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Maroon carrot yogurt? Nah, I have my limits. They may be stretching, but by golly gosh gee, I have em. And strange combinations of carrots and yogurt are on that list.

Yesterday I was planning on heading to the Dripping Springs Farmers Market. This plan was altered when the first killer t-storm of Spring rolled in to Austin in all it's glory. Thunder, lighting and a little hail all around 6:30. I did not appreciated the wake up from Mother Nature. The cats were not too keen on it either. It's always a bad sign when you wake up to kitties frantically trying to burrow under the blankets with you.

After an hour or so of negotiation, I finally dragged myself out of bed and proceeded to stare blankly at the computer for a bit. One thought kept running through my head…must buy food!

It was still raining, so I whimped out and decided to skip the handy dandy farmers market. To Whole Paychecks, er Foods I went.

Now keeping in mind that Whole Foods has a goodly share of questionable items on the shelf (organic frozen fruit from China anyone?), one cool thing at Whole Foods is that they do locally source items when able to. So I was able to get some nice produce including maroon carrots! Yes maroon carrots. They were apparently developed up by Texas A&M. So while I may be eating Aggie carrots here in Longhorn country, they are pretty. And tasty.

I also experimented with making strained yogurt. I'm a big fan of the thick greek style yogurts. After doing a little research online, I discovered that you can strain normal 'gert and make it into "greek style". So a quart of Stonybrook Farms plain went into a dishtowel lined strainer over a bowl. Two hours later, voila! Greek Gert for half the price! Score!

A big challenge right now is getting some understanding of how the growing season works. I mean come on, I'm used to supermarkets. Everything is always in season! Not so much. While I'm not going to eliminate foods just because they are out of season, part of the challenge is understanding how I'm supposed to eat. Yeah I said supposed to eat. You see, once upon a time we all wandered the world without food scientists, nutritionists or even *gasp* personal trainers. People figured out how to eat based on trial and error, growing patterns, and overall items available in the area. Over time, this knowledge refined out into cultural eating patterns. Gog the cave man figured out that if he ate little black seeds from a particular plant mixed with water, he could go longer distances without feeling dehydrated. Gog didn't know chia was hydrophilic, meaning it can absorb 12 times it's weight in water. He didn't care. He just knew it worked.

Now with the rise of modern science, we have a tendency to take things apart to see how they work. Which is all well and good. The problem comes when we start taking things apart and don't look at the system they worked in. Foods out of context start showing up in our diet in ways they may not be optimized for. A good example is corn.

The ancient Aztecs discovered that mixing corn with lime made it easier for the body to digest it. When corn was taken from the heathen lands to the rest of the world, this "primitive" method didn't travel with the corn. What the Europeans didn't know what using lime to process the corn made niacin (a vitamin) available for the body. As corn moved into Europe, a new disease moved with it. Known as pellagra, it was marked by the three D's, diarrhea, dermatitis (skin conditions), and dementia. Basically you were unable to keep food in you, your skin started to develop sores and rashes, and eventually you lost your mind. After the American Civil War, pellagra reached epidemic levels in the Southern states. Lack of access to flour forced dependence on cornmeal and lead to a rise in niacin deficient Southerners. 

Scientists and public health officials were eventually able to trace the problem back to cornmeal. More time would be needed to understand the exact mechanism. Eventually hybrid versions of corn were developed which were easier for us to digest. Cornmeal was enriched with niacin, and we all moved along our merry way.

Food has context. Understanding that context is part of what eating right really is.

 

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