The story has disappeared. It makes me wonder.

I hope they keep the project and that it is done properly. And, for budget reasons, as well as health, this is the time for you to start your garden this year (even if you have not before — you can do this!). Learn all you can and get started. Territorial Seeds has great organic selections and be sure to plant heritage varieties as much as possible. You can become part of a seed savers exchange, especially the first one, called Seed Savers Exchange, too.

Another thing the White House group failed to learn, so far, is when you look at the White House garden plan that the New York Times published, the whole idea of “companion planting” wasn’t considered at all. It is very necessary, and in fact, their plan includes large areas of plants which are antagonistic to each other.

And, one more item — I wish Ms. Obama had not mentioned that Mr. Obama does not like beets, so she wouldn’t even plant them! How stupid.

Number 1: I bet he hasn’t tried anything other than canned beets. 

Number 2: That doesn’t mean that any one else shouldn’t have the chance to eat them (and this garden is supposed to be used for State dinners, too!). What a crock.

Bush Sr. did the same bad PR for broccoli. Keep their likes and dislikes out of it. We want to make up our own minds!

Beets are highly nutritious (especially the green tops), and if you don’t like “traditional” (often over-cooked “greens”), then get these as microgreens (sow some untreated, organic beet seeds and as they get 2 – 3 leaves, pull them up, wash them well and use them or just start them in a sprouting jar for regular, indoor sprouts). They pack a big nutritional punch. In fact, indoor sprouting should be part of everyone’s economical way to boost nutrition!

Well, either asparagus or beets will go very well with my own recipe for a Medieval Style Fish Pye. They are very healthy and used to be used a lot, especially in Britain, in decades and centuries gone by. It was such a part of everyday life that there is an island in the Thames, within London, called Eel Pie Island!

I used canned mackerel as the base of mine. This is very inexpensive fish and one that is a sustainable fishery (not “over-fished”) as well as being high in beneficial Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). I suggest you use a firm fish, too, for texture like cod, in chunks, and canned shellfish would do that too (e.g. clams are very high in iron).  It needs the second, firmer fish / shellfish if you use one canned fish.

Whole Foods also had fresh, whole mackerel, which the fishmonger said he would filet for me, when I was shopping there yesterday. (They also had whole smelt — tiny fish, low on food chain, inexpensive, too; they’s be perfect for this project, too.) Probably as fresh mackerel, I wouldn’t have the mouth-feel issue, as I would be cooking it just once and it would not be automatically mashed up.

DO NOT USE TUNA! tHIS FISH IS TOO HIGH IN MERCURY. It should be used by children a maximum of twice a month; by pregnant women — preferably not at all — otherwise twice a month); by others, no more than 1 – 3 times a month.

Salmon pieces (or canned), halibut (expensive), cod,  haddock, hake, smoked haddock (Finnan Haddie) and occasional shellfish, if desired, are all possibilities. Only use Sea Bass if it is from a sustainable fishery (Whole Foods’ is) otherwise, in much of its range, it is endangered.

You could also make this into a Fish Loaf, without the pastry. I will leave you to modify your favorite meat-loaf recipe, and would suggest you try it first by baking it in a pyrex loaf pan, in a second pan with water half way up the sides (as fish is more delicate, and needs more moisture in cooking).

Anyway, it could also be modified into a Fish Quiche, too, by adding eggs and milk, but I just wanted a more traditional fish pie. The most popular form for a while is a fish version of Shepherd’s Pie, with mashed potatoes on top. I’ll include Jamie Oliver’s Fish Pie recipe link with others, below.

But here is my original Fish Pie.  Have it with steamed or stir-fried asparagus and a salad. Maybe even have some roasted beets (put them in the oven before the pie, then with the pie, depending on size — wash and scrub, dry,  brush with olive oil, wrap in foil). 

The recipe looks like a lot of steps, but lots can be done ahead, or uses left-overs, and the prep goes fast.

Everyone in my family commented on how much they loved this; that was a first (I didn’t have to even ask!).  Enjoy!

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Em’s Original Fish Pie

___ 2 pie crusts, defrosted in refrigerator — later, removed 20 minutes before starting the pie (do it first, then assemble the rest of the ingrediets)

___ (already steamed) 1 C frozen peas  plus (approx 1 ½ – 2  small, red potatoes, skin on, ( steam 3/4″ chunks ~9 minutes, then add)(put raw potatoes on bottom with frozen peas on top)

___ 1/4 c carrot puree (or 6 – 8 baby carrots, halved or quarterd and steamed with potatoes, above)

___ 6 oz. pre-cooked fresh or frozen cod fillet, cut in 3/4 ” chunks after cooking  OR 1 can clams (drain)(keep juice)

___ 1 (15 oz.) can of mackerel, drained (keep broth); mash well (break up bones)

 ___ 1 can cream of celery soup (15 oz. size), undiluted

___ 1/16 C  well washed quinoa or red lentils (toor dal) OR add a little cornstarch or tapioca sprinkled thru the pie mix (about 1T) as the fish and veggies still exude some moisture.

___ garlic powder (around 9″ pie plate several times)

___ 1/4C finely chopped organic cilantro

___ 1/3C finely minced organic parsley

___ ½ diced onion

___ sprinkles (about 1/4t – 1/2t each) organic  thyme, oregano

___ lots of dill (pie should look almost green on top)

 ___ 7 shakes of sea salt

___ 1T Thai sweet chili sauce.

1) Preheat oven to 375 F.  Take out refrigerated pie crust. Let sit 15 – 20 minutes, elevated across a pan so air gets to all sides.

2) add prepped beets for roasting if part of your meal (see above)

3) set-up steamer with asparagus or set-up ingredients for asparagus stir fry, but leave until close to serving time

4) put bottom round of pastry into 9″ pyrex pie plate and secure gently to top edge in a few places

5) Mix all the pie’s filling in a large bowl.  Spoon in by dollops all over the pastry base, then double-layer and smooth top

6) carefully add the pie’s top. Poke in 6 central slits with a sharp knife.

7) brush top with about 1T organic half and half or milk

8)  Cook 70 minutes – protect pie edges after 30 minutes (use a formal, stiff pie protector, or pieces of aluminum foil).

Raise temp to 400 – for up to 10 minutes to let pie “brown” (only if needed).

9) Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Will generously serve six, or cool left-overs immediately for a great cold lunch.

Serve with  Em’s Quick Salad:

1 red pepper

1 tomato

1/3 red cabbage (shredded)

1/4 English cucumber

½ package organic alfalfa or clover sprouts

1/3 packet of beet green micro-greens sprouts

Dressing:

approx. 2T organic sesame oil

2T lemon juice

1T Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (do not use Heinz or regular commercial type) (Bragg’s has its original enzymes and is organic)

several shakes Asian fish sauce

about 1/4 C organic goat milk kefir or 1/4C plain yoghurt with a bit of water

Have an Almond milk, Agave and Hemp Shake, for dessert … and the cold-water fishes and hemp will give you LOTS of necessary Omega-3s to ease your tired, sore body and feed your brain!

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I sincerely hope that you enjoy these recipes and that you’ll write to me with your recipes at the About Me tab.

For the rest of the articles, please use the Titles Archive tab on the upper Navigation Bar.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your favorite Web 2.0 site. Thanks!

Best to all — Em

REFERENCE:

To start your own garden:

Organic and heritage seeds from:  Territorial Seed Company

The best gardening method – in ground or in containers: Squarefoot Gardening where former PBS host Mel Bartholomew will teach you a lot, in an easy way. I think I have Mel’s first book from the 1970s! You can also learn from Eliot Coleman.

Food Supplies:

For a traditional prepared fish line of products, family owned since 1934:

Springfield Smoked Fish

Advocacy:

You need to seriously look at this legislation! I wonder if this White House or any home garden qualifies as a “food production facility” under Section 3(14) of Rosa DeLauro’s Food Safety Modernization Act (HR 875) currently under consideration in House committee?

Read the Legislation!

Other Fish Pie Recipes:

Jamie Oliver’s Traditional British Fish Pie

Marco Pierre White’s more traditional European Yew Tree Fish Pie:
Marco Pierre White’s Yew Tree’s Fish Pie

Well regarded British Chef Delia Smith’s version:
Luxury Fish Pie with Rosti-caper Toppingl

Leek and Salmon Pye

Vegetable Garden Projects:

White House Vegetable Garden 2009

Edible Schoolyard Project

Seed Saver’s Exchange

* “Roger Doiron’s “Eat The View” idea to plant a vegetable garden on the WH lawn was the #1 winner at OnDayOne.org, beating 4,000 other ideas (like world peace) with 10,000 votes, a truly grassroots bottom-up change effort” – commenter at NYT.com

(c)2009 Em https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com

If you quote from or use my article, please respect my copyright. Add my copyright citation and website’s address to your footnotes or to your reference section. Thanks!

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“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

“I think, as diabetics, you have to make permanent changes in your nutrition knowledge base and in the fiscal choices you make about food. The national monetary news isn’t really any better this week, although some stock markets are rallying a little. I expect this will be a long-term problem (at least 5 years duration), and for diabetics on medication, this could become serious, or if any bread-winner loses a job, then changes need to be made with knowledge you’ve already acquired here.

I suggest putting your discretionary financial resources into food, after making sure you have a roof over your head, and have paid the utility bills. My family is spending all its so-called “extra” income on food, at the moment. It’s important to know the most nutritious foods and how to use them in ways which protect that valuable nutrition.

I watched the Biggest Loser again this week, when all the participants went home. I was infuriated when friends and family let (and even “helped” to push) the contestants back into old habits. Even though some of the contestants didn’t “cave in” to temptation e.g. Ron and Michael seemed just to eat a couple of small slices of pizza (rather than the whole pie, as they used to) at their favorite pizza place.

I found them returning there at all, frustrating. To watch others over-indulge ends up just making you feel “left-out”. I think new habits are better supported by new venues, and the excitement of new, healthier foods and recipes. Celebrate in healthier places, and don’t be shy about asking to split the all-too-common GIGANTIC portions, or taking 1/2 – 2/3 of your meal home, if there’s no other option.

Meanwhile, I am continuing with Mango recipes, here, as they are a nutritious food which is found year-round in most markets, but do understand where your food is grown. Many tropical areas use pesticides, so trying to get organic fruit is important.

Yes, I know, you may think that “budget” and “organic” don’t belong in the same sentence, but they do. Science has finally begun to investigate organic foods, and the results are at least double the nutrition for about 1 1/2 – 2 times the price — so it is a bargain or equal value, when viewed in that light. For organic food, use half a portion of fruits or vegetables for the same nutrition (only if you need to for budget reasons).

And, organic, grass-fed animals or clean-ocean, non-farmed, wild-caught fish need to be in the same size portions as their counterparts, but you will have much better lipid profiles and nutritional complexity from free-range or wild-caught animals and therefore they are cost effective, in their support of health and less illness.

Next, to some traditional recipes for mangoes, which are also called maqo, aam, mang’ga, ui, wewei in Polynesia and Asia, where they are native plants. But before I write actual recipes, I want to share some information.

The mango tree has the scientific name Mangifera indica and it is a member of the cashew family (if you see pictures of cashew nuts still on their tree, you will see the similarity). Mango trees can grow 15 to 18 metres (50 to 60 feet) tall and are thickly covered with narrow, dark green leaves.

Ripe mangoes just yield lightly to whole-hand palm pressure (the way ripe avocadoes do) and mangoes are an excellent source of Vitamin A, which is needed for proper growth, healthy eyes and protection from many forms of disease. Green mangoes contain smaller amounts of Vitamin A, but are still a decent source.

Mangoes are high in Vitamin C too. Vitamin C keeps your body tissues strong, helps you to use iron, is an anti-oxidant which aids in chemical metabolic actions. The amount of Vitamin C varies in different kinds of mangoes, but this time, a green mango usually has more than a ripe one.

Mangoes are best when picked ripe from the tree, but when picked still-green and almost-ripe, they will continue to ripen if they are kept in a cool, dry place. Once mangoes are fully ripe they must be eaten straight away or kept in a refrigerator for one day at most (real cold tends to make them start to rot, from the inside, so you don’t see it happening). Mangoes are a lovely mix of tart and sweet. Different varieties can have quite different flavors, so try several kinds to find your favorites.

Please enjoy the following recipes from www.fao.org .

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Mango Drink (called Otai in Tonga) 6  servings:

1 coconut – make sure it has no punctures or cracks
2 cups mashed, ripe mango
3 cups spring water

1. Crack the coconut, through one of the eyes at the base. Let the coconut water pour into a bowl.
2. Grate the white coconut flesh into the same bowl.
3. Mix 1 cup of the grated coconut with the mashed mango.
4. Add 3 cups of water to the left-over grated coconut, then mix thoroughly and squeeze out the cream through a strainer. (Hot water is best.) Let it cool down to warm.
5. Strain coconut cream into mango mixture and stir.
6. Serve cold.

In our markets, I would offer to shorten this process by using organic dried coconut and coconut water aseptic packs and a can of lite coconut “milk”, but the whole coconut will be cheaper. A green coconut (usually looks like a white cone, wrapped in plastic — and refrigerated in good stores) will be best.

Mangoes and coconut are alkaline foods and aid in detoxification of body tissues as well as helping to balance pH values in your tissues, too. Slightly alkaline pH is needed for good Health. You blood will rob other tissues in order to stay alkaline, but you must re-alkalize those tissues to regain and maintain Health.

Coconut has important medium-chain fatty acids, critical for sex hormone production and for protective cholesterol formation (yes, cholesterol is protective, in normal quantities).

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Green Mango Salad Relish 4 servings:

4 small green mangoes
1 ¼ cups coconut cream (use fresh green coconut flesh or use lite coconut canned milk)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Wash, peel and grate the mangoes.
2.  Mix the coconut cream and lemon juice or vinegar in a bowl.
3.  Add the grated mango and chopped onion and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4.  Leave to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

You could also use this as a relish with fish, or as a base to add on top of greens, especially frisee endive, would be nice.

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Coconut Dressing — makes half a liter:

1¾ cups thick coconut cream
¼ cup lemon, lime or orange juice (or a combo)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 finely chopped chilli
1 finely chopped green onion

NOTE: (I would add some finely minced cilantro, right at serving, not before, as it oxidizes quickly and flavors change)

Mix all ingredients together and serve with cooked fish, meat or shellfish, or as a dip or dressing over vegetables. Prepare just enough to last for the day. Use any left-overs to cook as part of the liquid for dry beans or rice, or add to “cream” a soup at the last moment, after pureeing the veggies.

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See Meg’s Asian Slaw recipe made especially for us at:
https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/budget-diabetic-recipes-1/ It is delicious!

Coconut and mango are an excellent natural pairing. Enjoy.

Best to all — Em

P.S. Please enjoy more of my archived articles and recipes by using the Titles Archive tab on the upper Navigation Bar. Please share this article on your favorite Web 2.0 site. Thanks!

(c)2009 Em https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com

Please respect my copyright. If you would like to use my article or quote from it, just include my copyright citation and website location information in your Footnotes or Reference section. Thanks!

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“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

Yes, the economy is tough, but you can’t let your Health suffer! So, here’s a  recipe that has high nutrition and is reasonably priced — using fresh foods and stable, multi-use pantry items.

This is from my really adventurous friend, Meg, who is a great cook, too!

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Meg’s Asian Slaw

copyright 2009 Em https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com Meg's Asian Slaw
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For the salad vegetables:

1 package (12 oz) Coleslaw Mix – green and red cabbage  and carrot –  all shredded

1 baby bok choy, leaves julienned and stalk diced finely or shredded

1C pea shoots, washed and shaken dry, then chopped *

1 yellow mango (preferred)  or regular type – washed, peeled and diced small

For Dressing:

3T warm water

3T agave nectar sytup

3T lemon juice

3T Asian fish sauce (Thai = Nam Pla)

1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped

1 – 2 t red pepper flakes

1T organic sesame oil

Dissolve eveything in warm water.

Topping:

2 oz. per person canned  skinless salmon (preferably wild-caught, from Trader Joe’s)

OR

2 oz. per person tuna (can only use 2x a month and once a month for kids, and none for lactating or pregnant women — due to mercury levels)

AND

optional – add avocado cubes tossed in lemon juice, especially for vegetarians

Toss all the veggies together, and moisten well with dressing. Keep the fish separate and give each person their 2oz. as an estimate of the whole. Place fish on top or mix in.

Serve. Make sure the fish sauce and sesame oil are returned to the refrigerator once opened.

* pea shoots can be purchased at good Asian groceries. You can substitute any other sprouts, but pea shoots are relatively inexpensive.

Serves 4 – as a light meal

Add more, different veggies (or double the same ones) and double the dressing if you need more portions. It will work well for left-overs, too, for a couple of days in the refrigerator. It doesn’t just wilt, eventhough it’s already been dressed, in fact it tasted even better the next day.

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Notes about the ingredients:

Agave – a low glycemic, natural sweetener  (doesn’t make blood sugar rise).

Lemon juice – Vitamin C source and an alkalizing food.

Fish Sauce – fermented anchovy base, and has many nutritious enzymes. Used for thousands of years in Asia and in Roman times. No fish is actually eaten, just the liquid rich in enzymes.

Garlic – anti-bacterial, anti-viral, blood-thinner – if fresh.

Hot red pepper flakes – stimulates metabolism.

Sesame Oil – an Omega-6 oil, so use with caution (there’s already way too many Omega-6s in usual diets), but in this dish, we are getting Omega-3’s to balance it (from the fish and avocado), so enjoy the great flavor.

You could also sprinkle the salad with white (and black) sesame seed — which are very high in calcium, if you grind them.

OTHER seeds: you could add more protein with hemp seeds or ground flax seeds, too.

Cabbages – red has lots more anti-oxidants. I like deep green savoy cabbage too, but it’s not in the mixes and has a short season. Cabbage can be used moderately, as it tends to depress the thyroid (and therefore metabolism), but we speeded metabolism with red pepper to offset some of this. Cabbages are very nutritious — good, inexpensive vitamin C source in winter. Cabbages are also helpful to your liver, and aid detoxification.

Baby Bok Choy – a deep green leafy vegetable with more of the goodness only deep green leafies have. Same botanical family as cabbages, so those benefits, yet again.

Carrots – Beta-carotene source to help eyesight. All diabetics need to protect their eyes. This will be made into Vitamin A in your body.

Mango – the yellow ones are more tart. The globular ones have more sweetness. I used the tart one, for glycemic reasons and flavor balance, but either is OK, and the red-yellow globular ones are easier to find. Mango is a great help to digestion (adding more important enzymes)  and it adds more beta-carotene to turn into Vitamin A, as there aren’t as many carrots as I’d like in these coleslaw mixes.

Pea Shoots or Sprouts – incredible nutrition powerhouses, especially for enzymes, but also all vitamins and many minerals.

Fish – brain food from Omega-3s (and they also help many other body parts). Use tuna very infrequently, as noted above, due to high levels of mercury. If canned salmon is too expensive for you, then use canned mackerel, which is high high Omega-3 fish which is very inexpensive.

Avocado – optional – great value. High in healthy Omega-3 fats, for vegetarians.

This recipe will help with detoxification as you will learn when you see another version of an Asian Cabbage Slaw from Dr. Andrew Weil, MD at:

https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/diabetics-detox-your-liver-part-1/

This recipe is easy to prepare and even though 2 ounces of animal protein may not sound like much, you have to remember that all fruits and vegetables and seeds (and nuts) have protein, too. How do you think the largest animals on earth exist as vegetarians!

This is a perfect recipe to get your children involved in helping in the kitchen and if you pair this up with a movie your teens will like,  later, then hopefully you can make some good quality family time making the food, sitting to talk at the table and then watching the movie. It’s important for kids of all ages to learn about the nutrition of their food as well as how to make food. Pre-diabetes is rampant in kids and even more so in teens. You have to be the teacher here!

And, this is a great diabetic recipe to take for lunch at work, too. Fill up on the healthy veggies and with a no-mayo based dressing, this is a lot safer to take with you, as the weather warms.

Fill up on a wide variety of veggies – aim for at least 16 different kinds a day, like the Japanese do. Most Americans don’t even get the 5 the government is encouraging. Is it any wonder so many people are ill?

Well, when you may lose your job or health insurance or you already have, then the best thing to do is put your money into healthy food. If you can better your Health, or at least maintain it, that’s the BEST thing you can do! I speak from experience on that.

You have to be bold in Life! Take control of your own destiny as much as possible. Be independent. Most importantly, think independently. I wanted also to acknowledge and honor the great rebirth and growth of Mandi’s independence on “The Biggest Loser”. She shows that each of us can find the will to endure, at whatever challenge faces us. Use the tools you have at your disposal, and make yourself a winner, in all that matters to you most.

Best to all — Em

Please share this with your favorite Web 2.0 site.

Please read more in the Title Archive on the uopper naviagation bar.

You can subscribe to my blog’s RSS feeds on the side-bar and get automatically updated when I post (usually once a week).

Thanks for the words of encouragement from several of you have written to me at About Me.   And, there are a couple of people I need to respond to. Will try to soon.

(c)2009 Em https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com

If you would like to share my article or quote from it, please respect my copyright and include my copyright citation and website address in your footnotes or reference section. Thanks!

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“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

Oh my! What an exposé! Just how safe is our food supply? I don’t have faith any more that we really know. The government can dig-deep into our grandchildren’s Future to suddenly provide irresponsible banks, bankers and Wall Street honchos with trillions in bail-outs, but it could never “find” the money to re-hire (and increase hiring) for properly-trained food scientists to be FDA food inspectors in domestic and international venues. It’s a scandal. And, there are not any plans to change it soon.

The latest debacle with peanuts and salmonella in Georgia just highlight the real problems with lack of inspection by superiorly trained inspectors, laws with real clout and mandatory correction ability or else plant closure.

In reading the current New York Times article, I’m even more disgusted. If you read my About Me page, you will see that I graduated from one of America’s 2 foremost Universities in Nutrition (and mine also has very heavy curricula in Food Safety; I assume the other school does too, but I can only speak for my own university). I took a class in Food Technology Safety and maybe that’s why I am SO concerned!

America has been lax. The Republicans kowtow to Big Business, which wants the bottom-line to boom, at all costs. The politicians gut regulations in return for campaign contributions, and leave all of us at risk. And, the biggest business players make sure they own both sides of the aisle, but the Republicans seem far too willing to cut regulatory laws (more so than Democrats do).

Either way, there’s NOT independence of inspectors with clout; NOT enough support for Inspection; NOT an increase in Inspection of foreign food-stuffs, especially Chinese, before any is ever used in our food.

I have written about the worst abusers, the Chinese, before, but when one country gets away with it, others soon follow. I know it causes practical problems to say an American lab has to test all foreign products before American manufacturers get to use them, but that’s really what has to happen. You need to lobby Congress and your state legislature about this, because the elderly, the young, pregnant women and infants and the chronically ill are most at risk.

The Times article explains:

“With government inspectors overwhelmed by the task of guarding the nation’s food supply, the job of monitoring food plants has in large part fallen to an army of private auditors …

“The contributions of third-party audits to food safety is the same as the contribution of mail-order diploma mills to education,” said Mansour Samadpour, a Seattle consultant who has worked with companies nationwide to improve food safety. …

“Audits are not required by the government, but food companies are increasingly requiring suppliers to undergo them as a way to ensure safety and minimize liability. The rigor of audits varies widely and many companies choose the cheapest ones, which cost as little as $1,000, in contrast to the $8,000 the Food and Drug Administration spends to inspect a plant.” …

“Typically, the private auditors inspect only manufacturing plants, not the suppliers that feed ingredients to those facilities. Nor do they commonly test the actual food products for pathogens, even though gleaming production lines can turn out poisoned fare.” …

“As in the Georgia peanut case, auditors are also usually paid by the food plants they inspect, which some experts said could deter them from cracking down. Yet food companies often point to an auditor’s certificate as a seal of approval.” …  

I encourage you to learn more about safe food practices, in your own kitchen and commercially. You should check out your supermarkets and see how people are handling the foods everywhere in the market. Check whether the cold stuff is cold enough and the hot is hot (from the deli, etc.). What is in the case next to one another, especially in the meat and deli cases? Do the food handlers also handle money? Do they change their gloves, after touching  money or non-food surfaces?

Make sure you use the sanitary wipes to clean off your basket before putting your food where raw meat or a baby’s butt or toddlers’ shoes can have been!

Ask about sanitation in your favorite restaurants by trying to get the city Sanitarian’s reports. My state used to have an A, B, C and F rating for restaurants that they were required to post prominently. But there was a hue and cry, and now it is reduced to posting Pass and Pending / Failed. This is NOT sufficient. No-one is going to change this if the Public doesn’t care. There’s a HUGE difference between A and C, let alone F, in the real world of food.

Yes, I know it’s one more worry. But, you need to be pro-active. Learn to cook as much as you can from scratch. Use undamaged, well-cared for, fresh food. Buy only what you need so you can use it immediately or soon  enough to still be nutritious and safe.

Wash fresh produce VERY well. (Most farmers still don’t provide good sanitation for field workers, and there’s always animal doing their bathroom jobs just anywhere, too).

Make sure your refrigerator and freezer are at proper temperature range (Taylor makes great thermometers).

Cook animal foods to their proper internal temperatures. Minimum for meats as steaks or roasts should be 155F, in my opinion, and ground meats are even higher (160F minimum for beef) these days. Any good cookbook will tell you or you can look online for the Safe Food information from the US Government.  There’s a lot of useful information for consumers on the government sites.

I absolutely disagree with the use of “Irradiation” for any reason and the law should require labeling of all genetically-modified (GMO) and / or irradiated food. Basically, irradiated food is NOT “food” any more and neither are Frankenfoods.

Check canned goods for any swelling and check there are no dents near any seam of the can (better NOT to use dented cans at all, but some of us can’t be that choosy, especially when supermarket clerks pack things improperly).  It’s best to make sure you buy undented cans the first time and watch how they are being packed.

Make sure all bottled foods have a safe-top that is sucked in towards the food i.e. the little center region of the lid is not raised.

Shop for all the cold, freezer, fresh food and hot food last. Do any non-refrigerated produce and staples in the center of the market first. I also use the frozen food packages to help keep my refrigerator foods cold in the basket, and I place all the fresh produce stuff from the refrigerators together in their bags to help each other stay cooler.

Check all cheese is free of mold. I prefer to not buy re-wrapped cheese, but that’s often hard to find except for a few manufacturers. Wash all cheese packages with soap and water before opening; dry them and place in a clean container in the refrigerator.

In your own kitchen, always have clean hands when you touch any food and keep raw meat untensils, mats and surfaces free from use by anything else. Expect to wash your hands tens of times during a meal’s preparation and keep washing food prep surfaces, too. There are NO short-cuts.

Check all shelf dates and organize your pantry so oldest will be used first and in the fridge or freezer the older stuff will be where you choose it first.

Do NOT use any left-over food which is older than 4 days and nothing should have been “left-out” during or after a meal for more than about 90 minutes, even less in hot weather. Download the 1 page Quick Sheet at: Limit To Left-overs

As the economy worsens, I expect there to be a lot more cutting-corners in all kinds of businesses, and who’s watching! So you have to be your own first-line of defense, and preparing your own meals will be safer if you learn more and follow the safety guidlines you now know.

“Even when audits do turn up problems, it is up to the discretion of food companies to fix them. ” …

…”Costco, Kraft Foods and Darden Restaurants are among a group of food manufacturers and other companies that use detailed plans to prevent food safety hazards. They also supplement third-party audits with their own inspections and testing of ingredients and plant surfaces for microbes.”

 Reward those who are responsible and conscientious manufacturers and business people.  Work hard to get more local, state and national laws in place, and demand country of origin legislation. Decide what countries you are willing to accept food from (you’d be shocked at the huge amount of fresh food that also ships from China). Learn lots more!

These food borne illnesses are NOT benign. If you learn what I did in my Food Technology class, you’d be fastidious, as I try to be! These bacteria kill; they maim; they change people’s lives unnecessarily. It’s often a lot more than just a day or so in the bathroom. Please regard this as a BIG wake-up call.

REFERENCES:

https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com/2007/05/01/time-for-a-food-fight-with-imported-foods-dangers-have-we-been-hung-out-to-dry/

CDCFood Safety

Food Safety – Cold Food Storage Longevity Chart

Food Safety Inspection Service

US Food and Drug Administration Main Safety Portal

more specific advice by population groups

US Department of Agriculture

USDA more specifics

Food Financial Assistance Information for various Food Programs

New York Times article

just for starters. I may add more.

Please read more at my Title Archive tab on the upper Navigation Bar.

Best to all — Em

(c)2009 Em https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com

If you desire to quote from or use my article, please respect my copyright, and include my copyright citation and website address in your footnotes or Reference section. Thanks!

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