Friday, May 26, 2017

Does Grilling Meat Cause Cancer?

Memorial Day marks the beginning of grilling season.  Most of us enjoy the easy clean up from grilling out and the great flavor.  There is some concern about the increased cancer risk of eating food that has been charred on a grill.  The American Institute for Cancer Research, says that there is no clear research showing that grilling meats link to cancer risk.

The reason their has been concern about grilling and cancer is that cooking meats at high temperatures, such as grilling, can lead to two main types of potentially cancer-causing substances.
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), found in flames, can rise and adhere to meat on an open fire. 
  • Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) form in meat when animal proteins react to the intense heat of the grill.

Laboratory experiments have shown that HCAs and PAHs can cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of cancer.

Whether or not you grill them, the research is clear that diets high in red meat increase risk of colorectal cancer, and that even small amounts of processed meats, eaten regularly, increase risk for both colorectal and stomach cancers.  The recommendation is to limit red meat to 18 ounces of cooked meat per week and saving hot dogs and other processed meats (bacon, sausages, etc.) for special occasions.

Even though there is no clear evidence showing HCAs and PAHs increase risk for cancer, there are some simple precautions you can take while grilling.

1. Shorten Grilling Time: If you are grilling larger cuts, you can reduce the time meat is exposed to the flames by partially cooking it in a microwave, oven or stove first. Immediately place the partially cooked meat on the preheated grill to keep meat safe from bacteria and other food pathogens. You can also cut meat into smaller portions before grilling.  (This tip will also help you avoid dry overcooked meat.)

2. Trim the Fat: Trimming the fat off meat can reduce flare-ups and charring. Cook meat in the center of the grill and make sure to flip frequently.

3. Grill Green (Or Orange or Yellow or Multicolor): Grilled vegetables and fruits produce no HCAs or other potentially harmful compounds, and diets high in plant foods are associated with lower cancer risk. (Don't forget you can roast potatoes and other root vegetables in foil packets on the grill.)

AICR Article

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bonding With Your Unborn Baby

This evening we had our first Baby Connections New Parent Party.  We had an interesting presentation by Tucumcari Home Visiting on the importance of bonding with your baby while in the womb.

During this time in a baby's development the mother is meeting all of its needs for food, shelter, and safety.  The baby gets use to the sound of the mothers voice.  After the baby is born, just the sound of the mothers voice can calm a baby.   By talking too or reading outloud in a calm voice, the baby becomes more attached to the mom.  This is a perfect time for dad to play a role too.   By reading to the baby in friendly higher pitched tones, the baby is forming an attachment to the dad too. The baby will think of the dad as a safe person and respond to the dad.   Siblings can also read or just talk to the baby.

Unborn babies also responds to touch, sounds, light and taste.  Throughout pregnancy, create a loving space for your baby. Use caring and loving thoughts when thinking about your baby. Encourage your partner to get to know your unborn baby. Sing, read and talk to your baby. Choose music that inspires
or celebrates. Tell traditional stories or jokes.Touch or rub your tummy.  You may even tap back when your baby kicks.  

We also learned about the importance of having a stress free atmosphere while we are pregnant.  This will help our baby develop better and feel safer once it is born.

Join us for our next Baby Connections in June 13th.

Next Food Handler Certification Classes

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sprouted Grain Recipes

Sprouted Grain Bread

4 tablespoons room-temperature butter
4 tablespoons room-temperature maple syrup
1 ½ cups room-temperature water
4 cups sprouted whole wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons yeast

Bread, in Bread Machine:
Place the wet ingredients in a bread maker and add the dry ingredients on top, ending with the yeast.
Set the program for the basic rapid cycle and press Start.

Bread, by Hand:
If you prefer to mix by hand, place the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the wet ingredients. Mix until the dough comes together and forms a rough ball.  Remove dough from bowl and knead about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Grease the bowl with olive oil and return dough to bowl. Cover with a dry dish towel and let rise in a warm place until double, about one hour.  Punch down the dough, form it into a loaf, and place in a greased loaf pan. Let rise again, until double. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake 35-38 minutes and test for doneness (see below). Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Sprouted Brown Rice Vegetable Risotto

2 quarts vegetable broth
½ pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups uncooked sprouted brown rice
2 carrots, trimmed and chopped
2 zucchini, trimmed and chopped
½ cup fresh or frozen and thawed peas
cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
Sea salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot cover broth and bring to a simmer.  Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring gently, until toasted and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of the hot broth and cook, stirring constantly, adjusting the cooking to a simmer until liquid is almost absorbed. Repeat process, adding about ½ cup of the broth each time, until rice is just beginning to get tender, about 25 minutes. Add asparagus and carrots, continuing the process with the broth. When rice is just al dente and asparagus and carrots are just tender, add zucchini and cook 5 minutes more. (If broth gets low, add water as needed.)  Stir peas into rice and cook until hot throughout, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add cheese, butter, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add about ½ cup more liquid to finished risotto before serving, if necessary for desired texture.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

How to make Sprouted Grains

Sprouting grains is not a newfangled food trend, but a tried and true traditional preparation of grains dating as far back as biblical times and as modern as the industrial revolution. Until modern farm equipment was invented to gather grains out of the field quickly for shipment to cities and large storage facilities, grains were cut and stored in the fields until time to use or sell them. The dew and rain would naturally sprout the heads of grain.
Today, at home methods of sprouting your grains before baking them entail a few easy steps and not very much time; and the benefits are worth each step of the process.
  1. Sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all grains that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.
  2. Sprouting neutralizes enzyme inhibitors present in all seeds.
  3. Sprouting produces numerous enzymes.
  4. Sprouting breaks down the starches in grains into simple sugars so your body can digest them like a vegetable (like a tomato, not a potato).
  5. Sprouting produces vitamin C.
  6. Sprouting increases the grains’ carotene and vitamin B content.
Things you will need to sprout:
  • 4 to 8 quart mason jars with large-mouth lids
  • 1 plastic needlepoint grid, 7-mesh size cut to fit as the lid for your jar
  • 1-2 large round bowls big enough to place 4 of your mason jars in at an upright angle
  • A large colander and small strainer
  • ¼ cup organic cider vinegar
  • 6-11 cups of organic grains
  • Filtered water

The first steps are to wash and sanitize your grains. Grit often adheres to your grains and you never know what kinds of “critters” walked through the field where your grains were harvested.
1. Clean and Sanitize your kitchen sink and drain stop before to begin.  (Bleach is an effective sanitizer)
2. Fill your kitchen sink with tap water (room temperature).
3. Pour your grains into the water. Agitate the grains thoroughly for a minute or two.
4. Using a colander scoop up all the grains you can. Using a small strainer and your free hand, scoop up the remaining grains into the colander. If you have a strainer that fits in your sink drain, this works great to get to the remaining grains and drain the water at the same time. Hold the grain-filled colander under the tap for a quick rinse.
5. Clean your sink thoroughly of all grit and fill with 2 gallons of tap water. Stir in ¼ cup of organic cider vinegar. Dump your washed grains in the vinegar solution. Let stand for 7-10 minutes. Repeat step #4.

Now your grains have been properly washed and sanitized. It’s time to begin the sprouting process.
1. Place about 1 1/3 cups of clean grains into each mason jar. (If you’re baking only 1 large loaf of bread you will only need 4 jars)
2. Fill each jar with filtered water. The grains will sit on the bottom of the jar.
3. Place mesh lids and screw-tops onto each jar and tighten well. Let jars sit on your counter for 4 hours.
4. The ideal temperature for fast, even sprouting is 69-72 degrees. You may need to place jars in your pantry or laundry room to maintain an even temperature.

To make meshed lids for your jars, remove a solid lid from a jar top. Place the lid on the needlepoint grid and using a pen or Sharpie, trace a circle. Repeat this step for each of the jars you will use. Cut the mesh lids out using scissors and place inside the jar’s screw-top to replace the solid lid.

5. After your grains have soaked for 4 hours (it won’t hurt if they soak for 5-6 hours, so don’t worry if you’re busy and can’t get back to them after 4 hours), hold each jar over your kitchen sink and turn upside down, letting all the water drain out.
6. Turn each jar right-side up and fill with tap water. Then turn them over again and let all the water drain out of the jar.
7. Once you’ve completed steps 5 and 6 for each jar of grains, place your jars in a large bowl at a slant with the meshed lid toward the bottom of the bowl. This will allow for more water to drain off of your grains as they sprout. Place the bowl on your counter and leave overnight.
8. If you are completing step 7 by early afternoon, then repeat steps 6 and 7 in evening and leave jars in bowl to sprout overnight.
9. By mid-morning your grains should be sprouted. You are looking for a distinct white tail on the end of the grains. Usually sprouts begin with a 2-pronged antenna protruding from the end of each grain.
NOTE: Do not let your sprouts grow beyond a ¼ inch in length or your grains will take on a “grassy” taste and will be hard to feed into your mill or grinder once dried. You get all the benefits of sprouting when the tiny antenna pops out of the end of a kernel of grain.

You’re almost finished! Now it is time to dry your sprouts.

10. Remove your sprouted grains from each jar and spread onto parchment-lined toast pans or place onto racks in your dehydrator (set at 105-110 degrees and let grains dry thoroughly).
11. If you are using your standard kitchen oven, place pans onto racks and set oven at its lowest temperature. If that temperature is above 110 degrees, prop your oven door open about 1 inch at the top using a wooden spoon or dowel. Let grains dry thoroughly. This will take several hours or overnight.
12. Store your dried grains in an airtight container in the pantry until you are ready to mill.

Sprouting is very easy to accomplish and you are not limited to just common flour grains. I find that sprouting beans before making soups, chili, and hummus eliminates bloating and gas. There are lots of foods you can sprout for better digestibility. Be creative and have fun!

Resource for this information: