December 26, 2007

Milk or Silk®?

I know there are folk who get emotional about dairy, but what is the best to drink—milk or Silk®?

When you say “Silk®,” you are referring to a product available in U.S. supermarkets, but also available is a product called So Good®. The latter is manufactured by Sanitarium Foods, our Adventist food company in Australia. And as its name suggests—it is so good! Besides Australia, it is available in other parts of the world, including the United States and Canada.

We spoke with the CEO of Sanitarium Health Food Company, and he told us that the company spends 11 cents per liter to fortify their product with calcium, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D. Soy products of this quality truly are dairy “alternatives,” and we can unequivocally recommend them.
2007 1536 page22We are not convinced, however, that we should denigrate regular dairy, if it is a low-fat product. Such talk is founded on very shaky science and could result in valuable nutrition being unavailable to many who need it in other parts of the world.
Homemade soy milk is seldom an adequate substitute for low-fat dairy, being deficient in the three nutrients that cost 11 cents a liter to Sanitarium Health Food Company. Cows’ milk, to be safe, must be pasteurized or boiled, and removing the cream makes it much more healthful. The fat content of commercial soy milk may be somewhere between 3 and 4 percent, but it usually is a good vegetable oil.
So what is best to drink? Silk® is a good dairy equivalent, but we vote for So Good®, and it never hurts to support home industry. But if you live where these fortified soy milks are not available, don’t be afraid to take two glasses of low-fat dairy milk. It will ensure you get your Vitamin B12 requirement—an important consideration if you are vegetarian.

I heard that Adventists invented peanut butter. Is that true?

Peanuts can be traced back as far as 950 B.C., and would appear to be indigenous to South America. The Incas made a paste from peanuts, but the first patented peanut butter-making machine was licensed to Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis in 1903.

It is said that a doctor invented peanut butter in 1890, but Joseph Lambert—who worked for John Harvey Kellogg—was selling his own hand-operated peanut grinder in 1896.
Almeeta Lambert published The Complete Guide to Nut Cookery in 1899.
It was John Harvey Kellogg, however, who patented a “process of preparing nut meal” in 1896, and used peanuts.
By 1914, peanut butter was in commercial production.
George Washington Carver is famous for the 300 uses he discovered for peanuts. In the multitude of uses he found, such as ink and oils, he also popularized peanut butter. He did not patent any of these discoveries, believing the peanut was a gift of God. His work, beginning in 1880, preceded any of the patents described.
Peanut butter is really only crushed roasted peanuts, so likely it has been discovered and rediscovered many times since the Incas began using peanuts nearly 3,000 years ago.
George Washington Carver, among recent peanut butter protagonists, deserves primacy of place—he certainly moved the peanut from a lowly food product to one of major prominence in the world of food.

It’s interesting to note that the peanut is, in fact, a legume, but its properties are similar to those of true nuts. Despite its heavy calories, it is a healthful product. For populations struggling to secure sufficient calories, peanuts can make the difference between survival and desperation.


What fats or oils are the best for me to use? I am trying to improve my family’s diet by methodically implementing changes in what I buy.

You are the kind of mom who is so wise by making incremental changes that your family will hardly notice, yet will do them so much good.

First, with fats and oils, remember we don’t need much of them. They are high in calories but do carry fat-soluble vitamins. Most of our foods have fats as a part of their composition, so we don’t have to use much additional oil or fat to get enough. A little oil, however, can greatly enhance the palatability of our foods. In the fast-food arena, though, most of us have major health problems because of the high intake and content of fats.
Some of the most healthful fat is found in the nuts, avocados, legumes, and grains we eat. The eating of unprocessed foods permits us a balanced fat intake, but a little additional oil or fat is not unhealthful.
We suggest you first stop purchasing any butter at all. It is a saturated fat, hard on your blood vessels, and no longer the only spread for your bread. Select a margarine very carefully, being sure to avoid those that contain partially hydrogenated fats, which are fats that have been spoiled by processing them. Also, avoid any that contain trans fats. Margarines that are healthful are available, but you should be sure to check the labels.
Considerable debate still goes on about the correct balance between the Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. When a lot of debate exists, it means the evidence is not convincing. Omega 6 fatty acids are preponderate in oils such as sunflower, peanut, and corn oils. Omega 3 fatty acids are preponderate in flax seed oils, walnut oils, and fish oils. Olive oil doesn’t fit in either group, but is healthful. Also healthful is canola oil—much maligned by those who confuse it with an engine lubricant. The secret is to use only small amounts. Two tablespoons would represent a full day’s requirement, and because we tend to consume high-fat diets, we should be careful. We should probably obtain no more than 25 percent of our daily calories from fat sources. This means watching dairy products carefully. Low-fat varieties are the best kind to select.
Use a little olive oil or flax seed oil on your salads, and don’t become so rigid you don’t use a little oil in your cooking. Folk may not be willing to tell you, but some of those dishes are tasteless!


I am under the impression that stress makes my heart beat irregularly. My wife says I am a natural-born “worrywart”—but can stress hurt my heart?.

Stress is more of an internal reaction than a quantifiable external event. So your wife may have a point. People who have a greater level of anxiety are more stressed than others, and you may live in a state of anxiety. Such people are prone to panic attacks, but episodic stress can produce changes in the cardiovascular dynamics.

Evidence exists that atrial fibrillation can be triggered by stress, though there is probably an underlying problem. Ventricular fibrillation, which is much more serious, can also be triggered by acute distress. Myocardial ischemia, or reduced coronary blood flow, can occur. And a condition in which there are multiple extra beats of the heart may also be a response to stress.
It is important for you to learn relaxation techniques, and to analyze the cause of your stress and your reaction to events. Professional help can give good insights. Your doctor may consider giving you medication to dampen the effects of adrenaline-like compounds. These medications, called B blockers, may not only bring a sense of relief from stress but also reduce the response of your heart to your distress—especially when it is an acutely stressful situation.