Monthly Archives: December 2010

Activism Guest Posts Healthy Living Real Food

An Inheritence Squandered

www.mypicshares.com

Today I am excited to share a guest post from Lauren Snyder Grosz who has been providing wellness and nutrition education on the Liberation Wellness Blog since spring of 2010. She writes  articles about the effect fad diets and eating processed foods has on our health, as well as other important health topics.

I’m so enthused about the work Lauren does in spreading the real food and nutrition word.  I hope you’ll go visit Wellness Liberation and read more of her posts as well as other fantastic contributors who also provide information. These people are making  enormous contributions to our knowledge of real health, and are doing some of the most important work in the world.

I met Lauren at the Weston A. Price Wise Traditions Conference in Philadelphia last month, and she was sweet and engaging.  As with many other great people I met there, I wish I’d had more time to visit and talk with her. But as conferences go, the schedule was tight and there were so many people to meet and see. I’m hoping to get to know some of those amazing people better whom I wasn’t able to spend time with by featuring their posts on Agriculture Society.

This wonderful essay describes missed opportunities by those who have every means possible to bring great health to themselves but instead listened to the wrong advice about how to achieve their goals.  Although I don’t follow celebrity life much, I’m always encouraged to hear accounts of famous people who make positive changes through real food and share their stories. It’s important when those in the public eye speak out against mainstream health channels and tell the world about their health successes since so many people listen to and are influenced by what they do.

And still, there are other stories of those who chose to starve themselves or follow unseemly diets to become healthy – and aren’t doing themselves any favors. Lauren’s essay today talks about several people in the spotlight who have chosen those paths, and I think the lessons we can learn from these choices are extremely important.

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I admire the Guests the way some people admire the Kennedys.  My daughter is named Charlotte Catherine because I wanted to be able to call her C.C. as a way of paying homage to C.Z. Guest; horsewoman, fashion icon, and gardener.  In the Spring of 2002, I had a chance to attend a lecture she was giving at The Chicago Botanic Garden.  She was 83 at the time and appeared to be in excellent health.  A year and a half later C.Z. Guest died of ovarian cancer.

In the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar, I was saddened to learn that C.Z.’s daughter Cornelia is a vegan.  A quick Google search revealed that she has made this decision for health reasons.  Congestive Heart Failure turned my father, who had been an exceptional high school and collegiate athlete into the equivalent of an invalid when I was 16 years old.  Two years later, I became a vegetarian as a way of steering clear of my dad’s fate.  Occasionally, I’d lapse, but it wasn’t until I became pregnant that I permanently ditched vegetarianism.  Cornelia is almost 47, so it’s not likely that pregnancy will rescue her from her vegan wasteland.  Discipline will also make it harder to turn away from something she perceives as providing a payoff.  As a young socialite in 80′s, the article emphasizes how her equestrian habit saved her from the other popular habits of the era.  Even if she was out late, there were horses to ride the next morning.

Once, I made the acquaintance of a pro football player, who had started drinking soy and was a vegetarian during the week.  When I began inquiring as to why he was doing this, what I learned was interesting, disturbing really.  He felt this way of eating required discipline, hard work, and persistence, all of the things that helped him to be a starter in the NFL.  He was a physical specimen to behold, but was unable to credit his grandmother’s  and mother’s love of traditional southern food for his stature and strength.  This inability to give credit where credit is due is also what led Cornelia Guest to ban all animal products from her life.  The saying in their house was, “a pound of butter a day keeps the doctor away” and still she banishes the food!  It isn’t enough that her mother enjoyed robust health until she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Surely butter, cream, eggs, and meat must be to blame.

Certainly, this is what I thought because butter was king in our house and from my vantage point it had caused nothing but trouble.  My mom died at the ripe old age of 64.  Yes.  She smoked, but everybody knows food plays a part.  I’ve already mentioned that my dad lived like an invalid, who survived until he was 72 because he slept about fifteen hours a day, and swallowed prescription pills that could only be held by a giant shoe box.  Somehow, it never occurred to me that my family’s health woes could have anything to do with the bank of cabinets devoted to snack foods or that my mom liked to start her day with dessert and a glass of Folgers  Crystals.  She was very particular and always insisted on Heinemann’s Coffee Cakes.  A cursory glance at their ingredient list fails to turn up anything that belongs in a Bavarian coffee cake or any other food for that matter.  Now blaming sugar even seems far fetched because unless we were making sugar cookies from scratch, it seems highly unlikely that any of our favorite companies used anything other than High Fructose Corn Syrup and soybean oil.  My dietary choices were also hampered by my mom’s fabulous figure, never weighing more than 125 pounds, she was of the opinion that only peasants couldn’t wear their normal clothes home from the hospital after giving birth!  How could sugar, even if it was fake, be to blame?  She was thin, strong, and enjoyed incredibly robust health, until diagnosed with cancer.  Within a year, we had lost her.

That very same year, I serendipitously came across the life changing work of Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A Price Foundation.  While I hadn’t been a vegetarian for many years, it wasn’t until then that I understood the importance of having animal fat in my diet.  Fortunately, there was enough real food in our house; my mom frequently cooked from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, that I instantly knew which foods were the culprits of disease in my family.  The drive to be healthy seems incredibly strong in children who’ve lost a parent at a young age.  Gwyneth Paltrow provides a window into the extremes someone, with means, will go to in order to avoid getting cancer.  She was very close to her father and to have lost him when she was only 30 obviously took a toll.  In her new cookbook she reminisces about cooking with him and notes that health food was not the priority, hence her obsession with Veganese, a concoction made entirely from fake vegetable oils.  In addition, the starlet avoids dairy and only eats animals with two legs.  I can’t help but wonder how on earth her mother  Blythe Danner allows her lovely daughter to carry on with this warped destructive food philosophy.  Not surprisingly , Gwyneth announced that she has osteopenia – a precursor to osteoporosis.  She is unable to connect the dots between her diet that is devoid of Vitamin A and D and having a disease commonly reserved for old women.  Her remedy for this which was urged by her doctors is to take prescription strength Vitamin D.  What is most disturbing is that she has enormous influence, just as Cornelia Guest has in her circle, and hordes of young girls will blindly follow their advice!

Lastly, it’s important to add that many people already understand the importance of eliminating junk food, such as sugar laden cereals and soda.  Dr. Price showed that this is only part of what is responsible for radiant health and wholeness.  Unless the all important fat soluble activators are given their due people will still experience compromised health.  Madonna’s daughter Lola is proof of this: the Material Girl’s family is on a strict organic, vegetarian, macrobiotic diet and yet the poor girl still was not spared orthodontics and additionally required a back brace for scoliosis.

Living long and living well depends on eating high-fat high-cholesterol foods. Yes.  We all have to die sometime, but that doesn’t mean it has to be via a massive heart attack, cancer,  or spending the winter of one’s life in an Alzheimer’s facility.  Traditional diets provide the antidote to these grim scenarios.  The second arrow in our quiver is that an infrastructure for excellent sanitization exists – hot water, stainless steel tanks, electrification – that should allow us to all live to a ripe old age (barring accidents).  Yet,  instead of flourishing, the diseases of civilization have never had a stronger hold on us.  It’s simply not enough to know something is bad.  While we do not need to turn our children into small nutritionists, they must be able to discern between what is true and false, and why certain principles must not be abandoned in the kitchen.
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Lauren Snyder Grosz is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Educator. She writes for LiberationWellnessBlog.com. As a student on a lifelong quest for exceptional health and happiness, her mission is to empower people to take complete responsibility for their own health by rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true and rediscovering what truly works based on accurate science.

Healthy Living Kids & Family Recipes Uncategorized

Rustic Baked Chicken With Cheese and Bacon

www.mypicshares.com

I absolutely love the combination of chicken, melted cheese, and fried bacon. It is succulent and satisfying to the taste buds, and has such a diversity of flavors – the smoky taste of bacon and tanginess of cheese goes wonderfully well with a comfort food like baked chicken. And it’s something most everyone in your house is sure to like – even the pickiest of eaters. The smell alone of this food while cooking is incredibly irresistible.

I can’t stress enough the importance of quality ingredients. We used chicken thighs and legs – which are more economical than larger pieces such as the breast. Many people perceive the breast to be the healthiest piece of the bird since it’s “leaner and lower in fat”.  But breasts are actually the least nutrient-dense part of the chicken. Dark pieces do contain cholesterol, and they are also slightly higher in fat. But that’s actually a good thing. Did you know that since dark meat has more fat and cholesterol, that means it has more nutrients? And if poultry is from healthy birds who aren’t administered antibiotics and are on pasture, it is very healthy to eat. You can feel good about using dark pieces of chicken as they count for more nutrition AND they are cheaper.

So when you’re shopping for poultry, definitely go for the pasture-raised variety from local farms. Unlike feedlot chickens in confinement, these chickens eat a healthier diet, have access to sunshine and are able to forage and eat insects. This makes the quality of their meat higher – more conjugated linoleic acid (cancer preventions), Vitamin A , D, E, and K (fat-soluble vitamins), and Omega 3 fatty acids (lowers the risk of auto-immune problems, heart attack, cancer).

Cheese is such an artisanal food, it seems wrong to buy anything commercial. It’s difficult to find local, raw cheese where we live (Boise, ID). Occasionally I buy some of the few local cheesemaker’s products – but mostly they are pasteurized. For this recipe, I used some raw cheese which I try to keep on hand in my freezer from various merchants I know and trust such as U.S. Wellness Meats from Missouri or Trickling Springs Creamery, whose cheese I tried at the Weston A. Price Wise Traditions Conference in King of Prussia, PA. I also used some Italian Asiago cheese from my health food store cheese counter.

Your bacon should also be from a pasture-raised source for the same reasons – more Vitamins A, D, E, and K, . Healthy saturated fats and proteins contain nutrients necessary for health!

And now for the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Pasture-raised chicken parts of your choice – we used thighs (4) and legs (5), bones in
  • Mushrooms – I used 4 large shitakes, sliced
  • Diced onions -I used 1/2 of a small onion
  • Minced garlic – 3-5 cloves, depending on how much you love garlic
  • Package of bacon from pasture-raised hogs, sliced in half and cooked (I fried it in a cast iron pan on the stove first)
  • Grated cheese of your choice – I used a mixture of raw cheddar and Asiago, about 1 cup (what can I say, I like cheese)
  • Butter or ghee – you can also add in some olive oil or use it place of the butter, however, butter or ghee imparts an incredible taste to the chicken
  • Sea salt – to taste
  • Pepper – to taste, I used about 1/4 tsp
  • Paprika – to taste, I used about 1/2 tsp

Equipment:

  • Large pan – I used stainless steel
  • 9×12 baking dish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large pan, fry bacon on the stove. Some people prefer the oven method. Leave the bacon just on the side of underdone since you will be putting it in the oven on the chicken when you are finished. Set aside on a plate.
  3. Drain most of the bacon grease from the pan where the bacon was cooked into a storage container (you know you want those bacon drippings for refried beans). Add onions and garlic to the pan on medium-low heat.
  4. While the onions and garlic are sauteeing, add mushrooms. At this point, you can add butter or ghee to your pan to help add more oil for the chicken to cook.
  5. Add chicken pieces, then add salt, pepper, and paprika and brown on both sides, but don’t cook all the way through.  Allow chicken to cook for about 7- 10 minutes on each side, covered on medium low heat. Depending on how big your pan is that you use to brown the chicken, you may have to brown one set of pieces and set them in your baking dish until the next set are browned.
  6. Place the partially cooked chicken in a baking dish, cover pieces with the mushrooms, onions, and garlic, and pour the remaining “sauce” from bacon drippings and butter or ghee and/or olive oil over it.
  7. Drape chicken with bacon pieces.
  8. Cover chicken and bacon with grated cheese. I covered the bacon as much as possible with cheese to make certain it didn’t  burn in the oven while the chicken finished cooking.
  9. Allow chicken to bake 45 minutes to an hour. Check periodically to make sure your chicken/bacon/cheese is not burning on top. If it does start to get too hot, cover with a piece of foil. Your cooking time will depend upon how long your chicken cooks on the stove and other factors like elevation.

I just realized something I neglected to think of for the perfect finishing touch to this meal that would be divinely delicious – a mild mustard/homemade mayo sauce. I’ll be making that next time!

Enjoy your chicken served with a salad topped with olive oil and vinegar or cooked vegetables with plenty of pastured butter.  My family loved this meal – and we had leftovers!  :)

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday Blog hop (hosted this week by GNOWFGLINS).