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The National Loaf

During WW11, to cope with the reductions in the amount of wheat imported to England, more flour was extracted from the grain available. The extraction rate was raised to around eighty-five percent, giving the population the nourishing wholemeal National Loaf (with a high vitamin B content), although many people did not find its greyish colour appealing.

“National wheatmeal flour” had in it the starchy endosperm, the wheat germ, and the bran, with the coarser bran extracted out. 85% means that out of 100 kg of wheat grains, you would get 85 kg of flour. White flour is generally around 70% extraction, and would get you 70kg.

If you are lucky enough to find a copy of “BREAD The Chemistry and Nutrition of Flour and Bread, with an Introduction to their History and Technology,” by Lord Horder, Sir Charles Dodds, and T. Moran (from the Research Association of British Flour-Millers!), 1954, you can find out many more fascinating facts.

“The normal extraction rate in the United Kingdom during conditions of peace,” they tell us, “is between 70% and 72%, the remaining 28 – 30% being converted to animal feeding-stuffs.”

“An 80-90% extraction flour conforming to minimum nutritional standards, such as those laid down by the Post-War Loaf Conference, should contain most of the germ and auleurone layer – rich in B1 and niacin, iron and fibre.”

BUT “The aim in white-flour milling is separate as completely as possible the outer skin and germ” – thus leaving humans with the starch, taking out the good stuff, including the B vitamins, niacin and riboflavin, as well as minerals including calcium, magnesium and iron. “In addition to the fall in vitamin and mineral content, there is a decrease in protein content when the extraction rate is reduced.” What the what!

The official members of the PWLC favoured a continuance of an 80 – 85% extraction flour, whereas the trade interests favoured a white flour “enriched” if necessary with the nutrients normally present in wheat. “The advantages of a white flour with its greater quantity of wheat-feed, which, incidentally [!!], is of higher feeding value than that obtained from the milling of a high-extraction flour, has always been stressed by agricultural interests.” Yes, give your cheap (nutritious!) cast-offs to them for animal feed, not to the people!

This, even though “a host of substances present in trace amounts await identification.” And, where there is a deficiency of B vitamins in white flour, “other factors which are not yet measurable – and some which still remain unknown – will be deficient too.”

To the rescue comes “one of the large vitamin manufacturers” (pharmaceutical company) offers to produce synthetic B vitamins. “On August 29th, 1953, millers were again allowed to mill white flour, but on condition that it was enriched, not only with vitamin B1, but also two other nutrients, viz., nicotinic acid [niacin] and iron.”

Canada started “enriching” white bread in January 1, 1953; the US had started the practice in May of 1941.

“Black bread of 98% extraction is poorly utilized, and faeces [human poo!] collected after eating such coarse breads contain a large residue of material due to poor carbohydrate digestion.” Probably made great manure. And that’s why “a meal of white bread raised the blood sugar to a higher level than of black bread.”

These spikes of blood sugar mess with your insulin levels, which can give you Type 2 Diabetes. The excess carb is stored as glycogen (gluclose) then converted to fat.

“It has been known for a considerable time that specific reductions in certain of the basic foods are more effective than mere non-specific reduction to total calories.” They don’t even footnote this! Known for a considerable time! They go onto explain what later became Atkins, Paleo, Wheat Belly: “Next to protein, a high fat diet is attended with the greatest loss of weight, whereas carbohydrate, if used in a reducing diet, causes the least loss of weight.”

So, the “staff of life,” back in the day, did not mess with your insulin, was a source of protein, and had vitals for our vitality. Big Pharma and Agri-business gave us a few synthetic vitamins and a loaf of starch.




Grow Sir (south) on Main Street in Steinbach, was a beautiful A-frame with tall glass windows on the front and lovely shingles towering over the parking lot. It mirrored two churches on the south and north end of Kroeker Street, a place to worship commerce and convenience.

The price of lumber

Alrighty then, the price of lumber and other building products has skyrocketed lately. Demand has risen with work-from-home folks renovating their home office, building a shed, fixing their deck. They are saving money by not commuting or leisure travelling, stuck at home. Supply is choked as some mills closed due to the pandemic, and can’t re-open quickly due to maintenance and labour issues.

But this analysis misses one important demographic pushing prices up: VanLife Vloggers.

The pandemic had couples like Trent and Allie leave their van at the southern tip of South America; they are now building a house in the mountains of Utah. “Insulation is the new toilet paper” a clerk jokes to Trent. A Canadian couple, Eamon and Bec, are renovating a cabin in the woods north of Ottawa and comment on the high price of lumber while surrounded by trees. They buy huge amounts of lumber to build an elaborate deck down to the lake from their hillside home. And tools. Every jobsite needs tools. The Indie Project couple buy a lot of tools in central Portugal where they hunkered down after six years of video-blogging about their world travels. The wood beams on the ceiling of their converted stone barn look beautiful with three coats of Danish Oil.

Foresty Forest lives in a van, and continues to share his west Canadian solo mountain hikes and home-cooked meals. He explained recently that he would like group hikes, but then he tends to forget to film, and he must continue providing content to support this way of life: sponsors and paid ads on the videos. 

When the Van Life people can get travelling again, perhaps the price of lumber and building supplies and tools may level out or even decrease to pre-pandemic.

This just in: “Ag’s latest headache: a shortage of pallets for shipping produce. May 23—Water, farm labor, shipping containers, truck drivers — it’s as though everything that’s not actual food is coming up short for local agricultural producers these days. And now this: They’re running low on pallets, too.

“An inadequate supply of wooden pallets, the squat structures used to make shipments easier to move with a forklift, has hit the industry just ahead of the grape harvest, raising concerns that farmers’ profits could be lost to packaging expenses — or worse, lead to a produce shortage.”

I bought some lettuce seeds on May Long.

Hangry November 11, 2020 Disappointed

Richard Johnson, who I was very impressed with recently, is helping to develop inhibitors of fructose metabolism. I wonder why we would not simple stop ingesting so much fructose.

Journal of Internal Medicine

“Fructose metabolism as a common evolutionary pathway of survival associated with climate change, food shortage and droughts”

R. J. Johnson  P. Stenvinkel  P. Andrews  L. G. Sánchez‐Lozada … See all authors

First published: 17 October 2019

Conflict of interest

RJJ, MAL, DRT, CR‐J and LGL all have equity in a startup company, Colorado Research Partners, LLC, that is developing inhibitors of fructose metabolism. There are no other conflicts.


Hangry October 31 2020 Is sugar messing with our minds?

I’ve found a news story and an abstract for the article “Fructose and uric acid as drivers of a hyperactive foraging response: A clue to behavioral disorders associated with impulsivity or mania?” Richard Johnson et al, in the October 1, 2020 issue of Evolution and Human Behaviour say, “Recent studies show that fructose is a unique nutrient that stimulates an innate survival pathway for many species that involves the foraging for food with storage of the energy as fat. In Western Society the high intake of sugar has placed this survival pathway in overdrive, leading to an increase in obesity and diabetes.

“Here we discuss how excessive fructose intake may lead to a hyperactive foraging response, and how this may contribute to various behavioral disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, manic depression, aggressive behaviors, and other disorders.”

The abstract gives more details: “Several behavioral disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, and aggressive behaviors are linked with sugar intake and obesity. The reason(s) for this association has been unclear. Here we present a hypothesis supporting a role for fructose, a component of sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and uric acid (a fructose metabolite), in increasing the risk for these behavioral disorders. Recent studies have shown that the reason fructose intake is strongly associated with development of metabolic syndrome is that fructose intake activates an evolutionary-based survival pathway that stimulates foraging behavior and the storage of energy as fat. While modest intake may aid animals that would like to store fat as a protective response from food shortage or starvation, we propose that high intake of sugar and HFCS causes a hyperactive foraging response that stimulates craving, impulsivity, risk taking and aggression that increases the risk for ADHD, bipolar disease and aggressive behavior. High glycemic carbohydrates and salty foods may also contribute as they can be converted to fructose in the body. Some studies suggest uric acid produced during fructose metabolism may mediate some of these effects. Chronic stimulation of the pathway could lead to desensitization of hedonic responses and induce depression. In conclusion, a hyperactive foraging response driven by high glycemic carbohydrates and sugars may contribute to affective disorders.”

This news story appears in several publications, likely from a press release: “The research, out today from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and published in Evolution and Human Behavior, presents a hypothesis supporting a role for fructose, a component of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and uric acid (a fructose metabolite), in increasing the risk for these behavioral disorders.

“We present evidence that fructose, by lowering energy in cells, triggers a foraging response similar to what occurs in starvation,” said lead author Richard Johnson, MD, professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

“Johnson outlines research that shows a foraging response stimulates risk taking, impulsivity, novelty seeking, rapid decision making, and aggressiveness to aid the securing of food as a survival response. Overactivation of this process from excess sugar intake may cause impulsive behavior that could range from ADHD, to bipolar disorder or even aggression. ‘While the fructose pathway was meant to aid survival, fructose intake has skyrocketed during the last century and may be in overdrive due to the high amounts of sugar that are in the current Western diet,’ Johnson adds.

“The paper looks at how excessive intake of fructose present in refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup may have a contributory role in the pathogenesis of behavioral disorders that are associated with obesity and Western diet. Johnson notes, ‘We do not blame aggressive behavior on sugar, but rather note that it may be one contributor.’

“Johnson recommends further studies to investigate the role of sugar and uric acid, especially with new inhibitors of fructose metabolism on the horizon. ‘The identification of fructose as a risk factor does not negate the importance of genetic, familial, physical, emotional and environmental factors that shape mental health,’ he adds.

Ian Randall at the Times (Mailonline) finds a dissenter. “Some experts, however, have met the study’s findings with scepticism.’This is an elegant and biologically plausible model grounded in sophisticated bioecological thinking,’ developmental psychologist Edmund Sonuga-Barke of King’s College London told the Times. ‘Unfortunately, the notion that there is a consistent link between sugar consumption levels and ADHD in humans was largely debunked decades ago,’ he added.” I would counter that Johnson is talking about much more than ADHD.

Johnson has been on this for a while. In 2007, he was the lead author of “Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease,” published in the American journal of clinical nutrition. It says, “we propose that sugars containing fructose may play a major role in the development of hypertension, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome and in the subsequent development of kidney disease. Although physical inactivity and overeating are major contributors to the obesity epidemic, we present evidence that fructose may be the “caries” at the epidemic’s root.”

In a 2009 article, Johnson states, “fructose appears to mediate the metabolic syndrome in part by raising uric acid.” Now I looked up uric acid/mental health and found the connection. Here’s a screen shot, of sorts:

1. The hippocampal response to psychosocial stress varies with salivary uric acid level
AM Goodman, MD Wheelock, NG Harnett, S Mrug… – Neuroscience, 2016 – Elsevier… Therefore, understanding uric acid’s impact on the brain would provide valuable new knowledge regarding neural mechanisms that mediate the relationship between uric acid and mental health …The role of uric acid in mental health is also an emerging area of research …

2. Exploring the association between bipolar disorder and uric acid: a mediation analysis
F Bartoli, C Crocamo, GM Gennaro, G Castagna… – Journal of …, 2016 – Elsevier… Health Inpatient Unit, with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or other severe mental disorders, and an appropriate healthy control sample, were included in this cross-sectional, exploratory study.We performed linear regression analyses, to explore factors associated with uric acid …

3. Serum uric acid and cognitive function in community-dwelling older adults.
DJ Schretlen, AB Inscore, HA Jinnah, V Rao… – …, 2007 –… Uric acid’s seemingly contradictory properties have brought it into focus as a molecule that might contribute to … serum UA levels in this range would have significant implications for both public health and treatment … a score of less than 24 out of 30 on the Mini-Mental State Exam …

4. Serum uric acid and cognitive function and dementia
SM Euser, A Hofman, RGJ Westendorp, MMB Breteler – Brain, 2009 –… and in patients with Alzheimer’s disease are lower than those in healthy controls, suggesting …variation had to be within 5%. Finally, we compared the serum uric acid levels in … medical records from general practitioners and the Regional Institute for Outpatient Mental Health Care …

5. Uric acid in major depressive and anxiety disorders
CN Black, M Bot, PG Scheffer, H Snieder… – Journal of affective …, 2018 – Elsevier
… To gain insight into whether uric acid levels are a trait characteristic, or are … participants were recruited from the general population, primary care and mental health care organizations … generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia) as well as healthy control subjects …

6. Clinical correlation of alteration of endogenous antioxidant-uric acid level in major depressive disorder
K Chaudhari, S Khanzode, G Dakhale, A Saoji… – Indian Journal of Clinical …, 2010 – Springer… between subjects after 12 weeks of SSRIs treatment with that of healthy subjects. Hence it isunlikely that the alterations in serum uric acid levels were due to …

Yeah, I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company. It’s the real thing. I’m giving out Play-Doh and toys this Halloween.


Johnson, R. et al. (2020.) “Fructose and uric acid as drivers of a hyperactive foraging response: A clue to behavioral disorders associated with impulsivity or mania?”

Johnson, R. et al. (2009.) “Hypothesis: could excessive fructose intake and uric acid cause type 2 diabetes?” Endocrine Reviews. From

Johnson, R. et al. (2007.) “Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease.” The American journal of clinical nutrition.

Milzer, J. (2020.) ““Could excessive sugar intake contribute to aggressive behaviors, ADHD, bipolar disorder?” Materials provided by University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Original written by Julia Milzer.From

Randall, I. (2020.) “Diet high in fructose sends an ancient human instinct to forage for food into OVERDRIVE and could lead to ‘hyperactive’ disorders like ADHD and manic depression.”


Photo from

Hangry October 18, 2020 Okinawa Diet in the neighbourhood

“The focus should instead be on the way in which people engage with food, society and culture to maintain a healthy body and mind.”

[“Blue Zones” are locations where it is not uncommon to live a long, healthy life to 100 years of age or beyond.]

The Okinawa diet is getting attention in both the popular press and scientific journals. Some writers look at the high plant content, some stress the wonders of the local purple sweet potato, others point out that it’s the social environment that helps create longevity.

First, the food: Dan Buettner (2019) tells us,  “Okinawan tofu is firmer and more packed with protein and phytonutrients; turmeric, used in teas and soups, is a powerful antioxidant and anticancer agent; and goya, the main ingredient in champuru stir-fries, has powerful compounds that control blood sugar. Plus, the ubiquitous purple sweet potato is high in B vitamins and potassium, and it has a higher concentration of the antioxidant anthocyanin (from purple pigment) than blueberries.”

Alpinia zerumbet, commonly known as shell ginger, is a perennial species of ginger native to East Asia and their leaves are used in cuisine and traditional medicine, Wikipedia says. The leaves contain a “variety of beneficial activities including antioxidative, antiobesity, antilipocytes, antipancreatic lipase, antidyslipidemia, antiatherosclerosis, antidiabetes, antihypertension, antitumor, and life-span extension properties,” according to “Herbs including shell ginger, antioxidant profiles, aging, and longevity in Okinawa, Japan: A critical analysis of current concepts.”

Luca Pangrazzi (2019) looks at marine-derived foods. “The Okinawa diet is mainly based on fruit and vegetables, but also on marine-derived foods, such as algae, fish and crustaceans. An important role is played by astaxanthin, which has been shown to display the highest antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity among all the compounds included in the diet, with an antioxidant power 550 times stronger than vitamin E and 6000 higher than vitamin C. Most importantly, astaxanthin can also reduce serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a typical marker of inflammation and commonly used to identify the presence of diseases and cancer. In addition to this, astaxanthin is known as a strong booster of the immune system and a higher frequency and improved activity of immune cells was observed in people taking this molecule.”

Social determinants: Robert Davies (2019) says, “Cognitive decline has been associated with and accepted as a consequence of ageing. Diets such as the Mediterranean diet have been investigated for their effect on abating cognitive decline. However, diet is not the only aspect of the Mediterranean life that may play a role — social interaction and cultural engagement may also be influential in preserving cognitive function through the ageing process. This article discusses the perspective on cognitive decline and the influence the Mediterranean diet may have. It highlights that no sole dietary regimen will prevent cognitive decline and the UK healthy eating guidelines reflect those foods included in the Mediterranean diet. The focus should instead be on the way in which people engage with food, society and culture to maintain a healthy body and mind.”

What I recall about Okinawa from Happy The Movie (2012) was the elders working outside, gardening, meeting for tea every day, cheering on the preschoolers’ races, and dancing, drumming and singing with all ages when the travelling youth groups performed in their village.

Kokoro Shirai (2020) looks at the island’s practice of mutual aid. “The traditional word yui-maru remains part of daily life in Okinawa, and even the younger generations have opportunities to use it in everyday conversation. Yui-maro is a phrase that symbolizes the local society’s spirit of mutual aid and sense of trust and reciprocity. The combination of yui (connection, mutual help, exchange of labour and mawaru (goes around) expresses a cycle of mutual aid and reciprocal labour exchanges.”

Back to Dan Buettner: “Like all other blue zones regions, several nondietary factors explain longevity on Okinawa. First, the word ‘retirement’ doesn’t exist in the native dialect. Instead ikigai, or ‘a reason for being,’ imbues every adult life. Having a strong sense of purpose is associated with about eight extra years.

“Other longevity advantages include the Okinawan propensity to support each other by forming moais (pronounced moe-eye), or committed social circles, and by practicing yuimaru, the spirit of mutual aid. Traditionally, Okinawan peasants didn’t have access to bank loans, so they’d form groups of five to eight people and agree to meet regularly. At each meeting, moai members would chip in a sum of money to be given to the member with the greatest need. Through the middle of the 20th century, moais helped the community, providing aid to farmers needing to buy seed or covering the medical costs of a sick child.”

A few winters ago, we had a huge March snowstorm. I thought I could just stay home, but my cat insistently demanded food. I started shovelling from my front door and a young neighbour was shovelling from the road, heaving heavy, wet snow that was three feet high.  What expressions of joy we had when the elder across the street aimed his gas-powered snow blower in our direction!

You might be able to monetize Blue Zone recipes, but you cannot buy mutual aid and a sense of community.


Buettner, D. (2019.) “Dispatch from Okinawa: What the World’s Longest-Lived Women Eat.”From

Davies, R. (2020.) “Cognitive decline: can diet be a preventive or treatment option?” Nursing Older People. From

Happy The Movie.

Pangrazzi, L. (2019.) “Boosting the immune system with antioxidants: where are we now?” From

Shirai, K. (2020.) “Social determinants of health on the island of Okinawa.” Health in Japan: Social Epidemiology of Japan Since the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. From

Teschkeab, R. and DangXuan, T. (2020.) “Chapter 21 – Herbs including shell ginger, antioxidant profiles, aging, and longevity in Okinawa, Japan: A critical analysis of current concepts.” From

Hangry October 4, 2020 Fast food bread is a confectionary?

Subway bread is not bread, an Irish court has ruled: there’s too much sugar in it, so it is a confectionary, and therefore subject to a VAT tax. Mike Walsh wrote a few days ago, “The legal distinction between ‘bread’ and ‘not bread’ would have given Subway a tax break because bread is classified as a staple food item. The Supreme Court ruled that Subway bread in fact contains five times the usual amount of sugar-to-flour content.”

The Guardian makes this comparison: “A 6in (15cm) sub roll from Subway contains 5g of sugar – the same as two plain digestive biscuits.
Pret stonebaked losange soup baguette 0.6g
One digestive biscuit 2.4g
Subway Italian white bread 6in roll 5g
McDonald’s Big Mac bun 5.8g.”

I looked at the fast food options in my town, and found that most of the buns had sugar listed as the third ingredient. Here’s McDonald’s: “Regular & Quarter Pounder Buns: Wheat flour (bleached and enriched with thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, iron, folic acid), water, high fructose corn syrup, yeast, vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated soybean, corn, canola, and/or cottonseed),” from JessFastFood. Flour, water, sugar.

According to, their bun is made of “Unbleached Enriched Flour(Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, High Frucose Corn Syrup and/or Sugar, Yeast, Wheat Gluten.” Flour, water, sugar.

KFC: “Enriched wheat  flour, water, sugar/glucose-fructose, yeast, vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola oil), salt, wheat gluten, calcium propionate, vegetable monoglycerides, sodium searoyl-2-lactylate, diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides. Topping: sesame seeds.” Flour, water, sugar.

A&W’s hamburger bun: “Enriched wheat flour, water, yeast*, sugar/glucose-fructose, vegetable oil (canola or soybean), salt, wheat gluten, vinegar, calcium propionate, monoglycerides, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate, sorbic acid, acetylated tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides, calcium carbonate, ammonium chloride, calcium sulphate, potassium sorbate.   *Order may change. May contain sesame seeds, soybean and sulphites.” Flour, water, yeast, sugar or Flour, water, sugar, yeast.

When I crave a cheeseburger, it is not a gourmet hand-pressed patty made with locally grown grass-fed beef, artisanal cheese and a fancy home-baked bun. I want a thin, flat McD’s cheeseburger with its sweet-tasting onions and pickles and ketchup on a sweet bun: a confectionary posing as a savoury snack.

When I finally caved to the Micky D craving, I was surprised how sweet it was, but I had changed my sweet tooth on the advice of my friend Agatha.  Or, rather, changed my taste buds. She explained that we shed/regrow our taste buds every couple of weeks. She advised me to cut my sugar consumption by one third, then a few weeks later, another third, and so on, till I got it down to where I wanted it.

I knew I had achieved my goals when I went to our regular family restaurant and couldn’t eat the coleslaw because it was too damn sweet. Who knew? Looking at recipes for restaurant-style coleslaw, I see they call for added sugar.

The first thing I cut after hearing Agatha’s advice was a McD blueberry muffin (sugar is the second ingredient) then I went from a double-double coffee (two sugar, two cream, as every Canadian knows) to 1 sugar then no sugar.

Interesting that Timmie’s bun ingredients do not feature sugar as the third or fourth ingredient. “Tim Hortons White Bun Ingredients: enriched flour, water, yeast, soybean and/or canola oil, salt, wheat gluten, rye flour, malted barley flour, cultured rye flour, soy lecithin.” I guess they’ll get us with the box of Timbits we bring back home or to work to share.


A&W ingredients

Dairy Queen ingredients
From › Pick-1-Entree › Kids-Hamburgerand1

Jess Fast Food re McDonald’s ingredients

Jones, S and Sam Jones and Helen Sullivan, H. (October 1, 2020.) “Subway bread is not bread, Irish court rules.” From

KFC ingredients

Tim Horton’s ingredients
From › tim-hortons › white-bun

Walsh, M. (October 1, 2020.) “Ireland Court Rules That Subway ‘Bread’ Contains Too Much Sugar To Be Legally Considered Bread.” From

Hangry September 27, 2020 “Industrial pizza” and other oven foods

We used to enjoy buying, preparing and eating what we called oven foods. Instructions: preheat oven, use scissors to remove cardboard and plastic packaging, place in oven and go watch TV or read a magazine, allow to cool, serve.

Fernanda Rauber et al describe oven foods this way: “Ultra-processed foods, as defined by the NOVA food classification system, are not modified or merely processed foods. They are industrial formulations manufactured from substances derived from foods, which typically contain cosmetic and various other types of additive and little if any intact food. These products are designed to be extremely palatable and convenient, are often sold in large portion sizes, and are aggressively marketed.”

Interesting that they are “industrial formulations manufactured from substances derived from foods.” A food-like substance, with “little if any intact food.”

They also point out, “From the lowest to the highest ultra-processed food quintile, the greatest increases in dietary share came from industrial pizza (+630%), soft and fruit drinks (+410%), industrial chips (French fries).”

Industrial pizza! I found this on an Australian website for McCain Supreme Family Pizza. “Pizza base (wheat flour, water, vegetable oils (palm, canola, coconut), emulsifiers (435, 471), flavour, yeast, salt, wheat flour, soy flour), sauce (water, tomato paste, flavours (xanthan gum (415), soy oil), cheese (milk solids, salt, enzymes, starter cultures), processed ham (14%) (pork, water, wheat starch, soy protein, wheat gluten, acidity regulators (451, 450), gelling agent (508), hydrolysed vegetable protein, sugar, stabiliser (407a), natural flavour, antioxidant (316), fermented rice, preservative (250), pork protein, salt), Capsicum (4%), Mushrooms (3%), onions (1%).” That sounds very industrial, complete with parts numbers.

Rauber et al go on to say, “several products that are often marketed and perceived as healthy, for example, granola bars, low-fat flavoured yogurt, low-energy frozen dinners, most industrially produced breads and canned soups, are also ultra-processed.”

To go down this garden path, we see that “Non-ultra-processed foods encompass ‘unprocessed or minimally processed foods’ including fresh, dry or frozen fruits or vegetables, grains, legumes, meat, fish and milk; ‘processed culinary ingredients’ including table sugar, oils, fats, salt and other constituents extracted from foods or from nature and used in kitchens to make culinary preparations; and ‘processed foods’ including foods such as canned fish and vegetables and artisanal cheeses, which are manufactured by adding salt, sugar, oil or other processed culinary ingredients to unprocessed or minimally processed foods.”  I mean, we don’t raise and butcher our own chickens (although we have friends who do), so our fresh whole plucked dead chicken is a minimally processed food.  And we don’t catch and can our own fish, although we have friends who do.

And, according to “Association Between Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders,” there is a link between Ultra Processed Foods and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Their study suggests an association between UPF and IBS. “ The pathophysiology of FGIDs remains unclear but several mechanisms have been evoked including motility disturbance, visceral hypersensitivity, altered mucosal function, altered gut microbiota, and gut-brain axis dysfunction.”

Bad for your gut and your gut-brain axis.

Oh, and cognitive decline. Filippa Juul et al tell us “The state of the intestinal microbiota is a possible clinical marker candidate in the association assessment between neuroinflammation, cognitive decline, and consumption of ultra-processed food.”

You know what else is bad about oven food? The packaging. The study “Ultra-processed food consumption and exposure to phthalates and bisphenols in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey” says  “Ultra-processed food has low nutritional quality, is associated with development of chronic diseases, and may increase exposure to chemicals used in food packaging and production.”

The FDA explains, “Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of products, such as toys, vinyl flooring and wall covering, detergents, lubricating oils, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, blood bags and tubing, and personal care products, such as nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes and other fragrance preparations.”

Put away your scissors, do not preheat the oven, do not allow to cool, do not serve. But I do miss the Oriental Party Pack, ready just a few minutes after you have re-wound the rented VHS tape.


Buckley, J. (2019.) “Ultra-processed food consumption and exposure to phthalates and bisphenols in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2013–2014.” From

FDA (N.D.) From

Juul, F. et al. (2018.) “Ultra-processed food consumption and excess weight among US adults,” British Journal of Nutrition. From

Pizza Ingredients. (N.D.) From

Rauber , F et al. (2018.) “Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases-Related Dietary Nutrient Profile in the UK (2008–2014).” From

Schnabel, L. (2018.) “Association Between Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Results From the French NutriNet-Santé Cohort.” From

Hangry September 21, 2020 Quercetin foods

“What, you’re coming here to give me some random pills that I’m just supposed to start taking?” my son asked.  He has asthma and allergies. I spelled it out for him and told him to look at Pubmed and Google Scholar.

I gave him the pills and he wanted to know any restrictions. I looked at the label and said, “You’re not pregnant or breastfeeding, you’re not a child, you’re good to go.”

Yao Li et al advise in a special issue “Flavonoids, Inflammation and Immune System” that  quercetin has “anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant, and psychostimulant activities, as well as the ability to inhibit lipid peroxidation, platelet aggregation and capillary permeability, and to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis.”

An article in Pharmacognosy Reviews says “Quercetin is one of the important bioflavonoids present in more than twenty plants materials and which is known for its anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, vasodilator effects, antiobesity, antihypercholesterolemic and antiatherosclerotic activities.”

José L. Quiles et al report, “Many pharmacological activities of quercetin have been reported. Among these, the anticancer capacity and the ability to fight against viruses can be highlighted. Moreover, it is useful treating allergic diseases and, from the point of view of cardiovascular disorders, metabolic diseases and different conditions in which inflammation is a key factor.”

I told my kidling, “Or you could eat blueberries, but quite a lot of them.” Yao Li et al list the foods rich in this flavonoid: “Quercetin-type flavonols (primarily as quercetin glycosides), the most abundant of the flavonoid molecules, are widely distributed in plants. They are found in a variety of foods including apples, berries, Brassica vegetables, capers, grapes, onions, shallots, tea, and tomatoes, as well as many seeds, nuts, flowers, barks, and leaves. Quercetin is also found in medicinal botanicals, including Ginkgo bilobaHypericum perforatum, and Sambucus canadensis . In red onions, higher concentrations of quercetin occur in the outermost rings and in the part closest to the root, the latter being the part of the plant with the highest concentration. One study found that organically grown tomatoes had 79% more quercetin than chemically grown fruit. Quercetin is present in various kinds of honey from different plant sources. Food-based sources of quercetin include vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, beverages and other products of plant origin.”

Here’s the food list from Alexander Victor Anand David et al: “It is one of the most abundant dietary flavonoids found in fruits (mainly citrus), green leafy vegetables as well as many seeds, buckwheat, nuts, flowers, barks, broccoli, olive oil, apples, onions, green tea, red grapes, red wine, dark cherries, and berries such as blueberries and cranberries. The highest concentrations of flavonols were found in vegetables such as onions and broccoli, fruits such as apples, cherries, and berries, and drinks such as tea and red wine.”

A study published in 2020 lists these food items for quercetin: apples, berries, cilantro (coriander), onions, capers, lovage, and dill.

My hubby very rarely gets gout, and carries a pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory when he travels for work, that’s often when it hits. So I got us a bottle of Querecetin for our household as well. Plus I bought some blueberries at the Farmers Market.


David, A. et al. (2016.) “Overviews of Biological Importance of Quercetin: A Bioactive Flavonoid.” From

Li, Y. et al. (2016.) “Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity.” From

Quiles, J. et al. (2020.) “Do nutrients and other bioactive molecules from foods have anything to say in the treatment against COVID-19?” From

Hangry September 13,2020 Mushroom Day

Yesterday was a very mushroomy day. In the morning, we went to the Farmers Market and bought local wild mushrooms: Lobster, Cauliflower, and I think Morels. Delicious simply sautéed in butter. Then we bought Chaga mushroom, a topical skin care tincture with aloe vera and tea tree oil, I am hoping it will help my rosacea.

In the afternoon we tried to drive to Dorreen, a 100-year-old village that used to host a train station. Our GPS said were right on top of it, but no village, just a guy standing beside a truck where the road apparently ended. “You need a quad to go the next kilometer,” he said. “Or you could walk – 15, 20 minutes.” It was very muddy, and I am a bit of a princess, so….

I asked him about his Nova Scotia license, said we had moved here from Nova Scotia.  “Oh, that’s my buddy, he’s out picking.” I asked him, “Berries or mushrooms?” He showed us some pine mushrooms. I asked him about the price and he said it was low, $15 a pound. “When we moved here in ’88, there were gunshots in the woods!” I said.  He told us in 1988 the price was $300 a pound, guys were using helicopters to harvest.

Chaga mushrooms are anti-inflammatory; the picker/seller at the Famers Market had told us that a regular customer with eczema said it was better than any pharmaceutical.

For my rosacea, I had been taking Curcumin, an anti-inflammatory. It helped a bit. I was also starting a trial of Riversol, a BC-based skin care product, with “anti-redness serum.” It helped a bit. Then I was taking an antibiotic for another issue, and was suffering intestinal distress. “Get some probiotic,” the doctor told me. I did, and after I finished the antibiotic I continued with the probiotic – and my skin is clearing up rapidly. Like, near-miracle.

You have heard about the gut-brain connection. There is also a gut-skin connection.

This study, “Potential Role of the Microbiome in Acne: A Comprehensive Review” tells us, “Over the years, an expanding body of research has highlighted the presence of a gut-brain-skin axis that connects gut microbes, oral probiotics, and diet, currently an area of intense scrutiny, to acne severity.”

Jillian Cole does a great job of exploring skin problems and the gut microbiome.

Other than gulping down expensive probiotic pills, what else should I consume for a healthy gut? Mushrooms.

This study, “A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota” tells us “Mushrooms are proven to possess anti-allergic, anti-cholesterol, anti-tumor, and anti-cancer properties. Mushrooms are rich in carbohydrates, like chitin, hemicellulose, β and α-glucans, mannans, xylans, and galactans, which make them the right choice for prebiotics. Mushrooms act as a prebiotics to stimulate the growth of gut microbiota, conferring health benefits to the host.”

“Mushrooms and Health Summit Proceedings,” (a must-read!) says, “Preliminary evidence suggests that mushrooms may support healthy immune and inflammatory responses through interaction with the gut microbiota, enhancing development of adaptive immunity, and improved immune cell functionality.”

Sautéed in butter.


Cole, J. (2020.) From

Feeney, M et al. (2014.) “Mushrooms and Health Summit Proceedings1,2,3.”


Jayachandran, M, et al. (2017.) “A Critical Review on Health Promoting Benefits of Edible Mushrooms through Gut Microbiota”


Lee, Y. (2019.) “Potential Role of the Microbiome in Acne: A Comprehensive Review.”