Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Buddy and Me

Warning -- Satire -- April Fools Post

I have a sheepish confession to make: until recently, I had a tapeworm, and that's why I'm lean.

In 2006, I took a trip to Mexico with a few friends.  We often traveled through rural areas, and of course sampled the local cuisine wherever we went.  In many parts of Mexico, pork is an important food.  Some of it may have been a bit undercooked.

At the time, my interest in food and health was growing, and I was making many changes to my diet.  I was glad to see the chubbiness around my neck and waist begin to disappear.  The diet was working!  Or so I thought...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Is Meat Unhealthy? Consolidated links

Several people have asked for a consolidated list of links to my series on meat and health.  Here it is!  This should make it easier to share.  

Is Meat Unhealthy?  Part I.  Introduction and ethical/environmental considerations.
Is Meat Unhealthy?  Part II.  Our evolutionary history with meat.
Is Meat Unhealthy?  Part III.  Meat and cardiovascular disease.
Is Meat Unhealthy?  Part IV.  Meat and obesity risk.
Is Meat Unhealthy?  Part V.  Meat and type 2 diabetes risk.
Is Meat Unhealthy?  Part VI.  Meat and cancer risk.
Is Meat Unhealthy?  Part VII.  Meat and total mortality.
Is Meat Unhealthy?  Part VIII.  Health vs. the absence of disease.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

Food Reward Friday

This week's lucky "winner"... donuts!!

Krispy Kreme donuts being made.  Hopefully this image isn't appetizing enough to make you want donuts.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Build Your Own Yogurt Maker, Sous-vide Cooker, and All-purpose Fermenter for $40

I make a half gallon of yogurt, twice a month.  I like making my own yogurt for many reasons, but it's a bit of a pain.  Since I make large batches, I can't use a standard yogurt maker.  I often get distracted and over-heat the milk, and the method I use to incubate the yogurt is wildly inefficient (my beloved Excalibur dehydrator).  I also need a constant warm temperature for various other fermentation projects, and that's often difficult to achieve with the tools I have.

I finally found a better solution: a temperature controller that accurately regulates the temperature of a slow cooker by turning an outlet on or off.  I simply set the temperature of the controller, place the temperature probe into the slow cooker, and plug the slow cooker into the temperature controller outlet.  The slow cooker then stays at whatever temperature I want.  Here's what the temperature controller looks like:

Once built, the temperature controller with or without the slow cooker can be used for a variety of other tasks (including regulating cooling devices).  Here are some ideas that come to mind:
  • Sous-vide cooker
  • High-capacity yogurt maker
  • Bread dough riser
  • All-purpose thermophilic fermenter (e.g., for tempeh, natto, koji)
  • Beer/cider/wine fermentation temperature controller
  • Kegerator controller
  • Freezer-to-fridge conversion
  • Egg incubator
  • Soil temperature controller for seed starting
Don't worry, I'm not turning into a food blogger.  But this sous-vide-cooked
chicken I made with my DIY temperature controller was pretty tasty.
I used this recipe from NomNom Paleo.
You can build the whole thing for about $40, including the slow cooker.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Is Meat Unhealthy? Part IX

Welcome to the last post in the series.  Time to summarize and wrap it up!


I respect each person's right to choose the diet they prefer.  This includes vegetarians and vegans, particularly because most of them make daily sacrifices to try to make the world a better place for all of us.  I'm an omnivore, but I sympathize with some of the philosophy and I often eat beans or lentils instead of meat*.

Our history with meat

Our ancestors have probably been eating some form of meat continuously for at least two hundred million years.  However, the quantity has waxed and waned.  The first mammals were probably largely carnivorous (insectivores).  Yet our primate ancestors went through a 60-million-year arboreal phase, during which we probably ate fruit, leaves, seeds, insects, and perhaps a little bit of vertebrate meat.  We only outgrew this phase in the last few million years, when we developed the tools and the brains to pursue prey more effectively.

During our 2.6 million-year stint as hominin hunter-gatherers, we ate an omnivorous diet, although we really have very little idea how much meat it contained (it probably varied by time and place).  Historical and contemporary hunter-gatherer cultures are all omnivorous, and typically eat significant to substantial quantities of meat, suggesting that our ancestors may have done the same.  Non-industrial agricultural populations eat as much meat as they can get, although they usually can't get as much as hunter-gatherers.

If there is such thing as a natural human diet, it is clearly omnivorous.

Meat, obesity, and chronic disease