The Truth About Fats IV: Hydrogenation And Trans Fats

In a previous article I elaborated on vegetable oil extractions with the description of the solvent-plus-high-heat method. Today I will venture further and explain the concept of hydrogenated oil as one of the leading causes of cancer and heart disease in the US. What is hydrogenation? Hydrogenation is the process through which vegetable oils - which are typically liquid at room temperature - are turned into solid fats by the addition of hydrogen atoms. Manufactures accomplish this by mixing the sensitive vegetable oils with tiny particles of nickel oxide. The oil with its nickel catalyst is then subjected to hydrogen gas in a high-pressure, high temperature reactor. Next, soap-like emulsifiers and starch are squeezed into the mixture to give it a better consistency; the oil is yet again subjected to high temperatures when it is steam-cleaned. This removes it's unpleasant odor. Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, Page 14 Why the process of [...]

September 27th, 2012|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , |0 Comments

Homemade Lacto-Fermented Sour Pickles

People often ask me if I there's any snack I just can't get enough of. While I am interested in improving my health and learning to balance my diet, there is one food I would munch on any time: sour pickles. As a child, we had a large wooden barrel in the cellar that we would load with cucumbers in the Fall, in order to begin the lacto-fermentation process that would result in crisp, tangy sour pickles. We would  usually polish them off by April or so. When I came to the US, the pickles from the store were sorely disappointing. They tasted vinegary, the labels on the back listed ingredients I couldn't pronounce, and they even gave me heart burn. So I stopped eating pickles unless I had eight bucks to blow on a jar of Bubbies, which truth be told did not happen very often. Then, 3 years ago, I married [...]

September 18th, 2012|Categories: Recipes|Tags: , |28 Comments

Homemade Mayonnaise

Ingredients: 3 egg yolks 1/3 cup cold pressed sesame oil or macadamia oil (macadamia is preferred, but significantly more expensive) 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard 2 tsp lemon juice one pinch of salt Preparation: Beat egg yolks in a food processor along with mustard, salt, and lemon juice until pale and frothy. Slowly incorporate the oil while beating, preferably using your food processor's emulsifier (drizzle hole). Taste periodically for texture and flavor; stop before the taste of the oil becomes prominent (will vary individually with specific oils) or the texture becomes fluid.  Can be served immediately, but is best if chilled for at least an hour. Use within three days. Variations: Add cumin (to taste) to perfectly accent some lamb burgers.For simple Tartar sauce, mix two parts mayonnaise with one part finely diced lacto-fermented sour pickles, 1 additional tsp of lemon juice, and salt & pepper.For Thousand Island Dressing, i.e. "Special Sauce", use two parts mayonnaise, two parts ketchup, two parts [...]

September 11th, 2012|Categories: Recipes|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Healthy Backpacking Food: A Photo Essay

Every day thousands of avid backpackers hike into the woods seeking the opportunity relieve some of the stress of the fast-paced and complex technical civilization, discipline their bodies while reducing their luxuries, and be nurtured by the beauty and wisdom of the natural world. But unfortunately many of these same people, seeking to increase efficiency by cutting weight, prep time, complexity, and spoilage, end up polluting their bodies with junk food that actually saps their energy and makes them sick - not a healthy and refreshing experience. Why should a visit to nature be defiled by food-from-a-box? Partly, eating healthy on the trail presents difficulties. But mostly, this mistake is due to a well established culture within the backpacking community of relying on two things: 1) high-carb, "high-energy" foods like granola, dried fruit covered in sugar and vegetable oil, and instant pasta; 2) high-tec, pre-packaged snacks, like power bars and energy gels. By and large, these foods are terrible for you in any context, [...]

September 6th, 2012|Categories: Healthy Lifestyle|Tags: , |13 Comments

Truth About Fats III: The Story Behind Vegetable Oil

This post is dedicated to decoding vegetable oil labels and finding oils that offer healthy, living supplement of omega - 6 fatty acids. There are three major methods of extracting oils from nuts and seeds: the cold pressed method, the expeller method, and the solvent method. Oil Extraction Methods The Cold-Pressed Method The cold pressed method is the best method of extracting oil without oxidizing it. Most large companies will use heavy granite or stainless steel presses. While some heat is generated by the friction, it must remain below 120* F (49* C) in order to be labeled cold pressed in the US. These  parameters change when you purchase cold pressed oil from any of the countries in the European Union, where the limit is 80* F (27* C). If the heat goes above this temperature, the labels will say "pressed" as opposed to "cold pressed'. The lower the temperature, the more of [...]

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