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newsletter, spring 2004

Dear family and friends,

Happy spring to you. We are finally off the road after making the entire U.S. our workplace. We visited over 400 natural food stores and revised and reprinted both cookbooks. Our GMC Sierra ran perfectly and we safely traveled over 70,000 miles.

We've been focusing on the design for the cooking school and new house here in Asheville, NC. We're doing a lot of research on solar and sustainable building practices. This will be a fun, busy and challenging time!

Sites we recommend
We took time out from our work schedule to visit three memorable sites in Georgia: The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains, Habitat for Humanity International in Americus and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta.

The former Plains High School showed how President Carter's simple roots and the Plains community helped form and support his lifelong work towards peace and human rights. This Nobel Peace Prize winner is still busy impacting the world well into his retirement years.

Habitat for Humanity International recently opened the Global Village and Discovery Center where we walked down a narrow alley through demonstration poverty housing. What a dramatic contrast with model "Habitat" homes, being built all over the world, to replace this terrible, substandard housing. We made one of the bricks used to build these houses and watched videos of people working on and moving into their new houses. Their spirits soared...home at last! This made real how we take this basic need for safe housing for granted.

The memory of Dr. King is very alive in Atlanta, especially at the MLK, Jr. National Historic Site. The indignities suffered by African-Americans prior to and during the civil rights movement are graphically portrayed. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s model for non-violent social change is a powerful example we can use in today's polarized world.

Renewable and loving it!
Last summer we spent an incredibly enlightening weekend at the Midwest Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair. This year's 15th annual fair will be held on June 18-20, 2004 in Custer, WI. For more information, you can visit  www.the-mrea.org or register for Fair tickets online at http://www.the-mrea.org/fair_registration.php

Last month we lived comfortably for 3 weeks using only the electricity from our solar electric panels! Even without solar hot water panels on our roving home, we reduced our hot water energy demand by lowering the maximum temperature of our hot water heater to 120 degrees. This still gives us a large amount of tempered water when we need it. Try it!

Recipes of the Month
Thanks to my friends Elaine and Steve Gagne´, well-respected nutritional counselors from Vermont, who directed me to new information about fats. I highly recommend 3 books based on extensive research (by Fife, Schmid, Fallon). If you don’t want to wade through the details to form your own opinion, see my conclusions below.

Decades of research convinced me to reconsider coconut oil, a stable oil that has maintained the health of millions for centuries. Its health benefits are well documented in these reputable books.

The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil, by Bruce Fife, N.D.
Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine, Ronald F. Schmid, N.D.
Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon with Mary Enig, Ph.D.

Virgin Coconut Oil, a saturated fat, is highly stable because it has no missing electrons in its outer shell. This stability prevents it from becoming rancid.  It promotes immune function, better digestion, connective tissue integrity (fewer wrinkles), faster metabolism (faster healing & weight loss), quick energy, sunscreen effect and moisturizes skin when applied topically.

It also inhibits cancer, yeast causing Candida; virus causing colds, flu, Herpes, AIDS; bacteria associated with strep, staph, stomach ulcers, parasites, giardia; abnormal blood clotting and excess cholesterol.

Polyunsaturated Oil. Surprisingly, the research clearly demonstrates that polyunsaturated oils are not as good for us as we have been led to believe! Canola, corn, safflower and soybean easily become rancid. Rancid oils do not just smell and taste bad, they are associated with something far more sinister - free radicals. These free radicals are molecules missing an electron, attacking and stealing electrons from the cell walls in our body, from our red cell blood cells and from our DNA. This can be linked to the following conditions: arterial plaque build-up (causing heart disease), cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depressed thyroid activity, depressed metabolism, premature aging and low energy.

Particularly egregious are supermarket vegetable oils that are processed using high temperatures. Soybean oil, when hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated, is the worst culprit and is the oil most often used in restaurants, packaged snacks, baked goods and margarine. During the high temperature, hydrogenation process, soybean oil produces transfatty acids which are linked to increased cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other degenerative diseases.

Even over consumption of high quality, cold-pressed polyunsaturated oils can interfere with the production of prostaglandins. This is associated with most of the conditions sited above. An exception is olive oil, which is comprised of 75% monosaturated fats, more stable than polyunsaturated fats. Moderate use in salad dressing and sprinkled over hot pasta is considered healthy. Extra-virgin olive oil is preferred because it is mechanically “cold-pressed,” extracted from olives without heat. Since extra-virgin olive oil is “cold-pressed” and naturally rich in antioxidants, it does not form free radicals easily.

In conclusion, I’ve made the following changes in my cooking:
• Use coconut oil when stir-frying and sautéing.
• Use coconut oil when baking in place of other oils
• Add 1 TBS. of coconut oil to cooked cereal
• Use olive oil in salad dressings and sprinkled over pasta.
• Limit my use of any other oils
• Be conscious about which oils are used in food products and restaurants.

And remember, always take your oils with a grain of salt…literally and figuratively. Traditional Asian medicine recommends that salt  balances oil in cooking.

In the next newsletter, I will feature olive oil and cod liver oil with some brand recommendations. I am still exploring which brands of coconut oils are best. In the meantime, look for virgin, organic coconut oil with natural enzymes.

For more info on coconut oil, visit:

Products of the Month
Roslee' makes a fabulous can opener that cleanly and easily removes the lid with no sharp edges.

Scanpan Frypans on Sale through April  - Classic: 9-inch $29, 10-inch is $49, 11-inch is $59, 12-inch is $69. Ergonomic: 9-inch $29, 11-inch is $49, 12-inch is $69, Square griddle is $49.

Scanpans on Sale May through August  - Classic: 9-inch frypan, 14-inch wok, square grill pan. Ergonomic: 9-inch frypan, 12-inch wok, 11-inch covered saute´. Call for prices in May.

Southeast Michigan Meals-To-Go
For those of you interested in picking up meals-to-go in the Detroit area, a former lead assistant, Francine Harper, cooks twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday. The cost is $12.50 for a dinner such as the following: Tempeh, Mushroom and Celery Fricassee, Three Grain Pilaf, Steamed Mixed Vegetable, Miso Soup and Pickles. Once a month, Francine cooks a Basic Macrobiotic plate. Fresh salad is available for $2.50 and desserts once a week. Three different soups are available each week @ $8/qt. Call her at (313) 567-0515. Orders must be in by 10 am on Monday and Wednesday for the following day. Meal portions are large enough to be used for dinner and a lunch the next day. Increased portions are served on request for an additional $2. Francine can handle special requests.

The purpose of life is creating a life of purpose.

Happy Cooking,
Lenore and Joe
New mailing address: 164 Ox Creek Rd., Weaverville, NC 28787
New primary telephone: (828) 231-5254

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