Lactose intolerance

Sexy title for a blog post, no?

In 1971 I taught at the Seoul American Middle School on the military base in Seoul, Korea. It was during the Viet Nam war. My students were, as a group, the most physically beautiful humans I’ve ever been among, mostly because many of them were ethnically mixed. A large number were Korean-American. Their mothers were Korean, their fathers American, most Caucasian, some African-American.

Many of their fathers were in Viet Nam and the children stayed in Seoul, living with and in their Korean families. And this caused a problem in the classroom.

My students who were of European descent complained that the Korean-American students smelled of garlic. My Korean-American students complained that those of European descent smelled like sour milk.

We talked about it and decided, in a respectful way, that they could sit on opposite sides of the room, but there was to be no name-calling or complaints and when we did a project that involved mingling, they would simply have to deal with it.

Just this morning I ran across this in a report from the Food Empowerment Project:

“According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, ‘The pattern of primary lactose intolerance appears to have a genetic component, and specific populations show high levels of intolerance, including approximately: 95 percent of Asians, 60 percent to 80 percent of African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews, 80 percent to 100 percent of American Indians, and 50 percent to 80 percent of Hispanics. Lactose intolerance is least common among people of northern European origin, who have a lactose intolerance prevalence of only about 2 percent.'”

Even though I have northern European background, I haven’t drunk cow’s milk in years. I don’t particularly like it and ever since the advent of  rBST, I’m careful to choose dairy products from animals that haven’t been treated with it.

There is a lot of  energy going into improving the food we feed to our children at schools. Milk is a major staple of  the National School Lunch program. Here we have an opportunity to change public policy based on research. What a novel idea!

20 Food Rules

Last March, Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of DesireThe Omnivore’s Dilemma and some other great books, posted a request for readers’ rules about eating on the New York Times health blog, Well, written by Tara Parker-Pope.

More than 2,500 responses came back, more than any other post had ever received and here are 20 of Pollan’s favorites.

  1. Don’t eat egg salad from a vending machine.
  2. You can’t leave the table until you’ve finished your fruit (from an Italian family rule).
  3. You don’t get fat on food you pray over.
  4. From a Romanian grandmother: “Breakfast, you should eat alone. Lunch, you should share with a friend. Dinner, give to your enemy.”
  5. Don’t eat anything that took more energy to ship than to grow.
  6. Never eat something that is pretending to be something else. (e.g. no margarine, “low fat” sour cream, “chocolate-flavored” sauce without chocolate in it.)
  7. “Don’t yuck someone’s yum.” Not a diet strategy but an important food lesson. There is someone out there who likes deep-fried sheep eyeballs, and, well, more power to them.
  8. Make and take your own lunch to work.
  9. If you are not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you are not hungry.
  10. The Chinese have a saying: “Eat until you are seven-tenths full and save the other three tenths for hunger.” That way, food always tastes good and you don’t eat too much.
  11. Eat foods in inverse proportion to how much its lobby spends to push it.
  12. I am living in Japan and following these simple rules in preparing each meal: GO HO – incorporate five different cooking methods (steamed rice, simmered vegetables, grilled tofu, sauteed vegetables, raw fish, etc.) GO SHIKI – incorporate five colors (red, white, green, black, yellow) GO MI – incorporate five flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy).
  13. Avoid snack foods with the “oh” sound in their names: Doritos, Cheetos, Tostitos, Ho Hos, etc.
  14. One of my top rules for eating comes from economics. The law of diminishing marginal utility reminds me that each additional bite is generally less satisfying than the previous bite. This helps me slow down, savor the first bites, stop eating sooner.
  15. Don’t eat anything you aren’t willing to kill yourself.
  16. No second helpings, no matter how scrumptious.
  17. When drinking tea, just drink tea. . . I believe that it’s so much better for our bodies when we are present to our food.
  18. When you’re eating, don’t talk about other past meals, whether better or worse. Focus on what’s in front of you. Good meals are more throroughly enjoyed this way, and lousy meals can yield their own useful information. . . .
  19. “Don’t create arbitrary rules for eating if their only purpose is to help you feel in control.” I try to eat healthfully, but if there’s a choice between eating ice cream and spending all day obsessing about eating ice cream, I’m going to eat the ice cream!
  20. “It’s better to pay the grocer than the doctor.”

I shortened some of the comments. You can see them formatted in their complete and graphic form at the   NY Times site.

I’d love it if you’d share your favorite food rules or beliefs here with me. The field is wide open and I don’t care about “politically correct.” I care about authentic. Thanks.

Arnica Montana . . . it belongs in your home

You need to keep these things with your first aid supplies:

Arnica Montana

The herb is Arnica Montana and you can buy it as a gel or cream. You can also buy it as little homeopathic pellets that you put under your tongue and let dissolve (those are in the little blue tubes). I use both the gel and the pellets.

The packaging says it’s for “Everyday Pain Relief” but it’s real magic is for bruises. The faster you apply it, the better it works.

I took a headlong spill a couple of weeks ago off my steps that ended with a dead cat bounce. I lay there a minute inventorying my body to see if I could feel if anything was broken. When I got up I immediately found the arnica gel and slathered it over all the parts that hurt and the bruises that were forming. I had run out of the pellets.

I was lucky. Just a cracked rib and a number of bruises. The rib is still reminding me to be careful where I put my feet but the bruises were gone within a few days.

Seriously! This stuff works! My bruises heal in miracle time if I find them right away and use both the gel and homeopathic pellets. I’ve even had a doctor and a physical therapist comment on how quickly they heal.

Of course . . . maybe you don’t need Arnica at all because maybe you aren’t as clumsy as some people.