Health Food Stores Battle Food Allergies

At health food stores, customers are complaining about food allergies more often now with statements like, “I can’t eat this”, or “I can’t eat that.” Why do so many people, especially those who frequent health food stores, believe they have food allergies? It’s funny, I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m allergic to coffee, cookies, cakes, popcorn, pizza or candy”, and yet these are things that people ingest regularly without a second thought. So, what’s up with all these health food store shoppers who have food allergies?

Food allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to a protein molecule in the offending food. This can happen even with those who stick to food from health food stores. The body is unable to break down that particular protein molecule, so it reacts by trying to “get rid of it”. It produces a chemical called ‘histamine’ and symptoms appear in the form of rashes, hives, itching, wheezing, breathing problems, and lots of mucus being expelled through the mouth, nose, ears, lungs, or sexual organs. More serious reactions from food allergies are: vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness, drop in blood pressure, or even death.

Intolerance to certain foods is different than true food allergies, and this is a more common complaint at health food stores. With food intolerances like lactose intolerance, where a person has difficulty breaking down the sugar in the milk, the symptoms are much milder. One may have some bloating, excess gas, cramping or diarrhea. While food intolerance is unpleasant, it is not life threatening like food allergies can be in some severe cases. The usual distresses are intolerances to wheat, soy, dairy and anything at health food stores that the shopper feels is too expensive.

The question that customers at health food stores ought to ask is not, “What food am I allergic to?” But rather, “Why is my immune system reacting to what should be health food?”

When determining specific food allergies and intolerances, some factors to consider are:
1. What is the trigger food?
2. When am I eating the trigger food?
3. Am I improperly combining fruits and vegetables or grains or meat and dairy?

The list can be quite exhaustive to hunt down the offending trigger food and how it is being consumed. In fact, most food allergy experts will tell you to keep a diary of everything you eat, and when you find the trigger food to just avoid eating it. Well, that sounds simple, but if you react to many things, including those that should be health food, it’s not so simple? Of course, you can eliminate the most common triggers to food allergies like: corn, wheat, eggs, dairy, and peanuts, but if that doesn’t work, then what? The truth is, your immune system can overreact to many substances. The best way to address food allergies is to strengthen your immune system and get in balance with all the systems of the body. Shop health food stores for specific foods to feed your 5 main systems equally: immune, endocrine, digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems. This may be difficult at typical health food stores, but searching online will produce results.

When you feed all your body parts with healthy, whole food nutrients, and eliminate the fake, processed foods in your life, your 5 systems can come into a perfectly natural balance. Then you can eat what you know you should be eating. It is better to strengthen the body’s systems with properly combined health food and ward off illness and disease the natural way. When you consume the right nutrients, the body operates at optimum levels for a more relaxed, healthy life. You have access to so much good nutrition at health food stores and plenty of options for avoiding food allergies or intolerances that it’s a shame to limit your choices unnecessarily.

Alkaline Foods and Baby Gender

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking me questions about PH and conception. Specific concerns are things like: how do alkaline foods affect baby gender and sex; whether you’ll get a boy or a girl if you consume an alkaline diet, and which foods have a low PH and would therefore fit this criteria. I’ll address these questions in the following article and tell you some other things to consider if you’re trying to determine or influence your baby’s gender.

PH And How It Influences Your Future Baby’s Gender:  There are actually three things that come in to play here – the timing of your conception, the sexual positions that you use when you try to conceive, and the PH that you have when this conception occurs.  In terms of PH, an alkaline reading on the mother to be would make the chances of conceiving a boy greater, while an acidic reading would increases the chances of a girl.  Here’s why.

The sperm that will give you a son are pretty short lived. They can only live for a day or so.  The opposite is true for the sperm that produces a daughter – it can live for several days.  But, if you want a daughter, you want to weed out the Y (boy sperm) and if you want a son, you’ll want to weed out the X (girl sperm.)

Your PH comes into play because you can manipulate it so that your vagina is unfriendly to the sperm holding the chromosome of the gender that you don’t want. As stated earlier, if you’re going for an alkaline environment, you’re setting yourself up for a boy conception because this state is more friendly to the players in this game.  If you’re going for an acidic environment, you’re setting yourself up for a girl conception because the Y’s will just wither and weaken when your PH is too high.

What Foods Are Alkaline: So hopefully, if you’re found this article, you want a boy and are on board with an alkaline diet.  Most foods that are alkaline fall into the fruit and vegetable category and avoid meats and dairy.  There are some exceptions of course, but more common examples are things like celery, lettuce, asparagus, lemon, watermelon, grapefruit, green tea, almonds, and sunflower seeds.  You want to avoid milk, breads and pastas, most meats, and sugars / convenience foods.

I realize that this list may not seem too appealing.  But, you only have to do this for as long as it takes to get a PH tester strip to get you the low reading that you need.  Once you get this, you’ll only need to maintain what you’ve done and continue to use the test strips to ensure that you aren’t sneaking back up.

Douching Can Alkalize Too:  If this diet seems not so fun, know that you can also use douches to help this process along.  In fact, douching with solutions based on your reading and your time frame can yield much more dramatic results.  Again, you’re not in this indefinitely, just until the little strip reaches that magic number (and stays there.)

Moving On: OK, we’ve covered food and douching, so now let’s think about timing.  If you want a boy, you want to get active on the day of ovulation.  For a girl, you want to get active much earlier – three to four days prior to the egg’s release.  And, you want deeper penetration for a boy conception and the opposite if you want a daughter.

I’ve put together a few websites that take a lot of the guess work out of choosing your baby’s gender. You’ll find step by step instructions, resources for douche recipes and food PH lists, information on when to conceive, tips, support, and examples of ovulation predictors / PH testing strips.

 

Specialty Coffee – A Vibrant Industry, Or The Future Of Coffee At Crossroads Of Change?

Seattle; the home of Boeing, software giants, grunge music and…specialty coffee. Well, not quite. Contrary to popular belief, while Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Boeing and Oracle do indeed hail from the Pacific Northwest, modern specialty coffee has its roots much further south.

When Alfred Peet died in his sleep a few weeks ago he was a sprightly 87. He passed away peacefully hopefully dreaming of coffee trees laden with ripened cherries. While most people have never heard of him, Peet is widely recognised as being the father of modern “specialty coffee” in the industry. He was a Dutchman who became an American. He had traded tea for Lipton’s in Java, lived in Sumatra, worked in the business in New Zealand before, finally, settling down (somewhat) in the University suburb of Berkeley, California. It was at Berkeley where he founded his roastery in 1966 and Peet’s Coffee was born. Alfred Peet was passionate about coffee. His roasting exploits legendary and his ability to commentate, roast and put out fires simultaneously are famous. His experiences while living in Indonesia had given him an affinity with farmers who grew coffee, as well as a thorough understanding of the origin, the place where coffee was grown. This background, combined with his love of roasting, resulted in a place where coffee was not just a cup of Java, but something exotic, living and with a story.

From Alfred Peet’s inspirational example came many of the coffee cultures that now are household names today in America and around the world- Starbucks being the most famous of these of course. The original founders of Starbucks- Baldwin, Bowker and Ziv Seigel originally leant their roasting trade from Peet, in fact Peet roasted for them in their early years. Many others in the industry in America today also passed through the Peet’s Coffee experience. In fact when Howard Schulz purchased Starbucks, Bowker and Baldwin moved across and purchased Peets Coffee- Alfred Peet retiring to a role of Coffee Mentor for the Industry as a whole.

Today most coffee drinkers, from Surabaya to San Francisco, recognise Starbucks and its logo, but the name “Alfred Peet” often draws draws blank looks.

Specialty Coffee today is at a crossroad- an important junction in deciding which direction coffee will be heading over the next decade. In the last 10 years many new comers have entered the business. It is estimated that the global coffee sector today is valued at over US$80 billion. It is no wonder that with these revenue numbers, the industry attracts a mix of business people with mixed agendas- who often see the potential bottom line rather than education and passion as being the driving force in what they do. Traditionally the specialty coffee industry has been built on the strong foundation of sharing knowledge and experience- with the supposition that by helping each other the industry will be strongly quality focused. However a number of the more recent arrivals in the market are perhaps choosing coffee for the perceived easy profits, rather than for a real passion for coffee or its heritage. As a result many of the traditional methods of exchange are not as effective, or used as frequently as they have been in the past.

Globally Coffee is in a position where consumption is beginning to slow down and opportunities to grow coffee are becoming more difficult to find in the traditional coffee consuming markets- Europe, USA, South America and Oceania. The easy answer if to look at new emerging markets- China, India, Pakistan and Indonesia are prime targets. These countries either have low coffee consumption (Indonesian’s, for instance, consume 500gm per person per year vs. Norway’s 12kg per person per year), or have reasonable consumption, but historically are tea consumers (India). The new markets are also very suggestible to western branding- in many cases the strength of branding has been shown to be more important than the product itself. This presents a number of opportunities to strong western brands and of course new local brands to emerge. However it does not necessarily equate to long-term longevity of specialty coffee in these new frontiers.

In the more mature markets, the patterns of consumption have changed markedly over the last 15-20 years. The traditional, lower quality coffee products such as instants, are being replaced by roast and ground coffee (drips, plungers etc) and of course Espresso Based Drinks (cappuccino, latte, espresso etc). Fresh roasted coffee has many advantages over the instant coffee. It is more flavoursome and more importantly has a greater link back to where it originally came from. This means that customer awareness is also on the increase- bringing into the spotlight the actual paper trail of where the coffee comes from, who picked it, what price the grower get from it etc. To consumers in countries such as New Zealand this is very important- as generally there is a linkage between quality of coffee and the return the farmer or grower gets. The correlation is the better the return to a farmers, the better the coffee will be. Higher returns means more time can be spent in the origin country looking after the crop, pruning, selective harvesting, proper intensive drying and packing/storing the coffee once it is dried.

The role the specialty coffee industry plays in all this is very important. Retail shops that source and supply only the best coffee help to sustain the industry both upstream and downstream. This means the farmers and workers will be rewarded and the consumers will have access to quality coffee, hopefully growing the business further.

Unfortunately the reverse is gradually becoming more often the norm. Cafes, coffee shops and roasters entering the market all over the world tend to look for short-term cost advantages to try and fuel their business models. To achieve this they either buy poor quality coffee, as cheap as possible or average quality coffee…likewise as cheaply as possible. Cheap coffee equates to, at the best, very average finished product. This in turn means generally a poor perception of the place selling the coffee. This would perhaps be OK if there were not so many cafes now selling poor quality coffee. As it is it means that poor quality coffee is often accepted a being the norm- hence having the result of putting people off drinking coffee.

In many ways the industry can be seen as having come almost full circle back to where it was in the early 1970’s when instant coffee and coffee sitting on hotplates for 10 hours were seen and accepted as being normal coffee. This is what pioneers like Peet worked so hard to change. It is also why the crossroads the industry now stands at are so important.

The choices are really quite simple. For coffee to evolve and grow further there needs to be education of the retailer and the customer. The global industry is built around national organisations that play a varying role in providing advice and education to those in retail or wholesale. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the SCAE (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) are two such organisations. However to become members of these organisations is as simple as filling out a form and paying a fee. Often the motivation of the people joining is just to get a sticker to put on their shop door, knowledge is a secondary motivator. There is talk that membership should involve some form of basic enter test and then continuing education via the internet- which would at least help to provide tools to pass information on to those drinking the coffee.

Looking at those in the industry who do things well, is also a great way of building and planning the future for specialty coffee. In the USA quality roasters and café operators such as Allegro, Blackstump Coffee and Intelligensia have taken industry standards to a new level. Buying quality coffee, hiring quality staff and imparting quality knowledge to customers buying their morning coffee has proven very successful for these companies. So much so that it is an unquestionable part of their corporate culture. All of these companies also practice something unique- they regularly visit their growers in countries such as Indonesia, Guatemala, Kenya, Brazil and Colombia. To take this one step further, they do not just visit and spend a few nights- taking photos of a grower’s coffee trees, they maintain regular contact with those growing the coffee. This approach must be seen as the future for coffee in competitive, quality driven markets. It is true relationship coffee where the roaster becomes by default part of the farmers extended family.

Passing knowledge on to those who buy a coffee everyday, and arming them with information on what type of coffee they drink, how it is grown, who grows it, when it is picked, how it gets to them gives all power to the customer. It is a very important, yet lagging piece of the future of coffee globally. Being able to learn the differences in tastes/cupping qualities has some snob quality, but more importantly it helps the buyer to differentiate between good, average and poor coffee. Here lies the problem. A successful café founded on the principles of sustainability and true coffee culture has nothing to fear from education. A café selling poor quality coffee is unlikely, or perhaps unable, to want to educate clients about quality.

A failure to address quality, education and sustainability in the business sector (from the farmer to the retail customer) will ultimately result in consumption patterns falling further. Quality issues- especially over the counter and in the cup, need to be addressed. If not unfortunately those to suffer will be the grower or origin country, rather than the retailer. With current economics a grower in Indonesia receives only around 2-5% of the cost of the average cup sold in America or Europe. If demand drops off, the Arabica business ultimately will fall back into a cycle of commodity pricing rather than specialty pricing that many quality origins now enjoy. Competition from other beverages, and lifestyle choices, compete with the disposable income that coffee comes from.

If Alfred Peet was still alive, undoubtedly he would just carry on doing what he did well and loved, roasting coffee and sharing his knowledge and experience with anyone willing, and wanting to learn and listen- a model to all of us in the industry today.

© Alun H.G Evans, Merdeka Coffee, 2007. The writer reserves all moral rights to this article. May only be reproduced.

The Consequences of Food

Nourishment is key to good health. Unfortunately, many of us only think we are eating healthily. Consider milk, for instance. Humans are the only beings who drink milk after being weaned from our mother and even drink milk from another species. The pasteurization process destroys the vitamins and nutrients in the original product, so we then add artificial vitamins. We call this “fortified”.

There are a number of concerns with processed foods. In order to provide the consumer with a long shelf life, chemicals are added to the foods. Chemical additives are also added for color, consistency, taste and more. The problem is, the effects of most of these additives are yet unknown. Some of the synthetic chemicals used in processed foods are known to have carcinogenic properties. Processed meats such as hot dogs and bologna are particularly dangerous. (more…)

Buy Best Quality Charcoal for Your Barbecue

Buy charcoal than there are several vendors on the web these days that are involved in the selling of quality charcoal and other such elements that help you enjoy a beautiful meal after all the hard work and efforts that have been made by you. Charcoal is easily available in the e-stores as well as in the physical stores at cost-effective rates. They are usually stocked in a pyramid fashion. Spread out the heated charcoal evenly all around the grill to enjoy the best barbecued food ever.

If you enjoy an outdoor barbecue then, there is nothing best than the charcoal barbecue. Charcoal is the most commonly used fuel for grilling and barbecuing. Food lovers often love to have their barbecue cooked over a charcoal flame as it is what induces that peculiar and authentic taste to the food being cooked. Nothing beats the aroma of the food that is cooked over a charcoal or wooden barbecue not even the so called modern gas grills. The quality of charcoal too plays a very important role in the barbecue apart from the quality of meat, ingredients used and arrangement of the grills. To enjoy a good meal one should always buy best quality charcoal for cooking.

There are specifically made barbecue grills are available in the market that makes use of the charcoal as the main source of heat generation in order to cook the meat thoroughly from inside out. The form, pattern and size of the grills may vary from place to place. Thus depending upon your requirement you can pick up a size that cat cater to your family needs. To ensure that the meat is well cooked and has that peculiar aroma, it must be cooked on low heat over supreme quality charcoals. Following the step by step guide of the barbecue meat helps you bring forth onto the table something amazing not only in looks but at the same time in taste too.

Also while, barbecuing makes sure that you do not add the charcoal lighter fluid to the already heated charcoals as they can further strengthen the heat which in turn might result into the fire that might be hazardous. This should be avoided in all situations as they can lead to unwanted and unnecessary burns and rashes. If a little care and attention is paid, one can easily cook food without getting oneself hurt or injured. Soak the charcoals beforehand only in the charcoal liquid for about 10mins to get absorbed.

Care should also be taken while igniting your barbecue grill to make sure that the meat being cooked is not burnt and is well cooked from inside out, leaving no raw corners. Place the meat only when the charcoal is well heated and appears to be white hot and ashy. Further you can serve the meal thus cooked with freshly chopped veggies or a salad. The dishes that are prepared in the similar fashion are simply mouthwatering and lend an exceptional taste in the mouth.

If what you are seeking is a place to buy charcoal than there are several vendors on the web these days that are involved in the selling of quality charcoal and other such elements that help you enjoy a beautiful meal after all the hard work and efforts that have been made by you. Charcoal is easily available in the e-stores as well as in the physical stores at cost-effective rates. They are usually stocked in a pyramid fashion. Spread out the heated charcoal evenly all around the grill to enjoy the best barbecued food ever.

Tips on Choosing Mango

Mangoes are seasonal fruits that are in great demand by many people. However, many of those who do not know how to pick a good mango. Below are some tips that you can use to choose a good mango

You do not need to be confused in choosing a mango if you follow these tips properly. By careful selection, you will get a mango fruit with thick flesh and sweet.

The first thing you should know is not to be measured mango fruit ripeness based on skin color. With a number of variants of mango, the color of his skin was different and could not be used as a benchmark to determine the maturity.

Skin color is reddish, yellowish and green is a common color variants possessed by many mangoes. If you just pick mangoes based on skin color, you will not necessarily get a ripe mango and sweet.

· If you want to buy a mango, you have to choose well. You must hold a waste of mango and squeeze gently.
If the mango is too soft, the fruit is too ripe mark. If the mango is too loud, it means that the waste is not yet mature.

· The next tips are you with the smell of mangoes. Bring your nose to the mango so that you can smell the aroma of the fruit.
Certainly ripe mango tersium fragrant aroma. Conversely, if the fragrant aroma of the fruit yet, most likely not yet ripe mango fruit.

· Last is you should avoid mangoes that are too soft. If there are a lot of fruit skin spots or bruises, you should not buy the mango fruit because fruit is not good condition.
Those are some tips that you can apply if you want to buy mangoes. Hopefully these tips can help you to enjoy the sweet mango and rich nutrition.

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A Bunn Coffee Maker – It’s the Best

When it comes to brewing coffee for small or large crowds, the Bunn coffee maker is rated one of the best. Consumers will find a Bunn coffee maker not only in homes, but also in convenience stores, offices, hotels, and restaurants and even cruise ships. Bunn is a leading manufacturer of coffee makers in the world, with services to over ninety countries around the globe.

Bunn coffee makers are designed for home, commercial and industrial use. Their exceptional quality and sturdy design makes them a favorite with both small and large businesses. Bunn began in the coffee business in the late 1950’s, founding the Bunn-O-Matic Corporation. In the early 1960’s, Bunn was the first to introduce the paper coffee filter and the new design of ‘automatic drip’ coffeemakers. (more…)

Coffee Roasts 101 – What Are You Drinking?

You’re new to the world of coffee and you want to digest as much information as possible in the simplest way to consume. You’ve been drinking your father’s Yuban for years and you just know there has to be something better out there. You want to buy good coffee, but you’re not sure where to start. This guide will serve as your starting point, your beacon of hope in the night.

Let us begin with simple terminology and then we’ll move on to a more refined glossary. There are three ‘main’ categories of roast. There is the Light Coffee Roast, Dark Coffee Roast, and Medium Coffee Roast. To put it simply any coffee you choose is going to fall upon this range of flavor. Each roast is denoted as such by the time spent in the roaster, the temperature it is roasted at, and the color of the bean after the roast.

Coffee Roasting:

This is the process of transforming a green coffee bean into its more noticeable self, the roasted coffee bean. Coffee roasting can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes and goes through multiple stages of low to high heats in order to capture the complexities and flavors that are sought in the final production. Coffee has a large spectrum of flavor and color that denotes its characteristics.

Light Coffee Roast:

A light coffee roast is perhaps the least popular of all coffee roasts, but that isn’t to say that it is the least desired coffee or that it is inherently worse than a darker roast. Quite the opposite is true in that a light coffee is more apt to capture the true flavor of a coffee bean. Because its flavors will stay intact a green coffee bean of high quality and desired taste is much more suited to a lighter roast. A lower quality coffee bean will be roasted longer and at higher temperatures to mask its inferior taste.

A light coffee roast will typically have more caffeine than its darker counterpart. As a coffee bean roasts longer the caffeine is ‘burned off’ thus a lighter roast will keep more caffeine intact.

Certain regions and blends are more apt to produce a high quality light roast coffee. Roasters often choose a particular region of green bean coffee to use in their light roast coffee.

How to tell if you’re drinking a Light Coffee Roast?

A light coffee roast is denoted by its light body, full taste, and its bright liveliness. The first impression you will experience is the taste. Because the green coffee bean has been roasted for as little time as possible the true flavors are still in tact. As the coffee is tasted across the palate you will be able to extract the full flavor of the bean. The finishing taste of the light coffee is often described as sweet or lively. A bad light roast will have the acidic taste of grass left on your palate. A good light roast will have a slightly acidic, floral aromatic finish to it often described as citrus or fruity in flavor.

Dark Coffee Roast:

The dark coffee roast is the second most popular of all the coffee roasts, but that isn’t to say that it’s the best roast available. It is often characterized as a dark roast because of the amount of time spent in the roaster and the temperature at which it is roasted. A coffee bean that has been subjected to longer roasting times and higher temperatures will lose a majority of its true green coffee bean flavor. This results in a more uniformed taste and consistency. Often times lower quality coffee beans will be dark roasted because of this. However, there is still a large difference that can be noted when high quality coffee beans are dark roasted.

Just about any green coffee bean can be dark roasted and still have a drinkable taste. Because the process of roasting a coffee to its breaking point nullifies any of the off tastes and inconsistencies that can be found in a green bean, the region of the green coffee bean is of less importance to the roaster when creating their dark coffee roast.

How to tell if you’re drinking a Dark Coffee Roast?

A dark coffee roast is denoted by its full body and its smooth liveliness. The first impression you will experience is that the taste is more neutral when compared to a light roast. As the green coffee bean is roasted longer it neutralizes any off tastes and creates a more uniform taste. The dark coffee will be most noticeably smoother than its light counter part. The longer the green coffee bean spends roasting the less acidity is left to impart on the palate. It will have a finishing taste that is less pronounced and considered smoother as a result.

Medium Coffee Roast:

The medium coffee roast covers the full gambit of coffee that fall somewhere between a light and a dark coffee. Entirely up to the roaster and the region of the coffee bean it can have a medium to full body flavor and either a smooth or slightly acidic after taste. Its goal is to provide the best of both the light and the dark coffee. It wants to capture the flavor of the green bean without leaving its off marks in place. It is a highly artisan practice to create a well balanced medium roast.

You will find that most coffee blends you drink will be considered of the medium roast variety. A roaster will carefully choose which regions to blend together to capture the just the right flavor from the roasting process.

How to tell if you’re drinking a Medium Coffee Roast?

A medium coffee roast is denoted by its medium body and its smooth-bright liveliness. Because it covers such a wide range of flavors, the medium roast is perhaps the most popular coffee. It allows the roaster flexibility to derive the most flavor from the green coffee bean. If the coffee you’re drinking lingers on your palate and finishes with a lively flavor you’re probably drinking a medium roast coffee.

Conclusion:

Coffee comes in all different forms. There is no right or wrong choice, simply put; it is a matter of personal opinion. When choosing your coffee roast a general rule of thumb is that as the sun rises in the morning it is time for a light coffee roast and as the sun sets it is time for a dark coffee roast. In between the two, feel free to drink the medium coffee roast.

Flowers For Food and Decoration

Flowers are our inspiration and our delight. They are aesthetically pleasing and satisfy our senses with their beauty of form, their colours and their perfumes. And sometimes they can serve us in a more earthy manner by contributing to our variety of foods and in our employ, used in our arts and culinary skills in adding colour and flavour to our drinks, soups, salads, and our cooked dishes, or in garnishing savoury dishes and in decorating cakes, biscuits, dessert and confectionary. (more…)