Monthly Archives: August 2016

Ancient Grains

Ancient Grain 1


There has been an upsurge of interest in ancient grains. They are thought to be healthier for us & have found a place on various superfood lists. The grains that are considered to be ancient or heritage grains may surprise you. You may even be more surprised to see that one of our most common grains is not listed; wheat as it is grown today.

I will be looking at the ancient grains that Oldways, Whole Grains Council says are overlooked by the  “Western Palate”. Teff, millet, amaranth, sorghum & quinoa. Recipes for each will be included 🙂 These grains are each a powerhouse of protein, fiber, vitamins & minerals. But so are other grains & cereals. Incorporate them into your meals to make for a more interesting, healthy diet.

Oldways, Whole Grains Councildefinition of ancient grains: “There is no official definition of ‘ancient grains.’ All whole grains in the larger sense are “ancient” — they all can trace their roots back to the beginnings of time.

However, here at the Whole Grains Council, we generally define ancient grains loosely as grains that are largely unchanged over the last several hundred years. 

This means that modern wheat (constantly bred and changed) is not an ancient grain, while einkorn, emmer/farro, Kamut®, and spelt would be considered ancient grains in the wheat family. Heirloom varieties of other common grains — such as black barley, red and black rice, blue corn — might also be considered ancient grains. Other grains largely ignored until recently by Western palates (such as sorghum, teff, millet, quinoa, amaranth) would also be widely considered to be ancient grains. Sometimes less common grains, like buckwheat, or wild rice, are also included.

Let’s have a look…

Teff: Gluten free. It is high in iron, magnesium, & calcium. 1 cup of dry Teff: Fiber: 15 grams/cup, protein: 26 grams/cup.

Oldways, Whole Grain Council: “This nutritious and easy-to-grow type of millet is largely unknown outside of Ethiopia, India and Australia. Today it is getting more attention for its sweet, molasses-like flavor and its versatility; it can be cooked as porridge, added to baked goods, or even made into “teff polenta.” Teff grows in three colors: red, brown and white.”

I have had teff in breads but I have not tried cooking with it. I like the sweet, molasses flavor. I bought a package of red teff to try. 

Recipe links: 

New York Times-Teff & Oatmeal Pancakes 

Cheat Sheet-7 Tremendous Teff Recipes to Try Today 

Maskal TeffList of Teff recipes by this Teff company.

Whole Foods Market-Tomato & Mushroom Teff Polenta I love polenta. It is like a thick mush. 

Oldways, Whole Grain Council: Look under “Cooking Teff”

Millet: Gluten free, high in antioxidants & magnesium. 1 cup of dry millet: Fiber: 17 grams/cup, protein: 22 grams/cup.

 Oldways, Whole Grains Council: “Millet is not just one grain, but the name given to a group of several different small-seeded grains from several different genera of the grass family Poaceae. Four different millets are most commonly cultivated worldwide, listed here, starting with the most widely produced:

Pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum] This is the one that is most common in our stores. It is the one that I use. 

Foxtail millet [Setaria italica]

Proso millet, also called hog, common or broom corn millet [Panicum miliaceum]

Finger millet, also called ragi in India [Eleusine coracana]

Fonio [Digitaria exilis]

“Millet grains are usually small and yellowish in color. They have a mild flavor that pairs well with other foods. Most sources recommend cooking millet with about 2 ½ cups of liquid for each cup of millet grain.

Like most other whole gains, millet can be made into pilafs or breakfast cereals, or added to breads, soups or stews. It can also be popped like corn and eaten as a snack.  You can substitute up to about 30% millet flour in your favorite baking recipes, and even more in foods like cookies that do not need to rise as much.” 

Millet is one of my favorite grains. I like it better than quinoa. More texture. I like to serve millet just like rice. I also like to use it in veggie burgers; it holds them together. 

Recipe links:

Oldways Whole Grain Council  Look under “Cooking With Millet”. Reicipes & cooking tips.


Eating Well-Mediterranean Burgers 

One Green Planet-8 Incredible Ways to Cook With Millet Interesting recipes. 

Quinoa: Gluten free. Per 1 cup of cooked quinoa. Fiber: 5 grams, Protein 8 grams. It is a good source of iron, copper, thiamin, vitamin B6, magnesium, &  folate.

Oldways Whole Grain Council: “Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, or goosefoot) is in fact not technically a cereal grain at all, but is instead what we call a “pseudo-cereal” – our name for foods that are cooked and eaten like grains and have a similar nutrient profile. Botanically, quinoa is related to beets, chard and spinach, and in fact the leaves can be eaten as well as the grains. It’s a testimonial to how far quinoa has come in the last five years, that most people now know it’s pronounced KEEN-wah, not kwin-OH-a.”

There are many varieties of Quinoa & they come in a array of colors. In the U.S., you mainly see red or white. I prefer to use the red quinoa, it has a nuttier flavor. Most people like the white & say it is more flavorful. Try them both & see what you think. 

Recipe links:

Oldways Whole Grain Council: Look under “Cooking Tips and Recipes With Quinoa”.


Cooking Light-Cooking With Quinoa: 31 Recipes 

Amaranth: Gluten free. 1 cup cooked: fiber 5 grams/cup & protein 9 grams/cup. It is high in minerals, such as calcium, iron, phosphorous,& carotenoids.

Oldways Whole Grain Council   In all fairness to whole grains everywhere, we need to “out” amaranth as a bit of an imposter.  It isn’t a true cereal grain in the sense that oats, wheat, sorghum, and most other grains are.  “True cereals” all stem from the Poaceae family of plants, while amaranth (among others) is often referred to as a pseudo-cereal, meaning it belongs to a different plant species.  So why are these interlopers almost always included in the whole grain roundup?  Because their overall nutrient profile is similar to that of cereals, and more importantly, pseudo-cereals like amaranth have been utilized in traditional diets spanning thousands of years in much the same way as the “true cereals” have been.”

I have combined amaranth with other grains & served it with vegetables. Looking at the recipes below, I think I need to branch out with this grain 🙂

Recipe links:

OOLA-17 MUST-TRY AMARANTH RECIPES THAT WILL HAVE YOU GOING GAGA OVER THIS NEW TRENDY GRAIN   Amaranth & Feta Phyllo Triangles sound really good. A healthy variation of spanikopita. You can substitute the butter for olive oil or coconut oil.

My Recipes-Toubouleh-Style Amaranth Salad 

Oldways Whole Grain Council Look under “After All, Amaranth is Made for Eating” 

Home and Gardens: Perfectly Popped Amaranth! We have popped amaranth. A bit tricky but yummy!

Sorghum: Gluten free. 1 cup dry sorghum: Protein: 22 grams, & fiber: 12 grams. It is high in  niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, magnesium, iron, calcium, & potassium.

Oldways, Whole Grain Council: “Ask a hundred people if they’ve ever eaten sorghum and chances are, they’ll have no idea what you’re talking about. However, sorghum, a cereal grain, is the fifth most important cereal crop in the world, largely because of its natural drought tolerance and versatility as food, feed and fuel. In Africa and parts of Asia, sorghum is primarily a human food product, while in the United States it is used mainly for livestock feed and in a growing number of ethanol plants. However, the United States also has seen food usage on the rise, thanks to the gluten-free benefits of sorghum for those with celiac disease.”

I bought a bag of sorghum & tried popping it last night. It takes awhile to get it popping & you have to shake it frequently. Make sure you use a heavy bottomed stainless steel pan. It looked like tiny popped corn, smelled & tasted like it too. Not sure it was worth the effort other than it was a fun thing to try 🙂 Popped sorghum is a popular snack in India. 

Recipe Links:

New York Times_Sorghum Bowl With Back Beans, Amaranth & Avocado  

Oldways, Whole Grain Council Look under “So Easy to Use”

Bobs Red Mill: Popped Sorghum This is the recipe I used.

Additional Resources:

  • 1,000 Gluten Free Recipes  by Carol Fenster, Ph.D. Published 2008. Go gluten-free with ease! For the best all-purpose gluten-free cookbook, look no further. This 700+ page book contains delicious gluten-free recipes for muffins, breads, pizzas, pastas, casseroles, cookies and more! Also includes hundreds of recipes for all-American favorites, flavorful international dishes and sophisticated special-occasion fare.
  • BBC: Why Do Americans Love Ancient Grains. Would you like to taste the health-giving grain found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun? Or feast on the unprocessed kernels said to have been stored on the ark by Noah? Or how about a vodka made from traditionally farmed Bolivian quinoa? If any of this whets your appetite, you are not alone.In the past five years there has been an explosion in popularity of so-called “ancient grains” in the American food market. Nice article.
  • One Green Planet: What Are Ancient Grains & Why Should You Eat Them? Many ancient grains, or heritage grains, are gluten-free and versatile. From amaranth to spelt, ancient grains are loaded with trace vitamins and protein to keep you going. This particular group of grains is revered for its age and history: Greeks and Romans offered spelt to the gods; Aztecs considered chia seeds worthy of tribute, and farro is noted in the Old Testament. A resurgence of the old and the antiquated has made these grains once again shine in the spotlight, but what are they really?Ancient grains are more than just relics from the past that have stood the test of time; they are cereals and seeds that have a robust texture and stellar nutritional profile.” Another good article.

Medical Marijuana Update

Photo by Drug Enforcement Agency Media


I thought that I would have good news this week for those who advocate & use Medical Cannabis. Unfortunately the new decision by the DEA isn’t quite what we all expected. I want to explore the reasons & implications of the new ruling.

What exactly did the Drug Enforcement Agency report? Here is a link to the official announcement. DEA official siteAugust 11, 2016, DEA Announces Actions Related to Marijuana and Industrial Hemp: “The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced several marijuana- related actions, including actions regarding scientific research and scheduling of marijuana, as well as principles on the cultivation of industrial hemp under the Agricultural Act of 2014.” The last section concerning industrial hemp leaves the legality of industrial hemp CBD oil products up in the air also. 🙁

Washington Post…8/11/16… U.S. affirms its prohibition on medical marijuana“The government refused again Thursday to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, reaffirming its conclusion that the drug’s therapeutic value has not been proved scientifically and defying a growing clamor to legalize it for the treatment of a variety of conditions.

In an announcement in the Federal Register and a letter to petitioners, the Drug Enforcement Administration turned down requests to remove marijuana from “Schedule I,” which classifies it as a drug with “no currently accepted medical use” in the United States and precludes doctors from prescribing it.” This defies logic in my humble opinion. The DEA has, until now, effectively blocked any real research into the medical uses of cannabis by restricting the availability of “legal DEA grown crops” for research purposes. They have ignored the painstaking research that has been done & published because the source of the cannabis is questionable or the research has not been from the United States.

This ruling has been a major blow in California. The upcoming November ballot, in California, includes Proposition 64 to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. “A “yes” vote is a vote in favor of legalizing marijuana and hemp under state law and enacting certain sales and cultivation taxes.” An interesting development. Medical Cannabis is already legal in California. 

Los Angeles Times…8/13/16… DEA ends its monopoly on marijuana growing for medical research:  “The federal government is ending its decades-old monopoly on marijuana production for medical research as the Drug Enforcement Administration announced Thursday that it was bowing to changing times. The agency said it would begin allowing researchers and drug companies to use pot grown in places other than its well-secured facility at the University of Mississippi.” This is the good news. Now, other facilities will be allowed to grow the strain of cannabis that they want to research. The results should change the DEA’s “mind” in future. The “bad news” is that the DEA will have certain requirements for that research, which will include tight security measures. These measures will be costly & may even cause major research facilities in universities to opt out. 

Oregon Public Broadcasting…8/11/16…Northwest Politicians Feel Burned By DEA’s Marijuana RulingPolitical leaders in Oregon and Washington said they’re disappointed with Thursday’s ruling from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agency denied a petition to reclassify the drug as less dangerous, meaning for now, the DEA still doesn’t believe it has any medical value. That’s despite voters in 25 states and the District of Columbia legalizing cannabis for medical purposes.” This ruling puts everyone in danger of the DEA regardless of the state laws. The DEA has not clarified what their roles will be in the 25 states that have legalized its use both medicinally & recreationally. 

The Huffington Post, 2014, wrote a really informative article that you should read:  State vs. Federal Law: Who Really Holds the Trump Card? “The law that applies to situations where state and federal laws disagree is called the supremacy clause, which is part of article VI of the Constitution. The supremacy clause contains what’s known as the doctrine of pre-emption, which says that the federal government wins in the case of conflicting legislation. Under this law, the federal law trumps the state laws regarding medical & recreational marijuana use. The question is, will the DEA use article VI to close clinics with their new ruling.

So what is the answer? There are a number of options. When the DEA changes its mind because research shows cannabis as medically useful, then it would have to be classified as a drug or an herb. If it remains a “drug”, then the FDA would require each strain. pill, oil etc. to go through the FDA Drug Development & Approval Process. It would also require clinical trials. This would essentially give the rights to selling medical marijuana to the big pharmaceutical companies. 

GW Pharmaceuticals, UK, is an example of cannabis as a drug: Sativex® is a cannabinoid medicine for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis which is also in development in cancer pain…” Sativex has been through clinical trials in the UK. It has been approved in 27 countries. The company has been meeting with the FDA for approval. With this new ruling, it looks like it may be in limbo. Take a look at the website, Look at the research & clinical trials they have done. 

If it is not classified as a drug under the FDA rules, it could be placed under the dietary supplement section of the FDA with stricter guidelines & its own regulatory group. This would allow certification of the growers & sellers. I would like to see the DEA legalize the medical & recreational use of both types of cannabis: marijuana & industrial hemp. At the same time they should impose strict laws on how it is grown, the labeling, the “extra ingredients” allowed, & the claims made for medicinal use. 

It should also require a type of standardization like we use with herbs. Here is the definition of standardization from WholeHealthMD: “Standardized extract: A form of an herb that contains a concentrated but set (standardized) percentage of active ingredients. When used in supplements, standardized extracts help guarantee a consistent dosage strength, or potency, from one batch of the herb to the next. Available for selected herbs, standardized extracts are produced in pills, tinctures or other forms. I feel this is extremely important.

HerbPharm, my favorite company for herbal tinctures, sets a good example of what needs to be done with their Purity & Safety StandardsThere are no shortcuts when it comes to the purity and safety of our products. Period. You can shop our herbal products with the peace of mind that you are supporting the planet while getting quality 100% of the time. Click on the Purity & Safety link to learn about: Herb Screening, Testing & Verification. 

The reason I would propose the above is so that a patient who needs medical marijuana would be assured that is what they are getting. That it has not been “cut” with other substances like oregano! That it is pure & safe. Recreational users should have the same safeguards.

Unfortunately, the new ruling will cause even more chaos than there already is. The DEA missed a great opportunity.

Okay, enough. If you want more information, look through my Resource list below. See you here in a week!….Mary 🙂

Resources: Check our Topic Page for even more information.

  • USA Today…8/09/16…4 marijuana stats that will blow you awayCannabis is enjoying a major public-image improvement. After all, we’ve learned that the THC in marijuana has medicinal uses, while the plant fibers in hemp have countless uses in manufacturing. The legitimacy of marijuana is growing as states legalize it and corporations invest substantial resources in cannabinoid research and development.No matter your stance on cannabis, you should get to know the world’s most high-profile plant. So here are some facts and figures on marijuana that may surprise or impress you….” Very good article.
  • NPR…8/10/16…DEA Rejects Attempt To Loosen Federal Restrictions On Marijuana: “Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg says the decision is rooted in science. Rosenberg gave “enormous weight” to conclusions by the Food and Drug Administration that marijuana has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” and by some measures, it remains highly vulnerable to abuse as the most commonly used illicit drug across the nation.

“This decision isn’t based on danger. This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine,” he said, “and it’s not.”

  • NBC News…8/11/16… Drug Enforcement Administration Will Not Call for Reclassifying Marijuana: “The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said Thursday it will not call for reclassifying marijuana, dashing the hopes of advocates of legalization and rejecting calls from some states and members of Congress who say growing knowledge and public acceptance should result in looser regulations.” 
  • UCSD has been conducting clinical trails regarding the use of cannabis for many years. UCSD Center for Medicinal Cannabis ResearchThe purpose of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research is to coordinate rigorous scientific studies to assess the safety and efficacy of cannabis and cannabis compounds for treating medical conditions.” The site has videos, articles & studies that are pending & those that have been completed.


Updates: Alcohol, Supplements, & Diet.

My grandparents & my sweet mother. Circa 1921 MHollander

My grandparents & my sweet mother. Circa 1921

I want to thank all of you for the fun emails I received in response to my last post on Depression Era/WWII Cooking. I too enjoyed my trip down memory lane. Here is my favorite story from our fellow NUT, Terrie. “I have that cookbook, it was my mother’s. My parents married January 14. 1928, I was born June 8 1931. Believe me, I know the depression very well. My parents bought a “turn of the century” home in 1940. We had a Victory Garden, even some Hens. Ration Books, know them well. Every now and then, it  was my job to carry a live chicken in a Burlap Bag to be killed in the Kosher manner. The sack was so much heavier on the long walk back. All our Chickens had pet names. That was a tough job. We also got some City Relief, again my job, and I was 8, I was to go to the location and carry home our allotment. The Brown bag wastage, I had my arms straight down, hands under the bag all the way home. One time, on the very top of the bag was fresh Peaches. My chin rested on them,I developed a severe allergic reaction to the Peach Fuzz, there was no way to scratch. A very long walk home, and I had that allergy well into adulthood. Avoided Peaches for a very long time.” 🙂 

I mentioned in last weeks post that ~maybe~ I would talk about the latest studies on alcohol & cancer, dietary supplements, & meat eaters vs. plant based diets. Several NUTs emailed me that they were very interested in being updated.

Research study results regarding the link between alcohol & cancer are examined very closely by the public. This is because, as one emailer put it, “it is hard to give up in our culture”. Unfortunately, she is right. When I was facilitating our Nutrition Group a few years ago, I did a talk on the direct link between breast cancer & alcohol. At the beginning of my talk, I asked each person to be honest & tell the group what kind of alcohol they drank & how often they indulged. I then gave all the scientific studies about the link. At the end of the class, I asked each person to be honest & tell the group if they would now change their alcohol consumption. None of them would, but they appreciated the information 🙂

The most recent study from the University of Otago, in New Zealand, as reported by Medscape last week: No Confusion: Alcohol Causes Seven Cancers.  “There is “strong evidence” that alcohol causes seven cancers, and other evidence indicates that it “probably” causes more, according to a new literature review published online July 21 in Addiction.

Epidemiologic evidence supports a causal association of alcohol consumption and cancers of the oropharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and female breast, says Jennie Connor, MB, ChB, MPH, from the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, in Dunegin, New Zealand. In short, alcohol causes cancer.”

This is a very good article & well worth the read. It explains how the use of certain words diminish the results of scientific research in the eyes of the public as well as other scientists: “The use of causal language in scientific and public discussions is “patchy,” she writes. For example, articles and newspaper stories often use expressions such as “alcohol-related cancer” and “alcohol-attributable cancer”; they refer to a “link” between alcohol and cancer and to the effect of alcohol on “the risk of cancer.”

These wordings “incorporate an implicit causal association, but are easily interpreted as something less than cancer being caused by drinking,” observes Dr Connor.” This is true with the results of most studies. The public then interprets the wording to coincide with what they want to hear. Even when we talk about a “direct link”, the word link can be thought of as a possibility. We use mind tricks to bend information to our liking. A very human thing to do. 

In the article is the following quote which should be seen as an absolute, no question & no confusion: “One British expert had an opinion about alcohol’s carcinogenicity. In a statement about the new review, Prof Dorothy Bennett, director of the Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute at St. George’s, University of London, said: “Alcohol enters cells very easily, and is then converted into acetaldehyde, which can damage DNA and is a known carcinogen.” I recommend that you read this article & decide for yourself. I don’t see the confusion behind all of the previous research done. In my mind, alcohol causes cancer just like smoking causes cancer. The tobacco & alcohol industry have an incentive to keep us confused about research that damages their products use. It is ultimately your decision. 

supplement 1


 New study sounds the alarm on dietary supplements CBS News: “A new investigation may have you rethinking some of your vitamins.

Consumer Reports finds certain ingredients in dietary supplements sold around the country can carry major health risks, including heart palpitations, allergic reactions and pain, reports CBS Sports’ Dana Jacobson.” 

Other headlines asked; are your dietary supplements killing you? I am not a supplement fan unless your blood work by a reputable physician shows that you have a deficiency that diet alone will not help. Yet, I think these headlines are misleading & unfair. As the article I cited states: it is the “extra ingredients” in the supplements that are causing major problems. “A new study by Consumer Reports outlined health risks associated with dietary supplements — including vitamins, probiotics and weight-loss aids. Unlike drug products that must be proven safe and effective, dietary supplements do not have to go through FDA approval….“It could be adulterated, it could be counterfeit, it could be hiding prescription drugs,” Gill said.” I have discussed this before. This is a true statement. The supplement industry itself has been setting up safeguards to assure that, what the label says is in the product, is in fact, what is in the product!

Individual companies have banded together to self regulate. There are major brands that are safe to use. But, you still have to read the ingredient list to be sure that Vitamin C, for example, has only Vitamin C in it. Manufacturers change their formulas often. Don’t buy the same brand when you run out thinking that it will be exactly the same. Read the labels!  “Tell your doctor and your pharmacist what you’re taking. Treat it like a medication. It’s that important — it’s really about your health,” Gill said. I couldn’t agree more.

What ingredients are causing the problem? This article, by Consumer Reports: 15 Supplement Ingredients To always Avoid lists the ingredients to avoid & why. With the help of an expert panel of independent doctors and dietary-supplement researchers, Consumer Reports identified 15 supplement ingredients that are potentially harmful. The risks include organ damage,cancer, and cardiac arrest. The severity of these threats often depends on such factors as pre-existing medical conditions as well as the quantity of the ingredient taken and the length of time a person has been exposed to the substance.

Many of the ingredients on this list also have the potential to interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications, such as cholesterol-lowering statins and blood-thinning drugs like aspirin and warfarin (Coumadin and generic).

Moreover, our experts agree that none of these supplement ingredients provide sufficient health benefits to justify the risk. Even so, we found all 15 ingredients in products available online or in major stores such as GNC, Costco, CVS, Walmart, and Whole Foods. Click on the title of the article to see the list. You may want to print it out to have on hand.

When working with herbal medicines, most of the herbs on the list, are used very cautiously, in small doses, or not at all. They certainly should not appear in your vitamins & minerals. They often do in weight-loss products, weight-gain products & meal replacements. One example is caffeine powder. It can be dangerous for adults & is very dangerous for teens & younger children. It can also be found in sport drinks & drinks that promise a “jolt” to give you energy. The problem is that kids, & some adults, will drink several within a few hours! There have been reports of 10 – 12 year old children going into cardiac arrest from consuming too many energy drinks in a short time. Green tea extract is the same. It is a concentrate. It should be used with caution.

The takeaway from this is to eat a balanced diet, & use supplements only if your doctor suggests it. Stay away from buying herbs on your own. Most of  you are on several prescription medications & over the counter meds. There will be interactions. Meal replacements; do you need them because you are unable to eat or are you using them for their convenience? Either way, read the labels, especially the ingredient list.

***See my Important Resources list at the end of the post***


Alexander Family EcoDairyFarm, Crescent City, CA by MHollander

Love this headline from CNN: Meat-eaters may have a higher risk of death, but plants are the answer“Are you ready to take it easy with the burgers? A new protein-focused paper confirms that eating red meat may be linked to a higher risk of death. However, replacing animal protein in your diet with plant protein is associated with a decreased risk of death, according to the research, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday.” 

The study was based on the 32 year, Nurses Health Study & Health Professionals Follow-up StudyThese studies have given researchers a lot of great information from 3 different generations of participants. They are the best, ongoing, long term, general health & lifestyle studies. My only problem with these studies is that they are self reported, which means they keep a food & lifestyle journal. The participants fill out a questionnaire every one to two years. One participant stated in an article I read, that sometimes she forgot to write in the journal & had to rely on her memory which she admits was not accurate. The people in the study do not adhere to a particular diet. This means that the “meat eaters” are not necessarily eating only organic, grass fed beef etc. The “plant eaters” did not necessarily eat only organic produce and they were not all strict vegetarians or vegans. Even with this type of study, the information gleaned from it is amazing!

The article continues: “Why animal protein is linked to mortality and plant protein is linked to a lower risk of death remains largely a mystery, Song said.

“But high animal protein intake has been linked to higher levels of insulin-like growth factor 1, a protein that has been linked to worse health outcomes, whereas high plant protein intake has been associated with lower blood pressure … and improved insulin sensitivity,” Song said.

Alternatively, it is possible that other components in the foods than protein per se may be the culprit,” he added. “For example, processed red meat is high in sodium, nitrites and nitrates, which have all been linked to worse health outcomes.” I don’t think this study tells us anything new. We already know that diets such as DASH, MIND, & Mediterranean are the healthiest because they are plant based. You can still eat meat on these diets, but in small amounts of only the healthiest choices. So then, what can you consume to replace animal protein with plant protein in your daily diet? “The good food sources would be whole-grain bread, cereals, nuts and legumes,” Song said. “Although we didn’t look at soy in our study because its consumption is very low in the United States, there is evidence supporting that soy may be a good protein source for health.” As I said, nothing new for us!

Were So Confused: The Problems with Food and Exercise StudiesI had to include this article from the New York Times. I can’t copy & paste excerpts so you will have to read it yourself. The article is based on the fact that “…there is no goldstandard of measurement, nothing that everyone agrees on and uses to measure aspects of lifestyle.” Well written & very interesting. This is where being a unique individual with unique needs & common sense prevails. What works for you?

In my humble opinion, this is what we know for sure regarding these subjects:

  • Alcohol does in fact cause cancers.
  • Plant based diets are the healthiest & do in fact reduce the risk of cancers.
  • Exercise, daily, does in fact reduce the risk of cancers.
  • Dietary supplements of all types are risky & should be thought of as medications. Reading the label is important but so is choosing a reputable company that belongs to a group that self-regulates. 

It all boils down to you & what you want from your life. You are the only one who can make the choices. We are frequently asked what is most important to us, quality of life or quantity? I don’t think you have to choose one over the other. I believe that they go hand in hand when we make the healthiest choices we can, moment to moment. 

Until next week…Mary 🙂

Important Resources

  •  U.S.P. Verified Dietary Supplements: Go to the website to view USP Verified products and locations where they can be purchased.The distinctive USP Verified Mark is awarded by USP to dietary supplement products that successfully undergo and meet the stringent requirements of its voluntary USP Dietary Supplement Verification Process. Seeing the USP Verified Mark on a dietary supplement label indicates that the product:
    • Contains the ingredients listed on the label, in the declared potency and amounts
      Tests have shown that contents of some supplements don’t match the label and some contain significantly less or more than the claimed amount of key ingredients. USP Dietary Supplement Verification helps assure customers that they are getting the value they expect from a product they are purchasing.
    • Does not contain harmful levels of specified contaminants
      Some supplements have been shown to contain harmful levels of certain heavy metals (e.g., lead and mercury), microbes, pesticides, or other contaminants. At specific levels these contaminants can pose serious risks to one’s health.
    • Will break down and release into the body within a specified amount of time
      If a supplement does not break down properly to allow its ingredients to be available for absorption in the body, the consumer will not get the full benefit of its contents. USP Dietary Supplement Verification tests products against federally-recognized dissolution standards.
    • Has been made according to FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices using sanitary and well-controlled procedures
      Assurance of safe, sanitary, well-controlled, and well-documented manufacturing and monitoring processes indicates that a supplement manufacturer is quality-conscious, and that the supplement will be manufactured with consistent quality from batch to batch.


  • The Public Health & Safety Organization (NSF):   You are able to look up products to make sure they have been certified. If it has the NSF label, then it is safe to use. The NSF mark is your assurance that the product has been tested by one of the most respected independent certification organizations in existence today. It is valued by consumers, manufacturers, retailers and regulatory agencies worldwide. The NSF certification mark on a product means that the product complies with all standard requirements. NSF conducts periodic unannounced inspections and product testing to verify that the product continues to comply with the standard. The mark also provides:
    • Knowledge that an impartial review against established criteria or guidelines has been conducted
    • Evidence that product labeling and claims have been objectively reviewed by a trusted third party
    • A way to differentiate your product from your competitors’ and gain advantage in the market
    • Evidence of your organization’s company-wide commitment to quality, compliance and safety
    • Backing by a team of professionals dedicated to public health and safety operating in more than 150 countries around the world.

“In addition to meeting NSF/ANSI 173, products certified under the NSF Certified for Sport® program bear a unique mark to indicate the product has also been tested for banned substances.”

  • Fortify Your Life  by Tieraona Low Dog, M.D.This is a very good reference for the safe use of vitamins, minerals & more. I refer to this book for guidance. “Health-conscious consumers read nutritional labels, but it’s nearly impossible to get the nutrients we need with diet alone. To get the USDA-recommended daily quota of vitamin D, for example, you need to eat 15 eggs or 26 sardines; of iron, 414 almonds or 15 cups of broccoli. So we rely on nutritional supplements—vitamins and minerals, probiotics and enzymes—but the variety of pills, products, and elixirs on the market today is overwhelming. And, as we have seen in recent news, some of these products are downright fakes. Trusted natural health physician and bestselling author Tieraona Low Dog, M.D. provides a personalized approach to using nutritional supplements for your specific health needs, helping you navigate the complex and often confusing landscape of vitamins, minerals, and more.”

Depression Era/WWII Cooking

Published by Ryal Baking Powder Co., 1928 MHollander

Published by Royal Baking Powder Co., 1928 MHollander


I was looking through my mother’s & grandmother’s recipes, for one my grandson asked me for, when it struck me how frugal they were with their ingredients & portion sizes. They both lived through the Great Depression & World War II, which explains a lot. Were you told to clean your plate? Did you also hear “waste not want not” (which actually goes back to the 1700’s & possibly earlier)? In our grandparents era these admonitions were meant to stop wasting food.

I thought it would be more fun to explore some cookbooks & recipes from this era rather than talk about the new study on why supplements are killing you, meat eaters die younger than plant eaters & the link between alcohol & 7 cancers. We can talk about that another time…maybe 🙁

The Great Depression (1929-39) began after the stock market crash of 1929. What interests me during this time frame is how people had to change the way they ate & cooked. The economy was at its lowest, no jobs & no money to buy food. By 1939 the U.S. was preparing for WWII. They needed to insure that enough food was available for our troops overseas.  “On January 30, 1942, the Emergency Price Control Act granted the Office of Price Administration (OPA) the authority to set price limits and ration food and other commodities in order to discourage hoarding and ensure the equitable distribution of scarce resources. By the spring, Americans were unable to purchase sugar without government-issued food coupons. Vouchers for coffee were introduced in November, and by March of 1943, meat, cheese, fats, canned fish, canned milk and other processed foods were added to the list of rationed provisions.” After the war these restrictions were lifted, but sugar remained a rationed item until 1947.

In addition to rationing, people were encouraged to grow their own food. When you think of the advent of Victory Gardens, you automatically think of WWII. They actually started during WWI. The U.S. government encouraged every American to grow fruits & vegetables on any plot of land they could find:  “sow the seeds of victory”. In 1917 there were 3 million new garden plots & by 1918, 5 million! The government offered pamphlets & classes on agriculture, canning & drying food. The gardens dropped off after the war but were reestablished at the beginning of WWII. With rationing came a big incentive to have a garden. For more information about this time period, see my resource list at the end of this post.

We now have community gardens, to encourage us to eat healthier, reconnect with our food & to enjoy the closeness of the community of gardeners. Check out a Community Garden near you:

Ladies Club Cookbooks, 1925-1930 MHollander

Ladies Club Cookbooks, 1925-1930


These are my favorite “cookbooks” of my grandmothers. They were from her Ladies Club in Kenwood, California, near Santa Rosa. Two are typed & the others are hand written. They date from 1925-1930. Each recipe was donated by a club member.




The most interesting one is “IN PLACE OF MEAT”. Here is the Index page.

IN PLACE OF MEAT, Index MHollander



Cut ripe crook necked squash into inch cubes. Melt 1 tablespoon of lard in frying pan. Add a large onion chopped, also a pint of tomatoes. When well cooked add squash, salt, and Spanish pepper. Nearly cover with water and cook until tender.  H.L.

Fish Salad

  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped shrimp
  • 3/4 cup minced celery
  • Mix with mayonnaise

Mrs. C. C. 1925

Italian Rice

Cook 1 cup of rice in plenty of boiling salted water until done. Add to the following sauce and cook a few minutes. The rice needs to be drained when cooked this way.

Sauce: fry out slice of bacon, remove from pan and cut in small pieces. In the bacon fat fry till tender two onions and one green pepper, minced fine. Add 1/3 can Campbell’s tomato soup, the bacon and cooked rice.


My favorite! Vegetable Loaf. There are no instructions on oven temp or time. My guess would be 350-375 for 45-60 min.

Vegetable Loaf

  • 1 cup boiled rice
  • 1 cup nuts
  • 1 cup cracker crumbs or bread crumbs Recipes that called for cracker crumbs meant Ritz Crackers 🙂
  • 2 eggs

Bake.  Make a Sauce with:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup liquid – milk or water
  • 1 can mushrooms
  • A taste of onion

Mrs. C.C.

All the recipes are simple with very few ingredients. These ladies lived in an area of farms, ranches & vineyards. They had access to fresh produce & had gardens of their own. The produce was shared among family & friends. 

An example of not wasting food is the art of using leftovers. When we had mashed potatoes for dinner, the next night we had Kolache’s. My father was Yugoslavian. Mothers recipe:

To about 3 cups of leftover mashed potatoes, you add 1-2 whole eggs, salt & pepper & enough flour to make a stiff biscuit like dough. Knead the dough a few times. Pull off pieces large enough to roll like sausages & turn them into a horseshoe shape. These were fried in lard until crispy & browned. They were served with a homemade marinara sauce. When I make them, I use 1 egg & whole wheat flour. They can be baked on a cookie sheet. 425 for about 15-20 minutes. Serve with a spaghetti sauce over them & a big fresh salad.

Remember Thanksgiving? Every night for weeks you were served some new “turkey dish”. “Waste not, want not”.

During the depression there was a soup called “Hoover Stew”. The recipe varied depending on what you had available. Here is the recipe most often associated with “Hoover Stew” from  Just a Pinch Recipes: 


  • 1 box of macaroni
  • 1 or 2 cans of whole tomatoes, spanish style (depending on size of cans and number of people to be served)
  • 1 package of hotdogs
  • 1 can of corn or beans (such as chick peas)

 Directions Step-By-Step

  1. Cook macaroni according to the instructions on the box.
  2. While it cooks, slice the hot dogs into very thin “coins.”
  3. Open cans, but do not drain.
  4. Combine the contents of the cans and the hot dog slices in a large pot, and bring to a simmer.
  5. Break up the tomatoes into small chunks as the mixture heats.

Drain the macaroni when it is barely Al Dente. Reserve the cooking water to add to the pot, if needed. Add the macaroni, and continue simmering until all of the ingredients are thoroughly heated and the hot dogs are cooked.

***There are substitutes for all quantities and ingredients as necessary for the budget and to suit your tastes. If using another style of canned whole tomatoes, add finely minced green pepper and onion to the ingredients; they can be cooked with the macaroni as it boils.

***** Recipe by Mrs. Dunn, recipe found on Depression era Recipes. Here is some fun information regarding the recipe.

Mrs. Dunn says: This recipe dates from the depression years and on through WWII; and was then a luxury or celebration meal, since it included meat. We kids loved it, and it was a stand-alone meal needing nothing else – though we usually had it served with carrot and celery sticks when available (if Papa, the cook in our family, hadn’t already added them to the pot of macaroni as it cooked). The macaroni usually was technically overcooked in the end, but Papa had us convinced that that was how it was supposed to be for this dish (calling it macaroni rags), and we thought it was delicious. The Hoover in the name refers to President Herbert Hoover, who was popularly blamed for the depression years at that time.

I am feeling very Grateful right now. 🙂
Page from Anyone Can Bake, 1928 MHollander

Page from Anyone Can Bake, 1928


If you like to bake, Any One Can Bake compiled by the Royal Baking Powder Company, published in 1928, can still be purchased at Amazon. The one pictured at the beginning of this post, belonged to my mother. The first chapter is called: Table Appointments and Table Service: “So much enjoyment of a meal depends upon the attractiveness of its service that a charming table is almost as important as good food. And what woman does not take pleasure in pretty linen, spotlessly clean: shining silver, glass and china?”  Ha, Ha! 🙂 

The recipes are wonderful! It even has step by step photos for beginners. With a few adjustments, I continue to make: 

The Royal Master Recipe for Baking Powder Biscuits. 

  • 2 cups flour   I use whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 teaspoons Royal Baking Powder Needs to be a double acting baking powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons shortening  I use coconut oil.
  • 3/4 cup milk or half milk & half water  A nut milk is even better.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; add shortening and mix in thoroughly with steel fork. Add liquid slowly to make soft dough. Toll or pat out with hands on floured board to about one-half inch in thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter, first dipped in flour. Place on slightly greased pan and bake in hot oven at 475, ten to twelve minutes. If a shorter biscuit is desired use 3 or 4 tablespoons shortening. It is called the “Master Recipe” because the book has other recipes that build off of this one: Whole Wheat or Graham Biscuits, Bran Biscuit, Nut Biscuit, Fruit Biscuit & more! 

The Service Cookbook, by Mrs. Ida Bailey Allen,1933 MHollander

The Service Cookbook, by Mrs. Ida Bailey Allen,1933

This was also my mother’s. As you can see it was well used! This one can also be purchased thru Amazon: The Service Cookbook by Mrs. Ida Bailey Allen, published in 1933

Ida Bailey Allen : From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: “Ida Cogswell Bailey Allen (1885–1973), once popularly known as “The Nation’s Homemaker”,[1] was the author of more than 50 cookbooks.[2] She was described as “The original domestic goddess” by antique cookbook experts Patricia Edwards and Peter Peckham.[3]”  

This cookbook covers everything from appetizers to beverages. Very good recipes. This is an interesting cookbook as it shows the differences in types of foods that were preferred in the 1930’s. Lots of soups, shrimp cocktails, fruit cups & fruit cocktails to start a meal off with. I still refer to it for preserves & pickles. There are blank pages for notes where my mother has written some wonderful cookie & cake recipes. I can not remember one dinner without a homemade desert 🙂

This looks like a cookbook I seriously need to have, also available through Amazon: Grandma’s Wartime Kitchen: World War II and the Way We Cooked“An affectionate and informative look at women on the Home Front in the 1940s, Grandma’s Wartime Kitchen presents more than 150 classic recipes (updated for today’s kitchens) along with anecdotes, advertisements, advice, and archival recipes from a unique and defining period in America’s history.

With details and personal voices that make the material come to life, the book covers:
* The U.S. government’s food rules and ration books
* Substitutes for rationed sugar, and the delicious dessert recipes they inspired
* Stretching butter, meat, coffee, and other staples
* Cooking and baking for the troops abroad
* Wartime entertaining including Defense Parties, progressive parties, and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner using wartime commodities
* Monday Meatloaf, Mother’s Fried Chicken, Macaroni and Cheese, Apple Dumplings, Vermont Johnny Cake, Honey Apple Pie, and many other recipes.

At a time when America is saluting the soldiers who fought in World War II, this one-of-a-kind collection offers a portrait of the courageous (and delicious) contributions of the women who stayed behind.” 

***Reminder: If you purchase anything from Amazon, please use Amazon Smile  & select the San Diego Cancer Research Institute as your charity 🙂 The prices & the inventory are the same. 0.5% of your purchase goes to SDCRI. I would also suggest that you check your local used bookstore or the library for cookbooks.

There are a number of websites that feature “Depression” Era cooking. Here are a few that I liked.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did researching & writing it. Again, we see that simplicity is what makes a good meal…not a beautifully set table by a “domestic goddess” 🙂 ….Mary

***Check out our new & improved Recipe Page!***