Reflecting on nutrition, food storage, and hard economic times

What a year this has been.   The much-predicted failure of  American investment banking  has come to pass,  our nation’s net worth has plummeted precipitously, and we’ve started into what promises to be a long recession.   I just came across this quote by a wise man named Joseph Smith, from 175 years ago:

“Our nation, which possesses greater resources than any other, is rent, from center to circumference, with party strife, political intrigues, and sectional interest; our counselors are panic stricken, our legislators are astonished, and our senators are confounded, our merchants are paralyzed, our tradesmen are disheartened, our mechanics out of employ, our farmers distressed, and our poor crying for bread, our banks are broken, our credit ruined, and our states overwhelmed in debt, yet we are, and have been in peace.”

So, many other times in even the comparatively short history of the U.S., we have found ourselves in perilous times.   The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?

But we need not fear because we can do simple, inexpensive things to prepare.   People of the dominant religion where I live (Utah) are counselled to store a year’s supply of food.   Yet no matter how long this counsel is given, and how urgently, at any given time, only 15 percent of LDS (Mormon) people actually have a year’s supply.   At the moment, church leaders are pleading with the people to get a three-month supply in place in the immediate future.

This is a smart thing to do for anyone, not just LDS people.   You have observed how sensitive supply and demand is, for food.   (I mentioned in a blog comment recently that I cannot buy canning jars anywhere, because Kerr and Ball cannot keep up with the demand nationally.   You have seen the price of rice increase 250 percent.)   That’s all I’m going to say about that, because I frankly hate scare tactics.   (Love Mike Adams “The Health Ranger,” hate all the fear-mongering in his newsletters.)

Victoria Boutenko says she calculated once that her family of four could live for a year on one 50-lb. bag of wheat, by sprouting it.   I don’t know how that’s possible, unless she is calculating nutrients rather than caloric needs–but anyway, she said that.   The LDS Church has a calculator at lds.org, and one person needs 200 lbs. of grain per year.   (Of course,  50 lbs.  of sprouted grain has in some cases as much nutrition, plus lots of live enzymes, that 200 lbs. of dry grain does!)

Thus, my family of six has stored 1,200 lbs. of grain: wheat, quinoa, rye, rolled oats and oat groats, popcorn, Kamut, and spelt.   That may sound like an obscene quantity, but when you add it up, people eat a lot of food!   We also store 400 lbs. of legumes (lentils, split peas, beans) and lots of other items like coconut oil, olive oil, agave, honey, and sea salt.   I do more than that, but if all the rest will be overwhelming to you for now, just start with a three-month supply of those basics.   When you’ve got those inexpensive bases covered, consider storing bottles of VitaMineral Green for your greens; cans of Ultimate Meal for easy, optimal nutrition; nuts and seeds (frozen in Ziplocs where possible); and spices, herbs, and condiments.

The point is, when your food storage is a bunch of white flour, white sugar, canned powdered milk, canned turkey, and macaroni (the staples of most Mormon one-year supplies), you might not end up hungry, but you’re going to end up sick.

Store whole grains, and know how to use them.   What I am teaching you in Step 9 isn’t just for good nutrition–it’s for good emergency preparedness!   When you know how to sprout as I teach in Step 7, you have the invaluable skill to use dry, long-term storage foods (like any grain) and make it live food that will keep your family healthy–not just alive.

My European immigrant ancestors came across the plains from the East Coast to Utah, with handcarts, and some of them were caught in winter storms.   Their nutrition was sometimes reduced, in the winter, to small rations of cornmeal fried in lard, day after day.   Some of them died of starvation, as well as exposure.   Some became ill with typhoid, malaria, scurvy, and smallpox.

We have the ability to spend very little but have the peace of mind to be prepared well, by storing whole foods.   I hope you’re getting a year’s supply of RAW ALMONDS in the current group buy–yet another way to eat well now AND buy very inexpensive insurance against emergencies.   It’s the kind of insurance that doesn’t need the backing of our virtually bankrupt federal government.   It’s the kind of insurance that pays no premiums to a huge company teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, being robbed by its executives.

recipes to use your raw almonds

Those of you who subscribe to 12 Steps to Whole Foods (http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com/12-steps-to-whole-food-eating.html) have recipes to use raw, germinated  almonds in Ch. 7 and will have more in Ch. 11.   But here are two more recipes for you:

SPROUTED ALMOND PATE (WRAP FILLING)

2 cups almonds, soaked overnight and drained

3 carrots

handful of fresh basil, chopped

1 small yellow squash, diced

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. kelp granules

Put almonds and carrots through the Champion Juicer with the blank (homogenizing) plate on.Stir in other ingredients well.Serve a generous portion in a sprouted-wheat tortilla with cucumber spears (and optionally, any homemade dressing from Ch. 3 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods).You can send this to school or work by rolling the wrap up tightly in plastic wrap.

SPROUTED CURRY ALMONDS

4 cups raw almonds, soaked overnight and drained

1 Tbsp. red curry

1/3 cup water

2 tsp. Original Himalayan Crystal Salt (or sea salt)

2 tsp. agave

1 tsp. kelp granules

1 tsp. cayenne

Dehydrate soaked and drained almonds for several hours until mostly dry.Blend remaining ingredients in a bowl, and stir almonds in well, allowing to sit for a while to absorb liquid.Dehydrate below 116 degrees until dry and crunchy.Keep in fridge if almonds will last you more than a week.

Energy drinks: attention, parents of teens!

Visiting my best friend in San Francisco recently, I sat outside her high-end convenience/grocery store in the very affluent suburb of Piedmont grading papers.   The high school kids arrived en masse, at lunch and after school.   An amazing amount of candy and energy drinks walk out of that place–thousands of dollars’ worth daily.   Kids walk up and throw their backpacks in a pile (not allowed in the store), and they walk into the store with their wads of cash and come out with all kinds of junk food.   (These kids have money!)

 

One day the lead singer of the rock group Greenday was there (he is a resident of Piedmont).   So to impress some of my (new) teenaged friends, who dared me, I got a photo with him.   Unfortunately, the kid who took it with his cell phone emailed it to me, but I haven’t seen it!   Turns out, my own teenagers tell me, Billy Joe Armstrong is the most foul-mouthed rocker alive today.   Clean-cut Christian mom poses with edgy, famous, potty-mouth rockstar.   That’s kind of funny, no?   His kids play on the soccer teams there in Piedmont, and he and his wife were having lunch together and seem so nice.   I have a hard time imagining him screaming from the stage what I’ve been told he does!   (It’s shocking, is all I’m going to say.)

 

So I came home and read about these energy drinks the kids were guzzling by the gallon.   They’re called Alcopops or “flavored alcoholic beverages” because they have more alcohol than beer!   Beer has 5-6% alcohol, but these have 6-12% alcohol.   Here are some examples of the alcohol content by weight:

 

Tilt (8%), Rockstar (6.9%), Sparks (6%), Four (6%), Joose (9-10%), Monster, 3Sum, 24, Charge, Torque, and many more.   This is a $3.2 billion annual industry!   No soda bottler can pass up the opportunity to jump on this growing bandwagon.   And guess who drinks the most?   Yep, teens aged 12-17.   They consume 31% of the total amount sold.   These drinks contain alcohol, which is a depressant, but also massive amounts of the stimulants ginseng, guarana, and  caffeine.   (And no, caffeine doesn’t cancel out alcohol.   If you drink alcohol and caffeine, you’re still drunk.)   And of course they are full of sugar or chemical sweeteners, plus lots of other unpronouncable chemical garbage.

 

Parents, beware.   Are you okay with your 12-year old drinking beer?   Please educate others about this.   (And thanks, GSG reader Camille for sending me source material.)

GreenSmoothieGirl Nutrition Quiz: new! improved! interactive!

Here it is, at last, the refined quiz to test how excellent,  energy promoting, and disease preventing  your diet is.   It should identify ways you can improve, and of course you know that  EVERY  ONE of those ways  is addressed in 12 Steps to Whole Foods.   It’s interactive, so your score is totalled automatically-it will take you two minutes!

Take the GreenSmoothieGirl nutrition quiz.

Some of you beta tested this quiz  a couple of months ago and gave me feedback through email and comments on the blog.   I believe this would be the nutritional equivalent of what we call in academia “rigorous.”   That is, it demands a lot of you.   It isn’t going to tell you, like the USDA will, that you’re doing well if you mix in a salad now and then.

It does, however, give you extra credit to cover for some of your nutritional sins.   I have carefully considered, based on the volumes of data available, HOW important each area of nutrition is, and I have weighted questions accordingly within the 100 points.

I would like to hear from some of you lurkers!   It’s so easy to comment-you don’t even have to register in order to comment on this, my blog,  I think.   If anyone beats my score, and I’m sure someone will because some raw foodies read this, please let us all know!   (If anyone’s mad because the quiz doesn’t give them the score you believe you deserve, feel free to sound off here, too!)

My score is 97.

Here it is again: http://www.greensmoothiegirl.com/get-healthy/quiz/

You don’t eat meat? Then where do you get your protein?

I know, I’ve blogged about this more than any other subject.   But I’m going to say a few more things about it today, just in a slightly different way, because of that old statistic that people have to hear something 11 times before they believe it.   And because that’s the question we plant eaters get most often, “But where do you get your PROTEIN?”

 

The World Health Organization says humans need 5 percent of daily calories to be protein.   The USDA says 6.5 percent.   On average, here’s what plant foods contain:

 

Fruits                                                                                                   5 percent

Vegs                                                                                                 20-50 percent

Sprouts, nuts, beans, grains, seeds:             10-25 percent

 

So you get plenty of protein from plants.   When you eat these proteins raw, they’re undamaged by heat and therefore more usable by your body, too.   Greens are highest in protein of the vegetables, so they are ideal for building and repair in the body.   We have a protein excess in the Western diet, not a protein deficiency.

 

Amino acids are protein’s building blocks.   Animal flesh combines those amino acids in a highly structured way–that’s all it means when people talk about “quality” proteins.   On the other hand, vegetable proteins are comprised of free-floating amino acids.   The first 8 amino acids are called “essential” because we have to acquire them from food.   The last 14 are built from the first 8.   Vegetable proteins, in free form, are easier to digest, give you more energy, and contribute to beauty and feeling well!

 

Some say, “But I feel better when I get much more protein.”   Years ago, I felt the same way–I noticed I had more energy eating chicken and fish.   Then I recognized truth when a book I was reading said that many animal protein eaters experience weakness/fatigue when they go off animal protein because of the inevitable cleansing that results.   So they attribute the difference in the way they feel to “needing” meat rather than feeling poorly when they cleanse as an adjustment to ending an addiction.   (These opinions are then further supported by diet-plan promoters who advocate for unnatural amounts of protein, as well as scientifically unsupported “blood type” and “metabolic type” authors.)

 

I put the idea that my “feeling better” was related to cleansing, not need, to the test.   I can honestly say I have more energy now than ever before.   It’s not true what people say, that you’re just going to feel worse in your 40’s than you did in your 20’s!   I feel MUCH better at 41 than I did in my 20’s!   I just had to go off chicken and fish for LONG ENOUGH.   I plan to never go back to eating those foods  full of antibiotics, steroids, foodborne bacteria, and all kinds of pathogens.

more food logs: a really busy day, and a weekend day

I want you to get a sense of what a day looks like when I’m just not at home, no time to prepare.   And a weekend when we do have extra time.   A couple of people wrote me (or posted) last time I wrote up a food log: oh! I guess that’s not really so hard!   It’s really not, and this super-busy day was even easier.   Unfortunately, I ate all three meals that day IN THE CAR!

You can read raw-food recipe books and end up thinking that eating a plant-based diet is only for people who love cooking.   The pizza recipes: dehydrating a crust, making a raw, nut-based sauce, shredding a bunch of toppings.   Ugh.   Most days, I just don’t have time for that.   I did that in my early days of trying to go all raw, and burned out fast.

This crazy day started at 6 a.m.: squeezed my hour of yoga and my tennis match in, before racing home to get ready for work and then taking off to teach.   Then I didn’t even come home from work–went straight to parent-teacher conferences.   I got home at dinnertime.   So here it is:

Breakfast: Hot-Pink Breakfast Smoothie, driving to yoga

Lunch: Green smoothie (made at 7 a.m.), and a baggie of almonds, driving to work

After work: Picked up a hummus wrap packed with greens and veggies at Pita Pit next to Brigham Young University where I work, and ate it in the car on the way to parent-teacher conferences.   Kids got home and had green smoothies from the fridge.

Dinner:   I warmed cans of vegetarian chili that I keep in storage for busy nights.   My 13-year old daughter made a big salad with romaine, the still-ubiquitous yellow squash, cukes, and bell peppers.   I tossed some apple cider vinegar and olive oil on it.   I put about 1/3 cup homemade sauerkraut on each plate next to the salad.

I didn’t eat the dinner because I wasn’t hungry, having eaten earlier.   But I finished the last piece of Raw Key Lime Pie that I made last night.   (It’s yummy, took about 15 mins. to make last night, and it’s in Ch. 11 coming up!)   The other day at Costco I got a whole bag of limes.   I set up my $20 electric citrus juicer, which is VERY worth having if you’re a 12 Stepper.   Lime juice is one of those ingredients that transforms raw or whole foods into gourmet.   I use it in lots of salad dressings and quinoa dishes.   I cut all the limes in half and had my 8-year old juice them.   (He loves doing it.)   I put them in an ice cube tray to freeze for later.   Later tonight, I’ll twist the ice cube trays into a gallon freezer bag to save them all for later, in convenient 2 Tbsp. portions.

Total time spent in the kitchen today: 20 minutes (not including two kids helping out), a 75% raw day.

A WEEKEND (Sunday) food log:

Breakfast:   A big blender of Hot-Pink Breakfast Smoothie (Jump-Start recipe collection) for everybody, in a hurry, before church.

Lunch: Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes (from Ch. 10 coming out, soaked the buckwheat the day before)–no gluten, really easy, sprouted, everybody likes it.   I don’t like things made from buckwheat flour, but I love these pancakes.   I whizzed up some berry topping in the BlendTec (also in Ch. 10), berries and peaches, agave, and a little water.

Lunch: Zucchini Carpaccio to use up zucchini in the garden (Jump-Start recipe collection), and Raw Avocado Soup (coming out in the 100 Quick, Healthy Lunch Ideas recipe collection).   Plus some Homemade Raw Sauerkraut (Ch. 8 recipe) I made a year ago.   While we were eating, I had The World’s Best Chocolate Ice Cream going in the ice cream maker, just three ingredients, super easy.

I made six different recipes today, lots more than usual.   I spent maybe an hour in the kitchen making food.   No green smoothie!   That happens, maybe once every week or two on a weekend.   We still all had about 7 servings of vegetables and 3 of fruit, all of them raw–about a 75% raw day.