Monthly Archives: November 2011

Green Living Real Food Recipes

Are You Getting Enough Iodine in Your Diet From Real Food?

www.mypicshares.com
Iodine is an important nutrient no one should be without. Our soil used to contain adequate amounts of iodine and other important minerals, but commercial farming methods have depleted our once fertile soils.

Iodine deficiency is a common problem in the U.S., even though all refined table salt has iodine added to it. This is because fortified, white table salt is highly refined and contains mostly sodium chloride with most of the trace minerals removed and synthetic iodine added back in, and our bodies have a difficult time absorbing it. Although a lot of real food folks are switching to sea salt, which does contain a great deal of trace minerals we are missing in our diets, there isn’t enough iodine in sea salt to provide what humans need.

Other reasons for iodine deficiency are due to the high consumption of processed foods in the U.S.  As well as being deficient in nutrients, these foods actually block the uptake of iodine in our bodies when we eat them.  These foods are goitrogens, which means they block the uptake of iodine in the body.

Soy, found in proliferation in our industrial food supply in many, many products like cereals, crackers, chips, bread, cookies, breads, baby formula, sauces, dressings, marinades, and even canned soups. It is also fed to livestock animals and birds slaughtered for meat on the commercial market – cattle, poultry, and pigs.  When you go out to just about any restaurant, the oil used to cook your food and to pour over your salad is soybean oil.

Water supply and many food products also contain halogens such as chlorine, fluoride, bromine and perchlorate (rocket fuel). Most commercial beverages like soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee and some dairy beverages contain at least one of these halides.  If you eat a diet heavy in processed foods from the commercial market, the chances of you consuming a lot of substances that are completely deficient in iodine and also blocks the uptake of iodine is quite high.

Natural goitrogens such as cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and others may inhibit the uptake of thyroid if auto-immune diseases are present. But these foods are fine to consume and won’t interfere with iodine absorption if fermented or cooked and eaten with healthy fats such as butter, ghee, lard, tallow, olive oil, or coconut oil.

Why we need iodine for health

When iodine is combined with the amino acid tyrosine, it produces important thyroid hormones that control the synthesis of enzyme and proteins in our bodies, regulate metabolism, and are critical for developing nervous and skeletal systems of growing fetuses. Because unborn children are so dependent on this mineral for growth and development, pregnant mothers especially need regular intake of iodine. Miscarriage is another common side-effect of iodine deficiency.

Iodine regulates our thyroid and other hormonal function. Without it, low thyroid function will occur. It is necessary for the activation of thyroid hormones T3 and T4.

Iodine deficiency can cause weight gain, fatigue, low energy, and depression.  Low iodine stores in the body are also connected with arrested mental development (mental retardation), and neurodevelopment disorders in children, fibrocystic breast disease and fibroids, enlargment of the thyroid gland, increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer, and mental and physical compromise in adults.

Real food sources of iodine

Even though this important mineral is no longer found in our soil in abundance, there are still real food sources where we can get iodine such as animal products that come from healthy animals on pasture, especially in areas where commercial farming has not taken over, and also in seafood. Our bodies can’t produce iodine by themselves, so we must obtain this nutrient regularly, but in moderation, from our diet:

  • Seafood such as fish like herring, whiting, haddock, and mollusks like clams, mussels, oysters, snails, octopus, squid
  • Butter, milk, and other dairy products  (raw is best) from cows on pasture eating grass from iodine-rich soil – especially near the sea
  • Fruits and Vegetables grown by the sea, including coconut products
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Sea vegetables such as dulse, nori, kelp, wakame, and dried kelp
  • Eggs
  • Fermented or cultured vegetables (see video recipes below)

Iodine supplementation

Obtaining iodine from real foods such as those listed above is much safer than taking iodine supplements. This can be especially dangerous for pregnant women and can trigger allergic responses in the body. Taking inorganic iodine can cause toxicity (especially heavy metal) since iodine is prone to combining with pro­tein, which is how it destroys bacteria (also a protein).

Placing any iodine supplement in your mouth causes it to mix with the protein found there, in your esophagus, stomach, and all throughout the body. The result is irritation, allergies, and other issues. Those with a normal thyroid can experience a reduction in the synthesis of thyroid hormones T3 and T4 when taking large, sud­den doses of iodine.

It is important to exercise extreme caution when using iodine supplements. Many women with unknown thyroid issues have Hashimoto’s, an auto-immune disorder. Iodine can turn any auto-immune disease into hyperthyroid quickly.  Iodine supplementation can also significantly increase heavy metal toxicity in those who have mercury issues.

Kombu recipe

Here is a recipe for traditional Japanese Kombu, a variety of kelp. It is one of the most abundant sources of iodine. Eat it as a side dish or condiment with foods or add to soups, stocks, casseroles, or other one-pot meals.  Add this food to a pot of cooking beans to make them more digestible.

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. kombu, soaked in a bit of filtered water
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sake
  • 1 tbsp sucanat or rapadura
  • 1 tbsp naturally fermented soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp black or white sprouted sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Slice rehydrated kombu into thin strips.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, place kombu, vinegar and sake in and blend together.
  3. Transfer mixture to a small saucepan and fill with enough filtered water to cover. Place a lid on the saucepan and heat to a boil.
  4. Reduce and simmer until the kombu is tender.
  5. Add sesame oil, rapadura or suacanat, and soy sauce. Continue until the liquid has evaporated. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve.

Fermented or cultured vegetables are also a good source of iodine, especially when you use seaweed or other sea vegetables such as dulse, nori, or kelp.  Fermenting increases digestibility and bio-availability of all nutrients in food.

Here’s an informative video showing how to prepare these powerhouses of nutrients from Renegade Health and Donna Gates from Body Ecology:

Part I

Part II

Part III

This post is part of Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday carnival/link festival.

Activism Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food Toxin Alert!

Happy Non-GMO Holidays + My Interview with Leslie Stoddard, Co-founder of GMO-Free Idaho

www.mypicshares.com

I received this message in my e-mail box today from The Center for Food Safety, and I wanted to share it with my readers. Holiday time means people are buying more food and other products than any other time of year.

This year, I want to challenge my readers to commit to going GMO-free for the holidays (next step, make it a part of your regular habits after the holidays too). Please read this valuable information from CFS and my commentary in italics.  

Then, please take a few minutes and watch me being interviewed by my friend Leslie Stoddard who co-founded GMO-free Idaho with Jenny Easley. I am so excited about the important work these two women are doing, and I’ll do everything I can to support their efforts and work alongside them. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and may it be filled with blessings, health, real food, and lots of time with friends and family.
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Thanksgiving is the time of year when we gather with friends and family and reflect upon all the things we are thankful for in our lives. Of course, no good celebration is complete without sharing it over a good meal. But many popular Thanksgiving dishes may use ingredients that have been genetically engineered. Here are 5 simple tips to try to avoid these unlabeled, unwanted guests:

  1. If you’re eating turkey, try to buy it organic so it hasn’t been given genetically engineered feed. For you Tofurky fans, Tofurky sources non-GMO ingredients.
     
    Go one step further and buy your turkey locally from a sustainable farmer that pasture-raises their turkeys and if they supplement, make sure the feed is non-GMO and soy and corn-free. Soy and corn in feed can diminish the nutritional value of poultry meat, and cause food allergies, organic or not, and interfere with hormones in those who eat the meat. See the section below on soy. Tofurky is not real food, its an engineered product that the body doesn’t know how to absorb – organic or not. AVOID at all costs. Real meat and fat is important for health.
  2. Look out for the Big 5. These are the ingredients most likely to be genetically-engineered. You’ll find them primarily in prepared, packaged and canned foods like stuffing mix, oils, prepared desserts, and canned cranberry sauces.

    Corn

    • Corn flour, meal, oil, starch, gluten, and syrup
    • Sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, and glucose
    • Modified food starch

    Soy

    • Soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate, and isoflavone
    • Vegetable oil and vegetable protein
    From a real food standpoint, soy is unhealthy to consume unless traditionally prepared through fermentation. So I avoid soy as much as possible unless it’s naturally fermented soy sauce or miso soup. I don’t care for tofu, so I don’t ever buy it. I might eat it if I know it’s been properly fermented, but I avoid all products with soy in them like the plague, and especially since it is hormone altering (thyroid, thymus, hypothalamus), contains phytic acid which inhibits the uptake of various nutrients including minerals, and contains phytoestrogens which also alter our hormonal state. 

    Canola

    • Canola oil (also called rapeseed oil)

    Cotton
    Cottonseed oil

    There is never any reason to consume vegetable oil, organic or not. These are modern oils our body cannot process. They are created by the food industry, are fragile and become denatured during the cooking process, and even before they are stocked on the grocery store shelf, they have been deodorized and subjected to high-heat temperatures. Read this post about how cottonseed oil was originally created, and just how pervasive it is in our food supply. These oils also contain Omega 6s, one of the elements our Standard American Diet is too plentiful in, and which contribute to inflammation and disease in the body (i.e., heart disease, cancer, and obesity). 

    Sugar

    • Unless 100% cane sugar or evaporated cane sugar, sugar may be produced from sugar beets which may be genetically engineered.
    Instead of sugar, opt for healthy, unrefined sweeteners such as Rapadura, sucanat, coconut date sugar, maple sugar, real maple syrup – B grade, real Stevia (the green variety, not white powdered), and raw honey.  These sweeteners, especially if organic, are non-GMO and contain important trace nutrients and minerals, left intact due to their low-processed state. 
  3. Look for products labeled “USDA Organic,” or labeled as “Non-GMO.” Certified organic products are not allowed to be produced using GMOs.

    Go one step further and buy as much as you can from local, sustainable farmers. Here’s a post about what types of questions to ask your farmer when buying food. USDA organic labels are not always reliable, and because of labeling laws becoming less stringent more “fuzzy”, you may end up buying something containing something you don’t want that’s not even showing on the label. 

  4. Look for dairy products (milk, cream, butter) labeled “rbGH-free,” “rbST-free” or “USDA Organic,” as they are not produced with genetically-engineered, artificial growth hormones.
     
    Go several steps further and buy local, sustainable milk – raw is best because it retains all the important beneficial bacteria (probiotics), enzymes, and nutritional value since the milk is not heated – from healthy cows on pasture. Many commercial milks, even organic, still come from cows in confinement and from animals fed a large majority of their diets in soy, corn, and grain. Cattle are ruminants and are meant to consume grass as they have long digestive tracts designed to process grass. When they are fed other substances like corn, soy, and grain, the result is an acidic digestive tract and overall health. They become sick and then farmers administer antibiotics and other harmful drugs which alter their health and the quality of the milk. 
  5. Look for products in our True Food Shoppers Guide. You can download a .pdf for free, or as a free app for your iPhone or Android mobile phone.

Other action steps to take: 

  1. Tell FDA to label GE foods! The Center for Food Safety recently filed a formal legal petition with FDA demanding that the agency require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Now, we are spearheading a drive with over 350 other organizations and businesses in the Just Label It! Campaign, to direct one million comments to the FDA in support of our petition.
     
    An ABC News poll found that 93 percent of the American public wants the federal government to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. As ABC News stated, “Such near-unanimity in public opinion is rare.” Yet the United States is one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t require labeling of GE food!

    In my opinion, mandatory labeling doesn’t solve the inherent problem of GMOs polluting our earth, but it gets consumer awareness up. We need this because currently, most people I have talked to about GMOs either have no idea or don’t think it’s an issue. This is scary. Once mandatory labeling becomes a law, we can work toward the next goal which is banning GMOs from our food supply all together – what many European countries have already done and what we should have done years ago. 

    In the U.S., we pride ourselves on having choices and making informed decisions. Under current FDA regulations, we don’t have that choice when it comes to GE ingredients in the foods we purchase and feed our families. Send your comment to FDA demanding mandatory labeling of GE foods today!

  2. If you are fortunate enough to be able to share the holiday abundance, please consider donating to a local Food bank, or volunteering some time on Thanksgiving to help those less fortunate. If you don’t know where your local food bank or soup kitchen program is check Volunteer Match by typing in your zip code and “Thanksgiving” for a list of Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities near you.

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Here’s the video interview with Leslie Stoddard of GMO-free Idaho. The purpose of this interview was to spread the news about GMOs to our community and beyond, and to help people understand that avoiding GMOs is not only possible but critical to our health and the environment, and the success of the sustainable food community – an effort that may well be one of the most important things you’ll ever do. Here’s Part I and Part II:

GMO-Free Idaho Interview Part 1

GMO-Free Idaho Interview Part 2

Busting myths about GMOs
Stop the use of GMOs in our food supply
The Institute for Responsible Technology – providing research and education to consumers who want to make educated decisions about what they eat