Category Archives: Whole30

Iodine, Post 1

Iodine All Boxed Up

As far as most of the medical community is concerned, iodine has been boxed up in its cylindrical Morton’s salt-box (with that cute umbrella girl on it) and shelved–as if there is nothing further to know or learn about it.  Not so.

SaltFor iodine, I want you to be aware of three ideas:

1.  Iodine deficiency is insidiously on the rise in developed countries and putting people, particularly women and children at HUGE risk.  (Pregnant or pregnancy-eligible women need to take note.)  Many US doctors are not aware yet of this re-emerging problem.  We took care of “severe” iodine deficiency, and now years later, mild iodine deficiency is invisibly in our midst, wreaking its damage without our awareness.

2.  It’s not just the thyroid that needs iodine, but brains, immune systems, prostates, and breasts, too.  (Ahem, you got some of those, don’t you?)  I know my knowledge-base had a huge gap here regarding iodine, and therefore, I assume other medical doctors (I’ve asked a few too) and people in general may be lacking information in this area as well.

3.  There is a fear of iodine supplementation and excessive iodine intake because of the risk of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.  There are different camps of thought.  Who is right?  Who does know yet?  Debatable.  Regardless, many people aren’t even getting the bare minimum amount.

Could I be iodine deficient?

A resounding, “Yes.”  Iodine deficiency was believed to be a resolved health issue in the US, but as I research, I see an insidious re-emergence of iodine deficiency in places such as the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.  And I also see a lack of knowledge in standard health-care providers about the re-emerging deficiency.  In pharmacy school and medical school we were taught that iodine deficiency was remedied in the United States by the implementation of iodizing salt back in the 1920s.  Job accomplished!  No more goiters!  No more cretins (infants who are severely affected by iodine deficiency)!  Celebrate and no more worries, right?  Not so fast…

Apparently, somewhere in the realm of 38% of the world’s population is still deficient in iodine.  Thirty-eight percent seems awful high to me, especially considering the nefarious effects on unborn fetuses.  Looking at a few developed countries, the United States, Australia (New Zealand included in one of the citations), and the United Kingdom, each has pockets of iodine deficient populations (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  Increasingly, studies are showing iodine deficiency in modernized countries where iodine deficiency was presumed to be eradicated, yet I hear little hubbub about it, despite the potential gravity of the consequences!  This bothers me.  Apparently and quite sadly, iodine deficiency hasn’t yet made the consciousness of mainstream practicing medical doctors, like deficiencies of vitamin D and folate have.  Why?  I think because we rested on the laurels of “curing” severe iodine deficiency maladies.  But laurels shrivel and decay, and the world changes and moves on.  Changes in our food sources and practices greatly affect our iodine levels.

Why would a problem that we had “taken care of” Iodinebe re-emerging?

Why is iodine deficiency re-emerging?  As with almost all things, it’s due to multiple hits in our iodine intake.  Take a look!  Do any apply to you and your family?

1.  Cutting down on salt use for health and also cutting down on other iodine-rich foods.  People are following medical advice to cut down on salt, and therefore using less iodized salt.  Also, egg yolks contain some iodine, but people have been told to cut down on those, too, due to cholesterol concerns.  Seafood contains iodine, but we’re told to limit seafood due to mercury concerns.

2.  We eat out lots more and we eat more processed foods–and iodized salt is not used in these foods.  The commercial-grade salt used in processed foods and in restaurants is usually not iodized.  I repeat:  the salty foods you eat from a box or at a restaurant are (most likely) not iodized.  So none of the salt in Ruffles potato chips or from McDonald’s French fries counts toward your necessary iodine intake.

3.  Switching to sea salt and shunning iodized salt.  Sea salt does not contain enough natural iodine to prevent iodine deficiency.  It may have traces of iodine, but not nearly enough!  Sea salt, unless specifically stated to be enhanced with iodine or seaweed, does not provide you with enough iodine.  It is not a good source of iodine.

4.  Iodine deprived soils.  Some soils have always been low in iodine content (plants don’t need iodine to survive but they take it up if it’s in the soil), especially in areas away from the sea or under cover of mountain ranges.  Some soils have become depleted of iodine with use and lack of iodine restoration.  Plants grown in coastal areas should theoretically have more iodine in them, but lately there is a huge emphasis on eating locally so this could contribute to iodine deficiency, as well.

5.  Changing from iodine based dough conditioners to bromine based dough conditioners.  Iodine used to be used (specifically iodate) when making bread products.  Now a form of bromine, bromate, is used, although its use is being discouraged. (6) Not only does this provide LESS iodine, but if you look at your periodic table, you’ll see that iodine and bromine are in the same group of the periodic table (halides).  So bromine will actually compete with iodine in the body and “displace” iodine from necessary body reactions.  I will try to explain this concept in more depth later because it is so intriguing.  The same holds true for fluorine and iodine competition. (7)

6.  The iodine amount in iodized salt is not uniform.  The amount of iodine in a carton of iodized salt is not uniform.  Sometimes the top of the carton of salt has less iodine than the bottom of the carton.  Some brands do not contain as much iodine as others.  The amount of iodine in a box may wane over time.  These idiosyncrasies often have to do with the chemical properties of iodine which will allow it to “leach” out of the carton. (7)

7.  Changing dairy-farming practices.  Dairy is touted as a good source of iodine because the cows are frequently given iodine-supplemented feed and their teats are washed prior to milking with an iodine antiseptic to kill bacteria.  However farming practices are changing and dairy cattle may or may not be receiving these interventions now.  (When I bought milk and butter from the dairy farmer yesterday, I asked her about this.  Her cattle are all grass-fed and she does not use an iodine-based cleanse for the teats.  So I cannot imagine that the milk is rich in iodine that we personally buy, although it will be rich in vitamin K2 at the moment and butyric acid because it’s spring-grass eating time!)

8.  Choosing organic milk over conventional milk.  Organic milk usually has less iodine than conventional milk due to the cows being grass-fed.  (9, 10)

Points to be eventually covered in Iodine Posts

Iodine is a big topic that I don’t want to undermine, so I will break it down into several posts.  A few months ago, I thought iodine’s role was limited to prevention of goiter and keeping enough thyroid hormone around.  That is all true, but there is so much more to iodine’s story, and some parts haven’t even been unraveled yet!  Take home points that I will eventually cover in iodine posts, but probably not in this order. (If you are pregnant, able to be pregnant, or nursing, I urge you to start reading about iodine today, and don’t wait for my posts to roll out.  Here is a simple article to get you started:  Iodine Deficiency Common in Pregnancy, Docs Warn.):

  • Do I need iodine?  Absolutely.  Can’t live without it.  Function poorly with too little of it.  “But what’s it do?  What’s it for?”  That is a bit challenging to answer.  Kind of like, “What’s the sun for?”  Is it for the trees?  The flowers?  Your vitamin D production?  Your food production?  Light?  Energy?  What aspect of our lives does the sun not touch?  What aspect of our health does iodine not touch?  Whether it is through the effect of thyroid hormone, which is composed of iodine, or direct effects we’re just now learning about, the body needs iodine.  So it’s your job to make sure you know where you can get it.  I will go over where to get iodine in future posts and “what it does.”
  • Iodine deficiency is increasing for multiple reasons in developed countries, and I’ll bet money that you are affected by a couple or more of the reasons no matter what your health and food choicesNo diet group is allowed to snicker here or stick their noses in the air.  Many people are just not getting the iodine they need, and if they are, there’s a good chance that the body’s use of iodine is being interfered with by food and health choices they maybe haven’t even considered.  I will go into food and environmental factors that may be interfering with your body’s use of iodine.
  • Our childbearing women and their offspring for sure are hit VERY hard by an iodine deficiency.  Women, did your obstetrician prescribe you a prenatal vitamin with iodine in it?  If not, did your obstetrician ask you if the prenatal vitamin you chose has iodine in it?  I will go over why women of childbearing age, their fetuses, and their children NEED adequate iodine.  SADLY, these populations seem to be the most iodine deprived!
  • Prostate, breast and immune health are starting to be linked to iodine.  I will do my best to present some of this information.  Much of it is newer, not well understood, and not well accepted.
  • Iodine is important in brain health!  Low IQs, increased ADHD, and apathy have been linked to iodine deficiency.  We have studies to support this, and I will present those for your perusal.
  • Iodized salt is not the devil.  Iodine deficiency is a devil.  I know so many of you treat processed, iodized salt like the plague.  But there is a reason why The Morton Salt Company iodized their salt here in the States, and it helped immensely!  I can’t underscore that enough.  I guess I don’t really care if you shun iodized salt, I just want to make sure that no matter who or where you are, that you are aware of the body’s need for iodine and you take measures to get you and your family some good source of iodine.  For many, the simple answer may just be adding iodized salt back into their diets.  Others lean toward seaweed.  Still others rely on supplements.
  • Do I need to take high doses of iodine?  Not sure.  That might fall into the “voodoo” realm.  (Voodoo is my tongue-in-cheek word for food and health related things I see that I’m just not sure about.  I used to call diet changes “voodoo.”  I don’t anymore, but it took a lot of reading!)   Tread cautiously.  I will eventually talk about how some people use high doses of iodine and what the proposed benefits and risks of this are, particularly fibrocystic breast disease, prostate cancer, and a touch on the big topic of thyroid disease.  The turf here is largely uncharted and uncertain.

Eat well to live well.  Make sure you’re getting an iodine source.  And lastly and importantly, my blog posts are never intended for use of diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment.  Hopefully you’ll use them as stepping-stones to learn more about the topics I present and be able to have a conversation with your favorite healthcare provider.

 

~~Terri

1.  Are Australian children iodine deficient? Results of the Australian National Iodine Nutrition Study.  Li M1Eastman CJWaite KVet al.  Med J Aust. 2008 Jun 2;188(11):674.  (Abstract link.)

2.  The Prevalence and Severity of Iodine Deficiency in Australia.  December 2007.  Prepared for the Population Health Development Principal Committee of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee. (Full text link.)

3.   Iodine deficiency in the U.K.: an overlooked cause of impaired neurodevelopment?  Bath SC1, Rayman MP.  Proc Nutr Soc. 2013 May;72(2):226-35. doi: 10.1017/S0029665113001006.  (Abstract link.)

4.  Iodine in Pregnancy: Is Salt Iodization Enough?  Elizabeth N. Pearce.  J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Jul 2008; 93(7): 2466–2468.  doi: 10.1210/jc.2008-1009  (Full text link.)

5.  http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/

6.  http://www.newsweek.com/five-controversial-food-additives-83551

7.  Iodine Nutrition: Iodine Content of Iodized Salt in the United States.  Dasgupta PK, Liu Y, Dyke JV.  Environ. Sci. Technol. 2008, 42, 1315–1323. (Link to full text.)

8.  Iodine concentration of organic and conventional milk:  implications for iodine intake.  Bath SC1, Button S, Rayman MP.  Br J Nutr. 2012 Apr;107(7):935-40. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511003059. Epub 2011 Jul 5.  (Link to abstract.)

9.  Essential trace and toxic element concentrations in organic and conventional milk in NW Spain.  Rey-Crespo F1, Miranda M, López-Alonso M.  Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 May;55:513-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.01.040. Epub 2013 Feb 4.  (Link to abstract.)

10.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130704094630.htm

How Do You Eat That Vegetable? Artichokes.

Artichokes Vegetable Series:  When we changed our eating two years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable.  Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart.  For a long time I’ve wanted to do a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things.  May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket!  Go get ’em, tiger.

Did you try a rutabaga?  Not yet?  Well, you’re going to get behind in this vegetable series!  Today we’re talking about trying an artichoke!

Just Steam ‘Em!

Now a fresh artichoke was new to me for sure!  Canned artichoke hearts?  Yes.  Artichoke and spinach dip?  Absolutely.  But never a fresh artichoke!  Once upon a time, my daughter and I  were shopping the produce aisle when the artichokes caught her young eye.  She began asking and begging me to buy some artichokes.  Here I am, The Vegetable Queen, making excuses to not buy those artichokes for her.  I don’t know what to do with them.  We may not like them.  They’ll go bad in the refrigerator before I figure out how to use them.  But my hypocrisy galled and sickened me, along with a smirking customer bystander who mockingly reassured me they were “quite easy to make…just steam them.”Steaming artichokes

So we bought those artichokes and we winged it!  I didn’t even look up how to make them or eat them.  I just steamed them like the good lady in the produce aisle said to do.  I’m going to tell you how we made them and ate them.  I don’t think it’s “the right way.”  But silly-sally on that.  The right way.  Pshaw.  Just get the blasted vegetable cooked.

I want you to know up front, artichokes are a process to eat–but in a good way.  Like a “family-popcorn-night” fun kind of way.  Not at all like broccoli or cauliflower where you slap it on the plate, get your fork out, and gobble it all up.  We have a lot of fun sitting around the kitchen table eating our artichokes as a family.  I hope you’ll give them a try!

Choose artichokes that are closed rather than open as they are fresher.  Also, don’t be afraid of purple markings which indicate that the artichoke received a bit of a frost in the field, which will make it more tender and flavorful.  (You can see those purple “blush” marks from frost on my photo up there.)

Steamed Artichokes

What you’ll need:

  • As many artichokes as you want.  I usually do one per person.
  • A mechanism to steam the artichokes.  I use a pot with a steamer basket and lid.
  • Oil of choice to dip the artichoke in.  Most people use butter, but we used olive oil.  Some use mayonnaise.
  • Salt to sprinkle or dip the artichoke in.

Wash artichokes.  Place artichokes (careful of any sharp spines that may prick you) in your steamer pot and steam for about 20-30 minutes.  You know they are done when you can pierce the base right above the stem easily with a fork or knife.  Allow to cool enough to handle and serve!

No cutting?

What?  No cutting?  No chopping off the tops?  No clipping the spines?  Nope.  Go ahead and do that if you want.  I don’t care.  But time is a premium commodity for me, and I’ll bet it is for you, too.  Since making these the first time, I have tried chopping the tops.  I noticed no difference with chopping the tops or not chopping the tops.  I have never clipped the spines on the leaves, although it looks really snazzy that way.  The spines soften up in the steaming process and cause no issues.  So I don’t clip those either.

(Note:  Most sites will tell you to cut off the top, trim the stems, pick off the lower hard petals, shear off the spiny tips of the petals, put some herbs in your steaming water, brush with lemon juice, and so on.  I know that may make them “better”–but what good is “better” if you never make them because that’s way too much work? And the kids love them this way–and so do my husband and I?)

So how do we eat them?

There are three parts to eat:

  • The creamy pulp at the end of each petal.
  • The artichoke heart.
  • Artichoke petalsThe stem, if you wish.

With an artichoke, you literally pull each petal off, one by one.  Dip the pulpy, whitish end of the petal in oil (or butter or mayonnaise) and sprinkle it with salt. Then, pull the end of the petal between your front teeth to scrape off the white, soft, creamy artichoke pulp.  Keep an empty plate in the middle of the table to put the artichoke refuse on.   Repeat this process until you get to the choke, a fuzzy-thistly topper to the artichoke heart.

The fuzzy choke (not edible) on top of the artichoke heart (deliciously edible).

The fuzzy choke (not edible) on top of the artichoke heart (deliciously edible).

Peeling the choke off of the artichoke heart.

Peeling the choke off of the artichoke heart.

At the choke part, you need to carefully separate the choke from the heart.  My kids always hand off their artichokes to me expectantly when it’s time for the choke to come off their artichoke.  I use a knife to carefully lift off the choke in one piece.  If it doesn’t separate well, I just use the knife to slice off the choke, but you lose a little of the delicious artichoke heart.  Whatever you do, don’t eat those thistly fuzzies.  They are not good.  Dip in oil and sprinkle with salt.

At this point, the great stuff is gone, but the top of the stem is often tasty and edible, too.  If not, and it’s too fibrous, your artichoke party is over.

The Lazy Answer:  I Don’t Know

Dr. Goulet, my intense and fierce general surgery staff doctor back in the day, always barked at us, “Don’t tell me ‘I don’t know.’  That’s a lazy answer.”  (Ow.  Trust me.  We learned to never say “I don’t know.”)  So don’t be lazy.  Don’t be cowardly.  It is JUST a vegetable.  Add to your vegetable repertoire!  Try artichokes, and then go back and try rutabagas!  I don’t care.  Try whatever you want, but break out of your spinach, carrot, and broccoli rut!  And don’t let “I don’t know how” ever be your ball and chain.

~~Terri

More in the “How Do You Eat That Vegetable?” series:

Rutabagas

Jicama

How Do You Eat That Vegetable? Rutabaga (Swede).

Rutabaga and Winnie the Pooh

Vegetable Series:  When we changed our eating two years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable.  Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart.  For a long time I’ve wanted to do a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things.  May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket!  Go get ’em, tiger.

Ever try a recipe from this blog?  Check out this humorous story my friend shared with me.
My good friend’s sister:  “I made spaghetti squash spaghetti from your friend’s blog.  She said her kids loved it.”
My friend:  “Yeah?”
My good friend’s sister:  “It was horrible.  And she said it was one of her kids’ favorite dishes.  Mine didn’t look anything like hers.  I don’t know how that can be a favorite!”
My friend:  “Huh.”

Flash forward several months.

My good friend’s sister:  “You remember that spaghetti squash I said I made?”
My friend:  “Yeah.”
My good friend’s sister:  “Well, the rutabagas got put in the wrong spot at the store.  It was a rutabaga I made, not spaghetti squash.”

Well, that explains that bad recipe experience!  When I heard this story, I had not ever tried a rutabaga.  I decided to do Rabbit (from Winnie the Pooh) homage and prepare some rutabaga!  And for those that don’t know, that top photo shows a rutabaga, not a spaghetti squash.  (Wink.)

Rutabaga Mash

1 rutabaga
1 carrot
1/4 cup oil of choice (bacon drippings are our favorite, but olive oil would work, too)
2-4 cloves roasted garlic, depending on size of cloves
Olive oil, a drizzle
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Get the garlic cloves a roasting!  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).  Leave the garlic cloves in their skins and just drizzle with a tiny amount of olive oil to just moisten a bit in a small oven proof bowl, pan or ramekin.  When the oven is preheated, shove the garlic in there while you prepare the rutabaga.  Roast it about 10 minutes.

2.  Wash and peel the outer skin of the rutabaga with a potato peeler.  Wash and peel the carrot while you’re at it.

3.  Chop the rutabaga into about 1-2 inch (2.54-5 cm) pieces.  It’s easiest to cut it in half and then lay the cut half flat on the cutting board before attempting to cut the rest.  On its flat side, it won’t move around on you so much.  Taste some raw rutabaga out of curiosity.  Mmm, okay.  Not bad.  Cut the carrot while you’re at the cutting board into circles about 1/2 inch (1.3cm) thick.

4.  If you haven’t removed the roasted garlic already, do so!  Set aside and let it cool while you steam the rutabaga and carrot.

5.  Steam the rutabaga and carrot together until fork tender soft.  (You could boil them, but the mash is too wet for my taste this way.  I have one of those adjustable steamer baskets that fit into any pot size.  I love it.)

6.  Transfer the steamed, fork-tender rutabaga and carrot to a food processor.

7.  Time for the garlic cloves.  Make sure the garlic cloves aren’t too hot!  Hopefully by now they’re not.  Peel the skin off of the roasted garlic.  Place the roasted garlic in the food processor, too.  (I don’t cut off the little woody nub, but you could cut it off with kitchen shears if you want.  My food processor blends it in really well.)

8.  Add 1/4 cup of melted oil/fat of choice.  (Again, we like bacon drippings best, but olive oil, tallow, palm shortening, lard, or butter would work well here.)

9.  Blend until whipped in your food processor.

10. Serve warm as a side dish!.

Normally I give a family report as to how the rest of the family liked it.  But everybody else had eaten and I was cooking for me!  I liked them.  They were soft and whipped nicely.  Not as starchy as a potato or sweet potato.  More FODMAP friendly than whipped cauliflower.  A good side dish.  Kids will be more likely to eat this if you read about Rabbit’s rutabagas in Winnie the Pooh.  Or maybe when they ask what it is, blithely say, “Oh, some mashed carrots.”  Know your crew to plan your tactics.

Give us YOUR best rutabaga treatment!  And if you haven’t tried a rutabaga, throw one in your grocery cart next trip.  It’ll  keep a long time in your fridge until you get the energy and gumption to cook it up!

~~Terri

Cut rutabaga Roasted garlic Cut rutabaga and carrot Mashed rutabaga

 

More in the “What Do You Do With That Vegetable?” series:

Arthichokes

Jicama

Almond Flour Biscuits

This biscuit recipe is a great addition to your repertoire.  The biscuits are great with butter and jam!  Or just jam!  They can be sliced in half and made into Gluten free biscuitssausage sandwiches or used for biscuits and gravy! Crumble them up, top with your milk of choice and some lightly sweetened sliced strawberries, and you’ve got strawberry shortcake!

I’ve served these when I host coffee for the homeschooling moms and at holidays in place of rolls.  They are easy enough that my daughters made them for me for Mother’s Day one year, placing them daintily on a lovely plate with the jam in an adorable glass bowl.

My sister requested the recipe yesterday and this is an easy way to share it, not only with her, but with you!

Almond Flour Biscuits

(Makes about 12 biscuits, depending on the size)

2 and 1/2 cups of almond flour (I prefer Honeyville, but Bob’s Red Mill or another blanched almond flour will work fine for this recipe.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).

Mix all ingredients together very well in a medium-sized bowl.  (Alternatively, you may feel free to mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl, beat the eggs a bit in a different bowl, add the wet ingredients to the egg bowl, and then mix all the ingredients together well.  I use the one bowl, mix-well method and I’m happy with the turnout.)

Use a tablespoon to drop about 12-15 rounded mounds onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.  They don’t really expand out much so you can place them fairly close together without worry.  If you make them too large, they don’t get done in the middle.

Bake until lightly browned or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a biscuit comes out clean.  Depending on how your oven bakes and biscuit size, this could take anywhere from 12-20 minutes.  Do not overbrown.  Watch closely.

Allow to cool before attempting to slice.

Variation for savory biscuits:  Add 1/4 cup of diced onion and a teaspoonful of garlic powder.

Family “gustar” report:  A very good report.  Everybody likes them, even a finicky brother-in-law who gets very nervous when he hears the words “gluten-free.”  (However, they don’t like the savory ones as well.)

Wishing you all the best in all the things that count! ~~Terri

 

Homemade Sausage and Warm Sauerkraut

Store-bought sausage is usually laden with all kinds of fillers and preservatives.  Just reading the ingredient list practically makes me throw the stuff back into the grocery’s freezer or refrigerator case.  Here is a recipe we use that we like for “homemade sausage.”  My kids say it tastes “just like Granny’s does.”  Granny’s is probably Jimmy Dean’s.  Just pick up some ground pork and a few spices.  I love to eat it with sauerkraut tossed in the warm leftover drippings.  I let the drippings cool down to just warmer than lukewarm so I don’t kill as many of the beneficial probiotics in my “live” sauerkraut.

Sauerkraut and sausage

Homemade Sausage with Warmed Sauerkraut

1 pound of ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 to 1 and 1/2  teaspoons ground sage (I am generous with sage because I love the flavor.  To me, sage makes the sausage.)
Dash of red pepper (My kids don’t like it very spicy so I err on the low side here.)
Sauerkraut as desired, preferably one that has live active probiotics in it (not the pasteurized kind)

 

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ground pork and all the spices by hand until well mixed.  Form into patties.  I usually make about five or so patties and squish them down so they cook pretty quickly.  Cook over medium to medium-high heat, flipping mid-way through cooking.  I like a light golden brown crust to form on mine.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate.

Allow the drippings to cool to a still warm–but not hot–temperature.  Spoon in some sauerkraut (drain the sauerkraut juices if you want, but I don’t).  As far as how much of the drippings to use, you obviously don’t want your sauerkraut swimming in sausage drippings, but you want enough to flavor the sauerkraut and warm it.  I’m trusting your judgment here.  Drain drippings you want to save before adding in the sauerkraut.

Enjoy!  I do this also to sauerkraut when I make bacon.

Family “gustar” report:  All five members of my family eat the sausage very well.  It is a go-to for breakfast when I can’t think of anything else.  You can also make almond flour biscuits and make a sandwich out of them.  Or instead of making patties, brown up the pork and use in an egg casserole or soup.  Only one of my kids likes sauerkraut right now.

That’s it!  Take care!  Make the effort to simplify life.  You’ll be glad you did!  ~~Terri

Compare and Contrast Foraging

wpid-IMAG1085.jpgThis morning I sat down at the kitchen table to make my shopping list.  “What do I need?  What do I need?”  My shopping list has definitely changed over the last two years, much for the stranger.  And it just keeps getting weirder.

Am I Weird?  No!  I am a Modern Forager!

A week ago we visited my mom, dad, and sisters in Northern Indiana.  As always, I was “educating” my mom about this and that health-wise and food-wise.  She sullenly said, “Well, I don’t want to be a slave to food.”  That got me thinking.  Am I a slave to food?  I feel less a slave to food now than I ever have before in my life.  I tell you, before, I was definitely dependent on processed foods, dairy, wheat, and sugar.  Now, I can pass up donuts.  Yeah.  I don’t think I’m a slave to food anymore.

But this morning as I looked at my bizarre grocery list, I wondered if I was overboard.  Maybe Mom was right!?  (It’s always good to take stock of yourself.)  However, you see, each food on my list has a purpose!  A nutrient!  Then, I thought, “Well, what about other people who haven’t read about these nutrients.  Don’t have a medical background.  What are they to do?  How to manage?  Maybe this stuff I’m doing is all stupid.”

Then, I thought, “No!  In our history, before food was readily available for purchase, humans DID make a point to forage for foods that were known to be necessary!  Women knew how to identify herbs and dig for tubers.  Families knew how to brew sauerkraut.  The organs were not tossed out, but they were prized.  Salt was traded and used as salaries.  Kids got cod liver oil from their moms and grandmas in the near past.”  In the past, they foraged for foods know to benefit them.  I am simply a modern forager!

So What’s on That List?

The list is not too long because we keep a pretty well-stocked freezer and pantry, but here is the list:

Dulse:  A seaweed I usually sauté or toss into a soup to provide iodine for my family and me.

Kombucha:  A fermented drink with probiotics in it that I’ve started using for a smoothie liquid since my intolerances do better with little to no dairy, nuts, and coconut products.

Organic greens such as kale, chard, spinach, and arugula:  Lots of calcium, magnesium, and identified and unidentified health benefits here.  Not to mention some fiber.

Oysters:  A great source of zinc and throw in some iodine, vitamin A, vitamin D, and B vitamins–and you’ve got quite a “good things come in small packages” going on here.

And the not so strange fruits:  oranges, mangoes, strawberries, apples, grapes, and bananas.

Water:  Oh, my goodness.  Yes.  Water. My Dad told me it would be a sad day when he ever paid money for water, but I think he’s got the deepest well in the state of Indiana filtering down through layer after layer of great Indiana limestone.  Not bad water.  But for me, must be sad times.  I still haven’t decided on a water filter, and in the meantime, I’d like to reduce our intake of fluoride, chlorine, and any pharmaceuticals that don’t get filtered out.  So we buy reverse osmosis water.

Just though you’d like to see the weird list.

Compare and Contrast Modern versus Historical Foraging

I realized that my grocery list was an example of foraging, not weirdness. Picking through the vastness to find what benefits my family and me!  It is NO different than what thousands of people long ago used to do.  Times may change.  Basic human needs don’t.  In my mind I started comparing and contrasting foraging today and foraging of long ago.

 

Modern Foraging

 

Historical Foraging

 

Knowledge of needed nutrients handed   down by medical/nutritional fields and scientists.  Nutrients are known by name and entity. Knowledge of needed nutrients perhaps   not “known” by name or entity.
Knowledge distributed by writing.  If it’s not in writing and substantiated by   research, it is often held in limbo or disdain.  (Old research has often been buried, although it contains some neat leads we should follow.) Knowledge distributed by an oral culture taught by the elder   generation to the younger.  Much   respect given to elders and their experiences.
Nutrient guidelines in flux and ever-changing. Nutrients/foods probably stayed pretty   consistent within a locale.
Grocery stores, farmers markets,   Amazon, internet, health food stores. Digging, planting, hunting, trading,   long trips to obtain necessary supplies/foods/herbs.
Discouraged and mocked by general   culture, including and especially medical culture.  Modern foraging has to fight cultural   norms. Necessary for immediate survival and   prolonged health.  The “medicine men”   would have embraced nutrition and herbs as key healers.  Foraging for known necessary foods was the   norm.
More convenient but sometimes more   expensive. Likely physically taxing, although not   expensive.  However, certain things   were traded among people and would have required some material expense.
Not based as strongly on local,   available food. Bulk eating would have been based on   local available foods, although travel of varying distances would probably have   been required as seasons changed, resources diminished, or known necessary foods   needed to be traded for.
For many, foraging results in a   realization of how enduring the human body is of assault by sugar and   processed flour products, and yet how responsive it is to nurturing with   real, whole foods.  Modern foragers’   foes are chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease,   cerebrovascular disease, autoimmune disease, and gastrointestinal maladies. Food was food and eaten for survival   and function; often, trauma and infectious disease were historical foragers’   foes.

 Closing

This was fun, and I think I could go on and on expanding it.  I am going to stop now and go do dishes and laundry and give thanks for a wonderful husband who took the kids out so I could have some peaceful time.

Some people embrace alternative health and nutrition changes, but I didn’t enter the realm really quite voluntarily–or without deeply embedded personal, professional bias.  I frequently find that I need to step back and make sure I’m doing all this for the right reasons and that I really have solid evidence behind me–at least as solid evidence as is available.  My family, friends, and professional training keep me with my right foot in the cultural norm, and my search for a normal GI tract and a way to not have a head so sensitive to certain foods  keeps me with my left foot straining and pulling to bring the right foot along.  Every day it’s all about checking and rechecking my work.  Liver is good to eat.  Is it good to eat?  Iodized salt is bad.  Is iodized salt bad?  Low carb is good.  Does it destroy your gut’s bacteria and your body’s metabolism?

I don’t have a nutritional heritage to fall back on much, although I have a few pieces my mom gave me–like butter and sauerkraut.  Mostly, though, my mom sold out to boxes.  So I will have to use what I can to rebuild a nutritional heritage for health for my family.

I will not sell out to boxes.  I will not sell out to sugar.  I will not resort to processed flours.  I will incorporate unusual foods known for their nutrients.  I am a modern forager.  Are you?  What are some unusual foods you incorporate in your foraging efforts and why?

~~Terri

PS:  I am continuing to work on one (if not “the”) of the last butyrate posts, our fourth grade curriculum posts, and I’d like to also post about vitamin K2 and iodine.  Maybe something in there will interest you.

Look On The Inside

Put The Label On The Front, Please

A friend and I joked the other day about how food labels should be on the FRONT of every package!  Show thyself, you traitor!  (The food that is, not my friend.)  Let’s look at a few labels.

Simply GoGurt  Healthy, right?  Used to always be in my cart two years ago!  I make yogurt with TWO ingredients:  milk and cultures.  That’s it.  If I want it thick, I sit it in a strainer with a coffee filter and let the liquid (whey) drip out.  If we want it sweet, the girls add maple syrup to taste.  If we want color, we add blueberries and strawberries.

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Did you do an analysis?  What reasons did you come up with to leave this out of your cart and out of your kid’s mouth?

  • Sugar:  Kids get WAY too much sugar, especially in these hidden food products.
  • Preservative (Potassium Sorbate):  What are all these preservatives doing to the good, healthy bacteria that we absolutely have to have in our GI tracts?
  • Modified corn starch:  Why is there corn starch in yogurt?  You’d never figure out if the child had a corn sensitivity or dairy sensitivity if they ate this and you were unaware of the corn ingredient!
  • Gelatin:  Not inherently a bad thing.  It’s a thickener.  But why use gelatin and carrageenan to thicken?  Why thicken it at all?
  • Carrageenan:  This is extracted from seaweed and acts as a thickener and binder.  Health nuts will tell you it may cause cancer or colitis.  Bottom line here in GoGurt is it’s not needed.
  • Natural flavor:  Always an ambiguous term that can imply many things.  A gray cloud.
  • Vitamins:  You may or may not care.  But most vitamins are now produced in China.  I’m not too pleased with their track record on these things.
  • Tricalcium Phosphate:  Adds calcium and regulates acidity.  I don’t know enough to say any more.  But I do know it doesn’t have to be in there!

For you health-nuts (I do hope you know I’m laughing at myself when I type “health-nut”–as if I don’t belong in this category– I’m full, fair, square in the thick!), I’m sure you’re all over the fact that it’s not grass-fed dairy and it’s low fat dairy.  Good points, but we’re saving the world in medium-sized steps at a time here.  For this to work, it has to appeal to the masses.

Cereal  Once in elementary school I had an argument with my best friend on the bus about which was healthier, her breakfast of Life Cereal or my breakfast of Fruity Pebbles.  We made up over brownies at lunch.

Whole grains only is our goal here.  No sugar.  No preservatives.  Let’s check it out.

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What did you come up with?

  • Sugar:  Ingredient number two!  Put it down.  If you want your kids to have sugar, save it for dessert.  Not breakfast.
  • Preservatives (BHT):  Your body needs the naturally occurring bacteria that live in our guts.  Preservatives have the job of stopping bacteria.
  • Colors (yellow 5 and yellow 6):  I can see NO good reason ever for colors to be added.  Color is added  because “all that glitters is gold.”  They want you to think it looks pretty.
  • Vitamins and minerals:  The original grains have been stripped SO badly of their vitamins and minerals during processing, that in order for this box of cereal to have ANY nutritional content (besides calories), the vitamins and minerals must be added back in artificially.

And the die-hards are saying they don’t touch grains with a ten-foot pole.  Another faction of die-hards are worried that it’s not organic and it’s not sprouted.

Garlic  The last one we’ll have time for today.  When I went gluten-free, dairy-free to fix my GI tract (and then I had to go A LOT further nutritionally), I didn’t realize the extent of ingredient mixing!  Wheat-protein here.  Dairy there.  Soy here.  I used this garlic as a short-cut in cooking.  This was an introduction to the philosophy of reading EVERY LABEL, EVERY TIME.

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I know it’s hard to read so I’ll retype it:  organic garlic, organic canola oil, sodium lactate, whey (milk), sea salt, dextrose, glycerin, ascorbic acid to protect color and flavor, citric acid, calcium chloride, xantham gum.

What do you think?

  • Canola Oil:   Oil/fat choices are olive oil, coconut oil, tallow, lard, butter–to get us started (the topic does get a little–lot–deeper).  Canola oil makes me unhappy with my choice.  Briefly, canola oil, soybean oil, vegetable oils, and other processed oils are high in a type of fat called omega-6.  Omega-6 is easy to come by in our diets and so we have exorbitant levels of it!  Omega-3s are not so easy to come by (seafood, certain nuts, pastured meats, plus a few other sources), and so we have a detrimental mismatch of omega-6 to omega-3.  This allows certain types of prostaglandins and cytokines to be formed which increase inflammation in our bodies (think allergies, eczema, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, headaches, etc).  There are also some processing concerns with canola oil.
  • Whey (milk):  Now if I was buying cheese, I’d be satisfied with this.  But what the heck are they doing putting whey in my garlic?  No wonder so many dairy-elimination trials, wheat-elimination trials, soy-elimination trials fail!!!!!  And two years ago I was clueless and missed this until I started label reading.  Every label.  Every time.
  • Dextrose:  A type of sugar.  So now I have sugar and milk in my garlic.  Again–put it down and walk away.
  • A bunch of hobbledy, gobbledy:  Xantham gum, citric acid, glycerin, calcium chloride, sodium lactate.  I don’t know what all that stuff is in my garlic for.  I kind of know what the stuff is, but I don’t have it in my kitchen.  My kids can’t pronounce the words.  Just a bunch of junk.

Look On The Inside

We teach our kids to look on the inside of people.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Appearances are deceiving.  If they’re mean to you, walk away.  You don’t need them.

Let’s teach them to look on the inside of food.  Beyond the box.  Beyond the commercial.  Beyond the “one-liners” on the front:  “All-Natural,” “Whole Grain,” “High in Fiber,” and “Organic.”  Read the ingredients together.  When they ask you why they can’t eat this or that when Suzy is, make some absolutes.  “We don’t eat food with added colors and preservatives.” OR  “We don’t eat food with sugar unless it’s dessert.”  I can’t tell you what is going to work, and although the health-nuts (yes, I’m included in here again) think THEIR diet plan is best, the truth is we just don’t know.  BUT I DO KNOW IT STARTS WITH REAL FOOD NOT PACKAGED FOOD.

Just like you need real friends, you need real food.  (Hey–before we get to know each other, can I see your ingredient list… 🙂 )

~~Terri

Paleo Wraps Just Got Better

We tried Paleo Wraps.

Hot Spots of Today’s Post

1. Paleo Inc, the makers of Paleo Wraps (a.k.a. My-Wrap-Is-Healthier-Than-Your-Wrap), stand behind their products.

2.  Paleo Wraps were discovered to be $6.99 at my sister’s local supermarket, much less expensive than the quoted Amazon price in my original review.

3.  Today’s post is a follow-up from Review From An Amazon Sucker:  Paleo Wraps.

My Blog Finally Fed Me

An excerpt from an e-mail that showed up early the next morning after the Paleo Wrap review posted:

Thanks for the nice review of our Paleo Wraps! After reading it though I became concerned when you mentioned the Paleo Wraps partially cracked. That is not suppose to happen and typically they are very soft and never break…We would also love to send a free replacement pack to you for any wraps that were like that…Please e-mail me back your address so we can send the replacement pack (s)…

Heath Squier/Owner

The e-mail further requested some packaging information, my home address–my height, weight, and eye color, along with my children’s ages and gender–and offered to send a replacement package to my home.  It appeared completely legitimate–but sure–Mr. Squier.  Sure you’re Mr. Squier.  I don’t know about giving my address out.  My husband said, “That might be a ‘Phisher.’  Are you sure it’s okay?  Don’t do it.”  He painted pictures of kidnappings and body bags in my head.

However, I kindly e-mailed back the information he requested minus the address and personal information (which he never asked for in the first place).  I called the company’s phone number printed on the package (which I had extracted from the yucky trash when I got the e-mail) a week later when my pregnancy nausea and headache allowed me off the couch, and the phone was answered by a real, live person!  She verified that Heath Squier was the owner and had indeed sent me that e-mail.

Within two days of that call, I had two more packages of Paleo Wraps.  No cracks.  Smooth and supple.  Super pliable.  Super pliable.  (That wasn’t a typo.)  Heath Squier was right; they shouldn’t crack.  My other wraps were good, even with the cracks.  These new wraps, I can see, are how they’re supposed to be.  I guess my ones from Amazon just weren’t quite right.

To further elevate my opinion of Paleo Wraps, my sister found them in her local supermarket for $6.99 a package.  That keeps them at about the $1.00 per wrap I was shooting for.

Forget Nutrient-less Bread

Lastly, due to pregnancy, I succumbed to buying tapioca-based bread (after two years without bread–go figure).  My kids just want to inhale it plain, at the expense of other well-needed nutrients.  The whole package in one day.  This is quite an amazing, interesting, fascinating phenomenon to watch.  How kids deprived of bread, any kind of bread, but not deprived of good, delicious food will still preferentially steer towards bread!  I’ll bet I’m not the only mom who has embarked on a whole/real foods journey who has observed this.  (You want some soup?  No, I ate some bread.  Want some stir-fry?  No, I ate some bread.  Want an orange?  Nah, I ate some bread.  Want some bread?  Yes!)

Because of my experience with Heath Squier, his company, and his excellent product, I will happily be sourcing Paleo Wraps for our home.  My kids enjoy them, I will be supporting a quality act, and I can stuff them with tons and tons of vegetables and nutrient-dense goodies (those wraps can handle it!).  May Paleo Inc be successful and blessed in their endeavors.  Seems like they deserve it!  (Now, if you’re reading this one Mr. Squier, could you come up with plantain wraps for people who don’t tolerate coconut?  There’s a niche for that.  Those poor people are out there…)

Food is like a drug.  With side effects particular to each person.  Take only those foods which benefit you and cause no harm.  Choose to leave the rest behind.  Eat whole, real foods.  Listen to your body.  Not the diet book. ~~Terri

Meat Pizza

Every last bit gobbled up by every single adult and kid in the house!  The “crust” is ground beef topped with the most honest versions that I can find of all my favorites.  I do okay except for the hot banana peppers which I just cannot find without yellow food dye, despite an internet search.  I use salami for pepperoni and just look for the salami with the least ingredients.

wpid-IMAG1906.jpgMeat Pizza

Crust:

2 pounds ground beef
Your choice of herbs to mix into the ground beef crust: parsley, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, garlic

Your choice of toppings.  Toppings I use include:
Tomato sauce (season as desired)
Chopped onion
Chopped bell pepper
Chopped mushrooms
Chopped ham ( we use prosciutto that has no preservatives)
Chopped bacon
Sliced salami
Sliced black olives
Chopped green olives
Hot banana peppers
Chopped fresh spinach
Cheese (shred your own so you don’t get all the starch and other junk they add to shredded cheese to keep it from sticking to itself)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Crust:  Mix ground beef with your choice of herbs; I used about 1 tsp of each listed, although I used one large pressed garlic clove rather than garlic powder. Mix well with hands.  In a jelly roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet, spread out the ground beef mixture until it almost comes to the edge of the pan, more or less depending on how thick you want your meat crust.  We have made crusts that are really thin and some not so thin.

Preparation:  Top your “crust” as desired, starting with the tomato sauce.  If I do add cheese for the kids, I don’t add it until about half-way done with the baking process–that way it doesn’t overbrown.

Bake:   Bake for about 30 minutes. About midway through the baking process or more, drain the juices off and then put back in the oven to finish baking.  Add on the cheese now if you want.wpid-IMAG1908.jpg

Family “gustar” report:  5/5 household members eat it all up.  It’s probably one of my favorites, too.  Pizza is my favorite food.  I miss it.

Closing:  All is well here in our family, and I hope there in yours, too.  Persist in choosing unadulterated food and food sources as much as you affordably and sanely can.  Persist in identifying food’s role in your life, your health, and your psychology.  For most of us, its role and effects are far greater than we ever realized.  ~~Terri

Butyrate Series, Part 7

Introduction:

We have made it to butyrate supplements.

Diet-wise, I follow the GAPS diet with modifications resembling a Paleo Diet/Autoimmune Paleo Diet –with some low carb stints thrown in to try to achieve my health goals.  I don’t have any lofty goals of looking like a runway model or movie star.  I’m still a little young to be much scared about cancer.  I don’t hang out with a fitness crowd to bring out my competitive inner edge.  My labs and ideal body weight have always checked out ideal.

I started the GAPS diet for exceptionally severe, idiopathic constipation and tweaked it here and there based on my research.  The symptoms I have changed include headaches, chronic allergy symptoms, fatigue, dry eyes, strange premature hot flashes, and I could go on.  My gut improved, but I still thought it could work better.  Several months ago, I started following some leads on nerve regeneration in the gut, and they lead me to butyrate.  I decided I would try an oral butyrate supplement, despite the researchers all saying a delayed release product was probably necessary.  If, by some chance, oral butyrate helped me, I would then focus on tweaking my diet some more to obtain butyrate naturally through food.  I was amazed when oral butyrate worked for me, particularly as I didn’t even choose a sustained release formulation.  If I stopped butyrate, my symptoms returned.  When I resumed it, my symptoms resolved.  So I’ve been working to try to increase forms of fiber and resistant starch that I tolerate–I’ve defined these in previous butyrate posts.

Ways I see to increase butyrate:

1. Eat foods with butyrate (butyrate-containing foods), like high fat dairy products such as butter. (Part 4)
2. Eat foods that your bacteria can make butyrate from (butyrate-producing foods), like fiber and
resistant starch.

3. Take butyrate supplements.
4. Take butyrate producing probiotics and prebiotics.

A bit about butyrate production.

Aside from the pharmaceutical industry, butyric acid is also used in the manufacture of plastics, varnishes, disinfectants, perfumes, and cosmetics. (Butyric acid and butyrate are interchangeable terms for our conversation.)  The American Food and Drug Administration has even approved it as an additive to food, beverages, and flavorings in the form of tributyrin. (1)  You’ll see more on tributyrin below.  (Humorous:  I also found it is used in fish bait: Carp Fishing Pellets.  Nice.)

The organic structure of butyrate is simple. It is just four connected carbons saturated with hydrogens with a carboxylic acid on the end of the chain. The manufacture of butyric acid is mainly from chemical synthesis using crude oil extracts. Crude oil extracts provide cheap, readily available ingredients. Butyrate can be extracted from butter, but the process is reportedly more difficult and expensive. Another way to obtain butyrate is through bacterial fermentation (the way we naturally get it from resistant starch and fiber in our colons). Bacteria are given the appropriate matter, and they ferment it to make butyrate. The fermentation method interests manufacturers because of the growing interest in “natural” sources for foodstuff. (1)  Butyric acid itself is a bit corrosive, and in supplements it will be found as a salt form.

My concerns with oral butyrate supplementation–and supplements in general.

My concerns with oral butyrate supplements are not unique to butyrate; they are the same concerns I have with supplements in general. Butyrate seems to have a pretty good track record. I mean, as I mentioned above, it’s even approved by the FDA for flavorings. But any time I take a supplement I ask myself a battery of questions. Could there be impurities, such as heavy metals? What is the proper dose? Does the supplement contain the amount of active ingredient it says it does? What if people take enormous amounts? Should there be a concern with unopposed supplementation? (What I am thinking of here pertains to “ratios.” For example the ideal ratio of calcium to magnesium supplementation. Or the ideal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.) What are the side effects?

Butyrate seems pretty non-toxic as long as the manufacturer’s dosing guidelines are adhered to.  One study found that escalating doses in mice lead to kidney swelling– in humans the equivalent dose would be 7-8 grams in humans.  (2, 3)  To put it into perspective, the butyrate supplement I tried recommends a dose of up to 3.6 grams.  Another study specifically points out that in vitro, butyrate has positive effects until a certain point at which it has an opposite, detrimental effect:

“We conclude that the effect of butyrate on the intestinal barrier is paradoxical; i.e. whereas low concentrations of butyrate may be beneficial in promoting intestinal barrier function, excessive butyrate may induce severe intestinal epithelial cell apoptosis and disrupt intestinal barrier.” (4)

And finally, here is a nice toxicology report on butyric acid from the Environmental Protection Agency,  “Screening Information Data Sets” (SIDS). The report was accumulated for the SIDS Initial Assessment Meeting, referred to as the SIAM, in 2003.  It goes over just about anything you’d want to know about butyric acid, from its different uses to its stability in water to its effects on rats and their fetuses. For those interested in the toxicity profile as it at least relates to rats, scroll down a ways. It will talk about effects on male rats, female rats, pregnant rats, developing fetuses, chromosomes, etc. (5)

What are some commonly available butyrate supplements?

I Googled some supplements, and I will list those that I found. By listing them, I am not recommending any of them!  (Neither am I dis-recommending any of them.)  I’m simply listing in one spot just about all the supplements I could find and available consumer reviews.  If you think butyrate may be right for you, run it by your favorite healthcare provider. Maybe print off a couple of the studies I’ve linked to in my article and the EPA report above to help the provider understand toxicity, perhaps highlighting the sentences of interest to facilitate quick reading for them. I’m not in the situation to recommend anything, but I am happy to share my own personal experiences and research that I’ve come across.

Keep in mind the success of butyrate supplementation is going to vary from person to person. The pills will release their contents differently because of inter-individual differences in the pH of a person’s gut and transit time.  These supplements are salts, and the butyrate provided by these supplements will probably be absorbed very early in the GI tract, perhaps offering no benefit. There are other forms of butyrate used out there but not over the counter. I will mention them later.

P.S.:  Thank Amazon for the photos.  I didn’t realize the links came with photos.  Well, that saves you from my very bad drawings and “bubble-gum” photos.  (Sorry.  “Bubble-bum” is the word my dad used to describe the music I listened to as a kid.)   Rest assured this is still a hobby; I make no money from it.

BodyBio/E-Lyte Butyrate 600 mg (Calcium/magnesium complex): This one has five reviews you can read on Amazon. The reviews revolve around fibromyalgia, collagenous colitis, excess ammonia, and multiple food sensitivities.

http://www.amazon.com/BodyBio-E-Lyte-Butyrate-600-caps/dp/B0016NHCGA/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_1

BodyBio/E-Lyte 600 mg (Sodium Butyrate): This one also has five reviews on Amazon, around cancer, bipolar, substance addiction, and more nebulous issues. Quite interestingly enough, this also has medium chain triglycerides in it!

http://www.bodybio.com/main/products/sodiumbutyrate_qa.htm

http://www.amazon.com/BodyBio-E-Lyte-Sodium-Butyrate-caps/dp/B0058A9SF0/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_2

BodyBio/E-Lyte 500 mg (Sodium-Potassium Butyrate): One review regarding autism.

http://www.amazon.com/BodyBio-E-Lyte-Sodium-Potassium-Butyrate-Capsules/dp/B0058A9SRI/ref=pd_sim_hpc_2

Pharmax, Butyrate Complex: Three reviews. Constipation, yeast, and a nothing.

http://www.amazon.com/Pharmax-Butyrate-Complex-90-vcaps/dp/B0037V3WTA/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_3

Nutricology/ Allergy Research Group ButyrAid: 5 reviews. IBS, dysbiosis.

http://www.amazon.com/Nutricology-Butyraid-Tablets-100-Count/dp/B0014TDVXE/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_4

Cal-Mag Butyrate: 1 review. Leaky gut.

http://www.amazon.com/Ecological-Formulas-Cal-Mag-Butyrate-Capsules/dp/B003TV99EA/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_5

T.E.Neesby – Butyrex Cal/Mag, 600 mg, Micro encapsulated design: Two reviews. GI related and insomnia.

http://www.amazon.com/T-E-Neesby-Butyrex-Cal-Mag-capsules/dp/B00014G70C/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_9

http://www.jigsawhealth.com/supplements/butyrex

Butyren, Allergy Research (Nutricology): “ButyrEn, from Allergy Research Group, is an enteric-coated tablet of the calcium and magnesium salts of butyric acid, providing 815 mg of butyrate and 100 mg of both calcium and magnesium…the enteric coating is designed to provide delayed release in the intestinal tract.” Two reviews which don’t offer much.

http://www.amazon.com/Allergy-Research-Nutricology-Butyren-tablets/dp/B00014FOCY/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_11

BioCare Butyric acid complex (magnesium and calcium): No reviews.

http://www.biocare.co.uk/default.aspx?GroupGuid=29&ProductGuid=11890

Digestix: Two fair reviews.

http://www.pinnaclebio.com/products/digestix-%E2%80%93-calcium/magnesium-butyrate/

Forms of butyrate not available over the counter, per se:

Tributyrin:

In many butyrate research studies, tributyrin is used. Isn’t it fascinating that it is tributyrin which naturally occurs in butter? (6) Tributyrin serves as a delayed-release source of butyrate, and hence achieves more sustained plasma levels. It is made of a glycerol backbone with three butyrate molecules attached.  However, even still, it is absorbed before the colon:

“Oral tributyrin (glycerol tributyrate) is absorbed in the small intestine and at high doses increases free butyrate concentration in peripheral plasma for up to 4 h. However, the hepatic uptake of intestinal butyrate is known to be almost complete, suggesting that systemic delivery of butyrate to the colon would be limited.” (7)

Tributyrin has been used in many studies including, but in no way limited to, cancer studies, metabolic studies, and neurological disease studies.  Oncologists were hopeful that it could achieve the cancer-slowing benefits in vivo as is seen with butyrate in vitro; about 20% of cancer patients achieved long-term disease stabilization when receiving 200 mg/kg 3 times daily in a pilot trial. In diabetes and obesity, reports suggest tributyrin has the ability to suppress the induction of obesity and insulin resistance in mice fed a high-fat diet. Researchers speculate there may be an impact of tributyrin on the cognitive function of patients with early Alzheimer’s disease, although they express concerns:

“From the standpoint of practicality, however, it would be necessary to incorporate tributyrin into a functional food, as it would not be feasible to require the ingestion of many dozens of capsules daily.”  (3)

Phenylbutyrate:

Phenylbutyrate is an “orphan” drug used in rare conditions. What in the heck is an orphan drug?  An orphan drug is one that has been pushed through the typical drug approval process usually because the disease it treats is so rare. Phenylbutyrate has activity similar to butyrate (induction of apoptosis and histone acetylation) and is used for urea cycle disorders. I have listed it here as its actions seem similar to butyrate, and if one is exploring butyrate, they can also pursue study of phenylbutyrate. (8)

Butyrylated Starch:

Some studies have started using high amylase corn starch with butyrate attached.  You’ve seen high amylase corn starch mentioned in this series before when I discussed resistant starch. (7, 9)  Potentially, they’d like to consider adding butyrylated starches to food products to promote health.  (Darn it, folks.  Why do we keep letting ourselves be manipulated this way?  Instead of a cheap study looking at the safety or toxicity of raw potato to deliver resistant starch to the colon to bolster butyrate production and butyrate promoting bacteria, they’re coming up with more ways to modify your food source.  Why can’t we get it together?  When is enough enough?  Stop eating processed foods.  Even gluten-free ones.)

Enemas:

These may be helpful in ulcerative colitis. Research results are mixed.  The one formulation I found pre-prepared had been discontinued.  I read some forums, but I couldn’t really find any strong leads here.  It seems that to get these, you have to take your prescription to a pharmacy which compounds (makes) them specially for you. The smell and delivery mechanism are undesirable I read–not to mention the exposure time of the colon epithelium to butyrate will be brief.  If you have anything to leave in the comments regarding these, some Googlers may find it helpful in the future.

Conclusion:

Thanks for reading.  I’m sorry this has taken so long to prepare.  I hate that I pretty much came to a halt on a series.  I’m in my first trimester of pregnancy.  I’m not a very pleasant pregnant person.  Give me a baby.  Give me a kid.  Don’t give me pregnancy or a toddler.  (Joke.)

The next Butryate Series post will revolve around using probiotics to increase butyrate in the gut.  But I may have to write some “bubble-gum” posts in the meantime, if I can even type up anything at all.  I’m about shot.  Please point out typos and mis-information, please.  I appreciate it.  ~~Terri

Sources:  There are some interesting sources today.  Read and scrutinize carefully.

1.  Acetate adaptation of clostridia tyrobutyricum for improved fermentation production of butyrate.  Adam M Jaros, Ulrika Rova and Kris A Berglund.  2013.  SpringerPlus 2013, 2:47.  http://www.springerplus.com/content/2/1/47

2. Minamiyama M, Katsuno M, Adachi H et al. Sodium butyrate ameliorates phenotypic expression in a transgenic mouse model of spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy.  Hum Mol Genet 2004 June 1;13(11):1183-92.  http://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/content/13/11/1183.long

3.  Tributyrin May Have Practical Potential for Improving Cognition in Early Alzheimer’s Disease Via Inhibition of HDAC2.  Mark F. McCarty.  March 2013.  Catalytic Longevity.

http://catalyticlongevity.org/

http://catalyticlongevity.org/prepub_archive/Tributyrin-AD.pdf

4.  Effects of Butyrate on Intestinal Barrier Function in a Caco-2 Cell Monolayer Model of Intestinal Barrier.  Peng, He, Chen, Holzman, and Lin.  Pediatric Research (2007) 61, 37–41.  http://www.nature.com/pr/journal/v61/n1/full/pr20079a.html

5.  SIDS Initial Assessment Report.  For 16th SIAM.  May, 2003.  http://www.epa.gov/hpvis/hazchar/Category_ButylSeriesMetabolic_HC_SIAR_0108_Interim.pdf

6.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butyrin

7.  Butyrate delivered by butyrylated starch increases distal colonic epithelial apoptosis in carcinogen-treated rats.  Clark et al.  Carcinogenesis. 2012 January; 33(1): 197–202.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3276328/

8.  A Phase I Clinical and Pharmacological Evaluation of Sodium Phenylbutyrate on an 120-h Infusion Schedule.  Carducci, Gilbert, et al.  Clin Cancer Res.  October 2001.  7;3047.   http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/7/10/3047.full

9.  Butyrylated starch increases colonic butyrate concentration but has limited effects on immunity in healthy physically active individuals.  West et al.  2013.  EIR.  102-119.