WARNING: science-based nutrition will rock your world.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last Meal

Let's say you lost your bearings, made a grievous error in judgment, sold fresh cow's milk to a neighbor in North Carolina, and found yourself cast in the real time version of "Dead Man Walking." What would you request for your last meal?

I would go for a loaf of Farm and Sparrow peasant bread, dense and chewy center, crust dark and laden with seeds; a bowl of soft Spring butter from my friend Kathy's cowgirl Hope; a palm of coarse Himalayan sea salt; a salad of peppery arugula dressed with lime and olive oil; a bulb of Jill Klosterman's garlic, squeezable and roasted; four squares of rich, Fair Trade dark chocolate - 77% or better; and a bottle of vintage Bertani Amarone.

What's your last meal?

Last Meal, by Bill Holm

On death row you celebrate your last night
with your last dinner, your choice, your last craving
to make at least your stomach happy before it stops
craving anything at all. Many choose
simple food: a hamburger, mac and cheese, ice cream.
What might it be for you, my friend?
Duckling Rouenaisse? A roast of unborn lamb?
Washed down with Veuve Cliquot '59 and old Armagnac?
And how do you know, my friend, that you are not
eating your last meal at this very table now?
Chew slowly. Make sure you take in all the body and the blood.

"Last Meal" by Bill Holm, from The Chain Letter of the Soul: New & Selected Poems. © Milkweed Editions, 2009.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What is Life All About?

Jaco, in his role as Emcee for the ACS Relay for Life, 2009

"Life is about joy. If you're not having fun, what is the point? Joy is a state of mind and body. We cannot be happy in mind if our bodies are not happy...
It's important to decide what is fun and meaningful for each of us, personally. Life is short, so make everything as joyful as possible."

-excerpt from Conversations with Dog by Kate Solisti-Mattelon

Monday, August 2, 2010

What's Your Dietary Direction?

Dietary direction can be defined, very simply, as the cumulative effect of specific groups of foods on our overall health. The groups are based on protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake which are the three macronutrients the human body depends on for life-giving energy. The body reacts in certain predictable ways when a person’s dietary direction leans heavily in favor of one macronutrient over the other, for good and for bad.
The three established dietary direction categories are catabolic (alkaline, cleansing, breaking down), anabolic (acid, grounding, building up), and neutral (warming, comforting). These states of being are determined by our personal food choices, and those choices help determine the state of our overall holistic balance.
Catabolic foods, for example, include fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, fresh juices, and herb teas. All the foods included in this category have some fiber content, and are high water content foods as well. They are hot weather foods that help remove toxins from the body, and are good for quick energy, but not for sustaining it. A catabolic diet direction is carbohydrate-dependent, with 70 – 80% of its calories supplied by carbohydrates, 10 – 15% by protein, and 10 – 15% by fat. A beneficial catabolic dietary direction makes use of unrefined and unprocessed carbohydrates which are those found in natural plant form.
Anabolic foods include red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products such as butter, milk, and cheese, soy products, eggs, beans, seeds, nuts, and nut butters. These substantial foods are settling, stabilizing, and grounding, and are common components of a balanced diet, especially for people with a high metabolism, or for those suffering from all forms of Attention Deficit Disorder. However, some of these foods can be clogging and cause sluggishness, and must be balanced. An anabolic dietary direction receives 40% of its calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, and 30% from fats. A diet that is consistently high anabolic, or acid-forming, will set the body up for illness on a cellular level. The Standard American Diet is a high anabolic and acid-forming dietary direction.
A neutral dietary direction strives for a more balanced caloric distribution, as 50 – 60% of calories are supplied by carbohydrates, 20 – 25% by protein, and 20 – 25% by fat. Neutral foods have a neutral pH level, and include cooked starches, root vegetables, whole grains, cereals, breads, pastas, soups, and nut milks. A neutral dietary direction does not necessarily correlate with an optimum diet, as many of these foods can be depleting or clogging to the body if eaten in consistently high quantity. However, a neutral dietary direction includes foods that are considered comfort foods, or foods that are warm and stabilizing (oatmeal, for example), and are welcome additions to a balanced diet.
Understanding dietary direction helps put the eating experience in proper perspective. The concept of dietary direction provides a simple explanation of how to balance the body through food choices; it is uncomplicated, and easy to understand. With practice, you will be able to determine your dietary direction, and adjust your food choices accordingly.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Basil Pestomania: Is There Any Cure?

Nope, there's no cure if you're a freak for garlic and basil; might as well suck it up and make the BEST dang pesto you can. I'm partial to The Byrdfeeder recipe myself. Here it comes.

Harvest 4 cups of basil from your garden, or barter with a friend or neighbor.  I'll trade one of my five organic 3' basil bushes for some high quality olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and raw walnuts. Heck, come on over, we'll make pesto together!

4 cups fresh basil
1 cup raw walnuts
1 bulb garlic (the entire head)
1 cup olive oil
1/2 -  1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, or a combination (I like less cheese)
a liberal amount of coarse ground black pepper (24 turns at least)
coarse sea salt to taste (taste pesto after adding cheese, then add salt; otherwise, you may over-salt your creation)

In a food processor, grind basil, garlic, and walnuts; slowly add olive oil with motor running; add cheese and pepper, and mix quickly; taste, add salt, adjust. Yep, it's that simple to make pesto.
The Almost Perfect Bite: pesto and tomato

The Perfect Bite: soft happy egg, pesto, cherry tomato