Iodine And The Prostate

I always wonder what brings people to this little, humble corner of the Iodineinternet where I write up some of the alternative treatments, diets, and supplements I read about (and even try). Who are you? What are you doing here? Do you find my articles helpful? Understandable? Do you cross-reference them to make sure I’m honest? Well, it’s neither here nor there and just a stream-of-consciousness thought. Today I’m finally writing up my studies on iodine and the prostate. A friend of my husband has prostate cancer and needs to have surgery. He wanted me to get some articles regarding iodine and the prostate to give to his friend, so I did.  I thought I’d continue on in my iodine write-up here for this blog.

If you search for iodine and prostate on the internet, you’ll come across some pretty dramatic, anecdotal claims–got some coffee up my nose a time or two (or even three) while reading.  What’s real?  Can iodine make a man shoot across the room? Well, there’s not enough iodine and prostate information out there to know much, but the scant research teases us with at least iodine’s efficacy in preventing prostate cancer and reducing benign prostatic hypertrophy.

Real Life Evidence That Iodine May Impact Prostate Cancer

You’ll read this everywhere on the internet about iodine: Japanese men have one of the lowest prostate cancer rates in the world and some of the highest iodine intakes. They consume large amounts of salt-water fish and seaweed, both iodine-rich food sources. The Japanese age adjusted prostate cancer incidence rate is 12.6 men per 100,000 men; in the United States it is 124.8 men per 100,000 men. That’s a significant difference, eh, by any statistical, analytical contortion. When Japanese men move to the United States and adapt a non-traditional diet, maybe some Totino’s pizza, microwave popcorn, or honey mustard dressing in a plastic bottle, their incidence of prostate cancer rises. Now, this is all interesting and observational. Is it the iodine? The omega-3 in the fish? The micronutrients in the kelp? The air in McDonald’s? (1)

Well, wouldn’t it be nice to know? It would. In 1997, The British Journal of Cancer published a dietary study trying to label fat intake as a prostate nemesis, and they also looked at other nutrients as a side show. Fat intake was actually not found to correlate (so throw up the yellow flag on fat fears), but when looking at other nutrients, they found that the higher the iodine intake, the lower the risk of prostate cancer. Statistical contortion methods almost significantly indicated that high iodine intake was associated with less prostate cancer—but no cookie. (Please don’t eat cookies. Well, not many anyhow.)  High iodine intake was defined as greater than 156 micrograms per day, which is higher than the recommended intake in the United States and well below the intake in the average Japanese man. I wonder if anything significant would have turned up had they stratified out even higher intakes of iodine among the study population. That’s all I can do is wonder. And cook fish for my hubby. (2)

It’s Not All About The Thyroid

So, maybe iodine might, possibly, could help prevent prostate cancer. How? What could it do?   Well, we used to think that iodine was only needed by the thyroid gland– but oh, how we are learning that, ahem, we were wrong. (Why isn’t anyone blushing? Stammering?) In fact, the prostate and many other organs and tissues will actively pull in and accumulate iodine as long as there is enough iodine present in the body.  However, the thyroid gets preferential uptake of iodine. The doses of iodine recommended in the United States barely make the cutoff for thyroid needs, forget the breasts, brain, salivary glands, ovaries, testicles, prostate, and stomach! (3)

Iodine In The Prostate

Iodine, fascinatingly, is being found to have anti-proliferative, antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Increased levels of iodine regulate mitosis, reduce free-radical induced DNA damage, and markedly reduce tissue fibrosis. All these functions add up to protection. Iodine seems pretty protective. Studies on mice and in test tube cells have shown that iodine can cause prostate cancer cells to self-destruct (known medically as apoptosis) and to differentiate (a good thing). Cancerous cells begin to lose all resemblance to the tissue type they are supposed to belong to, and iodine helps prostate cancer cells go back to resembling normal prostate cells (known medically as differentiation). This sounds promising, but it just isn’t concrete enough evidence to say that iodine benefits prostate cancer. (1,3)

Although we use the general term iodine, the body actually uses iodine (I2), iodate (I-), and 6-iodolactone. Using human cell lines in mice, research has elucidated that both normal prostate cells and cancerous prostate cells are affected by all three forms of iodine. Iodine inhibited cell proliferation and promoted apoptosis (programmed cell death). Interestingly, the 6-iodolactone iodine form is a powerful form that is only formed in the body when there is enough iodine (and it seems to be more if it’s the I2 form) present at certain levels and certain lengths of time.  So, if you’re barely scraping by to feed the thyroid, you may not be getting the amount, concentration, and duration necessary to make 6 iodolactone! 6-iodolactone cannot be detected in human tissue when iodine deficiency is present. (4)

What About Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)?

My searches for information about benign prostatic hypertrophy and iodine brought up even less than what I found for prostate cancer and iodine. What little I found seemed very seductive, but when I tried to track down the primary sources myself, it proved a little sticky. The paper titled “The Extrathyronine Actions of Iodine as Antioxidant, Apoptotic, and Differentiation Factor in Various Tissues” ran in the journal Prostate in 2013. The following is an excerpt from this article:

“Similarly, I2 treatment (3–6 mg/day) of patients with benign breast disease is accompanied by a significant bilateral reduction in breast size and remission of disease symptoms, effects not observed when I− or protein-bound I− is administered. Moreover, similar benefits have been found in benign prostatic hyperplasia, in animal models with 0.05% I2 supplementation, and in human patients with early benign prostatic hyperplasia (stages I and II) where an 8-month Lugol (5 mg/day) supplement was accompanied by diminished symptoms and prostate-specific antigen values, and an increased urine flow rate.”

This excerpt just sounds wonderful, but I was not able to access the sources. One is a textbook where you can read just a garbled bit on Google and the other was presented at a scientific convention.

On a personal note, we do use a little bit of iodine supplementation in our family because we don’t have reliable iodine sources in our diet. We try to eat seafood abundantly and incorporate seaweed, but the main cook in our family (me) sometimes gets a little tied up in little arms (kids) and doesn’t quite cook the way she means to. Upon questioning, it was reported to me that nocturnal urination symptoms in the laborer of our family diminished with iodine. Anecdotal? Yes. Absolutely.

Closing

Yes. Iodine does seem to play an important role in the prostate, and 150 micrograms does not seem like enough to get the protective effects. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a conventional medical doctor who will encourage you to take more iodine. In medical school and residency, we were taught that iodine can trigger hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Yes, it can rarely do that, especially if other nutrients are missing as iodine is added in. But I really can’t help but think that we need some more iodine than we’re getting (or perhaps we simply need to get less of what interferes with iodine’s function in our bodies—which is exceptionally difficult to do in our modern world). IF iodine would help a subset of population avoid prostatectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, boy, it seems like a simple thing to observe for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism compared to impotence.

My homeschooled iodine education must concur with the minority of healthcare professionals out there pushing for higher doses of iodine. BUT due to the high incidence of subclinical selenium; zinc; B vitamin deficiencies; and the fact that some forms of iodine are better than others, it must be done cautiously and under the scrutiny of a trained eye.  Rarely, a patient may convert to florid hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

This blog site and this post are not to be used for medical advice or treatment.  That would be silly.  Have a great day and a wonderful life.  I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the sources:

“We propose that the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficient Disorders recommend that iodine intake be increased to at least 3 mg/day of I2 in specific pathologies to obtain the potential extrathyroidal benefits described in the present review.” (3)

~~Terri

Iodine Bibiliography

  1. Cann SA, Qiu Z, and van Netten C. A Prospective Study of Iodine Status, Thyroid Function, and Prostate Cancer Risk: Follow-up of the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Nutrition and Cancer. 2007. 58(1): 28-34.  Full text if it is still up.
  2. TJA Key, PB Silcocks, GK Davey, PN Appleby and DT Bishop. A case-control study of diet and prostate cancer. British Journal of Cancer. 1997. 76(5): 678-687.  Full text.
  3. Aceves C, Anguiano B, Delgado G.  The Extrathyronine Actions of Iodine as Antioxidant, Apoptotic, and Differentiation Factor in Various Tissues.  Thyroid. 2013 Aug. 23(8):  938-946.  Full text.
  4. Aranda N, Sosa S, Delgado G, Aceves C, Anguiano B. Uptake and antitumoral effects of iodine and 6-iodolactone in differentiated and undifferentiated human prostate cancer cell lines. Prostate. 2013;73:31–41.  (I got this from ReadCube.)  Abstract.

Granny’s Barbecue Sauce

Granny's BBQ sauce

One of the easiest main courses I make is to put a Boston butt (a specific cut of pork) in the crock pot on low for about 8 hours with some of Granny’s barbecue sauce.  Then I drain it, shred it, and drizzle more barbecue sauce over the top.  Dinner!  Let’s eat!  Use this sauce for grilling hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, and pork chops.  Use a beef brisket to make barbecued beef rather than pulled pork.  Add it to baked beans for tremendous flavor.  The opportunities are endless.

Everybody needs a secret recipe.  Make this your own secret recipe by using honey instead of maple syrup.  Try increasing the amount of maple syrup or decreasing it.  Choose to skip the allspice or up the vinegar.  However you tweak it, I think it’ll be great!  Do use caution on the Worcestershire sauce if you have food sensitivities because it can contain some pesky, allergenic substances.

This is the sauce my mom has always made for grilling and baked beans.  She uses ketchup instead of tomato sauce.  It is a happy recipe in our family.

 

Granny’s Barbecue Sauce

(Makes about 3 cups)

  • 1  can plain tomato sauce, 15 ounces (equal to 1 and 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Ground, black pepper to taste, maybe 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together in a medium-sized saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stir, and then reduce heat.  Simmer for no more than 5 minutes.  Stir frequently to avoid scorching.

Store in refrigerator after cooled for up to a week.

Family “gustar” report:  Everybody likes this sauce in our house, and it’s a great trick to get the kids to eat meats they wouldn’t normally like.  So the score is 6/6!

I mentioned this is a happy recipe for me.  It reminds me of raucous summer days around the dinner table with my family.  Do you have any happy recipes?  Are they secret?  Do you believe in secret recipes?  I don’t really.  If it’s good, it should be shared!

Eat real.  Be real.

~~Terri

Five Reasons My Mom Thought I’d Fail At Homeschooling

You’ve got naysayers breathing down your back about homeschooling?  Well, if it makes you feel any better, my mom didn’t think I had what it took to be a homeschooler.  Something along the line of, “We’ll see how long this lasts.”  Thanks for your vote of confidence, mom, but I appreciate your honesty.  It made me determined.  She was right, you know.  I don’t fault the doubts she had one bit.  How was a short-tempered medical doctor who appreciated alone time to herself going to deal with kids all day, every day, much less teach them?

Mama’s Doubts

We are now entering our seventh year of homeschooling.  I have four kids, about the ages of 11, 9, 6, and 1.  My kids, husband, and I are exceptionally satisfied with how homeschooling is going.  So what made my mom raise her eyebrows and predict my kids would be hightailed to school in a heartbeat?

1.  I like my alone time.  There is no doubt.  Homeschooling families are TOGETHER.  All the time.  A homeschool mom (or dad, if that’s who does the bulk of the teaching) is dinged like a bell ALL DAY LONG.  Unless you sacrifice sleep, which I’m not usually willing to do, finding a balance of self and kids is tough.  Thankfully, my husband is often able to take on the four kids by himself and let me have a quiet hour.
2. I naturally lean toward impatient and irritable.  Let’s face it.  Perfectionistic people like things done their way or the highway.  Homeschooling has been a fun way to rein in my expectations and learn to communicate better in a more positive way.  I can definitely see that I get easier to get along with each year.  Maybe it’s just that I get more worn down, but regardless, it’s better.
3. I don’t like clutter.  I once read, years ago before I started homeschooling and was still in the preparation reading stages, that homeschool moms needed to brace themselves for two things:  1)  a messier house  2)  some extra pounds.  That stuck in my mind, preparing me for things to come.  I hate clutter.  Hate it.  But with four kids of different ages, it’s something we deal with every day.
4. I am not a gushy mom.  When people ask if I’ll be homeschooling in high school, I bust out belly laughing.  When I was planning our homeschooling journey, I saw myself teaching the kids algebra and calculus and classical literature.  Organized.  Logical.  Sitting still.  I did not see myself gluing and pasting and singing and nature walking.  Oh, sigh.  I love my kids to pieces.  I’m kind.  And I’m learning patience.  But don’t make me play Ring Around the Rosie or cut out a butterfly or gush over your 50th fairy drawing.  I’m practical, not touchy-feely and lovey.
5. I was a working medical doctor.  This probably blew my mom’s mind the most.  Why did I go to medical school just to stay home with kids?  Well, when I went to medical school and residency, I didn’t have kids, did I?  And I wasn’t sitting around thinking about them either.  Kids came along.  Kids change things.  Yes, it kind of hurt and stung to leave my colleagues behind (or what it actually felt like was that I was getting left behind), and it usually feels like I left my brain behind too.  But 98% of the time, I have no regrets.

You’re Right, Mom…

So, Mom.  You were right to question me and draw me up to prepare for the battle.  Thank you!  I could have easily failed and packed those girls off, not just to school, but to boarding school!  Instead, I met your challenge, and I think we’re doing right well.  How?

1. Be a self-examiner.  Was I too harsh?  Am I too lenient?  Am I preoccupied with perfection?  Am I comparing my kids to others?  Am I spending too much time on the phone?  Each move I make throughout the day, I try to measure its impact on my goals for my children’s education (and their lives in general).  Without self-examination and a desire to improve, I would be a terrible homeschooler.
2. Love to learn and teach.  I’ve always loved to teach.  Sometimes I step back when I’m irritated when teaching my kids and try to pretend that I’m teaching someone else’s child.  It usually (always?) brings out a nicer teacher.
3. Love my kids.  We all love our kids, I know.  So this is kind of a weird one to put.  But man, I love my kids and I often try to envision their futures.  What they’ll need to succeed.  Am I giving them the tools they need?
4. Know when I’ve reached my limit and know to stop and take time to change tactics or educate myself or get help.  Kids can be big stressors in small packages.  It’s hard to understand, and when things are going well or our kids are grown up, we even forget how stressful they really can be.  When I’m feeling squeezed, for whatever reason, I stop and regroup.  Change things up.  Get a babysitter.  Ask my husband to do a little more.  Take a break.  Read on how somebody else tackled the same problem.  It always helps.

Closing

I’m not really giving tips here, and I don’t mean to talk about myself.  But I do want others to know that people will always question our choices.  I’m glad they do, and if I can open a good dialogue with them and not let my feelings get hurt, I can rise up and overcome.  If people are wondering if you should homeschool, ask yourself the same question.  Write down deterrents.  Write down a way to make each deterrent a strength, or at least a non-obstacle.  Write down your strengths and how you’ll manipulate those strengths to succeed in homeschooling.  With diligence and an open heart, you’ll succeed.

~~Terri

Are You Food Independent?

Independence DayHow are you independent in your food life?  Do you do it YOUR own way?  Or do you do it the way of Kraft and Campbell?  I looked back over my family’s journey with food over the last three years, which catapulted us to much better health, and I decided to list ways we’ve become independent.  Since I was making a salad at the time, I’ll start there.

 

1.  We never buy salad dressing.  Like many kids, my kids were ranchers.  If not ranch, then French.  Now, they mix up the vinaigrette for dinner for me.  There are very few salad dressings on the store shelf that pass my label muster.  Nasty stuff.  All the salad greens you eat can’t compete with the oxidized oils and glycosylating sugars in there.

Tip:  Buy one of those salad dressing mixers.  We bought one from Pampered Chef, and there are recipes on the side for my kids to follow.  They’re fun for the kids and foster independence for them in the kitchen.

2.  We plant our own garden.  I love our garden.  Love it.  Nothing makes me feel more free than walking barefoot to the garden to pluck vegetables each day.

Tip:  Kids love to pick herbs.  Send them to the garden or pot for chives, basil, or parsley.

3.  We make our own baby food.  Sometimes I wonder how fresh the foods are they use in baby foods.  How ripe were they?  How moldy were some of them?  I make my own and I know.  I do not rely on Gerber, although that baby’s face is awful cute.  Now that I make my own, I kind of wonder why we got into the habit of other people doing it for us.

Tip:  Making food for your own baby is fulfilling, but it is wise to look at the necessary vitamins and minerals a baby needs at each stage so you can focus on getting baby the foods with those specific nutrients.  For example, at about six months, breastfed babies need more iron in their food.  So, I made sure that my baby had red meat, which I can’t even find on baby food shelves anymore.  Man, she tore into that stuff something fierce!

4.  We eat honest foods, honestly.  My 11-year old daughter contributed this one.  We don’t follow a food pyramid.  We don’t follow a named diet.  We eat lots of vegetables and fruits, and we ask ourselves some honest questions each day.  How do I feel?  Did something I ate make me feel sleepy?  Mean?  Sick?  Headachy?  Just bad?  Did something I ate make me overeat and crave more and more and more?  Did something I eat give me post-nasal drip or cough?  Or acid reflux?  Our food choices are governed by the constitution of honesty:  honest, real food and honest, real assessments of how we feel with different food choices.

Tip:  Base your diet on foods that make you feel good top to bottom.  Some foods will light your brain’s reward centers on fire, like ice cream and coffee, but do they really make you feel good, all day, every day, day in and day out?  Be honest.

5.  Freedom from packaged, dead food.  I never thought I’d see this day–ever.  In fact, it wasn’t until three years ago that I even realized how bad this stuff was for me.  (I know.  I can’t believe it.  It seems absolutely preposterous.)  Some of my kids and me–well, we love Oreos, Chips Ahoy, bread, chips, cookies, cakes, bagels, pizza, Chicken in a Biscuit, Pop Tarts.  You name it, we loved it.  It was not easy, but we did not give up.  We left the known motherland behind and journeyed forward in hope.  When the motherland is tying you down that bad and oppressing you that harshly, to leave is best.

Tip:  Try giving up all processed, packaged food for one whole month.  Build up the month with the kids.  Make it sound like the most exciting and biggest adventure ever.  Make it sound like it’s so hard, nobody can do it except your family because you’re all so tough.  Build the kids up mentally.  Tell them how strong and stubborn and healthy they are.  (Yes, we play games in our house and minds to achieve success.)

Closing

I could go on and on about ways we are now independent in our food lives, and let’s face it, our food lives affect just about everything we do–if we’re honest.  I wish I could give you the courage, the diligence, and the motivation to get on that ship for the New Land and not jump overboard to swim back to England.  But I can’t.  Only you can.  Only you can set hopes on feeling and functioning better and then staying strong through persecution and battles.  Only you.  Kraft and Kellogg want you, and they won’t give up easily.  They want your kids and they want your grandkids, constipation, chronic allergies, ADHD, obesity, and all.

I’ve said it once; I’ll say it again.  You can do this.

Please bear with me as I will be making some changes to the blog slowly over the next few months.  And pardon my absence the last couple of weeks while we visited with family and friends.  The blog may not have beauty, grace, and style, but I’ve got a passion and staying-power for motivating you and your families to eating for health!  Happy Independence Day 2015 to the USA.  May we always be strong and true and honest.

~~Terri

Thank you to my graphics helpers.  :-)  We did notice the typo belatedly, but not until after saving the graphic.  Thanks for reading!

Tiger Nut “Cereal”

Tiger nut flourTiger nuts.  Heard of them?  I hadn’t.  But they were recommended to me to try as a base for a homemade milk.  I ordered some from the river (that would be Amazon) and gave them a try.  You can buy tiger nuts themselves or tiger nut flour.  I ordered both.

Not a nut

Tiger nuts are actually tubers–roots that grow underground.  They’ve been around a long time, just not eaten much by us “modern” food snobs who prefer cake and ice cream. They’re about the size of a very big pea, cream-colored, and wrinkly.  They are very tough to chew, but have a nice, sweet, nut-like flavor.  Your jaws will be tired snacking on plain tiger nuts, though.  I liked them, and my kids did too.  But the chewing was rough.  So I used some of the flour in a muffin recipe the kids like.  (It didn’t replace all of the flour I used, just some.)  It went fine.  Sometimes, the tiger nut flour has tough gritty little flecks in it that you can feel when you bite.  I knew what it was in the muffin, but if I was having a ladies’ coffee, I’d probably opt not to use the tiger nut flour.  But for home use, it’s great.

Tiger nuts are great sources of resistant starch.  Resistant starch is a kind of special fiber which is very important to feed your gut bacteria so that YOU can be healthy.  Resistant starch is usually missing in our modern diets.  It is touted to help in diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, and managing weight.  I like resistant starch because it helps my slow GI tract a bit.

How we like to eat them

My kids and I both miss the convenience of cereal.  We try not to rely on grains in our house, although we do eat some.  But cereal every day for breakfast is clearly relying on grains.  We don’t do that.  If there’s one thing I could get moms to believe, it’s that breakfast cereal just isn’t healthy.  No matter what the marketing ploy.  But we do miss cereal.  We have used tiger nut flour to replace our grain-based cereal cravings.

We put some fruit in a bowl (our favorites are strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, and ripe peaches), add about 1-2 tablespoons of tiger nut flour on top, a touch of maple syrup, and a little of our favorite milk (or the one best tolerated anyhow).  My kids like it a lot and says it tastes like cereal.  It may be wise to start with just a little tiger nut flour (or tiger nuts) and work your way up.  Your gut bacteria may need a little time to adjust to this new tasty food source.  If you go too fast with it, you may be uncomfortable.  None of us had this problem, but I have read about it in others.

That’s our tiger nut story.  A good little find for us.

Conclusion

Enough about tiger nuts.  They’re nice, and maybe you’d want to try them.  But what I really want to know–health and eating whole, real foods to get it–are you still working at it?  We’re about half-way through the year now.  Nearly six months ago maybe you made some New Year’s resolutions.  Who cares if it’s not New Years anymore?  Pull back out those resolutions and get back on track.  The fruit is ripe and the vegetables of summer are calling.  NOW is the time!  NOW, I say!  Wash ’em up and put some tiger nut flour on them.

~~Terri

P.S.  1.  You can also add tiger nut flour to smoothies.  2.  I don’t get anything at all for what I do here; nobody paid for me to post this.  Just my opinions here.  No sponsor or kickback.  3.  They fit well on an autoimmune diet.  4.  Have a good day and forge a good life.

Can You Still Make Kombucha From One You Buy At The Store?

Kombucha

Kombucha

A couple of months ago, kombucha frenzy was getting out of control in my house.  An inclination that just started with me escalated to the whole darn family.  That’s an expensive habit.  Even if it be a good one.  I mean, better than a Starbucks latte.  But who happily pays for five people to drink a coffee shop latte?  Not this mama.  Man.  You KNOW how expensive those things are.  Do you ever wonder why we pay those prices for that vice?  Because they make us beautiful?  Because they make us skinny?  Because they make us happy?  (Mmmm.  Got me on that one.)

I had to contain costs.  I like to go on vacation, and as much as my yahoos were drinking, they were going to dip into my vacation kitty.  Time to make my own. Why not just use the store brand?   I Googled it.  Our store carries GT’S brand of kombucha.  Somewhere it said you couldn’t start kombucha from GT’S brand anymore due to some changes somewhere in the recent decade.  Skip that thought.  Won’t waste my money on trying that way.  But I wanted to do this.  So, one day, I had five minutes to try to order a kombucha SCOBY or in real words, symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.  That’s the disgusting thing that floats in kombucha.  It’s alive.  Of course, there was a glitch and I couldn’t get PayPal man to do the deal.  So the deal blew up.  Over.  The window of opportunity missed.  Money kept flying out the window.

Who cares what the internet says?  Who cares what anyone says for that matter?  I marched into that big tall refrigerator at the store, and I bought myself the original, unflavored kombucha bottle with the biggest, nastiest looking floatie in the case.  I looked through them all.  That was the one.  If it was going to blossom, this was the bottle to do it.

I brewed up a gallon of green tea, because well, you know green tea is supposed to be super good for you.  And in a glass jar because you know plastic is bad for you.  I had some leftover sugar from my childhood.  I poured a cup in there to feed the beast.  I let my brew sit till it was room temperature so I didn’t kill that big nasty.  Then I realized I poured in too much tea and had no room for my kombucha.  So I dumped some out, getting sticky all over the counter.  Nothing I hate more than sticky floors and counters.  But now I had just enough room for the store’s kombucha and poured ‘er in.  I covered it with a paper towel and rubber band.  Perfect.  And let it sit.  It went through some ghastly changes, requiring me to Google “mold on kombucha” and “kombucha looks bad.”  I sat it out.  Apparently, some scoring action was going on in there and it was just making baby SCOBYs, which are uglier than their mothers.  Since it was cold still here on the tundra, I let it brew a long time till the SCOBY looked good and healthy.  No less than three weeks.  Then, we drank it.  It was good.

But there was fear from within my crew.  Are you sure it’s safe to drink?  (As safe as your germ laden tooth brush growing colonies in the dark medicine cupboard.)  Is it okay?  Why isn’t it bubbly?  It’s too sweet.  It’s too sour.  I don’t like the floaties in it.  I like it best carbonated.  Geesh back to the bubble thing.  Guys!  Come on!  Stop the mutiny!  No wonder it’s so hard to save money in today’s world.  Spoiled brats.

So I strained out the floaties.  I poured it into a GT’S bottle.  Put a little more sugar, lemon juice, and ginger in there.  Capped it tight.  Let it sit on Store klmbuchathe counter a few days to see if the thing would bubble in its new package.  Then stuck it in the fridge.

Mmmmm.  That’s good the family all says.

Thank you.

So, the moral of this story is that you CAN make kombucha using the SCOBY in GT’S brand still.  Maybe not consistently.  Maybe only from the original flavor.  Maybe only if you’re patient enough.  Don’t know.  But it can be done as of June 15, 2015.

Aside on kombucha:  I like the taste of kombucha.  I appreciate how many B vitamins are in there.  The B vitamin content is darn good.  I love the byproducts the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii makes which helps us and our GI tracts.  However, all things must be evaluated on an individual basis, especially in people who are pretty immunocompromised.  Really would be best for these people to talk with their doctor before using it.  Personally, I just don’t feel tops drinking kombucha regularly.  I don’t know if it’s a cross-reaction between the yeast and something my body doesn’t like.  Or if it’s too much B vitamin activation going on for me.  Or changes in my bacterial flora as an effect of the kombucha.  Or if I’m just a crazy woman who thinks food can make me grow wings.  Or toxify me.  Anyhow, my family likes it and seems to do well with it.

Do you want a little science on this matter?  Here’s a link to an article about Saccharomyces boulardii (usually the main yeast in the SCOBY) helping mice reduce weight and inflammation:  Saccharomyces boulardii Administration Changes Gut Microbiota and Reduces Hepatic Steatosis, LowGrade Inflammation, and Fat Mass in Obese and Type 2 Diabetic db/db Mice. 

This is only a personal anecdote and not a how-to on making your own kombucha.  Go elsewhere for that!  But, for the record, growing your own SCOBY from a bottle of Original GT’S can be done.  Anyone else try their hand at making this stuff?  How’d it go?  Anyone die?  Anyone cure leprosy?

Today is Monday.  Mondays can be hard.  Hope yours is a good one!

 

Terri

 

 

What’s A Cat Who Can’t Hear?

Click here to listen to some music.  It’s Indiana’s (United States) state song.  A song from my childhood.

I was standing at our homeschool association’s annual track and field day event, chatting with another mom that I don’t know too well.  We got to talking about how both of our families had moved a lot, mine around the United States and hers around the world.  How we were both raised on family farms and had never moved until our college years.  How much we adore our childhood homes and families there.

She plied me with questions.  I’m usually the one full of questions, very intense, always hearing my mom’s voice in my head, “Terri, your questions scare people off…”  But there’s just too much to learn.  I can’t help myself.  So I was tickled when she began asking me thinking questions. Here is one she asked.

She said, “You’ve moved around a lot like we have with your kids.  How do you create HOME for them?”

How do you create home when you move around?  This girl and me, we’re Midwestern farmers’ daughter (..wehome make you feel alright..).  Home is the house.  Home is the land.  Home is the smell of the lilac tree at Mother’s Day.  The fields after a rain.  Your elderly neighbor Mabel sending you home with walnut laden cookies.  And you hate black walnuts but you love Mabel.  Your mom at the kitchen sink.  Your dad and his muddy boots.

Yes!  Yes!  That’s home!  For us, it’s scary to move our kids around.  Are we ruining them?  Robbing them of the stability we both experienced and treasured?  We talked together, she and I, and I thought I’d share.

How to create home when you have no home.

Work MUSIC into your lives:  My mom sang to me, lullabies, hymns and silly songs.  Her singing was angelic despite her tone deafness.  Her arms holding me.  Her vibrating voice against my ear on her chest.  Her rocking.  Her going about life with a song, in the car and doing dishes.  Oh, but it wasn’t just my mom!  Dad played music

all the time in the car.  Different music than Mom’s music.  Loud music.  Bob and Tom.  Q95.  ZZ Top.  Jethro Tull.  Always with his silly jokes tossed in.  “What do you call a cat who can’t hear?”

The music of home.  Music creates memories of home that travel through the years and spans all distance.

The comfort of ROCKING:  My husband and I debated this one out.  Is it the actual chair, or is it the action of rocking?  We decided it can be either.  But definitely the secure, strong, loving arms of mom, dad, or grandma rocking you feels good.  When pain in life arises, sometimes you look back to the haven of that time when you were secure, loved, and protected in the arms of a special adult who rocked your cares away.

If your kids will let you, rock them to provide them a memory of home nobody can steal.  If the chair can travel with you, take it.

Share MEAL TIMES AND SPECIAL FOODS: No matter where we live, we have to eat.  We’ve struggled a lot with food intolerances in our house, and it has taken away a lot of our old, favorite recipes.  I was afraid it would take away our “special foods.”  But it hasn’t.  We don’t sit around the table anymore with a pizza box in the middle, but you will find us sitting around the table eating together the work that our hands created.  New foods.  New combinations.  New favorites.

Eating together and sharing food has to be one of the top memories from home, and it’s easily transferred to any location!  Nothing stirs memories of home more than being greeted at the door by a home cooked meal.

Spending TIME TOGETHER OUTSIDE OR BEING ACTIVE:  Being together is home.  And to walk and be outside together in each environment you live in, appreciating it together, creates lasting memories.  I know in the future, my kids will say things like, “Do you remember how hot it got in South Carolina?”  “Do you remember how windy it always was on the prairie of South Dakota?”  “Do you remember that little park we always walked to in Lexington, Kentucky?”  I once remember the time my mom played tag with my dad, my sisters, and me.  She never played much with us, but this evening she played tag.  I remember it.

Home truly is people being together, in harmony with each other, doing things together.

in the fieldsVisit the FAVORITE PEOPLE WHO DON’T MOVE:  Although we’ve moved a lot, my parents have never moved.  There is something reassuring about this.  When we say we’re going home to visit them, my kids know exactly what that means and what they’ll be doing.  They know when we’re getting close by the landmarks.

Some people, some places are constant.  And sometimes, constants are nice.

No discussion is complete without RELIGION:  I have a young woman who helps me and feels like a part of our family.  She has lived in 27 different places in her less than 30 years of life, from Colombia, South America to Israel to New York.  Her religious background is pretty diverse too, but she relates to me that getting ready for synagogue together was important to her sense of “home.”  It was a constant in each place her family lived.  Getting ready each worship day together and going all together to the same place provides a sense of togetherness–a sense of continuity.  Discussing the lessons learned (or disagreed with) in the car on the way home further fuels that sense of family.

Years will pass, but we often (usually?) draw on the religious experiences of our families.

Celebrate HOLIDAYS:  Festive foods.  Festive activities.  Together.

Holidays travel with the calendar, not the location.  Or maybe they travel with your heart and you can celebrate the holiday any day you wish.

Have a favorite VACATION spot:  Even though we move around a lot, we often vacation to the same place each Black Hills, Roughlock Fallsyear to a treasured vacation spot.  Years from now, my kids may travel back with their families to see if “it’s the same.”

Home is where the heart is.  And vacation is always a good place to be.  Eh?

Closing

What do you think?  I hope my blog is found to be a place to share ideas and thoughts.  I would love to hear what you think about home.  Are people who move around a lot better at change?  Are people who don’t move more stable?  Does it probably not matter either way–and people just are who they are?  Is it important to instill a sense of “home?”  What instills a sense of “home” best?  How do you create “home” for your family?  Is home an “energy?”  If home is an energy, then are we all being called home?

And lastly, what is a cat who can’t hear?  Careful, it bites.

Happy June!

~~Terri