Melissa's blog

Betaine HCL: What's the deal? Does it increase stomach acidity? Does it help GERD? Improve digestion?

Now and then I get an email asking about using Betaine HCL to heal from GERD. I first heard about this supplement through Robb Wolf's podcast. By the time I heard of it, I already did not have GERD. I bought a bottle to use as a digestive enzyme after large meals like Thanksgiving, but it didn't do very much for me and I kind of forgot about it. 

Soul Food Junk Food- How Soul Food Junkies demonizes traditional foods

We "know better" than to eat deadly traditional Soul Food, says Nation of Islam* minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad interviewed in a new documentary aired on PBS called Soul Food Junkies. I was hoping for an in-depth exploration of the history of soul food, but unfortunately most of this documentary was self-deprecating in a rather familiar way. It's no coincidence that one of the trailers is titled moralistically "Soul food: sacrament or sin."

The Paleo-Political Continuum

 Recently a friend sent me this piece on the "paleo" diet and libertarianism in The New Inquiry, which quotes me. It is well-written and thought-provoking, even worth reading if you probably disagree with the author's politics. I myself had thought of writing something similar for awhile, because at some point it's just too interesting how the diet-self-identity movements have become associated with various political leanings. My own are somewhat nebulous.

It's all connected: Posture, Pain, Genetics, NSAIDs, and Stomach Problems

 I was fairly young when I started having health problems. One of them was headaches. I had severe headaches and then migraines starting when I was maybe 9. By the time I was in high school, headaches, constant infections, fatigue, and stomach problems caused me to miss over a month of class every single school year. One thing that helped quite a bit was Excedrin Migraine, a combination of ibuprofen and caffeine. I popped those things like candy. I bought them all the time, taking the maximum dose for weeks at a time. 

Home, here, there, and abroad: The best of what I ate this year

 An incomplete list of my favorites- I set the timer on 30 minutes to sift through my photos (makes me realize why I take them- Schwa, Ruxbin, Blackbird's dinner menu are absent because I didn't take any) and here is what I picked.

@home: lingonberry(frozen w/ no sugar/crap added from Erickson's Delicatessen & Fish), seaweed (Seasnax), reindeer pate (Smoking Goose Meatery), and buckwheat pancake (buckwheat from Chicago winter Greenmarket, soured in sour cream for a day, mixed with egg, cooked in butter)

The Best of 2012: The spectacular food coming from Midwestern kitchens

 If there is anything I can say about this year for sure, it's that I ate well, perhaps better than I ever have. I had meals that went beyond what I ever imagined food could be in terms of intricate qualities, each ingredient like little clockwork pieces, gears whirring together perfectly in tune.

Duck and DIY Food Processing

 It struck me as a sliced off lingering slivers of lovely red meat from the bones of the duck that I was doing something both very ancient and also very similar to the dreaded pink slime. Hear me out on this- pink slime's defenders talk about how it let's them use the whole carcass of an animal, which is an admirably thrifty concept. Of course it's been demented by desire for "low-fat" products, so the perfectly good little bits have to be mangled and treated like garbage in order to get the lean meat from it. 

Dark Bedroom/Cold House

 When I was in high school and college I struggled with insomnia. The worst was when I lived in the dorms. Snoring roommate I hardly knew five feet away from me, sodium lamp light streaming in through the blinds, the ever-constant noise of slamming doors and drunken college students. I was constantly sick, constantly tired, almost always teetering on clinical depression. I missed class constantly, only getting by because like most colleges, the classes were a colossal waste of time and I could pass the tests just be reading the books.

Rektún mat- Real Food

 It's amazing for me to think that it was 2008, the year when I lived in Sweden, when Magnus Nilsson was getting his little restaurant in the North of Sweden off the ground. That so much has changed since then, not just for me, but for the entire idea of Swedish food.