"Hey, I won't say I'm a bad cook, but all the flies chipped in to fix the screen door." (Rodney Dangerfield)
The DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER (Vol 3, No 6) February 5, 2003
"Free of charge, free of advertising, and free of the A.M.A." Written by Andrew Saul, PhD. of http://www.doctoryourself.com , a free online library of over 350 natural healing articles with nearly 4,000 scientific references.
**SPECIAL HOME COOKING, GOOD HEALTH ISSUE**
When I was a kid, eating was a necessary evil. My mother, a former history teacher, lacked passion for cooking. Her casual disregard of any advances ever made in culinary science is approaching the legendary. Years ago, my daughter wrote:
"Gray Jell-O. In my house, the story has often been told of the gray Jell-O. When the flavors cherry and lime were mixed, a wonderful flavor resulted. But it was a horrible sight. Of course my Grandma Saul didn't mean for that Jell-O to be gray, but with only one box of each color, the double batch of Jell-O did not come out just right."
(I would like to point out that hoof-derived desserts were a part of my childhood, but not that of my kids. Once you've tried "gray" you really stay away.)
Mom also mixed partly-open boxes of breakfast cereal "to save space." I was raised on "Cheerios", Cornflakes, "Wheaties", Puffed Rice, Shredded Wheat and "Grape Nuts". . . all in the same bowl.
"Well done," at least in my experience, is the ultimate oxymoron. Mom could have burned ice cream if it were possible. She overcooked everything, blaming it on my Dad with the ever-ready apology: "Your father likes it this way."
After years and years of eating overdone, dry, tooth- stressing meals, I finally asked Pop why he liked everything overcooked.
He said, "That's the way your mother makes it."
O'Henry would have been pleased.
But in fairness, Mom also gave each of us a multivitamin every day. The moment Dad walked into the house after work, he had a glass of orange juice stuck into his hand and an Eastman Kodak vitamin pill plunked in his mouth before he could say, "What's for dinner?" And since "What's for dinner?" was such a fruitless question anyway, everything being uniformly charred to a tasteless slab, the pill no doubt did him much good.
Mom saved fresh vegetable cooking water and made soup from it. She also drank the water the canned spinach was packed in. I now know that such behaviors result in increased consumption of vitamins and minerals. Back then, I simply thought she was a little nuts.
Obviously, it is hereditary.
A CRASH COURSE IN VEGETARIAN COOKING It is therefore only because I get asked for cooking advice so often that I dare to share my favorite kitchen hints. Remember, you are getting these suggestions from a guy who, as a college graduate, still thought "allspice" was a mixture of all the spices together in one convenient jar.
1. If there is one secret of vegetarian cooking, it is salt. Grains and legumes (peas, beans and lentils) really need it for good taste. Now don't go off worrying that you are getting too much sodium, and spare me the gratuitous lectures. Homemade foods almost always have less salt than store- bought processed foods, and certainly are less salty than restaurant or fast foods. Use just enough salt to get a good taste, or no one will want to eat your good food, including you.
If you overdo it: Too much salt can be removed by cooking a halved raw potato into your mistake and then removing the potato before serving. Adding more water, or more of all the other ingredients will effectively reduce the salt concentration, too.
2. Taste your cooking as you go. If you like it, others probably will. Learning from mistakes is less costly if you own a nice, hungry, tolerant doggie. Such animals are readily available from your local pound or humane society. Believe me, anything you were previously thinking of tossing out is far better than the stuff that goes into most commercial pet foods.
3. Consult easy vegetarian cookbooks. I especially like Deaf Smith Country Cookbook (M. W. Ford et al, Collier Books, 1973) and Laurel's Kitchen (L. Robertson et al, Bantam, 1978). Health food stores tend to have a good selection of cookbooks, and often have free recipes for the asking.
4. If you are not sure whether to put in an ingredient or not: when in doubt, leave it out. I've made bread with just whole wheat flour, water and salt. Period. It yields a flatbread or Johnnycake, but it tastes great. I never add shortening or oil to my raised breads, and you really do not miss it.
5. Over the years, you will save a fortune cooking vegetarian. (Just make sure you don't make your fortune cooking vegetarians, which is against the law in most states.) My family of four spent only about one-third as much on food as any of my neighbors do. Maybe you didn't get that raise, and we know that taxes never go down. Here we have a way to make money getting healthy. In my 18 year marriage, my son conservatively estimated that simple eating saved us nearly $40,000. In 1980, that's what my house cost. Think about it. Many a cheapskate food purchasing hint will be found at http://www.doctoryourself.com/eatwellcheap.html
6. Start small, but when you get experienced try to cook in quantity. A big pot of soup can feed you all week. Keep it in smaller, meal-sized containers in your refrigerator. Open one of those instead of a can of something. Do not put bugs into your borscht. Yes, I've done that, too: http://www.doctoryourself.com/aphids.html
7. Be sure to cook dry beans, peas and lentils very thoroughly. They taste dreadful if you don't. After checking to remove any little stowaway stones, soak your legumes (but not split peas) tonight to reduce cooking time tomorrow. Change the soaking water once or twice, and rinse well before cooking to remove dirt or soap residues. More bean hints will be found in my article at http://www.doctoryourself.com/dysplasia.html .
8. If you are not used to baking with whole grain flour, work it in gradually. Start with 2/3 white (unbleached) flour and 1/3 whole grain. Then try half and half. Over time, you can increase the fraction of whole wheat so subtly that no one will hardly notice.
9. Baking with 100% whole wheat (or any other whole grain) generally requires more leavening and more cooking time. Pull up a chair by the oven and check from time to time.
10. Baking with honey requires less liquid, because honey is one. Honey tastes sweeter than sugar, so 2/3 to one-half as much honey is enough.
11. To stimulate your cooking muse, I submit that you should keep LESS food in the house. The more convenience- crutches we have, the less we work at self-reliance. Stock up on grains and legumes. Being dry, they keep a long time in glass jars or plastic bags. With salt, oil, some herbs and spices, and of course fruits and vegetables, you are 90% set. Butter and yogurt are part of our menu, but need not be for everyone. Tofu (bean curd), tempeh, sprouts or seed for sprouting, honey, molasses and fruit juice fill out our cheap diet. We are most creative in the kitchen when the pickings are slim. For some sample super-easy meal plans: http://www.doctoryourself.com/12_Veggie_Dinners.html Some of my favorite slim-pickin's recipies are posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/recipes.html
12. The above statement is more subversive than it looks. Food stamps and other well-meant programs encourage spending. That may be good for the economy, but it is not good for the body. Saul's First Law of Nutrition: "The best foods in the supermarket are the cheapest; the worst foods cost the most." Take along a copy of a book like the Supermarket Handbook (N. and D. Goldbeck, Signet,1976) to help you shop. Remember: to avoid expensive impulse buying, always eat beforehand.
13. Still, do not fret if you succumb to a "Big Mac" Attack or wolf down the occasional box of chocolates. To me, it is not a matter of life or death if you have turkey at the holidays (though it is to the turkey). What matters is not what you did on any one day but on the other 364. In total, are you doing it right? Check your debts; check your medicine cabinet; check the bathroom scales: if they are all going down, you are doing fine.
14. Your spouse or children may not necessarily go for all of this. The rest of the world should be so lucky as to even have a choice. You know, the reason the Chinese eat a low- fat, low-protein diet with lots of grains, legumes and vegetables is not because they are seeking health. It is because they can't afford to eat any other way. Their lower rates of heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis are a by- product of frugality.
START EARLY There is a lot to say for starting very little children on the healthy-eating path before they learn that most dreaded of dining-table words: "No!" For parents of infants: http://www.doctoryourself.com/veggie_baby.html For parents of toddlers: http://www.doctoryourself.com/Toddler_Health.html
NEVER TOO LATE If your kids are already old enough to be at the everybody-is- a-critic stage, you might try a few of these ideas: http://www.doctoryourself.com/kidraise.html
EXPERT NUTRITIONAL ADVICE FOR PARENTS "Dr. Hoffer's ABC of Natural Nutrition for Children" is, in my opinion, must reading for all parents. A summary of the book is posted at http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_ABC.html
"The Children's Doctor," Lendon H. Smith, MD, is another excellent resource. About his work: http://www.doctoryourself.com/smith1.html A listing of all his books: http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_lsmith.html
VITAMIN THERAPY HELPS LEARNING DISABLED CHILDREN An important but generally overlooked scientific study is summarized at http://www.doctoryourself.com/learning.html
FEINGOLD DIET: Allergist Benjamin Feingold, M.D., was one of the first physicians to speak out against food additives. His special interests were the effect of food chemicals on children's behavior and the role of nutrition in treating learning disabilities. The chemical food processing industry, and its pseudo-scientific spokespersons, still are trying to negate all Feingold's research. It will never happen, though, for Feingold Associations of informed parents (and forward- thinking doctors) are to be found worldwide. Dr. Feingold's books: http://www.doctoryourself.com/biblio_feingold.html
KIDS THAT ARE "ALWAYS SICK" A case story for you to read is at http://www.doctoryourself.com/immune.html
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HOW TO GET LITTLE KIDS TO TAKE THEIR VITAMINS WITH A MINIMUM OF FUSS
Here are some hints to help parents get easy compliance and safe results with kids and supplements.
* Vitamin supplements are much safer than medicines, so it is not necessary to be that exact in figuring how much to give. With our kids, we found it convenient to think, "What fraction of an adult do we have here?" We figured an adult dose for an adult weight. If an adult was 180 pounds and one tablet, then a 90 pound adolescent was half a tablet and a 45 pound child was one quarter tablet. One eighth tablet for a 23 pound toddler and one sixteenth tablet for a baby of 12 pounds. You can safely round up and give more than this. Pound for pound, a youngster's need for vitamins is proportionally greater than that of an adult.
* You can not expect a small child to swallow a tablet or a chunk of a tablet. You can CRUSH the tablet (or tablet fraction) and give the resulting powder in juice or mixed in a bit of food. Hot food is not an appropriate choice for heat- sensitive vitamins. Applesauce or other pureed fruit works well. Pineapple or other sweet juice is fine, too. Pick a food or drink that hides a vitamin taste nicely. Remember, you get to swallow these things whole. Vitamins are not put into tablets for nothing! I still remember the time my father first gave me a vitamin pill when I was a kid. I innocently asked him if it was chewable or not and his answer was, "Try it." I did. Crunch. Yuk. That's why these hints are provided.
* Giving "doctored" portions early in the meal helps ensure they get down. Use as small an amount of juice or fruit as possible, rather than "taint" an entire portion. The moment the dose is swallowed, IMMEDIATELY follow it with a favorite "chaser." Some sweet juice or fruit will take away any aftertaste from the supplement. We would go so far as to have two cups of juice on the table in front of the child. One contained one-eighth cup or less of juice with the powder mixed in. The other cup was comfortably full of juice only. The moment the odd-tasting juice disappeared, we had the yummy juice right at the kid's lips. Speed is important here. Hit the taste buds with a nice flavor before they even get a chance to figure out the first one. We've gotten our kids to drink raw zucchini juice this way, so believe me, it works.
* With babies, all the above preparations may still result in the desired mixture ending up on the floor, on the highchair or on you. Try it again. Just like learning to walk. As it becomes routine, the child will accept it. Start early and acceptance will come early. Good habits thus formed will bring dividends for years.
* Liquid vitamin preparations are fine, with a drawback. They do not keep particularly well after opening, and lose potency quickly even in the refrigerator. Incidentally, vitamin tablets or capsules should NOT be kept in a refrigerator. I know it says "Store in a cool, dry place," but a 'fridge is a cold, wet place. Moisture generally reduces supplement potency. Keep the bottles out of the sun, out of the car and off the stove and they will be cool enough.
* Chewable supplements are tasty and convenient. Once a child is old enough to handle chewable tablets s/he will usually take to them without complaint. Beware of artificial colors, artificial flavors and especially artificial sweeteners. These potentially harmful chemicals are money savers for the manufacturer and do no good for your child. Try a health food store, and read labels always.
* Chewable vitamin C is handy for restaurants and traveling. Try to get the non-acidic ASCORBATE form of vitamin C in your chewables. This is easier on tooth enamel than the common ascorbic acid form of vitamin C. Ascorbic acid chewables can still be used. We always gave our kids a rinse of water or juice after chewing ANY tablet. Non-acidic "C" is more important for regular, repeated chewable vitamin C use, such as when a child is ill and taking a lot. I would like to add that soft drinks are far worse on tooth enamel than ascorbic acid. Cola's and other soda contains phosphoric acid. This is the same ingredient that dentists use to etch away tooth enamel before sealants are applied. Phosphoric acid (and sugar!) should be removed FIRST from a child's diet.
* Here is one way to tell if a child is old enough to swallow a vitamin tablet: offer a small cash reward if the kid can do it. Since chewable tablets tend to be more expensive than regular tablets containing the same amounts of nutrients, you will still be money ahead if this works. Start first with a small capsule. Tell the child that it is OK if they can't swallow this like a BIG boy or girl can. Pride and spending money seemed to be an irresistible combination for our kids.
* There are adults who cannot swallow a tablet. Many of these people, I've found, were forced as children to take a pill before they wanted to. Since honey is better bait than vinegar, you can try offering a teaspoon of honey after your child has gotten the supplement down.
* If all this seems like coercion, that's because it is. And why not? Supplements do no good in the bottle.
* When in public places, keep supplements low-key. Likewise, when visiting relatives, there is no need to make a show or an issue over children's vitamins. You can give your child their vitamins before you leave home or when you get back. Chewable supplements that look and taste like candy are convenient in more ways than one. Health food stores and pharmacies have a variety of popular vitamin products that do not even resemble "pills."
* Technically, most schools require a letter from a doctor giving permission for a child to take supplements at school. If you can get such a letter from your M.D., it is handy to have. Try to avoid letting the school health people make a big production over it. Your child should not be pulled out of class or out of an activity to take a vitamin. There is no reason for any kid to be singled out at school just because supplements have always been a part of their good diet. Most principals are sensitive to children's feelings, and will respond well to your friendly parent note or phone call.
* We found that we could include one or two vitamin C chewables in our kid's lunches and nobody ever objected. It's true that the chewables DID look a lot like candy. A lot healthier, though.
COLUMNIST FOR JOURNAL OF ORTHOMOLECULAR MEDICINE I am honored to have been invited to be a regular columnist for the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. My column, "Taking the Cure," will commence with the next issue of the Journal, (Vol 17, No 4). For subscription information: http://orthomed.org/jom/jom.htm .
DID YOU KNOW:
CHILDREN UNDER SIX INVOLUNTARILY SWALLOW AS MUCH AS **ONE THIRD** OF THEIR TOOTHPASTE.
If your kids brush every day, that's 365 not-so-small doses of a carcinogenic artificial sweetener, saccharin, every year. Any dentist will tell you that saccharin chemically does nothing to prevent tooth decay. So it should be taken out. http://www.doctoryourself.com/fakesweet.html
Children also swallow excess amounts of fluoride when they brush. Fluoride has been linked to bone cancer. http://www.doctoryourself.com/fluoride_cancer.html More negative information on fluoride: http://www.doctoryourself.com/fluoridation.html
FLUORIDE LINKS: http://www.rvi.net/~fluoride/index.htm http://www.inter-view.net/~sherrell/site_index.htm http://www.garynull.com/issues/Fluoride/FluorideActionFile.h tm http://www.sonic.net/~kryptox/fluoride.htm http://www.fluoride-journal.com/ http://www.fluoridation.com/
WANT TO BE HEARD? Call the toothpaste manufacturers and tell them to take saccharin and fluoride out of their products, or you will not buy them. At the very least, they should put large print warnings and child-proof caps on their products.
Start with the two biggest sellers: Colgate: 1-800-468-6502 and Crest: 1-800-492-7378 Additional phone numbers for other brands are welcomed. Please email me with your submissions.
DID YOU KNOW that The National Parent-Teachers Association withdrew its support for fluoridation on April 17, 1991?
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: EPILEPSY AND VITAMIN E Children using antiepileptic medication have reduced plasma levels of vitamin E, a sign of vitamin E deficiency. So doctors at the University of Toronto gave epileptic children 400 I.U. of vitamin E per day for several months, along with their medication. This combined treatment reduced the frequency of seizures in most of the children by over 60 percent. Half of them "had a 90 to 100 percent reduction in seizures." (Epilepsia, Vol 30, No 1, 1989).
THIS MONTH'S REASON TO UNSUBSCRIBE:
T'was in a diner that they met: Romeo and Juliet; Alas, her purse she did forget So Romey owed what Julie et.
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