The Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse Has Moved.

My old website can be found at www.stevecarper.com/li I am no longer updating the site, so there will be dead links. The static information provided by me is still sound.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on Smashwords.com or Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com or a whole lot of other places that Smashwords is suppose to distribute the book to. Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

I suffer the universal malady of spam and adbots, so I moderate comments here. That may mean you'll see a long lag before I remember to check the site and approve them. Despite the gap, you'll always get your say. I read every single one, and every legitimate one gets posted.


Monday, December 25, 2006

Post Punk Vegans

I wrote about the new cookbook Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World back on November 29.

I didn't realize I was only giving you half the story.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero were the co-hosts of a public access vegan cooking show, The Post Punk Kitchen. Well, four episodes, at least, which are still available via Google video.



And the Vegan Cupcake book is a sequel to Isa's cookbook from last year, Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock.

Want more? Isa and Terry and the rest of the Post Punk Kitchen crew have a website, theppk.com with recipes, forums, links to this and that, and the usual good stuff that comes with the freedom of being able to put everything out for the public.

Vegan with a Vengeance is available through their website, of course, or through my Milk-Free Bookstore on the Vegan Cookbooks page.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Dairy-Free Recipes from Kosher Cookbooks

Sure I know it's Christmas Eve. I'm just feeling perverse. It's my revenge for 24/7 Christmas carols starting November 1.

In What Ever Happened to Mom's Apple Cake? Rachel Silverman talks about the findings of food historian Dr. Carol Harris Shapiro who notes that Jews in America assimilated their food along with other cultural touchstones.

Shapiro also said that the recent wave of health consciousness put Jewish food on the back-burner, so to speak. Between dishes laden with fat (noodle kugel), sodium (corned-beef sandwiches) and sugar (apple cake), the professor confirmed that "pretty much the entire Jewish Ashkenazi cookbook" has been "wiped out."

Even though Shapiro said that "food is one of the very last things to leave an ethnic group," she described contemporary Jewish cuisine as steeped "in a tremendous time of flux."

Lecture attendee Herman Jacobowitz agreed, citing his own personal ambivalence about the amalgamation process.

While he said that he enjoys the Israeli-style tapas, pungent spices and soy ice-cream his daughter serves on Shabbat, he admitted to a certain nostalgia for recipes from his youth.


So let's explore some of those new-fangled Jewish foods, with dairy-free recipes that are good for those who are lactose intolerant, dairy allergic, or vegans as well.

Leave it to the New York Times to feature the Ultimate Potato Pancake recipe, adapted from Daniel Boulud's The New American Cooking.





Nancy Coale Zippe wrote 'Where There's Food …', an article about the new cookbook Where There's Food ... There's a Celebration.

Recipes on that page include:
  • "A Great Gift of Rice" mix
  • Salmon with Mustard Crumb Crust
  • Potato Latkes


Then there's Roseanne Gold, author of Kids Cook 1-2-3 who shares her recipes on Celebrate Hanukkah with latkes.

  • 1-2-3 Latkes
  • 1-2-3 Apple-Cranberry Sauce
  • 1-2-3 Apple-Cranberry Salsa


Finally, there's Doris Reynolds who wrote Let’s Talk Food: Main ingredient for latkes not just potatoes. She has the most old fashioned kind of recipe in, appropriately:

  • Molly Goldberg’s old fashioned potato latkes, from Molly Goldberg's cookbook Molly Goldberg Cooks.
  • She moderns it up with Zucchini Parmesan latkes. This recipe contains a small amount of cheese as an ingredient, but the cheese is absolutely not necessary to the result and can be safely left out.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sweet Alternative: A Cookbook for Us



Ariana Bundy, who now lives in Paris, was once the Head Pastry Chef at the L.A. Mondrian Hotel and also trained the dessert team in New York's Morgan's Hotel. I guess she can do a mean dessert.

That's good for those of us who are lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant, or have dairy allergies, because her new cookbook is Sweet Alternative: More Than 100 Recipes Without Gluten, Dairy and Soy.

The description says:

Sweet Alternative has substitute choices for those who must give up dairy, gluten or soy, without compromising on taste. Using years of research and recipe testing, Ariana Bundy provides 100 mouth-watering cookies, muffins, cakes, ice creams and other irresistible treats all made without dairy, gluten or soy.

Using ingredients such as nut milks, candied peels, fresh fruit purées, and quality chocolate, the author shows how to make vanilla ice cream, chocolate muffins enriched with quinoa, and luscious crème patissiere -- all without gluten.

These recipes are simple and the ingredients are widely available. More than 150 photographs whet the appetite for such dishes as:

  • Maple-sweetened Corn Muffins
  • French Macaroons, and
  • Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie.


You can find the book in my Milk-Free Bookstore on the Kids, Parenting and Special Diets page along with other dessert cookbooks that feature dairy or wheat-free recipes.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Reindeer Milk and Cookies for Santa?


Hold Rudolph down, elves, she's kicking and we need the milk!

Reindeer milk? Yes, kiddies, it's that time of year when the press has run out of Christmas themes to mine and starts digging deep into the drawer of desperation for ideas.

Sure, reindeer milk is comparatively low-lactose, as you can see at my website on the Lactose Zoo page. But only a Finn who grows up in the midst of them would bother. They rank just above a pig in difficulty of milkability.

Anyway, FoodNavigator.com is this year's winner of the Farthest Reach Award, given to a news site that has gone the longest and silliest way to shoehorn in a theme, for its article by Stephen Daniells, "Reindeer milk - not on Santa's list this year."

Among the highlights:

It is hard to imagine large scale milking of these animals, not only since the process is labour intensive but also because the output is poor. According to the FAO, reindeer milk yields are extremely low. Couple this to the fact that it apparently takes two people to milk the beasts - one to do the milking and the other to hold the horns it is no wonder that the milk has never gone mainstream.

...

The milk does have a distinctive nutritional profile, with a fat content of 22 per cent, a whopping six times as much as cow's milk. Donkey milk contains less than one per cent fat.

Additionally, reindeer milk is poor in lactose, containing only about 2.4 per cent - equivalent to about a one-third the lactose content of human milk (7 per cent) and half that of cow's milk (4-5 per cent), according to Fundamentals of Dairy Chemistry (B. Webb, A. Johnson, AVI Publishing, 1965).

On Donner, Blitzen, and Elsie!

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Curious, but Lactose, Casein and Gluten-Free Cookies

Curious Cookie, the "all natural gourmet" cookies, makes a line of cookies that are free of everything except, hopefully, taste.


Their "Gluten Free Gourmet Cookies" are more than just that:

A Blend of the Finest All Natural Gluten Free Flours are combined with a Gluten Substitute to create a truly outstanding Gluten Free Line of Cookies. These cookies are lactose/casein free and void of any hydrogenated oils/fats or Trans Fats.


And they come in five varieties:
  • Chocolate Chip
  • Lemon Chocolate Chip
  • Chocolate Chocolate Chip
  • Ginger Cranberry
  • Assorted Cookies


Contact them:
By Email: customerservice@curiouscookie.com

By Phone: Toll free 877-YUMMY-2-U (986-6928)
Local 973-616-8500

By Mail: Curious Cookie
719 Hamburg Tpke
Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442

Or just go to the website.

Flat rate shipping starts at $8.75.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Your Cats May Be Mutants Too

Everybody knows that cats love milk. And everybody knows that you shouldn't give milk to cats because they're lactose intolerant just like humans. Right?

Maybe not.

An article by Regina and Douglas Haggo in The Hamilton Spectator drops an odd little tidbit in the middle of a comment on the much-talked about study that says Milk-Drinking Crucial to Human Evolution.

The availability of cows' milk turned a useless mutation into an invaluable one. Natural selection would favour people with the lactose-digesting gene switched on permanently, because they could profit from the calories, vitamins and minerals in milk.

Many European cat breeds show a similar mutation that allows them to enjoy milk as adults, while oriental breeds, like most Asian humans, are lactose-intolerant.

Is this true? Any cat-fanciers out there know the facts?

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Stopping Dairy Doesn't Cut Asthma Symptoms

I've been hearing anecdotes for years from those in the anti-milk community that taking children off of dairy problems relieves their asthma symptoms.

While it's impossible to say for sure for any individual whether that may be the case, a major study has found no such correlation.

The International Study on Allergy and Asthma in Childhood 2 (ISAAC-2) looked at the consumption of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, whole grain products, and fish in relation to asthma in 598 Dutch children between the ages of 8 and 13 years. Findings were published in the medical journal Thorax.

According to a story from the Reuters Health news syndicate, Whole grains and fish may protect against asthma:

Parents completed food questionnaires, which were used to estimate the kids' dietary intakes. Wheezing and asthma were also determined with questionnaires, as well as from medical tests.

No clear associations were observed between asthma or wheezing and intake of citrus fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, but there was a link with consumption of fish and whole grain products.

"The crude prevalence of current wheeze was observed to be 19.4% in children with a low intake of both foods compared with 4.2% in children with a high intake of both foods," Smit's team [Dr. H. A. Smit, of the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, and colleagues] reports. "For current asthma the crude prevalences were 16.7% and 2.8%, respectively."

After adjustments, whole grains and fish were linked to a reduction of 54 percent and 66 percent, respectively, in the likelihood of having asthma, and similar reductions of 45 percent and 56 percent for wheezing.

Further studies will look at the reasons why whole grains and fish may decrease the likelihood of these symptoms.

However, dairy products appeared to have no effect on asthma symptoms.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Patricia Wheway: Creator of "Free From" Foods

I've written about "free from" foods before. Free-From Foods to be Less Fickle in UK, "Free From" Foods Grow in Sales, and More UK Free-From Foods Honoured.

"Free from" foods are free of ingredients like milk or wheat that can trigger allergies, lactose intolerance, celiac disease or other eating disorders. The term seems to be uniquely U.K. At least, it's not one I've seen in the U.S. and I don't remember coming across it in articles about other countries.

Another thing I didn't know was the origin of the term. It came in a dream.

But maybe I should start at the beginning.

As Simon Crompton writes for the TimesOnline, A one-woman food revolution, the free from campaign is due entirely to one woman: Patricia Wheway.

Her son, George, suffered from a long series of problems. More through trial and experimentation than doctor's awareness, she found that removing various allergens from his diet helped remove his symptoms. But finding foods that were made without dairy, wheat, or certain additives were a challenge. As I've written in those previous posts, the U.K. lagged years behind the U.S. in developing a true alternative foods market.

When nobody else has stepped up, sometimes you just have to do things yourself. When I first learned in 1978 that I was LI, only one book existed that was of any help: Isobel Sainsbury's The Milk-Free and Milk-Free Egg-Free Cookbook. She had written it because her own son - born in 1954! - was allergic to dairy and eggs and no cookbooks could be found that didn't load up the recipes with milk and eggs and she had to learn how to devise substitute recipes for herself.

I wrote my first book on LI, No Milk Today: How to Live with Lactose Intolerance, because there weren't any books on LI and I wanted to share with others the years of research I put in on my own.

Wheway's problem was slightly different: she couldn't find the products she wanted. So she wrote to the head of the largest supermarket chain in the U.K. and asked to take over. And they agreed.

Wheway trudged around every supermarket and every health store near her Surrey home, trying to find something that was safe and edible, but in vain. “I was baking gluten-free bread for him every day and preparing all his food myself,” she says. Angry at the food industry, disillusioned and worn down by George’s obsessional behaviour (he would switch lights on and off for hours), she wanted to change things. In 2001 she decided she was the person who would make the food industry change. She wrote to Tesco’s chief executive, Sir Terry Leahy, with a plan for the sorts of allergy foods that any self-respecting supermarket should have on its shelves. She told them all about herself — her background in retail; her experiences with George — set out a strategy, and offered to develop the range herself.

Amazingly, Tesco said yes. Sir Terry wrote and asked her to come to see them, and then gave her a job. It ended up with Wheway introducing Tesco’s Free From range in 2002, and kick-starting a supermarket revolution with all the other leading stores following suit. She is now brand manager at Tesco, not just for Free From but also the additive-free Tesco Kids range, launched last February, and the Fairtrade range. It makes her one of the most influential voices in the UK’s biggest food store.


She gave the line of foods the name "free from" because it really did come to her in a dream. Still a great name, though.
and the response was amazing, she says. Market research indicated that customers thought it was one of the main areas where “Every little helps”, as the Tesco slogan goes. The main purchasers, she says, are people with coeliac disease (an inability to digest gluten) or intolerance to wheat or gluten. Tesco sells more than £30 million worth of the range annually and expanded it this year because of customer demand. Wheway believes that people with food allergies and intolerances are now much better catered for than the days when she was tearing out her hair.


Two other major U.K. chains, Sainsbury's (any relation to Isobel? I don't honestly know) and Morrisons, have also introduced "free from" lines.

A happy ending? You bet.
George, now 10, is happily settled at a small school for children with moderate learning disabilities, and is free from seizures, diarrhoea and hyperactivity. The family lives a short drive from Tesco’s headquarters in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and Wheway has been allowed to work part-time so that she can be with George after school. This year she won an Allergy Magazine award.


Congratulations from me as well.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Milk Mutation "Strongest Signal of Selection"

More info is coming in on the report highlighted in Monday's post, Milk-Drinking Crucial to Human Evolution.

Scientific American has weighed in with its own article, African Adaptation to Digesting Milk Is "Strongest Signal of Selection Ever", by Nikhil Swaminathan.

According to University of Maryland biologist Sarah Tishkoff, the lead author of a study appearing in today's Nature Genetics, the mutation allowing them to "get milk" arose so quickly and was so advantageous that "it is basically the strongest signal of selection ever observed in any genome, in any study, in any population in the world."

...

Tishkoff's team determined the date range when the mutation likely occurred: 3,000 to 7,000 years ago, which matches up well with the archaeological record that places pastoralization coming to East Africa about 5,000 years ago. The European trait dates back about 9,000 years.

Tishkoff believes that because she found so many markers associated with lactose tolerance in the sequencing of her 109 subjects, evolution clearly develops multiple solutions when there is a strong selective force. "There are some populations that can digest milk, and they don't have any of these mutations," she says. "There are more out there."


The abstract for the article can be found on the Nature Genetics website, but it won't mean anything except to specialists.

An even fuller version of the report is scheduled for the December 15, 2006 issue of Science, the premier science journal in the U.S.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Milk-Drinking Crucial to Human Evolution


In my book, Milk Is Not for Every Body, I provided an explanation for lactose persistance, that strange condition which allows adults to drink milk without symptoms. Here's an excerpt from the book:

The combination of the convenient presence of milk from domesticated animals, the nutritional advantage that milk can offer and the genetic dominance of the LP gene form the basis for the current scientific consensus that natural selection pressures account for the astoundingly high percentages of LP in certain corners of the world today. Once set into motion, the spread of milk-drinking appears to be inevitable, having happened at least twice in different ways in different parts of the world.

All that is necessary is that the following three conditions (set out by John D. Johnson, Norman Kretchmer and Frederick J. Simoons in "Lactose Malabsorption: Its Biology and History," Advances in Pediatrics, 1974:21:197-237) be in place. LP is almost certain to appear whenever a cohesive group of people:

    1) Have a plentiful milk supply;

    2) Do not process their milk into products that are low in lactose; and

    3) Cannot readily obtain from other available foods essential nutrients that milk does provide.


The situation that would clearly create the greatest selection pressure is the one in which a group has literally nothing else to eat other than milk.

Impossible as it might seem, there are many such groups, all of them tribal nomads on the fringes of the Sahara desert. Take the Beja, who live in the Sudan between the Nile and the Red Sea. As recently as 5,000 years ago, northern Africa had a much wetter climate. When the rains dried up, so did the land, leading to a spread of the desert into traditional nomadic pastoral lands. Agriculture became impossible in this desert setting. Only animals could eat the few plants that naturally grew and no other food sources were available (condition 3). Yet the Beja survive as long as their animals do. During the dry season that may last as long as nine months they live almost entirely on the milk of their camels and goats, up to 3 quarts per adult per day (condition 1). Milk processing and storage in forms that are low in lactose is impossible given the desert temperatures and the nomadic Beja lifestyle. All the milk must be drunk fresh (condition 2). As the Beja clearly satisfy all three conditions, they must have faced enormous selection pressures over the centuries in favor of those tribal members who could drink milk without getting sick. Today, over 80% of the Beja test as LP.

Nor are they alone. Other nomadic desert peoples who have high frequencies of LP include the Bedouins in Arabia and the Libyan desert, Kabbabish in the western Sudan, Tuareg in the central Sahara, and the Fulbe (Peulh) in the northern Sahel. (Whether each is an independent example of LP evolution or whether intertribal mixing of genes occurred is not clear.) Because their particular tribal cultures and unique histories have determined their powerful dependence on milk, this explanation for their LP is known as the "culture historical hypothesis."


None of this exactly qualifies as breaking news. My sources for this are now over 30 years old.

However, everything old is new again, especially when people look at it in a new way.

The genetic mutation which created the lactose tolerance of these African tribes has just now been found, according to Nicholas Wade, in an article in The New York Times, Study Detects Recent Instance of Human Evolution. (May need free registration.)

Intriguingly, the exact mutations for these tribes differ from the one shared by most Europeans. That means it came from a separate set of mutations fostered by separate natural selection, something that is called "convergent evolution." This is one of the first examples of convergent evolution documented at the genetic level.

Wade wrote:
Genetic evidence shows that the mutations conferred an enormous selective advantage on their owners, enabling them to leave almost 10 times as many descendants as people without them. The mutations have created “one of the strongest genetic signatures of natural selection yet reported in humans,” the researchers write.


And it shows the importance to human survival of the domestication of animals and the use of all available natural substances as food.

Far from being unnatural to drink cow's milk, as the anti-milk crowd's propaganda has it, the genius of humans being omnivores appears to be something absolutely basic to humanity's survival.

Try that out at your next PETA meeting.

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Dairy Free Made Easy

Alisa Fleming of GoDairyFree.org sent me an announcement about her new book.

December 7, 2006 - Alisa Marie Fleming of GoDairyFree.org is proud to announce her new book Dairy Free Made Easy: Thousands of Foods, Hundreds of Tips, and Dozens of Recipes for Non-Dairy Living.

Over 10 million Americans follow a dairy free diet, and millions more are striving to cut back. In a world rich with cream and cheese this can seem a difficult feat. Luckily this unique new resource has emerged. Though accurate, the title of this book may be an understatement. It is loaded with non-dairy foods, over 2000 entries in fact, and it does contain countless tips for cooking, baking, dining out, and grocery shopping. As well, there are several starter recipes for desserts, entrees, cheeses, milk alternatives, and other dairy substitutes. Yet, there is even more to this elaborate food guide.

Dairy Free Made Easy covers ‘understanding dairy milk’ to ensure readers are aware of the various types of milk (organic, goat, etc.) and what dietary needs they may have, since milk has become such a big nutrient source in the American diet. There is also a ‘strong bones’ guide with calcium resources and health information. Of course, the book would not be complete without discussions of milk allergies (for infants, children, and adults), lactose intolerance, weight loss, the vegan diet, chronic disease prevention, soy, and dairy food addiction.

The product lists within this book could stand alone in their own guide. Every item listed is free of dairy ingredients, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), and high fructose corn syrup. For those with additional diet concerns, the author has gone to the trouble of identifying which products are also vegan, kosher certified, manufactured on dairy free dedicated equipment, and free of gluten or soy ingredients. Plus, a manufacturer’s contact list (roughly 500 companies) offers website addresses and phone numbers for direct consumer inquiries.

To further the practicality, Dairy Free Made Easy is packaged in a spiral bound format for convenient in store and kitchen usage. The portable size and ability to flip right to the ‘dairy ingredients’ reference page is a savior while grocery shopping.

To up the ante, each book purchased directly from the publisher, Go Dairy Free, will include several coupons and discounts worth over $40 in value. As a special introduction to dairy free living, coupons are enclosed for non-dairy ice cream soy yogurt, dip, vegan cheese, baking mix, granola, cookies, soymilk, frozen entrees, and more!

Due to the inclusion of these money-saving offers, quantities are limited. Fortunately, Dairy Free Made Easy can be purchased directly from www.GoDairyFree.org should you not find it in your local store.


Her order form is hard to duplicate on a blog, so just go directly to her book page to order one.

I did.

(And why doesn't Google's auto-fill work on a Google Checkout page? Can anybody explain that?)

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Win medGadget's Short Story Contest

This isn't about LI, or dairy, or allergies, or any of the things I usually write about, but it's my blog so what the hey.

And it is medically-related. Tangentially. Sorta.

Anyway, a site called medGadget.com held a "sci-fi" writing contest. As the site name indicates, it's a news site, kind of a blog, that concentrates on medical hardware the way I scour the world for info on dairy-free products. Their contest was to work up a short-story about medicine in the future, gadget-related or not.

OK, I'm normally a purist about calling sf sf, and not "sci-fi," but I can't change the world. Besides: I had an idea. I expanded it into a story and popped it into an email right at deadline.

And I won. "Just brilliant," they called it. Who am I to disagree?

You can read the story, the story behind the story, and the runner-up stories here.

The prize. Um, well, it's a Thinklabs ds32a Stethoscope with Electromagnetic Diaphragm. The link is a shout out to the company that donated it to the contest. Don't worry, guys. I'll find it a good home.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Don't let Flatulence Spoil Yours or 99 Others Travel Plans

It's our horrible little not-so-secret that lactose intolerance can produce some of the most vile gas to pass from the human body.

As a public service I'm reprinting this press release. Then let's not talk about it. OK?

Mililani, Hawaii (PRWEB) December 6, 2006 -- A Dallas women, on American Airlines flight #1053 bound for Dallas caused the aircraft to have an emergency landing in Nashville, Tennessee due to her episode of smelly flatulence. This individual suffered from a medical condition that caused excessive intestinal gas. She tried to cover up the odor by lighting matches and some passengers thought it was fumes from a bomb. If she had known about the Flatulence Deodorizer she would not have disrupted the travel of 99 passengers.

Brian Conant, President of Flat-D Innovations, Inc. is the Inventor of the patented product called "The Flatulence Deodorizer". The Flatulence Deodorizer is Doctor Recommended for a" better quality of life" and has been designed to assist people that suffer from dietary, medication side effects and medical conditions. Conant says..."they've had great success helping people that have disorders such as Celiac's Disease, Crohn's, Colitis, Diabetes, HIV, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Lactose Intolerance". Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects 25-million people (in the USA) and of those 70% are females ranging from the age of 29 to 60 years old. Diabetes affects 16 million people and about 50 million people have lactose intolerance and experience intestinal discomfort after consuming dairy products. Conant say..."they've also assisted individuals that have gone through medical procedures such as gastric bypass surgery, colon reconstruction surgery and chemotherapy".

Since its debut (October 2002) onto the Internet this product has helped thousands of people worldwide (USA & International) and has gained recognition among the Medical Community. The Flatulence Deodorizer is FDA Registered and has been proven to be effective against odors associated with flatulence. The product is a thin (1/16th of an inch) activated charcoal fabric pad that is placed in the underwear (in a similar fashion to a sanitary napkin) next to the buttocks. The product is an extremely thin, hypoallergenic, activated charcoal fabric pad in the shape of a light bulb and can be washed repeatedly and still maintains its effectiveness. The Flatulence Deodorizer is placed in the underwear next to the buttocks, creating a seal and forcing the gas to pass through the material. As the gas passes through the material, the material neutralizes the odor therefore eliminating the embarrassment associated with the odor.

...

For more info visit: www.Flat-d.com.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Vegetarian Holiday Meals

If you're sufficiently recovered from Thanksgiving to think about the next round of family holidays, then you need to think again about those special meals for relatives/friends/family/random strangers who might be lactose intolerant, dairy allergic, vegan, gluten intolerant, or anti-nog.

Vesanto Melina on commonground.ca discusses viable recipes in Vegetarian Holiday Meals.

She suggests:

A large squash stuffed with seasoned cooked grains, then baked, makes a spectacular centrepiece. The stuffing can include basmati rice, quinoa, onion, parsley, walnuts or pecans, sun-dried tomatoes and seasonings, such as basil and oregano. You can create your own stuffing combination, or use the recipe for sensational stuffed squash and good gravy in Raising Vegetarian Children (Stepaniak and Melina, McGraw-Hill, 2003).


Raising Vegetarian Children is available in my Milk-Free Bookstore on the Kids and Parenting page.

Desserts are always a special problem. She suggests one from another vegetarian book:
German chocolate cake with coconut squash icing may well become everyone’s favourite chocolate dessert. Ask your guests to guess which vegetable is part of the icing; likely, no one will guess correctly. (See recipes for these in Becoming Vegetarian by Melina and Davis, (Wiley Canada, 2003).


The New Becoming Vegetarian, 2nd ed., is available in my Milk-Free Bookstore on the Vegan Cookbooks page.


Gluten-free diners may go for the following:
squash stuffed with grains is a welcome offering and may be served with one of several excellent gluten-free gravies. Another popular choice, and my favourite in the world of gluten-free baking, is pumpkin spice bread. Ultra-fudge brownies and heavenly date squares are good too. All are made without a scrap of eggs, dairy or wheat. (See recipes in the Food Allergy Survival Guide. Melina, Stepaniak and Aronson, Healthy Living Publications, 2004)


The Food Allergy Survival Guide is available in my Milk-Free Bookstore on the Multiple Allergy Cookbooks page.

Melina also gives an unsourced recipe for kale and red pepper holly ring, but I'm going to assume that it comes from one of her cookbooks that she's plugging.

Kale and Red Pepper Holly Ring

Deep green kale tossed with bright red bell peppers resembles a holly wreath when presented in a circle on a plate. As this way of serving greens is likely to have broad appeal, you may wish to double or triple the recipe for larger groups.

6 cups thinly sliced kale greens
¼ cup diced sweet red pepper
2 tbsp flaxseed oil or olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

Fold kale leaves in half lengthwise and remove the rib. Then slice thinly. Place kale in steamer, sprinkle with red pepper. Cover and steam over medium-high heat until the peppers are tender-crisp. Drain. Combine oil, vinegar and tamari in a bowl large enough to hold kale. Toss kale and peppers into vinegar mixture and place on warm platter. Create a wreath shape by pushing the seasoned kale toward edges of platter, leaving an open space in centre. If desired, heap steamed rice or place a rounded nut loaf in the centre of the ring.

Makes about four servings.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen


One more book on food.

Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (Scribners, 2004, 896 pages, $40.00 list price) comes with as many superlatives as pages.

The Amazon page on it has reviews with titles like, "Definitive Text on Food Science AND Lore. Buy It.," "the new and improved bible of food and cooking," "Encyclopedic reference," and "The Modern Scientific Kitchen Classic."

Its description provides yet more:

Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is a kitchen classic. Hailed by Time magazine as "a minor masterpiece" when it first appeared in 1984, On Food and Cooking is the bible to which food lovers and professional chefs worldwide turn for an understanding of where our foods come from, what exactly they're made of, and how cooking transforms them into something new and delicious.

Now, for its twentieth anniversary, Harold McGee has prepared a new, fully revised and updated edition of On Food and Cooking. He has rewritten the text almost completely, expanded it by two-thirds, and commissioned more than 100 new illustrations. As compulsively readable and engaging as ever, the new On Food and Cooking provides countless eye-opening insights into food, its preparation, and its enjoyment.

On Food and Cooking pioneered the translation of technical food science into cook-friendly kitchen science and helped give birth to the inventive culinary movement known as "molecular gastronomy." Though other books have now been written about kitchen science, On Food and Cooking remains unmatched in the accuracy, clarity, and thoroughness of its explanations, and the intriguing way in which it blends science with the historical evolution of foods and cooking techniques.

Among the major themes addressed throughout this new edition are:



Traditional and modern methods of food production and their influences on food quality

The great diversity of methods by which people in different places and times have prepared the same ingredients

Tips for selecting the best ingredients and preparing them successfully

The particular substances that give foods their flavors and that give us pleasure

Our evolving knowledge of the health benefits and risks of foods

On Food and Cooking is an invaluable and monumental compendium of basic information about ingredients, cooking methods, and the pleasures of eating. It will delight and fascinate anyone who has ever cooked, savored, or wondered about food.


I preach about how everyone should understand food, digestion, nutrition, ingredients, and cooking. This looks to be a book for those who want to take me up on that challenge.

I've added the book to my Milk-Free Bookstore on the Vegan Cookbooks page.

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