The NYTimes published an article about a new vaccine being tested on cattle to nix E. Coli. The bacteria has been linked to illness, death, and dozens of food recalls just this past year. Is a vaccine really the answer though? Improving slaughterhouse practices would be much more ideal. E. Coli happens when fecal matter from cattle hide gets onto the carcass that eventually lands on your dinner table. It is just one of the myriad health issues born of today’s crowded, over-producing beef factories. It’s the way of industrial food- more, faster, cheaper. A vaccine does nothing for the root problems of beef production, it merely plugs one hole on a ship with dozens more holes.
My mom was making pumpkin pie the other week, and I wanted some so badly but I can’t eat the crust because I’m on a gluten free diet. Now I know there are recipes for gluten free crusts out there but I am way too lazy for those kind of shenanigans. So I decided to just make myself some of the pie insides without a crust. It came out like a warm delicious custard and I hardly missed the crust (especially because I topped it with a scoop of ice cream). It made me feel included in one autumn treat that is obligatory to being American without having to perform complicated alchemy for a decent tasting gluten free crust. Easy AND delectable:
-1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin (or real pumpkin if you’re feeling ambitious)
-1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, mix pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices, and salt. Pour into an oven-friendly casserole dish. You can even separate the mixture into several mini ramekins for personal sized desserts. Bake for 15 minutes at 425.
2. Turn down the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes or until the custard is hardened and a knife comes out clean.
In the past year, I’ve gone gluten-free for dozens of spurts at a time, but never stuck to it. Finally, the doc told me to do it for good because every indication is that I have an intolerance- and for some reason it sank in this time. So I’m on the gluten-free wagon so to speak, and I’m feeling absolutely fantastic. Anyone with stomach problems knows that regaining normalcy is not to be underestimated.
In the spirit of my new lifestyle, here is an awesome cookie recipe. I took a basic oat cookie recipe- modified it for what I had in the pantry and jazzed it up some. It’s a cookie that’s not so bad for you either. And the ingredients are easily swap-out-able for your convenience. Voila..
Gio’s Oats -n- Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 Cups Rolled Oats
1 Cup Rice Flour
3/4 cup orange zest (or shredded coconut per your preference)
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 Cup Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts (or peanuts or pecans or your nut du jour)
3/4 cup chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything together. Make into ping pong sized balls. Bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Gobble down. With milk.
Makes about 30 cookies.
If you hold America’s beloved hot dog in high esteem, you may not want to read this. Here’s a fun fact — the preservatives in hot dogs are cancer causing carcinogens. Nitrites used to be added to extend the shelf life of hot dogs and prevent botulism, but now they are mostly used to give weiners that red color that people associate with freshness.
During the cooking process, nitrites combine with amines to form carcinogenic compounds. The USDA recognized this very real risk and now requires manufacturers to add cancer-fighting anti-oxidants to their dogs. That’s right… they admit hot dogs are potentially linked to cancer, so they decided to throw a little Vitamin C in the mix to help the cause. That’s like using a cotton swab to wipe an elephant’s ass.
If you don’t believe the risk, or are just in denial for love of the hot dog, here are some numbers:
A study in L.A. county revealed: “children eating more than 12 hot dogs per month have nine times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia. A strong risk for childhood leukemia also existed for those children whose fathers’ intake of hot dogs was 12 or more per month.”
A Denver study concluded: “children born to mothers who consumed hot dogs one or more times per week during pregnancy has approximately double the risk of developing brain tumors. Children who ate hot dogs one or more times per week were also at higher risk of brain cancer.”
From The Swazi Observer: “A seven-year study of close to 200 000 people by the University of Hawaii found that people who ate the most processed meats (hot dogs, sausage) had a 67 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer than those who ate little or no meat products.”
Nitrites and nitrates are actually present in all cured meats (and pet food), but hot dogs are getting the brunt of the attention for some reason. If you want more info, here are some good articles: