IANS – Vegetable Oils


The good stuff – working water out of freshly churned raw butter.

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. ~ Mark Twain

When George Gershwin composed the song It Ain’t Necessarily So, he was onto something. I’d love to have a nickel for everything I was taught or told or just accepted as fact in the course of my life. From food preservation to gardening to animal husbandry to medicine to finance, there have been a lot more ‘not-so’ things than ‘so’ things. A while back I did a post on not needing to waterbath jams and jellies; I got more than 100 comments corroborating my “not-so” position. At which point it occurred to me there are lots of other not-so things out there, and shazaam, I had an ongoing blog topic. Here’s the latest “it ain’t necessarily so” (IANS).

Chicken fried in lard.

Eating oils made from corn, soy and canola is perfectly healthy.
Where do I start? First, none of these plants actually produce ‘oil.’ In order to turn the liquid from the seeds/beans into what is called oil, they must be crushed and exposed to hexane solvents. Then the product is heated to extract the solvent. Next the oil is degummed, or treated with alkali, refined again to remove waxes and steam-distilled to deodorize it. Whatever’s left when they get through processing it is called oil. These oils are loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids, which cause inflammation in the body and change the way your cell membranes work (that’s NOT a good thing!). They are full of trans-fats, and increase the risk of heart disease and cancer, among other things. There’s good evidence that these oils also increase the risk of obesity.

Get your sunflower oil by eating the seeds.

Sunflower seeds really do have oil, but they’re still extracted with these methods, so it’s really not any better for you. True cold-pressed sunflower oil, in which the seeds are ground and very slowly squeezed through rollers, is OK, but most “cold-pressed” oils are run through a fine grind and a high velocity screw press, which increases temperatures to the point that the heat damages the oil. Want other reasons to avoid vegetable oils? Most are made from genetically modified crops. In many cases, those crops were modified in the first place to allow the use of herbicides and pesticides. Both vegetable oils and the products in which they are included usually contain other goodies, like BHA and BHT (butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene), artificial antioxidants added to reduce the chances of spoilage. These chemicals have been found to increase the risk of behavioral problems in children, high cholesterol, liver/kidney damage, immune problems, and infertility or sterility.
Your body uses fats to make hormones and to utilize fat-soluble vitamins. Give it the wrong kind of “fats” and the potential for cellular damage is just huge. Instead of eating this gunk, go for raw-milk butter, cold-pressed virgin olive oil (and do your research on this, because there’s plenty of bad olive oil out there, too), coconut oil, lard (preferably not commercial lard, which is hydrogenated) and beef tallow.

Healthy pigs mean healthy lard.

Take a Missouri Approach
Missouri is the “show me” state. The mental attitude of “you’ll have to prove it to me” is a good one. Use your common sense. When your experience or that of people you trust is contrary to accepted scientific wisdom or expert recommendations, odds are very high the scientific wisdom and the experts are out to lunch. Ask the old homicide lawyer’s question, “Cui bono?” Loosely translated as “Who benefits?” what it actually means is “To whose profit?” When big bucks, company survival or professional reputations are on the line, ethics quite often take a back seat. Circus entrepreneur PT Barnum was the one who coined the sucker-born-every-minute rule. Don’t be a sucker and remember: it ain’t necessarily so.

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A Thanksgiving feast; even with these you can save time by judicious use of the crockpot(s).

As we roll into the holiday season, it seems everyone I talk to is bemoaning their lack of time. Then in the next breath, they’re onto what happened on “Real Housewives” or “Dog the Bounty Hunter” in last night’s show. Ummm – maybe there’s a connection? Where I’m going with this is that the feeling of not having enough time often leads people to take shortcuts, especially in meal preparation.
There’s no question that pre-cut vegetables, cole slaw mix and salads, peeled and chopped fruits, and similar prepared foods save time. Commercially canned foods, microwavable meals and Hamburger Helper ditto. Unfortunately, in many cases, what you gain in time you lose in nutrition (and money). Now, I’m fond of saving I’m efficient because I’m lazy – I want to do it fast, get it out of the way and move on to the next thing. That’s particularly important to me right now because I’ve got four jobs on my plate – clinic nurse manager, consulting, freelance writing and ranch wife. Oh yeah, and then there’s the housekeeper-laundress-chief-cook-and-bottle-washer one, which is always at the bottom of the list. But I still cook or fix three meals a day (hubby cooks his own breakfast because my day starts considerably earlier than his, but I cook one for myself).

One of the best ways to capture maximum nutrition (and taste) is to harvest, prep and cook immediately, as I’m doing here with ratatouille.

I’m not bragging here, I’m trying to make a point. We all have 24 hours in a day. We choose how we spend our time and money based on our priorities. Mine are health, nutrition, adequate sleep, family and the health of my animals, land and community, as well as staying out of debt so I have enough money to live the way I want to. When the next economic crash comes (and it is coming – guaranteed), I want to know that my family and I will survive and hopefully thrive. To that end, among other things, I cook.

Starting with cookies is a great way to get kids hooked on cooking.

Cooking is one of those basic life skills everyone should have. By that I mean real cooking – everyone should know how to peel a carrot, slice an onion, brown meat or bake a loaf of bread. Cooking does not mean taking the little plastic tray out of the box from the freezer and putting it in the microwave. I can have dinner for five ready in half an hour in many cases. Or something like a roast (put in the oven straight out of the freezer) in four hours on a Sunday afternoon, so all that’s left is a quick salad and a veggie dish. And I can do other things while the roast cooks (although I can assure you it isn’t watching TV in any form).
If you want to save time and reap multiple other benefits, please cook!

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Roundup in People


Babies of all sorts are more susceptible to toxins.

We humans are experts at manipulating the environment. Our fellow creatures on the planet pretty much do their thing and let the environment do its thing. Not us – we conduct “scientific” research, build houses and buildings and high rises, cars and trucks and planes. In many cases, we are looking for easier ways to do things. What we aren’t anywhere so good at is thinking through the possible consequences of our actions or admitting when we’re screwing up. Case in point: glyphosphate, also known as Roundup.

Wild animals aren’t immune to the effects of chemicals in the soil, air and water.

Manufactured by Monsanto, glyphosphate is an herbicide that was hailed for its ability to keep weeds out of more valuable plantings of corn, soybeans and other economically important crops. It worked great, until the weeds became resistant. Unfortunately, people aren’t so lucky. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that concentrations of glyphosphate increased markedly in the urine of 100 people in a long-running study. As in more than doubled, from 0.20 micrograms per liter in 1993-1996 to an average of 0.44 micrograms in 2014-2016. Glyphosphate is “probably carcinogenic” according to the World Health Organization. However, WHO has also been accused of slanting their data by selecting only studies that supported this conclusion. Animal do studies show adverse effects – lots of them heart problems. Heart disease is the top killer in the US. Connection? Maybe.

Neither are kids.

The problem with trying to draw conclusions from today’s scientific research is that most of it (according to expert Stanford epidemiologist John P. Ionnadis) isn’t true. Investigator bias, poor study design and most especially funding that sways the results have led Dr. Ionnadis to that conclusion. Not to mention that much research is suppressed if it doesn’t support the funder’s conclusions – and we only see what’s published. Multiple industries and interest groups (tobacco, sugar and pharmaceutical, to name a few) have been found to cover up stuff. With the decline in government funding, researchers have had to look elsewhere – 65 percent of “scientific” research was funded by private interests in 2006, and I’m willing to bet that figure is higher now.

Recipe for a salad: first, grow the tomatoes, cucumbers, celery and green onions…

I suspect that glyphosphate and many (if not most) of the other chemicals we’ve created for use in agriculture and many other fields are a lot more toxic over the long term than most people realize. Not to mention that we’re not just talking about one toxic substance – we’re talking about hundreds. Your lungs, liver, kidneys and immune system might be able to protect you from one or even a few things – that’s their job, after all – but when the burden becomes too great, your protective systems just can’t handle the job.
Solution? Try to keep it clean – your food, your water, your home – with as few commercially grown foods and manufactured products as possible. You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?

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