Are you limiting you tastes in food?

Are your tastes in food limited?

I have found that many people tend to eat only certain types of food. They never take the time to expand their tastes. In our current world of cheap food and large varieties this becomes easier to do. However, this can be a risk factor. Let’s look at a personnel example. My uncles and grandfathers on both sides of my family are no longer alive. However, in the old country the males live long lives if they did not die in accidents or war. One factor is that we do not eat the same foods. We learned to limit our diet to high fat and simple carbs. When my children were born I lived in Anchorage, Alaska. It is culinary wise an international city. So I made sure my children learned to eat many types of foods. One of the foods we rediscovered was fermented foods. Even with food allergies we found fermented foods we could eat. I learned that I could find miso without soybeans made from chickpeas, barley, etc. from South River Miso Company. We found yogurts made from rice, almonds, and coconut.  We learned about the world of kimchi, pickles, Japanese vegetables, etc. There were also health benefits to this. It also allowed them to share food form different cultures. It is sad that we Americans limit our foods when there is such variety today. I even find this limitation in areas I would not expect it. I have watched all of season one for “Doomsday Preppers” since is provides some good material for blogging. What I did not find was any discussion on fermented foods. In much of the world fermented foods were survival foods. They are foods that can last in some cases for years. It was also an important way to make vegetables last the whole year. But our culture is so limiting that even people preparing for the end of the world as we know it do not think to include foods that are common in much of the world.

Some useful information on fermented food is below:  

The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World, by Sandor Ellix Katz.

Quick & Easy Tsukemono: Japanese Pickling Recipes, by Ikuko Hisamatsu.

Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen, by Alex Lewin.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods, by Wardeh Harmon.

Making Sauerkraut and Pickled Vegetables at Home: Creative Recipes for Lactic Fermented Food to Improve Your Health, by Klaus Kaufmann.

The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market, by Linda Ziedrich.

The Kimchi Cookbook: 60 Traditional and Modern Ways to Make and Eat Kimchi, by Lauryn Chun.

The Miso Book: The Art of Cooking With Miso, by John Belleme, John and Jan Belleme.

The Book of Miso (Savory Soy Seasoning), by William Shurtleff.

Homemade Living: Home Dairy with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Make Cheese, Yogurt, Butter & More, by Ashley English.

Pickle-Pro vegetable Fermenting Lid

Vegetable Starter Culture by Caldwell

TSM Products Fermentation Pot, 10 Liter capacity

Ohio Stoneware 1GC Crock 7-34/”x8-1/4″ – 1 Gallon

TSM Products 20 Liter Stone Weight

Weston Cabbage Shredder

Euro Cuisine YM80 Yogurt Maker




Being prepared is influenced by moral and cultural values.

Being prepared is influenced by moral and cultural values.

Just look at a recommendation that was published November of 2012.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Monday called on the nation’s pediatricians to counsel all of their adolescent patients about emergency contraception and make advance prescriptions for it available to girls under 17.

In the presidential election of 2012 contraception, etc. were made a major subject. How one deals with reproductive issues defined ones moral and cultural values. This was directly related to how one deals with the risk of pregnancy. It is one of the most extreme examples where cultural and moral values will define how one deals with risk.

In the case of teen pregnancies the moral and cultural issues can become extremely divided. But what is interesting is that the cultural and moral divide focuses only on the choices for the teen mom.

Throughout the U.S., statistical studies show that the average age of the father of a child is inversely related to the age of the mother, if the mother is less than 16 years of age. Formula: m 16 – 1 / fo m- , where m = mother’s age and f = father’s age.

In a 2005 Kaiser Family Foundation study of US teenagers, 29% of teens reported feeling pressure to have sex, 33% of sexually active teens reported “being in a relationship where they felt things were moving too fast sexually”, and 24% had “done something sexual they didn’t really want to do”.

Studies by the Population Reference Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics found that about two-thirds of children born to teenage girls in the United States are fathered by adult men age 20 or older.

What the two references above point out is that most teenage mothers are in relationships with men much older than they are. With acceptance of single moms, abortion, birth control, etc. these men have had an easier time preying on young girls. But the cultural and moral fight seldom if ever touches these men. Yet they account for two thirds of the teen pregnancies.

Many time when culture and moral values are involved it is not uncommon for important factors related to a risk to be ignored and the focus put on the key moral and/or cultural conflicts.

Do you really understand what risk is?

You know when I talk to young adults about risks in life and being prepared for them they always think of gloom and doom events. First a risk event can be positive or it can be negative. It is something that has a probability of happening it may or may not actually happen or it may happen but we do not know when. These are events that can impact our lives and/or those we care about. Using this definition a job interview comes under a risk event. For our jobs have a great deal of influence on how we live our lives. We cannot predict everything that can happen at a given interview. However, we can determine those items that are most likely to increase our chances or to lower our chances of getting the job. We can choose to be prepared for the interview or we can go in blind. We can learn from others how to prepare for the interview. With the internet we can learn a great deal about the company. Sometimes we can even learn about the people who will be interview us. We can put together a interview plan and act on that plan. We can increase the risk of successfully getting the job. Unfortunately, many young adults do not understand this and go from interview to interview until someone decides to hire them. Instead of getting the career they dream of they are likely to get a paycheck and resent what they could have had.

Here is a small emergency that happens a lot.

Here is a small emergency that happens a lot.

Every year thousands of us who own a car lock our keys in the car. I have done it a couple time over my lifetime. This article talks about this.

Let’s look at the options they outline to deal with this emergency.

  1. Dial 911 – for many this reactive choice is taken.
    Many times this is based on being proactive with safety concerns based on ones surroundings. We have to evaluate the chances of physical harm from those around us. There is a term used for a loan traveler stuck in a nonfunctioning car. That is “a birdie in a cage”, implying easy prey. Again, it comes down to risk assessment and staying safe.
  2. Call for roadside assistance from AAA or travel club.
    I drive an old car that currently has over 200,000 miles. For me a AAA membership is a must because I have a high risk of my car breaking down. I also have the 100 mile towing because I almost never drive this car more than 100 miles from my home. So having my wife and I and our two college student children on AAA is a means to address risk.
  3. Call a tow truck.
    My son found out about this one before he agreed to be added to our AAA policy. He blew an engine on a dangerous hill. I had to go and help him. I he had AAA we would have called AAA right away. Instead he spent about an hour trying to get the car started. During that hour he could have easily been hit by a car speeding on the blind curves of that hill. After I finally convinced him to give up we called the tow truck and had to wait another hour on the dangerous hill. I know that if you had AAA he would not have taken the risks he did.
  4. Get a temporary key from your dealer.
    This assumes that you are in a safe place and that you have access to your dealer. This is not a likely option at night or on holidays. You need the identification number (visible through the lower edge of the driver’s-side windshield). Personally know of one person who got to the dealer only to find they forgot the number.
  5. Buy a car with benefits such as On Star that can open door.
    I will admit in our modern age new ways to address risk appear. When we purchase a car we should do our homework on driving risks. It is very likely that if you seldom purchase a car then safety options have changed since the last car you purchased. You need to think beyond the looks and to the day to day use. For the risk in driving are found in the day to day use of the vehicle. Be proactive where possible in addressing risks.
  6. Keep an extra key handy.
    This use to be one of my best choices. However, I have seen how expensive getting keys for some new cars can become. Higher-end models of cars can cost several hundred dollars for a single key and can only be purchased and programmed through a dealer. In such a case do you purchase On Star and get other benefits? It all comes down to identifying your risks and the options available to you to addressing those risks.

Different people may not see the risks the same way. And it is not uncommon for people to choose different solutions to the same risks. Finally, it is also likely that many will not even think about this risk until it happens to them. Once they experience a risk event the likely hood of them preparing for it in the future increases greatly.

When it is easy to manage risks ourselves it is a good idea for us to take responsibility and manage them

Having survived a major heart attack on Thanksgiving two years ago I found a new study very interesting. “Scientists from TIMU Study Group and Network for Innovation in Clinical Research analyzed published clinical trials involving a total of 3,227 patients, half of whom had been diagnosed with heart disease. Participants, whose average age was 60, were randomly assigned to either receive flu vaccine or a placebo shot, then their health was tracked for 12 months.

Those who got the flu shot were 50 percent less likely to suffer major cardiac events (such as heart attacks or strokes) and 40 percent less likely to die of cardiac causes. Similar trends were found in patients with and without previous heart disease.”

Now I have been told to make sure I stay up on both flue and pneumococcal vaccines. Many times in life risks can be related. By reducing one risk we may also be reducing the chances of another risk event. In this case I will be adding getting both these vaccines to my electronic calendar. That way I can make sure I am up to date on both. I currently have my doctor’s office remind me. But you can now get a flu shot at move pharmacies and my insurance covers vaccines. So it just makes sense that I plan for this risk myself and just let my doctor know when I had which vaccine.

When it is easy to manage risks ourselves it is a good idea for us to take responsibility and manage them.

Life is about risk versus reward.

Life is about risk versus reward.

Every year on Black Friday we hear about people behaving badly. They want the special deals that retailers are offering only a few of. So they line up and storm the doors when they open.
Are the saving worth the camping in line and the storming of the crowds? For the many who make Black Friday an annual event the answer must be yes.

The power of a checklist and a calendar reminder.

The power of a checklist and a calendar reminder.

Have you ever studied for a test and knew you had everything memorized only to forget important things during the pressure of the test? Have you ever had to try to remember the steps to some task that you did months or even years ago? The art of preparedness is to plan in periods of calm in order to use the plan during a risk event or to prevent a risk event. In our modern computer age two of your greatest tools are the checklist and electronic calendars. Many times we have to prepare for a risk event. Things like changing batteries in smoke detectors. Making sure we check fluids in the car. There are hundreds of small routine tasks that can help reduce the big and small risks in life. Since many of us have a computer or cell phone with a calendar, it is now a simple task to set down a couple times a year and schedule these maintenance tasks. By scheduling them you are more likely to actually remember and complete these tasks. Also by doing these tasks you can change you behavior from a reactive person to one who is proactive.

Now the other tools is the checklist. Right now I go to work and every morning for the last month there has been one or more car accidents. It happens every fall in the area I live. When the first snow hits there will the many car accidents. There are checklists for preparing for winter driving. These are proactive tools that can help one prepare. In fact if you check the Internet you will likely find a checklist for almost any common risk an average American is likely to face. These checklists come in two types. The first is proactive, meaning they provide a list of actions to prepare for or to avoid a risk. These can be put into electronic devices, linked to calendars, etc. They make it so you do not have to remember every detail and the order of the details. Much like cooking recipes allow us to not have to remember the details of preparing a dish so long as we know the basics of cooking. Now the second type of check list is one that would be used during an risk event or right after a risk event. These we generally want both an electronic and a hard copy of. This might be as simple as checklist for basic first aid stored in a first aid kit. The may be things to do for a insurance claim kept with important papers. Basically these lists are designed to help us handle the risk event. As such they have to be available in a form that will be useable during the risk event.

So as you thing about preparing for the important risks in your life, give a thought to using your calendars and creating or finding some good checklists.