Category Archives: Minimalism

Alkaline Spring-time Soup

Alkaline Spring-time Soup

A Reblog | By: Trupp Cooking School  | Just in time to celebrate spring!

Alkaline Spring-time Soup Recipe Continue reading Alkaline Spring-time Soup

Excessive omega fatty acids may make inflammation worse, not better

Salmon Plated

By: Randy Shore, Postmedia News  | A Reblog  | Research at the University of B.C.’s Okanagan campus is calling into question the value of fish-oil based supplements as a way to combat cardiac and inflammatory disease.

Fish oil supplements fed to mice already on a diet rich in vegetable oil interfered with the ability of tissues in the gastrointestinal system to repair themselves, according to recent research by Sanjoy Ghosh published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Additional unpublished results point to a similar effect on cardiac tissues.

The cellular disruption that led to tissue injury — called oxidative stress — appears to be caused by the combination of omega-6 fatty acids in vegetable-based oils and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, according to Ghosh, an assistant professor of biology.

In the past 50 years, North Americans have replaced much of the saturated fat in their diet with unsaturated fats, dramatically increasing their consumption of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and altering the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Previous studies of human populations that consume large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as part of their normal diet suggest a protective effect against cardiac and inflammatory disease.

But when researchers added the omega-3 rich fish oil to the diet of mice to see if it would reduce the inflammation caused by omega-6 rich vegetable oils, they were stunned when it made matters worse.

“Our hypothesis is that levels of omega 6 are so high in our bodies that any more unsaturated fatty acid — even omega 3, despite its health benefits — will actually contribute to the negative effects omega 6 PUFA have on the heart and gut,” said Ghosh. “When there is too much [polyunsaturated fatty acid], the body doesn’t know what to do with it.”

This is not the first time that Ghosh has produced findings that turned popular notions about nutrition and health on their head.

As a graduate student Ghosh discovered by accident that so-called “heart healthy” oils rich in Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids inflicted damage to the hearts of rats and neo-natal pigs.
The result was so shocking that Ghosh was turned down for publication by all the major scientific journals.

‘Vegetable-based oils like corn and canola were promoted to the public as a healthier alternative to animal-based fats, but there was never any research that said they are any healthier’

The results of the rat-based study were eventually published by the journal Nutrition in 2004.
Subsequent research vindicated Ghosh and opened up a new line of scientific inquiry questioning popularly held notions about the health benefits of vegetable-based oils.

“Vegetable-based oils like corn and canola were promoted to the public as a healthier alternative to animal-based fats, but there was never any research that said they are any healthier,” said Ghosh.

In fact, recent research has linked excessive levels of omega-6 to colitis, insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity, he said. And people’s attempts to “balance” omega-6 levels with omega-3 supplements may be damaging their health.

‘There is no magic pill that fixes a bad diet’

“There is no magic pill that fixes a bad diet,” he said.

“The vast majority of studies that show omega 3 oils are beneficial are based on eating fish, not pills,” he said. “When you eat a lot of fish you automatically eat less of other oils and it’s a healthier balance.”

The polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils have only been added to the human diet very recently, roughly coinciding with a steady rise in diet-related illness, he said.

A diet rich in saturated fats and healthy unsaturated fats will promote a more natural balance of fats

A diet that includes foods rich in saturated fats, such as cheese and butter, and healthy unsaturated fats, such as those in olive oil and nuts, will promote a more natural balance of fats, not unlike the Mediterranean diet, he said.

Photo: A Google Image



Building a Bamboo Future

The founders of Green School gave the award winning design-firm, Ibuku, the task to build the world’s “Greenest School.”

Every step of the design and construction process was unique. Instead of traditional blueprints, architects build bamboo models to scale with bamboo sticks. The sticks were bent, cut, and woven until the perfect model was created. The usual onsite visual of bulldozers moving the earth was nowhere to be found. The land remained as it was.  Buildings were designed to rise out of the earth’s natural contour, ensuring as little disturbance to the surrounding environment as possible.

Green School in Bali - Instead of traditional blueprints, architects build bamboo models to scale with bamboo sticks

Given both the setting of Bali and the sustainable task at hand, it is hardly surprising that Ibuku choose bamboo as their building material of choice. It is one of the fastest and most resilient growing plants on earth, and as such, environmentally-friendly.  “With very few resources or attention, a bamboo shoot can become a structural column within three years,” says Elora Hardy,  CEO of Ibuku. “And a building built from that bamboo could stand strong for a lifetime.” (View Slideshow)

The choice of bamboo, created strong buildings but also allowed for unique designs. Unlike the typical four-walled, cement classrooms, Green School rooms were woven together, creating spectacular webs of bamboo. Every formation there is unique and more complex looking than the last. Dynamic spirals and shapes spring from the ground creating spectacular open expanses, reflecting the magic spaces present within nature.

Green School in Bali completed architectural design by Ibukuarrow green with text

The designers, architects and local Balinese craftsmen behind these living structures have done an excellent job in imitating and integrating the beauty and complex perfection of the school’s tropical surroundings. Buildings weave harmoniously through the beautiful backdrop, integrating with the environment instead of standing apart from it. Aesthetically these bamboo structures entice a great sense of wonder and achievement. They are bamboo works of art that stand as a true testament to the creative potential and infinite possibility that lies within this resilient building material.

GBTV brings you the second in a series of guest blogs from Green School in Bali.  Their first blog, Welcome to the Greenest School on Earth, was an introduction, not only to their building practices, but to their amazing concept in teaching. This blog takes us behind the scenes to the details of building with bamboo.

Visit Green School for more information, Like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter. Find out more information about Ibuku and their work with Green Village Bali.


In Asuncion, Paraguay, Small-Scale Charms and a Complex History

Roasting a chipa caburé, a type of cake, in a tatakua, or traditional oven.By: Seth Kugel |  A Reblog  > Roasting a chipa caburé, a type of cake, in a tatakua, or traditional oven. Cooking a chipa caburé in a tatakua is surprisingly like roasting a marshmallow in a campfire. After wrapping dough around a stick, you place it just barely inside the edge of the domed brick oven and rotate it slowly. Get too close to the wood fire and the exterior burns; rotate it just enough and it browns beautifully as the inside cooks through, ready to be slid off the stick and eaten hot.

I roasted my first ever chipa caburé – a corn, cheese and manioc starch cake the size of a corn dog with a doughnut hole where the dog would be – on a recent Saturday in the home of María Jacinta Leguizamón. Doña Jacinta, as she is known, lives in Asunción, the rarely visited capital of the rarely visited (and landlocked) country of Paraguay. On weekends she runs an informal prepared-foods service out of her humble home for the Loma San Jerónimo neighborhood, selling traditional foods like chicharo huiti (pork meat coated in corn meal) and sopa paraguaya, a tender cornbread. Nearby were the tatakua, a couple of gobbling turkeys and a slew of family members. “She’s anti-commercial,” her daughter-in-law, Zunilda Arce, a pediatrician, told me. “She does it the way you’re supposed to do it.”

arrow green with textCuzco and Rio de Janeiro need not fear: Asunción, a city of about 500,000, is not poised to become the next tourism capital of South America. But it is a fascinating window into Paraguayan history and culture. Over the last 150 years, the country has been beaten up by two punishing wars and one wicked dictatorship, but has emerged with a fierce and peculiar independent spirit represented by (among other things) a national indigenous language — Guaraní — that just about everyone mixes liberally with Spanish. The city (and country) make for an interesting side trip from Buenos Aires or Iguazú Falls — or, though it would be a bold call, a trip of its own for travelers who prefer their destinations off-beat, unexplored, mighty friendly and shockingly inexpensive. Asunción was a bargain in just about every way imaginable (except for the $160 entry visa for Americans); for starters, its buses cost 2,000 guaraníes, or 50 cents at 4,000 guaraníes to the dollar, and get you just about anywhere.

At Bartholu’s, sandwiches go for less than $5, and diners can customize them with a long row of toppings.Seth Kugel At Bartholu’s, sandwiches go for less than $5, and diners can customize them with a long row of toppings.

But it is not a journey of the obvious. A good orientation involves reading a little history – you know, history, the part of the guidebook you usually skip past – and soaking up two powerful museums that go a long way to explaining Paraguayan identity.  > Read More


Bloglink: A Reblog from | The Frugal Traveler >

Your Life is Too Valuable to Waste Chasing Possessions

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ― Mae West

By: Joshua Becker | A Reblog | There is more joy in pursuing less than can be found in pursuing more. In many ways, this is a message that we already know to be true.

It’s just that, since the day we were born, we have been told something different. We have been told that possessions equal joy. And because we have heard that message so many times and from so many angles, we have begun to believe it. As a result, we spend our lives working long hours to make good money so that we can buy nice stuff.

But when we again hear the simple message that there is more joy in pursuing less than can be found in pursuing more, it rings true in our hearts… because deep down, we already know it to be true. We know that possessions don’t equal joy. And we know that our life is far too valuable to waste chasing them.

It just helps to be reminded from time to time. So today, remember…

  • Our life is short. We only get one shot at it. The time goes by quick. And once we use it up, we can’t get it back. So make the most of it. Possessions steal our time and energy. They require unending maintenance to be cleaned, maintained, fixed, replaced, and removed. They steal our precious attention, time, and energy and we don’t even notice it… until it’s too late.
  • Our life is unique. Our look, our personality, our talents, and the people who have influenced our lives have made us special. As a result, our life is exactly like no one else. And just because everyone else is chasing material possessions doesn’t mean we have to too.
  • Our life is significant. Far more than success, our hearts desire significance because significance lasts forever. On the other hand, possessions are temporal. They perish, spoil, and fade. And most of them, by design.
  • Our life is designed to inspire. Let’s make footprints worth following. Nobody ever changed the world by following someone else. Instead, people who change the world live differently and inspire others to do the same. Possessions may briefly impress, but they never inspire.
  • Our life is important. Our heart and soul makes us valuable. Don’t sacrifice your important role in this world by settling for possessions that can be purchased with a card of plastic.
  • Our life deserves better. Joy, happiness, and fulfillment are found in the invisible things of life: love, hope, peace, and relationships. And they are not on sale at your local department store. Stop looking for them there. People who live their lives in the pursuit of possessions are never content. They always desire newer, faster, or bigger because material possessions can never satisfy our deepest heart desires.

Be reminded that your life is far too valuable to waste chasing material possessions. And find more joy today by choosing to pursue “better,” rather than “more.”



Joshua Becker is an author and blogger and host the blogsite: Becoming Minimalist.

My First Time Away from Home

A Reblog | Steph’s Shenanigans <>Up until I was 23, I lived at home with my parents.  I was sitting comfortably in a rent-free home with all the food I can ask for.  I was going to school and working part-time.  All the money I made from my job was to pay for my cell phone bill, going out, and buying crap food that was terrible for me.

Throughout most of high school and pretty much all of my undergrad, I lived off of chicken fingers that were pre-cooked, packaged, and frozen: with a side of sweet and spicy Thai sauce, of course.

Because of the inconsistent schedule of university and working nights, I was on my own for a lot of meals.  Mom started to give up when she was making two different dinner dishes a night to accommodate my picky eating habits.  But in all fairness, it got to a point where a lot of what we were eating at home was a lot of the same meals and unhealthy ones at that.  There was a lot of fried meat, potatoes, and homemade French fries.  Of course, the logical conclusion I came up with in my late teens to early twenties was to just either eat those chicken fingers, warm up frozen pizza, or go out and buy fast food.

When I started to hang out with my friend Chris, those habits just got worse.  We were studying hard (at this point I was in teacher’s college), working part-time jobs, and having really late nights.  We would order from KFC and have them deliver to us, go to McDonald’s late at night, heat up all sorts of frozen, pre-packaged foods, and more.

After teacher’s college, I decided to try and find a job away from the GTA and I moved to Ottawa with my fiancée, also named Chris.  Mom’s main concern? I was either going to starve to death or I’d be wasting all my money on junk food and eating out.

Just to give you some clarity, my “cooking skills” consisted of making killer scrabbled eggs and putting food in a toaster oven and forgetting about it until I heard the timer’s chime.  I tried making an orange chicken once with my mom under heavy supervision.  That was when I felt like I had a lot of time on my hands.  ONCE.  I always avoided cooking because it took too much time and effort, ingredients we didn’t have in the house, and it took me away from my all-important TV-video games-internet I had set up in my room.  Cooking is boring.  Sure, I was always vocal about my disappointed about what was on the menu, but I never did anything about it because I was still able to get by.  Mom’s super foreign and European attitude was to always make sure your family ate, so I knew I wouldn’t go hungry.  Because I was the last child to leave home, I was able to be a brat and get away with it.  Mom was, mostly, accommodating.

Mom and pretty much everyone who knew me was convinced I was done for.  Moving away from mom’s cooking, starting to pay for rent and other bills, meant the end of this spoiled child.  As the years leading up to my departure went by, I told everyone (and was convinced myself) that once I was thrown into a situation that I was unfamiliar with, that I would successfully adapt and figure it out.  No one really believed that I would change overnight and decide to start cooking, something I had always loathed.  Why cook? Spending hundreds of dollars at the grocery store in one shot, when it’s just a $7 snack here and $15 meal there.

Well, I moved.  Luckily I had Chris with me and I got away with not cooking for a few months.  We compromised.  He cooked and I would do the dishes.  I did laundry and he would fold the clothes.  It was sweet, sweet living.  Then we moved out of our first apartment and into a house with a dishwasher.  The compromising was over. I had no leverage.  We were still doing a lot of frozen pizzas, chicken fingers, and the sort, but once our schedules became a little more stable, we started to explore the kitchen.

I was now forced to help cook. I started demanding healthier meals and Chris was just not as lenient as mom.  So I started to take over our side dishes…

* This is just an introduction to my blog.  My posts won’t be this long again.  I just wanted to give a little bit of background as to why it’s important for me to keep a record of how I start to mature as a cook.  Expect to see photos of some meals I’m proud of, meals by others, ideas, tip and tricks, etc.  I don’t know what will come up on this post, but just believe it will be about food, somehow.