Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Harvard says Vegetariniasm is ok

But of course, we already knew that. A diet based on plants,grains,nuts,milk is perfectly adequate for human being.Here is complete source.

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But what about deficiencies?

Iron. Studies have shown that in Western countries, meat eaters and vegetarians get about the same amount of iron. But meat, particularly red meat, contains heme iron, which is much more readily absorbed than the non-heme form in plant foods. Other dietary factors affect the absorption of non-heme iron. Enhancers include vitamin C. Inhibitors include phytic acid in whole grains, legumes, lentils, and nuts; polyphenols in tea, red wine, and other food; and possibly soy protein. In the West, vegetarians do tend to have lower iron "stores" in their bodies. Some studies also indicate lower levels of hemoglobin. But vegetarians don’t have higher rates of iron-deficiency anemia, and some studies suggest that their lower iron stores may have health benefits.

Protein. Studies show that most vegetarians get the 50 grams of protein per day recommended by the FDA as part of a standard 2,000-calorie diet. Beans, dairy products, eggs, nuts, and soy have plenty of protein. Vegetarians used to be told that they needed to be careful about getting complementary proteins because plant-based proteins don’t come with all the amino acids contained in meat protein. Because most vegetarians in developed countries eat an ample supply of protein, they end up getting the full set of amino acids, so juggling foods to get complementary proteins isn’t necessary.

Vitamin B12. Dairy foods and eggs are good sources, so many vegetarians get plenty of vitamin B12. The stricter vegan diet, which doesn’t include any animal-based foods, could theoretically lead to a shortage of B12. The vitamin is added to several brands of breakfast cereal (Total, for example) as well as some brands of soy milk. Note, though, that many "natural" health-food cereals are not fortified with any vitamins, including B12.

Monday, July 30, 2007

US Farm Bill 2007 debate

Here are some more resources on US Farm Bill debate 2007
Here are some key groups working on reforms of the Farm Bill—many offer ways to sign
up for emailed updates. Another great resource is the book Food Fight: The Citizen's Guide to a Food and Farm Bill, by Dan Imhoff.

  • Public Health Action on the Farm Bill: www.publichealthaction.org .
  • National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture: www.sustainableagriculture.net .
  • Environmental Working Group: www.ewg.org .
  • National Family Farm Coalition: www.nffc.net .
  • Slow Food USA: http://www.slowfoodusa.org/farmbill .
  • Om Organics: www.omorganics.org .
  • Community Alliance with Family Farmers: .
  • www.caff.org/policy/2007_farm_bill.shtml .
  • Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: . http://www.agobservatory.org/issue_farmbill2007.cfm .
  • Community Food Security Coalition: http://www.foodsecurity.org .
  • Farm and Food Policy Project: http://www.farmandfoodproject.org/index.asp .
  • American Farmland Trust: http://www.farmland.org/programs/campaign/default.asp .

Thursday, July 26, 2007

US should end agricultural payments

US- the great messiah of free trade should stop subsidizing its agriculture, handing out farm payment to its odd 25,000 cotton farmers and let real world cotton price surface
In last 5 years, US govt has handed out $70 billion in payments to its farmers.
Don't believe me? Check out these databases
US Farm Subsidy database link
The bill would perpetuate an outdated and hugely expensive — $70 billion over the last five years — system of price supports and direct payments that disproportionately rewards big growers of row crops like corn, wheat and soybeans. More than half of this spending is concentrated in about 20 Congressional districts.

Incredibly, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, touts the bill as a big step toward reform. Ms. Pelosi seems especially proud of a new means test under which farmers with adjusted gross incomes of $1 million or more would no longer receive subsidies, down from the present cap of $2.5 million.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gluten less wondrous Amaranth Seed

Ever noticed bright red leaves of Chaulai or Amaranth plant? Totakoora in Telugu.
It used to come in winters of Delhi, place where I grew up and always hated it. It turns out its seed are gluten less and more nutritious than wheat.
Read on more about this wonder grain-Amaranth or Rajageera


Amaranth has a "sticky" texture that contrasts with the fluffier texture of most grains and care should be taken not to overcook it as it can become "gummy." Amaranth flavor is mild, sweet, nutty, and malt like, with a variance in flavor according to the variety being used.

Amaranth keeps best if stored in a tightly sealed container, such as a glass jar, in the refrigerator. This will protect the fatty acids it contains from becoming rancid. The seeds should be used within 3 to 6 months.

The leaves of the amaranth plant taste much like spinach and are used in the same manner that spinach is used. They are best if consumed when the plant is young and tender.

Amaranth seed is high in protein (15-18%) and contains respectable amounts of lysine and methionine, two essential amino acids that are not frequently found in grains. It is high in fiber and contains calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C.

The fiber content of amaranth is three times that of wheat and its iron content, five times more than wheat. It contains two times more calcium than milk. Using amaranth in combination with wheat, corn or brown rice results in a complete protein as high in food value as fish, red meat or poultry.

Amaranth also contains tocotrienols (a form of vitamin E) which have cholesterol-lowering activity in humans. Cooked amaranth is 90% digestible and because of this ease of digestion, it has traditionally been given to those recovering from an illness or ending a fasting period. Amaranth consists of 6-10% oil, which is found mostly within the germ. The oil is predominantly unsaturated and is high in linoleic acid, which is important in human nutrition.

The amaranth seeds have a unique quality in that the nutrients are concentrated in a natural "nutrient ring" that surrounds the center, which is the starch section. For this reason the nutrients are protected during processing. The amaranth leaf is nutritious as well containing higher calcium, iron, and phosphorus levels than spinach.

What is your favourite grain

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