Tag Archives: soy

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 Green Living Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food

Is Cheap Food Really Cheap? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Food

fastfoodestablishment

Do you go to the grocery store and purchase whatever is on the shelf, or do you think about what’s in the food you eat and how it is produced?

Where your food comes from is just as important as making something at home from scratch. The ingredients and how they are produced say a lot about just how healthy that food really is.

When you go to the grocery store or out to eat at a restaurant, consider the following about the majority of food sold and served:

  • Most grocery store and restaurant meat comes from factory farm environments where the animals are confined and live in less than optimal. Shoved together in small and sometimes filthy, unnatural spaces,  surrounded by waste lagoons, are administered hormones, steroids, and antibiotics. Animals are fed  cheap and unnatural feed including genetically-modified corn, grain, and soy, and renderings of bio-waste products. The waste generated by factory farm facilities contaminates our air, soil, and ground water, which places nearby residents at risk for exposure to pathogenic bacteria like E.coli and others.
  • Factory farms can be small or large in scale, but are highly specialized, and function like a factory (hence the term “factory farm”). These facilities use fossil fuel, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals, and synthetic fertilizers derived from oil. Small-scale, organic farming operations have been shown to use 60 percent less fossil fuel per unit of food than conventional industrial farms (Norberg-Hodge, Helena , Todd Merrifield, and Steven Gorelick. Bringing The Food Economy Home: Local Alternatives to Global Agribusiness, 2002.)
  • Conventional produce is grown with pesticides and herbicides, and increasingly more from genetically-modified and engineered seeds, and with modern farming methods which are as harmful to the landscape. This type of farming, called mono-cropping, is damaging and strips the soil of its nutrients – substances which are vital to the nutritional density and flavor of the foods you eat. The over-use of chemicals like insecticides and pesticides has caused rapidly-developing resistance in pests which has rendered these chemicals increasingly ineffective. The production of herbicide tolerant (HT) biotech crops, particularly Monsanto’s RR crops, has resulted in the development of superweed strains that are nearly impervious to even conventional methods. Biotech info discusses how cross-pollination techniques, a method employed by GM companies like Monsanto, lead to further and further resistance in these superweed strains.
  • Conventional produce contains higher amounts of water and less nutrition. From Sustainable Table: “A comparison of the nutritional content between organic and factory farmed, conventional vegetables showed that organic produce has higher nutritional value. Organic lettus had 29 percent more magnesium, organic spinach had 52 percent more Vitamin C, organic carrots had 69 percent more magnesium, and organic cabbage had 43 percent more Vitamin C, 41 percent more iron and 40 percent more magnesium.”
  • Processed foods contain chemically-laden “food-like substances” which contain carcinogenic ingredients, hydrogenated and highly processed oils, MSG and other excitotoxins, are synthetically fortified and contain little to no nutritional value. The result is less nutrition and more toxins.
  • Vegetarian and vegan diets don’t necessarily support sustainable agriculture. Many vegetarian and vegan products on the shelves including vegetables, fruits, grains including corn, soy, and legumes come from conventional sources and their growth, production, and sale damages the environment. The majority of soy and much of the grain produced in the world comes from genetically-modified sources.
  • These crops are responsible for damaging farmlands and are destructive to topsoil and biodiversity because of the methods employed in their farming. These farming efforts are known as monocropping – planting the same strains year-after-year, which destroys beneficial organisms and bacteria essential to health. They also use toxic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Monsanto has over 250 million GM acres worldwide. Sustainable farming doesn’t need harmful chemicals to control pests and weeds, but instead uses nature to manage its land and crops.
  • According to Sustainable Table, “Factory farms also threaten our health by incubating infectious diseases that can spread to the human population. Sometimes diseases are transferred directly from animals to humans. In cases of direct transmission, a worker who comes in contact with a diseased animal or its manure can contract the disease and pass it on to their family and community.”
  • Industrial food has the appearance of a “cheaper” price tag on the shelf, but the hidden costs are almost endless. Conventional food is subsidized by the government to “keep prices down”.  Who pays for those subsidies? Every tax payer in the U.S. You’ll spend more time in the doctor’s office and hospital, paying for drugs, surgery, and other procedures to “cure” your ailments. The sick joke is that these will never cure your health problems, only keep you coming back time and time again for more appointments and medications.

Supporting industrial farming keeps corporations going.  The result is damage to health and environment, and your dollars aren’t supporting smaller, family-owned farms whose goal is to bring you healthy food that preserves our health and the environment.

Benefits of small-scale, sustainable farming and food

When you buy sustainable food from small-scale producers, you are supporting local communities and healthy farming practices. The amount of fossil fuels used to transport these products is reduced, and the overall CO2 emissions into the atmosphere are lowered as well.

Although conventional medical recommendations tell us to stay away from saturated fats and red meat, grass-fed beef, eggs, and dairy do not clog our arteries. Unlike their factory counterparts, pastured animal foods contain CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, an important antioxidant), Omega 3s, minerals, Vitamins A, D, E, and K2. Read an interview with Dr. James Carlson, M.D., a board-certified family physician, osteopath, and clinical biochemist from the Weston A. Price Foundation site.

The process of grazing a herd of cattle on open land and moving them around from pasture to pasture on a day-to-day basis allows regeneration of the land as well as replenishment of nutrients in the soil and grasses. This type of farming actually encourages the health of top soil – one of the most critical areas of the environment which has a profound effect on health. When farmers work with the land to encourage natural biodiversity and development of microrganisms, the result is a win-win situation for all involved, the land, humans, and animals. Organic Grass Fed Beef Info thoroughly explains the vast differences between how  grass-fed animals and grain-fed animals are raised.

Scientific research shows that sustainable, pasture-raised, and organic foods provide significant health benefits for consumers. In addition to being raised without synthetic hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and chemical fertilizers, sustainable meat is more nutritious than meat produced by industrial agriculture for the reasons discussed above.

A recent report by the French Agency for Food Safety (AFSSA) revealed that organic foods are higher in both mineral and antioxidant content than their conventional counterparts. Another study from The Journal of Applied Nutrition found that the overall mineral content of organic foods sampled was higher than conventional – apples, potatoes, pears, wheat, and sweet corn. Mercury levels in the organic foods were found to be 27 percent lower than conventional.

From a joint study conducted by CDC scientists, the University of Washington, and Emory University, results reveal that pesticide levels in test subjects dropped to undetectable levels upon switching to an organic diet. When the subjects switched back to a non-organic diet, pesticide residues almost immediately became detectable. (Schafer S., Kristin, et al. “Chemical Trespass: Pesticides in Our Bodies and Corporate Accountability.” Pesticide Action Network of North America, May 2004)

Many health problems have been attributed to the consumption of these so-called foods, and yet the distinction is seldom made. Toxins and chemicals in our food supply are responsible for the appearance of earlier degenerative diseases than in the historical past.  Body Ecology provides a description of toxins in the products we eat and drink and those both in and outside of our bodies.

What are the hidden costs of cheap food?

Here is a comparative analysis of several processed foods versus a real, whole food free from chemicals and other toxins typically found in industrial food from Windy Ridge Poultry, in Alfred, NY:

www.mypicshares.com

Switching to natural, organic, and grass-fed foods seems expensive on the surface, but when you consider health problems that can occur as a result of consuming processed foods, not to mention costs incurred on health care, environmental, and tax systems we pay for directly out of our own pockets, doesn’t it seem worth it to spend more now and save later?

Industrial food may have a cheaper price tag at the store, but the long-term repercussions of eating this way for an extended period of time will amount to a higher price tag in the future in more ways than one: you’ll pay with your pocketbook and your quality of life.

To learn more about factory farms, visit The Food & Water Watch web site. And here’s the factory farm list for every facility in the country by state.

Join up with the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign to help preserve the environment and health.

Want to read more?

Proof that real food doesn’t have to cost a bundle, is nourishing, and satisfies!

Food budgets – using creativity and prioritizing for healthy eating

Waste not, want not: tips for saving money in the kitchen

Can you afford not to eat healthy?