Roasted Potatoes And Carrots (Fat-Free)

This tastes like beef stew without the beef. Well, maybe you have to be meat-free a while to think that.

Ingredients (serves 2 as a side dish):

2 Yukon Gold potatoes, 1/4 inch sliced
2 carrots, peeled, cut into chunks
1/3 to 1/2 cup sweet onion, cut into chunks
1 stalk celery, diced
3 or 4 cloves garlic, peeled or not but remember not to eat the skin

1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon tamari
Spices (parsley, sage, thyme, paprika, oregano)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place potatoes in a layer on the bottom of a small glass casserole dish or dutch oven. Top with carrots, onions, celery, garlic. Mix tamari, spices, and water together and pour over vegetables. Cover (parchment and aluminum foil or a cover for your dish if you have it). Bake for 2 hours. Check midway to make sure liquid has not evaporated away (add more water if needed) and to gently toss vegetables into the broth.

I adapted this from a McDougall’s recipe of the same name. She uses a prepared vegetable broth instead of water but I don’t like the ingredients in those. So I added diced celery to make up for it (like a mirepoix). She uses poultry seasoning which I also used. I like the aroma. I don’t pre-cook my garlic. The biggest difference is that I bake it for two hours instead of one. The vegetables are softer but still intact as you can see. And they’ve absorbed more of the flavor of the broth.

Supplements Are Contaminated

Back in 2010 I wrote about a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that said nearly all of the supplements it tested contained contaminants … pesticides, lead, and other heavy metals. It wasn’t minor: “16 of the 40 supplements tested contained pesticide residues that appeared to exceed legal limits.”

Employees of the GAO also went undercover posing as consumers. Here are some clips of their conversations with sales staff:

The supplement industry is a mess. The problem is that they’re not regulated. I know some people are happy about that because they’re concerned they might not be able to get their hands on them. Or that regulation will increase their cost. Both of those things are probably true, to an extent. But I would rather see them regulated if it meant more assurance that what’s on the label is in the bottle. Right now, you don’t know. There’s no guarantee that stated potency is accurate. Or that there’s no contamination. Most fish oil pills contain mercury, some at dangerously high levels. Many herbs contain pesticides and heavy metals.

Another problem is that vitamin and mineral supplements often contain (or say they contain) more than the RDA, which I think is a bad idea. The RDA/DRI already includes a margin of safety. And too much of a vitamin can be a problem. Recall that too much vitamin C lowered endurance and mitochondria production in men who were training. I’ve written about others. Really, you don’t want to go over the RDA. But supplement makers capitalize on consumers’ erroneous belief that more is better.

Here’s a hopeful sign … I was looking at a brand called Garden of Life. They test their supplements. Then they divulge results:

Of course, testing comes at a price. A 2-month supply of their men’s multi retails for $84.

“I’ve Come To Set So You Can Sight Me”

Andrew Wyeth, from Andrew Wyeth: Close Friends:

While I was recovering from lung surgery, Adam came over to see me on his tractor – the only vehicle he owned. “I didn’t send you any flowers, so I’ve come to set so you can sight me.” This is the drawing I did.

“Adam Johnson” 1951

I couldn’t find a decent picture of this online so I took a photo of a page in my book. Well, not my book, the library’s book.

Elevated Carbon Dioxide Reduces Mineral Content In Plants

Around three billion people worldwide depend on rice for their diet. But rice, wheat, and other crops grown under high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide have lower levels of zinc, iron, and other nutrients. Source: Smithsonian

You know the saying, “desperate times call for desperate measures”? The times may not be desperate yet, not for well-fed people living in rich countries like the US, but the times do demand action. Because the climate is changing our food:

Hidden Shift Of The Ionome Of Plants Exposed To Elevated CO2 Depletes Minerals At The Base Of Human Nutrition

The study says that elevated carbon dioxide (eCO2) is reducing mineral concentrations in plants. It also decreases protein concentrations while increasing relative starch content.

Elevated CO2 levels were found to reduce the overall concentration of 25 important minerals — including calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron — in plants by 8% on average. Furthermore, Loladze found that an increased exposure to CO2 also increased the ratio of carbohydrates to minerals in these plants.

This reduction in the nutritional value of plants could have profound impacts on human health: a diet that is deficient in minerals and other nutrients can cause malnutrition, even if a person consumes enough calories.

Low mineral content eventually affects everyone’s food because, as much as locavores like to brag about their food being close and special, most people eat food grown halfway around the world. We have a global economy that includes agricultural commodities. Also, atmospheric carbon dioxide does not discriminate. Your plants, my plants, everyone’s plants will be exposed to it.

So, not desperate measure, but measures nonetheless … like fortification and supplementation, as much as I don’t like to consider that. For one … it’s an extra cost and the minerals don’t come packaged in their natural matrix which assists digestion, absorption, etc. And two … just as with food, access is affected by social inequality:

The case of iodine is illustrative: although iodized table salt nearly wiped out iodine deficiency in the industrialized world, a billion people still have no regular access to it, making iodine deficiency the leading cause of preventable brain damage, cretinism, and lower IQ in children.

Do you take a multivitamin/mineral supplement?

Thanks to Shaun.

Andrew Wyeth: Close Friends, The Book

My local library had Andrew Wyeth: Close Friends, the book I wrote about in this post where I wondered why Wikipedia doesn’t mention his African American friends, models, book, touring show, collection. It’s as if they are whitewashing his legacy. Do you think it is inadvertent?

Book cover.

One thing I’ve learned about Andrew Wyeth: he painted. That’s what he did. He painted from a very young age, even before he was a teenager. He didn’t go to school (he was home-schooled), he didn’t have a job, he didn’t prepare meals, he didn’t wash clothes or repair fences or scrub floors. He painted almost every day. It was his life. His father, N.C. Wyeth, was instrumental in that.

Andrew Wyeth’s African American Friends

From Wikipedia’s entry for Andrew Wyeth, the son of the famous illustrator Newell Convers Wyeth (N.C. Wyeth):

Andrew Newell Wyeth (1917-2009) was a visual artist, primarily a realist painter, working predominantly in a regionalist style. He was one of the best-known U.S. artists of the middle 20th century.

In his art, Wyeth’s favorite subjects were the land and people around him, both in his hometown of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and at his summer home in Cushing, Maine.

Andrew Wyeth with his friend Ben Loper, the subject of Wyeth’s painting “A Crow Flew By.”

I noticed that many of the people Wyeth painted were black, but Wikipedia said nothing about them. I found this, from Wyeth’s Black Models:

“I’d go over to paint H. F. Dupont in the morning. I’d have to be let into Winterthur [the Dupont mansion, now a museum] by guards, and be ‘received.’ Then, in the afternoon, I’d walk over to Ben Loper’s house in the community,” recalls Wyeth, “and would be so much more relaxed, so much more natural.” The Loper portrait, A Crow Flew By — the words uttered by the subject as Wyeth painted him in 1950 — is owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and numbers among the 74 paintings, watercolors, and drawings in the traveling exhibition “Andrew Wyeth: Close Friends,” which debuted at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, where it can be seen through the 13th of this month.

That month was May, 2001. So, there is a book (Andrew Wyeth: Close Friends), a 100-plus collection, and a traveling exhibition dedicated solely to Wyeth’s African American friends. It was assembled by Wyeth and his wife while Wyeth was still alive, over 16 years ago. Why doesn’t any of this appear in Wikipedia?

It is the first public overview of the artist’s depictions of the people and sites in a small African American community in Chadd’s Ford, which had been known as “Little Africa” and originated as a Quaker stop on the Underground Railroad. As a child, Wyeth played with the descendants of those men and women who settled in the region, and throughout his adult life, he painted them. His sensuous depictions of Moore, who began posing for him in 1997, bring to mind the nude images of the blonde Helga Testorf, a German neighbor Wyeth secretly painted between 1971 and 1985. “I’m involved with the people I paint,” he says. “They become my friends.”

The book’s text consists of brief captions in which Andrew Wyeth comments on the subject, circumstance, and experience of creating the images. “They were easy friendships,” he says of his relationships with his models. “They posed whenever I asked them to. How pure it seemed, to be able to paint where they lived. It was not studio painting.” In Chester County (1962), for instance, Tom Clark, an elderly black man, is shown upstairs in his bedroom. Bald with a white stubble beard and strikingly high cheekbones, he is depicted in profile, seated in a wooden armchair beside a quilt-covered bed.

Recently, the Wyeths laid out and examined more than 50 watercolor and pencil drawings of the late Tom Clark. “He welcomed me so easily. I painted him in every angle — seated, lying down, bending over. I lived with him for almost a month,” Wyeth says. “He would cook for me.” The artist gave a study he did for That Gentleman (1960), which also features Clark, to the actor Morgan Freeman, who was so moved by the “Little Africa” images that he volunteered to narrate the show’s accompanying audio guide without pay.

Below are some portraits of Tom Clark. There are a few more in the “Close Friends” collection from the Mississippi Museum of Art’s show at the Traditional Fine Arts Organization.

“That Gentleman” 1960

“Chester County” 1962

“Tom Clark” 1962

“The Garret Room” 1962

I like what Sherry Howard says about this last one: “Tom Clark was a tall stately man who was a fixture in the community. Wyeth painted him napping, his long frame looking as weary and fragile as the bed he laid in.”

The Mississippi Museum of Art Director R. Andrew Maass said, “These works are, perhaps, among the artist’s purest paintings, ones that are virtually devoid of metaphor and symbolism.” There is something different about them, more raw, unlike his famous Christina’s World. I think that’s why I like them.