Friday, May 7, 2010

President's Cancer Panel Report

“Only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States have been tested for safety,” the report says. It adds: “Many known or suspected carcinogens are completely unregulated.”
As seen in the New York Times, the President's Cancer Panel has released a 200-page report for 2008-2009 on how we can reduce our environmental cancer risk. Included are industrial, agricultural, water contamination, and electromagnetic and radiation exposures.

Please take the time to download the PDF and read the report. Included are risks regarding the use of plastics, chemical exposures during pregnancy, and non-organic foods. Forty-one percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. That's almost HALF of all Americans. If that's not alarming, than I don't know what is.

Here is a brief overview of recommendations made in the report:

• Particularly when pregnant and when children are small, choose foods, toys and garden products with fewer endocrine disruptors or other toxins. (Information about products is at or

• For those whose jobs may expose them to chemicals, remove shoes when entering the house and wash work clothes separately from the rest of the laundry.

• Filter drinking water.

• Store water in glass or stainless steel containers, or in plastics that don’t contain BPA or phthalates (chemicals used to soften plastics). Microwave food in ceramic or glass containers.

• Give preference to food grown without pesticides, chemical fertilizers and growth hormones. Avoid meats that are cooked well-done.

• Check radon levels in your home. Radon is a natural source of radiation linked to cancer.

Would love to hear your opinions. Questions? Comments?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Adventures in Indiana: Farm fieldtrip with goats and bees

I am not a big fan of goat cheese. For a brief moment when living in New York, I switched from cow dairy to goat, buying milk at the Union Square Farmers Market. I never really noticed a difference between the two, not being a huge milk drinker. Goat milk was just fine as a medium in which my cereal sat before I ate it. That is, until someone I worked with mentioned that goat products reminded him of sucking on a wet, wool sweater. From that moment on, all I tasted when I ate anything goat was soggy cashmere.

The other day, I was offered some homemade goat cheese that a friend's mother made. I wanted to try it and see if fresh-from-the-farm cheese was any different from the store bought variety that tasted like not-so-fresh farm animal. The cheese was surprisingly subtle, almost like ricotta, with out any detectable goat taste. It was delicious.

Today I took a field trip to the farm and learned how to make cheese. We started the day by sampling several different flavors, so we would know which we wanted to make. Our choices included Marjoram & Cracked Pepper, Basil, and Asian Spice with Ginger. They were all delicious, but the Marjoram & Cracked Pepper was really good.

Next we learned to milk the goats. We filled a bucket and headed in to make cheese. I decided to make dill flavored, thinking it would be delicious on a gluten-free bagel or stuffed in a chicken breast. When we were done, we were gifted 4 quarts of goat milk and I headed to the store to pick up some cheesemaking supplies (enamel stock pot, thermometer, cheesecloth, lemons). Later this week I will experiment in my own kitchen with making cheese!

The goats were adorable, and very curious.

Me and the master beekeeper.