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July 21, 2002

More cold recipes for hot weather
Posted by Teresa at 08:09 PM *

Have I mentioned that my mother-in-law, Jan Hayden, is the best civilian cook I’ve ever met? No kidding, she really is. When Patrick and I were staying with his folks in Toronto, it took me the best part of two weeks to notice we were eating vegetarian. (They’re not strict vegetarians; they just figure most meat isn’t worth the hit you take.) I think Patrick believes her mayonnaise can raise the dead.

Jan Hayden’s Mayonnaise

2 eggs
1-1/2 + 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard

Put everything but 1-1/2 cup of oil into a blender or food processor. Give it a good quick blending, then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the machine back on again, and leave it on while pouring in the rest of the oil in a thin drizzly stream. On a good day the contents of the bowl will be mayonnaise by the time you finish pouring the oil in. Scrape down the sides again and briefly blend one more time. Pack into jars and keep refrigerated thereafter.

The mayonnaise will be a pale coral-pink color, and once it sets up it’ll be a little runnier than Hellman’s. If it’s too runny, try scanting the oil a bit next time. The oil should be fairly fresh, and the eggs should be the freshest you can get. Use default paprika, not the hot kind.


Ever heard of the Atkins Diet? It’s the one where you only eat protein and fat to start, and later eat protein and fat and just a little dab of carbohydrates. It burst on the scene around 1972, and got to be so popular that the A.M.A. and other pundits attacked it as bizarre, unhealthy, and just downright unreasonable. Low fat, they said; that’s the way to go. This was sad news, as the Atkins diet was the only one that ever really worked for me.

Two weeks ago, the New York Times ran an article, “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?”:

While the low-fat-is-good-health dogma represents reality as we have come to know it, and the government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in research trying to prove its worth, the low-carbohydrate message has been relegated to the realm of unscientific fantasy.

Over the past five years, however, there has been a subtle shift in the scientific consensus. It used to be that even considering the possibility of the alternative hypothesis, let alone researching it, was tantamount to quackery by association. Now a small but growing minority of establishment researchers have come to take seriously what the low-carb-diet doctors have been saying all along. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, may be the most visible proponent of testing this heretic hypothesis. Willett is the de facto spokesman of the longest-running, most comprehensive diet and health studies ever performed, which have already cost upward of $100 million and include data on nearly 300,000 individuals. Those data, says Willett, clearly contradict the low-fat-is-good-health message ”and the idea that all fat is bad for you; the exclusive focus on adverse effects of fat may have contributed to the obesity epidemic.”

It’s an interesting article. Get a look at it before the NYTimes whisks it away. Basically, during the period in which the government has been pushing a low-fat diet, there’s been an epidemic of obesity, a rise in Type 2 diabetes, and less of a decline in heart disease than had been predicted. It would be simpleminded paranoia on my part to wonder whether US agribusiness’s powerhouse ability to raise cereal products has anything at all to do with this.

Never mind. Back to the high-protein diet Patrick and I started just a day or two after that article came out. (Knew it! Knew it all along! Dang! Why did I listen to those idiots?) Patties, chops, filets, and omelets can get pretty boring after a while, and the weather’s hot and sticky, so:

Cold roast beef roll-ups

1 lb. thinly sliced rare roast beef from the deli
6 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup of Jan’s mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped scallions (green bits only)
a couple of scant handfuls of mesclun or other greens
salt, coarse black pepper, paprika, ground cayenne pepper

Let the cream cheese sit out to soften. Whip it up well in a bowl with a fork, then mix in the mayonnaise, then the spices, then the green onions. Take a quarter of your roast beef slices and lay them out in an overlapping pattern about the size of a flour tortilla. Take about a fourth of the cream-cheese mixture and spread it over the beef. Roll it up like a flauta. Roll that up in a square of waxed paper, twist the ends to make it hold, and put it in the freezer. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Leave the beef rolls in the freezer until they either firm up or you can’t stand waiting any longer.

Sharpen your best knife twice. Take about half your mesclun and spread it out on a salad plate. If you’re being fancy, save out a few small good-looking leaves. Unwrap a beef roll and gently cut it into slices like pinwheel cookies, trying not to squash it as you do so. Lay the sliced rounds on the lettuce in close order. Do the same with a second roll.

Now comes the fancy part. The ends of the beef rolls will come out raggedy and uneven, and look unseemly next to their brother pinwheel-slices. Take one cut-off end, unroll it, and roll it around another cut-off end with their cut edges flush together so the raggedy side forms a little roast beef rose. Arrange these on top of the pinwheels with the extra leaves tucked under them. Alternately, eat those bits while you’re cutting up the rest.

Makes two plates of roll-ups. If you can’t finish yours, put them back in the freezer so you can eat them as little frozen beef nummies at bedtime.

This recipe can be served to normal people without apologizing for it.

[Recipe Index]

Comments on More cold recipes for hot weather:
#1 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2002, 09:50 PM:

Actually, we started that diet well over a week after the NYTimes article came out, long enough for us to both read a lot of pro and con on the subject. The author of the Times article is a longtime low-carb booster, so it's good to get a lot of other perspectives.

If the comments Cory got in BoingBoing are any guide, this comment section will get a lot of vehement posts telling us what idiots we are. Food is a deep subject. However, a week into this, I personally feel fine, aside from the fact that I'd kill for a piece of French bread. Time to drink my fifth or sixth pint of water for the day...

#2 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2002, 10:59 PM:

I was "forced" onto the diet by my GP, who said "you're that close to diabetes, better get used to the diet." Guess what? Nowhere near that state now.

Not having beer on a regular basis really really sucks, and I miss bread. And the f***ing diet goes straight to hell the week of christmas, and at most conventions.

But there is one point. Diet is not enough -- if you aren't burning more than you eat, you won't lose weight. Low carbs corrects a metabolic error that causes your body to store fat before burning it, but it won't help if you eat too much anyway. Fortunatly, for most people, that's not a big issues.

Walking is enough, as long as you do enough.

The really neat thing about the diet is you don't feel as hungry.

#3 ::: Dave Trowbridge ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2002, 11:39 PM:

Thanks for those great recipes! I just started Atkins (from an already carbo-restricted diet due to a mild wheat intolerance), went into ketosis almost immediately and started losing weight. I've also got a tremendous amount of energy. What's weirdest is that my stomach often demands more carbos and inflicts hunger pangs on me, but my brain says, "Nope, not interested." Quite an interesting sensation.

BTW, do you have a preference for the kind of vegetable oil?

#4 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2002, 11:52 PM:

A former coworker of mine did Atkins for some months, and it worked real well for him. My psychiatrist recommended the Zone diet, which incorporates more carbs (not starches or sugars, more veggies and fruits) and requires some fat with each meal (nuts and avocados are the recommended fats that I'm willing to eat). I don't think I can do straight Atkins; I would feel awful without some roughage on a regular basis. The Zone works reasonably well when I stick to it, but the hunger pangs from lack of bad carbs are intense, and I keep backsliding (I also have a near-hopeless sweet tooth -- the only time I could minimize the sugar was when I was experiencing certain feminine unpleasantness that was exacerbated by eating sugar). Not having anyplace to take a walk after lunch while working in Leonia really hurt, too.

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 12:15 AM:

What I remember from doing Atkins diets in the 70s, and am starting to experience now, is a heightened sense of smell. I normally have a good nose, but when I'm Atkinsing I start being able to smell carbs in detail from a distance.

Back in the 70s, someone once opened a bag of jelly beans two rooms away in the office where I was working, and I smelled it immediately -- Easter mix, heavy on the pinks and whites and citrus colors. My mouth still waters, remembering the hyperreality of that unseen bag of jelly beans.

Dave, I forget whether she used corn, safflower, or canola oil, though if I had to guess it would be canola. Olive would be too strong. The important thing, whatever oil you use, is that it be fresh and of good quality. Your mayonnaise is no better than the oil and eggs you put in it.

#6 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 01:42 AM:

It's worth noting, contra Chris, that even the strict Atkins diet isn't roughage-free. People do confuse the rigors of the first two weeks with the rest of the plan. It's a regimen that starts hard and gets easier. Mostly it demands that you pay a lot of attention to detail: exactly how many carbs? Does the smoked salmon contain sugar? How much cheese have you already eaten today? In our modern world of Ambient Food, this kind of mindfulness is probably in itself a healthy thing.

There's a lot of information mixed with varying quantities of advertising and hype at, including lists of what you can eat when. Plenty of emphasis is placed on the importance of exercise, and even people in their extra-rigorous first two weeks are exhorted to eat their damn vegetables.

I will say that I have never enjoyed modest quantites of salad greens more intensely and in such detail, nor can I recall a quick trip to the supermarket ever being quite such an overwhelming olfactory rush. I could smell white potatoes from twenty feet down the aisle.

#7 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 07:49 AM:

I don't think I could do that first two weeks of Atkins. I'm finding it hard as it is to get enough protein, since I'm a strict vegetarian. I had been relying on soy products, but then I figured out that estrogenesis (which is the isoflavone effect) might not be good for men...


My trainer confirmed this, so I'm eating a lot of wheat gluten. If I become wheat allergic or come down with celiac sprue like one of my friends, I will lose weight my flesh rots away in my coffin! (I was starting to show signs of gynecomastia, fading rapidly now that I've cut down on soy.)

And I'm also doing a religious thang that involves eating a sweet (yes, a piece of candy) on a daily basis. It's just one, but... I doubt Ganesha takes all the bad carbs out, somehow.

By the way, all my trainers have been saying "high protein, very low carb, moderate fat" for years and years. By 'moderate' they mean "don't even worry about it."

And I was pointing out to someone that the food pyramid (you know, with the giant portions of grain products) was based on absolutely. no. science. at all, and she said "No, it was based on science. It's just that the science was economics."

We're the world's largest grain producer. Again, I say thee "Duh."

#8 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 08:50 AM:

Chris, if it ever comes down to a choice, I'd really prefer you gave up vegetarianism and didn't die. Furthermore, it's a very silly world in which you're suffering from an excess of estrogen and I'm starting to run a little short of it.

You know, you're just feeding my paranoid suspicion that twenty years of bad dietary advice (and if you're a narcoleptic, this stuff really matters) can be laid at the feet of Archer-Daniels-Midland and their ilk. But I find myself thinking of some emphatic vegetarians my in-laws used to know. These guys were very strict -- no milk, no eggs, no nuthin' -- and let the world know about it. I asked my mother-in-law what they ate, then.

"As far as we can tell, they pretty much live on pastry," she said.

#9 ::: Martin Archer ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 10:13 AM:

High protein/low carb diets are no good for your liver or your colon. Drinking gallons of water is fine, but not much compensation for your liver while overloading on protein. And where are you going to get the fiber to help move all that impacted protein through your colon if you don't eat fruit and veg? Plus, you don't get the anti-oxidants that can only be found in fruits and vegetables.
I too found the NYT article intriguing - until I thought about the flawed arguments. It's REFINED carbs that are no good for you. It's the high fructose corn syrup filled soft drinks - a market that has ballooned over the past 15 or 20 years. It's the giant portions in restaurants and fast food joints. It's the big health-ignorant center of the bell curve that consume all this crap that sways the statistics quoted in the NYT article.
Don't lose weight fast, lose it slowly. Don't eat junk food. Don't have any junk food in the house. In fact, go through your cupboards right now and throw out those boxes of crackers, jams, jellies, cookies etc. After a few short weeks your taste for that kind of over-processed, refined starch goes away.
Don't buy into this high-protein/high fat/low carb fad. Be omnivorous.

#10 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 11:24 AM:

Teresa, eat a whole lot of soy! It's still good for women. There are all sorts of really good soy products out there. GNC has a soy protein powder that isn't too vile (but do NOT by the chocolate flavor; trust me on that).

Soy fakemeat is intended for vegetarians, but not too bad these days. I haven't eaten packaged (real meat) cold cuts in quite a while, but the soy ones seem fairly plausible to me. Soy burgers, soy sausage (the slice-and-fry kind; the "links" are horrible), even soy chicken nuggets.

There's a fake cream cheese made of soy that I like, though I have to admit I would not attempt to pass it off as the real thing; the flavored ones (like jalapeno) are nice as dips, if you fluff them up a bit.

About Tofutti: when it first came out in the early 80s, it was gross. They hadn't refined the process yet and it was a bit grainy. I just gave up sweetcreamy, then started eating frozen yogurt. But Tofutti today is REALLY GOOD. I can personally recommend the Better Pecan flavor, which is absolutely sinful. Not on the Atkins, I think, because there's a lot of sugar in it (it has swirls of caramelly stuff), but for a splurge...

Mind you, I'm not trying to get you to go veggie. Soy isoflavones have this estrogenic property, so it might help you with that issue, that's all I'm saying.

And I've explored the possibility of going back to meat (at least tuna, you know?), but the signs are bad. Accidentally ate something that had little bits of meat in it a year ago; retched for quite a while on that one. Yuck. As for tuna...well, I'm veggie because of a geas (personal behavior restriction, I'm Pagan, remember?), and so I did some divinations a while back about putting a little tuna in my diet...never saw such strongly negative signs.

I kind of don't dare. Break your geasa and die, usual rule.

#11 ::: Christopher Shamefaced Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 11:26 AM:

Arggh. I meant don't buy the chocolate flavor. Sigh.

#12 ::: Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 12:57 PM:

Once again I'm occupying that weird parallel
fannish universe where I'm in the same place
as y'all having gotten there independently but by a similar route. I found the link to the NYT article in Vicki Rosensweig's YAWL a while back, and did a bit of reading and went back to Atkins after many years of avoiding it because of worries
about the (apparent) confusion of ketosis with
ketoacidosis. Like Teresa, I found that Atkins
was the only diet that worked well for me.

Pace dissent above, it should be said that
the Atkins is hardly free of roughage. Even
in the two weeks of the induction phase, the
regimen includes three cups of salad greens
daily, or two cups of greens and one cup of
other vegetables. This is more roughage than
I normally eat when *not* on Atkins, and because
I can't fill up the empty holes on the plate
with bread, rice and peeled potatoes, I actually
do *eat* the vegetables. And, because it's
Atkins, I can have melted butter on my cooked carrots if I wanna. Yum.

On the topic of getting more soy in the diet,
I find I quite like the salted "soy
nuts" that Trader Joe's carries. Dunno about
the carb grams tho. I haven't bought any in
a while and I'm still in induction for another
week. (Oh, wait. I have an old bag here in
my desk: it's 9 grams carb per 1/4 cup.
Definitely not something I can add back for
another couple of weeks.)

I haven't noticed an olfactory jump, yet, but
will keep on watch for it. On the other hand,
I did try one of the sugarless chocolate bars
that use sucralose and find that it only sorta
replaces real chocolate. Weird reason, too.
It tastes just like real chocolate, but the
mouth feel is noticeably cool rather than a
bit warm. My first hypothesis is that enzymatic
digestion of sugars starts in the mouth, and is
very mildly exothermic, and since you can't
break down sucralose because of the switched
carbon bond, you don't get that exothermic
reaction with sucralose. Anybody know more
about the process of sugar digestion?

Odd observation I tripped across recently about
vegetarianism: if you're a vegan for reasons of
protecting animals, you're not succeeding very well if you buy grains harvested by a combine harvester -- i.e. pretty much any grain products at all produced by American agrobusiness.
Apparently the carnage left behind of decapitated
and otherwise mutilated field animals after the
passage of a combine is considerable. And all the
meat is wasted.

Thanks for the recipes and pointers. And the
unwitting solidarity.

#13 ::: Janet Lafler ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 03:09 PM:

I read the NY Times article and also an earlier Science article by the same author called "The Soft Science of Dietary Fat." (Vicky Rosenzweig brought that aritcle to my attention about a year ago.) I find them somewhat persuasive but also incomplete -- for example, I was surprised that Taubes didn't mention transfats in the more recent article.

I'm agnostic as far as the received dietary wisdom goes. I do think that it's been pushed way too hard on too little evidence, and the food pyramid bugs me because it doesn't distinguish between butter and nuts, or between whole and refined grains. (Also, it's culturally insensitive. Ask a person of East Asian heritage what's wrong with showing a bowl of rice with the chopsticks stuck into it.)

In every diabetes support group I've been on (and I've been on several), one of the mantras is "YMMV," meaning "Your mileage may vary," or, in other words, what works well for one person works for another. I tend to think that people get too worked up about particular rules of eating and lose sight of the big picture. (And I say this as someone who literally has to consider every bite she eats.)

Over the years I've developed some basic advice for healthy eating, based on little more than common sense. Assuming that you don't have any health problems that need to be addressed with diet, I believe that following these basic principles will go a long way towards helping you eat a healthier diet.

1. Eat a variety of whole foods, including some from each of the basic food groups. Don't neglect the fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds.

2. Avoid eating junk. "Junk" includes highly processed foods, most fast food, foods with lots of added salt or sugar (especially soda pop, the drink of the devil), and foods that contain hydrogenated fat, preservatives, and substances that come from a chemical plant.

3. Eat moderate amounts of food at regular intervals. (In other words: Don't skip meals. Don't binge. Don't stuff yourself.)

4. Enjoy your food. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly. Pay attention to how you feel during and after a meal. Whenever possible, eat with others, in a social setting.

5. Don't beat yourself up if you break one or more of these rules from time to time, on special occasions -- say, a couple of times a month. But if you're making up "special occasions" every day, you need to be more realistic about your eating habits.

That's all. Just my opinion, of course.

#14 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 04:20 PM:

Regarding Martin Archer's post above, once again I'm reminded that this is a subject on which many people apparently feel it's okay to bark out orders to complete strangers.

#15 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 05:02 PM:

Dear, I think Mr. Archer imagines I've been feeding you nothing but pizza and Mars Bars. And in fact he's right, I have; but I've been brilliantly good at disguising them as unprocessed complex carbohydrates and fresh vegetables, plus the occasional dollop of homemade marmalade.

Curses! To be found out after all these years!

#16 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 06:00 PM:

Homemade marmalade!!!!

OOoooOOOoooo, that sounds good. Good. Good.

Got a recipe for us, O Saint Teresa of the Spoon?

#17 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 07:52 PM:

Recipe? Most people who set foot in my house aren't allowed to leave again without taking a jar of marmalade with them.

Marmalade is a procedure. Take good citrus and cut it up finely, peel and all, removing the seeds as you go. Don't let the juice escape. Slightly underripe fruit is good. More comments on fruit later.

Measure your cut-up fruit. Add an equal amount of water and let it sit for a day, or at least overnight. Now put the fruit and water into a big wide-mouthed pan. Bring it to a boil and cook until the peel is cooked through and is no longer opaque.

Add sugar to equal two-thirds to three-quarters the volume of the cooked fruit and water mixture. Stir to dissolve. Now boil it up briskly, stirring every so often, until it turns into marmalade. Long slow cooking is not the idea here. Neither is burning the marmalade, so don't turn the fire too high and stir it frequently, especially toward the end. It's not a bad idea to turn the fire down when you get to the endgame -- almost-cooked marmalde is damnably easy to burn.

It has turned into marmalade when you can drop a bit of the liquid out onto a hard cold surface, and a little while later it sets up. Some people keep saucers in the freezer to test their preserves. It's not a bad idea.

You will have already prepared an adequate number of glass canning jars -- smaller are better -- with their attendant dome lids and rings. You will have the lids in a little pot of nearly-simmering water, and the shining clean jars standing ready. Ladle the marmalade out into the jars, leaving a half inch or so of head space at the top. Wipe the rings and rim of the jar with a clean cloth or paper towel dipped in very hot water. Fish a lid out of the pot, put it on, and screw a ring down on top of it.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Set your jars to cool in a place where they're not in a cold draft. Wait for the little ringing pops that tells you the lids have gone concave, i.e. your seals are good. Don't disturb the marmalade too much while it's setting up.

I am of the opinion that preserves that go into a jar at a sufficiently hot temperature don't have to be processed in a hot-water bath.

On fruit: Seville oranges are hard to get, and sublime. Dean & DeLuca sometimes has them. Mexican sour oranges are very much like Seville oranges, only much cheaper and not so cosmetically perfect, and you find them at bodegas instead. You'll know you've hit paydirt when the proprietor tries to warn you that they can't be eaten in the normal fashion.

Other oranges, yes, definitely. I prefer Valencias to navels. Blood oranges look very pretty.

If you can find citrons, buy as many for me as you're willing to carry home. (Unless they're hideously expensive ceremonial objects, in which case would you like to discuss trading yours, and your friends' and family's citrons, once you're done with them, in return for a share of the marmalade?)

Lemons make very, very good marmalade. Grapefruit is better than you might think, especially if you get the undersized pink ones. Kumquat makes a bright, tart-flavored marmalade; it's one of my favorites. Limequats work too, and marmalade made from them sets up like a rubber ball. Ugli fruit, sure, fine. All kinds tangerines, tangelos, calamondins, temples, etc. etc. etc., fine. Watch out for the ones that have been dyed.

I like lime marmalade myself, but it's fairly bitter and the peel is tough. I'd parboil the peels before slicing them up and setting them to soak, and I'd cut them up very, very fine.

What doesn't work: Pummelos (giant Chinese grapefruit). They have an odd flavor that just doesn't work. There's also a rare variety of citrus called a lavender gem. They're delicious eaten out of hand, but again, they don't work in marmalade.

Two other notes. First, if you run out of sugar, real maple syrup makes a very interesting marmalade. So does cranberry-orange relish left over from Thanksgiving.

Second, bottle up your marmalade when it's ready. Do not let it sit in the pot and get hard, expecting to be able to re-heat it later. It will have lumps in it.

#18 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 08:13 PM:

What? And here I was thinking they were only for people who'd done PHP coding for you. (Or is that why I got two jars?)

I'm half done with the smaller, lighter jar. Mmmmmmm! After I've finished it I'll start on the larger, which says "The Meyer of Seville" on the lid, a reference that is largely lost on me.

#19 ::: Cassandra Phillips-Sears ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 09:40 PM:

You wouldn't have a recipie for lemon curd in there anywhere, would you?

#20 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 10:06 PM:

Chris, it's a nice idea, but soy products aren't all that good for little narcoleptics. They make us fall asleep. Tofutti's further off the list. I didn't develop any allergies until adulthood (and am still rather indignant that I have any at all), but the first and most emphatic one is an inability to keep down ice-cream-like products that contain guar gum, locust bean gum, or carrageenan. Normally what this means is that the only kinds of ice cream I can eat are Breyer's and Haagen-Dazs, which you have to admit is not exactly suffering.

As for the rest, well, a geas is a geas. At least you're not telling me it's unnatural for humans to eat milk products, which I've always thought was odd given that we're mammals.

Good behavioral stuff, Janet. I'm a great believer in the principle that well-presented food is somehow more satisfying than the same mass & matter slopped out on a plate.

Avram, you got two jars of the best, and are welcome to more. The one labeled "The Meyer of Seville" is made out of Meyer lemons and Seville oranges.

#21 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 11:06 PM:

As I understand it, according to that noted journal of science, Something I Think I Skimmed Like Ten Years Ago That Referred To Some Other Source I Don't Recall Either, it's unnatural for human beings (and mammals in general) to consume milk products in adulthood, but some of us are the beneficiaries of a mutation that allows us to do so without getting sick. Do you think we show up in a Cerebro scan? I long to practice my lactose digestion powers in the Danger Room.

#22 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2002, 11:29 PM:

Recipe? Most people who set foot in my house aren't allowed to leave again without taking a jar of marmalade with them.

And, if you don't step foot in the place, you'll get a jar of limequat/kumquat marmalade hauled to you in, of all places, Racine, WI.

#23 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2002, 12:12 AM:

Recipe? Most people who set foot in my house aren't allowed to leave again without taking a jar of marmalade with them.

Then please invite me to your house!

At least you're not telling me it's unnatural for humans to eat milk products, which I've always thought was odd given that we're mammals.

I don't try the nature argument, having learned to despise it in another context. But since my vegetarianism is a geas, how do I know what your geasa are? It MAY be that you're not listening to your inner voice, but it may just as well be that yours is telling you different things than mine does me--and how can I tell? So I never tell people they should go veggie.

I avoid milk primarily for medical reasons.

I think I read that same article, Avram. And lots of other stuff. It's a mutation that goes with white skin, and for the same reason: calcium. (Well, also protein, but...) Vitamin D is produced in the skin and acts to enable calcium absorbtion. When humans decided to try the stupid trick of living in the frozen north, their kids had brittle bones. The pale-skinned freaks didn't, because the sun could get enough energy through to power the formation of vitamin D (the rickets problem happened again when ex-slaves started moving north; ultimately the solution was to add D to milk, which is children's biggest source of calcium).

The mutation that allows European-descended people to digest lactose in adulthood has, I suspect, a similar origin. People who didn't get really sick from eating hardened milk had a better chance of surviving the winter. In some of us, intestinal fauna are responsible for processing the lactose; a good 10 days of tetracycline can render such people lactose-intolerant. I think that's what happened to me.

#24 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2002, 12:23 AM:

In some of us, intestinal fauna are responsible for processing the lactose; a good 10 days of tetracycline can render such people lactose-intolerant. I think that's what happened to me.

Any chance of getting recolonized?

#25 ::: Martin Archer ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2002, 01:40 AM:

Hardly. If it came across like that in the first post I've ever made here at this weblog site then I'm sorry. But you didn't really make it clear that you folks were NOT eating pizza and candy bars. (After all, that first recipe in the post was for mayonnaise.) And nobody has addressed the obvious liver and colon health risks here.
I really like the weblog, but perhaps I'll just stay out of the discussions from now on, thanks.

#26 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2002, 07:38 AM:

Dear me. I should hope, Mr. Archer, that if you ever did have something valuable or amusing to say, you'd feel free to say it.

#27 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2002, 10:51 AM:

Any chance of getting recolonized?

Not quickly. And last time I did the test, I still had problems. Not that I did a controlled study, you understand. The positive result is quite painful and sometimes humiliating.

#28 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2002, 10:38 PM:

As to the merits of low-carb diets I have no idea. But I cringed when I saw that NYT headline; it's sadly typical of newspaper science reporting to ignore the distinction between uncertainty, error, and outright fraud--a very serious accusation--just for the sake of a pun.

#29 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2002, 12:52 PM:

Chris, per your suggestion I've been thinking about my inner voice. When I'm in the right kind of restaurant, what it whispers urgently is that I should skip the bread, skip the appetizer, forget about dessert, and order the 32-ounce steak. If I'm in a restaurant that thinks eight ounces is a big steak, my True Will favors cold shrimp or a dozen raw oysters as an appetizer. It's also big on raw oysters or pickled herring for breakfast.

It's not unreasonable. It's fond of salad. Vegetables are fine, especially brassicas. And it never met a citrus fruit it didn't like.

#30 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2002, 03:40 PM:

Ter, I never actually suggested you listen to your inner voice. That would have rudely implied that a) you weren't already, and b) I have any sort of right to tell you what to do on spiritual matters. I might acquire such a right, if you ask me, but as of now I have none.

I think what you're doing now is called "listening to your body." A good practice also (stating an opinion, not issuing a directive), but not what I meant. The Inner Voice I was referring to is the same one that tells me "That person needs help. Go help." It's the voice that sings to me when the decorative pear trees are in bloom in the spring.

And tree-huggy stuff like that there.

What I'm saying is, for me, being vegetarian is a spiritual restriction, though not one that applies to anyone else. I am quite certain I could be significantly healthier if I started eating tuna.

Maybe your body voice is telling you it's deficient in iodine (I'm lethally allergic myself). Can't think why else you'd crave shellfish like that. Or maybe it's your tongue speaking (only backwards--oh, you know what I mean), and you just really like the flavor of oysters. Pleasure is good too.

#31 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2002, 03:54 PM:

Teresa said:

Recipe? Most people who set foot in my house aren't allowed to leave again without taking a jar of marmalade with them.

To which Erik replied:

And, if you don't step foot in the place, you'll get a jar of limequat/kumquat marmalade hauled to you in, of all places, Racine, WI.

Golly she only had to bring ours to Manhattan. Meyer Lemon. Yum.


#32 ::: Paul Howard ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2002, 04:51 PM:

Not speaking about anyone particular here, but I'm amazed that so many people (almost everyone, it seems) put their gross sense enjoyment (duh, it tastes good and fills me up so I like it) above any other considerations.

I guess people feel healthier eating so much meat, so they don't care that they also consume 100 times the natural resources that vegetarians consume for their food production. We're in a drought here (Southeast Pennsylvania), and they tell us to fix a leaky faucet, which may save 2700 gallons of water a year. They don't tell us that having ONE vegetarian meal instead of a steak will also save 2700 gallons of water, although the numbers can be found and computed quite easily. Just one steak dinner can waste almost three thousand gallons of water, compared to a vegetarian meal which likely cost about a hundred. Over a year a person can save about 400,000 gallons of water by eliminating meat from their diet. (Of course the actual number is highly variable, and for most people in more developed countries the number would fall between 100,000 and 1,000,000 gallons.)

The numbers are so staggering, not only the difference in resource use by meat eaters compared to vegetarians, but also the huge percent of people who don't care at all. Do you care?

p.s. I eat very well as a vegetarian. I've had my protein levels checked during regualr health emams, and found that I consume more than I need, and more than the "average American," although I do not make any effort to take in more or less protein, carbs, or fat (although I avoid diet products including lowfat dairy products, and I don't eat eggs).

p.p.s. While I originally gave up meat out of a feeling of responsility for natural resource conservation, now I keep this diet because of a growing love of Krishna. I sometimes pray to Him, "If somehow I should fall from Your favor because of my bad habits or foolish desires, please do not allow me to develop a desire or a taste for meat." After eating good vegetarian food for 10 years, meat seems really nasty. I can hardly believe I ate such filth for my first twentysomething years. I must've been brainwashed as a child into thinking animal slaughter was ok.

#33 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2002, 06:21 PM:

Paul, Sigh. Pace the natural resource arguments, which I know nothing about, and wouldn't doubt, or have the clout to cast them out.

But the "ethical" vegetarian position is one I have trouble with, from a logical point of view.

Humans are predators, and so must kill to eat. Why should plants have less right to live than animals, I ask?

Redwoods and cattle: in a conflict, save the tree and kill the cow. IMHO.

To live without killing (oneself or by proxy, the former being somewhat more honest) one must learn photosynthesis. And people call themselves "green," but ain't no chlorophyll in them thar cells.

But this is really a religious difference, and I don't mean to start a quarrel. You believe that all animal life is sacred, and must not be taken to feed you; I have no quarrel with that. I, on the other hand, believe that all life is sacred, and that it is impossible to live without taking it; therefore the taking must be done with respect and honor to the killed being, whether plant, animal or fungus.

#34 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2002, 08:50 PM:

Chris, what he's talking about is the total amount of water needed to irrigate the land to raise the wheat to feed the steer (and water the steer) who stands around being bored in the feedlot, until we kill him and eat him. It is a ridiculous amount of water. Range-fed cattle don't take anywhere near that much water per pound of meat, and they convert human-inaccessible cellulose (grass) into food we can eat (dairy products and yummy steaks and burgers).

Paul, I don't know what you did in your past life that requires so much expiation in this one, but it must have been really awful. Care to speculate about it?

#35 ::: Janet Lafler ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2002, 01:53 PM:

I'm just starting to eat meat again after years of being a habitual non-meat-eater. (I was only a strict vegetarian for a couple of years, but until recently it had been 20 years since I ate the flesh of birds or land animals.) It's an interesting transition -- some of my friends are very surprised by it.

For various reasons, I'm sticking to organic, free-range or sustainably-farmed meat. For one thing, I don't need the hormones and antibiotics that are given to "conventionally raised" animals. Also, one of my rationales for not eating meat for so many years was disapproval of the meat industry and its practices. These days, I figure that I might as well support those who raise animals humanely and sustainably, in addition to boycotting those who don't.

#36 ::: Paul Howard ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2002, 04:05 PM:

I'm sorry but the argument that goes, "well, I value ALL life, not just animals," has no merit. One reason is mundane and one is spiritual.

First of all, livestock eat plants. So while I only eat plants and dairy, a meat-eater (even the Atkins-style one who shuns non-meat foods) directly eats animals and also consumes 10 to 100 times the plant material that a vegetarian does, depending on the digestive and respiratory efficiency of the animal. Of course, the manure produced by animals feeds innumerable bacteria, insects, etc., which complicates this argument beyond comprehension.

The real argument is that it is true that we have no right to take any life from another creature. Life consumes life, but we are accountable. Human life means we can find a solution to this predicament, which gives us a way out of this predicament but also makes us responsible. Animals are not capable of our degree of understanding, and because they are unable to control their senses with intelligence, they must eat according to their bodily design.

The solution for humans is to dovetail their eating (and in fact all activities) with devotional service to God. In Bhagavad-gita (3.13) Krishna says, "The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin," and in 9.26, He says, "If anyone offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or some water, I will accept it." Elsewhere His appreciation for dairy products is described. So a person wishing to eat without incurring any sinful reactions prepares a vegetarian meal for Krishna, carefully made for His pleasure, and asks Him to accept it. After offering prayers, the devotee distributes the meal and then takes some for him- or herself. This process is completely spotless and transcendental, and no sin is incurred. Someone who eats only to gratify their own senses eats only sin, which is bound to the suffering of so many creatures in the path food takes on its way from the farm to someone's gut.

An added bonus is that foods prepared for and offered to Krishna taste much better than those prepared for one's own sense gratification.


#37 ::: Paul Howard ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2002, 04:42 PM:

Over many many lifetimes I've amassed a great deal of sinful reactions as well as performed arduous penances, which I think is common for many people. If anything sets me apart it is that I've received considerable mercy in the form of personal instruction from Sri Krishna (which probably sounds outlandish to practically everyone, but He can do whatever He wants...); and that I have a very vivid memory (astral travel?) of myself as a cow standing in line waiting for slaughter, hearing the pitiful cries of cows in front and behind me, feeling the intense fear of an ignorant animal facing iminent death. The peculiar thing is that this memory surfaced after I'd already been a vegetarian for almost 10 years.

Anyway, cow protection on behalf of Krishna is devotional service, bhakti-yoga. Devotional service to the Personality of Godhead is on the platform of perfection, and may be done in the beginning as a form of penance, but ultimnately there is nothing more joyful than serving the Lord. And what could be a more natural loving exchange than offering Him a nice vegetarian meal?

(Incendentally, His eating is much like a Christian priest blessing bread and wine. Krishna eats the food by His glance [absolute means full potency in every part, i.e. He can eat with His vision or any other organ of action] and replaces the food with identical food made of His own self, which tastes great.)

- Paul

#38 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2002, 09:47 PM:

The Holy Spirit does get around.

#39 ::: Koral Eakins ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2003, 07:51 PM:

This is thje most dumbass site i have ever seen! -love-Koral

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