Monthly Archives: January 2007

Nourishing Traditions book review

images.jpgEver since I picked up the Nourishing Traditions book it quickly climbed my list of most important books I’ve read (and will shortly own) and I’ve had a hard time putting it down.  I thought it must be a good book because I waited for it for almost 6 months from the library, but the wait was worth it, and I think you should read it too.  After reading half of it I’ve already noticed how little I knew about food in general, the history of food and why people ate certain foods, nutritionally, rather than just for the taste.
The book is a great mix of medical information, stories from medical studies, information from old cookbooks/textbooks and a list of recipes.  On top of all that, the authors take a great deal of time to explain to you what they think and why they think it, and they back it up with historical examples of why what they are suggesting you should eat works as good fuel for people.  The recipes seem very interesting to make and they have quite a few recipes using ingredients that I haven’t seen a lot of other cookbooks even touch.  Furthermore, they tell you how to make a ton of things, even condiments, in a manner that most increases the nutrition of the item you are making.  The focus is always on maximizing the nutrient value of the item to be eaten, with taste being a close second or tied with maximum nutritional value as number 1. 
This book is a lot like Alton Brown’s cookbooks where he explains how the cooking action works (whether braising, roasting, grilling, etc) and then he gives you some recipes for how to use the cooking method to it’s full potential when you’re cooking tasty meals.  If you like how he works you’ll like this one.  Also, his cookbooks are just great cookbooks too.
One prevailing theme throughout this book is the focus on maximizing the nutrient content of the food you’re eating.  When a recipe introduces a new food item the author places a side bar in place to inform you about the food item, why it’s important to eat it in the specific form they have mentioned, and what nutrients you derive from eating the food item in that form.
If you are searching for a new book to read this winter I think this would be a great one to pick up and read. 
One caution I would give you is that if you haven’t already made the switch from eating processed/modified foods to natural whole foods you may not be ready for a book like this.  This book focuses on using products that are currently demonized by our food industry and medical profession, and if you aren’t ready to go against what is considered “normal” in our society you might not be ready for something like this.  This book recommends that you drink raw, whole milk.  If the idea of eating anything other than regular old skim isn’t something you would entertain than you might not be ready to read a book like this.  If you can’t fathom the idea of giving up white bread or sugar, or at least reducing their consumption and focusing on whole grains as much as possible this book might be tough to read. (However, if you want great explanations for why those foods are considered better for a person to eat than other refined foods this book provides great information and analysis on why they are better for you, and it does it by focusing on the nutrition of the food and telling you what biological need food in this specific form fills for our body.)
I can tell you that eating whole, natural foods, even if they are demonized, sure makes you feel a lot better.  I have less aches and pains, our family hasn’t really been sick with a transmittable sickness this whole winter, and having more pep is certainly better for me, even if my weight never changes.  It’s easy to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables when you eat this way and I can tell a difference in the way my body “runs” if I stray from this method too much.
Not to mention the food tastes freaking great.



Strange night

I did something a little strange tonight.  After writing this story for GG I decided to take some action about helping Big Blue get more green.

 I found a suggestion spot on their website where I sent them a simple note.

If you gave each of your 1.8 million employees 1 CFL bulb for personal use you would save the world 1300 lbs of green house emissions per bulb.  This wsam-walton.jpgould amount to 2.3 billion lbs of emissions saved per year at a cost to you of about $5 million, assuming you can get a bulb at a cost of $2.25 per bulb.  Sometimes small actions have a big impact.

I don’t know if they will ever act on it, but that is a good display of how quickly the law of large numbers works.

With that return on investment I think Mr. Sam would be proud.

Groovy Green posts

I’ve got a couple posts up at GG if you haven’t traveled over to see them.

Click here for the GG blog and scroll to find mine.



I was able to shop at the grocery store today by myself today which allows me to linger a little longer and look over more things. Even with all the great progress that’s been made bringing more wholesome foods to mainstream grocery stores, there’s still a long way to go.

At my local store they have a health food section, which is all the Organic, Gluten Free, Free Range, etc items. The problem I see is that most of the items for sale are simply rebranded things they already sold. Aisle after aisle of prepackaged ORGANIC food. Mac and cheese, soups, stocks, chips, crackers, cookies, flours, etc.

Call me crazy but eating organic chips ahoy cookies doesn’t seem all that much more healthy to me than eating non organic ones.

Personally, I think I’d rather see a section devoted more to local foods that are available than this “Health” Food section that’s mostly not. Although I did pick up some dried sea kelp which I’m anxious to try out in a few things to see how it tastes.

The main reason I spent so much time there is that I’ve finally found a source for local milk that is extremely close to raw. At least it’s a close as I can get in Iowa without owning the cow myself. (It’s still illegal to sell raw milk in Iowa and I haven’t found a cow share program yet to participate in.)

It’s a little outfit down in Kalona, IA called Farmer’s All Natural Creamery. Through their company I can get vat pasteurized milk from local Amish and Mennonite farmers where the cows are pastured and the farms have been in the families for a long, long time. Vat pasteurized means they slowly bring the milk up to the pasteurization level of 145 degrees rather than doing it super fast like most places. These other places will even go so high as to exceed 250 degrees with their milk to flash pasteurize it. They sell it under the local grocery store’s brand of milk. You’ll know the place. The one with the helpful smile in every aisle.

But what I really wanted was some heavy whipping cream so that I could make my own butter. Now, since the milk isn’t homogenized there is some cream on the top of it, and I could save that up, but I drink so little milk that it would take me weeks and I just don’t think the cream will make it that long.

But, they didn’t have any cream. They didn’t have any organic whipping cream at all. So I had to forget about making my own butter for this week. I’ve got the number for the marketing person at the company, when I get a chance I’ll talk to her to see where they sell their cream so I can get some. They make butter too but why buy it when I can make it myself?

How to tell you’re getting older

How can you tell your getting older?  You take some pain pills after a hard workout.
How can you tell your getting even older than that?  You take some before and after the workout, just to make sure nothing hurts DURING the workout.
I’m a 3 before and 3 after kind of guy.  But only when I play basketball, or for some sick reason, go jogging.
C’est la vie.

If it stinks it’s Iowa

So we’re crusing down the highway tonight going to someone’s house for a little ice skating.

Child #1 looks outside and sees a factory spewing out a lot of steam/smoke/crap.

He starts asking me questions about it.  What is it?  What’s it do?  Etc.

I explain to him that it’s an ethanol plant and explain what ethanol does, how it works, etc.  He’s pretty sharp and understands a lot of things.  This is easy to understand because I relate it to our corn stove and how we burn corn to make heat whereas they use corn to make gasoline for cars, etc.

Then it’s quiet for a few minutes.

“Dad, that ethanol plant smells awful.”

“Yes it does.  Yes it does. ”


It’s not a bike, it’s a surrey!


Here is a picture of the three pretty people sitting in a surrey.

I don’t know if your familiar with a surrey or not so I’ll explain it. A surrey is basically a 4 wheeled bicycle with 2 (or 4) seats for pedalers and two smaller seats up front for kids. They have one gear and are mostly used to cruise the beachfront. I also think they are made of solid lead as they are incredibly heavy.

We rented one on vacation and decided to use it to see a little of the city and pedaled it around the neighborhoods by the beach. We also took it through a yard so we did a little off-roading. I don’t recommend that you take these things off the beachfront as any small hill, rut or pebble makes them extremely hard to move at all. They also have the turning radius of a mack truck.

When we got done riding it I was cooked. But the kids loved it and I got in a little pedal time.