Are You On The Right Menu From Fast Food To Whole Foods?

Over the years I have written about many issues concerning health, from Omega 3 Fish Oil from New Zealand, to the benefits of dark chocolate, the amazing cancer killing properties of the fruit known as Guanabana, to an herbal product known as Protandim.

I have read some amazing information by Dr. William Davis about how wheat has been hybridized to become addictive in our body system in his book, Wheat Belly. Research has been done on countless claims by those wanting to sell the latest diet fads. Always on the lookout for the “magic pill” that would change health and life expectancy for all, only to get smacked in the face with the truth. The “magic pill” is us!

There is an invisible war going on out there, as Al Davis says in his newest eBook, The Diet Fallacies, which can be found on Amazon (currently a free download if you hurry). He speaks about how we have been, in my words, sold down the river by our own government and the BIG FOOD industry.

It’s no secret for those who care to research what government entities such as the USDA are really responsible for. Follow this link to just one article that will start you on a research path to uncover what not just this government agency, but the FDA and others as well REALLY do…or don’t.

In short, what you will discover is our government is more interested in business than our nation’s health. Rather than agree to force producers to label foods containing GMO’s, there’s reason to believe a collaboration exists to keep this hidden. It is clearly known by those companies producing Genetically Modified Organisms that any food containing these artificial sources would be shunned by the public, drastically cutting into massive profits.

Many tests have been done on fast food products, showing that even the bugs don’t like it, even if humans consume massive amounts of it. That sort of puts the bugs on a greater intellectual level with humans on that score.

Whether it’s the sugar, artificial sweeteners, salt, and modified fat sources, it all contributes to the general populaces food addiction, or at the very least food dysfunction. No matter what label you apply, it is clearly visible in the visual epidemic of obesity in the American populace, from adults to their children.

The Diet Fallacies: Change Your Diet, Change Your Weight, End Food Cravings, and Transform Your Life! One of the best sources of where to get more information about Whole Foods is Kaiser Premanente. Al mentioned this in his book, and Kaiser is the largest managed care organization in the U.S. With over 10.1 million members in their health plan, and recommending changing food consumption to Whole Foods, it gives cause to find out why.

Kaiser offers two booklets on adopting Plant-Based eating you can download from their website. An interesting quote found in one of those booklets by author Michael Pollan says, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t!” Kaiser obviously endorses such thinking as they strongly support this mindset of Whole Food eating.

Just research “whole food eating” in Google and you’ll pull up over 7 million links on the topic. Granted that in and of itself does not create an endorsement, rather lends some food for thought. The cure for health may be found in all those things you have resisting eating. We need to go back to the days when spinach was popular and Popeye was a hero.

Growing some of our own herbs and veggies in the back yard or flower pots on the balcony is not such a harebrained idea after all, and it’s not just doable but economic. The price of Baby Spinach or Chives at the grocery are ridiculous!

We used to eat whole foods 60 years ago. How did we change? Like always, it was gradual. Just like boiling a frog. You don’t throw it into a kettle of boiling water. As a populace we waded into cool waters and it seemed safe. By the time we discovered otherwise we were hooked. Are we smarter than the frog? Time will tell.

I’ve got some organic strawberry/papaya/raspberry juice calling my name! Later.

Red And Ready Coffee Cherries Waiting For Harvest Hands!

Coffee cherries? Did it ever occur that not only does the humble coffee bean grow inside a bright, red cherry, but that cherry is also sweet? Well, maybe not quite as sweet as a Bing Cherry, or some of those great varieties we all know. But yeah, a coffee cherry is sweet.

If you were to put that cherry in your mouth it would not taste like coffee at all! In fact, the outer husk is sorta tough compared to the skin of a real cherry. But getting past the husk to the pulp of the cherry surrounding the coffee beans…yup. It’s sweet!Olmedo-homemade-bread

The coffee cherries are a beautiful bright red when they have matured and are ready to be harvested. Even though the cherries grow and mature all year round, in Ecuador, the harvest is traditionally just once a year.

Some countries actually have a small, second harvest called a “fly crop!” It is never as great or as big as the primary harvest. Depending on the rains and moisture in a given region, a second crop is always possible. Where rainfall is constant all year round in some regions, it’s normal to have a second short harvest, and coffee cherries seem to never end.

The path of least resistance is always the easiest way to go, and rarely the best. That works for water but not for harvesting coffee.  Many coffee farmers in Ecuador harvest the cherries all at once, stripping the branch, taking the green and yellow cherries along with the ripe red ones all at the same time. The coffee produced from this type of harvest is of a common variety know as “corriente” or just ordinary, that you would traditionally find in a grocery store already ground in a can or bag.

Once these mixed cherries are gathered, the normal custom is to lay them on any flat surface in the open air, to let them dry in the husk. Once dry, they are then taken to a processor to be depulped, and made ready for roasting. Since this coffee is

Coffee “blends” would be common for this type of coffee, where only a small amount of “premium” or select coffee is used if any, and the rest is made up of the more common variety.

This type of coffee is what has been offered in the U.S. for decades, and you never knew there was something better until Coffee Houses began to pop up all over the place specializing in the unblended, Arabica coffees, long considered gourmet or specialty coffee.

During the ‘70s, the U.S. nearly became a “tea drinking” country as the coffee consumption declined due to such poor quality being offered by major roasters. Today, major food chains, as well as roasters and wholesale food suppliers have been forced by consumer demand to improve their coffee offerings with great success. It is now possible to get a breakfast sandwich, a donut, or gas at the local convenience store, and get a decent cup of coffee too!

Saying that, the disclaimer has to be added that the preparation of the coffee at the local Convenience store, even the more popular Fast Food stops, is key to what goes in your cup. As good as ground coffee can be, the final step in brewing can make all the difference in what you end up sipping.

Vacuum pots have absolutely changed the longevity of how coffee can maintain it’s flavor. Whenever a pot of coffee is left on a warmer more than 20 minutes, the oils begin to break down which in turn gives the brew a bitter taste. There are many locations where this is still the practice, and the savvy customer will insist on a fresh pot.

The vacuum pot not only helps maintain the temperature of the coffee longer, the oils in the coffee are not submitted to a heat source, so the breakdown is eliminated compared to being left on a warmer.

You may not know that coffee in Ecuador is some of the best, qualifying in the last 10 years as “specialty coffee” based on International Coffee Judges from Coast Rica, the U.S. and Australia! But you won’t find it in the U.S. unless you bring it yourself.

Sadly, it is the “corriente” Ecuadorian coffee that has been used primarily as a filler or for blends. This is saying that what major roasters and importers have contracted Ecuadorian coffee for is…you guessed it. Anything but for specialty coffee. The common variety that offers nothing in terms of great. This is the coffee from Ecuador that makes it to the U.S., but you won’t hear anyone bragging about it as they would about “mountain grown” Colombian coffee.

So will there come a time when Specialty Coffee from Ecuador finally becomes an item commonly found in a roasters “green” inventory, as those from Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica or Honduras? Consumer demand is not likely to be the determining factor, compared to a consistent marketing effort.

Here is a fact. Red coffee cherries from Ecuador taste the best, when they have gone through that magical transition and become coffee in your cup.

 

Got coffee?

 

Is Bacon The Culprit Or A Hero’s Food?

Porkers get a bad rap. It’s just that simple. Since they are bottom feeders and will eat anything, and I do mean anything, it seems that we fail to recognize how many other foods we eat that consume similar things.

Not to loose my train of thought here, as this is about pork, and even more specific, bacon! Over the years some of my friends in real life have made their preference known for bacon. There have been a number of combinations never heard of, or copious amounts presented at one time for single consumption.

In the past I have been known to come up with some pretty strange combinations for sandwiches, thanks to Dagwood in the comic strip, Dagwood and Blondie by Chic Young. The combinations of his sandwiches were epic, and challenged anyone to try and copy.

Over the years I believe, across the country, there have been attempts both on purpose, and accidental. On some of the food programs I recall one in particular that travel the states to those areas famous for a particular type of sandwich, such as the Philly Cheese Steak among others.

Now to be sure, I don’t recall one that boasted of a predominance of bacon, but there may have been one and I just missed that episode. That would be a shame as i may have learned some new concoction with bacon.

Creativeness with my sandwiches is about the only area of food where there is much in the way of strange, or not so strange, combinations. It seems my advancing years have created some desire to get a little more daring on just what my stomach can take. A good example would be the habit of adding “ahi” or a hot sauce to my food, which has never been my custom until recently. Now it’s not terribly hot, just enough to perk up the taste buds and give the food a little kick.

Nope, I haven’t forgotten the subject of this story, just getting warmed up. Oh, no pun intended but it’s a good one anyway.

Now bacon in Ecuador is not a lot different from what we’re used to in the good ole USA. It looks and is packaged a little differently, or not at all. Rarely is it bought for consumption outside of being added to other foods, almost like a garnish. I’m not at all sure Ecuadorians eat bacon sandwiches of any kind.

So the bacon is on display in the meat cases of the deli in the supermarkets, sliced and ready to sell. It fries up amazingly well in the microwave, once you get the hang of it. I got the hand of it pretty quick, and it comes out nice and crispy. I love the crunch when I bite into it with fried or scrambled eggs, maybe on toast with some ahi, a piece of hard cheese, why I’ve even been known to add a touch of jam!

In all honesty, on the occasion when i have spied something on face book that someone else has tried in terms of sandwich combinations with bacon, when it gets out there a bit I’m tempted to try. Sometimes yes, others no.

Coming to a conclusion has to finally include one of my favorite tried recently, and one that is sure to be repeated. Here are the players in this episode.

Yeast free whole wheat bread toasted and slathered with butter.
At least 6 slices of the best crispy bacon.
Peanut butter
Banana
Avocado
Chocolate shavings
Horseradish
Sweet n sour pickles
Slice of tomato
Lettuce

Alan-Eating-Bacon P-butter-Pinapple-Ameretto Jam
I got this one in my mouth just fine!

Now no matter what you might conclude, that is a tasty sandwich, WHEN I can get it all in my mouth for a bite at one time! And as I recall this was also the dilemma of Dagwood. There may be greater challenges in life, this one just happens to be tasty. Taste buds unite in favor of such adventures, or at least they seem to on my tongue!

Have to keep these cravings under control. Think I’ll go have some cashews and peanuts with my Merlot!

Coffee, Coffee, Everywhere And Not A Drop To Drink?

So the challenge today is to use a phrase repeatedly in our writing, so let’s see where this goes.

Olmedo coffee drying for instant of coffee blends.
This is NOT Specialty Coffee, but this is what is used for Instant Coffee!

If we were having a cup of coffee right now, you would be sitting at a location here in Quito, Ecuador where a good cup of Americano is served.

If we were having a cup of coffee right now there’s good bet we would be discussing the recent earthquake all the events that have taken place surrounding those in the last 3 months.

If we were having a cup of coffee right now, another topic of discussion would be the activity of Mt. Cotopaxi and it’s continued activity. Even though it is far less than 6 months ago, there’s still something going on deep down inside.

If we were having a cup of coffee right now, you would be experiencing coffee that has yet to be discovered in the U.S., a country that consumes 25% of all the coffee produced globally. How do you figure this coffee is not there?

If we were having a cup of coffee right now it’s just possible that I roasted this coffee and invited you to our home to sample it.

If we were having a cup of coffee right now, you may discover coffee in a way you have never tasted before. It would be offered without cream or sugar, challenging you to taste coffee for perhaps the very first time in your life!

If we were having a cup of coffee right now I would be explaining why this coffee has not gained major representation in the U.S.

If we were having a cup of coffee right now, You would be hearing about a few efforts that work directly with the coffee producers in Ecuador rather than through coffee importers.

If we were having a cup of coffee right now, it would become clear for perhaps the first time how coffee farmers are abused by “middle men” that profit without investment reducing potential earnings for the farmer.

If we were having a cup of coffee right now, you would learn that a pound of specialty coffee selling for $15.00 per pound in the U.S., sells for perhaps $2.00 per pound green and ready for export. This means that the coffee has been hand harvested, depulped, washed to remove excess pulp, dried, hand sorted to remove broken and inferior beans, and stored ready for export or internal sales.

If we were having a cup of coffee right now, the opportunity to see how coffee farmers live, would create in you a vision of just how these people and communities are abused by the most traded, consumable commodity in the world.

If we were having a cup of coffee right now, chances are you would be taking back several pages of coffee from Ecuador to present as gifts to your coffee loving friends, and sharing the story of how this coffee never really gets to the U.S.

If we were having a cup of coffee right now, there would be a completely different attitude about the coffee you drink at home and where you get it, as well as it’s origin.

Yeah, if we were having a cup of coffee right now, but we’re not, because you’re not here, your understanding of coffee would take on a whole different meaning.

All this coffee talk has me primed for another cup. I think I will!

Is Two For The Price Of One A Deal No Matter What It Is?

Ok, so you’ll never know until you spend the $0.99 to find out! I’m offering both of my eBooks on a BOGO at Kindle/Amazon, or maybe that’s the other way around Amazon/Kindle. At any rate, either of those links will take you there! Five days only, so don’t let that $0.99 burn a hole in your virtual wallet.

Enduring Paradise FallsPromo starts at 8AM est, just in case there are some “Early Birds” out there that have tried to get it and it wasn’t ready. So the idea is buy Enduring Paradise! for the less than a cup of coffee price of $0.99, and get “Ecuador In Your Pocket ” “FREE!” Since they’re both eBooks you get delivery right now! No waiting on something in the mail or FEDEX/UPS.

 

Last but not least, add a review. I really want to know if you enjoyed it, couldn’t finish it, were thrilled and excited (that would be awesome 🙂 ) or just what went through your mind. I know, that may be asking for more than I want to know, but I’ll take the chance.

So do it now before you get so excited you forget! If you haven’t already, click here!EIYP-Flat-Image

Can Coffee Aroma Have Stronger Impact Than The Brew Itself?

Coffee aroma is the most important part or characteristic of Specialty Coffee. You may not realize it, but there are over 800 aromatic compounds present that can affect aroma. Even though you may be totally unaware at a conscious level of any of these compounds, your tongue, and nose are fully in the game!

Even Instant Coffee has flavor nuances, but they are drastically reduced to somewhere around 150 compounds, because of the process the coffee goes through on it’s way to becoming the end product.

“Wake up and smell the coffee,” is considerably more than just a cute advertising slogan. Proof of that may come from a study done recently and some interesting discoveries about that “coffee smell.” Read on.

Can you imagine that just the smell of coffee in the morning can act like an alarm to your brain? Not a bad way to wake up, and not a drop of caffeine in your system yet.

A recent study tried testing on how drinking and smelling coffee might impact proteins and genes in the brain. Now this has yet to be tested other than in theory on people, as sleep deprived lab rats were the subjects. It may be cause to consider if they even like coffee?

So the idea was to test this out on rats that were stressed, compared to other stressed and non-stress rats, and see if this provided any clue to positive effects. While the study showed there were varied levels of activity in 17 genes, plus some calming activity, it doesn’t seem to imply much else. Read the results on the study from WebMD.

So what’s the take here? Does it or doesn’t it have some sort of positive impact on our brains? I can imagine there are many who might choose to sniff the beans in the morning to avoid caffeine intake.

20140514_164851
I’m sniffin’ AND drinkin”!

There are many things you could sniff that might perk you up better than coffee, but most of them are illegal. Not only that they tend to get very expensive and are more habit forming than the brown brew. It is doubtful that trip to the coffee machine or local coffee stop/shop is going to disappear in favor of sniffing the stuff. Some things just never change. But didn’t they say the same about things like video games and iPods?

One thing is for sure. That aroma nearly always succeeds in provoking the need for a fix! So if the smell doesn’t do it go for the gusto. No not beer, as that term tends to imply. Caffeine has many friends, and the delivery method is far more pleasing than most.

Consider all things associated with coffee, as to where you get it, the atmosphere, flavors if you like, pastries, a perk you up, a great chance to get someone to remove the earphones and actually talk. This brew above all else tends to be a great starter of conversations.

Now I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time imagining going to a coffee shop, or even brewing some automatically first thing in the A.M. just to see if I can get bouncing from the aroma alone. That to me could classify as a sinful waste to not drink it!

So give your brain credit for knowing what’s good for it, and encouraging you to follow those instincts. Drink it, smell it, or both.

I wonder if ground is better than whole bean?

Can You Go Coffee Free From 3 Cups To “0” For 30 Days?

Is coffee really addictive? Is caffeine as addictive as say, nicotine? What about alcohol? Can people addicted to coffee break the addiction? How hard is it to detox from caffeine? Would someone wanting to have detox caffeine have to go through a rehab program? Could this be you? Well…could it? Yours truly is going to take on a 30 day detox, so read on!

So how’s life sans coffee you ask? Well, you haven’t asked but I’m going to tell you anyway. You’d be surprised to say the least. Now obviously I can’t speak for anyone else that has ever done this insane challenge (better not let my wife see that) but for me it has been a breeze.

So far 15 days without that daily infusion of java! I am as calm as anything you could imagine, such as an iceberg, or a mountain. No heebie-jeebies, shakes or biting fingernails because I’m having caffeine withdrawal. That was rather mild by comparison to previous experiences.

So once again it is this weird sensation that I don’t need this like there was an addiction. That’s always the way it has been in the past as well. That’s sorta refreshing to know, that this is a take it or leave it scenario. There is an adamant determination to return to my fav beverage once June 1st shows up on the calendar!

In fact I just could make a big todo about it, like shooting off fireworks or some such activity to celebrate. Setting off the car alarm would surely draw some attention in the neighborhood. Of course they have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe I could drum up some support (as though I needed it) for my solitary endeavor.

I really feel like my cartoon character created for a website I had called “I Gotta Have Coffee.” I’ll post the photo of the drawing, or better yet the logo as it is much better. Ben was having a real problem without the “bean!” I really can’t relate, but I’m sure there are those who can.

Usually there have been some rather uncomfortable aches for a day or two in the past when detoxing, but the only thing experienced this time was an unusual muscular ache in my upper chest. Yeah, I know what you’re thinkin’ and it wasn’t angina, or anxiety pains! It kinda had me wonderin’ too, but then it occurred as to what it was.

What has been the most interesting through all this effort to bring my blood pressure under control naturally, was a huge change in our food regimen. It has nearly gotten to a vegetarian status, but what that means in the end is maybe 12 ozs. of any meat per week.

OK, I know what you’re waiting for and here it is. Today my BP was 147/74. It has been averaging over 150 for systolic and the mid 70’s for diastolic. The diastolic had been climbing up to the high 70’s and over, so it’s still “out to lunch” as to what things will look like at the end of the month.

So here it comes. The good news is…IT AIN”T THE COFFEE! Or at least it doesn’t look like the culprit at this juncture of things. Oh there is joy in Mudville today! My name will be “mud” if this doesn’t turn out the way I expect, and there will be no “mud” in my cup! Because the Dr. wants to put me on medication to bring the BP under control. His challenge is that I refuse medicine!

So for all those hanging by their fingernails, anxiously awaiting to see the results of my singular experiment, it’s lookin’ good for the coffee! Stay tuned for the next installment!

OK, next installment.

My BP was not significantly affected by one month of no coffee. That comes as no surprise as there has never been any significant study that could relate the two. Many have tried, and there have been many flawed studies that made that claim, only to not hold up in the end.

So if I were to leave it there, some of you wanting to know about the BP and if anything worked, I’ll bring you up to date.

In 2014, after moving to the mountains, we both went on a new food regimen. No carbs, no dairy and no processed sugar. Fair to say this was under a Dr.’s suggestion, not orders…per say. Now for someone who loves fresh baked bread this was a real challenge, but complete abstinence for life was not the issue.

This also included no coffee (again?) for the duration of this change in food. Being borderline diabetic there were two challenges here. Lower BP and lower A1C. Long story short, both intents of lowering the numbers, not to mention weight, were totally successful.

Now, does that mean I could go back to my coffee? Absolutely! While the Dr. never had an issue with the coffee other than it prompted the desire to eat, it was not the culprit with any of the issues at risk.

The good news is I have completely cut rice, potatoes and pasta out of my diet. Don’t miss them at all. Coffee is back to three or four cups daily. BP is still under control and A1C which is just under the magic number of 6.

The main thing is the detox that came along with no coffee, again, was nearly non-existent. I kept waiting for the familiar symptoms of detox, but there was just nothing. No headaches, no muscular discomfort, just nothing. I have no idea if it had something to do with walking two miles plus daily at an altitude of 10,000 ft. or not. All I do know is it was painless.

So what’s the objective of this story? It was mainly about detoxing from coffee and whether or not the “coffee/caffeine” addiction was serious. By now it should be apparent that it depends.

Some people have less tolerance fro caffeine than others. Drinking a cup of coffee just before bed would keep some up all night, while others would not be fazed at all. The latter would be me. So as always, everyone is different.

Most importantly, caffeine is hardly as addictive as those other items mentioned at the beginning of this article. Yes the detoxing for some can be uncomfortable for two or even three days, but then it’s over.

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The “empty cup” is the best cup because now it can be refilled!

Doing the coffee detox is really a good thing, as it allows your body to rid itself of any unwanted toxins. Is caffeine life threatening? Not according to the most recent health studies. That’s something your need to evaluate for yourself.
So enjoy your coffee guilt free. Know that you’re not harming your body, rather again, according to current studies, it’s quite the opposite! Here’s lookin’ at the bottom of the cup!