Sunday, October 16, 2016

Eat, Drink, and Be Ready for More!

Those of you who know me, know that I experiment with my food, so that no, my kitchen is not a regular kitchen, nor is it a test kitchen. My kitchen is a science lab. Yes, I’m a sort of a food nerd, if you will. I don’t mind, it’s fun.

So, I see a post from a friend of mine, Lisa, about something called kombucha, which is a natural probiotic tea that is fermented, but not alcoholic. Fermented as in similar to how pickles of various kinds that are healthy for you, and to promote good bacteria to keep your digestive tract healthy. After the 1st fermentation, you separate the tea from the scoby, which is the “Mother” for the brew, and do a second fermentation with fruit, to flavor it and give it that natural fizz, similar to apple cider, but it’s a healthy tea. 
Kombucha peach fizz tea, ready for consumption.
I’m still perfecting my 2nd fermentation, in hopes to get a flavor I like better, but, my son Chad, husband Mike, and friend David all seem to like them fairly well. I kind of liked the last one, which was a pear spice tea, but, Mike really like this batch, which is the peach spice. I also had done a mixed fruit one, and that seems good too. So, instead of tossing them out after fermenting into a fizzy fruit tea, I turned it into a kombucha fruit pie. Needless to say, with the little bit of brown sugar and cinnamon I added, the pie went over well, and didn’t last 48 hours.
Peach and mixed fruit "kombucha" pie
Oh, so great. Now you know where my priorities are... Talking about beverages and desserts... Where’s dinner? Here it is. ;) 
For dinner: Miso soup with black oysters Gyoza (poststickers) Sushi brown rice Spicy nori, traditional takuan, kimchee takuan Shiitake mushrooms, marinated Dipping sauce for the gyoza (it’s my homemade concoction).
It's kind of like a 5 course meal, all in 1. It looks delicious, doesn't it?
I like to cook, and I like to try different things. Some experiments are better than others, and other times, mistakes turn into something better. Go figure. If this makes you hungry, feel free to invite yourself over for dinner, and I just might make something cool & full of goodness for you.
The only thing better, would be to be able to sell MY food, to raise money for my one and only nonprofit, Youth Voice Initiative, a registered 501c4, a social welfare organization to push social changes necessary to help abused children get protection and justice under the law, as opposed to returning them to the harmful environments that they are in. We are, as a society, way too easy on those who abuse children.
Yes, we hear that children are resilient. But, that would hold true to ones that are going through a more natural hardship, such as poverty or what have you. Normal households have an environment to where children are able to create trust, have normal boundaries, have self respect and some self pride, learn to discover the world around them through play and study, form relationship with others which are productive, not destructive. Many of these are totally missed or are miscued in so many ways, because rather than figuring out how to stack the blocks so they won’t fall, abused children have to find a way to not get beaten or sexually abused. The normal phase of building trust is replaced with trying to figure out how to get mom or dad or whom ever to love them. Boundaries are broken, and often, is not able to figure out where the normal ones ought to be. Rather than a safe and peaceful home life, home is the war zone with no where to go. There will be no rescue. There is no escaping. Home is the abusive war zone. The road to normalcy is one that can be unattainable by some who have survived the atrocities of manipulation, grooming, psychological abuse, physical abuse, narcissism from the abuser, sex abuse, etc... (being told you are stupid by your parents makes you believe you are, after all, parents are supposed to love you enough to be truthful, right)? 
And, it’s very ignorant of those who have not gone through this to say, “You’re an adult, act like it, you know better”... Okay, so, the only thing many pick up about being an adult, is either follow the footsteps of your parents, good or bad examples, or, if you have had bad ones, the choice is, don’t be like them. But, who do we end up like? That is the same as saying, you have a roof, now build the house. You can’t build the house under the roof. You have to build the house to put the roof on. Abuse survivors are ones who as an adult, has the roof, because that is where being an adult is, figuratively speaking. We don’t know how to build a normal house under that roof, because the figurative one that we lived in throughout our childhood had been hit by a tornado, an earthquake, a hurricane, and a fire. Us survivors must start from the ground up.
I think I’m headed down the right path. Things may not end up working out they way I exactly wanted, but, sometimes we have to reinvent ourselves, and use that title in a different way. As a child, I wanted to be a dignitary, and be the representative ambassador from the United States to other countries, seeing the exotic people, culture, food, sights, and all of those good things. Maybe I imagined it to be more glorified than what it really is. I’ll probably never get appointed, even though I have a natural knack understanding different peoples of our planet, if I get to meet them in person. But, even if I may never get there, I really feel like I am being an ambassador, for the abused children, to the legislature to bring ideas and change to make new laws, to protect our most precious resource: Our next generations to come.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Change, Issues, & Definitions

Most people who know me knows that I am a child advocate, who presses for the social change necessary to put a damper on those who abuse our children. The types of abuse are physical abuse such as domestic violence; gross neglect such as not feeding your children; and sex abuse, which is one of the more damaging types. It’s not to say that other aspects are not present, such as psychological abuse and bullying, but, if you figure, bullying is also included in domestic violence as well as at schools, and psychological abuse is always present in any of these categories. Grooming children and their families to make good victims are a form of psychological abuse. Victim blaming is also a form of bullying and psychological abuse. It’s crazy, that I’ve been called a bully for calling out sex offender behavior in others.
A new example of physical abuse comes in form of a dad who drags his daughter by her hair through the whole store. It doesn’t say what she had done, so I won’t speculate, but, to make a public mockery of her by dragging her by the hair through the entire store, isle by isle is not the way to raise your children. 

Here is the article:

We have heard about the two Coreys who did so many movies together, and how during their reality TV show, it came out that both of them had been sexually abused on set and more, by the directors and other Hollywood A-Listers. It is surprising who are all here as a part of the bigger picture, and how even the directors joked about how everyone has had both boys as youngsters. Other child actors were victims of this violence also, and we know that both Corey Haim and River Phoenix both died due to drug use, probably as a way to cope with the sex abuse they had to endure. Both may be alive today, if they had the right kind of support, and people need to learn that children are NOT sex toys.

Here is an article that talks more about this issue:

While in the courts, the term “pedophilia” as a general term for full grown adults who engage in sexual contact with those younger than the age of consent, here is a better explanation of what the different categories are. Thing is, because of the nature, I don’t like the term “sexual contact”, because it signifies consent. That would fall under statutory, meaning one is above and the other is below the age of consent, and implies that the two are peers of some sort, like high school sweethearts. I really wish they would stop prosecuting the “Romeo & Juliette” couples, because they don’t belong in this category at all. 

 But, here are the definitions as I got them from Wiki:
1) Ephebophilia is the primary or exclusive adult sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19.[1][2] The term was originally used in the late 19th to mid 20th century.[2] It is one of a number of sexual preferences across age groups subsumed under the technical term chronophilia. Ephebophilia strictly denotes the preference for mid-to-late adolescent sexual partners, not the mere presence of some level of sexual attraction.
2) Hebephilia is the strong and persistent adult sexual interest in pubescent (early adolescent) individuals, typically ages 11–14
3) Pedophilia is a psychological issue, in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children.[1][2] Although girls typically begin the process of puberty at age 10 or 11, and boys at age 11 or 12,[3] criteria for pedophilia extend the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13.[1] A person who is diagnosed with pedophilia must be at least 16 years old, but adolescents must be at least five years older than the prepubescent child for the attraction to be diagnosed as pedophilia.[1][2]

As you can see, if the object of desire is 18 or 19, it would be considered legal, because they are adults. But, you have to admit, it is creepy to have adults that are in their mid 30s or older be checking out someone who may be 18 and still finishing high school... This shows the sickness of some, that while it may be legal, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ethical, as shown in the definition of #1. I also beg to differ that pedophilia is not only the only one listed as a psychological issue, but that it implies that it is a disorder. I’m not saying it’s not a sick thing, because it is sick. But, as a psychological disorder, it implies that those who are pedophiles are “afflicted”, and they deserve no mercy for preying on children, and the fact that they groom their victims and their families, shows intent, which ought to be criminal, not psychological.

While we all agree that children, especially babies, who end up disabled or dying due to sex abuse is horrific, we seem to minimize the teenager who ends up the same way. To me, they are equally horrific. Our small children and babies feel the physical pain, and the sex abuse is painful the same way getting beaten is. Our teens and tweens understand the dirt, the dehumanization that is associated with sex abuse.

Speaking of terms, any form of pedophilia, hebephilia and ephebophilia should be called rape, or sex assault, because it is assault, and traumatizing, where as saying sexual contact sounds like fluff. Kissing someone who doesn’t want it, or fondling someone would be considered contact. Once it passes that, the more it is assault and rape it is.

All too often, our perpetrators are not getting the punishment they need. Abusers are often narcissistic and manipulative, and are good at playing the victim. They will do what ever they can, to make their target less of a person than themselves. The manipulation is to exert some control of the victims, and when the victim exerts enough strength to speak up, the perpetrators will almost always go running to every family member, friend, friendly acquaintances, community group, etc. and blab about the outrageous things you accused them of (even if they totally exaggerate what you asserted), to ensure that they control how others think or feel of you, and that is another manipulation tactic to make you look like the crazy idiot. Classic sex offender behavior. Especially if one of the people told ended up coming to you to tell you off, to further push the idea that you are the crazy one. Don’t doubt yourself. They are the ones who are twisted. The more they abuse, the more manipulation they use. Sex offenders are more narcissistic than those who are physically abusive, but, both are under the same pretense that they are better than you, so they are entitled to use you for their own purposes, whether it’s beating you or sexually abusing you. They are at the height of narcissistic manipulation, and has fooled a lot of people.

I am hoping that in the next year, that we will get momentum in Youth Voice Initiative, a registered 501c4 of it’s kind to the best of my knowledge, and we can make headway in pushing for the future of our abused children. Regardless of if I make enough money or not would be secondary, if we can become leaders in the cause of protecting our children. That would truly make me happy.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Curtains, Science Experiment, and Eat!

I Okay, so I know that I’ve been talking curtains for a while, and yes, I have pictures... But, of course, I have to let you in on something totally not related to making these curtains...
So, I bring home this pie pumpkin... My son, Chad, had a lab experiment where he had to take a pumpkin, weight it, cut out the top, scoop out as much of the insides as possible, weight the pumpkin again, and count how many seeds there were, and weigh the insides, too. So, of course, rather than waste the pumpkin, I made pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin seeds.
It was about a 4.5 pound pumpkin, that got sliced and roasted in the oven with a little water after being used for the experiment. Allow it to cool, peel the skin off (it should be easy, since it’s all been roasted). Pulse in a blender, to the consistency you want. The thick fibers, I usually just toss, it’s the meat of the pumpkin you want for this. Take 3 eggs (or 3/4 cup apple sauce for a binder), add 1.5 cups almond milk (I prefer Blue Diamond) and 3/4cups each white and brown sugars. Mix well. Add about 2 generous TBS ground cinnamon, 1.5 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp ground cloves. Blend well. Bake in preheated oven @ 425F for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 350F, bake for another 45 minutes until set.

Who ate all the seeds? Yes, this is the way the pie will look.

I decided to leave some chunks in, for texture purposes, and it was good.

Back to the point... I’m finally done with the curtains, so, here they are. Some are better than others, and I’m not totally done yet, but, I’m taking a break for a few days, and will do the kitchen next, as I have time.

Our upstairs bathroom, which is already yellow tile, all the way around (floor, walls, and ceiling). These curtains go good, I think.

Basement bathroom. I like this much better than the one I had here before, which is relocated to a different window.

Our bedroom curtain

Our bedroom curtain, closed.

Chad's room, which I need material for the curtains, but he at least has blinds.

These are the dining room curtains, the ghetto ones of the bunch.

This is the front window, and the curtain came from the basement bathroom.

Side hallway, up from the front window. The patterns kind of match, so it's neat that they're in the same area.

And, these are the living room curtains.

I know they may seem overly simple... And I did not put a back covering on them, it’s my first set of curtains, and I only have limited supplies and funds to get what I need, so, I did what I could with what I had. Could be better, but, they could be worse.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Important Information 4-U-2 Know:

This is off of a pamphlet from Resources for Families with different numbers around Racine County, if you need anything. This is not a complete list, but, there are referral services here, so those people should be able to help you, if there is something you need, but it’s not covered here. But, here you go... Please share widely for those who may need help.
General Information:
Information & Referral: 211  
*If 211 doesn’t work from your phone: 866-211-3380
Catholic Charities Hispanic Outreach: (262)635-9510
Love Inc. (Western Racine Co.): (262)763-6226
Birth to Three (Special Needs Birth to Six): (262)638-7720
Aging & Disability Resource Center:(262)833-8777 
 -of Racine County (ADRC): 866-2191043
United Way of Racine County: (262)898-2240 
 -Advancing Family Assets: (262)898-2240
Workforce Development Center: (262)638-6312 
+Western Racine County: (262)767-5399
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR): (262)638-7200
First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship: (262)633-3285
Life’s Transitions: 877-678-0743
OIC of Racine County: (262)636-3818
Racine Vocational Ministry: (262)633-8660
UMOS: (262)657-2170
YWCA S.E. WI: (262)898-5530
Veteran’s Employment: (262)638-6564
Veteran’s Service Office (Racine Co): (262)638-6702
Vet’s Place South East (Racine): (262)633-5180  
+Vet’s Place Southern Center: (262)878-9151
Baby Express: 800-579-1145
The BUS: (262)637-9000
K-Town Transportation: (262)764-0377
SPARC (Burlington): (262)412-8641
My Ride Free Transport for Senior Citizens: (262)417-7544
Legal Action Wisconsin: (262)635-8836 (800)242-5840
Non-Profit Legal Services of SE-WI: 877-619-8944

Friday, August 5, 2016

Elections, Candidates, and Why This Curious Mind Wants to Know...

As I've stated in the past, I have been active with the election and campaigning process for a very long time.  It is fun for me to participate in this action, as well as gratifying to be an activated advocate.  The biggest reason being that I just love the way our Founding Fathers have laid it out as a governmental system run BY the people FOR the people.  To me, it represents the fact that ordinary, regular, everyday people like us get to speak to our elected officials, and voice our concerns, support, and even suggest what kind of law to be maid.  I am most definitely dating myself, but, here is my hard work in action, and while it died in committee due to a study that didn't finish before the 2 year legislative session, I was proud of myself for being able to push it to the point of being heard in the Committee for Criminal Justice & Corrections.

Please click for the article:  The Force Behind April's Law Wisconsin 

In any case, I just love the Preamble for The Constitution:

The 1st 3 words speaks for it all...  "We the people"...  This reminds me of the song I Got the Power which rings true for every American citizen...

Okay, sorry, I digress...  Thanks for bearing with me.

Because voting at every election is very important to me, because these are the events that shape the direction of where our country, state, county, and municipality will be going for the next 2-6 years, depending on how long each term is.  I encourage everyone to vote at all elections, even small primaries, because the decisions at these primaries will decide who is on the ballot for the general election, which will pick the person to represent us in what ever political position they are running for.  So, if anything, please pay attention to what is going on at home.

I, on the other hand, am interested in what goes on all over the country, and some election races are more important than others.  Sometimes it's because of the issues.  Other times it's the candidates.  This election run, a specific candidate (out of my voting arena) grabbed my interest.  You probably already know...  The professional wrestler named #Rhyno, whose real name is Terrance Guido Gerin, is running for state representative in Dearborn, MI - part of the Greater Detroit area.

I have to admit, I'm really not a huge fan of supporting celebrities who run for office.  When Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump ran for office, I had a few of those eye-roll moments where I think I showed up a group of teenagers being lectured by the neighborhood eccentric about behaving...  I still can't believe Trump made it this far...  There were so many other Republican candidates who would have been so much better qualified...  Arnold was pretty unremarkable as the governor of California.  It was cool to have a real live action figure in office, but, for me, there wasn't too much of interest after that.

On the other hand, when Clint Eastwood and Jesse "The Body" Ventura ran for their respective offices, I was curious, because both of them have their intellectual aspects that is extraordinary even in the everyday world without the fact that they are famous for their acting, and Jesse as an athlete as well.  I especially appreciate the fact that Jesse Ventura ran under a 3rd party, and won.  He ran as a part of the Independence Party, which was previously called the Reform Party.  I found that very interesting, and very neat.  (You see, as a tame rebel myself, I love when people "break the rules" and do it their way, and succeed; and it's actually LEGAL)!

Okay, okay, sorry...  I'm famous for going on tangents...  Back to Rhyno the Wrestler who is running for office...  Anyway, what intrigues me is the fact that I would have NEVER pegged him as a candidate.  So, when I heard the news, of course, I had to investigate.  I read up on him in as many venues as possible, to ensure that I pick up even the smallest piece of information because he piqued my interest as to why he took such a huge leap from doing extreme wrestling to running for state assembly.

What I can gather from what I have read, and I think I'm mostly correct in my assessment of him, is while Mr. Terrance Gerin is a self admitted workaholic, I think he has this urge to want to be a people pleaser and wants to do it in the best ways as possible.  Just like Madonna wants the whole planet to love her, Terrance Gerin wants everyone to be proud of him for doing a good job for them.  It interests me further, that as the character, Rhyno, he is a tough force to be reckoned with, more like Mother Nature, while as the person, he comes across more like an eager Father Time, in my opinion.  I say this because he wants to stay on the active roster for WWE as a wrestler, while busting his chops as an elected official.

The Michigan primary was on August 2, 2016, and Mr. Gerin won the Republican ticket against several other contestants.  He is now gearing up for the general election in November, where we have one of the most heated presidential race to date in this country.  I believe that since presidential elections always bring in the biggest crowd, he has a better chance of winning his seat because of this.  I also think that after being elected, that you will see he will be the change this country needs, because of his dedication to his hometown and the fact that he loves being American, and being a hometown hero, who truly has his best interests in his community.  I think he is going to be awesome, in the true sense of the word.  I just wish all other candidates had his passion for our country and community as well.

To tie his passion and love for his work and for the elected position, his campaign slogan is, "Vote for Rhino; he will fight for you".  Perfect.

Here is a telephone interview, courtesy of Syma Chowdhry, an Emmy Award winning reporter and fill-in anchor for Detroit News station WXYZ-TV:  Rhyno Speaks to WXYZ-TV
He is running for Michigan's 15th district for State Representative.

To stay in the loop, please like his facebook page:  Vote for Rhino 

Or if you're on Twitter:  Rhyno313 

To support the campaign directly:  Terrance Guido Gerin for State Rep 

Or buy a T-Shirt as a souvenir and support the campaign at the same time:  Pro Wrestling Tees 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

GMO, Fast Food, & Health Issues: Where Government Agencies Sit

We have been hearing a lot about GMO foods.  What does it stand for?  Genetically Modified Organisms, which are usually some kind of fresh produce, for the purposes of us common people.  For a better definition of how it works, please refer to Non GMO Project 
website to find out more.

The thing about GMO is that not all combinations of the modification are low risk.  Many are consider high risk, and more of them are medium risk, and very very few are low risk.  It's not like taking the heartiest apple, and crossing it with a mildly sweet pear, to get one of those Asian apple-pears, which is more of a hybrid, as opposed to being outright a modified product.  Many of these fruits and vegetables you  buy may have animal and viral aspects mixed in, so those who want to be vegetarian or vegan may end up eating animal products, without knowing about it, because not all of the modifications are necessary to be labeled.  I think this is a crooked practice.  But, you can educate yourself about what products are potentially GMO, just like you can educate yourself on what kinds of eating plan is right for you, depending on what your needs are.

Of course, if you're trying to lose weight, fast food is most definitely the type of thing you want to avoid.  Many of the ingredients are the bottom of the barrel.  The buns are from highly processed white flour of little nutritional value.  The "meat" patties are filled with soy extenders.  The cheese is probably equivalent or lower than the individually wrapped cheese-food product we see at the grocery store.  The fries are deep fried in rendered fats or shortening, and it is all bad for your health.  If we have other health issues that are somewhat connected to being overweight such as high blood pressure or diabetes, a steady intake of fast food is a big No-No.

For those of us who are in our mid 40's and older, we remember the 4-4-3-2 rule of thumb.  4 starches, 4 fruits and vegetables, 3 dairy products (which actually included cheese), and 2 meats.  I don't recall what they told us was the size of each serving.

When my son was in elementary school, it was Pyramid Pete's food pyramid.  The bottom layer is your starches telling us to eat 6-11 servings, the next level was a combination of 3-5 servings of veggies and 2-4 servings of fruit.  The 3rd layer from the bottom is 2-3 servings of dairy, and 2-3 servings of proteins.  The top tip was your fats and sugars, which was to be used sparingly.  Again, cheese is categorized with dairy products.

Today, we have My Plate, where 1/2 of the plate is vegetables & fruits with veggies getting a bigger portion of that 1/2, 1/4 of the plate is starch, 1/4 of the plate protein, and your 1 serving of dairy in a glass.

I'm sure there are other versions, but, I see a problem with all of these plans.  Growing children at different stages of growth have different needs.  You can't lump all elementary school children into one group.  A kindergartener who is small is going to eat a lot less than a 5th grader who hit their pre-teen growth spurt early...  Adults in their 20s have different needs than those who are in their 80s.  Men and women have different needs.  Athletes and couch potatoes have different needs.  So, how do we know, based on this information?  More educating yourself...  Or be able to hire a personal trainer.  There are a LOT of issues that you need to take into the fact that we are all individual, and you should always discuss any drastic changes with your primary care physician.  If your doctor refuses to work with you, maybe you need to find another one who will.

Then there are the health ailments you need to take into account...  Got cardio-vascular issues?  You may need a "heart healthy" diet, which reduces the amount of salt you take in, or, you may have cholesterol issues and need to lower the amount of fat in your diet...  Or even both.  Of course, changing the way you eat this way is not always easy...  Salt can make the flavors of your food blend better, or you have to cook it slower for longer.  Fat also adds that flavor, and it's easy to miss those flavors, and to all of a sudden you have to use spices you've never heard of to put the flavor in it...  But that is okay.  To learn, think about what you are cooking, and what flavors you are looking for.  Let your nose do your bidding.  Yes.  Open those spices up, and take a good sniff.  If it smells like it would go good with what you're cooking, put some in.  Start small.  You can always add more.  Once it's in, you can't take it out.  You'll be surprised with what you can come up with by making your nose do some of the work for you.  It's fun.

If you're diabetic, you need to watch out for those carbs...  They get you in many different ways.  The more processed, the worse it is.  White generic bread, which includes Wonder bread, is the worst type.  Generic wheat is a little  better, but not much.  Cracked wheat is much better, and there are multigrains, ancient grains, etc.  The more complex, the better.  But, different flours are not created equal.  Buckwheat flour is quite healthy, and semolina is fairly healthy, yet other ones are not as healthy.  Not all whole grains are created equal, either.  Oatmeal is a super grain even as oatmeal cookies.  But it has to be old fashioned or steel cut.  Instant oatmeal is a junk food not much healthier than Suzie Q's, so be careful.  What you eat does affect how your body can deal with it.

Then, if you're an organ recipient, and have to take anti-rejection medicines, you have to watch other foods.  There is also the issue of kidney failure, where you have to watch your potassium (vitamin K) intake, and it's not easy to keep everything straight, if you have multiple issues going on.  Again, important to talk to your doctor.  If your doctor isn't working with you, get a different one.

As a person with multiple health issues myself, I refuse to just sit back and let my ailments take over my life.  What ever I can do, I will...  But, I also realize that with what I have, I need to get help from medical personnel.  Just eating right and exercising is not easy, for the fact that I have chronic pain issues that started 31 years ago as a teen, which only lasted a couple days, and about 18 years ago, became 24/7.  It's progressive.  Every year, I can compare from a year ago, and know it's worse now, than it was a year ago.  So, while lifting weights may be out of the question, doesn't mean I can't go swim.  I do what I can.  As a diabetic, I know what I need to stay away from.  Having a genetic disorder called 16p11.2 microdeletion, where just eating less is near impossible, and losing weight is a two fold issue of increased appetite and lowered metabolism.  I'm not giving up.  So far, I've lost 50#s.  I still have a ways to go, but, I am doing what I can to move it along the best I can.  Type 1 is when your pancreas does not make ANY insulin at all.  Most people with this have it when they are very young, but, can occur anytime.  Type 2 is when you either don't make enough insulin, or receptors are not working properly, or your insulin isn't efficient, or any combo.  This is more common today, yet it is not new.

All of these issues can affect different people differently, and the fact that there is so much corn syrup hidden in bread, candy, soda, etc.  GMO.  Processing the nutrition out.  Staying away from fast food.  What is safe or not to your health.  Yes, you have to spend more money on healthier food.  While sure, somethings are easier, such as trading your bag of chips for a bag of apples, or putting down the soda for water.  But, what about breads, and lean ground beef vs. fatty?  90% lean usually what, $4.49/lb?  More?  73% lean hamburger is $2.99/lb.  Bologna is relatively cheap.  Lean chicken breast w/o addatives is relatively expensive.  It's crazy.

Once upon a time, when people were hunter/gatherers, or even old school farmers, people ate a lot of fatty foods, and didn't think much about it.  Now, that there are modern conveniences and such, we are not so lucky.  Part of it is that our biology and physiology has not caught up with technology.  We can't eat like those who used to migrate on foot, w/o getting more exercise.  Does this mean that diseases didn't exist before?  I bet they did, just not as prominent, because they ate real food back then, plus they worked hard to get it.

But if you figure...  Do you know that diabetes has been found and studied for a couple thousand years? And think.  They didn't have highly processed foods back then.  Obesity wasn't as prominent.  People were more active.  Everyone was poor or middle class.  Today, there are such wide spread poverty, it's not funny.

So...  We have government agencies like the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Institute for Health (NIH), Occupational Health & Health Administration (OSHA), National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) among many others that oversee the many different aspects of industries and life in this country.  As governmental agencies, they do not directly benefit from big corporations.  Money may be given to legislators, or maybe a group can lobby hard, but, for the most part, these agencies are government run, and just like anything else, may or may not have the most current information.  I would not say they are corrupt, though are not perfect, either.

The health care industry, on the other hand, can be crooked.  I remember when I had regular insurance, all of a sudden, tons of different places wanted to vie for my business of treating my back pain.  The red carpet rolled out.  As we lost income and went back onto medicaid, the red carpet was taken back, just to say screw it.  What is crazy...  Yes, I agree that those who are able to work should, and I am able, in an office setting.  To expand my scope, my back needs to be better.  To have the better back, I need a job that pays well and can afford to get the treatments.  But to work those jobs, I need to have my back better.  Since it is bad, I am on medicaid, which won't pay for the treatments because I should pay for it...  Catch 22.  Wish I was better.  I'd be wonder woman for sure.  But, I aim to do what I can, and hope for the best, although my patience is definitely tried, and tried hard.

Got questions?  I might have answers.  If not, I'll find out.  Ask away in comments.  Thanks.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Rant About Ethnic Food Recipe: Can We Keep the Flavor Yet Make It Healthier?

Hello, my loyal readers, I'm hoping to help everyone be able to enjoy good foods, especially if your doctor told you that you had to lose weight, and sends you to a dietician or nutritionist.  Mind you, I am all about trying to eat healthy, but at the same time, also to allow us to enjoy our favorite foods, especially our ethnic foods.  Don't forget, I do not have a kitchen, I have a science lab where I create tasty food that is also nutritiously balanced.

Granted, these days, you can get some really good tips and a list of stuff you try to still eat a healthier version of things, such as whole grain pasta and ultra grain tortillas.  But, my biggest complaint about all of these tips, is if you eat the "typical" middle American types of food, you're in luck, these lists, suggestions, tips, etc are like hitting the jackpot.  But....  What if you are from a different ethnic background, or a multi-ethnic background?  Here is what many "food experts" say, and I take this from a multitude of Certified Nutritionists, Registered Dieticians, Nurse Diabetic Educators, and online sources such as Mayo Clinic, is that the highest rate of obesity related diabetes occur in our Latino/Hispanic, Asian American, and African American ethnic groups...  Mostly because in many of these cuisines, they are either carb heavy and/or high in fat.

Why does this happen?  When talking Mexican food, the carbohydrates come from the tortillas (flour is a worse offender than the corn), Spanish rice, and the refried beans (legumes are a starchy protein) which are fried in bacon fat or some other form of lard or saturated fat.  In many Asian restaurants, there is a high amount of sugar in the sauces, and of course, there is always rice, some even breaded and deep fried...  Soul Food consists of BBQ'd ribs (fatty), fried chicken, collard greens cooked with pork hocks, and the barbecue sauces are often high in sugar or corn syrup as well.  All of these foods are delicious, but, in their usual format, not very healthy.

Unfortunately, when we ask our "experts", they are usually of the American country cooking types, who have NO idea how to do these ethnic foods correctly, nor how to honestly use better swaps to make it better.  For example, I had one nutritionist, who just thought she was all that and a cute bag of chips, too, tell me that to make Spanish rice, to just use a tablespoon of salsa with the rice.  So I asked her how she would prepare that...  I think she said something like making rice on the stove top, with plain water, and when you put it on your plate, to put the salsa on...  So I mentioned that I don't want to use cold salsa or room temp either, because it takes away from having hot rice, and getting a good blend of flavor to make it still feel authentic when doing it that way.  She asks me how the salsa can be cold.  Um.  I buy a jar of salsa...  Use it with tacos...  The remainder of the salsa goes into the fridge because it's opened...  So, a few days later, I want Spanish rice, and so I take the open one out of the fridge...  Because it's been in there, it's refrigerated, so the salsa is cold, and you said to use 1 TBS on the rice...  So she says to just put it into the sauce pot...  I tell her I use a rice cooker, and I want the measurements, because 1 TBS is not going to be enough for the amount of rice, she says just to put as much as I want...  *sigh*  so I ask her, if she has any suggestions, and she snaps at me about how she just gave me one, and I'm being difficult...  

Okay, but, for those of us whose cultural foods which utilize rice or cous cous, knows that having these whole grains means that it has to be the right texture...  As in, if you use 1.5 cups of water to 1 cup of rice, you don't want to use the whole 1.5 cups of water AND a 1/2 jar of salsa to cook that rice, unless we want soggy food...  No, we do NOT want soggy rice, it is the medium as to which the rest of the meal revolves around, especially for someone like me, who was born and raised in Tokyo for 8 years, and the word "gohan" (Think the vowels of Gold Bond - go like the go in gold, han rhymes with bon in bond) means rice, but it also is used to mean "meal".  Imperfect rice is just NOT acceptable.  At all.  I also think that it is completely silly of these people that they think everyone should make the foods so, well, WHITE!  When you want Mexican food, you want Mexican food.  You don't want Taco Bell.  You don't necessarily even want Tex-Mex.  You want bonafied, authentic, real deal Mexican food that slaps your taste buds the only way these flavorful foods can.  But, if you need to lose weight, or need to lower cholesterol, you know you need to make these adjustments for your own sake, so you can keep taking care of family members.

What I am attempting to do, is to try to take at least a couple of these recipes, and keep the honest to goodness flavors in there, while making it better for your health, so you can feel good about serving your favorite people the foods they love while making the move toward being a stronger people.  I say this, because, if you have to use exercise to offset your eating habits, there is something wrong with your eating habits.  It's a good balance of eating well, loving what you eat, and exercising to take you that extra mile toward a holistic healthy of mind, body and soul.

So, here it is...  These are not perfected, but, these are at least a slight improvement of family favorites to serve.

Sesame Chicken:
2 TBS Soy Sauce
1 TBS Sake - dry
2 tsp Sesame Oil
3/4 tsp Mrs. Dash
1 tsp fresh ginger juice
     Mix well.

1 lb  boneless/skinless chicken breast, in 1" cubes
     Marinade at least 1/2 hour (longer is okay)

10 minutes before you're going to cook, add the white of an uncooked egg

5 - 6 TBS of Arrow Root flour or Water Chestnut starch

Deep fry in hot peanut oil.  Drip dry 1st on cooling rack, then paper towel lined baking sheets. 

Serve with steamed rice and a spinach salad

1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1 -  15oz can of vegetarian refried beans
1 medium onion, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
1 TBS cumin (to taste)
3 TBS cilantro (to taste)
Lime juice - varies, to taste/cookware
Red pepper flakes to taste

Brown ground beef with the onion 
Add the peppers/spices
When meat is almost all done, add refried beans*
As the mixture becomes tacky and difficult to handle, use lime juice to de-glaze pan to add & blend flavors together

I do not use salt, because the can of beans has enough sodium, plus using other spices lessens the need for salt.

*I do not drain the 90%, because SOME fat need to be able to absorb into the beans, and because the grease will be minimal, it is better for you than rendered bacon fat.

Don't forget to top it with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and your favorite garden salsa.

Rice Pilaf:
18 oz risotto or Jasmine rice
26 oz low sodium/99% fat free chicken broth 
1 small onion, minced
parsley flakes to taste

Mix well, steam in rice cooker

In a skillet, heat olive oil, saute to get that fried/crusty flavor

(Yes, I do it in reverse order)

If you have any requests for your favorite foods, let me know, I'll see if I can find a way to polish it up, and then give it back to you for you to try it out, and let me know if it passes your test.