Sesame: Consider the Source

I received a comment from John Grey about my post on Eat More Sesame. Based on the link he provided, I’ll be eating less tahini and more freshly ground sesame seeds. The information below is from RawVeg.info.

Tahini is a refined food, don’t use it. It’s made from ground peeled sesame seeds, the bran is missing. Sesame butter is made from ground whole brown sesame seeds. It’s a whole food, but not freshly made. Make your own sesame spread, fresh, by blending whole raw sesame seeds with water. If you do use sesame butter, be sure not to get the toasted kind. Sesame oil is a refined food, don’t use it. Beneficial substances are lost when oil is made: fiber, minerals, IP-6, etc. Chinese sesame oil is a refined food made from toasted sesame seeds, don’t use it. Use uncooked fresh whole foods.

Buying sesame seeds.
There are three types of sesame seeds: Brown, black and white.

White sesame seed is a refined food, similar to white rice. It starts out as whole brown sesame, then the outer
bran layer is removed. Don’t use it.
Brown sesame seed has a milder flavor and less antioxidants than the black seeds.
Black sesame seed has more antioxidants and a richer flavor. Black sesame has a reputation in both the Ayurveda and Chinese traditions as an anti-aging food.

Find a natural food store or co-op that sells black or brown sesame seeds in bulk. Buying from the bulk bins saves you money, and reduces consumption of throwaway plastic packaging. The black seeds are best, brown is next best.

Using sesame seeds.

Grind the seeds fresh shortly before using them. You can dry grind them in a blender, on the ‘Pulse’ setting. It only takes a few seconds. If you hold the ‘Pulse’ button down for too long, the ground seeds will cake together. If you put too many seeds in at once, they may cake together.
You can use a coffee grinder (but not one that’s been used for coffee, the taste will get in the food).
Hand-operated spice grinders are similar to a pepper grinder, but with a small glass jar on top.
Mortar and pestle is a traditional low-tech tool for grinding and blending.
Sprinkle the ground seeds over cereals, vegetable dishes, or fruit.

The Five Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat

Dr. Mercola: The following foods are so bad for your body that I really can’t see any reason to eat them. Not only do they have zero nutritional value, but they also give your body a healthy dose of toxins, which should make the idea of eating them really hard to swallow.

Doughnuts

Soda

French Fries (and Nearly All Commercially Fried Foods)

Chips

Fried Non-Fish Seafood

Link: The Five Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat

Doughnuts

Doughnuts are fried, full of sugar and white flour and most all varieties contain trans fat. Store-bought doughnuts are made up of about 35 percent to 40 percent trans fat.

An average doughnut will give you about 200 to 300 calories, mostly from sugar, and few other nutrients.

It’s too bad that Americans view doughnuts as a breakfast food as, nutritionally speaking, eating a doughnut is one of the worst ways to start off your day. It will throw off your blood sugar and won’t stay with you so you’ll be hungry again soon. You are better off eating no breakfast at all, or better yet grabbing a quick glass of Living Fuel.

Soda

One can of soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, 150 calories, 30 to 55 mg of caffeine, and is loaded with artificial food colors and sulphites. I can’t think of any good reason to ever have it. The diet varieties are also problematic as they are filled with harmful artificial sweeteners like aspartame.

Studies have linked soda to osteoporosis, obesity, tooth decay and heart disease, yet the average American drinks an estimated 56 gallons of soft drinks each year. Plus, drinking all that sugar will likely suppress your appetite for healthy foods, which pave the way for nutrient deficiencies.

Soft drink consumption among children has almost doubled in the United States over the last decade, which is not surprising considering that most school hallways are lined with soda-filled vending machines.

Schools often make marketing deals with leading soft drink companies such as Coca-Cola from which they receive commissions–based on a percentage of sales at each school–and sometimes a lump-sum payment, in exchange for their students’ health. School vending machines can increase the consumption of sweetened beverages by up to 50 or more cans of soda per student per year.

If you routinely drink soda–regular or diet–eliminating it from your diet is one of the simplest and most profound health improvements you can make.

French Fries (and Nearly All Commercially Fried Foods)

Potatoes are bad enough when consumed in their raw state, as their simple sugars are rapidly converted to glucose that raises insulin levels and can devastate your health. But when they are cooked in trans fat at high temperatures, all sorts of interesting and very unpleasant things occur.

Anything that is fried, even vegetables, has the issue of trans fat and the potent cancer-causing substance acrylamide.

Foods that are fried in vegetable oils like canola, soybean, safflower, corn, and other seed and nut oils are particularly problematic. These polyunsaturated fats easily become rancid when exposed to oxygen and produce large amounts of damaging free radicals in the body. They are also very susceptible to heat-induced damage from cooking. What is not commonly known is that these oils can actually cause aging, clotting, inflammation, cancer and weight gain. You can read the article "Secrets of the Edible Oil Industry" for more information.

It is theoretically possible to create a more "healthy" French fry if you cook it in a healthy fat like virgin coconut oil. Due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is extremely stable and is not damaged by the high temperatures of cooking. This is why coconut oil should be the only oil you use to cook with.

I am fond of telling patients that one French fry is worse for your health than one cigarette, so you may want to consider this before you order your next ‘Biggie’ order.

Chips

Most commercial chips, and this includes corn chips, potato chips, tortilla chips, you name it, are high in trans fat. Fortunately, some companies have caught on to the recent media blitz about the dangers of trans fat and have started to produce chips without trans fat.

However, the high temperatures used to cook them will potentially cause the formation of carcinogenic substances like acrylamide, and this risk remains even if the trans fat is removed.

Fried Non-Fish Seafood

This category represents the culmination of non-healthy aspects of food. Fried shrimp, clams, oysters, lobsters, and so on have all the issues of trans fat and acrylamide mentioned above, plus an added risk of mercury.

Seafood is loaded with toxic mercury and shellfish like shrimp and lobsters can be contaminated with parasites and resistant viruses that may not even be killed with high heat. These creatures, considered scavenger animals, consume foods that may be harmful for you.

Eating these foods gives you a quadruple dose of toxins–trans fat, acrylamide, mercury and possibly parasites or viruses–with every bite.

If you have a taste for seafood, there’s an easy solution. It’s best to avoid your local fish fry and try the only fish I now eat–the delicious wild red Alaskan salmon that was proven through independent lab testing to be free of harmful levels of mercury and other contaminants.

Organic Winery

Well before sustainability became fashionable, well before the current organic food craze ratcheted into high gear and the USDA issued organic product regulations, Fetzer Vineyards began developing and initiating environmentally responsible business practices. In the mid-1980s the Fetzer family and Paul Dolan, its director of winemaking, purchased the Valley Oaks Ranch in Mendocino County, CA, and made the commitment to grow all of its grapes organically. Today Fetzer grows almost a thousand acres of certified organic grapes and have incorporated sustainable farming practices, conservation techniques, waste management and energy reduction programs into every aspect of the business. Fetzer recently announced that by harvest 2010, the winery intends to grow and purchase only organic grapes for the production of its wines.

Source: green@work magazine

Link GreenBiz News | Spirits of Sustainability

Fresh from the Garden

Cherokee Tribune article Fresh from the Garden

Woodstock woman to showcase green thumb on gardening show

Sunday, August 10, 2003

By Donna Harris

Cherokee Tribune Staff Writer

For Ann Myers, the spiritual therapy she receives from gardening is every bit as important to her as the vegetables she grows.

The Woodstock resident finds the grounding and peace she needs between the rows of tomatoes and green beans that grow in the well-kept garden beside her driveway…