Recipe: Sprouted Red Fife Pesto Bread

This easy, flavorful bread with streaks of pesto throughout it makes a stunning presentation and gives the wonderful illusion that you spent hours in kitchen preparing such a masterpiece.

Sprouted Red Fife Pesto Bread

Bread

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 1/4 teaspoons yeast

1 teaspoon raw cane sugar

1 1/2 cups One Degree Organics Sprouted Red Fife Flour

1 cup organic all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

 

Pesto

2 cups tightly packed, destemmed fresh organic basil

1/2 cup walnuts

1 – 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt, to taste

 

Directions

In the the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the dough attachment or in a large mixing bowl, add the warm water, yeast and sugar. Allow yeast to proof, approximately 10 minutes.

Add the red fife flour, salt and olive oil and mix on low speed until combined. Slowly add the all-purpose flour a 1/4 cup at a time until the dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly oiled surface and knead the dough. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place in a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover and let rise for approximately 1 hour, until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, make the pesto. Place the basil, walnuts, and garlic in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse to combine, until the mixture is coarsely ground. Turn the motor on and drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the salt and pulse a few more times to combine.

Roll out dough on a lightly oiled surface into a 10 x 20 inch rectangle. Spread the pesto out to 1/2 inch from the edges. Starting at one of the shorter sides, tightly roll up the dough.

  

Using a sharp knife, gently slice through the dough end to end, lengthwise. Carefully braid the dough by criss-crossing the two strands. Transfer the braided dough to a lightly greased 10 inch loaf pan.

  

Lightly cover and allow to rise 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden. Cool before slicing.

NOTE: Leftover pesto is great as a spread or dip.

Emulsifiers Are Latest Dietary Mousetrap

It’s clearly not the best of times for the average laboratory mouse. Each new dietary study brings more bad news, with tales of lab mice that became fat, lethargic and dispirited as a result of dining on key ingredients of the American diet.

In recent studies, mice have reacted poorly to GMO corn, fatty foods and sugar. Depending on how closely mouse menus paralleled modern patterns of consumption, morbidity accelerated, fertility cratered and males became less interested in holding territory. Now comes word that a new set of clinical trials has created a population of obese rodents with inflammatory bowel disease.

This time a furry cadre of lab assistants was fed emulsifiers, chemicals used in processed foods to extend shelf life. “The substances appeared to make it easier for gut bacteria to chew through the layers of mucus that typically line the intestine,” Scientific American reported earlier this week. “The result was the triggering of chronic colitis in mice with impaired immune systems that predispose them to the condition. And even in mice with normal immune systems, emulsifier consumption appeared to trigger mild intestinal inflammation. These mice then tended to overeat and become obese and insulin resistant.”

According to a report in Nature, the journal that published the Georgia State University study: “About 15 different emulsifiers are commonly used in processed Western foods for purposes such as smoothing the texture of ice cream and preventing mayonnaise from separating. … [Lead researcher Andrew] Gewirtz and his colleagues suspect that the emulsifiers can break down the heavy mucus that lines the mammalian gut and prevents bacteria from coming into contact with gut cells. If this happens, the bacteria cause inflammation in the gut, which can also lead to changes in metabolism. …

“The findings have been enough to convince Gewirtz and co-author Benoit Chassaing, a microbiologist at Georgia State, to start checking the labels of the foods they buy, although both say they are not trying to eliminate emulsifiers entirely. It is not easy to find emulsifier-free food, Gewirtz says, and products marketed as ‘organic’ are just as likely to contain these agents.

“‘When it comes to people making their own decisions, between our studies and others out there, it’s better to eat less processed food,’ he says.” And that, it turns out, is true for both mouse and man.

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/1LL6N7u

Plant Nutrient Density: The Forgotten Trait

“A purple potato native to Peru has 28 times more cancer-fighting anthocyanins than common russet potatoes,” writes author Jo Robinson in The New York Times. “One species of apple has a staggering 100 times more phytonutrients than the Golden Delicious displayed in our supermarkets.”

Researchers have been tracking the falling nutrient levels in fruits, vegetables and grains for decades, but recent scientific advances have made the comparisons more precise. As Robinson notes, “These insights have been made possible by new technology that has allowed researchers to compare the phytonutrient content of wild plants with the produce in our supermarkets.” These vital phytonutrients are “compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia.”

Along with the usual suspects — companies that breed plants for size, convenience and overall profitability, as well as create new GMO varieties that are designed primarily to survive a lifetime of dousings with patented pesticides — the consumer’s preference for sweeter versions of old favorites has also played a role.

Corn is a prime example. The author tells the story of how rich indigenous corn was replaced over many generations by the much sweeter corn of the modern supermarket: “When European colonists first arrived in North America, they came upon what they called ‘Indian corn.’ John Winthrop Jr., governor of the colony of Connecticut in the mid-1600s, observed that American Indians grew ‘corne with great variety of colours,’ citing ‘red, yellow, blue, olive colour, and greenish, and some very black and some of intermediate degrees.’ A few centuries later, we would learn that black, red and blue corn is rich in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins have the potential to fight cancer, calm inflammation, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, protect the aging brain, and reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. …

“Supersweet corn, which now outsells all other kinds of corn, was derived from spontaneous mutations that were selected for their high sugar content. … Within one generation, the new extra sugary varieties eclipsed old-fashioned sweet corn in the marketplace. Build a sweeter fruit or vegetable — by any means — and we will come. Today, most of the fresh corn in our supermarkets is extra-sweet. The kernels are either white, pale yellow, or a combination of the two. The sweetest varieties approach 40 percent sugar, bringing new meaning to the words ‘candy corn.’”

In the search for sweetness, survivability and plump retail margins, nutrition is often the forgotten trait. “The United States Department of Agriculture exerts far more effort developing disease-resistant fruits and vegetables than creating new varieties to enhance the disease resistance of consumers,” writes Robinson. “In fact, I’ve interviewed USDA plant breeders who have spent a decade or more developing a new variety of pear or carrot without once measuring its nutritional content.”

Discover more here: http://nyti.ms/1cQYxjR

Recipe: Sprouted Rye Chocolate Walnut Muffins

The richness and tang of rye combined with the sweetness of chocolate and maple syrup make these muffins a truly delicious combination.

Sprouted Rye Chocolate Walnut Muffins

Yield: 12 large muffins

1 cup One Degree Organics Sprouted Rye Flour

1 cup One Degree Organics Sprouted Spelt Flour

6 tablespoons raw cacao powder

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 flax eggs (3 tablespoons One Degree Organics Flax Seeds, ground + 7 1/2 tablespoons water)

1 cup full-fat coconut cream

2/3 cup maple syrup

2/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a muffin pan with paper liners or lightly grease.

Prepare the flax egg in a small bowl, set aside.

In a large bowl combine the flours, cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut cream, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and the prepared flax egg.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently mix to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Divide the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 18-20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Study Confirms Low Toxins in Organic Diets

The evidence keeps adding up that consumers pay a price for long-term consumption of conventional produce. Along with the health benefits nature designed into fruits and vegetables — vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber — the body also receives significant amounts of man-made chemicals that accumulate over time.

The latest study pointing to the benefits of chemical-free organic food was published earlier this month in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The research was conducted at Boise State University and led by assistant professor Cynthia Curl.

According to a report by the university, “Curl and her colleagues analyzed the dietary exposure of nearly 4,500 people from six U.S. cities to organophosphates (OPs), the most common insecticides used on conventionally grown produce in the United States. OP pesticides are linked to a number of detrimental health effects, particularly among agricultural workers who are regularly exposed to the chemicals. Results showed that among individuals eating similar amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who reported eating organic produce had significantly lower OP pesticide exposures than those consuming conventionally grown produce. In addition, consuming those conventionally grown foods typically treated with more of these pesticides during production, including apples, nectarines and peaches, was associated with significantly higher levels of exposure.

“‘For most Americans, diet is the primary source of OP pesticide exposure,’ said Curl. ‘The study suggests that by eating organically grown versions of those foods highest in pesticide residues, we can make a measurable difference in the levels of pesticides in our bodies.’

“This study included dietary data collected from participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a large, multi-institutional project funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that is investigating factors that influence the onset of cardiovascular disease.”

Curl and her team plan to build on their research using the same database that was central to the Environmental Health Perspectives study: “‘The next step is to use these exposure predictions to examine the relationship between dietary exposure to pesticides and health outcomes, including neurological and cognitive endpoints. We’ll be able to do that in this same population of nearly 4,500 people,’ she said.”

Review the full study here: http://bit.ly/1EVwzBI

Final Flight for a Billion Monarch Butterflies

In a world that desperately needs more beauty and grace, monarch butterflies are disappearing. Like the honeybee, the species is struggling to exist in a new world order of pesticides and the fields of genetically modified crops that fuel their use.

Reporting by Washington Post writer Darryl Fears shows that the numbers are staggering: “Threatened animals like elephants, porpoises and lions grab all the headlines, but what’s happening to monarch butterflies is nothing short of a massacre. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service summed it up in just one grim statistic. … Since 1990, about 970 million have vanished.”

Farmers and consumers spraying pesticides on milkweed plants — “which serve as the butterflies’ nursery, food source and home” — are a significant factor in the dramatic population decline.

“Monarch butterflies are a keystone species that once fluttered throughout the United States by the billions,” notes Fears. “They alighted from Mexico to Canada each spring on a trek that required six generations of the insect to complete. Afterward, young monarchs about the quarter of the weight of a dime, that know nothing about the flight pattern through the United States, not to mention Mexico, fly back, resting, birthing and dining on milkweed. Only about 30 million remain.”

The monarch seems to be following a trajectory to extinction that has been observed with other butterfly species: “The blueberry-colored Xerces blue disappeared from San Francisco years ago, and recently [the federal government] announced that two subspecies — the rockland skipper and Zestos in South Florida — haven’t been seen since 2004 and are probably extinct. On top of that, pesticide use has also caused a collapse of other pollinators — wasps, beetles and especially honeybees.”

In response, the National Wildlife Federation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a program to encourage the planting of milkweed and reduce the level of toxins that are disrupting the monarchs’ life cycle. As National Wildlife Federation President Collin O’Mara told the Post: “This is one of those keystone species. These are things that don’t make headlines, but they are indicators that something bigger is happening.”

Discover more here: http://wapo.st/1IGnTp1

Recipe: Gluten Free Sprouted Brown Rice Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Coconut Frosting

One must always have an extra little bit of chocolate on Valentine’s Day and these rich and decadent cupcakes will satisfy any chocolate craving. Made with our new gluten free Sprouted Brown Rice Flour, these light, moist cupcakes are sweetened with maple syrup and coconut palm sugar to make an irresistible, guilt-free treat!

They are best served fresh, and after generously covering them in frosting, sprinkle with a few fresh berries, pomegranates, or mint leaves. The finishing touch to a romantic Valentine’s dinner is complete!

  

Gluten Free Sprouted Brown Rice Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcakes

2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons One Degree Organics Flax Seeds + 5 tablespoons water)

1/2 cup almond or coconut milk + 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup coconut palm sugar

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup organic apple sauce

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened raw cacao powder

2/3 cup pecan or almond meal (finely ground)

1/4 cup gluten free oat flour

3/4 cup gluten free flour blend (see recipe below)

 

Frosting

1 1/4 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

1 cup full-fat coconut cream (chill overnight and use only the thick portion)

1 cup powdered sugar

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners or lightly grease.

In a small bowl, combine the coconut or almond milk with the lemon juice, set aside.

Prepare the flax egg in a large mixing bowl and let rest for approximately 5 minutes.

Add the baking soda to the milk and lemon juice mixture.

Add the maple syrup, coconut sugar, milk mixture, melted coconut oil, apple sauce, vanilla bean paste and salt to the flax egg and whisk to combine.

Add the raw cacao powder, pecan meal, oat flour, and gluten free flour blend and whisk to combine. It should be a thin batter that has a pourable consistency.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin tins.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until fluffy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let rest in the muffin tin for 15 minutes before removing from the tin to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before unwrapping or frosting.

 

Gluten Free Flour Blend:

1 3/4 cup One Degree Organics Sprouted Brown Rice Flour

3/4 cup tapioca flour

 

Frosting:

Melt the chocolate in a saucepan or microwave in a large bowl. Set aside to let cool slightly before combining with the coconut cream.

Combine the melted chocolate and chilled and thick portion of the coconut cream in a large mixing bowl.

Using a hand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and continue mixing until smooth and well-mixed. Chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and beat again, add more powdered sugar if needed to form a light, fluffy frosting.

Generously frost the cupcakes. Sprinkle with fresh pomegranates, raspberries or mint leaves.

Legal Maize: Farmers Fight Syngenta Corn

When the Swiss biotech conglomerate Syngenta tried to take a bite out of Monsanto’s GMO North American market share, something unexpected happened: The market bit back.

It all began when the company began selling a new genetically modified corn variety called Agrisure Viptera to farmers who tend the vast monocultural grain fields of the American heartland. Soon, Viptera corn found its way into containers destined for international ports. At one such destination, the welcome was far from warm.

As the Minneapolis StarTribune reports: “China, a growing importer of U.S. corn that refuses to buy genetically modified crops it hasn’t tested, had not approved Viptera when Syngenta began selling it. In November 2013, China discovered the Viptera corn trait in several U.S. shipments. It began rejecting U.S. corn imports in February 2014.”

Faced with China’s embargo, U.S. corn farmers began filing lawsuits against the company. Over 360 suits later, Syngenta is starting to resemble a kernel at a European corn borer convention.

“Loss of revenue to the U.S. corn industry has been estimated by the National Grain and Feed Association, a trade group, at between $1 billion and $3 billion. Farmers who did not plant the Syngenta seed, grain handlers and exporters claim they lost money because of the Chinese boycott of U.S. corn and corn byproducts. …

“The dispute centers around Syngenta’s sale of a corn seed called Agrisure Viptera, which was genetically altered to contain a protein that kills corn-eating bugs such as earworms and cutworms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved it in 2010, and Syngenta first sold it to farmers in 2011.”

The most widely-planted GMO corn variety, of course, is Monsanto’s Bt corn, named for a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis. By transferring genes from this germ into conventional corn, Monsanto was able to create a variety that would produce a toxin in its pollen that acts as a pesticide fatal to several kinds of meddlesome bugs.

For a corn borer, the result of dining on Monsanto’s corn is slightly less painful than a consolidated American lawsuit: The Bt toxin causes pores to form in its larval digestive tract, providing entry points for E. coli and other deadly pathogens.

Discover more here: http://strib.mn/16WZniI

Nitrates: Showdown at Raccoon River

A nitrate war is raging in the American Midwest, where massive applications of fertilizer to fields of monoculture grains are tainting local water supplies. The issue has come to a head in Des Moines, Iowa, where the city government is now suing surrounding counties for failing to control nitrate runoff polluting the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers.

“It’s a novel attempt to control fertilizer runoff from farms, which has been largely unregulated,” writes Dan Charles, in the first of two stories for National Public Radio. “Too much nitrate can be a health risk, especially for infants under the age of 6 months, and it’s difficult to remove from water. Filtering out nitrates cost the Des Moines water utility $900,000 in 2013.

“Bill Stowe, general manager of the Des Moines Water Works, told Iowa Public Radio in an interview last week that ‘we are seeing the public water supply directly risked by high nitrate concentrations.’ Stowe says the source of these nitrates is pretty clear. Farmers spread nitrogen fertilizer on their corn fields, it turns into nitrate and then it commonly runs into streams through networks of underground tile pipes that drain the soil.”

In a follow-up report, Charles discovered that a method commonly used by veganic farmers may be a far more effective solution than hauling county officials into court: “Farmers can plant a cold-weather crop — rye is a popular choice — right after the corn or soybean harvest. These plants will grow through the fall, go dormant when everything freezes and come back to life in the spring.”

The cover crops not only enrich the soil during the winter, but also help contain runoff from fields. “Scientists who’ve studied cover crops in many places say that they typically reduce nitrate releases by about one third,” Charles explains. “There are other benefits as well, including protecting the soil from erosion.”

There’s plenty of room to try this smart ecological approach, Charles notes: Just 2 percent of the land typically devoted to corn and soybeans in the Midwest is blanketed with a cover crop in the winter.

Discover more here: http://n.pr/1IjsLgm

Sugar Bowls: Kids, Cookies and Breakfast


When researchers at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reviewed 1,556 cereals last year, they quickly discovered that the most reliable indicator of excess sugar content was a cartoon character on the box. Many children’s cereals are as sweet as cookies, the nonprofit reported, with as much as half of total calories drawn from high-fructose corn syrup and other processed sugars.

Those kinds of percentages quickly add up in the diets of young children. “Someone eating an average serving of a typical children’s cereal would consume more than 10 pounds of sugar a year from that source alone,” says EWG.

The report contains other sobering figures: “92 percent of cold cereals in the U.S. come preloaded with added sugars. Every single cereal marketed to children contains added sugar. On average, children’s cereals have more than 40 percent more sugars than adult cereals, and twice the sugar of oatmeal. Children’s cereals and granolas have the most sugar, packing in more than 2 ½ teaspoons per serving on average, more than two Keebler Fudge Stripe cookies. For 40 cereals, a single serving exceeds 60 percent of the daily amount of sugar suggested by health agencies and organizations. [And] because the serving sizes on cereal labels are unrealistically small, many children eat multiple ‘servings’ in a single sitting.”

Leprechauns, wily rabbits, slightly daft cuckoo birds and other cartoon characters are not the only weapons of mass distraction used by clever cereal marketers: “EWG also found evidence that promotional labeling on cereal boxes is designed to distract consumers from focusing on the unhealthy sugar content by making claims that the product provides important nutrients, such as ‘Excellent Source of Vitamin D’ or ‘Good Source of Fiber.’ The labels on seven of the 10 most heavily sugared children’s cereals … currently feature a marketing claim promoting their nutrient content.”

The EWG report notes that there are both immediate and long-term health consequences from packing so much sugar into a child’s breakfast. “Sugar can be habit-forming and encourage overeating. A 2011 study by Yale University researchers found that children given a low-sugar cereal for breakfast ate about 30 grams, while those who got a high-sugar cereal ate nearly twice as much. When the children were also provided with sugar and fresh fruit, those given low-sugar cereals were more likely to put both sugar and fresh fruit on the cereal but still managed to consume half as much added sugar as those given a high-sugar cereal.”

Read the full report here: http://bit.ly/1z59kQO