Knowledge Evolves

a REVERSIBLE poem about nutrition

by Joe Disch

(Read top to bottom for the “standard advice”, then from bottom to top to update it!)

 

Our elders’ wisdom is finally being reconsidered

Modern foods are healthier

No longer do we simply accept

The habits of those who came before us

Now we have learned the scientific wisdom of a diet based on

Whole grains like wheat, corn, and rice

We’ve given ourselves the “diseases of civilization” with

Saturated fats and cholesterol

According to scientific studies,

What’s the better choice?

Refined seed oils like canola, corn, and soy

And we understand we should avoid

Red meat – studies have confirmed it time and again

Everyone knows about the importance of

“This good nutritious breakfast, fortified with 8 essential vitamins and minerals”

We no longer expect to start our day with

Eggs  (especially the yolks – full of cholesterol your body makes even if you don’t eat it)

If there were a single most nutritious food, what might it be?

Modern low fat, pasteurized, homogenized dairy products

Many people don’t do well with

Things like whole, full-fat dairy foods – especially raw milk due to the live cultures

Some are better adapted to what might not be a good choice for others

Listen to your body

 

Common sense really

Eating fat is

What makes you fat

A higher carb diet is

So obviously

As nature intended

Insulin stores any extra carbs before they can cause damage

When you eat heavily of grains and starches

“Calories in, calories out” is just the simplest math

Your body is so smart

It’s important to portion your plate to meet your body’s energy needs

 

We now have too many people to feed the conventional way

Soil is becoming depleted of nutrients

Chemical inputs and genetic modification

May in fact be the only viable solution to replace

The gentle dance of traditional, restorative, organic agriculture

Well intentioned ideas sometimes can’t keep up with the realities of life

 

Move, play, laugh, love

Be sure to get plenty of sleep

Stay hydrated with clean healthy water

Eat a variety of healthy foods, including lots of vegetables

 

Unless we want to get sicker and sicker

We need to think about where we came from as well as where we’re going

Lessons are learned, and knowledge evolves

 

(Now read from bottom to top for a different perspective)

 


 

“Knowledge Evolves” Copyright 11/25/2015 by Joe Disch. Visit madisonpaleo.com for more of Joe’s work. Not intended as nutritional or medical advice. Offered as an artistic perspective on opposing viewpoints. Permission granted to republish as is, as long as this paragraph is included in its entirety.

Madison is getting a paleo bakery!

I’m excited to announce that Madison will soon have it’s first grain-free, dairy-free bakery. Beginning September 7th, you’ll be able to pre-order cupcakes and other treats that are not only gluten free but also free of grains, dairy (except butter), soy, refined sugar, and utilizing only healthier fats like coconut oil and grass-fed butter.  The initial menu of cookies, cupcakes, muffins, crackers, confections and granolas can be viewed at www.paleomamabakery.com. Many ingredients are locally sourced, such as honey from Gentle Breeze in Mt. Horeb and tart cherries from Cherryland’s Best in Door County. No retail store is planned at this time, though sales through other local outlets are being explored. (Ask your favorite spot to bring them in!)

I recently had a chance to taste-test several of the initial products (Thanks, Belle!) and was quite impressed with the quality. My family (wife and two daughters, none of whom are paleo at this time) helped me sample the vanilla salted-caramel cupcakes (pictured), chocolate chip cookies, and raw cookie dough. We agreed all were delicious and perfectly executed. Some were pleasantly surprised by the moist texture of the cupcake compared to some of the other grain-free treats we’ve tried.

As expected, prices are higher than similarly modest portions of mainstream baked goods. Also, despite the extreme attention to using the healthiest possible ingredients, these are definitely treats meant for occasional indulgence, and not something I’d make a frequent part of my diet. (I’d love to see the eventual addition of something a tad more substantial and nutrient dense, perhaps a less-sweet cookie or bar based on the cranberry walnut granola– or maybe some grass-fed gelatin gummy snacks.) Having said that, Paleo Mama’s treats are among the top tier of those I’ve tried, and I would definitely consider buying them, especially if offered somewhere I typically shop or dine. Keep them in mind next time you’re planning a party or event!

Contact information:

Paleo Mama Bakery

6300 Enterprise Lane, Madison WI

608-692-3715

Web:  www.paleomamabakery.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/paleomamabakery

Email:  belle@paleomamabakery.com

Paleo Pizza Roll-ups

Try my easy and delicious pizza alternative: sausage wrapped in kale leaves:

 

lacinato leaf

 

 

1. Steam lacinato (“dinosaur”) kale leaves and lay flat.

 

 

 

make sausage

 

2. Mix your favorite spices into plain ground pork and form a giant patty.  I like sea salt, oregano, basil, garlic and fennel seeds.  (Skip fennel if doing AIP.)  Or use ready-made sausage that you trust.

 

 

 

cooking sausage

 

3. Cook thoroughly, ideally in a cast iron skillet.  You probably won’t need to add fat unless your meat is extra lean.

 

 

 

cooked sausage

 

 

4. When fully cooked, cut into strips about 1/2″ – 1″ wide.

 

 

 

stuffed kale leaf

 

5. Place a sausage strip in the center of a leaf.  Feel free to add tomato sauce, pesto, cheese, additional veggies, or whatever if you wish.

 

 

 

paleo pizza roll-up

 

 

6. Roll up into an easy to handle bundle.

 

 

 

finished pizza rolls

 

7. If they’ve cooled down, you may wish to warm in the oven for a few minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Are Food Co-ops a Caveman’s Best Friend?

Once you’ve navigated a few grocery stores from the perspective of a modern day caveman, you’ll notice some recurring disappointments. Only a few cuts of meat are from pastured animals, and if there’s someone to ask they’ll probably try to “educate” you on the superiority of corn-fed. Vegetables are mostly grown in a tempest of chemicals, then shipped hundreds or even thousands of miles. Eggs are from chickens who may be “cage free” but are still fed a highly unnatural diet based on corn and soy, and seldom if ever see the light of day. Choices are meager among your few packaged “staples” like coconut milk & oil, nut flours, or even pure dark chocolate. What is plentiful, comprising nearly the entire center of the store, are all manner of fabricated “foods”: brightly colored nutritional time-bombs engineered from combinations of highly processed wheat, corn, sugar, and industristrial seed oils — little that your grandmother would recognize as edible.

 

It doesn’t need to be like this. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to live near a more sophisticated outlet – maybe something like Whole Foods. You’ll probably pay a little more, and there’s still (in the words of founder and CEO John Mackey) “a bunch of junk” but you’ll find a better selection of the things you want: organic produce, grass-fed meats, healthy fat options, etc. A few good choices are also starting to appear at stores like Costco and Target, as well as better independent grocers. Certainly (weather permitting) your nearest farmers’ market can be a gold mine of real foods at fair prices. There is, however, another choice – one with benefits you may not have thought possible. Astonishingly, if you don’t have this option now you can get together with your tribe and call it into existence! Behold the modern food co-op.

 

I bet I know what you’re thinking: a bunch of hippies offering up tofu burritos and wormy little apples (“That’s how you know they’re organic, man!”) in a dusty little shop smelling of patchouli and… something. I’m just old enough to remember some of that, and to confess fond memories of ice bean cones, Guerrilla cookies, and my first dried pears. With the passage of the nourishing sands of time, the guiding touch of the market’s invisible hand, and no small effort by hardworking visionaries, food co-ops have matured into something altogether different. In cities and towns nearly everywhere you’ll find clean, professional storefronts as unique as snowflakes but sharing common principles and the overarching mission of putting customers first – because those customers are also the owners.

 

You could say the first co-ops were hunter-gatherer tribes sharing their efforts to ensure that all would eat. Cooperation is a natural instinct precisely because it works. The first cooperative enterprises of the neolithic world, however, are generally identified with the cooperative movement of 19th century Europe. The Rochdale Pioneers of Lancashire, England in 1844 still exert an influence today in the form of the Cooperative Principles underlying most consumer co-ops. The movement enjoyed a second period of growth since the 1970’s when many “second wave” cooperatives started, and some see a third wave beginning now.

 

A coop is typically formed to address a community’s unmet needs. Perhaps a beloved mom-and-pop store has gone out of business. Or maybe there is simply nothing around for miles. In other cases, customers seeking particular (often more natural) foods are perceived as too small a market to warrant catering to. In response, a group of ordinary folks get together and start their own store or buying club. These can be worker-owned, or more often customer-owned. Initial capitalization is often via advance membership sales and a bond drive. Typically, members who invest in an annual share recoup the investment after $100-200 in purchases, and get a vote on certain key decisions. Leadership provided by a member-elected board follows articles of cooperation, a specific mission statement, and the cooperative principles. Product is ordered, shelves are stocked, and a new co-op is born.

 

Walk into a modern Co-op and you’ll likely find a clean, well-stocked grocery store with an emphasis on natural and organic foods. Of particular interest to paleo folks: lots of organic fruits and veggies, local grass-fed meats, good eggs, an excellent bulk department, and packaged items like coconut milk and oil. Member-owned businesses enjoy a tradition of being ahead of the curve in supporting options others don’t yet care about. Co-ops were among the first to offer plentiful organic, vegetarian (some see “paleo” as the new “vegetarian”), and gluten-free options. This applies not only to packaged products but often fresh-made deli and bakery items. (My store, for example, has recently introduced a line of grain-free hot dishes.) If you want something that isn’t stocked, most co-ops are happy to special order it for you. By shopping at a co-op, you’re probably also doing more to support local farmers and producers, and benefiting from the somewhat decentralized distribution network.

 

If you’d like to start your own co-op there are a lot of resources available to help. With a little digging, you’ll probably be able to find assistance with everything from planning to financing. You’ll find, as Thomas Jefferson allegedly once said, that the harder you work the luckier you’ll get. One good place to start is http://www.foodcoopinitiative.coop/.  Another is your nearest successful co-op. They won’t do the heavy lifting for you (maybe a little in some cases) but they’ll probably treat you more as a kindred spirit than a potential competitor. When assembling your core founders, remember to reach out to those with legal, public relations, real estate, or other helpful experience. Above all, never lose focus on the goal of serving your customers, particularly member-owners. At the end of the day the future of any business is determined by the customers, and this is especially true when the customers are running the show. Whether you get involved with an existing store or start your own, help to make it a place where good food (however you define that) is plentiful and affordable.

© 2014 Joe Disch, MadisonPaleo

Willy Street Co-op (East store) Madison, WI
Willy Street Co-op (East store) Madison, WI

Joe Disch has worked for Willy Street Grocery Cooperative since 2001, has run the paleo lifestyle blog Madison Paleo since 2012, and recently taught classes on paleo nutrition for interested staff.

What’s In Your Coconut Milk?

I’m one of those people who consider coconut milk something of a staple.  I’ve been known to travel with it for use in hotel/restaurant coffee.  Until recently, I had to choose between the brands in BPA-free cans and the ones without problematic additives like guar gum and carrageenan.

Estrogenic activity from BPA has been linked to diabetes, ADHD, endocrine problems, heart disease, infertility and cancer.  Guar gum and carrageenan have been associated with a variety of digestive issues, and more than a trace of guar makes my tummy unpleasantly gurgly.

Great news:  Natural Value has finally brought to market a canned coconut milk free of all these things, and if you live near Madison you can get it at the Willy Street Co-op!  (I may have a had a little tiny bit to do with this.)  It’s been available for a while by mail, but I’m happy I can now get it at the grocery store!

 

Since it’s just organic coconut and water, it’s not as inexplicably smooth as the other canned milks – more like homemade, actually.  Delicious coconutty taste, nice fat content, and well worth a little extra stir to avoid those extra chemicals.