The Rot Isn’t In The McDonald’s…It’s In The Education

mcdonaldsYesterday, I noticed that many of my friends and associates on Facebook where sharing some post by the owner of a Chiropractic clinic in Alaska, a Jennifer Lovdahl. Ms Jennifer Lovdahl is listed as a doctor on their chiropractic clinic website – http://www.movewellalaska.com/ and apparently graduated from the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa.

The post by Dr. Lovdahl that so many of my Facebook associates were sharing contained a photo of a meal apparently purchased six years ago from McDonald’s, containing Chicken McNuggets and french fries. Dr. Lovdahl wrote in her post:

“It’s been 6 years since I bought this “Happy Meal” at McDonald’s. It’s been sitting at our office this whole time and has not rotted, molded, or decomposed at all!!! It smells only of cardboard. We did this experiment to show our patients how unhealthy this “food” is. Especially for our growing children!! There are so many chemicals in this food! Choose real food! Apples, bananas, carrots, celery….those are real fast food.”
~ Source

I am astonished that a so-called “doctor” would publish such tripe. You would think that anyone today that is a graduate of a college that bestows the degree of Doctor, and that college is involved in human sciences, would have at least taught their students some basic chemistry as well as The Scientific Method.

Or perhaps Dr. Lovdahl is aware of The Scientific Method and some basic chemistry, but chooses to promote her own biases using the respect that most people would give a person with the degree of Doctor bestowed upon them. Whatever the case may be, this is where the rot is, and I can tell you why Dr. Lovdahl observed no rot in the McDonald’s food.

Let’s look at Dr. Lovdahl’s original post: “We did this experiment to show our patients how unhealthy this “food” is.”

How does this experiment show any such thing? It doesn’t show that it is “unhealthy” nor does it show, as Dr. Lovdahl claims that “there are so many chemicals in this food.” There likely ARE many chemicals in the food; but not in the way Dr. Lovdahl is trying to suggest. Everything that exists has a chemical makeup. Even apples. There is nothing sinister going on here whatsoever.

Now, if Dr. Lovdahl truly respected science (and apparently, the college she graduated from claims to hold integrity and science as high values), she would have conducted her experiment using multiple meals, as well as control subjects. For example, she might have made up some french fried potatoes at home, reduced their moisture level through freezing or refrigeration, (using only organic potatoes, of course!), deep fried them without the addition of any other chemicals but for a sprinkling of salt, put it in a bag and stuck in a dry cupboard for six years along with her McDonald’s purchased meal.

Now there’s an experiment that’s closer to reality.

Or, if she wants to compare apples, bananas, and carrots, she could have also dehydrated those, deep fried them, stuck them in a cupboard for six years, and checked to see if she found rot.

I suggest you try it at home before you go believing Dr. Lovdahl. Here’s some facts for you:

Food preservation can be done by reducing moisture and adding salt. Anything deep fried would have a lot of water moisture driven out of it, and replaced by oil. Now, the oil could go rancid if left for six years, open to the air, but you would not see this. But you would probably have food that appeared to have withstood the element of time, and showed little or no rot.

This experiment does not prove that this is not “healthy food,” nor does it prove that lots of chemicals were added to the food by McDonald’s. It is shameful that a person with the title “Doctor” would try to persuade you that her experiment was somehow a valid experiment. It’s not. It’s actually.. anti-science.

Food rot depends on a number of different things, including levels of moisture. Foods that have low to no water moisture and that are kept in a dry place, will not rot at the same rate as high moisture foods and in fact, can withstand against rot for a very long time depending on the conditions they are kept in. Does a doctor involved in human health not know this very basic fact?? It does not require the addition of any sinister chemicals to keep food from rotting.

Dr. Lovdahl owes her fans an apology for attempting to show something in a non-scientific manner, but present it to novices in such a way that it may be a valid experiment.

Or perhaps Dr. Lovdahl was never taught the scientific method. In that case, any person who has graduated from the Palmer College of Chiropractic is suspect, and I would not want to be treated by any graduate of theirs.

I have some challenges for Dr. Lovdahl:

Challenge 1:

Purchase the finest organic potatoes you can find. Cut them into “chip” (as called in the UK) or “french fry” shapes. Freeze them.

Heat up the finest healthiest oil in a deep fryer. Take frozen raw french fries and deep fry them until they are cooked. Remove french fries, allow oil to drain, sprinkle with salt, place in a paper bag, put in a cupboard in a dry place.

Come back and tell us what you see.

Challenge 2:

Dr. Lovdahl compares the McDonald’s meal to “real food” such as “apples, bananas and carrots.”

Okay, apples have a higher level of moisture than potatoes; if left out of some preserving condition, they will rot in a short amount of time, definitely less than six years. But here’s what I want you to do: Dehydrate the apples to the same moisture level as potatoes after cutting them into chip shapes. Freeze them. Then take them out of the freezer and deep fry them. Remove from the deep fryer, sprinkle some salt, put in a bag, and leave in a dry place for six years. Tell me what you see. Tell me if you will conclude the apples must have had chemicals added to them.

I doubt Dr. Lovdahl will take up the challenge. But if the good doctor wants to have some semblance of scientific credibility, the good doctor ought to take up the challenge, along with having some control subjects, as a proper scientific experiment would have.

I am sure Dr. Lovdahl means well, but pushing pseudo-science onto people, and pushing it in such a way that it apparently proves or shows something, is utterly irresponsible. I would hope that any regulatory agency or the good doctor’s school that apparently values integrity will have a little chat with the doctor about scientific integrity, and making false claims while using the title of Doctor, as apparently happened at the Chiropractic clinic.

The rot is not in the McDonald’s food; the rot is in the critical thinking skills that seem to be no longer taught these days.

I actually do quite of food preservation with my son – including dehydrating, fermentation, and canning – perhaps Dr. Lovdahl might be interested in learning more, and about food chemistry.

A Natural Cure For Cancer?

It was pretty exciting to come across a fairly recent article discussing some research that is going on into a cure for some cancers. There is likely not a single person who has not been affected by cancer in some way; either having suffered it or watching a loved one endure the pain and wasting away from this brutal disease.

Of course, billions is spent every year on both research and treatment for cancer. Some of the treatments, according to some, seem almost worse than the disease itself. So imagine researchers surprise when they discovered that a common weed may hold the answer to solving this scourge of a disease. Yes, a common weed that has often been classified as “noxious” and that most of us try to get rid of when it appears growing in our lawns!

Apparently, Health Canada has given permission for human trials because of the other preliminary evidence that exists that an extract from this weed can actually cause cancer cells to “commit suicide.”

Interested? Is it possible that a natural remedy that is cheap and in abundance might provide legitimate hope for cancer sufferers?

Well.. take a look for yourself. Dandelion Root – Cure For Cancer?

 

Fermenting With David

scoby kombucha

Our SCOBY arrived in the mail today.

David is pretty awesome – and we enjoy a wide range of activities. It’s wonderful that his interests are so varied – he does enjoy his computer games like Minecraft (he even has his own server), loves building with Lego, and will read for hours and hours at a time.

But he also really enjoys baking bread with me, and recently we discovered the art of “food fermentation.” Earlier today, thanks to the kindness of a stranger, a “SCOBY” – the “mother” of Kombucha, arrived in the mail. I’ve never had kombucha, but have heard of it’s health benefits (although most are not scientifically proven although the idea of adding more probiotics to our diet is appealing) as well as apparently the ability to create flavoured carbonated beverages with it.

So it was fun to prepare the tea mixture that the scoby went into and David was right there by my side, helping with it all. He gets a kick out of our food “experiments.”

This evening, we’re going to try fermenting garlic cloves in honey. I came across this in a Facebook group that I recently discovered and people there are raving about this, both it’s flavour when it’s completed, as well as claims about how it cures a cough almost immediately and keeps the cold and flu bugs away. Regardless, David and I both love garlic – cooked with most of our dishes, home made garlic bread, and we’ve even done fermented garlic like this.

David especially loves the fermented garlic which had added oregano in the salt brine. The scent of it fermenting is also enjoyable to us, but quite possibly not to everyone! 🙂

So now I’m looking for ideas for how to flavour kombucha. If you’re reading this and have make this beverage, would love to know what you do with it!

On the weekend, we have plans to do quite a bit of bread baking, with a number of loaves going into the freezer for later.

 

Richter’s – Awesome Customer Service

I love vegetable gardening. When I was a child, my parents had a vegetable garden and although there were times I thought some of the work was not what I wanted to do – all that weeding – I enjoyed the fact that we could go to our garden and pick our own tomatoes, rhubarb, and even strawberries during the summer months.

Both my grandfather and my father were big influences on me; trying new and interesting crops, teaching me how to save seeds from the previous year, and having plants in our gardens that many would not think of. I used to have horseradish that was transplanted from my grandfather’s garden, as well as interesting things like “Egyptian Onions.”

Up until about 1999, I always had my own vegetable garden and at some point during the 1990’s, I discovered Richter’s Herbs, a mail order as well as bricks and mortar retailer of seeds of herbs and vegetables. Located in Goodwood, Ontario, I would sometimes drop in to their retail location to browse or purchase something new I wanted to try, on trips between Grand Valley and Ottawa.  Each spring, I would eagerly await their catalogue and pour over it, thinking about and wondering of the interesting herbs and vegetable varieties they had to offer.

In about 1999, I had some life experiences which meant I could no longer have either the time or the space for a garden, but I certainly missed it.

Last year, an opportunity came up for me to start a new vegetable garden. Being out of the habit for almost 15 years, it was both a joy and a frustration, having forgotten so much of what I had learned.  In addition, it was one of the smallest gardens I’d ever had, but nevertheless, it was a garden.

This year, being able to continue with the same garden, I fondly recalled years ago looking through the Richter’s catalogue years ago and decided to order some of their seed products.

I probably left it a bit late in the season, which is my fault, and partly because they have so many interesting varieties of herbs and seeds; how to try all that I wanted to try in such a small plot?

Finally though, a few weeks ago I submitted my order and anxiously awaited it’s arrival, which was shipped via Canada Post on April 14th, 2014.

Well, there were issues with Canada Post as I wrote about here.  I immediately got in touch with Richter’s, advising them of the delivery problems and their customer service was just awesome! They communicated with me in a timely manner, made arrangements to have another shipment to me via another courier company, and expressed their care and concern that I was a satisfied customer even if it cost them money.

And the day after I advised them of the delivery issues, I was thrilled to discover a replacement package arrive at my door. How amazing is that?

Both Kim and the founder of Richter’s, Conrad, emailed me and expressed their concerns as well as their desires of ensuring I was a satisfied customer.  Their attention to making sure I received what I ordered also meant that my plans to plant some seeds with my 11 year old son over the weekend including “Amish Paste Tomatoes,” was possible to carry through with. David and I had a lot of fun and some special time together planting our seeds, planning our garden this year, and sharing and learning together.

So not only was their attention to customer service important to me, it also made it possible that the plans my son and I had for this weekend together, were able to be carried out, and for that I am truly appreciative. I’m sure David and I would have found other fun things to do,  but it was nice to be able to do what we planned with the idea of also looking forward to working in our wee garden together, come this summer and also reap together, what we have sowed together.

If you are interested in some really interesting varieties of herbs and vegetables, I highly recommend that you take a look at the Richter’s catalogue yourself. I almost wish I lived in a zone and with enough property that I could try just about everything they have to offer!

While you can browse their offerings online, ordering a printed catalogue from them is also recommended. Their website is here.

 

 

My Journey To Trying Mansaf

mansafYears ago, when I first started the blog, “Ianism,” most of my posts were about classical liberalism, libertarianism, and included some “debates” with opinion of both the left and the right. There were also posts about some of my own personal achievements, discouragements and of course, about my awesome sons and their achievements as well.

After some years (about five years ago), I got tired of the debating of politics and philosophy, met a woman, and thought that might be the end of “Ianism” although I kept renewing the domain name but took the site offline. Much has happened over those five years: Things unfortunately did not work with that relationship, my children are now five years older, my business has moved slightly in a different direction and I spend more time on search engine optimization projects although that has always been a major part of what I like to do.

Some things have not changed: I remain a classical style liberal in the sense of what liberalism originally meant and see no answers or logical proposals from either those on the left or right. I still enjoy writing, and to that end, some months ago, I decided to put “Ianism” back up. Mostly, I’ve written about search engine optimization here although that was not my goal when I did so. I planned on having an eclectic blog (against the advice of many who blog and say that a blog’s theme should be consistent and topical).

So with that in mind, I am now on a journey to try Mansaf. What is mansaf, you ask? It is a traditional Jordanian dish that includes lamb simmered in a special kind of yoghurt, along with rice, spices, pine nuts and almonds. How I discovered this dish is a bit of a story in itself that involves what I thought was a hilarious youtube video, followed up with some curiosity. But the beginnings probably go back even further.

Middle Eastern Food (My First Time)

I originally came to know of middle eastern food, the very first time when I was about 13 or 14 years old. My Northern Irish but Canadian resident father enjoyed trying different types of food himself, and one day, while we were out on a drive together, pulled into a small restaurant in Toronto somewhere. He wanted me to try a falafel – something I had never heard of but my dad had eaten before. When  tasted these balls (I had no idea what they were made of back then, and it would be some years before I discovered it was chickpea or garbanzo bean based), inside a pita bread wrap with a sauce along with onion, lettuce and tomato, I absolutely loved it! Occasionally, my dad and I would return to that restaurant over the years to have a quick lunch or snack of a falafel.

Later, I discovered a restaurant on my own when I was spending time in Toronto, working, at a corner along Lawrence Ave. E. That was well over 20 years ago, and I have no idea if the place still exists, but I was a regular when I was working in the area and during their open hours. It was then I was also introduced to Tabbouleh salad, which I love to eat.

My Own Experiments

Over the years, my own appreciation for a wide variety of different culture’s and world regions taste and style in food has grown. Although there are times when there is nothing better than my own “traditional” meat and potatoes, or fish and potatoes, along with Ulster Fry for breakfast, I have learned to try and enjoy many others, including Indian curries, Carribean, and Middle Eastern foods. In order to enjoy them whenever I want, I’ve had to learn to make them on my own. I can’t say that every dish I make would pass the test of being completely authentic, but they are pretty close, I’d say.

When you decide to try new things, it’s amazing what you discover, and how different tastes, spices, bitters, sweets and sours can all go toward a wonderful culinary experience. I love chickpeas on their own, but I also love adding spices and cooking with curry, or mixing them with other beans and using my own homemade Italian dressing over top.

Hummus became a favorite of mine as well. I can eat it on its own using a spoon, or as a dip with vegetables like celery and carrots, or spread on crackers. One can adjust the spices as they desire, and it makes for a great snack that is also very healthy.

So How Did I Get To Wanting To Try Mansaf?

Over the years, I enjoy reading history and current events. One of the countries in this world that has always intrigued me is Jordan. Stuck in the middle of a very “hot spot” on this earth, we don’t hear much about Jordan, but from what I’ve read, it’s a beautiful country and there is a relative peace and respect between the different religious groups that reside there. Jordan is a small country but has accepted refugees of both Muslims and Christians from its neighbours, and it seems to me, has tried to be a “calming” influence in the region. I’m no expert by any means on middle east politics, although I like the foods I have tried. Jordan just has always been a country that has interested me.

When I began to write this post, I mentioned that there was a humorous youtube video involved. The other night, I came across a silly but humorous video of some guy “fooling” people into thinking he was a woman while the song “Call Me Maybe” was being played. It’s a bit racy to say the least, but the reactions in the video are quite funny. At least I thought so. Its probably not a video that you want to watch if you’re easily offended by an extreme degree of immodesty, and certainly not something that I pursue, but I couldn’t help but chuckle when I watched it. It was also my first introduction to the song; although I love music, most of what I listen to is “older” stuff, and I seldom have a radio on.

The title of the video caught my eye though. It is named “Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen (Chatroulette Version).” I wondered, “what is a ‘chatroulette version’?” and decided to Google it. Turns out that it was the mechanism the videomaker used to shock people in the first place and make the video. Out of curiosity, I went to the website, and thought I’d see what it was all about. Well, most of it seemed pretty stupid, and a waste of time, but I did end up having a conversation with a person from Germany named Lucien, who happens to have relatives here in Canada. We talked for a bit, discussing music and other subjects when Lucien had to leave.

A few moments later, I had the pleasure of conversing with a Jordanian named Ali. This was a great conversation, as we both respectfully discussed just about every subject from politics, philosophy, learning, life dreams, and telling each other about our families. And it was during that conversation that I learned about Mansaf, with Ali sending me to a webpage about this very delicious looking dish.

In my further research, I discovered that this dish is not just about eating a meal, but the traditional way of eating it is about showing hospitality and bonding with those you are supping with. Traditionally, one shares the dish with others, using their fingers and following certain protocol including being careful to not put your fingers against your mouth, only the food, using the right hand while the left hand remains behind your back. This video explains more, including how Mansaf is prepared: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrKOGtcWHIo

Considering the “meaning” behind serving the dish to others, out of a sense of hospitality and friendship, I was quite honoured when Ali invited me and suggested I visit Jordan and he could share Mansaf with me. We both may come from different cultures and even different systems of beliefs, but it was obvious that the belief and desire for the wellbeing of our fellow man was quite evident, and I very much enjoyed making an acquaintance with Ali, and look forward to getting to know him better, while also letting him get to know me better if he so wishes. Ali seemed very interested and curious in all manner of subjects as well as quite knowledgeable, characteristics I admire.

After having made his acquaintance, I do hope that one day I could be able to travel to Jordan and eat Mansaf with Ali and his family. Unfortunately, I think that day would be quite some time away. In the meantime, I still do want to try Mansaf, even if I have to make it myself.However, there is a challenge.

The Challenge – Jameed

Traditional Mansaf requires an ingredient called Jameed, a type of yoghurt made from goat’s milk, and then dried into very hard balls. It is then reconstituted with water when it is to be used for eating or cooking. Drying it out was a way to preserve yoghurt when there was no refrigeration. However, learning how to make Jameed is not easy, as apparently many families guard their recipe closely.

I have not been able to find a source for Jameed anywhere near where I live, so it would appear I have to learn to make it myself. I do have access to goat’s milk, but I don’t know how to make yoghurt. But I can learn. But then, I do not totally understand the drying process of the yoghurt in order for it to become Jameed, so perhaps some experimentation is in order – but traditionally, it is dried outdoors, either in the sun or the shade, and it might be a bit too late in the year here in Ontario, for that.

First things first; I will need to get some goat’s milk and learn to make yoghurt with it. Then I will try to figure out how to make Jameed with my yoghurt. Then, I will study and see if I can make Mansaf with some wonderful tasty Ontario lamb that I buy from a local farmer.

If I am able to visit Jordan, I will certainly accept Ali’s invitation to eat Mansaf with him! If Ali is able to visit Canada, I hope he will accept my invitation to visit with me and I will feed him well, too – perhaps if by then I’ve learned to make Mansaf, with a non traditional Canadian version of it! 🙂 We’ll see how much progress I can make on trying to learn how  to make it.

Finally – thank you Ali for the introduction to you and your family’s lives in Jordan. The time we live in is pretty amazing, when we can communicate with complete strangers so far away, and learn more about each other, and form friendships that go beyond borders.  And thank you for letting me know about Mansaf and your invitation of hospitality towards me. It is very much appreciated.

Now, onto learning more about Mansaf, but tonight I will have a simple but tasty North American style hamburger, with onions, tomato, lettuce and mustard.