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Expat wanderer

Palestinian Olive Oil Update

My good friend BitJockey located two sources which will ship Palestinian Olive Oil directly to me, Woooo HOOOOOO! Thank you Bit Jockey!

Import Peace
Caanan Fair Trade

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July 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Bacteria Makes Me Fat!

It’s not my fault! Bacteria makes me fat! I am so relieved! (But I am still fat 😦 )

This is an excerpt from Newsweek Magazine, part of a much longer article which you can read for yourself by clicking on the blue type, above.

The grapefruit diet, the Atkins diet, low-fat diets, low-carb diets, the cabbage-soup diet: they and all the other fad diets make the health establishment roll its collective eyes. The only way to lose weight, says every reputable textbook and medical society, is to burn more calories than you consume. And if you are adding pounds, the reason is, pure and simple, that you are consuming more calories than you expend. Weight gain is a straightforward matter of calories in minus calories out, they maintain.

But while the basic math is right, the meaning of “calories in” isn’t what we’ve been taught, according to a growing pile of studies of chubby mice, obese people, svelte mice, and slim people. The calories that matter are not simply the number printed on grocery items, fast-food menus, and those guilt-inducing signs next to Starbucks’ brownies.

The calories that count are those extracted by your digestive enzymes and—as more and more research is showing—the trillions of bacteria in your intestine. People whose gut bacteria are better at digesting fats and carbs than their neighbor’s will absorb all 1,500 calories in a Friendly’s Ultimate Grilled Cheese BurgerMelt, while the neighbor will absorb fewer. So even in people with identical metabolisms, the effects of eating identical foods can be different.

July 8, 2010 Posted by | Diet / Weight Loss, Food, Health Issues | 2 Comments

No Standards for Virgins or Extra Virgins in USA

I found this today on AOL News/Slashfood and it is a subject – long time readers will know – of interest to me. Ever since I read the article on The Olive Oil Scandal in The New Yorker I have been a religious reader of labels. I have discovered that in most of the US stores, the olive oil, virgin, extra virgin or otherwise is a blend of oils from Turkey, Spain, maybe even a South American country. To get olive oil from one country, I go to specialty shops. I have not seen one single bottle of my very favorite – Palestinian olive oil – and I wonder if it is even exported. I always bought it from my friends overseas; someone would bring in gallons and gallons of it and it was always so fresh tasting, and so tasty. It smelled so good you were tempted to eat a spoonful! No, no, I didn’t. The smell is unforgettable, and nothing I have tried in the US comes close. I can’t even find any California olive oil in the local stores!

Virgin? Extra virgin? Or something else entirely?

You never know what you’re really getting when you open a bottle of “100% extra virgin” olive oil, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture is hoping to change that with new standards for the green-gold oil set to roll out this fall, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The new rules come at a time when olive oil demand is surging. Americans bought 79 million gallons in 2008, up from 47 million gallons a decade earlier, the paper reported.

There are no federal rules that define “virgin” or “extra virgin” olive oil, Vito S. Polito, professor of plant sciences at UC Davis and co-chairman of the school’s Olive Center, a research group, told the Times. As a result, he said, “the U.S. has been a dumping ground for cheap olive oil for years.”

Bob Bauer, president of the North American Olive Oil Assn., said most of the olive oil on U.S. store shelves is legit, but his group alerts the FDA when problems occur.

Bauer told the Times 3 to 4 percent of the 200 to 300 samples his group tests each year are unadulterated or mislabeled, meaning they’re not as pure as they say they are or they’ve been combined with another type of oil.
“We’ve petitioned the FDA to create a standard of identity, which would define in black and white what olive oil is and is not,” Bauer told the Times. “They never acted on the petition.”
A spokesperson for the FDA told the Times that the agency does not regularly test olive oils for “adulteration,” but relies on information from the public or other groups.

The voluntary regulations being rolled out this fall set parameters for freshness and purity, fatty acid levels and ultraviolet light absorption, which can tell how fresh the oil is. USDA experts will also conduct tasting reviews, the Times reported.

Some worry that the regulations will be meaningless until they’re mandatory.
“It’s like saying you have to stop at stop signs, but there are no cops at the corner,” Paul Vossen, a University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Sonoma County, told the paper. “Standards are a good start, but enforcement is important.”

July 8, 2010 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Cooking, Cultural, ExPat Life, Food, Living Conditions, Shopping, Tunisia | 7 Comments