I just finished a fascinating new book by Daphne Miller, MD called Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing. When I first heard the title, I hoped the book would have a “food as medicine” theme and would teach me how I could get off my meds by eating locally produced, organic food. I didn’t really learn how I could do that, darn it, but I did learn a lot of other very interesting things.
For example, did you know that studying chickens can give valuable insight into stress management? I certainly didn’t.
Dr. Miller treated two male patients suffering from the flu at exactly the same time. Very similar in terms of age, overall health, family situation and careers, both patients had high-stress jobs that required frequent air travel. One patient, Carl, recovered at home in about a week. The other, Mike, developed pneumonia, was in the hospital for three days and didn’t completely recover for about two months. Dr. Miller wondered why Carl and Mike had such different experiences with the flu when their lives were so similar. Then she visited two different egg farms in Arkansas.
At one farm, the chickens were contained inside a very large, very crowded, very noisy henhouse. At the other, the chickens spent their days outside, roaming, pecking and playing with each other. Stress affected both sets of chickens. The indoor ones were cramped and “in a swirl of dust and feathers.” The outdoor ones had to contend with thunderstorms, hawks and fire ants.
Mike was like the indoor chickens – constantly subjected to low-grade stress that affected his adrenal glands, his brain and his circulatory system. Carl was like the outdoor chickens, occasionally having “heart-pumping experiences,” but not suffering from the effects of chronic stress.
Dr. Miller had her answer as to why Mike and Carl recovered from the flu so differently.
Similarly, Farmacology shows how rejuvenating soil can teach us how to heal our own bodies, how studying a ranch’s grazing system can show us how to raise resilient kids and how a vineyard’s integrated pest management set-up can help us think about cancer treatment in new ways.
I loved what I learned about farming techniques from this book and I enjoyed seeing how they relate to health and healing. I highly recommend reading this book if you are interested in either topic. See below for how you can win your own copy.
I’m giving away a copy of Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing by Daphne Miller, MD. To enter, leave a comment and tell me why you’d like to win. The contest will run through Wednesday, May 29, 2013. The winner will be chosen at random on Thursday, May 30, 2013. You must be at least 18 years of age with a U.S. mailing address to win. No purchase is necessary; void where prohibited. The winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours or another winner may be selected. (Please make sure email from firstname.lastname@example.org doesn’t end up in your spam folder.)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing by Daphne Miller, MD from William Morrow & Company plus a second copy to give away. All opinions are my own.
I’m not a big fan of artificial sweeteners, but when In The Raw found out I would be attending Eat Write Retreat, they sent me a bag of their new Monk Fruit In The Raw™ Bakers Bag and a “top secret” sugar cookie recipe. They asked that I try the recipe and decorate the cookies in my own “signature style.”
Thinking about my “signature style” is kind of scary. I have little patience and my cookie decorating skills are minimal, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. Where are my Ninja Bread Men-decorating nephews when I need them?
I made these Ladybug Cookies for Mom last weekend for Mother’s Day. Mom lives on a lake named Buggs Island and her chapter of the Red Hat Society is nicknamed the “Ladybugs.” (She naturally gets lots of stuff featuring the black and red insects as gifts.) She and Dad immediately realized that the cookies were supposed to look like ladybugs, so I took that as a good sign.
I don’t eat many cookies these days, but I did taste one of these and I must say they were pretty good. Mom liked them too and that was what mattered most to me.
Disclaimer: I received a free sample of Monk Fruit In The Raw™ Bakers Bag. All opinions are my own.
I’ll be heading to Philadelphia later this month to attend my first food blogging conference, Eat Write Retreat. Everyone who signed up was sent a selection of OXO tools and one of the following ingredients to use in an Amazing Apps Challenge: California Raisins, US Potatoes, California Ripe Olives or California Figs. The Grillmaster was thrilled to learn I received one bag of dried Mission Figs and one bag of dried Golden Figs. I was thrilled to learned that 3 to 5 dried figs provide 20% of your recommended daily value of fiber, 7% of potassium and 6% of calcium! Who knew that figs contain calcium?
Lately, I’ve been thinking about combining quinoa or couscous with figs and herbs to make a nice side dish. I began to wonder if I could somehow use this combination to make an amazing appetizer. Then I remembered those Salmon Quinoa Patties and thought about making bite-sized fig quinoa patties. As I wandered through one of my local farmers’ markets, I spied some spreadable fig and honey goat cheese. It occurred to me that goat cheese would be the perfect creamy addition to my crisp patties.
While prepping everything and sampling many of the figs for research purposes, I decided that ball-shaped appetizers would work better than patties as finger food.
And may I just say that the California Figs are the best dried figs I’ve ever had. When I was experimenting with making Fig Butter a while back, the dried figs offered by my local market were less than optimal and I decided that fresh figs were the only way to go. The California Figs are so plump and juicy, I’m going to try the fig butter again with their dried figs. Hey, how great would that be served alongside these Fig Quinoa Bites? Yum!
Disclaimer: I received a fig gift box from California Figs and a set of kitchen tools from OXO. All opinions are my own.
Fig Quinoa Bites
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme or thyme leaves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
1 ounce fresh goat cheese, crumbled or grated with the OXO coarse grater
3-4 dried Mission Figs from California Figs (about 1/4 cup), chopped
3-4 dried Golden Figs from California Figs (about 1/4 cup), chopped
1 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided
nonstick cooking spray
In a large bowl, combine quinoa, egg, thyme, parsley, goat cheese, figs and 1/2 cup Panko. Mix well. Cover and place in refrigerator until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.
Place an oven-safe cooling rack on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 375°F. Pour remaining 1/2 cup Panko onto small plate.
Take about a tablespoon of the quinoa mixture and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball lightly in Panko and place it on the rack. Repeat with remaining mixture. (You should end up with about 16 balls.) Spray balls lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and hot all the way through. You may want to rotate the pan after about 8 minutes to ensure even browning.
Makes 8 servings
Per serving (2 balls): 91 calories, 2g fat (1g sat), 29mg cholesterol, 48mg sodium, 15g carb, 2g fiber, 4g sugar, 4g protein
Nutritional Analysis: These Fig Quinoa Bites are low in Sodium and they are a good source of Manganese. (Source: nutritiondata.com) If you are watching your Cholesterol intake, you may want to use 1/4 cup egg substitute or 2 egg whites instead of the egg.