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whole grains, compost poem

updated sun 26 may 02


primalmommy on thu 23 may 02

For the first time in years I have been "skimming" clayart, unable to
read all the posts... and I haven't posted in a while. But I caught the
posts about heart/health problems and healthy food -- both issues we've
been dealing with at my house lately.

About fish: Great Lakes fish is sufficiently toxic that the Surgeon
General says nobody of childbearing age should eat it. But the push for
fish is an attempt to get some Omega 3s in our diet. We get ours from
flaxseed oil; you can't heat it or it loses it's value but it mixes with
peanut butter, salad dressings, pesto, smoothies, etc...

Once upon a time, chickens ate grass. (mine still do.) And seeds, and
other plant material that had omega 3s... and so did their eggs, and
(cover your eyes, vegetarians) their meat. Ditto for cows who ate grass
and plants. (Deer still do.) People ate greens and seeds and sometimes
the meat/milk/eggs of herbivores as well. Everyone had omega 3s.

Enter the agricultural revolution and the factory farm. Now people eat
corn -- not the maize native people ate, which was more of a grass, but
big starchy corn. And so do cows (along with
you-dont-even-want-to-know-what's-in-livestock feed.) Hens now get
laying mash that is mostly protein (mostly from ground up dead/male
chicks) plus the usual antibiotics and steroids and such. And whatever
nutrients were once in the many grains we ate -- spelt, amaranth,
quinoa, millet, wheat -- monoculture has brought us almost exclusively
wheat, and has "refined" that down to starchy white stuff -- removing
all the nutrients to the point that they have to "enrich" it by spraying
some nutrients back on or we'd starve. "Builds strong bodies twelve
ways" = we sprayed on 12 vitamins. Why is it refined? Because real food
-- the oils and hulls of wheat where the nutrition is found -- will
eventually spoil, so refining+ preservatives makes food have a longer
shelf life. Check the expiration date on a twinkie.

White flour tunrs to sugar quickly and makes our insulin do the roller
coaster. No fiber to scrub out our insides, no nutrition. What looks
like a wide range of choices at the supermarket is kind of a marketing
trick: there is "white" bread -- made with refined flour -- and "wheat"
bread -- made with the same kind of flour, (it's still made from wheat,
see?) with molasses added to make it brown, and maybe a token addition
of WHOLE WHEAT. So read labels! If the first ingredient says "enriched
(maybe unbleached enriched) wheat flour", it's NOT a whole grain bread.
Refined/enriched breads with some whole grains in them -- like cracked
wheat -- or a variety of grains are still better than "bunny bread", but
if you're looking for the best health benefit (and according to folks on
the sugar busters diet, weight loss as well) -- look for words like 100%

Better yet, bake your own. If you have a bread machine you can have a
loaf a day; it's dense bread, but habit forming, and best fresh (i like
real butter.) or toasted. I like "The Breadman's Healthy Bread Book" and
it has "transition" recipes to wean you off of white flour and onto
whole grain breads. It will require a trip to the health food store for
stuff like powdered whey and lecithin and soy flour and gluten, but man
if you could smell my kitchen you'd be inspired.

Today I made a loaf of whole wheat sourdough and dumped in the leftover
tabbouli from last night. GOOD loaf. Yesterday's had half a cup of
sesame seeds, dark sesame oil, chives and some mashed sweet potato...
mmm. My kids are loving it. Monday was a whole wheat pizza crust on a
baking stone with pesto, roast garlic, goat cheese and dried tomatoes.
Can you tell I'm cooking instead of potting these days? Making yogurt
and tofu and bread... it's like making glazes once you know your
ingredients... only instead of the hammer the mistakes get tossed to the

By the way... once you give up the refined flour, consider this: despite
about 1500 years of human civilization without refined sugar and just
the occasional fruit or honey for sweets, the average American (by 1994
stats) eats 149.2 pounds of sugar a year... Scientific American says in
'96 Americans spent $32 billion a year on weight loss, 45.8 billion on
medical costs related to obesity. (While half the world goes hungry...)

OK, this is long enough. To anyone who likes gardens/composting and /or
poetry, I have a poem on my web page that I read at Functional Ceramics
in Wooster:

Yours, Kelly in Ohio... busy putting in my own garden and one nearer
downtown for urban homeschool kids... so I'll be around but not so
chatty for a while.

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Helen Bates on sat 25 may 02

Kelly from Ohio,

Oh my!

This poem is as fine as any I have read in a long while.
I read it out loud, which is how a poem should be sensed
and enjoyed (as -you- certainly know.)

Go to her site, friends, and read Kelly's poem:

Observation, rather than harangue, it brings one to one's
senses in a hurry.