Wednesday, December 10, 2008

King Corn, or People of the Corn

Behind America’s dollar hamburgers and 72-ounce sodas is a key ingredient that quietly fuels our fast-food nation: corn. In KING CORN , recent college graduates Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis leave the east coast for rural Iowa, where they decide to grow an acre of the nation’s most powerful crop.

Alarmed by signs of America’s bulging waistlines, the filmmakers arrive in the Midwest enthusiastic about their new endeavor. For their farm-to-be, they choose a tiny town in Floyd, County, Iowa—a place that, coincidentally, both Ian and Curt’s great-grandfathers called home three generations ago. They lease an acre of land from a skeptical landlord, fill out a pile of paperwork to sign up for subsidies and discover the U.S. government will pay them 28 dollars for their acre. Ian and Curt start the spring by injecting ammonia fertilizer, which promises to increase crop production four-fold. Then it’s planting time. With a rented high-tech tractor, they set 31,000 seeds in the ground in just 18 minutes. Their corn has also been genetically modified for another yield-increasing characteristic: herbicide resistance. When the seedlings sprout from Iowa’s black dirt, Ian and Curt apply a powerful herbicide to ensure that only their corn will thrive on their acre.
By summer, their modern farm is thriving, and the Corn Belt is moving toward a record harvest of 11 billion bushels of corn. But where will all that corn go? With their crop growing head-high, Ian and Curt leave the farm to see where America’s abundance of corn ends up. As they enter America’s industrial kitchen, they are forced to confront the realities of their crop’s future. In Brooklyn, it sweetens the sodas of a diabetes-plagued neighborhood. In Colorado, it fattens the feed trough of a 100,000-head cattle feedlot. Ian and Curt are increasingly troubled by how the abundance of corn is helping to make fast food cheap and consumers sick, driving animals into confinement and farmers off the land. Animal nutritionists confirm that corn feeding can make cows sick and beef fatty, but it also lets consumers have fast food at low prices. As feedlot operator Bob Bledsoe says in KING CORN, “America wants and demands cheap food.”

As Ian and Curt discover, almost everything Americans eat contains corn. High-fructose corn syrup, corn-fed meat, and corn-based processed foods are the staples of the modern diet. America’s record harvests of corn are supported by a government subsidy system that promotes corn production beyond all market demand. As Ian and Curt return to Iowa to watch their 10,000-pound harvest fill the combine’s hopper and make its way into America’s food, they realize their acre of land shouldn’t be planted in corn again—if they can help it...............more

Monday, December 8, 2008

Food and War

Food Fight: A Film by Chris Taylor.
Revolution never tasted so good!

Food Fight

Food Fight: A Film by Chris Taylor.
Revolution never tasted so good!

When we walk into a supermarket, we assume that we have the widest possible choice of healthy foods. But in fact, over the course of the 20th century, our food system was co-opted by corporate forces whose interests do not lie in providing the public with fresh, healthy, sustainably-produced food.

Quaker Granola Ingredient Panel

Raspberry: Granola (Quaker Roller Oats, Rolled Whole Wheat, Brown Sugar, Sunflower Oil, Fructose-Glucose, Dried Unsweetened Coconut, Honey, Sodium Bicarbonate, Natural Flavour, Modified Milk Ingredients), Glucose, Graham Cracker Crumbs (Flour, Graham Flour, Brown Sugar, Vegetable Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils), Sugar, Glucose-Fructose, Molasses, Sodium Bicarbonate, Salt, Ammonium Bicarbonate, Caramel Colour [Contains Sulphites], Natural and Artificial Flavour), Sugar, Dextrose, Crisp Rice (Rice Flour, Sugar, Malt Extract, Salt), Glycerin, Raspbery Pureee (Raspberry Puree, Sugar, Water, Malic Acid, Sodium Benzoate), Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Shortening (Canola, Palm and/or Cottonseed, Soybean), Sorbitol, Dehydrated Apple Nuggets (Contains Sulphites, Calcium Stearate), Salt, Molasses, Pectin, Malic Acid, Artificial Flavour, Water. Soy Lecithin, Colour, BHA (Preservative), Citric Acid

Apple: Granola (Quaker Roller Oats, Rolled Whole Wheat, Brown Sugar, Sunflower Oil, Fructose-Glucose, Dried Unsweetened Coconut, Honey, Sodium Bicarbonate, Natural Flavour, Modified Milk Ingredients), Glucose, Graham Cracker Crumbs (Flour, Graham Flour, Brown Sugar, Vegetable Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils), Sugar, Glucose-Fructose, Molasses, Sodium Bicarbonate, Salt, Ammonium Bicarbonate, Caramel Colour [Contains Sulphites], Natural and Artificial Flavour), Sugar, Dextrose, Crisp Rice (Rice Flour, Sugar, Malt Extract, Salt), Glycerin, Apple Pureee (Apple Puree, Sugar, Water, Apple Juice Concentrate, Malic Acid, Sodium Benzoate), Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil Shortening (Canola, Palm and/or Cottonseed, Soybean), Dehydrated Apple Nuggets (Contains Sulphites, Calcium Stearate), Sorbitol, Salt, Cinnamon, Natural Flavour, Molasses, Pectin, Malic Acid, Soy Lecithin, Water, BHA (Preservative), Citric Acid

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Santa Monica Farmers Market

Michael Pollan, A Food Agenda for the Next Administration

A Food Agenda for Next Administration will be a panel discussion at UC Berkeley that posits a policy framework for achieving healthy food and agriculture systems in the US. Speakers are Michael Dimock, President, Roots of Change; Michael Pollan, author and Professor, UC Graduate School of Journalism; Judith Redmond, co-owner Full Belly Farm and Board President, Community Alliance with Family Farmers; and Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State. The moderator is Cynthia Gorney, Professor, UC Graduate School of Journalism.

Melamine and Food

Cookies. Candy. Instant coffee. Pretzels. Ice cream. Yogurt. Crackers and biscuits. Eggs and products containing powdered eggs. Cake. Powdered and condensed milk, and products containing them. Livestock and fish feed. Soy milk. Pie. Wheat gluten. Cereal. Tea.

Chances are good that you have consumed one of these products recently, or will in the coming days and weeks. If any of them are from China - and no, you may not be able to tell by looking at the label - then you may want to sit up and pay attention.

These foods of Chinese origin have been found by authorities in the United States, Canada, Australia, or parts of Asia to contain an industrial chemical called melamine that is used to make plastic. In recent weeks, the Chinese government has admitted that adding melamine to food - which raises protein levels, making poor-quality products look more nutritious - is common practice in China.....more

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tiny Tostadas with Filet Mignon, Black Bean and Chili

Manchego and Queso Fresco Enchilada

Pan Seared Petrale Sole in Cilantro and Lime


Ceviche, a Latin American delicacy composed of citrus "cooked" fin and shellfish, chilies and additions of onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes and even mango, and always delicious and healthy.
Om Ceviche November
Red Snapper, red onion, orange and red bell peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, mint and garlic marinated lime and grapefruit juice

Eat Your Breakfast!

Mom was right, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Om breakfast bread pudding is a delicious beginning to an awesome and energized day.
Whole grain bread, nuts, berries, milk, soy works fine, a few eggs, cinnamon or cardamom and a bit of honey

Green Eggs Wrap and Fabulous Fritatta

Wraps are an excellent breakfast on the go

Pasillia chili, eggs -egg whites or eggbeaters are healthy upgrades, but eggs a few times a week offers exceptional omega 3's and a perfect protein -red onion and cilantro
Frittatas are uber easy, and a fab way to use small amounts of odd ingredients languishing in the fridge...

Classic Yogi Breakfast

Fresh, live, thick and rich yoghurt is nothing like the overly acidic commercial yogurts.
Topped with fresh, om made, honey sweetened, organic granola and fresh berries, this is a perfect and quick breakfast

Fresh and Om Made, Cardamom, Almond and Cherry Granola

 Om Chef granola is made to order and available for delivery.

Is the Dalai Lama an Herbivore or an Omnivore?

Organic and hormone free is better if for no other reason than less cows equals less potential exposure to the dangerous pathogens that are so rampant in commercial beef plants, antibiotics are routinely, and at times continuously, administered in commercial feed lots.

organic and local provides superior flavor and food safety

The dalai Lama is a 'Harmonyivore', essentially... if you call that food, and are so gracious as to serve it to me, thank you, it's delicious!
The Dalai Lama does not make animals a part of his daily diet......and he does not trip out into a tirade at their presence at a meal.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shiitake, Walnut and Goat Cheese Stuffed Eggplant

Slice Japanese or Chinese eggplant lengthwise, 1/4" thick, spread with a thin layer of goat cheese, chopped shiitake mushroom, chopped walnuts, minced garlic and finely chopped flat leaf parley...gently roll up and secure with a toothpick, bake 30 minutes at 350
This is one of those delicacies that's even better the next day, hot or cold...make extra!

Pasillia Chili Nirvana

Red and purple potatoes, spinach, queso fresca
Omnivores: add chili rubbed pork or tomatillio chicken

Herbivores:add walnuts, almonds and tempeh

Pictured: with chili rubbed pork

Miso-Raspberry Buddha Grill

assorted raspberry-miso grilled veggies on a heavenly bed of brown Basmati rice with nuts, herbs and garbanzo beans

Vegetables shown are from the Hollywood Farmers Market

Baby Focaccia Bites

Caramelized red onion baby Om Focaccia with purple potato, pine nut and goat cheese

Oil cured Black Olive and rosemary baby Om Focaccia with grilled eggplant, zucchini, mushroom and gold peppers

Minestrone and Focaccia

Om Minestrone soup changes with the season, this batch was a yummy mix of kale, crimini mushroom, shiitake mushroom, napa cabage, zucchini, carrot, cannaleni beans and leeks in a garlicy, basil scented broth, serve with fresh baked Om Focaccia and light salad.

Omnivores add Italian turkey sausage or traditional Italian sausage

Steamed Green Lipped Mussels and Om Made Focaccia

Nothing compares to the lingering aroma of fresh baked focaccia... fresh rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil make it even more delicious. Serve with white wine steamed green lip mussels dressed with basil and grape tomatoes

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Enlightened Cobb Salad

Omnivore: chicken, turkey breast or grilled salmon, always bacon and bleu cheese
Herbivore: tofu bacon, tempeh or grilled cranberry, sage tofu

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Will Eating Red Meat make us more susceptible to E-Coli?

According to a breakthrough study, e-coli survives and thrives on a sugar molecule contained in red meat and unpasteurized dairy and not naturally produced by the human body. When humans consume red meat and dairy they ingest the sugar Neu5Gc, and store it in the intestines and kidneys (kidney failure is an extreme reaction to e-coli infection). This non human sugar molecule is exactly what the E-coli organism/toxin seeks out and needs to survive, and if it is found, infection to the host will result. Humans that do not consume red meat and unpasteurised dairy lack the sugar and are seemingly, immune.
One of the most remarkeable parts of the study, the food is the carrier of the catalyst for the toxin that is also carried by the same food.....very trippy
The study has not explored how long the sugar is stored or how the body breaks it down and how long that would take.

Study:Dr Travis Beddoe from Monash University in Melbourn and reported in Nature


Red meat primes body for intestinal germ: study

PARIS (AFP) — A steady diet of red meat makes the body more susceptible to a virulent form of intestinal bug that can cause bloody diarrhoea and even death, according to a study to be published on Thursday.
Researchers in the United States and Australia said persistently eating red meat appears to prime the body for exposure to this potent form of Escherichia coli (E. coli).
The meat naturally contains sugar molecules called Neu5Gc that accumulate in cells lining the intestines and blood vessels.
These molecules also act as a sort of magnet for the toxins exuded by the E. coli strain, thus making it easier for the poisons to enter the blood stream, they said.
"Prior meat eating would set one up for the toxin to bind when it shows up," explained Ajit Varki, a researcher at the University of California at San Diego, one of the study's co-authors.
The Neu5Gc molecule is virtually absent in other foods such as fish, poultry and vegetables and fruits, Varki told AFP in an email exchange.
The investigation, published in the London-based journal Nature, is led by Travis Beddoe of Monash University in Melbourne.
In experiments, the team first tested the affinity of the E. coli bacteria for Neu5Gc using cultured human cells in a lab dish...........more

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Welcome to the Food Revolution

Slow Food Nation Gathering in San Francisco

We need to remember that the fresh, unadulterated, minimally processed, locally produced foods that Slow Food Nation is showcasing were our pantry staples, before the military-industrial complex annexed our food chain a half a century or so ago in the name of progress.

Our great-grandparents would be flabbergasted to learn that grass-fed milk in glass bottles bearing the local dairy farm's logo is now a rare luxury item available to only the affluent few who are willing to pay $4 for a half-gallon of milk.

Back in the day, our breads were fresh-baked and free of high fructose corn syrup, and our eggs and bacon came from chickens and hogs that rolled around in the dirt and saw the light of day. The word "farm" still evokes nostalgic pastoral images for most Americans, but there's nothing even remotely benign or bucolic about the fetid, brutal factory farms that supply us with most of our meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products today. And unmasking this unsavory reality is as much a part of Slow Food Nation's agrarian agenda as dishing out local delicacies.

This focus on economies of scale, and the illusory "efficiency" of a food system dependent on cheap fossil fuels and perpetual subsidies, gave us, the richest nation in the world, the cheapest food. And we are all the poorer for it.

Along the way, we lost hundreds of different kinds of plants and animals; currently, "at least 1,060 food varieties unique to North America are threatened, endangered or functionally extinct in the marketplaces of the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico," Gary Paul Nabhan writes in Renewing America's Food Traditions, a new book that celebrates the distinctive culinary regions of our country that Agribiz almost obliterated in recent decades.

But Renewing America's Food Traditions is not just a book; it's an alliance: Called RAFT for short, it's a collaborative effort from Slow Food USA and six other sustainably minded organizations. RAFT's mission is to inspire what the folks at Slow Foods USA call "eater-based conservation" by preserving and promoting the culinary heritage and extraordinary biodiversity that blessed this country for centuries before we shifted gears and became a fast food nation.

Don't know what a "foodshed" is? Don't worry, nobody else does, either -- the word is still so obscure it hasn't earned an entry on Wikipedia. It means, essentially, the area through which food travels to get from the farm to your plate. That would have been a pretty short trip a few generations ago, but in this era of globalization, our foodshed now encompasses the whole world, more or less.

This far-flung food chain has enslaved us with a false sense of abundance, turning the produce aisles of our supermarkets into a seasonless place where you can find berries and bell peppers all year round. But this apparent bounty diverts us from the fact that industrial agriculture has actually drastically reduced the diversity of the foods that our farmers grow.

As small and mid-size farms got swallowed up by the massive monoculture operations we now call "conventional," the varieties of fruits and vegetables grown on those farms got whittled down to just those few that shipped the best and had the longest shelf life. Breeders chose to focus on species of livestock and poultry that fatten up the fastest, such as big-breasted but bland Butterball turkeys so top-heavy they can't reproduce naturally and have to be artificially inseminated. For this we give thanks each November?


Environmental Working Group’s ‘dirty dozen’

The Environmental Working Group rates fruits and veggies based on pesticide residues, so you might consider buying organic when purchasing produce that it labels as the “dirty dozen.”

Bell peppers
Imported grapes

—Based on pesticide residues. Source: For more information,

What to Eat, Professor Marion Nestle lecture at Google

Nutritionist and Author Marion Nestle discusses her latest book, "What to Eat" as well as her previous books "Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition" and "Health and Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism" as part of the Authors@Google series. A professor of nutrition at NYU, Nestle was featured in the film "Super Size Me" and has been called "one of the nation's smartest and most influential authorities on nutrition and food policy." This event took place May 8, 2007 at Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA

Natures Superfoods II

Nature's Superfoods
Om Chef Stars

Reduces blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and platelet aggregation
Cultures where hot pepper is used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.
Lowers risk of type 2 Diabetes, boosts immunity, helps stop the spread of prostate cancer and prevents stomach ulcers
triggers release of 'happy' endorphins and promotes libido health

Nuts and Seeds
omega- 3's, heart and brain health

ultra high in healthy monounsaturated fat, aka cholesterol lowering oleic acid, high in protein and potassium
contributes to healthy blood flow, healthy blood flow = a healthy brain
also lowers blood pressure. Dramatically enhances absorption of other vitamins and nutrients.

ultra high in heart healthy fiber,
Soybeans and Tofu:complete vegetarian source of protein

Sweet Potato
potassium, calcium, helps stabilize blood sugar levels and lowers insulin resistance.

ultra high in antioxidant L-Ergothioneine, protects the body's DNA from damage
potential cancer preventive and high in beta glucan. Long known in Asia as a longevity tonic, heart medicine and cancer remedy

excellent for detox, liver health, digestive tract and kidney function.
ultra high in carotene, folic acid, silicon, potassium, magnesium and calcium pectate ( cholesterol-lowering properties)
Silicon strengthens connective tissues and aids calcium metabolism and is great for your skin
The beta-carotene in one medium carrot cuts lung cancer risk in half

prevents cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, high in vitamin C, carotenoids, calcium and fiber.

Natures Superfoods I

These amazing foods contain mega vitamins, minerals and enzymes
when these potent nutrients are taken in the form of organic whole foods, they contribute, often dramatically, to:

weight reduction, cholesterol reduction, immunity strength, heart health,
reduction in skin wrinkling, brain health, mood elevation, libido health,
physical energy, mental strength, emotional health, inflammation reduction, cancer reduction, longevity

Fresh, organic, locally grown and raised ingredients are more nutrient dense, cleaner, better for the environment and taste amazing

Wild Salmon
brain and heart healthy Omega 3's, helps reduce the risk of sudden-death heart attacks, and have powerful anti-inflammatory properties
Wild salmon offers a much healthier ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s, fewer PCBs, less saturated fat and is a superior source of DMAE

Broccoli activates the body's natural antioxidant defense systems and is one of the most nutrient-dense foods known,
a powerful cancer fighter, high in glucosinolates, ultra high in calcium
vitamin K , vitamin C , folate, manganese and potassium a combination of nutrients that promote strong and healthy bones.
Broccoli sprouts: ultra high in vitamin C, beta-carotene and 50 times more cancer fighting phytochemicals than regular broccoli.

Blueberries : ultra high in antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, also high in potassium and vitamin C,
reduces risk of heart disease and cancer, also anti-inflammatory
Goji Berries : ultra high in antioxidants, vitamin c, beta carotene and essential fatty acids

high vitamin C, copper, calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese,
dietary fiber, and potassium, betacarotene and more lutein than any vegetable tested.
High in liver detoxifying glucosinolates. One of the highest antioxidant values of any vegetable,
excellent for boosting immunity and protecting the eyes.

phytonutrients, keeps our skin young and helps prevent damage from sunlight
Folate is important in producing serotonin for your brain, and helps to maintain the production of new cells and a great mood
ultra high in beta-carotene and alpha-carotene
The presence of alpha-carotene in the body along with other key nutrients is reportedly inversely related to biological aging. .
the more alpha-carotene you eat, the slower your body shows signs of age. Protects against various cancers and cataracts.

memory, focus, and mood, high in potent antioxidants, especially catechines, which promotes healthy blood flow
Green Tea: ultra high in ECGC
White Tea: low in caffeine, detox qualities and excellent for skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Black Tea: May assist in lowering cholesterol/Good for the Heart. Medical research suggests black tea promotes healthy teeth, skin and bones.
Tea must be freshly brewed, powdered and bottled teas are made from extracts and have lost most
all of their potency....and usually contain sugar and high fructose corn syrup

potent anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, high levels of antioxidants protect the brain from free radical damage
high in potassium, vitamin C, polyphenols and vitamin B6.
Pomegranate juice may have two to three times the antioxidant power of equal amounts of green tea or red wine.

Dark Chocolate
powerful antioxidants and natural stimulants, including caffeine, which enhance focus and concentration
stimulates the production of 'happy' endorphins

In Defense of Food

Exceptional book, author and lecture on one of todays hottest topics, what should I eat? How should we eat if we are concerned about health, the environment and the food shortage facing the planet?
Have cooking and gardening become subversive acts in our society?

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

Michael Pollan's Twelve Commandments for Serious Eaters

1. Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food

2. Avoid foods containing ingredients you can't pronounce

3. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot

4. Avoid food products that carry health claims

5. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle

6. Better yet, buy food somewhere else: the farmers' market or CSA

7. Pay more, eat less

8. Eat a wide variety of species

9. Eat food from animals that eat grass

10. Cook, and if you can, grow some of your own food

11. Eat meals and eat them only at tables

12. Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure