Last night I read "the five fundamental transforamations to our foods and ways of eating". (Is that where the period goes? Susan? Joe?)

"Refining grains extends their shelf life (precisely because they are less nutritious to the pests that compete with us for their calories) and makes them easier to digest by removing the fiber that ordinarily slows the release of their sugars. Also the finer that flour is ground, the more surface area is exposed to digestive enzymes, so the quicker the starches turn to glucose...

"Refined flour is the first fast food...

"Before the roller-milling revolution, wheat was ground between big stone wheels, which could get white flour only so white. That's because while stone grinding removed the bran from the wheat kernel (and therefore the largest portion of the fiber), it couldn't remove the germ, or embryo, which contains volatile oils that are rich in nurtients. The stone wheels merely crushed the germ and released the oil." (107-8)

Pollan goes on to tell us that the germ that was released, but that also gave off a stinky odor and therefore was undesirable, actually contained "protein, folic acid, and other B vitamins; carotenes and other antioxidants; and omega-3 fatty acids." (108)

I wake up the next morning and go with Wyatt downstairs for some breakfast. Downstairs, you question. Yes, downstairs. We spent the night at Tom's parents' house, as we were having our early Christmas celebration. Shannon and Jason came up early so they don't have to come in December when she will be just three or so weeks away from delivering baby #4. I open the pantry and think, cereal. I know, how can I give him cereal after reading that scandalous information? Easy; he doesn't like eggs and we can't afford to give him yogart every morning. (How many yogarts do you know of that are inexpensive and don't have high fructose corn syrup or aspartame in them?) Life cereal looks like a sure bet, a little bit sweet (6 grams of sugar for 3/4 cup, not bad) and it has the guy with the black hat on the front. He kind of looks like a modern-day Moses, except he's a Quaker. The Quaker. Anyway Wyatt ends up eating the equivalent of about two bowls and is happy. Meanwhile I look at the box.

Oh no! What a scam. My eyes have been opened and now I feel like a terrible mother. On the box it states it is "an excellent source of B-vitamins to help convert food into energy". Is this the vitamin B that has been removed because it has been crushed to an unrecognizable state? Am I to believe that my son will have more energy from eating this pre-packaged food? Argh, this is so hard. The ingredient list starts off with whole grain oat flour, then sugar. Does one counteract the other? I'm so confused. Michael Pollan, help me!

Only two hours later I find out that Shannon, my Texan sister-in-law, ground her own wheat not long ago. And she said it wasn't too hard. About a year ago I had a woman ask me if I ground my own flour and I tried to not laugh out loud (and that's hard for me). Grind my own flour? I have indoor plumbing and electricity. Why would I grind my own flour? I wear pants and don't cover my hair, where would I get whole wheat? I have a car and lots of grocery stores, why waste time on making wheat into something edible when it already comes like that in a bag?

My trouble now is that I'm not asking myself those questions any more.

I realize that it will be a long journey before I convert to gluten-free baking. I prefer my bread to be light and moist and less like dehydrated space food. Cookies aren't good for you anyway, why try and mask them with healthy things like gluten-free flour, if there is such a think?

And this is my dilemma: I love to cook. More specifically, I love to bake. There are few things in life that can't be made better with a nice baked goodie. But I'm beginning to wonder, would some more whole grains in my diet kill me? Actually, it would probably help me, and my kids, live longer. And little by little we might notice a difference in our enery levels and overall health. There may even come a time in our lives when we don't have to take strawberry-flavored fish pills to get our Omega-3. Can you imagine?


wyatt william turned 3 this week. we had a bit of a flashback of the week he was born, three years ago tuesday. tom and i spent monday floating the niangua in missouri because the weather was so warm and the simons wanted to see our amazing paddling skills and lauren insisted on watching the kids. what a day. just like november 3rd, 2005, when tom, pop, papo and james went golfing and my water broke.

also, gas is down to under a dollar this week. on november 4th, 2005 the front page said "$2-a-gallon gasoline -- yes, even $2 gasoline -- can be... SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT" and had a big photograph of a gas sign reading "$1.99".

it was a good week; we got to see a lot of family and friends and celebrate little man and what a blessing he is to us. he's been praying a lot for people who are sick or sad and learning what it means to be thankful for what we have. he says a lot of silly things and a lot of brilliant things. some show stoppers from the last month:

-while riding in the car he told us, "i love God all the days of my life."
-he constantly reminds us to not be afraid, "God is on our side."
-when he sees someone crying he'll go up and put his hand on them and say reassuringly, "don't cry, you'll be alright."
-he's figuring out how to put on his shoes and sometimes his socks as well. whenever he tries to put his socks on he asks, "mama, this sock goes on this foot?" i've tried to explain to him that it doesn't matter, but that'll take some time, i think.
-the best: i was cutting his nails the other day (it seems i cut them every week, is that normal?) and i said, "wow, your nails are so long" and he said, "maybe my toes are getting smaller." bu-bum ching! (that's for you maas)

some photos from the night. if you're wanting a bit of video check out halfway through the night he wanted his little bible. i guess he wanted to share something with big cassie.
maasen is one of his favorite people. he feels so safe and happy with her and he always wants to say hi to her.
he was a bit in shock when i brought out the cake and we all sang. ultimately he just wanted the winnie the pooh candle. honestly, i was a little nervous he would have trouble blowing out the candle...i don't know why.
here it is! the fireman set from uncle joe. it came with three men, coats, hoses, water that shoots out, a pole to slide down, and a truck with a big bucket ladder. wowee! another great gift from his euro uncle.
a curious george book about firemen from gigi & papo. (almost as exciting as the bike he got) the book is written " in the style of margret & h.a. rey" so it's not quite the real thing. he doesn't get into trouble, which seems a little contradictory.
before the presents were opened each kid had a hard time resisting the curious george stuffed animal. cassie ended up cuddling it in the end. i think she may have even sung him "all the pretty little horses."
i had to include this photograph. i think this is when wyatt had his little bible out. it sure looks like he has something seriously important to tell cassie. he loves big cassie and always wants her to play with him, no matter what is going on.

*thanks lauren for taking the photos. what a blessing to have them so fast. is your turn around always that quick?


i hope obama reads the papers. there's no such thing as a two state solution. hamas will just want more.

"Israel launches first air strike on Gaza since June" Why?

...The Israeli army said the clashes erupted late Tuesday after its forces uncovered a tunnel in central Gaza that militants planned to use to abduct Israeli soldiers. It said a special army unit headed to the area to destroy the tunnel. One Palestinian was killed in fierce gunbattles that ensued.
Hamas then fired mortars across the Gaza border into southern Israel and Israel answered with the airstrike in the early hours of Wednesday, killing five suspected Palestinian militants, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. The army said the airstrike aimed at the mortar launchers and hit them...
The official said Israel did not intend to break the truce, noting that some 60 mortar have been fired since the cease-fire and Israel has chosen not to respond. -

i suppose now is as good of a time as any to tell you that i'm reading in defense of food by michael pollan. this book comes recommended by my brother joe, so here goes nothing. i'm a little worried about reading it but not because it's a hard academic book. from what i can tell it's full of important information about why the american diet is so screwed up and what we can do to change it.

dr. brooks rice lives with us and he is like a living version of this book. i've learned a lot of valuable things from him in our kitchen talk as we prepare food side-by-side. don't drink cow's milk, the protein is too big for humans to digest. don't drink soy milk, the levels of estrogen are too high. as a matter of fact avoid soy whenever you can (which is usually always) because it is a scavenger so it isn't so good for you anyway. eat vegetables with your protein to help you digest that protein. on and on. and this can be overwhelming when planning meals for a husband and two small children. am i introducing terrible eating habits in my children by feeding them macaroni and cheese? is it realistic to give them fresh organic produce if it means we can't pay our mortgage? (why is that word spelled that way?) (and i'm just kidding about that last one, they eat frozen organic veggies too, ha!)

so consider this the first of many posts focused on food. i guess it's not really the first, but rest assured, it will not be the last. get the book yourself, read through it. i'm sure you'll be shocked by margarine and kellogs cereal and the beef industry. i am.