24 January 2010

even more cooking fat data

i created a new table with the data from the last two cooking fat posts, plus, per pyker's suggestion, data indicating the total mg amounts of n3 and n6 fatty acids in a sample (here, 100g). This does reveal more than the simple ratio.

i've added a PUFA% column and color-coded it against the "not to exceed 12%" standard. i've not bothered color-coding the mg/100 g column. i have color-coded the fat names themselves, which at this point is just my personal opinion of the fat, taking into account the other columns.

n3:n6 ratio mg n3/100g mg n6/100g PUFA tot%
butter 1:6.9* / 1:1.6** 802 1244 4
lard 1:10.2* 1000 10199 10
coconut n/a 0 1800 3
olive 1:11.7 761 9763 10
flaxseed 1:0.2 53304 12701 73
canola 1:2.2 9138 18645 32
soybean 1:7.5 6789 50422 62
palm 1:45.5 200 9100 10
corn 1:46.1 1161 53510 58
sesame 1:137.7 300 41304 no data
sunflower 1:18.8 192 3606 72
cottonseed 1:258 200 51503 54
grapeseed 1:696 100 69591 no data

* for butter and lard, i suspect these ratios are actually a little more favorable in my household, since we source these from pasture-fed animals.

** the second calc'ed ratio is from the two non-colored columns, which was different enough from the other value for me to include both. the first ratio is from the Corbain data, the second is calc'ed from the data i retrieved from nutritiondata.com. I believe the source of the data is the same (that USDA database), but I reckon we used two different butter entries.

more cooking fat data

i pulled this image from a pdf i found online (linked to from the comments section of this Mark's Daily Apple post on cooking oils).

for better or worse, this datasheet was put together by Monsanto. funnily enough, it's meant to extol the virtues of Canola oil. if we look at this data as suggested by the original commenter, we should avoid the fats where the red and green percentages add up to anything > 12%. So the canola oil is OUT.

good ol' butter, lard, coconut oil and EVOO are IN.

food, inc.

i watched this film today. there's lots to love here: some amazing characters, lovingly shot (even the horrific images), expertly assembled and edited, plus i agree with a lot of the viewpoints of the filmmakers.


there are some missteps. Given the message and those bringing it to us, i guess i shouldn't be surprised the filmmakers' viewpoints are so obvious. i think they overdid it, and an example occurred near the end, in the segment called "the veil." Did they really have to put up the word "evil" first, then re-arrange the letters? So late in the film, i think even the most jaded of viewers will either be disgusted or have convinced themselves the filmmakers are grossly exaggerating. In either case, I don't think it serves any constructive purpose.

my other main complaint was, though they alluded to the health dangers to the public, they never really went after it. The best they did was make the case that, because it's cheaper to eat fast food than buy fresh produce and prepare your own meals, that's unhealthy. But what about establishing a link between consumers' health and the processes used by factory farms, such as GMO, contamination, lack of variety, and nutrient content?

I don't understand the inclusion of the poor Latino family who spends more on diabetes medicine than they do on food, apparently stopping at Burger King twice a day to feed the family. Sad? yes. Sympathetic? certainly. Supporting a point? Not so sure here. This family claims they eat this way because of the low cost of the fast food, but wouldn't it be more compelling to profile a middle-class family that has a choice, and still chooses to eat fast food? I think so.

And again, all that was illustrated here is that cheap fast food is: cheap. Big deal. I say make an effort to tie the factory farming practices to an epidemic of ill health, and you'll make a much bigger, and much more necessary, point.

20 January 2010

n-3:n-6 ratios of cooking fats

damn, this info is kind of hard to come by. I had found a chart somewhere online that included pasture butter, lard and others, but for the life of me I can't find it. I did see this page today, which is from Cordain's site. they link back to the USDA site for where they got their data, which is a horribly organized site with a terrible search engine. so i'm grateful for Cordain's summary data, which i've re-represented here for convenience.

if anyone has similar data for butter, lard, bacon fat, red palm oil, or the like, i'd be happy to update the table to include them. until then:

I went to the USDA site and, based on the Cordain methodolgy, calc'ed values for butter, lard, and "Meat drippings (lard, beef tallow, mutton tallow)". These values aren't exactly in line with what I'd seen before, which makes the USDA values a bit suspect. Then again, their butter values are probably for corn-fed cows, not pastured ones, etc etc.

n-3:n-6 ratio
flaxseed 1:0.2
canola 1:2.2
mustard 1:2.6
Meat drippings (lard, beef tallow, mutton tallow) 1:4.8
walnut 1:5.1
butter 1:6.9
soybean 1:7.5
wheat germ 1:7.9
lard 1:10.2
olive 1:11.7
avocado 1:13.1
rice bran 1:20.9
oat 1:21.8
palm 1:45.5
corn 1:46.1
sesame 1:137.7
cottonseed 1:258
grapeseed 1:696

in the household here, we shoot for cooking fats no worse than 1:4 n-3:n-6 ratio. i've used a fairly obvious green/yellow/red color scheme to indicate what i think of the desirability of the ratios, though that's not to say that we're using canola oil just because it's "in the green." And we do use olive oil, but pretty much for salads exclusively and not for cooking.

Mark's Daily Apple did a piece today on oils, though it didn't include all the info i would have liked. Still, it's a decent reference.

One final note: hazelnut, peanut, safflower, sunflower, almond and coconut oil all rated zero n-3 fatty acids, so i left them off the chart.

12 January 2010

not watching TV = immortality?

some fantastic reporting in this CNN article called "Too much TV may mean earlier death":

Compared to those who watched less than two hours of TV per day, people who watched four hours or more were 80 percent more likely to die from heart disease and 46 percent more likely to die from any cause. [...]
Each additional hour spent in front of the TV increased the risk of dying from heart disease by 18 percent and the overall risk of death by 11 percent, according to the study,

got that? Too much TV watching and your risk of death from anything goes from 100% to... 100%. An increase of either 46% or 11%, depending on how you're looking at the data.

So if I watch fewer than 2 hours TV / day, does that mean my risk of dying from any cause is less than 100%? Say, 90%? Would that give me a 10% chance of immortality?

I shall assume this error originated with the author of the article, and the study text wasn't so badly worried. Or so I hope.

10 January 2010

CBS technology fail = my gain

at some point during the Ravens / Patriots game (i think just before half), the software package that "draws" first downs and play counts on the field failed.

and i love it.

i *like* having to be more aware of the down. and i like having to look to the sideline to see the first down marker, just like the players do.

i reckon i won't get to enjoy this again, unless i watch games from "the old timey days".

oh yeah: go Ravens!

update: damn, they got it fixed. oh well, i'm happy the Patriots lost. and in a bad way.

09 January 2010


i should probably just ignore loud-mouth NFL receivers, but the Bengals receiver (I can't even bear to type his now-legal name) just irks me. It is his stupid name change, I will confess; I didn't have much of a problem with the player named Chad Johnson.

in last week's typical pre-game smack talk, before the Jets annihilated the Bengals in a fashion unseen since the Bears pasting of the Patriots in the Superbowl, #85 promised to change his legal name back to Chad Johnson if the Jets were able to shut him down.

boy, did they. zero receptions, which isn't surprising since Palmer completed only 1 pass and ended up with a 1.7 rating.

And did #85 change his name? of course not. before today's rematch, the announcers had a bit of fun with it and let us know that #85 said that last week's game "didn't count", and blamed a "bad field".

I don't know how today's game will turn out, but Mr Chad Johnson, that shit is weak.

go Jets.

03 January 2010

the absurdity of cold-weather dressing

it's dipped to single digits in Chicago and, along with my much-lower fat profile, I finally admitted that my $50 Sears Carharrt coat, purchased some 13 winters ago, was no longer up to the task.

so i bought a new coat, a Cloudveil Down Patrol, that I'll describe not only as the warmest coat i've bought, but probably the only warm coat i've ever owned.

i still layer! With a mid-day temp of 8 yesterday, here's what I wore: the new coat (hood up), atop a hoodie (also hood up), atop a thin thermal top, atop a cotton t-shirt. Also, a thinsulate knit hat, thinsulate gloves, jeans, wool socks, cotton underwear and Ecco boots.

for my torso, that's 4 layers, including a 650 down layer, and for my legs, a thin layer of jeans.

it is true that my legs and face were the most cold. further, despite all my other efforts at staying warm, i neglected to put on some long underwear.

this is absurd. clearly the legs aren't as "important" as the torso, but the disparity of my treatment of them is absurd. as was the dress of others on the street around me: the same jeans-only bottom, it seems. men without hats or gloves. one guy with a thin Bears jacket riding a bike. it's friggin' cold here! why is everyone dressing like a high school boy who's too tough to admit he's cold?

02 January 2010

a hummus-style disaster

i made hummus last night, first time in a long time. this was to go with the lamb patties and taziki (sp?) sauce the gf made.

mistake #1 was dumping two cans of chickpeas into the food processor, without taking into account that not only was there not enough tahini for those two cans, but i was meant to leave some spare for the taziki sauce.

mistake #2 was dumping a good portion of that tahini sauce on the floor while trying to open the stupid thing (must containers really be so challenging? i mean, if i must struggle with it while using a pair of pliers -- COME ON!)

i will confess i was somewhat distressed, but the gf came to the rescue by suggesting i use some of the greek yoghurt.

along with white pepper, greek yoghurt may become secret ingredient #2 for my hummus.

suddenly, it all started coming together. with the addition of EV olive oil, lemon juice, hot paprika and sea salt, it ended up possibly being the best batch i've made.

i'm enjoying some now w/ a little extra EV olive oil (the really good stuff we brought back from Spain) and some "normal" paprika.

how hard is it to program a microwave oven?

i don't mean as an end-user, i mean as a developer.

What I want, as an end-user, is that if i program it for 2 minutes @ power level 5, for it to run at half-power for 2 minutes. No microwave oven I know of does that, so I suspect there may be an issue with running at less than full power. Let's take that as a given.

Thinking as a developer, I now have the task of running the oven for 2 minutes, but applying full power for 1 minute. I'm probably also looking at a minimum time of "engagement", i.e. the hardware guys tell me that the MTBF plummets if the engagement time is anything less than, say, 15 seconds.

Okay, now I have my parameters. Engage for 15 seconds, disengage for 15 seconds for 2 minutes. But I quickly -- and by quickly I'm comparing 5 minutes vs 30 years -- realize that for those last 15 seconds, the oven will not be engaged. Just spinning uselessly with the light on, but no heating taking place.

I then think to myself, "hey, as a developer, I could probably write a simple algorithm whereby the oven is always engaged when the timer starts, and when the timer ends."

And that may be a thought that has never occurred to any programmer of microwave ovens, ever, at any point.

so what gives? are there no "real" programmers programming these devices? is it all forestry majors and electrical engineers? (sorry, i think traditional-discipline engineers make crap programmers). Perhaps there are, ultimately, just one or two manufacturers of microwave oven control chips, and all the logic is built into there?

what gives? why is this so hard?

01 January 2010

bowl games!

currently on: Penn State (10-2) v LSU (9-3) in the Capital One Bowl. Gator Bowl features West Virginia (9-3) v Florida State (6-6).

What? 6 and 6 gets you a bowl bid these days?

Granted, I don't really follow college ball, nor am I familiar with the agreements in place for determining who will play in which bowl. Heck, maybe Fl State did so well in their division with 6-6 that they got an automatic bid. I didn't even check.

or maybe they got a bid because their coach, Bobby Bowden, is retiring. Hey, I'm just some guy, but if a team got an undeserved bid because of off-field factors, meaning a more deserving team is at home watching TV today, i think that stinks.