Thursday, 18 February 2016

Knitting: Everett the elephant

About 2 weeks ago I was invited to do another test knit for Linda Dawkins / mamma4earth. I really like test knitting for her, so I joined.
This time it was for an elephant. And below you see the results of it. It was an easy and lovely pattern. Very nice to knit. I picked Garnstudio Drops yarns, Nepal in grey and Lima in white. They were both very nice yarns to knit with, so in all I had a great time.


In case you are interested in purchasing this pattern from Linda, here is the link to her Ravelry store. The pattern is $6. Well worth the money I would say. The link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/everett-the-elephant

You can also visit her blog: http://www.naturalsuburbia.com/2015/12/everett-the-elephant.html

Enjoy!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Cod Liver Oil and Our Changing Food Paradigms

Earlier this year Sally Fallon wrote a very good article named Cod Liver Oil and Our Changing Food Paradigms. I read it with much interest and want to share it with you so you can have a read as well. It was published in the autumn issue of the publication Wise Traditions. 

quote

Cod liver oil—what is it?That stinky stuff kids had to take on a spoon? A magic medicine that heals rheumatism, clears the scrofula of TB and helps children recover from measles? A beauty aid that smooths the skin? A messy industrial product used to tan shoe leather? A clean, clear, standardized yellow liquid or a brown oil that rises from rotting livers?
It’s all of these and more. In fact, our views on cod liver oil can serve as a kind of bellwether for evolving attitudes on food, health and processing over the years. Cod liver oil is the quintessential traditional “natural” remedy and also one of the first common foods subjected to industrial processing. And as tradition has collided with modern science, cod liver oil has suffered the buffets of changing attitudes. Even in the early days, when this ancient folk remedy first caught the attention of modern physicians, it provoked instant and constant controversy.
Since early human settlement in northern Norway, cod and cod products have served as the cornerstone of industry for the region. Even as early as the Viking Age, cod liver oil brought prosperity as a chief item of trade with northern Europe, both for consumption and for industrial purposes. Some types were used for oil lamps, ovens, leather treatment, paint manufacture, coloring processes in textile production, soap manufacture, tempering and lathing of steel, manufacture of explosives for the armaments industry, and industrial lubricants, while more carefully extracted versions were consumed as a food and medicine for humans and animals, or used as skin creams and healing ointments, and even as a lubricant for childbirth.1
The method used by the Vikings was actually a kind of steam extraction. They brought water in a pan to boil and then placed birch tree branches on top of the pan; the cod livers were put on top of the branches. As the steam from the boiling water rose, it began to cook the livers, and oil from the livers would drop into the pan.2

Unquote


- See more at: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/constant-controversy/#sthash.zyKeHz4c.dpuf

Vitamin D in Cod Liver Oil

Chris Masterjohn, Phd wrote a very interesting article on vitamin D in cod liver oil. As I found it very interesting I decided to quote the summary here, so that you can read it as well. It is well worth spreading this information

quote

ARTICLE SUMMARY


  • In recent years, controversy has erupted over whether vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 is the predominant form of vitamin D in cod liver oil.
  • Research in the 1930s suggested that there were at least four if not six forms of vitamin D in cod liver oil.
  • Recent research has shown that fish metabolize vitamin D into at least three other compounds and probably more.
  • Although cod liver oil probably does not contain vitamin D2, it probably does contain an array of different compounds derived from vitamin D3.
  • The diverse array of vitamin D compounds we would expect to exist in natural cod liver oil likely provides a diverse array of biological activities; many people may experience vitamin D-related benefits from a natural cod liver oil without experiencing as pronounced a rise of 25(OH)D – the blood marker of vitamin D nutritional status—as they would have expected.
  • Although it makes sense for someone to increase their sun exposure and vitamin D3 intake if their 25(OH)D is low, low 25(OH)D in and of itself should not be used as evidence that cod liver oil is not providing a vitamin D benefit
unquote

.- See more at: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/vitamin-d-in-cod-liver-oil/#sthash.NMoJK5kL.dpuf

Fermented fish foods

Recently I read a very interesting article on the website of the Weston A. Price Foundation. It was about an article that discussed fermenting fish in quite some detail. 

Here is the first part of the article. In case you are interested in reading the rest, below you will find the link to the article.

quote

Fermented foods currently comprise approximately one-third of the human diet globally. In traditional diets, cereal grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and fish are all fermented using various methods as a way to preserve food and to improve its nutritional quality.
Fermentation of fish is an ancient practice. It has historically and continues to be employed to preserve fish when other methods of preservation have failed. This method of extending the harvest was born of necessity as a way of coping with seasonal scarcity. Other methods to slow bacterial degradation such as drying, salting, smoking and curing require certain ambient air temperatures and levels of humidity to be successful. Under conditions that were either too wet for drying, or when these other methods were just not feasible, fish fermentation was developed as a needed solution.
Fermentation became especially important for species of fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, Arctic char, and herring, which are not very suitable for drying due to the presence of large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids. In addition, fermentation developed as a way to preserve fish using less salt, as salt was expensive and generally scarce in ancient times.
The processes used in fish fermentation vary greatly worldwide, and depend on the culture, climate, and availability of both salt and fish. The species of fish and or shellfish that are fermented have always been determined by what is abundant in a given locale.
The acceptance of the aromas and taste of fermented fish sauces, pastes, and other fish food products is culturally specific. What tastes good is in part determined by familiarity and cultural upbringing as well as genetically determined taste preferences and aversions. Fermented fish products have been variously described as tasting “meaty,” “fishy,” “cheesy,” and “ammonialike.” The combination of the assorted chemical products of fermentation determines which flavors predominate.
Of all fermented foods, fermented meats and fish are the least stable, and present several challenges, such as the risk of contamination with pathogenic bacteria, namely Clostridium botulinum, and the formation of potentially toxic biogenic amines in the food product. These concerns are much more prevalent in fermented meat and fish than in other categories of fermented foods.
As fermentation expert Sandor Katz remarks in his book, The Art of Fermentation: “Fermented fish can definitely force us to confront and perhaps challenge the slippery and elusive boundary between what is and is not fit to eat.”
Currently there is a resurgence of interest and a revival in traditionally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, sourdough bread, kombucha and the like. Fermented fish products, while new to many, have a long history as health-giving, nutritious foods that impart unique flavors, aromas, textures, and nutrients to the diet. An overview of some of the more notable fermented fish products from around the world, as well as information regarding safety and health benefits, are reviewed here.

unquote


See more at: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/traditional-diets/fermented-fish-foods/#sthash.k3IanoRb.dpuf

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The scandal of infant formula, article WAPF autumn 2015

In the magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, autumn 2015, there was an article published about the scandals surrounding infant formula. Below you will find an excerpt of it and the link to the  full article. It is very well worth a read, actually it is quite important to read this.


Here is the summary:

A Poor Replacement for Mother’s Milk
• Infant formula lacks many key substances for development and growth. If a key nutrient is missing or not available, the body cannot adequately accomplish the task.
• Infant formula is primarily composed of sugar or lactose, dried skim milk and refined vegetable oil which can include genetically modified components. Organic formula is made of basically the same ingredients but they are not genetically modified. Soy-based formula is made of soy protein, sugar and refined oils.
• Breast milk from a well-nourished mother is composed of hundreds of substances—over one hundred fats alone.
• Infant formula contains double the amount of protein that breast milk does, which promotes insulin resistance and adiposity.
• There have been over twenty infant formula recalls since 1980 involving ingredients, pollution with pathogens, adulteration with foreign substances like glass, lack of required nutrients, foul smells, etc.
• Rocket fuel, phthalates, melamine, and high levels of heavy metals have been found in infant formula.
• There is no FDA regulation of infant formula; proof of safety is left to the manufacturers.
• Additives to infant formula, such as iron, DHA, ARA and laboratory-made folic acid are all problematic.
• Heat damages the protein in formulas forming advanced glycation end products as well as compromising the nutritional value.


- See more at: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/the-scandal-of-infant-formula/#sthash.M5kw1n0q.dpuf

Monday, 8 February 2016

The Swiss tour

Every year Judy, a chapter leader from the Weston A. Price Foundation, organises a tour through Switzerland in which she takes a group to various traditionally working farms and such. This is a lovely tour for people who are WAPF minded.





This is the planned program (subject to unforeseen changes):

  • Watch modern and old-fashioned alpine cheese making - meet the farmers!
  • Learn about raw meat, blood and sausage preservation - question the butchers.  Enjoy a variety of cured local raw meat!
  • Visit a unique dairy farm where milk is not allowed to shake - learn about honey bees!
  • Worm farming? Listen and question a worm farmer - see his money making operation!
  • Walk with an herbalist on a guided alpine plant adventure and learn basic ‘hands on’ salve making. Take your salve home!
  • Use your elbow grease to make ‘ancient sourdough rye bread’ using the old wooden dough troth - in a historical mountain village! Guided walk to the heirloom rye fields!
  • Visit the Alimentarium (historical food museum) and take a steamboat ride to the famous Medieval Castle Chillon on the beautiful lake of Geneva!
  • Ride the breathtaking gondola (or walk the path through the cliffs of the mountains) to the 1000 sheep festival on the Gemmi Mountain!
  • Visit a museum and a research institute
  • Enjoy the route of the Glacier Express with spectacular mountain views!
  • Walk the L√∂tschental where Dr. Price walked and find the brand new plaque in his honor!
In the time that we lived in Switzerland I met Judy, your tour guide, and she is a lovely person. I met up with the group that she was guiding that year in the capital city Bern. It was really great to see how she was interacting with them and showing them many things and talking to them about the traditional ways of Switzerland. My children and I had a very good time that day. There were a few children in the group that year as well.

The tour is happening this summer, as every summer really. The dates are Thursday 21 July 2016 - Thursday 4 August 2015. You will have to arrange your own flight and Swiss rail pass. In case you are interested in joining this tour, please send a message to Judy: reversemydisease@gmail.com, subject WAPCH16.



Saturday, 6 February 2016

Veg box from Asda

Today I read in the Huffington Post that Asda has recently launched the Wonky Veg Box. This is a box of vegetables that do not look perfect, so they would normally not easily get sold. So they put it in a box and sell it for the price of £3,50, yes, you read that right £3,50. This box has enough in there to feed a family of 4 for a whole week. That is a lot of food for just £3,50.
I usually am not a big fan of Asda as they tend to have a lot of junk in their isles and lots of cheap stuff. But this move really made them score points in my book. I may actually try one of them in the coming weeks. We usually have a vegetable box every week, but I really would like to see what is in this box as I really like the way this is done. Vegetables that are usually not sold as they are wonky can now go to low income families who can eat a whole lot healthier this way than they might otherwise do.
There is a whole big list of Asda stores that sell them on their website.

This is the image that Asda uses for their box on their website. Looks quite good to me. Love the cucumbers :-)
Often enough my home grown vegetables look similar or worse.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/02/05/asda-launches-wonky-veg-box_n_9166774.html

Friday, 5 February 2016

Waldorf ebook library

As we home educate in a Waldorf style way, I like to read about Waldorf educating. A couple of years ago I read about The Waldorf library. Since then I have regularly downloaded a book or 2 there to read. It is a lovely library. So many very interesting books. I would love to read the majority of them, but I'm sure I cannot do so any more in this life unfortunately. My reading list seems to grow with every book I read, on which ever topic, as there are often lots of nice books mentioned in the reading list :-)

Rudolf Steiner

There are also journals and articles to be found there. Some you can also download.

http://www.waldorflibrary.org/index.php

There is also a wonderful website on which you can download books to listen to. I really like that website as well, as sometimes for long walks with the dog, or a long road trip it can be great to simply listen to a book which has been read to me. The person reading the books has a very nice voice.

http://www.rudolfsteineraudio.com

Enjoy all the reading and listening that you can do :-)

Genital mutilation

Today I read a newspaper article in the Guardian about Female Genital Mutilation. It was horrifying.
Part of the text says the following: 
"FGM: number of victims found to be 70 million higher than thought. Half of girls and women cut live in just three countries as Unicef statistics reveal shocking global scale of barbaric ritual"

This article made me think about quite a few things that I think need to change before anything substantial will change with regards to this topic.

I am very seriously against genital mutilation of any sort, women or men. The fact that there is such a strong push to globally stop genital mutilation of girls and women, but there is no push to stop genital mutilation of boys and men, is discrimination against men.

The message is in certain parts of the world that it is good for men and women for men to get mutilated, that it prevents STD's and such. 
I have read a lot about this topic over the last years and no, it is not good for men and women, and it does not prevent STD's in any way. Condoms prevent STD's. Mutilated men are less likely to use condoms as their sensitivity has been tampered with, due to the mutilation. Many mutilated men have in the long term erection problems. Many men have ended up with a botched mutilation, which makes matters even worse, sometimes to the point where sex is nigh impossible. 

There are a many very, very good articles out there on this topic.

Here are a selection of the ones that I consider the best:
http://www.drmomma.org/2009/09/history-of-female-circumcision-in.html
http://www.drmomma.org/2011/04/male-and-female-circumcision.html
http://www.drmomma.org/2009/10/male-circumcision-hurts-women.html
http://www.circumcision.org/harmswomen.htm

I am convinced that as long as male genital mutilation keeps getting promoted as being a good thing and does not get forbidden, as it should be, female genital mutilation laws will not get taken serious. When it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander. It all gets done because this is how "we" do things and this is how "we" have always done it. Nothing will change unless both get the same treatment and men stop being discriminated against in this field.
Late last year a court case in the USA was fought between an opposing mother and and father who was pro mutilating the genitals of his son. The father won. The boy got mutilated. He was 4 or 5. As long as this stuff can happen, FGM will not stop and will not be taken seriously.

Both procedures are damaging humans, physically and psychologically. It has to stop.

I think it is quite perverse to even consider cutting people's genitals because it is custom or such. It is sickening to me to even consider anyone messing about with the most sensitive parts of any small human being, as usually they are children who are the victims of the procedure. Children cannot give consent to a procedure like that and it a life time punishment.
Why did people start doing it? Why can they not see how awful it is? 
There is a LOT of research out there showing no benefit whatsoever from the procedure. In some countries they are trying to find benefits and keep repeating myths to prove the so-called benefits. 
I'm just horrified by the whole thing and am every day thankful to live in an area of the world where neither MGM nor FGM are the norm. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Knitting: Marin the horse

In 2014 I joined a test knit of Linda Dawkins for the Marin the Horse pattern. I finished one of them, as was the plan, but then one of my other children wanted to have a horse like that as well, which was quite understandable as it is a very cute horse. So I started making the other one, but then family issues happened, so I didn't manage to finish it. It ended up in a box due to moving short after that. Upon arrival in our house we found it to be left in an appalling state by our tenant, so it stayed in a box. Only recently I ended up being able to take it out and finish it.

The first picture is of the first horse. The second one of the horse I finished last weekend. I have use Hjertegarn Incawool for these 2 projects, these are self striping yarns and they give a lovely look to the treasured softies :-)



Through this link you can buy the pattern if you would like: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/marin-the-spring-horse

Here you can see the blog post of Linda about the pattern of the horse: http://www.naturalsuburbia.com/2014/04/marin-spring-horse-pattern-finished.html

Monday, 1 February 2016

Mommypotamus on the MTHFR gene mutation

Recently I read a few blog posts from one of my favourite bloggers, Mommypotamus. She writes about the MTHFR gene mutation. It is well worth a read.

Here the posts are that I read:

Quote


I’ll admit, I thought it was the first time I read it, but as it turns out it’s something much more important. MTHFR is an abbreviation for a genetic mutation that affects 30-50% of our population, although most of us don’t know whether or not we have it.
If you tuned out in high school biology and need a refresher on how genes work, here’s the deal:
Your body contains 50 trillion tiny cells, and almost every one of them contains the complete set of instructions for making you. These instructions are encoded in your DNA . . . If you imagine your DNA as a cookbook, then your genes are the recipes. (source)

Unquote

Read further at:
http://www.mommypotamus.com/mthfr-mutation/

The next one is:

Quote

Daddypotamus: I know you’re tired. Let’s just stop at Taco Bell or McDonald’s for dinner.
Me (laughing): Stop. 
Katie: Daddy, why are you saying that? Those aren’t real places!
It wasn’t intentional, but somehow Katie was six years old before she realized these places really do exist. We’ve done our best to nourish them from the start, and we are very careful about what goes into their little bodies.
I used to believe that was enough. With a real food diet and minimal supplementation to make up for things like soil depletion, our family would thrive.

Unquote

Read further at:
http://www.mommypotamus.com/mthfr-gene-mutation-faq/

In the first post she refers to the website of Dr. Lynch who is an expert in the field.
In the following post he lists the health issues that could likely be related to the MTHFR gene mutation.

http://mthfr.net/mthfr-mutations-and-the-conditions-they-cause/2011/09/07/

It was quite an educational beginners guide and FAQ post. I recommend reading it if you feel you might be affected.