August 16, 2010

Food observations, non-meat edition

- Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are superior to fresh ones unless you're cooking the fresh ones yourself. Most people don't do that anymore because we've set up a purity taboo about eating cooked vegetables -- they have to be "fresh," i.e. raw, in order to be pure. Even when we're allowed to cook them, it has to be some way that will highly oxidize the vegetables, such as grilling. No one merely boils them, let alone ferment them.

Eating raw fruits and vegetables is a surefire way to get food poisoning to varying degrees, especially if they have a higher sugar content that would attract flies in the supermarket. Cooked vegetables that come in cans are less risky. Ditto frozen fruit -- won't grow fuzz in a couple of days. Many people complain about the gas they get from eating cruciferous vegetables (ones whose bottom makes a cross shape), such as cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, artichokes, broccoli, etc. The plants are only deploying some mix of toxins, irritants, and other defenses to keep from being eaten. Fermentation apparently zaps most of that junk, as you can quickly verify by eating a bunch of sauerkraut -- no gas. I go through one or two tightly packed cans of that stuff a week, and I could easily go through four.

Extra bonus: canned vegetables are a lot cheaper since their maintenance doesn't cost the supermarket much at all, aside from some shelf or freezer space. Raw ones are much more high-maintenance, and you end up paying for that. People are willing to pay a lot in order to avoid violating food purity taboos.

- Hazelnuts are the perfect nut. Almonds are just sweet enough to be somewhat addictive, which keeps them from being ideal. I once ate about a half-pound of almonds, and I could never do that with the much more savory hazelnut. Like the almond, though, it's very low in carbs (most of these being fiber anyway), and loaded with monounsaturated fats. Macademias are this way too, but they don't have enough of a crunchy structure to make a good snack food. They're hard at first, but you can't munch on them. Other common nuts are either too high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats or too high in carbs.

- Real yoghurt has vanished from the shelves. I don't eat yoghurt often at all, but I remember just a couple years ago it wasn't so bad. Now more or less every variety is fat-free or low-fat. You really have to hunt to find a full-fat one, assuming it's even there. Of course the sugar content has only gone through the roof in the meantime, since it has to taste like something. By this standard of "healthy eating," the healthiest thing we could eat are jelly beans -- no fat, tons of sugar.

- After plenty of self-experimentation, I conclude what I did last year about the effects of cheese (especially aged ones) on libido, provided you're also on a low-carb diet. Once guys leave their teens, they feel glad not to be so governed by their boners all the time, and to be able to think about other things than that cute girl in front of you in math class who always finds some excuse to lean over her desk. Still, going half-way back there feels like the right amount of prurience.

Hmmm, a low-carb diet with plenty of cheese -- that sounds like what distinguishes a pastoralist diet from a hunter-gatherer diet (no dairy) and a farmer diet (super high-carb, uncertain dairy). No wonder the herders in all those pastoral poems are always so amorous. It can't be due to leading semi-isolated lives and having the pressure build up -- there are plenty of semi-isolated farmers, hunter-gatherers, and modern-day laborers who don't always have love and sex on the mind. If you deprive them all of sex for the same length of time, it seems like the herders experience greater pangs of feeling lovelorn -- meaning they had higher libidos to begin with (there's no frustration where there's no desire).


  1. Here in SoCal there is a yogurt brand called Mountain High available in most stores that you can find in "whole" unsweetened and unflavored form. I used to find plain yogurt pretty distasteful until I adjusted my perception of it and just thought of it as sour cream. My favorite combo has been sliced melon and yogurt, they work well together.

    People are so busy "tabooing" healthy food that they completely bypass the practice and eat crap instead.

    I steam all my veggies fresh, and I seem to have an intolerance of my favorite one of them all: brussel sprouts. If I eat too many at once (over 4 medium sized) I'm hunched over for an hour.

  2. You should probably just make your own yoghurt. It isn't very hard.

    - Breeze

  3. Yeah, you should just make your own yogurt so aren't stuck with a non-fat dieter's food.

    You can use a plain yogurt from the supermarket as a starter in whole milk. It tastes a little richer even with some heavy cream.

    It's best of all when you strain out most of the whey and are left with a greek style yogurt. If you wait long enough, it becomes more of a spreadable yogurt cream cheese.

    Lots of vegetable are tough to digest they call for some kind of fat.
    Brussel sprouts go down a lot easier when I sautee them in a mixture of butter, cream, chicken stock, sea salt, garlic, and wine. I've very nice when the outer leaves of the sprouts start getting browned and crispy. Very nice with grated parmesan sprinkled on top while hot.


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