Thursday, October 16, 2014

Infographic Shows The Differences Between The Diseases We Donate To, And The Diseases That Kill Us

Julia Belluz created the infographic below to compare how much money is 
donated to fight various disease and how many people in the USA die from
those same diseases for
an article in Vox.

To Your Health
Dr. Barbara

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Delicious, Easy, Never Lumpy Turkey Gravy: GAPS, SCD, Paleo Friendly

Thanksgiving holiday is just around the corner. A great opportunity to count our blessings and to let our loved ones know how much we appreciate them. Even if we can't be together for a meal we can celebrate so many different ways.

If a turkey dinner is in your plans, you will be making it with a gravy. There are no gravy making kits that are safe. 
So how can you do this in GAPS, SCD or Paleo and be safe, without losing any deliciousness?

Here is a GAPS gravy that is easy, delicious and never lumpy. 

I experimented a lot (as I've been teaching, cooking and eating SCD/GAPS since 2005), but found my inspiration from my mother who is an excellent self taught home cook, and Elaine Gottschall and her book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, a book I still use quite often. The aim is to find flavour and thickening. The onions have flavour and they have pectin, which thickens hot fluids without lumps. The reserved vegetables that were roasted under the meat, turkey or chicken, are caramelized and very flavourful. I view the water left behind from boiled vegetables as a secret ingredient for flavour boosting, not something to throw out. The dehydrated vegetables found in "Herbamare" or "Mrs. Dash" are commonly used as a salt substitute because they give flavour without relying on salt, so the end product is lower in salt but just as delicious if not more so. (This is the way to go for those who are looking to lower their salt intake.)

And it is easy, because there are no special ingredients you don't already have in your kitchen. Except maybe the dehydrated herbs and vegetable powder which you can pick up later as an important part of your GAPS, SCD,or Paleo pantry. All you need is a stand or immersion blender. 

Ingredients for stock used in gravy: Start while poultry (or any meat) is roasting.
1 litre or 1 quart of homemade chicken or turkey or vegetable stock
2 large onions with or without poultry giblets

Ingredients for gravy:
Stock with soft cooked onions
Reserved roasted vegetables (onions, carrots, garlic, celery or any herbs) from under the roast 
Roasting pan drippings, reserved
Seasoning from 'Herbamare' or 'Mrs. Dash', NO SUBSTITUTION, to taste, 1-4 tsp, optional
Sea salt and pepper 
Extra filtered or pure water to make up consistency to your liking

While the poultry is roasting I make the stock by cooking the onions. I almost never have homemade turkey or chicken stock available so I try to save all the vegetable water from any veggies I cook on that day or in the few days before. This is something my mother taught me. I may have potato, or cauliflower, or green bean, or celeriac or carrot water for the stock. You need about 1 quart or 1 litre. Add 2 large onions (and giblets if available) and simmer the onions, uncovered until they are very soft, 20 minutes to 2 hours. 

The next step, the making of the gravy takes place in the roasting pan or the pot used to cook the onion, and basically you put all the gravy ingredients listed above in one pan, puree and heat, on top of the stove. 

When the roast is finished cooking it needs to be set aside about 10-15 minutes to rest. Now I loosen every last bit of pan drippings and mix them with the onion/veggie water. You could also use the pan drippings from any vegetables you have roasted as a side dish, such as brussels sprouts, or acorn squash, and put that in too. I usually pour the onion water into the roasting pan but you could pour the drippings into the pot with the onions. Then I add the vegetables that were roasted under the turkey into the same drippings pan, with 1-4 tsp of “Mrs. Dash “ or organic 'Herbamare' (both gluten and carb free) and salt and pepper to taste. You can also use fresh herbs, but I can't vouch that bottled spices are gluten free and may contain MSG without you knowing it. Then I use an immersion blender to puree. It should be smooth and thick. Add water to make the consistency to your liking. 

Heat when ready to serve, so it is hot and at its best. 
If it needs reheating it does not go lumpy or limp. 

I always get good comments on this gravy.  It is has a nice look about it, rich in colour, and thicker than “au jus” and can be almost as thick as wheat flour gravy. It goes nicely over mashed garlic cauliflower or mashed celeriac root, both always a hit around here.

For another version of gravy see Elana's Pantry for her "Herb gravy". 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone 
To Your Health
Dr. Barbara


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Nestlé Sustainability Champion: GM food Not ’Answer’ To Feeding World

My focus to help people maximize their health is to heal the bowel and grow a healthy microbiota, which, in my mind is the root of health. 
Lately I have recognized that my patients and myself included are not attaining a full recovery of a healthy bowel and microbiota in one to two years nor ever, even on a carefully planned program of GAPS, probiotics, vitamin D levels above 120 nmoles/l,proper amounts of good fats in the diet, maximization on the absorption of nutrients, good cholesterol and triglyceride levels, getting rid of chemical exposures of all kinds, detoxing with sauna and maximizing B vitamins.  

This is compared to reports of thousands of people being cured on a Specific Carbohydrate diet (SCD) (first developed in the 50's) by Dr. Haas and Elaine Gottschall) in one to two years. Not so now. 

So I have been searching for the compounding reasons why this may be so. The environment has changed greatly from the 50's.At last count we are exposed to 84,000 new chemicals since the discovery of the first 'never seen on earth' chemical was manufactured in 1854 by Perkins. And we are exposed to natural toxins like lead which has no safe level for humans. Or poorly understood or researched bio-technology products, GMOs being one of them.

Continued bowel inflammation, old, not healing or new damage can be linked to:
- use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, NSAIDS, like ibuprofen
-use of prescription antibiotics.
-low vitamin D serum levels, below 120 nmol/l.
-cheating on gluten even once a month, even invisible amounts such as MSG in a salad dressing or soup, sometimes called natural flavouring. 
-eating oats (I have an upcoming article on why you should never eat oats, not even "gluten free" oats). 
-inhaling polluted air or smog. 
-titanium dioxide used in supplements
-ingestion of GMO containing foods including commercial meat/products causing 65 know human health risks. This link includes the American Academy of Environmental Medicine's position paper on GMO foods. 

With mounting evidence that GMO containing foods damage the bowel and cause a "celiac" like condition with massive malnutrition and sulphur deficiency  the question arises, why don't we have GMO labelling laws and why do we even grow these crops? Scientist from all over the world have been researching these crops and the link to human health for decades and because of the bans in other countries (European Union and Russia to name two jurisdictions), one must think these scientists and governing bodies must use a precautionary principle and have found evidence that does not warrant putting large numbers of people at risk.

Not just people are becoming ill, but also livestock fed GMO grains. Here’s the first paragraph of an article from Organic Connections on the effects of genetically modified feed on pigs. This is not an isolated observation.

“A new, peer-reviewed study has just been released detail­ing adverse effects of genet­i­cally engi­neered (GE) feed on pigs. Center for Food Safety has long advo­cated for more robust safety test­ing prior to intro­duc­ing GE foods into the food sup­ply. Currently, no GE safety test­ing is required in the U.S. The long-term study revealed that pigs fed a GE diet suf­fered higher rates of severe stom­ach inflam­ma­tion and had on aver­age heav­ier uteruses. The find­ings were bio­log­i­cally and sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant and mir­ror what many farm­ers have been report­ing anec­do­tally for years. The study was per­formed over the course of five years by inde­pen­dent researchers in Australia and the U.S.” Read More. The paper: “A long-term toxicology study on pigs fed a combined genetically modified (GM) soy and GM corn maize diet” by Dr Judy Carman, Howard Vlieger, Dr Larry Ver Steeg,Verlyn Neller, Dr Garth Robinson, Dr Kate Clinch-Jones, Dr Julie Haynes and Dr John Edwards has been published by the Journal of Organic Systems, Vol 8. No 1 (2013) and is available for free download from Or cut an paste into your browser if you are having trouble reading it.

A top Swiss GMO researcher's comments have been recently reported in "Food Navigator" :    

Nestlé sustainability champion: GM food not ’answer’ to feeding world

Genetically modified food is unnecessary to feed the world and the food industry would reap more benefits from using resources more sustainably and employing other techniques. That's the view of Hans Johr, corporate head of sustainable agriculture at Nestlé and honorary president of SAI Platform, a group of top global food and drink manufacturers working to improve supply chain sustainability. ”There are a lot of new breeding technologies today that don't use GM food. You can do a lot of things without GM. GM per se is not a golden bullet, but may be an interesting tool in the box. ”We [Nestlé] have a very simple way of looking at GM: listen to what the consumer wants. If they don't want it in products, you don't put it in them.”
Food Navigator, France: Nestlé sustainability champion: GM food not ’answer’ to feeding world

We the consumer can influence the manufacturers of our food, according to Hans Johr of giant Nestle. We have to become informed consumers and vote with our pocket books. 

Here are two examples of how the people of Germany have said they don't want GMO foods and where they have been listened to.

Firstly the German Grocery association has listened and it has demanded a return to GMO free fed poultry as of January 2015. There is enough non-GMO poultry feed available contrary to the complaints of the producers.

And Secondly, there is a movement among the German Federal states to openly be recognized as GMO free and set standards. From August 2014,GMO Free News for Germany (my bold):

GMO-free regional governments:
9 out of 16 German federal states (among them 3 city states) signed the Charta of Florence and thereby joined the European GMO-Free regions network.......

By the end of August 2014, 212 GMO-free-regions, 343 GMO-free-municipalities and 30.458 GMO-free-farmers, i.e. 1.106.156 ha (2.733.371 acres), were declared in Germany. Definitions, lists and maps can be accessed at the English section of the website GMO-free regions in Germany.

There was no commercial cultivation of GMOs in Germany since 2012 and no deliberate releases since 2013. Lastly, GM potatoes (0.3 ha) and GM sugar beets (0.5 ha) were planted for experimental purposes in 2012.

The commercial cultivation of the GM corn MON 810 has been banned on April 14th 2009. BASF’s genetically modified starch potato “Amflora”, approved on 2nd of March 2010, had its approval withdrawn December 2013 by the EU General Court due to procedural error during the approval procedure. Until then it was grown on 15 ha in 2010 and ultimately on 2 ha in 2011.

Based on German biotech law food manufacturers and –retailers can label their products GMO-free since May 2008. The GMO-free label (“ohne Gentechnik”) is for animal products (meat, eggs and dairy products) derived from animals fed without GM plants. Licensee partners and advocates for a food production without GMOs are organized in the Association Food without Genetic Engineering (VLOG).

(Updated in August 2014 information provided by Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V. (BUND) Friends of the Earth Germany).

As I have said, we need to take responsibility over our own health and become informed about food, natural over chemical, and food supply chains. We can't do this effectively without good labels on our food or supplements informing us whether there is GMO present in the product or not. Without labelling laws we still have choices. We can grow some of our own food, buy real food and the "dirty dozen"  should be avoided or bought as organic, and make your own from scratch or belong to a community organic farm association sometimes called CSA. If it is not clear, I also contact manufacturers about the ingredients of their products (gluten or corn or soy or canola) and the sourcing of their products especially if it is from GMO or not. 

I hope this information helps you in your decision to chose your food wisely, GAPS is best, remove chemicals from your life, add probiotics for the sake of the microbiota, but also to take a look at one of the most common food sources that reverses all the good you are doing, and putting you at risk for 65 known health problems.

I don't see eating a GAPS diet alone overcoming the effects of commonly ingested drugs or chemicals  or GMO products. 

Is eating GMO meat or cheese, or soy or canola worth the risk?

To Your Health
Dr. Barbara