Americans Taste Exotic Asian Food

 Posted by on 25 August 2014 at 2:00 pm  Culture, Food, Funny
Aug 252014

This is hysterical — Americans Taste Exotic Asian Food:

Jan 222014

I’m a bit late in blogging this news, but I’m delighted to report that the Institute for Justice has created a Food Freedom Initiative:

A new national initiative launched [November 19, 2013] by the Institute for Justice seeks to make sure the government stays out of some of the most personal decisions people make every day: What we eat and how we get our food. This nationwide campaign will bring property rights, economic liberty and free speech challenges to laws that dictate what Americans can grow, raise, eat or even talk about.

To kick off the initiative, IJ is today filing three separate lawsuits challenging Miami Shores, Florida’s ban on front-yard vegetable gardens; Minnesota’s severe restrictions on home bakers, or “cottage food” producers; and Oregon’s ban on the advertisement of raw–or unpasteurized–milk. Each case demonstrates how real the need for food freedom is in every corner of the country.

“More and more, the government is demanding a seat at our dining room tables, attempting to dictate what we put on our plates, in our glasses and, ultimately, in our bodies,” said Michael Bindas, an IJ senior attorney who heads up the new initiative. “The National Food Freedom Initiative will end government’s meddlesome and unconstitutional interference in our food choices so that Americans can once again know true food freedom.”

  • IJ is challenging Miami Shores’ front-yard vegetable garden ban in state court on behalf of Herminie Ricketts and Tom Carroll, a married couple who grew vegetables on their own property for their own consumption for nearly two decades before Miami Shores officials ordered them to tear up the very source of their sustenance or face fines of $50 per day. Learn more about their case:
  • Minnesota allows food entrepreneurs to make certain inherently safe foods–such as baked goods–in home kitchens, but it: (1) prohibits their sale anywhere other than farmers’ markets and community events; and (2) limits revenues to $5,000 per year. Violating these restrictions can lead to fines of up to $7,500 or up to 90 days in jail. IJ is challenging these restrictions under the Minnesota Constitution on behalf of cottage food entrepreneurs Jane Astramecki and Mara Heck. Learn more about their case at:
  • In Oregon, it is legal for small farmers to sell raw milk, but they are flatly forbidden from advertising it. If they do advertise their milk, they face a fine of $6,250 and civil penalties as high as $10,000–plus one year in jail. IJ is challenging this ban under the First Amendment on behalf of farmer Christine Anderson of Cast Iron Farm. Learn more about Christine’s case at:

These three cases raise important constitutional questions that show how meddlesome government has become in our food choices: Can government really prohibit you from peacefully and productively using your own property to feed your family? Can government really restrict how many cakes a baker sells and where she sells them? Can government really ban speech about a legal product like raw milk? The answer is no.

IJ’s President and General Counsel, Chip Mellor, said, “For 22 years, IJ has been on the forefront of protecting Americans’ property rights, economic liberty and freedom of speech. With our National Food Freedom Initiative, IJ will now bring that experience to bear in the most fundamental area–food–so that Americans can be truly free to produce, market, procure and consume the foods of their choice.”

If you care about your access to foods of your own choosing and the rights of food producers to engage in voluntary trade, please consider donating to IJ! IJ is extremely effective and principled in their advocacy of liberty, and I know that my donor dollars are going to very good use.

P.S. With this initiative, the Institute for Justice is tackling a really important and growing aspect of statism in a way that resonates with ordinary Americans. They’re doing so on the basis of sound principles and facts, and they’re likely to effect change through the courts and public outreach. In contrast, ARI’s only activity in this area has been a series of propagandistic blog posts in defense of GMOs by an astrophysicist without an adequate understanding of relevant principles of biology. Basically, ARI’s approach seems little better than what Christian Wernstedt satirized here: The Tragedy of Milkia®: The Luddite Attack Against Industrial Dairy Progress. For this reason and about a hundred others, I’m glad that my donor dollars have long gone elsewhere, particularly to IJ.

My January Whole 30

 Posted by on 1 January 2014 at 9:00 am  Food, Health
Jan 012014

As y’all know, I’ve eaten a paleo diet since mid-2008. As a result, I’m no longer beholden to sugar, my weight is stable, and I don’t suffer from migraines or sciatica any longer.

However, I’ve gotten a bit lax lately, particularly about sugar. So I’ve decided to do a reset by doing a Whole30 in January. I’ll eat nothing but “real food — meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts, and seeds.” I’ll eat not the slightest hint of grains, sugar, no alcohol, dairy, legumes, white potatoes, preservatives, or paleofied desserts. Also, I won’t take any body measurements — although I gave up on that some months ago for the sake of my own mental health.

To keep myself honest, Greg and Tammy Perkins will be my accountabilibuddies: I’ll pay them $5 every time I stray intentionally or negligently from the Whole30. I’ve hacked my diet enough — including with a much more strict elimination diet — that I don’t require such incentives … usually. However, I’ll be travelling quite a bit in January, so I want some extra incentives not to cheat.

If you want to start your own Whole30, you can start today or tomorrow and still wrap it up by the end of January. If you don’t have an accountabilibuddy handy, you’re more than welcome to use Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar!

If you want to know more, check out It Starts with Food in hardback or kindle.

Update: NOMNOMNOM! Here’s breakfast:

That’s chicken and apple sausage, plus two fried eggs in coconut oil. (Hooray “diet” food!) I’m drinking chocolate-raspberry tea, which is raspberry tea with a spoonful of cocoa powder.

Adrian Peterson’s Adult-Onset Shellfish Allergy

 Posted by on 4 December 2013 at 1:00 pm  Food, Health
Dec 042013

Via Jenn Casey, I found this interview in Allergic Living with NFL player Adrian Peterson on his adult-onset shellfish allergy. I was particularly struck with his account of the severity of his first allergic reaction:

Allergic Living: Many of us heard that you had a big allergic reaction. Could you take us back to those moments: where were you, what were you eating, what happened?

Adrian Peterson: It was 2011 at training camp and we were at lunch. I had a bowl of gumbo – it had the normal stuff, shrimp, scallops, seafood. Maybe 30 minutes after I ate lunch and got back to my room, I was relaxing, resting up before afternoon practice – that’s when I started experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis, though I didn’t know at the time. My throat started to itch, my eyes were extremely itchy. I remember laying down rubbing my eyes; it kind of raised a red flag.

When I stood up and looked in the mirror, I saw my eyes were swollen, and my throat was starting to swell up on me, so I called my athletic trainer and told him the symptoms. Immediately he was like, ‘Hold on, I’m coming up, just wait for me!’

When he got there, he had the EpiPen auto-injector, I administered it into my thigh, and immediately I felt my throat start to open up. I was able to breathe better, and it gave me the time I needed to get to the hospital to seek further assistance.

It kind of threw me off guard, because I eat seafood all the time, and I’ve always eaten seafood my entire life and then – just out of the blue – I have this life-threatening allergic reaction.

After training camp I went to see an allergist and found out that I’m allergic to shrimp, lobster and scallops. From that point on, I’ve had my action plan, which is knowing my allergic triggers, and always having access to my EpiPen, just in case I have an allergic reaction. I have my EpiPen on me at all times.


AL: What felt better: being chosen as the 2012 MVP, or having your allergic reaction stopped by the auto-injector?

AP: [laughs] Having my allergic reaction stopped! You know what the crazy thing is, after I got off the phone with my athletic trainer, it seemed like everything kept getting even worse. When I hung up the phone I couldn’t breathe out of my nose, period. Then my throat started to really close up on me, so I’m sitting there, I’m searching, scratching for air, just barely getting air.

I got to the point where I was actually leaving, to try and meet him wherever he was coming from – I just wanted to get help – and as soon as I opened the door he ran out the elevator, he had the EpiPen, and I administered it.

These kinds of stories make me think that EpiPens should be a standard part of every first aid kit. Without that EpiPen from the trainer, he might not have survived — or the reaction might have done him serious damage.

For more information about living with food allergies, check out my two interviews with Jenn Casey.

Living Safely with Food Allergies: Part 1

Living Safely with Food Allergies: Part 2

Norms of Beauty Versus Eating

 Posted by on 13 November 2013 at 10:00 am  Culture, Food, Gender
Nov 132013

Oh ye defenders of the sex-based norms of beauty and behavior of the culture in which you happened to be born, think of this example next time you’re inclined to think that some norm of your culture is “only natural.”

This example is hardly wild and crazy, but you’ll probably find it odd for the simple reason that you didn’t grow up with it.

Via Upworthy. Oh, and a good discussion of the ad campaign on Quora is here.

Coping with Life-Threatening Food Allergies

 Posted by on 23 September 2013 at 10:00 am  Food, Health, Medicine
Sep 232013

On Wednesday — the 25th — I’ll interview food allergy mom Jenn Casey about living well despite life-threatening food allergies. Unfortunately, the topic has been in the news of late, due to the death of Natalie Giorgi.

Here’s what happen to Natalie, as told by her parents:

Natalie Giorgi died July 26 after eating a Rice Krispie treat that had been prepared with peanut products at Camp Sacramento on the final day of a multi-family camping trip, her parents said. Giorgi had a documented allergy to peanuts.

“We had been there before. We had eaten their Rice Krispie treats before. We had never had a problem before,” Louis Giorgi said.

Giorgi said immediately after taking one bite of the treat, his daughter told her parents. She had been dancing with friends when she took the bite. “We gave her Benadryl like we’d been told,” Natalie’s father said.

Over the next several minutes, the Giorgis said their daughter showed no signs of a reaction whatsoever. “I kept asking, ‘are you OK?’ She kept telling me she was fine, and she wanted to go back to dancing with her friends,” Natalie’s mom said. Natalie kept asking her parents to go back to her friends, but they kept telling her she had to stay with them, to make sure she was OK.

“Then suddenly, she started vomiting,” Louis said. “It spiraled downhill out of control so quickly.” Natalie’s father, a physician, administered both of the EPI-Pens — used to slow or stop an allergic reaction — that the family carried with them. A third was obtained from the camp and administered. None of them stopped her reaction. Her dad called 911.

“I did everything right, in my opinion. I couldn’t save her,” Louis Giorgi said. Emergency responders who arrived later couldn’t save her, either.

“She had been fine, and had been talking to us. This was a worst-case scenario. One of the last things she said was, ‘I’m sorry, mom,’” Natalie’s mother said as she wiped a tear away from her cheek.

It’s a heartbreaking story, particularly because neither Natalie nor her parents were in any way irresponsible about their daughter’s food allergy.

Natalie’s death has raised a new round of questions about when epi-pens should be administered — after the ingestion of the known allergen or when symptoms appear. Natalie’s parents followed the latter protocol (which many doctors endorse) but that was too late.

On that question, this “Ask the Expert” Column from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology was very informative. Here’s a bit:

These cases [of death due to ingestion of an allergen] illustrate a very important point. That is, the mean time to respiratory or cardiovascular arrest after the ingestion of a food to which a patient is allergic is 30 minutes (Pumphrey RS, Clinical and Experimental Allergy 2000; 30(8):1144-1150). Thus there is very little time for one to act after patients express even the mildest symptom of an anaphylactic event.

Nonetheless, we have all seen children (and adults) who experience initial symptoms such as itching of the back of the throat or nausea after eating a food, and who recover spontaneously. In the practice of Allergy, we do food allergen challenges on a regular basis and observe these spontaneous recoveries. Thus we are all prejudiced by these observations. These personal anecdotal observations have resulted in the debate as framed in this quote from the Journal of allergy and Clinical Immunology:

“Although there is little debate about using epinephrine to treat a SCIT SR” (meaning anaphylactic reactions to injection of an allergen), “there is a lack of consensus about when it should be first used.”

This debate has certainly extended to anaphylactic reactions to foods. The issue is not whether epinephrine is the drug of choice. Clearly it is. Other agents such as antihistamines do not act in time to prevent fatalities. Thus if we are going to prevent a fatality, the only tool we have to do so is epinephrine.

So what should be done? (Mind you, even if you don’t have food allergies, you might need to give someone advice on this matter at some point — and you could save their life!)

As the article says: “In July 2008, the World Allergy Organization published the following statements:”

Anaphylaxis is an acute and potentially lethal multisystem allergic reaction. Most consensus guidelines for the past 30 years have held that epinephrine is the drug of choice and the first drug that should be administered in acute anaphylaxis. Some state that properly administered epinephrine has no absolute contraindication in this clinical setting. A committee of anaphylaxis experts assembled by the World Allergy Organization has examined the evidence from the medical literature concerning the appropriate use of epinephrine for anaphylaxis. The committee strongly believes that epinephrine is currently underused and often dosed suboptimally to treat anaphylaxis, is underprescribed for potential future self-administration, that most of the reasons proposed to withhold its clinical use are flawed, and that the therapeutic benefits of epinephrine exceed the risk when given in appropriate intramuscular doses.

Again, I hope that you join Jenn and me on Wednesday for our discussion of living well with food allergies. We won’t just be focused on the person who has the food allergy: we’ll talk quite a bit about what friends and family can (and should) do to keep that person safe, without driving anyone crazy.


Wow, check out this fabulous news from The Institute for JusticeFree Speech Victory: Court Reinstates Caveman Blogger’s First Amendment Challenge:

Arlington, Va.–This morning, in a big win for free speech, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that diabetic blogger Steve Cooksey’s First Amendment lawsuit against the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition may go forward.

Cooksey ran a Dear Abby-style advice column on his blog in which he gave one-on-one advice about how to follow the low carbohydrate “paleo” diet. The Board deemed Cooksey’s advice the unlicensed practice of nutritional counseling, sent him a 19-page print-up of his website indicating in red pen what he was and was not allowed to say, and threatened him with legal action if he did not comply.

The decision reverses a previous ruling by a federal district judge that had dismissed Cooksey’s case, reasoning that advice is not protected speech and hence Cooksey had suffered no injury to his First Amendment rights.

“This decision will help ensure that the courthouse doors remain open to speakers whose rights are threatened by overreaching government” said Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Jeff Rowes. “In America, citizens don’t have to wait until they are fined or thrown in jail before they are allowed to challenge government action that chills their speech.”


The three-judge appellate panel, which included retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, held that it had “no trouble deciding that Cooksey’s speech was sufficiently chilled by the actions of the State Board to show a First Amendment injury-in-fact.”

The appellate panel also dismissed the Board’s argument that its 19-page red-pen review of Cooksey’s did not chill his speech, noting that the “red-pen mark-up of his website from the State Board Complaint Committee . . . surely triggered the same trepidation we have all experienced upon receiving such markings on a high school term paper.”

The case, which has received significant national media attention, will now be sent back to the district court. Click here for George Will’s syndicated column on the lawsuit.

Steve Cooksey said, “I give people simple advice on what food to buy at the grocery store. I have believed all along that my advice is protected by the First Amendment, and I am looking forward to proving that the censorship of my speech is unconstitutional.”

IJ Attorney Paul Sherman said, “Steve’s case raises one of the most important unanswered questions in First Amendment law: Can occupational-licensing laws trump free speech? Today’s ruling means that we are finally going to get an answer to that question.”


For more on the lawsuit, visit Founded in 1991, the Virginia-based Institute for Justice is a national public interest law firm that fights for free speech and economic liberty nationwide.

It’s cases like this one that make me so pleased and proud to donate to IJ’s free speech division. Congratulations, Steve!

Cavebaby Cora Eats Ribs

 Posted by on 6 April 2013 at 10:00 am  Children, Food
Apr 062013


Cora puts everything in her mouth… and she looks so delighted to discover something tasty. (I’m such a proud honorary auntie!)

Bacon Movies

 Posted by on 25 February 2013 at 1:00 pm  Film, Food, Funny
Feb 252013

An online acquaintance of mine, Mike, recently sent me the following. I like it too much not to share it!

A friend started a circular email with the idea of taking movie names and changing one word to “bacon.” It came at just the right moment and my twisted carnivorous subconscious pumped out a slew of ‘em. For your delectation:

Bacon at Tiffany’s Bacon and Sympathy The Bacon of King George Bacon in the Grass Bacon Bacon The Bacon of Madison County Eating Bacon Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bacon Lethal Bacon

And not quite by the rules, but Thank You for Smoking Bacon

Other suggestions?

I’m thinking…

Bacon in the Woods 30 Days of Bacon How to Train Your Bacon Million Dollar Bacon

Slow-Roasted Grapes

 Posted by on 16 February 2013 at 10:00 am  Food
Feb 162013

I’ve made these slow-roasted grapes quite a few times now… and they’re amazing! They’re really easy too. However, I recommend using coconut oil instead of olive oil. They’re much yummier that way. Plus, don’t bother with the parchment paper.

Basically, wash a hefty bag of seedless grapes. Either remove the grapes from the stems entirely — or cut up the stems into small bunches of just a few grapes each.

Melt a tablespoon or two of coconut oil on a cookie sheet in the oven at 250 F. Put the grapes into a roomy metal bowl, then pour the coconut oil over them, and gently mix them. (You can also toss in a bit of salt here too.)

Return the grapes (and any extra coconut oil) to the cookie sheet, spreading them out nicely. Roast them for two to four hours at 250F, until they’re shriveled and caramelized. The time is pretty flexible, but I’ve found that I prefer them more deeply roasted — meaning, in the three to four hour range.)

Then… NOM. Be careful how many you eat though. They’re a bit too easy!

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