Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Carrageenan Conspiracy

This is random, but I'm really excited so I have to share. To begin, I have to preface that I am addicted to ceremonial grade matcha green tea (it's shade grown green tea leaves ground or milled into a fine powder). I drink a glass or two, or three each day. It's known as one of the most powerful anti-cancer compounds, and it is my crack. No kidding, when I started drinking it regularly, about a month or two ago, Dan was like, "What's the deal, you are even goofier than normal. And your energy is insane." I told him my secret, and he laughed. But laugh all you want folks, it's the most amazing mood booster I've ever had. Sure, caffeine gives you energy, but a boatload of antioxidants mixed with just a little caffeine (it's a natural byproduct of the green tea) is the way to go. Hence the matcha. A good ceremonial grade matcha smells like grass, and has a vibrant green color, and as you drink it you know you're giving your body exactly what it wants.

Now, Dan can't stand the taste, and I admit I don't love it, but I have been making it with a few dashes of hot nut milk which creates a luxurious flavor and texture. I had been using unsweetened almond milk, but then I remembered that carrageenan, which is in the majority of nut milks (among other products), is really bad for you. Like really, really bad. Cancer causing bad. So, I just pulled up a couple of notes on carrageenan as a teaser (hopefully it'll open your eyes if you weren't already familiar)....

"Carrageenan predictably causes inflammation, which can lead to ulcerations and bleeding," explains veteran carrageenan researcher Joanne Tobacman, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Chicago. She says the food ingredient irritates by activating an immune response that dials up inflammation. Her previous work showed a concerning connection between carrageenan and gastrointestinal cancer in lab animals, and she's involved with ongoing research funded through the National Institutes of Health that is investigating carrageenan's effect on ulcerative colitis and other diseases like diabetes. (Prevention Magazine)

That's the crazy thing, inflammation feeds cancer. Inflammation feeds disease. And what I find the most disconcerting is that our government knows that carrageenan is cancer causing, and cancer promoting, and they don't limit its' use. Or ban it. There is all kinds of research being done at the National Institute of Health, which is a US government organization, proving the dangers of carrageenan. They know it's bad. They know it's a killer, and yet our government doesn't protect us.  

I have learned the hard way that I have to be responsible for my own health. That no one is going to fix my cancer, that no one person has the answers or ability to heal me, but I can be an advocate for myself. I can read the fine lines and hold myself accountable. I can not expect our government to protect me. It is my responsibility to investigate what is good and what is right for me and my body. And that is what led me to create my own nut milk yesterday. And holy cow it is delicious! And it's easier than you think.

1 c raw cashews
4 c filtered water
1/8 tsp sea salt
dash of vanilla extract (to taste or omit)

1. Soak the cashews overnight or at least for 4 hours
2. Rinse the cashews
3. Toss the cashews, two cups of filtered water, the salt and vanilla (if you chose to add it) into a quality blender (I use a vitamix) 
4. Turn the blender on to low and slowly increase speed. Blend until it's nice and frothy, and thick. At this point you can add part of the final two cups of water, or all of it. I like my milk to be thick and creamy, similar to whole milk or cream. If you're more into 1% or fat free milk, add in all four cups. Blend it in nice and good, then pour it into a sealable container for the fridge. Note: The milk will further thicken once in the fridge.

I love this nut milk because, unlike almond milk, you don't have to strain anything, or remove anything. You're using the whole nut, you don't remove the fiber. The entire recipe is so easy it's ridiculous! 

Although in 1972, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considered restricting dietary carrageenan to an average molecular weight > 100,000, this resolution did not prevail, and no subsequent regulation has restricted use. Because of the acknowledged carcinogenic properties of degraded carrageenan in animal models and the cancer-promoting effects of undegraded carrageenan in experimental models, the widespread use of carrageenan in the Western diet should be reconsidered. (US Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health)

I'm not trying to preach, I just wanted to share because I'm fearful about what's happening to our bodies, and I care about you and I care about people in general. It's amazing how important it is to read the ingredients in our foods. It's especially important to research ingredients if we don't recognize them. I mean, what the hell are we eating these days?!? We're eating non-foods. We're eating chemicals, and it can't be good for us. It's not natural, but it's hidden in our natural foods - like almond milks. People think that they're helping their bodies by choosing a healthy milk alternative, but who knows, perhaps with the carrageenan the nut milk is just as detrimental as hormone filled cow's milk. I'm digressing, just ignore my little rant. I rant because I'm frustrated that there are non-foods allowed in our food supply that cause and promote cancer. It's a bunch of crap. But don't take it from me, you can make your own decision on what you think. Regardless about whether or not you agree with me, just play around in the kitchen and try this delicious recipe. I really think you'll like it. :)

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