Recipe: Flax and Berry Smoothie

This smoothie is a great way to give you energy and lots of nutrition. Flax, although a very small seed, is packed with benefits. It has both soluble and insoluble fiber and contains omega-3 essential fatty acids that have been shown to have heart-healthy benefits. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s. A great way to start the weekend!

Flax and Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1 cup organic berries, fresh or frozen

2 large handfuls organic spinach

1 tablespoon One Degree Organics Flax Seeds, ground

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Enjoy as soon as possible.

Puff Science: Cuckoo Study Gets Credibility

Have you ever dreamed of publishing your special insights on health, science or even chocolatey cereals in a medical journal? A light-hearted experiment by a Harvard researcher demonstrated just how easy it is, and in the process revealed that “open-access medical journals” have become safe harbors for studies that are often wholly unmoored from science.

Postdoctoral candidate Mark Shrime proved his point by going to ridiculous lengths to be, well, ridiculous. He titled his manuscript “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?” and used randomtextgenerator.com to fill the study with gibberish. Modestly, he accepted no credit for his work, instead citing “Pinkerton LeBrain” and “Orson G. Welles” as authors.

Writing in Fast Company magazine, Elizabeth Segran describes what happened next: “Shrime submitted it to 37 journals over two weeks and, so far, 17 of them have accepted it. (They have not ‘published’ it, but say they will as soon as Shrime pays the $500. This is often referred to as a ‘processing fee.’ …) Several have already typeset it and given him reviews. … One publication says his methods are ‘novel and innovative’! …

“Many of these publications sound legitimate. To someone who is not well-versed in a particular sub-field of medicine — a journalist, for instance — it would be easy to mistake them for valid sources. ‘As scientists, we’re aware of the top-tier journals in our specific sub-field, but even we cannot always pinpoint if a journal in another field is real or not,’ Shrime says. ‘For instance, the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology is the very first journal I was ever published in and it’s legitimate. But the Global Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology is fake. Only someone in my field would know that.’”

These journals are essentially superhighways to legitimacy for junk science, with a $500-token toll both as the starting gate. Or as Dr. Pinkerton LeBrain puts it in a novel and innovative study, soon to be cited everywhere from the Twitterverse to the blogosphere: “In an intention dependent on questions on elsewhere, we betrayed possible jointure in throwing cocoa. Any rapid event rapid shall become green.”

Decipher more here: http://bit.ly/1D4BXBJ

Genetically Recoded Organisms

In the geek-chic world of genetic fashion designers, GMO plants are beginning to look so turn-of-the-century.

Once the Petri-dish modification of crops seemed like forbidden, Roundup-resistant fruit. The technology was thrilling, cutting-edge, and carelessly controversial. But the lab technicians have moved on, inventing whole new fields of genetic science in pursuit of the same goal: a more profitable knock-off of a Mother Nature original.

In past blog stories, we’ve explored the ways some researchers are planning a future of atomically modified food, using nanoparticle technologies. Others are excited about microRNA manipulation, reaching deep into DNA’s double helix to reset a plant’s internal clockwork. And for those companies that still think much about federal oversight, there’s the concept of “genome editing,” in which novel life forms are born as joyriding scientists accelerate through a newly-created regulatory loophole.

Enter “genetic recoding,” a process that borrows from Cold War terminology to offer the promise of “fail-safe” technology. The idea is to build new organisms that cannot survive outside the laboratory, at least for several microbial generations. These “recoded” entities need a substance that only the well-meaning doctor who creates them can supply.

As Reuters reported last week: “A year after creating organisms that use a genetic code different from every other living thing, two teams of scientists have achieved another ‘synthetic biology’ milestone: They created bacteria that cannot survive without a specific manmade chemical, potentially overcoming a major obstacle to wider use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).”

With this fail-safe chemical dependency in place, scientists can feel free to invent ever more exotic variations: “Although the two labs accomplished this in bacteria, ‘there is no fundamental barrier’ to applying the technique to plants and animals, Harvard Medical School biologist George Church, who led one of the studies, told reporters. ‘I think we are moving in (that) direction.’ …

“In 2013, Church’s team announced they had leaped beyond genetic engineering to create ‘genomically recoded’ organisms. Recoding means that one bit of their DNA codes for an amino acid (a building-block of proteins) different from what the identical DNA codes for in every other living thing. The biologists had rewritten the genetic spelling book.

“In the new studies, teams led by Church and a former colleague, Farren Isaacs, created strains of E. coli bacteria that both contain DNA for a manmade amino acid and require synthetic amino acids to survive. … Church’s team made 49 genetic changes to E. coli to make them dependent on the synthetic amino acid. The odds of a microbe undoing all the changes are astronomically high, he calculated.”

Watch the familiar storyline unfold here: http://yhoo.it/1EBdTYo

Recipe: Gluten Free Sprouted Cornbread

A warm, moist slice of cornbread cannot be rivaled by much. My grandpa taught me to eat it in a bowl with peanut butter and maple syrup, and that is still one of my favorite combinations.

This gluten free, vegan recipe features our new sprouted corn flour and works great with chili, jam, vegan butter spreads, or the personal favorite — maple syrup. Make up a large batch of the gluten free mix to have on hand to save time.

 

Gluten Free Sprouted Cornbread

1 1/2 cups One Degree Organics Sprouted Corn Flour

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (see below)

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups vegan milk (coconut, almond, soy)

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 11” x 7” 2.2-quart pan.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Whisk in the vegan milk and coconut oil.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm.

 

Gluten Free Flour Blend:

3 cups One Degree Organics Sprouted Rice Flour

1 cup cornstarch

1 cup tapioca starch

U.S. Meat Processing: Return to the Jungle

“They use everything about the hog except the squeal,” Upton Sinclair wrote in The Jungle, his famous 1906 exposé of American meat packing plants. The book gave the public a glimpse into the horrid conditions prevalent in the slaughterhouses of the time, where meats of questionable safety and content were readied for a trusting population.

“Now and then a visitor wept, to be sure,” he wrote, “but this slaughtering machine ran on, visitors or no visitors. It was like some horrible crime committed in a dungeon, all unseen and unheeded, buried out of sight and of memory.”

More than a century later, writer Ted Genoways set out to discover whether practices at the big slaughterhouses have changed as much as we like to believe they have. Despite all the great social and sanitary advances since The Jungle, the results of his investigation show that learning the truth about these plants is still the surest way to kill an appetite.

Genoways is the author of the book, “The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food.” The chain referenced in the title is not simply a metaphor, but also a driving mechanical force that creates serious food safety issues, as well as poor working conditions for the increasingly non-union immigrant labor force.

“In modern meat-packing plants, the rate of production is set by a chain conveyor system,” he explains in an article for Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “The chain determines everything about how a day in the plant goes, and workers often talk about it as if it were a living thing, something to be feared.”

The chain is relentless and coldly unforgiving. “The industry has been stretched to the breaking point by the drive for cheaper and cheaper meat. And Hormel, in particular, with its runaway demand for Spam and no government regulation to slow things down, has pushed its lines to breakneck speeds. Consider this: in 2002, Hormel’s production lines were running at 900 pigs per hour; by 2007, they were running 1,350 pigs per hour. That’s a 50% increase in five years, but the number of workers on the line increased by only about 15%. So, obviously, everyone is working harder, working faster, and mistakes occur. …

“The speed of pork production is not only affecting the health and safety of workers on the line; now lines are moving so fast that the safety of consumers is being placed at risk. Inspectors have discovered pig carcasses with lesions from tuberculosis, septic arthritis (with bloody fluid pouring from joints) and smears from fecal matter and intestinal contents. But the plants were never shut down. The chain never stopped. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s inspector general warned that these ‘recurring, severe violations may jeopardize public health’ but concluded that because they do not face substantial consequences for repeated food safety violations, ‘the plants have little incentive to improve their slaughter processes.’”

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/1z8eKLw

Recipe: Sprouted Brown Rice Crisp Energy Balls

Keep those New Years resolutions going! This treat is the perfect energy boost before or after a workout or while out on a long hike enjoying the great outdoors. Keep active and stay healthy!

Sprouted Brown Rice Crisp Energy Balls

2/3 cup pecans

5 large Medjool dates

1 tablespoon chia

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon chia

Pinch of salt

2/3 cup One Degree Organics Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps

 

Directions:

Add the pecans to a food processor and pulse until they reach a fine crumble consistency.

Add the Medjool dates, chia, vanilla, salt and Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps and pulse again until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and roll into balls or press mixtures into a small cake pan and cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 10-12 balls

A Treasure of Ancient Grains

The world may have the Arctic seed vault, but the island of Gotland has “the treasure of Ardre.” Opening a chest left behind by a farmer whose breads were famous locally for their special flavors, a group of young farmers found a cache of seeds for scores of long-forgotten wheat varieties.

“What we discovered in Ardre was pretty much the history of wheat,” organic farmer Curt Niklasson, who was present that day in 1965, told author Cole Ruth.

Time moved slowly on the tiny Swedish isle. “It wasn’t until the 1990s when Hans Larsson, a researcher in plant breeding for organic farming at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, decided to unearth [the] seeds to take a closer look at their DNA,” Ruth writes in Modern Farmer. “He counted at least 70 different varieties of grain. Larsson enlisted the help of Niklasson and together they began experimenting with re-growing the ancient grains.”

The result was a farming cooperative called Gutekorn whose ancient-grain products are in demand throughout Sweden, Denmark and beyond. The chest found at Ardre was essentially a time capsule, filled with tales of adventure and chance discoveries — the journey through the centuries of grain.

“Originally, einkorn made its way from Persia, crossed with wild grasses and turned into wild emmer, was cultivated and crossed with another wild grass and became spelt,” the author notes. “There is evidence that einkorn, emmer and spelt were all cultivated on Gotland as far back as 500 B.C. and seeds of all of these were found in Ardre, including multiple sub-varieties, like summer wheat, white, red, blue and black emmer, and borstvete, a variety of wheat that appears to be unique to Gotland. …

“‘Because of the molecular make-up of what we call wheat today, the bread we eat is no longer worthy of its name,’ says Niklasson. He then explains how the ancient grains differ in the amount of gluten they hold and that they are rich in minerals, making them rich in flavor. Einkorn, for instance, has relatively little fiber, is fattier than wheat, is rich in beta-carotene and low in gluten. Emmer wheat is a good source of antioxidants and has higher protein content than bread wheat…

“‘Over time, growers selected the best-producing varieties, but that has created highly susceptible monocultures,’ Niklasson explained. ‘Gutekorn’s varieties are different from modern grains. They have deep roots and long hairs, and they are highly resistant to disease, drought and poor soil.’”

The treasure hasn’t made Niklasson wealthy, but he’s rich in many other ways: “‘A farmer today isn’t free,’ says Niklasson. ‘Farmers are dependent on the seed distributors and since the modern seeds don’t have the right resistances, they are dependent on pesticide producers, and since the pesticides kill the healthy microbes in the soil, they are also dependent on the fertilizer companies. At Gutekorn we are some of the last free farmers.’”

Discover lost treasure here: http://bit.ly/1ePgFwm

Rodents Show Costs of Corn Syrup

When processed food companies began substituting high-fructose corn syrup for cane sugar, the effect on profit was dramatic. Corn was plentiful, cheap and domestic. Cane sugar was distant both geographically and politically, with supplies limited by quotas that kept prices high.

Since then, an increasing amount of research has shown that the impact on consumer health was just as dramatic. The latest study to highlight the dangers of mass consumption of high-fructose corn syrup comes from the University of Utah, where scientists tested diets heavy with either table sugar or corn syrup on mice. The result, according to the Utah researchers: “The fructose-glucose mixture found in high-fructose corn syrup was more toxic than sucrose or table sugar, reducing both the reproduction and lifespan of female rodents.”

In a news release prepared by the university, senior author Dr. Wayne Potts noted that “when the diabetes-obesity-metabolic syndrome epidemics started in the mid-1970s, they corresponded with both a general increase in consumption of added sugar and the switchover from sucrose being the main added sugar in the American diet to high-fructose corn syrup making up half our sugar intake.”

In the Utah study, the test mice received a quarter of total dietary calories from processed sugars, just as an estimated 13 to 25 percent of Americans do. Sugars that occur naturally in food were not counted. “One group ate a mix of fructose-glucose monosaccharides like those in high-fructose corn syrup. The other group ate sucrose. Female mice on the fructose-glucose diet had death rates 1.87 times higher than females on the sucrose diet. They also produced 26.4 percent fewer offspring.”

According to team member Dr. James Ruff, “in the American diet, 44 percent of the added sugar is sucrose, 42 percent is high-fructose corn syrup and the remaining 14 percent includes honey, molasses, juice concentrates and agave — all of which also combine fructose and glucose (which also is known as dextrose).”

From a global perspective, the amount of high-fructose corn syrup in the American diet is extremely high; the worldwide average is approximately 8 percent. With such a significant difference, the next question might be: Are American consumers the real test mice?

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/1HB5QwD

Recipe: Sprouted Whole Wheat Garlic Naan

This naan is the perfect pairing to curries and soups and also works great as personal flatbreads or sandwich wraps.

 

Sprouted Whole Wheat Garlic Naan

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups warm water

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

2 tablespoons coconut sugar, raw cane sugar or sweetener of choice

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup olive oil

5 1/2 cups One Degree Organics Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour

Olive oil, for frying

 

Serving:

1/3 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup cilantro or parsley, finely chopped

Salt

 

Directions:

To the bowl of a standard mixer, fitted with the dough hook, or large mixing bowl, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar. Stir and let sit 5-10 minutes, until frothy. Add the olive oil and salt.

With the mixer on low speed gradually add the flour, a little at a time. The dough will be soft, elastic and slightly sticky.

With oiled hands, transfer the dough to a clean work surface and form into a ball. Place in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with a dry kitchen towel. Let rise at room temperature for approximately 1 hour, until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, combine the olive oil and minced garlic. In two separate bowls place the chopped cilantro and salt.

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat and drizzle the pan with olive oil. Add more oil to the pan as needed throughout the frying process.

Lightly flour or oil your work surface. Portion the dough into equal small balls. Roll out the balls into thin circles or oblong shapes. The dough will puff up while frying so it may take a couple tries to get the right thickness.

Place the naan on the hot pan and gently brush it with the olive oil and garlic mixture. Cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Flip and brush with the garlic and oil mixture and let the other side cook for another 1-2 minutes, until golden. Remove and sprinkle with cilantro and salt. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Organic Agriculture’s Global Symphony

As much as organic agriculture is often described as a movement or a lifestyle, perhaps it has more in common with a lyrical score of music. Its harmonies are understood in every culture, its cadences echo Earth’s own timeless rhythms. Each great composition is a prelude, inspiring brilliant new variations on a theme.

Last fall’s meeting of the Organic World Congress was proof that the organic idea is becoming increasingly universal, even as it remains richly diverse. Attendees shared stories about how their individual societies are developing new innovations that are showing the way for the larger organic community. In a recent piece for AlterNet, Small Planet Institute co-founder Anna Lappé described some of these intriguing examples:

“Delegates from Fiji were excited to share the news that one of the islands in the tiny archipelago nation had gone 100 percent organic,” she writes. “The community had kicked out all toxic pesticides and imported, synthetic fertilizer. The impetus for the decision was clear: Surviving on an island makes living in balance with nature more than just a nice idea; it makes it an imperative for survival. …

“Want to see real innovation? Visit Andre Leu’s 150-acre organic farm in northern Australia where he’s growing 100 varieties of tropical fruit and dozens of other species of medicinal herbs, oils, fibers, and more. Leu … is doing all this while successfully returning 100 acres to native, tropical rainforest and creating a refuge for endangered species like Riflebirds, buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers and the six-foot tall, flightless Cassowary — all while creating a successful business. …

“Many of the cool organic solutions to the pests and weeds that can devastate crops come from the farm itself. That’s good news for farmers because it means they don’t have the costly burden of synthetic fertilizer or potentially toxic chemicals. I loved the example from Mustafa Akyuz [who] described working with 12,000 organic cotton growers in northern Uganda’s Lira district. Unfortunately for the farmers, the local monkeys had a crush on their cotton bulbs. … Colonies of monkeys destroyed entire fields. So what to do? Akyuz noticed fields of African bird’s eye chili peppers nearby and created a natural spray from the peppery stuff which they used on the cotton fields. After the spicy treatment, the monkeys were much less interested in the cotton. Akyuz shared the story to show the elegant beauty of this way of farming: ‘We didn’t have to wait for an international institution to discover a solution for us. The solution,’ he said, ‘was right next to the problem.’”

By the end of the Congress, Anna found herself reflecting on the encouraging news she had heard from the Fijian delegation. “What makes our planet so much different from an island in Fiji?” she wondered. “We, too, face limits. We can’t indefinitely blanket our farms with synthetic fertilizer or fend off pests and weeds with toxic petrochemicals. In so many ways, Earth is an island, too, and organic food is the best way to ensure we can feed ourselves and our future generations on this small island we call home.”

Read more here: http://bit.ly/1vwDilF