Monday, July 30, 2012

Please DONT pass the tofu!

During the 9 days before Tisha B' Av, I thought I would go crazy from not eating the proper amount of protein my body needed, happily today I was able to satisfy my hunger. Being on a Paleo type diet during that time wasnt easy.

I know many people were eating tofu in addition to eggs, legumes and fish. In Israel Tofu comes in all matter of forms from famous companies such as Tivol. Admittedly, I used to buy A LOT of this convenience food in the form of hot dogs, burgers and corn schnitzel.

For the past 3, almost 4 years we haven't touched that stuff, but unfortunately it seeps into my oldest son's afternoon lunch which is provided at school. I really don't understand it at all. I mean when you price it out it's no cheaper than real meat or chicken. But because it's so loaded with MSG they know the kids will eat it. Many people I know mistake these things for health food because anything with tofu in it must be healthy right? They even add it as filler to frozen hamburger here in Israel (check the label!)and put a little green leaf symbol on it so you think it's healthier than pure red meat, "why, its lower in that nasty saturated fat right"? Well consider this before you grab your next serving of soy, whether in the form of meatless meats, soy milk, soy formula, or even straight tofu... most soy beans, about 94%, as of 2011 are genetically modified or "GMO", that means the seeds have been adulterated in a lab so they have a self acting pesticide that protects it from infestation, which means really that you are also ingesting the pesticide and herbicide, almost all corn is like this too.
Here is a link about soy and children

Also Dr. Mercola talks about soy extensively, here is one article

I know there are several articles on the subject from all angles out there but one thing I want to bring up that is the most disturbing is that soybean consumption has been traditionally used for one thing... suppressing sexual desires. It is a known fact that monks were fed tofu to make them "remain monks" so to speak, not to have any inappropriate thoughts, so I can imagine what it's doing to our kids! Isoflavones are estrogen mimickers. No wonder our daughters are reaching puberty earlier than ever. I wonder if this has any correlation with the rise in infertility in our populations.

Everything is from Hashem but we also have to do our hishtadlut and guard our health. Please consider this before you buy those convenience foods. Soybean oil is lurking in almost all processed foods as is soy flour which acts as a dough conditioner in most store bought breads. It increases shelf life. I had a loaf of whole wheat bread that actually lasted in the cupboard for over two weeks before it was attacked by mold, and you know it was still as soft as the day I bought it. This may be a boon for some but it made me wonder if I was feeding my kids "frankenfood"? You will never have homemade bread last like that unless it has some soy flour and some hydrogenated fat in it.

Many people argue that soy is a traditional food and Asians have been eating it for a long time. That's only a small point. Asians eat it as a condiment and not as a staple protein. In the west it is eaten as a protein replacement instead of a little accent once in a while. Also the beans have been so adulterated that it cant even come close to the fermented soy products that Asian cultures consumed. These foods like nato, miso, tempe and aged soy sauce are far different than GMO junk foods that many people eat daily.

So the message here is soy is NOT a health food and read your labels because it's popping up in almost everything.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Shabbat Shalom, a recipe too!

It's Friday morning, Shabbat is coming... the blessed end to the week. Winding down but still so much to do. Of course the blog takes priority over making challah right? ;). It's ok these are long Erev Shabbatim it will all get done. I have been feeling very unmotivated the past few days because of the Hamsin we are having here, it was 102F on Wednesday, and yesterday was up there too. It's supposed to really break tomorrow so I will be looking forward to enjoying the food I will prepare today without sweating over my plate.

The 9 days to Tisha B'Av has just begun, so there are many restrictions as to what we can enjoy now. We are mourning the destruction of our Temple in Jerusalem, so we do not swim, cut hair, bathe for enjoyment, listen to music, have weddings, etc.

We also do not eat meat.

This is presenting some anxiety for me actually. I'm wondering what exactly will I be serving my family this week? I am so reliant on chicken and meat as staples that I'm not sure what will be for 9 days straight and 3 meals a day to provide that protein. There are basically fish, eggs, and beans. I dont eat beans. But my kids enjoy them. Actually Shabbat you are supposed to eat meat even during the 9 days because mourning isn't allowed on the sabbath. So really its 3 less meals...

During the week I will need to get creative with casseroles and fish dishes. I will order a large quantity of salmon from the fresh fish market and some cheaper fish to supplement. I suppose it's good to have a break and have something lighter. The focus is supposed to be on what we have lost.

So tonight my family will have Challah from spelt and whole wheat, I will make some dips, like techina, sun dried tomato spread, matbucha, and some green salads, also a coleslaw made with home made aioli mayo. Which I will be making in my Vitamix. But you dont have to. Also chicken and rice. The chicken will be prepared in a spontaneous way, because this is how I cook... without a plan and just go where my inspiration takes me.

Ailoi (From Mother Earth News, doubled)

(photo credit:On Da House)

2 egg yolk (preferably from organic, pastured chickens)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, diced
Pinch salt
1 twist freshly ground pepper
1.5 cups extra virgin olive oil
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
Fresh herbs, chopped (optional)


In a food processor, blend all the ingredients except the oil for about 1 minute, then slowly — very slowly! — add the oil in a stream and continue to process until creamy and smooth. Adjust seasonings as needed, and feel free to add a pinch of cayenne or some chopped herbs.

For the coleslaw I just mix with the aioli with a little more lemon juice and some fresh cracked black pepper and a little Herba Mare seasoning to julienned cabbage and carrots, it is also a wonderful mayo for potato salad. I actually love it on anything!

Shabbat shalom!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Food vs. Vitamin

I have an arsenal of supplements that I take partly because of my wonky thyroid. I prefer to get my vitamins and minerals from food, and I try to eat a variety of fresh whole foods to do that. But sometimes you have to wonder if the food your eating is really as high in vitamins and minerals as the charts claim.

These days, farming practices vary hugely and you never know the growing conditions and if the soil is being attended to properly to live up to those numbers. Is the soil where your fruit and vegetables are being grown mineral rich and enriched with compost and organic minerals, like eggshells for added calcium for example? You really never know unless you know where all of your produce is coming from and you actually visit the farm and speak to the growers. Thats assuming you are buying organic produce. If not you will probably never know and should assume there is not even crop rotation and you are probably getting a lot of watery tasteless produce. I think flavor is a good indication.

I listened to another Real Food Summit last night, Paul Check spoke about where, how and why's of buying organic food. He spoke about buying local in the farmers market and speaking with the growers. Asking questions. Here in Israel we have a shuk, an overwhelming hodgepodge of vendors selling everything from produce to baked goods to clothing. There really isn't anything that I know of that's organic there and I actually dont know where these vendors get their produce at all. I have yet to see an organic farmers market here in Israel, Maybe someone will think of it in Tel Aviv. For now I buy from a woman who organizes produce and groceries, all organic from many organic growers around Israel. So far I am pretty happy with it and I'm going purely on assumption that it's more nutritious. It definitely tastes better.

Back to the point, how do you use this system to ensure that what your getting has exactly "x"minerals and "x" vitamins encased in the fruit or vegetable without a lab test kit? If I know that I must have 400mc of selenium a day to support the thyroid I want to make sure thats exactly what I'm getting. I have decided to take a supplement to make sure. I used to eat 4 Brazil nuts a day and that's fine if you have no pressing issue but just want to try and get everything from whole food, get your iodine from sea weed etc.

Some people however cant rely of the inconsistencies of our modern growing conditions and need to know they are getting exactly what they need.
I am very big into getting in the sun for vitamin D and feel its important to eat those food sources of vitamin D as well, like eggs, liver, etc. But I think taking Cod Liver oil is an important factor too (For equal A&D ratio). And if absolutely necessary to take a Lanolin sourced Vitamin D supplement. I also take B12 since my levels had dropped dangerously low from being vegan. These are not things to take lightly.If you feel bad have your vitamin and mineral levels tested. A simple blood test can tell you a lot. So in general I think its a combination of a good diet go ahead and make sure you are eating techina for calcium and sea weed for iodine but if your levels are low in anything it might not be enough. Some people have absorption issues especially if there is an underlying gut issue like celiac or leaky gut. Weigh it out.

If you have a b12 count of below 100 like I did you really dont have a choice. I went for shots. Even though at first I felt defeated I got over it very quickly once I started feeling normal again. Also if you are deficient in any vitamin it might be a good idea to find out why. There are correlations to many of these issues having to do with absorption and underlying health issues. Like thyroid, celiac, etc. A lot of investigation, listening to experts in the field of alternative medicine and safe experimentation is what I do. Try and get levels up with whole foods and if you are stuck then try to buy the best supplement possible.

Unfortunately the planet that we were given to care for has been deeply abused. You have to check everything. We're all on a journey to feeling our best, with Hashem's help we will all have success.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Finally Found A Name!

Whew! Well I think this is it, I finally found a name for this blog that I'm happy with and that sums it all up. I really hope I can keep it up. The reason I decided to focus on the "Kosher-ness" of this blog is because I think a.) There isn't really any one else talking about Jews and Homesteading and b.) I think there are plenty of bloggers out there talking about all other types of homesteading! So there is a gap to fill. I may not always have profound advice, but I hope to share my journey and how I'm managing my aspiring homestead. My homestead is in a beginning and dream stage. I'm in a relatively small space and am dreaming of moving to a larger property. In the meantime I'm trying to implement certain ideas as they are relevant to my space. I hope whoever reads this gains something and I hope I can teach what I know.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Listening to the Real Food Summit

Sign up here for free! I'm listening to Chris Kresser talk about Omegas now while I post this and earlier listened to Joel Salatin talk about farming.
I've been reading the section in Weston A Price's "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" about the Native Gaelic communities in Scotland, Ireland and Wales. As far as I know, through my family tradition, my ancestors come from Scotland. The natives of certain parts of Scotland traditionally ate oats and sea food. Certain areas had very little fertile soil to grow vegetables and raise cattle to graze on. Even despite a lack of dairy, meat and fresh vegetables they were thriving. The majority had no cavities, only 1 in 100 in many of the populations, as long as they were eating their traditional diet. As soon as certain populations had access to imported food, maybe from a general store or brought in on the boats, there were cavities and tooth loss. Dr. Price mentions the main culprits white flour, sugar, jams, and canned goods.
There are opinions that one should consume the diet of their ancestors, while I don't "O" blood type (I dont follow the diet) but I do believe that a type "O" needs to have red meat. I feel very satisfied and level when I consume red meat a few times a week. Variety is key. I also notice I must eat veggies. I do well on meat & veggies and 1 cup of white rice a day. Maximum two pieces of fruit. I found the most sound advice from the last two books I've read, no more than 100g of carbs a day if you have blood sugar issues, which I do. That means if your fasting glucose is higher than 89. Which mine is.
This is hard to do though because I love fruit especially in my smoothies. Anyway this advice is from Kate Shanahan. I LOVE the advice of Julia Ross in the "Diet Cure". She has a "Diet Cure" Plate diagram in her book which really simplifies the whole thing and she gives more advice for those trying to lose weight... Nuts! No more than 3 times a week (oops!) and only two fruits a day. This diet is a zero sugar diet. I find it absolutely necessary! So many times I was "off sugar" and took that one fatal bite, it is so hard to go back to your rules once you allow for "just one bite"! I feel it too, I can feel the sugar hitting me, so I know I have a problem with it. When I say sugar, in my case, I mean honey or date syrup, and the occasional dark chocolate. I haven't intentionally had white sugar or even raw cane sugar at all in a very long time, but in the end its all the same sweet is addictive! I used to have strategies to talk myself out of sugar indulgences. Mostly I would think about weight gain, or diabetes or even G-d forbid the C word, these are all higher risk when one consumes sugar regularly. So whatever works to stop the impulse! Your health is everything.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Smart Thinking!

I rarely ever pat myself on the back, in fact I'm often told I don't give my self enough credit, OK well this time I'll admit I did good.

I live in Israel where we are lucky to receive imported products. Often at temporary availability and most of the time, just when I start to love something it is no longer available. This happened with Aroy-D Coconut milk in large Tetra Paks. Those were good times, I was making coconut ice cream, coconut hot chocolate (was that the most awesome thing.... oh yeah!) Those good times came to a crashing halt though, and we can no longer get that product. I think some of these places do it as punishment, but that's for another type of blog and I wont rant here. ;)

So I am having to come up with ingenious ways of making my own everything which is really how I became a homesteader in the first place... well aspiring because I dont have chickens... yet.

So the Vitamix, my 6th blender in 10 years, and hopefully the last one I need to buy in the next 10 or more years has been coming in handy on the ol' homestead. I have successfully made homemade coconut cream in exactly 1 minute! And searching through iHerb, weighing out if it's worth to buy coconut milk on-line led me to realize that I could just use the coconut cream to make coconut milk. Sure enough this is true.

To make cream (or butter) Basically you need to pour a bag of coconut flakes (Dessicated Coconut) into your blender, start low and walk it up to high and press down with your tamper to quickly make your coconut cream, no need to go longer than a minute because it will get really hot. Store this in a glass jars and in the summer time stir the oil back in before using.

To make milk put about a cup of filtered water into the blender with two (or more) heaping Tbsp of coconut cream and blend on medium speed. No need to strain it!

Why not just use dessicate coconut and strain, well I think this is wasteful, what do you do with the left over pulp? I have dehydrated it again and thrown it into cakes or tried to make some sort of gluten free dessert with it and it's like "eh" not really the house favorite.

So this way you have your coconut cream ready for eating from the jar or a great recipe, and it's ready to go, and if you need coconut milk its much faster and fresh when you need it. You could even just dollop the cream into your next smoothie and add any liquid and its tropical paradise!

I want to give some ideas in my next post on how to use coconut cream, and even oil and milk. I'm sure if you're a foodie you know a lot but I like to put ideas out there and get the ol' gears workin'