Monthly Archives: July 2009

Sushi and Tom Watson’s Historic Run at the British Open

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist July 21, 2009

I am still in a state of shock at Tom Watson’s historic run for the British Open golf title this past weekend. At 59 years old, looking trim, fit, and healthy, Tom did what no one thought possible at his age. He took on the young guns of the PGA Tour, many of them more than 3 decades his junior, and beat them stroke by stroke, until the very last putt. Way to go, Tom!

Let me set the record straight that I am completely serious in my awe of Mr. Watson. I am a lifelong golf fan. I’ve played since I was 8 and have competed since I was 12. My high school golf team was crowned State Champion of Florida in 1980 and several of my collegiate teammates have competed (or still compete) on the LPGA (one is a two-time major championship winner and key correspondent for the Golf Channel). I know from many years of personal experience that playing competitive golf is not for cream puffs. Walking a full round of 18 holes for 4 straight days up and down the hills of Scotland is no cakewalk, especially at 59 years of age. The stress and strain of the golf swing, year after year, breaks down the joints. The constant irritation of an achy back causes many a golf professional to hang up the clubs and head for the commentator booth.

With many a blogger and sports journalist currently opining about the secret to Tom Watson’s golf longevity, let me add my 2 cents. Sushi. That’s right … huge and frequent plates of sushi.

You see, the owner of a local Japanese restaurant that my husband and I frequent used to be the sushi maker for a well known Japanese restaurant in Augusta, Georgia. For those of you who who play golf, you know that Augusta is where the Masters is played each spring. Evidently, this gentleman used to prepare enormous plates of sushi for Mr. Watson during tournament time each year. Tom can really put away the sushi, as the story goes – more than anyone else this particular sushi maker had ever seen.

For a Healthy Home Economist, this is another vivid example of how eating traditional foods on a regular basis helps the body stay young, even at a professionally competitive level against much younger opponents. All those omega 3 fatty acids in the sushi keep the joints wonderfully flexible and pain free. The unadulterated protein in the sushi would provide the most basic of building blocks for maintaining muscle mass, which is notorious for disappearing at a rapid rate at Tom’s age. The fish eggs (caviar) that adorn sushi and sashimi are extremely high in vitamin A, D, and K and are one of the “sacred foods” of traditional societies described in Dr. Weston A. Price’s groundbreaking work Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Vitamin D, in particular, is critical for maintaining proper hormonal levels that would be in a free fall at Mr. Watson’s age. It is estimated that well over 90% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. It is fairly safe to conclude that Mr. Watson would not be in this company given his regular consumption of fish eggs.

To all you sports lovers out there who love to compete on the turf and not from the couch, heed Tom Watson’s lesson to all of us this past weekend: traditional foods add much life to your years. You might even beat a few young ‘uns along the way!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

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It Always Pays to Buy Top Quality Food

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist July 17, 2009

Today, I traveled across town to my favorite local buying club to stock up on high quality grassfed meats and jersey milk cheeses. I make this trip every few months and save myself a small fortune. In fact, I have no doubt that I spend at least half what a typical family of five would spend at a regular grocery store buying cheap, processed foods. It is a great source of pride for me to feed my family so well and still be super smart about how much I spend. All you Healthy Home Economists out there know exactly what I’m talking about .. it’s a game isn’t it? Finding top quality and getting great deals is a super satisfying way to shop!

One troubling trend I’ve observed over the past 12 months during these tough economic times is that some folks are cutting back on the food quality they buy trying to save a few dollars. In the end, this strategy is sure to backfire, as buying cheaper food inevitably leads to more frequent colds and even more serious flus and viruses. Being in a weakened state already from a lower quality diet will require doctor’s visits in these cases, as the body probably won’t be strong enough to just throw off the illness itself with no meds. Just one round of antibiotics for one person will set you back around $35 in most cases, sometimes even more than that despite having health insurance. If a family is without health insurance due to an unemployment situation, the meds are triple that price or more, just for one person! Multiply that cost by the number of people in the family as the bug makes its way around the house and you are out a hundred bucks or more for a single illness.
Please keep in mind that part of being a Healthy Home Economist is seeing the big picture and not just the dailyness of paying the grocery bill. It ALWAYS pays to buy top quality, nutrient dense food even under conditions of financial hardship. Good food is always cheaper than meds!
Back to my trip to the local buying club this morning. Here’s a list of what I purchased, all for well under $300. Incredible savings! Who says eating well is expensive?
4 Eberly Cornish Hens
12 lb of grassfed ground beef
2 lb of smoked, wild salmon
3 lb of raw, jersy colby cheese
12 packages of Applegate Farms nitrate free bacon
8 packages of Applegate Farms roast beef slices
8 packages of Applegate Farms turkey slices
2 packages of Applegate Farms bratworst
4 extra large bags (about 3 lbs each) of free range, hormone free chicken nuggets
1 gallon Grade B Vermont Maple Syrup
Don’t delay .. contact you local Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter Leader and get your local list of buying clubs and farms around your area. Start buying top quality and save money at the same time! http://www.westonaprice.org/local-chapters/find-local-chapter
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
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Raw Milk Rocks!

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist July 15, 2009

Yes, it’s true. My family and I have been drinking raw milk for almost 10 years. I drank it when I was pregnant and my children drink it every day. They are all a healthy weight for their ages, yet it’s no surprise that they are quite a bit heavier (not visually .. you notice when you pick them up!) than children of the same age, size and height due to the heaviness of their bones. Raw milk builds dense bones in children, folks. No osteoporosis, cavities, or broken bones in their future (barring getting hit by the proverbial bus)!

In the years since I first began drinking raw milk, I have noticed a profound change in the attitudes of most people toward it. Back in 2002, when I mentioned raw milk, folks would almost immediately comment on how dangerous it is to drink! Now, I frequently get the comment “oh, I’ve heard that is a pretty healthy thing to do”.
Still, despite the great strides in getting the truth out about raw milk and that pasteurized milk makes a whole lot more folks sick than raw milk ever did, there still seems to be a bit of a stigma attached to folks who seek it out and consume it. Perhaps this is about to change!
The current issue of Forbes magazine lists raw milk as one of the 10 healthiest foods on the planet! Finally, mainstream media is catching on; raw milk rocks!
The key to good health is eating whole foods as unprocessed as possible like all traditional societies practiced. If eating whole unprocessed food is the way to go for health, how in the world can anyone conclude that pasteurized/homogenized milk, the ultimate processed food, is good for you? Even organic milk is a bad idea as the ultrapasteurization that organic dairy processors utilize effectively sterilizes the milk so that you can’t even culture it into yogurt! Drinking that stuff is like eating a brick .. your body simply has no idea what to do with it so you get lots of gas and bloating.
No gas and bloating are experienced with raw milk from cows that are free to roam on unsprayed green pastures! This milk has been a lifegiving force to humans for thousands of years. Try it for yourself and you will be amazed at how great you feel for the experience. Even if you are lactose intolerant and/or have a dairy allergy, the chances are extremely high that raw milk will not aggravate your symptoms in the slightest. In fact, the skyrocketing cases of lactose intolerance and dairy allergies are a huge reason for the rapid growth in popularity of raw milk. To find sources near you, go to:
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
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Organic is Passe?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist July 14, 2009

The Washington Post ran an article last week about how the “USDA Organic” label is increasingly losing its integrity as more and more companies actively and aggressively seek to have the label on their packaged foods. See full article at:

It is no surprise that “organic” doesn’t mean what it used to. In fact, in most cases, “organic” on a product label means absolutely nothing. For those of us who have been buying organic since it was pretty much synonymous with “hippie”, this is a very sad turn of events. The interpretation of the organic label used to be quite strict before the USDA got involved a few years ago. Prior to “USDA Organic”, the states of California and Oregon typically certified products as organic and the interpretation was far stricter than it is today using the Federal guidelines. To me, “USDA Organic” is an oxymoron; an incongruous figure of speech with self-contradictory effect. Could anything approved by the USDA come anywhere close to the definition of “Organic” that consumers truly seek? Considering that the USDA is the source of our inhumane national standards for animal confinement operations and the cheerleader for the intrusion of GM foods into our food supply, I should think not!
Practically speaking then, should you buy “Organic” and pay a premium for the privilege? The answer is both yes and no. “Yes” would include buying organic produce for those vegetables and fruits that are highly sprayed. These crops are popularly known as the “dirty dozen” and the common denominator among them (besides being highly sprayed) is that they are thin skinned fruits and vegetables that most people eat unpeeled. You can reduce your pesticide exposure significantly by spending the premium to buy these products organic:
Dirty Dozen:
Strawberries (NEVER eat these nonorganic! I won’t even let my children go strawberry picking at a nonorganic strawberry farm)
Cherries
Pears
Grapes (imported)
Peaches
Apples
Sweet Bell Peppers (all colors)
Celery
Nectarines
Spinach
Lettuce
Potatoes
On the other hand, there is no need to buy organic for the “Consistently Clean 15″. This list of fruits and vegetables can be purchased from conventional growers as the likelihood of any detectible levels pesticide residue is quite small. I would highly recommend the website for the Environmental Working Group (http://www.ewg.org/) as this website will keep you current on how to get the biggest bang for your buck where organic is concerned.
The “Consistently Clean 15″ include:
Onions
Avocados
Sweet Corn
Pineapple
Mango
Asparagus
Sweet Peas
Kiwi
Bananas
Cabbage
Broccoli
Papaya
Melons
Pumpkin
Eggplant
Another big way to reduce pesticide exposure is to buy from local growers if at all possible. Local growers, even if using conventional, nonorganic farming methods, frequently eschew the high spray approach of mega farms that ship produce hundreds and even thousands of miles. There is also simply no substitute to shaking the hand of a farmer who lives in your local community and asking him or her about how they work the land. Try calling the headquarters of Conagra Foods and asking a few basic farming questions from the customer service rep who answers your call! Local is always preferable; it easily trumps the “USDA Organic” label for a similar product shipped across the country any day of the week.
I will leave you with one final point to ponder. What about all those packaged products labeled “USDA Organic” that increasingly line the shelves of the corner grocery store? Are these products worth the premium? The short answer is no. The “USDA Organic” label is basically meaningless for these products from a “reduction in pesticide exposure” point of view. What this label does do for you, however, is tip you off to companies that are trying to reduce chemicals and ersatz flavors in their foods. As a result, the “USDA Organic” label will sometimes lead you to products that have more whole ingredients and fewer chemicals, synthetics, and fillers. The final decision must be your own as you pick the product up and analyze the ingredients list. If you need help in this area, I highly recommend calling the Weston A. Price Foundation (http://westonaprice.org/) and requesting a copy of the annual WAPF Shopping Guide. This purse sized booklet only costs $1 plus shipping and will guide you through the aisles of the grocery store to the healthiest and best food selections for your family. No need to be an expert at label reading. The WAPF has done the work for you!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
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Evos – Healthy Fast Food?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist July 7, 2009

My family went to Evos for lunch today. It was my first (and last) time there. Perhaps you’ve heard of the catchy marketing phrase they use … “feel great fast food”. Here’s the website in case you want to take a look: http://evos.com/

Yikes! I did not find this food either tasty or “feel great” at all! I ordered the Spicy Thai chicken (hormone free) wrap. It had absolutely no taste! The peanut sauce was so bland they might as well have put no sauce in there at all. It was also quite dry and the spinach wrap tasted like cardboard. To their credit, the chicken was very tender and delicious. Unfortunately, the rest of the wrap was so tasteless I ended up taking out the chicken and eating that by itself. Problem was, there was hardly any chicken in it! I ditched 70% of the wrap in the garbage can and was, of course, still hungry after eating the few bites of chicken.
My kids and husband got the free range steakburger. I was astonished at how “unburgerish” the meat patty looked. I only use organic, grassfed beef in our home (Grateful Harvest), and this certainly did not look grassfed. I don’t even know what “free range” beef is, to tell you the truth! I’ve never heard of it before going to Evos. Must be just another marketing slogan that is not rooted in the realities of grassfed farming!
The fries tasted ok, but I didn’t perceive any difference in the oils that they used. Indisputably, the healthiest and tastiest oil for making fries is tallow, and Evos clearly did not use that. They used some sort of vegetable oil from the brick it formed in my stomach. Using vegetable oil for frying is a big no-no, as vegetable oils become rancid at the high temperatures required for frying. So, even if an establishment says that partially hydrogenated oils are not used, it is just as health damaging if plain old vegetable oil is used. The new process edible oil manufacturers are using instead of hydrogenization is called interesterification. Surprise, surprise .. it’s just as heart unhealthy as hydrogenization of vegetable oil. Here is a great link that discusses this issue in depth:
All in all, my first and last Evos experience was quite forgettable!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
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