Best way to Juice a Pomegranate

When I visited New Delhi, India a while back, I got addicted to the freshly prepared Pomegranate juice which took 4 people to prepare it. One person to cut and peel the skin, two people to remove and separate the juicy pips from the fruit, one to juice it through a specially made Pomegranate juicer. It is a laboriously task, pomegrante juice was not readily available just anywhere even in New Delhi. I only got to taste it in a New Delhi town club which provided a sunday buffet fest for its members.

Being in Singapore where we don't grow our own food, and we pretty much import everything(Talk about having big carbon foot prints) We get fruits as far as South Africa or Egypt. It was pomegranate season a few weeks back and at the local supermarket, I spotted Pomegranates from Afghanistan. The country is famous for its beautiful fruits like apricots and grapes, pity we don't get them here. I was excited! Fruits from an exotic warcountry!

Transporting these Pomegranates from this remote place to our city I suspect would have been difficult with the bad transport network over there. I could'nt imagine how much effort it took for these large beautiful pomegranates to reach our supermarkets.

It was worth the effort and it was more expensive compared to the ones from India. The Afghan pomegranates were sweeter and have a deeper ruby red color compared to the pale pink ones we regularly get from India. I got a few Afghan pomegranates from the supermarket and decided to juice them.

Juicing pomegranate was time-consuming and require pain-staking patience to remove the juicy dark ruby red pip one at a time. I had previously tried it before and failed miserably by squeezing it with muslin cloth. It resulted in disappointingly little juice with much of the precious nectar soaked by the cloth. A previous time, I ran the pips through a blender and it resulted in a bitter cloudy liquid because I juiced the white bits with it to save time.

The best way I found was cutting the pomegranate in half, and slowly pick the pips individually without breaking the ruby red sap.

I ran the pips through my new cold press juicer and it worked!. A whole fruit gave me half a glass of deep ruby nectar.

Yes it was worth all that effort and probably try it again next season. Meanwhile it is back to drinking bottled pomegranate juice for the moment.

Caretrace : search and find where food comes from

photos from

Commercial and industrial agriculture and businesses have long severed our ties with the people and the land that grow our food. We as consumers have stopped being conscious of where our food comes from, our children only knows that food comes from the supermarket.

Won't it be great to meet the people who grow and produce our produce, our foods. That gives us a little choice on our purchases and how the items we buy affects our environment and the people who are dependant on it. Being conscious about our food sources allows us to be more pro-active in building a more sustainableEarth. Start asking ourselves, how does eating meat affect our environment, or how does growing this apple with pesticides affecting our health and the health of the land?

This new website Caretrace( I found recently, has a great idea of connecting us to the source. Being new, it hardly has any food items on the list and minimal information. It would be a delight to see it grow and expand. Do support it.

Here's what it says about Caretrace :
Caretrace allows you to learn more about the origins of your food and the people who produce it. Trace products to a farm and read biogs, watch videos and explore maps.

You can also link products to projects and find out how some of the money spent is going to good causes which benefit the local communities where these products are made.

List of Organic Food to buy

Comments : Too expensive to go fully organic, here's a list of foods you should buy if you can't go fully organic

10 Produce to Buy Organic

Studies based on 1999 studies by Consumers Union (CU)and the Environmental Working Group (EWG)

The two groups analyzed the amounts and toxicity of pesticide residues found in conventionally grown food samples by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. While most of these foods don’t exceed safety tolerances for a dose of a single pesticide, most contain multiple pesticide residues. CU and EWG have also considered combined exposures and risks to children. One-year-olds eat three times as many fresh peaches, per pound of body weight, as do adults, and more than four times as many apples and pears, according to CU’s Consumer Reports. In addition, children’s rapidly developing bodies are more vulnerable than adults’ are. Pregnant women should take care, too, as many pesticides cross the placenta to expose the fetus. Although DDT and related chemicals such as dieldrin have been banned in the U.S. for over 20 years, these pesticides can still be found in foods that absorb them from the soil. To reduce your pesticide exposure, you can peel fruit that you would normally just rinse, such as apples and pears. Some pesticides, like dieldrin, aldicarb and DDT, however, are systemic, pervading the flesh of the vegetable or fruit.

10 Fruits And Vegetables To Buy Organic

Summer’s blushing fruit contains high residues of iprodione, classified as a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and methyl parathion, an endocrine disruptor and organophosphate (OP) insecticide. Methyl parathion has caused massive kills of bees and birds. According to Consumer Reports, single servings of peaches "consistently exceeded" EPA’s safe daily limit for a 44-pound child.

Apples may contain methyl parathion. Both fresh apples and baby food applesauce can also contain chlorpyrifos, an OP which has caused large bird kills. CORE Values IPM apple growers are trying to phase out OPs.

Pears, both fresh and in baby food, can also come with methyl parathion, as well as the OP azinphos-methyl, which is toxic to freshwater fish, amphibians and bees.

Winter Squash
Dieldrin, a chlorinated, carcinogenic insecticide, exceeded the safe daily limit for a young child in two-thirds of positive samples. Another potent carcinogen, heptachlor, also showed up. DDT and its breakdown product, DDE, were detected in baby food squash.

Green Beans
Green Beans can contain acephate, methamidophos and dimethoate (three neurotoxic OPs), and endosulfan, an endocrine-disrupting insecticide, which showed up in baby food, too. Acephate disorients migrating birds, throwing them off course.

U.S. grapes contain methyl parathion and methomyl, a carbamate insecticide listed as an endocrine disruptor; imports may contain dimethoate.

The enhanced red color of strawberries comes from the fungicide captan, a probable human carcinogen that can irritate skin and eyes, and is highly toxic to fish. While the lethal soil fumigant methyl bromide doesn’t show up on the fruit, it has harmed California farm workers, and depletes the ozone layer.

These berries can contain captan, iprodione and carbaryl, a suspected endocrine disruptor that has also been found in plum baby food

Permethrin, a possible human carcinogen, and dimethoate dominate spinach’s toxicity ratings, but CU notes that residue levels have been declining as U.S. farmers reduce use of these insecticides. DDT has been found in spinach, which leads all foods in exceeding safety tolerances.

Pesticide use on potatoes is growing, CU warns. They may contain dieldrin and methamidophos, and children eating potatoes risk getting a very high dose of aldicarb, CU says.

Note: In an update to its 1999 report, Consumers Union announced two more foods high in chlorpyrifos or other pesticide residues: tomatoes and cantaloupe.

Eating Raw Potatos - Poisonous?

"Do you know that eating raw potato is poisonous?"

A friend munched on while we were making some lunch conversations of my recent fascination on raw foods. He was not the first person to tell me that. The first person who gave me that info, warned by not to go raw on potatos. I did give him a little old home folk remedy piece, the raw potato juice, rich in potassium and other minerals is use to treat gout,rheumatism and arthritis.

My aunt's brother in-law has been drinking raw potato juice every morning on a daily basis for the past few years is still very much alive and without any side effects.

Intrigued and wondered if this is yet another urban legend, a false or misleading fact not verified but passed down by many innocent folks who take word of mouth as facts.

So ok, we are told since young, that we shouldn't eat green potatos or potatos with sprouts runs true, well partly.

Potatos originated from South America, comes from the Solanaceae nightshade family, it is one of the most commonly cultivated tubers in the world.

Potato contains Solanine & chaconine, glycoalkaloids that is concentrated in the leaves and the sprouts of the plant. However it is not the green in the potato that is poisonous. Its the chlorophyll that gives the Green. Potatos contains chlorophyll resulting from excessive exposure to light. This same process of photosynthesis that produces chlorophyll also produces solanine, that are toxic and affects the body's nervous system.

So avoid eating the green tubers or new sprouts, remove any of the budding sprouts, remove the green skin. Cooking the spud above 170 °C or 340 °F does destroy some concentration.

Solanine mostly contains just below the skin of the spud, but in some spuds, the level varies. So you could probably remove the skin and still able to eat the green spud.

Fun facts :
Non-organic potatos contain high concentration of pesticides. They may contain dieldrin (lung cancer) and methamidophos (muscle and motor cranial paralysis), and aldicarb (respiratory paralysis). So where possible, eat Organic Potatos.

Not so Fun Fact:
Wanna know what the medical term for Potato Poisoning called?
Solanum tuberosum poisoning.

* Hypothermia (lower than normal body temperature)
* Paralysis
* Shock
* Fever
* Slowed breathing
* Dilated pupils
* Vision changes
* Stomach or abdominal pain
* Vomiting
* Diarrhea
* Slow pulse
* Headache
* Delirium
* Loss of sensation
* Hallucinations

Quick cure : Induce vomitting, swallow activated charcoal, admit to emergency.

More Fun Facts on the uses of Raw potatos :

Cure Common Warts
Raw potatoes are chock full of Potassium, Vitamin C and Iron. If you have a common wart you want to get rid of, cut off a piece off a raw potato. Rub the flesh side over the wart so it's completely covered with the juice. Then, discard the potato piece. Don't rinse the juice off. Do this daily until the wart is gone.

Soothe Minor Skin Burns
Another unusual use for a raw potato is to treat minor burns. The next time you get a burn, peel and dice up a small potato- or use a piece of a peeled potato, depending how large the affected area is- into fine pieces. Add a bit of tap water, just enough to make a paste. Apply the potato paste to the burn and let it set undisturbed for several minutes. You should feel relief from the pain.

Remove Berry Stains From Your Hands
Berry stains are tough to remove. Rub the stains with a peeled, raw potato, they should come right off! Finish by rinsing the juice and the berry stains off your hands with plenty of tap water.

Remove Excess Salt From Soups and Stews
Cut up one or two washed, raw potatoes and drop them into the pot. Allow the potato to cook for several minutes, then use a slotted spoon to remove the pieces. The potato will have absorbed the excess salt.

Get Rid of a Throbbing Headache
Slice the potato in half and place a piece on each temple. Gently rub your temples with the potato until the pain lets up.

Give Your Geraniums a Nutritional Boost
If you're planting young Geranium plants, or you have existing plants that are looking a little anemic, a raw potato can help make them grow better. Just cut up a small raw potato and place it into the hole along with the plant. To give existing Geranium plants a boost, dig some of the soil out and away from the stem. Place the pieces of raw potato around the stem, then replace the soil.

Raw Potato juice to your Car Washer
Add raw potato juice in your organic vegetable based environmentally friendly car detergent.
It helps disintegrate tough stains or spots on your car without damaging the paint work.

Causes of cancer according to American Institute for Cancer

November 1, 2007 - 9:48AM

What people eat and how fast they grow are both significant causes of cancer, but many Americans still incorrectly believe that factors such as pesticides on food are bigger causes, experts reported today.

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of cancer for mother and child, and tall people have a higher risk of cancer than shorter people, the report found.

"We need to think about cancer as the product of many long-term influences, not as something that 'just happens,"' Dr Walter Willett, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health in Massachusetts, told a news conference.

The report, released jointly by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, is the result of five years of study by nine teams of scientists.

They reviewed 7,000 studies on diet, exercise, weight and cancer.

Most of what they recommended is in line with what health experts, including governments and the World Health Organisation, have long been advising - that diets based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains and that go easy on red meats, dairy products and fats protect against heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

They found evidence that factors such as hormones that cause the body to grow quickly may be involved in some cancers.

"We found that tallness is also probably linked to increased risk for ovarian, pancreatic and pre-menopausal cancer as well," said Willett. He stressed that tall people are not destined to get cancer but should take care to maintain healthy habits.

The groups make keeping a healthy weight their No. 1 recommendation to reduce the risk of cancer.

"Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight," the 400-page report reads. That means keeping a body mass index, they said, of between 21 and 23. BMI is a calculation of height to weight, and the normal range is usually considered to be 18 to 25, with anything over 25 being overweight.

Exercise is also key.

"Be physically active as part of everyday life," is the second of 10 recommendations made by the expert panel. The recommendations also include eating mostly plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables and grains, avoiding calorie-dense foods such as sugary drinks, and limiting red meat, alcohol and salt.

The American Institute for Cancer Research also released a survey of 1000 US adults that show most do not understand these risks. Only 38 per cent knew of the link between cured and processed meats and cancer, 49 per cent knew that diets low in fruits and vegetables raised the risk of cancer and 46 per cent knew that obesity was a well-documented risk.

But 71 per cent thought that pesticide residue on produce was a cause - something that has never been shown; 56 per cent thought stress causes cancer, again not proven; and 49 per cent believed hormones in beef cause cancer.

"Americans are increasingly likely to attribute cancer to factors over which they have no control, and for which no proven links to the disease exist," the report reads.

"This reflects an 'everything causes cancer' mindset," it adds.

The meat industry quickly denounced the report.

"WCRF's conclusions are extreme, unfounded and out of step with dietary guidelines," said American Meat Institute Foundation Vice President of Scientific Affairs Randy Huffman.

World Cancer Research Report on foods

A bad news week for bacon - but diet drinks and coffee in the clear


Things looked bleak for lovers of big breakfasts last week when the World Cancer Research Fund delivered its verdict on the link between cancer and bacon, but not all the news in this report was bad. While the media homed in on the increased risk of cancer from processed meats and alcohol, this epic report that reviewed 7,000 studies of diet, exercise, weight and cancer did have its positive side - coffee, for instance, was unlikely to 'have a substantial effect on cancer', it said.

Artificial sweeteners like saccharin, cyclamates and aspartame were let off the hook too - at least in terms of cancer. These sweeteners have been under suspicion for years, but although research has found that very high doses of artificial sweeteners, especially saccharin, increased bladder cancer in animals, the report points out that the studies used huge amounts that were far greater than anything humans would normally consume in food and drinks. What's more, the evidence from epidemiological studies (meaning studies of disease trends in different populations) shows no detectable effect on cancer risk, it concluded.

But back to breakfast. If you're looking for something to replace bacon with your eggs, you could do worse than cooked tomatoes: they're rich in carotenoids - the plant pigments also found in orange and yellow fruit and veg, spinach and Asian greens, and which the WCRF report says probably lower the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and lung. And stir in some crushed garlic too - likely to help prevent bowel and stomach cancer. Other good news?

-Foods containing folate - think liver, spinach, beans, broccoli, oranges, cos lettuce, avocado, asparagus and paw paw - get the thumbs up for probably protecting against cancer of the pancreas.

- Onions, chives, leeks - and more garlic may help prevent stomach cancer.

- Selenium, a mineral found in brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and fish probably protects against prostate cancer.

-Dairy products? A mixed verdict here - while milk probably lowered the risk of bowel cancer, the
report said, there was some evidence that diets high in calcium were a probable cause of prostate cancer.

By the way, if you want to replace bacon at breakfast, cooked mushrooms are hard to beat because of their strong flavour and meaty texture. They also make a good substitute in recipes - like pasta sauces - that include bacon.

pH Living creating a more healthy you

"After twenty-five years of research I have learned that all functions of the human organism are acidic and that the ideal and optimum state of the human organism is to maintain its alkaline design." Robert O. Young D.Sc., Ph.D.*

We have all know that eating more vegetables and less meat will produce a more alkaline pH level in our bodies.

Because of everyday living and diet of meats, refined grains, dairy, breads and high sugar fruits , our bodies are too acidic. The pH level (the acid-alkaline measurement) of our internal fluids affects every cell in our bodies. Extended acid imbalances of any kind are not well tolerated by the body.

When we have over acidic pH level, results from external acidic environment as well as eating meats which produces acidicity in our bodies. Having an over acidic pH level in our bodies, interrupt the cellular activities and affect the organ function such as heart palpitation, neural networks in our brain system. Over-acidification also affects the rest of the organ functions and also our body tissues and cells.

It is also commonly known that an over-acidic body will generally cause cancer cells to mutate as a symptom. Remember that cancer is produced as an reaction to our state of body and health.

Eating lots of green raw vegetables and fruits helps bringing a more balance pH level in our bodies hence a more healthy state.

Here's Dr Young's pH Miracle living video

Quotation from

An answer began to form through years of research, and Dr. Young found support for his studies in the findings of several American and European scientists. One scientific researcher, Dr. Bircher-Benner, concisely summarized the relationship between light and cells: "The absorption and organization of sunlight, the essence of life, is derived almost exclusively through plants. Since light is the driving force of every cell in our bodies, that is why we need green plants." Already convinced of the overwhelmingly
healthy (and underwhelmingly utilized) benefits plants contribute to our diet, the Young's set out to harness this natural cache of light and direct its energies to individual human cells. The result was a family of natural, plant and mineral-based supplements, each "energized" to reflect its origin from the sun. "It's what our mission and products are all about," explains Shelley Young. "Transferring the inner light of plants to our body's cells." And InnerLight was born.

Message from the Spirit

"To Heal the World,
FIRST You Must Heal Yourself!"

The World does not start from the outside.
We must remember that we are an integral part of this world, an individual cell. If we are unwell, the World is unwell.

If we are concern for this Earth and seek to help our sick planet, we must start by taking care of ourselves, our well-being, our individual body.

Keep Healthy and Aware!

Article : Expanding the Frontiers of the Vegetarian Plate

Comments : I love Cafe Gratitude, San Francisco - mecca for all raw food fans.

November 18, 2007
Choice Tables | San Francisco
Expanding the Frontiers of the Vegetarian Plate

VEGETARIANISM is a simple idea — don't eat animals — with an ancient pedigree. According to the Vegetarian Resource Group, 4.7 million American adults are vegetarians or vegans (people who avoid all animal products, including cheese and eggs).

Yet even in San Francisco, with its countercultural and fresh food traditions, only about one in a hundred restaurants in the Zagat Survey is vegetarian. And while new vegetarian restaurants have been opening in New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco's scene has been expanding differently as beloved restaurants open new locations.

This safe approach leaves some frustrated. “We don't have enough veg restaurants that are really good and exciting,” said Aurelia d'Andrea, managing editor of VegNews, a vegetarian magazine based in San Francisco. “I'm bored by what's offered here.” The city suffers a particular lack of South Indian vegetarian restaurants.

Still, San Francisco vegans like Ms. d'Andrea have the luxury of high standards. Virtually any restaurant in the city will accommodate them, with many going far beyond the hackneyed grilled portobello. Many newer restaurants feature extensive vegetarian offerings from chefs who respect the concept, rather than treating it as an irksome neurosis.

While this may reduce demand for strictly vegetarian restaurants, it also means that these establishments can't take vegetarian customers for granted. In this competitive milieu, certain standouts are influential, delineating the frontiers of vegetarian cuisine.

Greens, run by the San Francisco Zen Center, has become an institution since opening in 1979. It is the restaurant that brought vegetarian food out from sprout-infested health food stores and established it as a cuisine in America. It is in an airy space at Fort Mason Center, on San Francisco Bay (415-771-6222;; hold out for a seat by the windows to watch the sun set through the Golden Gate.

When I visited with my wife, Nina, we started with a plate of mesquite-grilled Blossom Bluff peaches ($11). Luscious and warm, the fruit was offset with the bite of arugula and watercress and creamy mascarpone, and accented with sage honey. The chef, Annie Somerville, has at her disposal the output of Green Gulch, an organic farm also operated by the Zen Center in the cool coastal air just across the bay. A plate of heirloom tomatoes with Green Gulch lettuce and buffalo mozzarella in a basil vinaigrette ($10) is the epitome of the form.

But a few dishes struck false notes. The spinach ricotta ravioli ($23) featured an earthy and garlicky — but watery — sauce over slightly underdone pasta. The mesquite-grilled brochettes ($19) were uneven: the corn was perfectly cooked but the zucchini was underdone. Still, it was delicious, with a sharp charmoula and savory, rich tofu, all served over cuminy, toothsome pearl couscous studded with pistachios and tart dried cherries.

Millennium, the other giant looming over the city's vegetarian restaurant scene, has become the gold standard of American vegan cuisine. In a cheerfully dignified space at 580 Geary Street (415-345-3900;, Millennium draws a happy crowd of professionals, couples, and tattooed, Technicolor-haired young vegans dining with visiting parents.

Eric Tucker, the chef, is highly regarded for a polyglot style that marries ingredients and techniques from diverse cuisines with a sense of how best to celebrate Northern California's vegetable bounty. Millennium's menus are famously involved and difficult to parse — when I ate there with three friends, we were confronted with ingredients ranging from papazul to tempeh picadillo to sambal.

I have a soft spot for huitlacoche — the mushroom that grows on ears of corn and resembles distended, blackened kernels — so I ordered the masa pibes ($22.95), a steaming construction of savory, chewy hominy rounds beneath a mound of ragout made from the aforementioned fungi. The dish was set off with colorful accents: a cream of sweet corn and lobster mushrooms, plus roasted poblano emulsion and tangy, cilantro-spiked avocado-heirloom tomato salsa fresca.

Such is Mr. Tucker's skill that the food at Millennium attains a gustatory cohesion not suggested by the eclectic ingredients. The shredded Indian Red peach salad ($8.95) — which, besides tender peaches, included baby heirloom lettuce, green papaya, chili-dusted peanuts, and the sweet zing of a light Thai lime leaf dressing — blossoms on the tongue like a bouquet.

San Francisco's vegan food can be much more down-to-earth. One Sunday, Nina and I went to brunch at Herbivore, at 983 Valencia Street (415-826-5657;; there are two other locations). Nina counts herself “90 percent vegan,” a formulation that might make militant vegans blanch, but entitled her to enjoy Herbivore's hearty and rich corn cakes ($8.50). They came smothered in black beans, salsa and guacamole alongside thick-cut rosemary potatoes. The guacamole was excellent, and the corn cakes had a perfect salty chewiness imparted by whole kernels of sweet corn.

Herbivore's menu is broad, but loses its way outside comfort food standbys. So I had a short stack of pancakes ($7.75) crammed with fat, wet blueberries and topped with a pair of curled, glistening fried bananas. Generous helpings of Earth Balance (an inspired brand of imitation butter) and sticky maple syrup guaranteed me the perfect sweet and heavy start to a Sunday.

Vegetarian traditions from the Far East are well-represented in San Francisco. Among better known restaurants are Golden Era (572 O'Farrell Street; 415-673-3136;, and Bok Choy Garden (1820 Clement Street; 415-387-8111).

We tried the Japanese vegan restaurant Cha-Ya (762 Valencia Street; 415-252-7825) on a sunny afternoon, when the place was packed with families and cheerful groups of friends.

We dove right in, starting with shira ae ($5.50), a salad of blanched and delicately pickled vegetables served atop a thick sesame tofu dressing. Slices of lotus root and rubbery yam cake added a seafoody aroma to the beans, pressed spinach, shiitakes, and rapini. Cha-Ya's kitchen is adept at imparting umami flavors without resorting to the usual fish-based ingredients. The miso soup was richly savory, and the Cha-Ya roll ($6.75), a lightly fried inside-out roll of asparagus and carrot drizzled in thick, sweet sauce, was deeply satisfying.

Each dish was perfectly prepared. The vegetables in the sushi rolls (we had asparagus, eggplant, mushroom, and rapini nigiri rolls ($3.50 each), and avocado and mushroom uramaki ($5.25) had been cooked to the moment of perfection. A bowl of kinoko udon soup ($7.75) was heavy with chunky mushrooms: enoki, shimeji, oyster and shiitake. The broth, and the noodles, were good enough to imagine climbing into the big stoneware bowl.

Strangely, though Cha-Ya's culinary skill was flawless, the rest of the restaurant's atmosphere seemed an afterthought. Décor was spartan (at night the place is lit like a Laundromat) and service can be brusque. Our server brought the bill and attempted to hustle us out the door before we had a chance to order dessert. At first she even refused to reopen the tab, but it takes more than that to keep Nina away from a slice of vegan chocolate cake ($4). We also had a scoop of soy ice cream ($4), served with a green tea sauce that was sweet and strong, and moved us to forgive the attitude.

Our final stop could not have been more different had it been an outright steakhouse. Café Gratitude, at 2400 Harrison Street (415-824-4652;; there are three other locations), has the air of a theme restaurant celebrating Northern California stereotypes. The space is intimate, with big tables that encourage sharing among a crowd of Burning Man enthusiasts, New Agers and earnest world changers — in other words, a friendly and lively scene.

The restaurant's décor is derived from a board game developed by the owners and built into each table. It encourages diners to express gratitude for one another and for the bounty the universe has bestowed upon anyone likely to walk in the door. After seating us, the hostess looked in our eyes and asked, “What's great about today?”

It's all so easy to make fun of, but I chose to just go with it. Gratitude's dishes are named for uplifting adjectives, rewarding self-affirmation with sustenance. I declared that “I Am Bountiful,” “I am Rich” and “I Am Elated.”

Nearly all the food at Gratitude is raw, which means the kitchen knows secrets about fruits and vegetables hidden to most of us. Familiar raw items like juices and salads take on a special vibrancy. I Am Rich ($7) is a big wineglass filled with vermilion beet juice floated on a base of orange, carrot and lemon to magnificent and tangy effect.

But you have to let go of expectations when ordering raw analogs of cooked dishes. Nina's I Am Mahalo ($10) was billed as a Hawaiian pizza, which, through the raw looking glass, meant a pair of triangular crackers made from dehydrated nuts and seeds, topped with chunks of mango, tomato, and cashew cream. “It's hard to know what you're eating,” Nina said, dabbing her lip with a hempen napkin and reaching for her I Am Succulent ($7), an exceptional juice of grapefruit, apple, celery and mint.

It's a bewildering cuisine, developing familiar ingredients into wholly novel dishes. The results can range from the frankly gross (a lavender cashew mousse that was indistinguishable from moisturizer) to the revelatory (almond hummus singing of raw garlic).

I finished the meal with I Am Devoted ($7), a raw coconut cream pie that delineated every aspect of the perfect coconut. It was sweet, but not cloying; fragrant, but not overpowering.

As dessert arrived, we were joined by the filmmaker Maurizio Benazzo, a recent convert to raw food. “What do you think of this,” I asked him, passing over a forkful of fresh mint and raw cocoa cheesecake (I Am Cherished, $7). “Is the green color from the mint?”

“Algae. It has to be,” he said in his rolling Italian accent. He handed me his I Am Splendid ($9), a surprisingly delicious “mojito” that blends agave sweetness with the fullness of sake. “It's absurd,” he exclaimed. “It's fantastic!”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Food 2.0: Chefs as Chemists : Food Molecular Gastronomy

Food 2.0: Chefs as Chemists

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Slices of eel are served with puffed yuzu, inspired by airy puffed snacks like Cheez Doodles, left. Framed by a reverse comma of tomato lettuce and powdered onions, beef tongue is accompanied by small pieces of lettuce and a high-tech version of fried mayonnaise.

Published: November 6, 2007

In September, talking to an audience of chefs from around the world, Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan waxed enthusiastic about a type of ingredient he has been adding to his restaurant’s dishes.

Not organic Waygu beef or newfound exotic spices or eye of newt and toe of frog, but hydrocolloid gums — obscure starches and proteins usually relegated to the lower reaches of ingredient labels on products like Twinkies. These substances are helping Mr. Dufresne make eye-opening (and critically acclaimed) creations like fried mayonnaise and a foie gras that can be tied into a knot.

Chefs are using science not only to better understand their cooking, but also to create new ways of cooking. Elsewhere, chefs have played with lasers and liquid nitrogen. Restaurant kitchens are sometimes outfitted with equipment adapted from scientific laboratories. And then there are hydrocolloids that come in white bottles like chemicals.

Xanthan gum, for instance, a slime fermented by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris and then dried, is used in bottled salad dressing to slow the settling of the spice particles and keep water and oil from separating. Xanthan and other hydrocolloids are now part of the tool kit of high-end chefs.

“These ingredients are finding more and more of a footing in the traditional, free-standing restaurant,” said Mr. Dufresne (pronounced doo-FRAYN) at the Starchefs International Chefs Congress in New York.

He noted that the hydrocolloids he uses came from natural sources and often had a long history in the cooking of other cultures.

“In our ongoing search of working with hydrocolloids, we’re always trying to find interesting and new things and new applications,” said Mr. Dufresne, who at times sounded as if he were talking to chemists rather than chefs.

And rightly so. Cooking is chemistry, after all, and in recent decades scientists have given much closer scrutiny to the transformations that occur when foodstuffs are heated. That has debunked some longstanding myths. Searing meat does not seal in juices, for example, but high heat does induce chemical reactions among the proteins that make it tastier. The experimentation with hydrocolloids represents a rare crossover between the culinary arts and food science, two fields that at first glance would seem to be closely related but which have been almost separate. Food science arose in the 20th century as food companies looked for ways to make their products survive the trek to the supermarket and remain palatable. The long list of ingredients on a frozen dinner represents the work of food scientists in ensuring shelf life and approximating the taste of fresh-cooked food.

“Ten years ago, or maybe a little more than that, no chef in a serious restaurant would be caught dead using these ingredients,” said Harold McGee, author of “On Food and Cooking” (Scribner, 2004) and the “Curious Cook” column, which appears in the Dining section of The New York Times. “Because they were industrial stabilizers for the most part.”

Then a few chefs like Ferran Adrià in Spain and Heston Blumenthal in England started experimenting. “They asked what can you do with these ingredients that you can’t do with other ingredients,” Mr. McGee said.

Despite its imposing name, a hydrocolloid is a simple thing. A colloid is a suspension of particles within some substance. A hydrocolloid is a suspension of particles in water where the particles are molecules that bind to water and to one another. The particles slow the flow of the liquid or stop it entirely, solidifying into a gel.

Cornstarch used as a thickener is a hydrocolloid. So is plain flour. But the properties of hydrocolloids differ widely, depending on their molecular structure and affinity for water.

Today, Grant Achatz, chef of Alinea in Chicago, uses agar-agar, which is a hydrocolloid made from seaweed that is best known for growing bacteria in petri dishes, and gelatin, a more familiar hydrocolloid made from collagen in meat, to make transparent sheets that he drapes over hot foods. For a dish made of a confit of beef short ribs, he wanted to add a taste of beer so he draped a veil flavored with Guinness on top — “a thin, flavorful glaze that ensured the diner would get some beer flavor in every bit of the dish,” Mr. Achatz said. Plain gelatin would simply melt, and ruin the effect.

Even chefs far from the avant-garde use hydrocolloids. David Kinch, the chef of Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos, Calif., known for ultra-fresh and ultra-local ingredients, makes purees of vegetables. To keep water from leaking out, he adds a touch of xanthan gum.

One of the dishes Mr. Dufresne presented in his Starchefs talk was what he called “knot foie,” a result of experimentation combining xanthan gum with konjac flour, made from a tuber long used in Japanese cooking.

“We’ve had konjac flour in the kitchen for a long time, and we just hadn’t used it,” Mr. Dufresne said. “We realized, after reading, that it has a really interesting synergy with xanthan gum. It makes a kind of funky, strange gel on its own, but in conjunction with xanthan gum, which on its own won’t make a gel but is just a thickener, it makes a really interesting, very elastic product.”

He continued: “So we thought, well what could we take that normally wouldn’t behave like that but would be really interesting. And almost instantly, we came up with the idea of foie gras.”

One wall of the WD-50 kitchen, with metal shelves filled with white bottles of hydrocolloids, looks almost like a pharmacy. Mr. Dufresne’s reading material includes “Water-Soluble Polymer Applications in Foods” and “Hydrocolloid Applications: Gum Technology in the Food and Other Industries.”

Like scientists, Mr. Dufresne and his staff experiment, recording their observations and findings in notebooks. Using butter — much cheaper than foie gras — they began a series of trials in May to determine the ideal proportion of konjac to xanthan, which turned out to be 70 percent konjac, 30 percent xanthan in a 0.65 percent concentration.

“It’s a recipe,” Mr. Dufresne said.

In addition to flexible butter, Mr. Dufresne also has a recipe for a butter that does not melt in an oven. (That innovation has yet to find a place on his menu.) The latest experiments are how to make deep-fried hollandaise sauce, which he hopes to wrap into a variation of eggs benedict.

To make a flexible foie, a foie gras terrine is melted into liquefied fat, the xanthan and konjac are mixed in, and then a small amount of water and an egg yolk, which helps keep everything evenly suspended in the liquid, are blended in. The mixture is spread on a sheet, chilled, cut into strands and tied into knots. Hence, knot foie.

In the question-and-answer session, one person asked why Mr. Dufresne went to the trouble of making a foie gras terrine, a process that takes half a day of chilling, when the next step was melting it into a liquid.

“We were trying to be true and honest to that aspect of French cooking,” Mr. Dufresne replied. He paused before adding, “And do something kind of crazy with it.”

The danger of Oil based Agriculture

Agriculture is the world's third largest consumer of energy. With the Green Revolution following the Second World War, mankind discovered how to synthetically produce nitrogenous fertilizer and consequently dramatically increase volumes of food production. Nitrogen is perhaps the single most important plant nutrient essential for the synthesis of protein - the most important building block of life.

Unfortunately the synthesis of these nitrogen fertilizers requires massive amounts of natural gas. Around 90% of the variable cost of fertilizer comes from the natural gas consumed in this industrial process. To put that into visual perspective, it takes around 1 litre of crude oil to make 1 kilogram of nitrogen fertilizer (urea).

The price of urea, agricultures cheapest source of nitrogen, has increased by around 50% since the end of October 2006 from around US$210/t to US$300/t and reflects the huge demand emerging for fertilizer relative to the actual capacity of existing plants to produce. Shortages are evident on the sub continent in India and Bangladesh and even affluent markets such as the UK (until after March).

Potash supplies may also come under pressure as a second mine has succumbed to flooding in Canada , the world’s number one supplier of this essential plant element. This follows a similar event in a Russian mine late last year. Judging by the manner in which the share price of the world’s foremost potash producer, Potash Corp. (POT.TO) has inflated over the last 6 months (CA$85 up to CA$175), demand is anticipated to be robust and likely lead to significant price rises

So it clearly evident capacity constraints are restricting agriculture’s ability to ramp up production simply because price signals have emerged to attempt to do so. The mining boom has shown it is much harder to increase commodity production after years and even decades of restricted infrastructure investment and poor economic returns. In fact since the boom in metals prices begun in earnest a couple of years ago, Australia has not managed to increase output of any of these commodities.

This input cost inflation clearly has ramifications for farmers around the world despite rising prices for nearly all staple food commodities. Incomes have the potential to rise significantly in good years, and bad years will cost a lot more than they have in the past. In other words the risk of farming has ratcheted up to a point where particularly in marginal areas, there is no provision for failure. And with weather risk increasing the need for land use change is now at its greatest in history.

Somewhere along the line, man forgot to consider that it could be dangerous to develop a global model of food production that was intrinsically linked to the non renewable resources of oil and natural gas. Even more recklessly, our plant breeders proceeded to breed crops with the assumption that cheap oil would always be around. Crops have been programmed to focus more on yielding food and less on competing with pests and diseases. The advent of fossil fuel based pesticides cleared away biological impediments to production such as insects and diseases. To use an analogy, commonly bred and grown crops are now effectively naked in nature. They simply could not survive without oil based inputs and man. And whats more, most commonly grown crops only live for one year and require replanting again the following year by big machines that burn thousands of litres of diesel.

Holistic Health Green Carnival

An Ant's Endeavour to Move a Tree

Holistic Health Green Carnival:

Waning mountains and choking streams,
The Earth breathing in erratic pulses.
Changing this course is likened to
An ant's undertaking to move a tree!

Yet, we are willing to join this ant.
An open heart forges ahead in strength.
Join us in the ant's mission,
Make a difference in this green revolution.

Programme Highlights:

  • Know how we can restore the health of our Earth
  • Find out ways to energize water, and healthy eating for ourselves and our children
  • Learn ways to live safer in midst of harmful electromagnetic fields and radiation
  • Preview to holistic programmes that awaken joy and harmony of body, mind and spirit
  • Showroom of organic health products, books and CDs
  • Indulge in fresh healthy vegetarian delicacies, and free seminars


  • Early Birds' Specials: redeem 10% worth of value for purchasing vouchers at Lapis Lazuli Light before 30 September 2007
  • 5% discount off all items at the event. For members, bring along your Readership Card for 15% discount


  • Free admission to the event
  • Vouchers for purchase of products at the event are available at Lapis Lazuli Light and most organic health shops

Carnival's Details:

  • Date: 24 and 25 November 2007 (Saturday and Sunday)
  • Time: 10am - 8pm
  • Meeting Place: Fort Canning Centre

What organic foods I eat nowdays

I'm being more aware these days, very awfully picky about what I eat and what to avoid.

Going fully organic at the moment is not feasible, as I do eat out, and most places don't order organic produce. Its also a big blow on the budget. By putting the 'Organic' label on your foods, the food marts will markup up 3-10 times non-organic ones.

Its really stupid that by not polluting or poisoning your vegetables with pesticides and inorganic nitrite fertilizers will cost more than the poisoned ones we are getting in the supermarkets.

Whenever I can, I eat some organic fruits. I also try to eat more local green organic vegetables when available. My motto is, if the fruit or vegetable is unusually way too big than it should be, growth hormones are usually used. Fruits which are more susceptible
to pest like berries are usually more heavily sprayed. So Avoid!

These are the ones that are more heavily sprayed with pesticides (not in any order)

1. Peaches & Nectrines
2. Cherries
3. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
4. Bell Peppers, chillies
5. Lettuce
6. Grapes
7. Potatos
8. Carrots
9. Apples
10. Pears
11. Plums
12. Tomato
13. Passion Fruit
14. Pomegrantes

The fruits with growth hormones
1. Mango (jumbo ones we occassionally see in the markets)
2. Watermelon
3. Honeydew
4. Peaches

I need to know more non-meat eating friends!

The lack of non-meat eaters in my social circle is hampering my gradual progress to vegetarianism. Everyone I know who enjoys food are all big meat eaters and it is definately not helping! The vegetarians i know are not big foodist and not really into exploring new food joints!

How would you balance the foodist and non-foodist in your social circle?

Do vegetarians only have vegetarian friends?
How do they survive in the world of big meat eaters?

Article: Soy too Good to be True?

Ran through my Gerson Therapy archive and found this about Soy

Soy: Too Good to be True
By Brandon Finucan & Charlotte Gerson ,
Gerson Institute Newsletter Volume 14 #4

While even in 1966 there was considerable research on the harmful substances within soybeans, you'll be hard pressed to find articles today that claim soy is anything short of a miracle-food. As soy gains more and more popularity through industry advertising, we are moved once again to raise our voice of concern.

The Soybean Industry in America

In 1924 soybean production in the U.S. was only at 1.8 million acres harvested, but by 1954, the harvested acres grew to 18.9 million. Today, the soybean is America's third largest crop (harvesting 72 million acres in 1998), supplying more than 50 percent of the world's soybean demand.

Most of these beans are made into animal feed and are manufactured into soy oil for use as vegetable oil, margarine and shortening. Of the traditional uses for soy as a food, only soy sauce enjoys widespread consumption in the American diet. Tofu, measuring 90 percent of Asia's use of the soybean, has gained more popularity in the U.S., but soy is still nowhere near a measurable component of the average American diet - or is it?

For more than 20 years now, the soy industry has concentrated on finding alternative uses and new markets for soybeans and soy byproducts. At your local supermarket, soy can now be found disguised as everything from soy cheese, milk, burgers and hot dogs, to ice cream, yogurt, vegetable oil, baby formula and flour (to name just a few). These are often marketed as low-fat, dairy-free, or as a high-protein, meat substitute for vegetarians. But soy isn't always mentioned on the box cover. Today, an alarming 60% of the food on America's supermarket shelves contain soy derivatives (i.e. soy flour, textured vegetable protein, partially hydrogenated soy bean oil, soy protein isolate). When you look at the ingredients list, and really look at the contents of the "Average American Diet," from snack foods and fast foods to prepackaged frozen meals, soy plays a major role.

Where the soybean goes wrong?

Here at the Gerson Institute, we feel the positive aspects of the soybean are overshadowed by their potential for harm. Soybeans in fact contain a large number of dangerous substances. One among them is phytic acid, also called phytates. This organic acid is present in the bran or hulls of all seeds and legumes, but none have the high level of phytates that soybeans do. These acids block the body's uptake of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and especially zinc. Adding to the high-phytate problem, soybeans are very resistant to phytate reducing techniques, such as long, slow cooking.

Soybeans also contain potent enzyme inhibitors. These inhibitors block uptake of trypsin and other enzymes that the body needs for protein digestion. Normal cooking does not deactivate these harmful "antinutrients," that can cause serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and can lead to chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake.
Beyond these, soybeans also contain hemagglutinin, a clot promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. These clustered blood cells are unable to properly absorb oxygen for distribution to the body's tissues, and cannot help in maintaining good cardiac health. Hemagglutinin and trypsin inhibitors are both "growth depressant" substances. Although the act of fermenting soybeans does deactivate both trypsin inhibitors and hemagglutinin, precipitation and cooking do not. Even though these enzyme inhibitors are reduced in levels within precipitated soy products like tofu, they are not altogether eliminated.

Only after a long period of fermentation (as in the creation of miso or tempeh) are the phytate and "antinutrient" levels of soybeans reduced, making their nourishment available to the human digestive system. The high levels of harmful substances remaining in precipitated soy products leave their nutritional value questionable at best, and in the least, potentially harmful.

What About the Studies?

In recent years, several studies have been made regarding the soybean's effect on human health. The results of those studies, largely underwritten by various factions of the soy industry, were of course overwhelmingly in favor of soy. The primary claims about soy's health benefits are based purely on bad science. Although primary arguments for cancer patients to use soy focus on statistics showing low rates of breast, colon and prostate cancer among Asian people, there are obvious facts being utterly ignored. While the studies boast that Asian women suffer far fewer cases of breast cancer than American women do, the hype neglects to point out that these Asian women eat a diet that is dramatically different than their American counterparts.

The standard traditional Asian diet consists of more natural products, far less fatty meat, greater amounts of vegetables and more fish. Their diets are also lower in chemicals and toxins, as they eat far fewer processed (canned, jarred, pickled, frozen) foods. It is likely these studies are influenced by the fact that cancer rates rise among Asian people who move to the U.S. and adopt American-ized diets. Of course, this change of diet goes hand-in-hand with a dramatic shift in lifestyle. Ignoring the remarkable diet and lifestyle changes, to assume only that reduced levels of soy in these Americanized Asian diets is a primary factor in greater cancer rates is poor judgment, and as stated above, bad science. The changes of dietand lifestyle must be considered to reach the correct conclusion.

A widely circulated article, written by Jane E. Allen, AP Science Writer, titled, "Scientists Suggest More Soy in Diet", cites in the course of a symposium, numerous speakers discussing the probable advantages of soy under the title, "Health Impact of Soy Protein." However, the article states that the $50,000 symposium "was underwritten by Protein Technologies International of St. Louis, a DuPont subsidiary that makes soy protein!" In the course of the same symposium, Thomas Clarkson, professor of comparative medicine at Wake Forest University, states "Current hormone replacement therapy has been a dismal failure from a public health point of view," not because PremarinÆ is known to cause uterine or other female organ cancers, but "because only 20 percent of the women who could benefit from it are taking it."

Other popular arguments in support of soy state that fermented products, like tempeh or natto, contain high levels of vitamin B-12.However, these supportive arguments fail to mention that soy's B-12 is an inactive B-12 analog, not utilized as a vitamin in the human body. Some researchers speculate this analog may actually serve to block the body's B-12 absorption. It has also been found that allergic reactions to soybeans are far more common than to all other legumes. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics admits that early exposure to soy through commercial infant formulas, may be a leading cause of soy allergies among older children and adults.

In his classic book, A Cancer Therapy - Results of 50 Cases (p.237), Dr. Gerson put "Soy and Soy Products" on the "FORBIDDEN" list of foods for Gerson Therapy patients. At the time, his greatest concerns were two items: the high oil content of soy and soy products,and the rather high rate of allergic reactions to soy. Soybeans can add as much as 9 grams of fat per serving, typically adding an average of 5 grams of fat per serving when part of an average American diet.

The Extraction Process

The processes which render the soybean "edible" are also the processes which render it "inedible." In fermenting soybeans, the process entails that the beans be purÈed and soaked in an alkaline solution. The pureed mixture is then heated to about 115ƒC (239ƒF) inside a pressure cooker. This heating and soaking process destroys most, but not all, of the anti-nutrients. At the same time, it has the unwelcome effect of denaturing the proteins of the beans so they become very difficult to digest and greatly reduced in effectiveness. Unfortunately, the alkaline solution also produces a carcinogen, lysinealine, while it reduces the already low cystine content within the soybean. Cystine plays an essential role in liver detoxification, allowing our bodies to filter and eliminate toxins. Without proper amounts of cystine, the protein complex of the soybean becomes useless, unless the diet is fortified with cystine-rich meat, egg, or dairy products - not an option for Gerson patients.

To the soybean's credit, they do contain large amounts of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, but these are particularly susceptible to rancidity when subjected to high pressures and temperatures. Unfortunately, high pressure and temperature are required to remove soybean oil from the soybean.

Before soybeans are sent to your table, they undergo a rigorous process to strip them of their oil. Hexane or other solvents are first applied to help separate the oil from the beans, leaving trace amounts of these toxins in the commercial product. Hexane by definition is; "any of five colorless, volatile, liquid hydrocarbons C6H14 of the paraffin series," and cannot be the least bit beneficial in anyone's diet. After the oil is extracted, the defatted flakes are used to form the three basic soy protein products. With the exception of full-fat soy flour, all soybean products contain trace amounts of carcinogenic solvents.

Personal Experiences

The following letter was received in November 1998: "I have used soy milk for 12 years with no problems. About 9 months ago, I started to have heart palpitations. I thought maybe that I was in menopause, but I wasn't. I added more potassium to my diet and magnesium and vitamin E. No change. I am already decaffeinated but I also took all sugar out of my diet. I lost 25 pounds and felt great except for the palpitations. I tried hawthorn and garlic but nothing was helping. Recently I came down with acute bronchitis and could only drink water because even the soy milk made me have horrendous bouts of coughing. I realized that after a few days my heart palpitations had stopped. I didn't think anything of it because it never occurred to me that soy was the culprit. As soon as I started drinking it again, my heart went crazy. I went off it for a week and then changed brands. Within 30 minutes of drinking only 4 ounces [of soy milk], my heart was all over the place. I've noticed that it takes about 24 to 36 hours for my heart to settle down. I wondered if your research turned up anything like this in regard to soy. I know it is not within the definition of an allergy, but something is definitely going on. I called the manufacturer of the soy milk, but they were of no help. I am very upset because I only drink soy milk and water. I also use the soy milk to make protein shakes (with what else but soy protein)."

In our November/December 1996 issue of the Gerson Healing Newsletter we described another case: a pregnant lady who looked very ill and was terribly deficient! She also described her son, age five, who had many allergies and infections - both were using a good deal of soy in their diet. I recommended that they discontinue the use of all soy products. At the time, I had only just run across this situation. However, a year later, I was in the same area for a lecture, and the lady invited me to dinner. She had cut out all soy products: her skin was now rosy, her face filled out, her sunken eyes normal, her black circles gone and her little boy, now six, was in greatly improved health.

Just last week, another interesting story came to our attention. A patient at the Gerson Certified Hospital in Mexico told us of her son, now 25, who has total lack of hair (Alopecia) with the exception of eyebrows and eyelashes. She added that this started when he was just three years old. Since the mother asked me about this situation, I considered the problem for a moment. Then, looking at the parents who both have normal hair, I figured that the boy's problem was most probably not genetic. So, I asked the mother if he used a lot of soy. She said, no. But then, after thinking about the question for a moment, she said that at about one year of age, the boy had many allergies, so she regularly fed him soy milk! I explained to her that the enzyme and nutrient blocking ability of soy and the likelihood of the soy milk being the cause of his condition starting at age three. Since we had just witnessed the case of a patient whose hair grew back on his bald pate, (See "Practitioner Training" article in this issue) after being bald for some 20 years, I cautiously suggested that a complete change of diet accompanied by intensive detoxification, may be able to overcome the problem.

Don't Believe the Hype!

The Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) is one of the leading manufacturers of soy products. They are seeking "GRAS" (generally recognized as safe) status from the FDA for isoflavones, the estrogen-like compounds found in soy products. They have submitted a document entitled, " An information document reviewing the safety of soy isoflavones used in specific dietary applications."

Dr. Mike Fitzpatrick, a biochemist and former Auckland University professor has carefully analyzed this material and presented his findings in an article entitled, "Soy Isoflavones: Panacea or Poison" published in the Journal of the Price-Pottinger Nutrition Foundation (vol. 22, no. 3). Dr. Fitzpatrick concluded that ADM's supporting document "contains factual errors, misrepresents cited authors and does not present the full body of scientific evidence."

ADM claims that "these isoflavones have been consumed by millions of humans for over two thousand years." In actuality, while they have been used in Asia for hundreds of years, they "did not form a significant part of [the Asian] diet." Furthermore, notes Fitzpatrick, "the traditional soybean was quite different from the soybean as we know it today ." The wild soybean, Glycine soja, "is the species that was consumed traditionally and is the ancestor of the modern cultivar, Glycine max, explains Fitzpatrick. The modern day species has been cultivated to breed much more protein than the traditional soybean.

The isoflavones serve as a "defense mechanism in response to pests. Increased disease resistance has been a consistent goal of soybean breeders and it is quite conceivable that this goal has served to increase the levels of isoflavones, and other naturally occurring toxins in the Glycine max." The levels of isoflavones in Glycine max vary considerably. "If this is so, then it is not implausible that the traditional Asian soybean, Glycine soja, contained quite low levels of isoflavones or perhaps none at all," states Fitzpatrick. Therefore, ADM's assertion that soybeans have been safely consumed for over two thousand years cannot be substantiated.

Soy and Infant Formula

What is particularly worrisome is the presence of soy in infant formulas. It is interesting to note that many infants cannot tolerate soy formulas, that they seem to be "allergic" to the soy.

Perhaps the body is instinctively rejecting the enzyme inhibitors found in the soy. In a letter addressed to Linda Kahl at the division of Product Policy of the Food and Drug Administration dated April 22, 1998, Daniel Sheehan, Ph.d and director of the Estrogen Base Program at the National Center for Toxicological Research wrote:"There is abundant evidence that some of the isoflavones, including genistein and equal are toxicants... additionally, isoflavones are inhibitors of thyroid peroxidase which makes T3 and T4. Inhibition can be expected to generate thyroid abnormalities including goiter and autoimmune thyroiditis. In fact, infants consuming soy infant formula rich in isoflavones have about a two-fold risk of developing these diseases...While isoflavones may have beneficial effects at some ages or circumstances, this cannot be assumed to be true at all ages. Isoflavones are like other estrogens in that they are two-edged swords, conferring both benefits and risk.

Dr. Sheehan believes that "The addition of isoflavones to foods needs to be considered just as would the addition of estrogen to foods, which is a bad idea." Dr. Sheehan is very concerned about the high isoflavone content found in soy based formulas. He feels that infants fed these formulas have been placed at risk in a "large, uncontrolled, and basically unmonitored human infant experiment." Dr. Fitzpatrick raises another issue: he believes that soy may combine with other xenoestrogens (such as pesticides). Fitzpatrick writes that "because of the potential for synergistic effects, human exposure to all endocrine disrupters, such as the soy isoflavones urgently requires reduction."

Soy and the Western Diet

In part one of this article, we mentioned that assumptions have been made linking soy intake to the low incidence of certain cancers in Asia. "However, an epidemiological study in China has shown that high soy intake is not protective against breast cancer."1

The soy proponents have conveniently overlooked a study which has shown that high levels of genistein "may stimulate breast cells to enter the cell cycle" 2. These findings are "consistent with an earlier report by Petrakis et al. who expressed concern that women fed soy protein isolate have an increased incidence of epithelial hyperplasia."3

The U.K. government recently published their findings of the effects of soy in the diet, concluding that "there was almost no evidence linking health benefits from foods containing isoflavones to the isoflavones themselves."4

Another study concluded that "any benefits from soy products are not due to isoflavones specifically... [and] the combination of a high phytoestrogen intake with a western diet may not be beneficial.5

Adding to the natural trouble with soybeans, we are faced with a new Western phenomenon: genetically altered soy. Among other genetically altered, or transgenic foods like corn, apples, tomatoes, squash, strawberries, lettuce, potatoes, wheat and even walnuts (to name just a few), soy is one of the most controversial. MonsantoTM, the multi-million dollar biotechnology leader that brought us rBGH (Bovine Growth Hormone), has been fighting to put genetically altered foods on your table for several years. So far, they are winning. The truth is, unless you've been eating ONLY organic foods, it is likely you've been tasting Monsanto's handiwork.

Monsanto has gained millions in profits from sales of its popular herbicide, RoundupÆ, and in turn has produced several transgenic crops that resist it. Soy is of course among those Roundup-ReadyÆ crops. Being resistant to this powerful herbicide, farmers are able to spray more of it on their crops, resulting in higher levels of toxins in the harvested product. Recent studies have shown that sprayed soybean crops have an elevated estrogen level (much higher than the soybean's already high levels). As we mentioned earlier, the synergistic effect of these estrogens - especially on children ingesting soy based formula is unknown, but in a recent study reported in Pediatrics raised a few eyebrows. "

Investigators found that one percent of all girls now show signs of puberty, such as breast development or pubic hair before the age of THREE; by age eight 14.7 percent of Caucasian girls and a whopping 48.3 percent of African-American girls had one or both of these characteristics" states Sally Fallon in the Price-Pottinger article on soy. (For a natural alternative to soy and milk based formula, see Nourishing Traditions, available through PPNF at 619-574-7763).

These higher estrogen levels have proven to increase amounts of fat produced in the milk of cows fed the altered altered and sprayed beans. Together with the use of rBGH, the elevated estrogen levels bring into question whether cows milk can really be called milk.

The European Union has fought desperately to keep genetically altered crops from entering Europe's food chain, but this June, both France and Ireland will be planting the first altered crops to be grown on European soil. In the United States, there are very few (if any) regulations placed on the biotechnology industry.

Soy and Protein Intake

Soybeans are not the basis of measurement for whether or not a vegetarian diet is supplying you with the protein and nutrients your body needs. In fact, a diet completely devoid of soy or meat products, but varied in vegetables and fruits, can supply your body with all the protein and nutrients it needs. The important factor in determining whether or not your soy-free, vegetarian diet is good enough for you is not careful food combining, it is calories. As long as you ar eating enough leafy greens, fruits and vegetables, your body will be supplied with everything it needs. This is why the Gerson Therapy, with its well-balanced, plant-based (soy-free) diet, rich in vitamins and enzymes, is able to effectively heal even the most difficult of ailments.

Gerson Institute Newsletter Volume 14 #4

1. Yuan JM et al. Diet and breast cancer in Shanghai and Yianjin. Br J Cancer 71:1353-1358 (1995).
2. Dees C et al. Dietary estrogens stimulate breast cells to enter the cell cycle. Eviron Health Perspect 105 (Suppl 3): 633-636 (1997).
3. Petrakis NL et al. Stimulatory influence of soy protein isolate on breast secretion in pre- and post-menopausal women. Cancer Epid Bio Prev 5: 785-794 (1996).
4. Assessment on phytoestrogens in the human diet. Institute for Environmental Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1997).
5. Adlecruetz H and Mazur W. Phytoestrogens and western diseases. Annals of Medicine 29: 95-120 (1997).

How the Soy Bean became good for you

Photo by flickr_10g

Currently, the family is going on the Gerson Therapy (GT) program and one of the forbidden food includes Glycine Max (biological name) commonly known as Soy Bean.

According to GT, soy contains high indigestable fat/protein content, high sodium, toxic inhibitive for nutrient absorption thus absolutely forbidden in the GT diet.

It went contradictory to the general claim that Soy is good for you.

It is actively promoted by Singapore's Health Promotion board as a healthy food. It is even given a big tick on those soy milk cartons labels you find in the supermarket.

I did some digging on the internet on how soy became such a miracle food.

In 1999, the FDA (american food and drug adminstration) approved the health claim that soy protein may reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. This claim was based New England Journal of Medicine publication report fromUniversity of Kentucky - 'Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Soy Protein Intake on Serum Lipids.'(NEJM Vol. 333, No. 5, 1995 August).

The report was financed by the PTI division of DuPont , The Solae Co. St. Louis, Missouri, a soy producer and marketer which submitted the petition to FDA for the health claim approval.

It is also widely known that Glycine Max is a genetically modified (GM) food and might have some health risk.

Disclaimer : According to most scientific studies, GM food are not harmful to humans (although most studies are usually directly/indirectly funded by corporate interest groups.)

New England Journal of Medicine Vol. 333-276-282, No. 5, 1995 August
Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Soy Protein Intake on Serum Lipids
James W. Anderson, M.D., Bryan M. Johnstone, Ph.D., and Margaret E. Cook-Newell, M.S., R.D.

Food and Drug Administration

Food labeling: health claims; soy protein and coronary heart disease. , HHS. Final rule.

FDA Report
Investigation of genetically modified soybean biosafety in the center of the origin and diversity of Russian Far East

Story about Food Fraud in China

Received an email about this story about the food industry in China. Apparently it has been circulating around the email circuit and it finally reached my mailbox one day. I have not way of verifying that this is true, it might just be a story.

Fake Food, Fake news?
It makes an interesting read, little draggy though.

Story of a Chef in China

I remember the host on a program about animal rights saying, "Please take care of our animals. It will be good for everyone." However, some Chinese don't think about the animals when eating meat. They dare to eat anything but aren't aware that what they are eating may actually be harmful to them.

Ah Chang, who has worked in the restaurant industry for many years in China, has witnessed the use of all kinds of tricks used to fool the public into buying inferior meat. The following is his experience as a kitchen helper in a restaurant in Guangdong Province.

Five years ago, I left Guangxi Province for the modernized Pearl River Delta in Guangdong province. With the help of a friend from my hometown, I was interviewed by restaurant owner Peng Da, and eventually hired as a kitchen helper. When the boss introduced me to the "Big Guy" - a popular name for a chef, I was shocked to see that the "Big Guy" was a female. Everyone called her Sister Rong. Sister Rong was in her 30s and was quite attractive. She
told me that my responsibilities included killing animals, cutting and chopping various meats and bones, and preparing the meat before it was cooked.

On my second day at the restaurant, Rong pulled me over and said, "Ah Chang, since you are new to this field I will teach you a lesson: How to "use" the weigh scale. Our scale is accurate, but the displayed weights are not. Four hundred grams will show as 500 grams. This is not trickery but rather a common practice in this profession. All restaurants are doing this."

Under Rong's guidance, I quickly learned to use the scale. According to Wu Tian, when there were customers watching us, we should be careful not to let them see us exchanging bigger pieces of meat with smaller ones; or after killing a fish, cutting a section from it. Generally speaking, it was an open secret in this profession. Only when serving our friends would we not
cheat, as our conscience's wouldn't allow it.

The Peng Da Restaurant was flourishing during the time I worked there. Every morning I had to kill many cats, sometimes five or six, and sometimes as many as ten. However, I didn't see the cat meat sold in the restaurant. What happened to the meat? After thinking about it for a long time, I still couldn't figure it out. Later, I paid more attention and found that some of
the cat meat was stewed with medicinal herbs, and sold as stewed leopard meat with medicinal herbs for 198 yuan (approximately US$24.25) per dish.

When Rong saw that I was confused, she said, "Leopard meat stewed with
medicinal herbs is the signature soup of our restaurant. Cats are very common, so only by advertising the meat as being from a wild animal would it be attractive to diners. After removing the heads and claws and soaking the cat bodies in the herbs, even the smartest diner can't discern that what
they are eating is cat meat. Cat meat cost us 20 yuan (approximately US$2.50) for each carcass, but leopard meat cost 138 yuan (approximately US$17.25) per kilogram."

With Rong's teaching and guidance, I was soon promoted to Cook's helper, and made responsible for arranging the food on the plates. One day, when Rong and I were on duty, someone ordered stewed deer meat. I was angry when I saw the order because I hadn't seen any deer meat after having been there for six months. Thus, I said to Xiao Hong, the floor director who took the
order, "We don't have any stewed deer meat." She replied, "Why was it on the menu?" Rong came over and said, "We have it. How could we not have it? The mountain tortoise meat was deer meat." "What?" I thought I had heard wrong.

The restaurant charged 68 yuan (approximately US$ 8.5) for 500 grams of tortoise meat, and 268 yuan (approximately US$ 33.5) for the same amount of deer meat. "Are you afraid?" Rong asked, "There is no deer meat in the whole city. I believe few people have eaten it, so how can they tell the difference? Don't worry about it. I will be responsible." After hearing what
she said, I had no choice but to serve the tortoise meat. Still, I worried about complaints from our customers. Despite my apprehension, nobody complained and the restaurant earned an extra 200 yuan (approximately US$ 25) every time they sold the dish.

On the second day, some guests ordered stewed tortoise and stewed deer at the same time. I became flustered and hurried to ask Rong what to do. She calmly said, "Tell the waiter that the tortoise meat has been sold out. Next time, in this kind of situation you should remember to provide customers with the dish that earns us the most money."

After following Sister Rong for a while, she told me some inside secrets about the food in restaurants. She told me not to eat white phoenix claws (chicken claws) cooked by our restaurant. Instead of using white rice vinegar to bleach the claws, the chicken claws were whitened by soaking them in Hydrogen Peroxide. Also, the white tripe we served was bleached using an unknown chemical. Rong also suggested that I not eat fried cookies because they all contain sodium borate that harms one's health.

At that time, local people enjoyed eating internal organs, especially tripe. Sometimes when business was slow, the tripes would dry out in the refrigerator and lose their firmness. Rong taught me to make the tripe look fresh again by soaking the tripe in some kind of chemical for an hour, and then put it in boiling water for a while. After washing the tripe with water for an hour, it would be firm again. Actually, the chemical used for soaking the tripe was a corrosive. I had used my bare hands to mix the tripe while it was soaking in the chemical and my hands actually turned brown. After doing this several times, my fingertips were damaged. Rong saw them and said, "Why are you so foolish. Why not use a spoon to stir?" She bought some medicine to treat my wounded hands. I asked her, "The chemical harmed my hands. Won't it hurt people's stomachs?" Rong said calmly, "Don't care so much. Now people pursue the taste, and you just need to know you shouldn't eat much tripe in the future."

Once I asked Rong, "Do all restaurants take inferiors as superiors and mix the spurious with the genuine?" She sighed and said, "People are the same all over the world. They all pursue profit. Furthermore, we just make the best use of everything. If we throw away those dead animals and bad quality food, who would compensate us for the loss even though we guaranteed the
quality? To tell the truth, I don't want to do this, but we receive wages from our employer so we should consider our employer when the opportunity to make money for the business arises. We neither stole nor grabbed [their money]. Our customers came to eat here of their own free will. They can complain if they are not satisfied. They are all intelligent people and know how to protect their rights. You should know that it is not easy to cheat them. Sometimes you really need to have some abilities to cheat people." I couldn't understand Rong's way of thinking very well. I felt that it was not absolutely correct to say that she didn't have professional ethics. No
matter whether I understood or not, the restaurant continued to prosper.

One day, a vendor showed us some very expensive herbs, called aweto, which he was selling for about 6,500 yuan per 500 grams (US$615 per pound). Rong and I went to the storage room to examine the herbs. I heard Rong question the salesperson, "Mr. Wang, are you kidding me? Bring me fresh herbs." I saw Wang walk away embarrassed without saying a word.

After Wang left, Rong spoke to me with an aweto in her hand, "These herbs used to be good, but now they are worthless because they've been cooked and lost their nutritional value." "How could you tell?" I asked curiously. Rong crushed some of the herb in her hand and said, "See, this herb is dry and has no flexibility. Because it's been cooked, it lost its natural color and
became hard. It's flavorless. The sellers cooked their food with the herbs before selling them. They're so unethical." I smiled bitterly and thought that some of the things we did in the restaurant were no better. Rong noticed my expression and continued, "Well, these herbs are really expensive. What we do is nothing compared to this. It's tough to be in the restaurant business nowadays."

Next day, a customer ordered shark fins. After examining the shark fins, Rong immediately told the delivery person to take the fins back. The seller wasn't happy and asked why.

Rong said, "You think I don't know anything?
These shark fins have been chemically processed. Once they are cooked, theywill shrink to one-fifth their original size. Are you trying to ruin our

The seller immediately slashed the price. As Rong was going to
reject the offer, the restaurant owner asked us to use them. Rong had no choice but to buy them at half price. After the seller and owner left, I asked Rong what was the chemical she had referred to.

Rong explained to me, "I only know it's a kind of chemical that can make shark fins grow from the size of a needle to the size of a bean sprout. It's dangerous and you can get sick from eating it." I was shocked and started to worry about those rich people who wanted to eat well to improve their health.

One day in April 2000, a wholesaler brought over some camel humps. Rong asked the wholesaler to cook it and let the kitchen staff taste it. Everyone said it had good texture and told Rong to try it. Rong hesitated and took one bite. I saw Rong secretly spit the meat into the sink drain. From then on, the camel humps became a hot dish in the restaurant. Many customers came back repeatedly and ordered the dish. I liked the texture and snacked on the dish from time to time using the excuse of tasting for flavor. Rong smiled and asked if I really liked the camel hump dish. The question came out of nowhere. I was confused and asked her what was wrong. She chuckled, "Those so-called camel humps are in fact breasts from female pigs." I was quite shocked by what she said and did not believe her. Rong smiled and told me that the wholesaler had admitted it to her. She had been keeping it a secret all this time.

The next day while I was slicing the 'camel humps', I paid close attention to the dark red flesh and found several holes spread out evenly. If they were real camel humps, why were there holes in them? The holes must be what were left after the nipples were removed. The smell of sour milk hit me and then I totally believed what Rong had told me. A few days later, I confirmed it with the wholesaler and he admitted it. I had to admire the thought they put in it. If they called it female pig breast, who would dare eat it? After giving the meat an exotic name its price went up tenfold and could thus be served in a high-end restaurant. I never again wanted to eat 'camel humps' after learning the truth; not even when the kitchen staff wanted me to taste it for flavor. It might sound weird but now every time after I cut the 'camel humps', I can smell the milk on my hands even after I washed them many times.

On a hot summer day in the year 2000, Rong went out and came back with about 100 dead fish. Each of them weighed only about 130 g (~0.3 lb). Rong asked me to check them over and throw away the smelly ones. It took three of us an entire afternoon to finish the job. Rong called Chef Ah Bing to take 30 of them and blanch them in boiling water. Then Ah Bing stir-fried them with ginger and garlic till they turned golden brown. Each fish was put in a small stewing cup and stewed with dried longan and some other Chinese herbs. Rong asked the assistant manager Xiaohong to strongly promote the fish-longan stew for 58 yuan (US$7.2) per cup.

Later, Rong told me that a friend of the restaurant owner ran a fish farm and these young fish had died because of the hot weather. The owner's friend didn't want to waste the fish and asked the restaurant owner and Rong whether they could use them. The owner, without even thinking about it, bought them at 3 yuan (US$0.4) each. According to the assistant manager, the fish-longan stew became extremely popular. One customer came three days in a row asking for the dish. Some people thought it was so good that they took extra servings home. I greatly admired Rong after this. She could turn the rotten into something desirable, and sell something worth 3 yuan for 58 yuan! It was indeed very profitable!

On December 10, 2001, Mr. Zhang, a
factory owner, ordered a dish called "Indian star tortoise stewed with aweto". It was said that he was looking for a cure for his ailment, and Indian star tortoise was said to be effective in treating certain diseases. Indian star tortoise is a nationally protected animal. If it is for sale, it is being sold illegally. Thus it is very rare and expensive. Even the cultivated ones are sold for 12,000 yuan (US$1, 498.35) per kilogram. Mr. Zhang had ordered one kilogram, for which our restaurant would charge him over 10,000 yuan (US$1,248.63). We also added on the cost of the precious aweto herbs.

After the Indian star tortoise was sent over, Rong called Mr. Zhang and asked him to come over and check it. Perhaps Mr. Zhang was reluctant to appear to be too picky, he hesitated. Rong urged, "Mr. Zhang, you have to come to give us some directions. Don't be so old-fashioned. Come and direct us." She flattered him as if he were a specialist. He arrived in high spirits. In order to set his mind at ease, Rong even weighed the tortoise while Mr. Zhang watched.

But the tortoise was not killed. Instead, it was sent back to the storeroom. Rong asked me not to leave after work. At 9:00 pm, after all the staff working in the kitchen had left, Rong asked me to lock the door of the kitchen. Then she took something out of the refrigerator and threw it on the floor. The thing was as hard as stone, and it made a loud thud when it hit the floor. I opened the package and found a dead tortoise inside. Rong laughed and said, "Ah Chang, this tortoise can earn you half a year's salary."

Thanks to Rong's help, my salary at that time had been raised to
1200 yuan (US$150) a month. Rong then threw the dead tortoise into a basin, turned on the tap and let the water wash over the tortoise. After about an hour the tortoise had softened. When I fished it out of the basin, a bad smell hit me. I asked Rong to come and have a look. She looked at the dead tortoise, smelled it and frowned, "Oh, Mr. Zhang is in bad luck. He has to eat this stinking tortoise now. But who will eat it if he doesn't? Our boss had asked three shops before he could get this 'inferior item'. After exchanging the good tortoise with this one, we will earn at least 7,000 to 8,000 yuan (approximately US$875 to 1000)."

I was a little frightened. This is a business worth more than 10,000 yuan (US$1250). If Mr. Zhang finds out and rejects the tortoise, who will pay for it? Since he has spent so much we shouldn't give him something which would harm his health. I murmured, "Sometimes we need to demonstrate that we have a conscience." Rong looked at me for a while. Then she sighed, "This is not the time to talk about conscience. Our boss asked us to do this, and we must do what he says. We just have to. Ah Chang, it is true that people should have a conscience, but it really depends on the situation. If Mr. Zhang went to other restaurants, he would eat similar kinds of things. Don't those who want to get rich fake things? We've already tried our best. We are at least better than those who sell fake medicine. It won't make much difference to Mr. Zhang's health whether he eats this tortoise or not." I had nothing to say. After all, we are only carrying out our boss's orders. Why should I worry?

I started washing the tortoise. Rong asked me to discard all of the flesh on it. I couldn't believe what I heard. What shall he eat if all the meat is eliminated? Rong laughed at me and said, "The meat has all decayed. We would be really harming him if we let him eat the meat. So we have to get rid of it. The efficacy of the tortoise lies in its shell anyway. The shell is very hard to cook. After 20 to 30 hours of cooking, the shell won't be dissolved. The reason why I asked Mr. Zhang to come and check the tortoise was to gain his trust. The meat of the tortoise won't last that long. After 20 to 30 hours of cooking, the flesh would have dissolved into the soup. So removing the meat will prevent the bad taste in the soup. Otherwise our deception will be discovered."

While she was talking, Rong had taken out some meat
from an ordinary tortoise from the refrigerator and put it under the tap to wash. She said, "The meat of the ordinary tortoise can make our dish flawless. Mr. Zhang is really lucky this time. He bought only one tortoise but he will eat two! Of course, when I become rich in the future, I would rather die than eat this kind of thing!" She said laughing loudly. After picking all the meat from the shell of the Indian star tortoise, she stir-fried the shell three times with ginger and shallots. After washing it
again, she tasted the shell to make sure there was no strange taste left. Then she put it into the pot to cook. After everything was done, she asked Uncle Chen who was on night duty to watch the tortoise soup and add in some water once in a while. It was 1:00 a.m. when we left.

At about 9:00 a.m. , the Indian star tortoise soup was sent to Mr. Zhang. Later, the cashier told me that Mr. Zhang was not a fool. He felt the soup was not as good as that served at the Tianshan restaurant. He also had loose bowels after he ate our dish. So he phoned our restaurant to complain, exclaiming that he wanted to be reimbursed 3,000 yuan. Our boss summoned Rong to find out what had happened. She came back looking very unhappy.

Four days later, I didn't see Chef Ah Bing. I asked around and was told that he had been fired the previous evening. It was said that a lot of customers had complained about our soups recently. I knew that the true problem was related to the tortoise soup. The boss didn't know that the soup was actually cooked by Rong and me, nor did Ah Bing know that his dismissal was
caused by a pot of soup that he had not cooked. So Ah Bing was a victim of our deviousness. No matter what, the restaurant still made a profit through selling this tortoise soup, even if it was less than expected.

I didn't dare tell anyone what we had done. I felt dreadful for continuing to work with Rong. I might end up being a scapegoat for her in the future. I wanted to get away from her. So I started to keep my distance, and often found faults with her, which Rong noticed.

I was subsequently fired.