Pomegranate extract – Master Chef Challenge update

For anyone following along with the pomegranate peel experiments  (previous post)- update, I had a lot of pomegranate extract thawed at the same time and for a dietitian that means reheat to steaming to assure food safety. So it was an opportunity to experiment some more with trying to adjust the acidity again. When baking soda is added to a hot acidic liquid there is an obvious bubbling reaction and change in color of the liquid. I have pH strips to check acidity and did manage to adjust the acidity of the extract. The taste is still not great but chronic illness and mood issues are not great either. After three cups of experimental attempts my mood is awesome *(see additional note) and I have some recipe details:

6 cups of pomegranate extract  (previous post)

2 Tablespoons Cardamom powdered spice

1 teaspoon Gumbo File powdered spice (Sassafras Leaves, powdered and used in Gumbo’s in Creole style cooking)

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

  1. Add the Cardamom and Gumbo File to the Pomegranate Extract and stir well to break apart any dry lumps of the powdered spices. The Gumbo File acts as an emulsifier and is a digestive aid and the Cardamom adds flavor, phytonutrients and would help alkalize the mixture in addition to the alkalizing power of the Baking Soda.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Add the Baking Soda and stir. Remove the mixture from the heat and keep stirring. It will froth up and stirring helps keep it from frothing over the top of the pan. The color changes from pinkish to brown from the Cardamom spice.
  4. To drink as a beverage dilute with equal parts water to Pomegranate Extract.

This would be an acquired taste – aka “not good” until you get used to it, or not good at all but the mood and health benefits are worth for me at least. It is also a diuretic which means it is like beer or coffee in the way it increases kidney activity and urine production so it is best to have it earlier in the day followed by plenty of glasses of water early in the day so that you aren’t waking up in the middle of the night as much. Overly acidic, dehydrated body fluids can increase work for the kidneys and result in a frequent feeling of needing to go urgently but then not producing much quantity – drink plenty of water early  in the day and produce plenty of dilute quantity early in the day and a diuretic can help cleanse toxins from the body instead of being a middle of the night problem.

Since pomegranate growing season is limited the powdered spice made from Sumac might be a health substitute. It has been shown to have a range of health benefits, and is also a diuretic. Its phytonutrients are similarly colored suggesting there might be some similar antioxidant content as well. The gallotannin group of phytonutrients are in common and would likely promote Nrf2. (More about Sumac in this post) (a series of posts on Nrf2)

To put a financial perspective on this – for my health needs the pomegranate extract or pomegranate seeds and cardamom powder and a few other good sources of phospholipids are adequate replacements for my medical marijuana which cost me around $1000-1200 per month. The medical effects are slightly different and not quite as good for pain killing properties but the negative psychological effects that can occur with withdrawal for some people are also not present.

To review – cannabinoids are a group of chemicals that are made within the cells of most species and are similar to the group of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plants commonly known as marijuana or hemp. Medical marijuana has a euphoria producing one known by the chemical initials THC while hemp has only non-euphoria producing cannabinoids. Both types can have medical or other basic health benefits. Cannabinoids are found throughout membranes and add to cell wall flexibility and help with messenger chemical type activities that can help reduce inflammation and fight infection. Some people such as myself can have genetic differences that make it impossible to make the chemicals internally as in average health. I have had minor health problems since infancy and having external dietary sources of phospholipids or cannabinoids helps my body and mood and immune system. More information about the topic is available in the post/article Is it Addiction or Starvation?

People with problems with binge eating disorders, alcohol abuse tendencies, meth or heroin/opioid abuse tendencies, or seem to have an excess use of marijuana, and nicotine to a lesser extent all may actually have underlying genetic differences that leave them in need of increased dietary sources of phospholipids/cannabinoids. The article Is It Addiction or Starvation? has some legal food sources in addition to pomegranate seeds and cardamom spice. It doesn’t mention the Middle Eastern spice Sumac but it might help also.

*Additional note – three cups was likely to large of a serving, an awesome mood for someone with unstable mood issues was too much of a good thing – Newton’s Law of Gravity may apply metaphorically, “What goes up must come down.” I had a worse mood problem later in the evening. Today (the next morning) I’ve enjoyed a few spoonfuls of the spicy, creamy slightly thickened mixture in my coffee and it is good to my “acquired taste.” The thing about having acquired an acquired taste for something is that you then want to acquire more – pun intended.  The pomegranate season in Australia turns out to also be November to March so that isn’t much help. Processing pomegranate peel during the growing season would be necessary if I hope to continue to be able to acquire pomegranate extract all year long. It has medicinal benefits according to the research that is available, (see links in earlier posts on this site).

New Zealand isn’t ideal for pomegranate either as the summer length may be too short some years, however their harvest season is February-April: “Pomegranates grow best in areas with cold Winters and long hot, dry Summers.” (Pomegranate Wonderful)

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Where there’s love, there’s hope – Beloved Oakland

A fundraising event is being held Sunday February 18 in Oakland, California. “Beloved Oakland” (dothebay.com) has a variety of entertainers including Fantastic Negrito. Tickets are available for the event scheduled to start at 8pm.

“Join the new and old faces of Oakland for a One Night Oakland Love Explosion where we honor Oakland’s social justice legacy and unite around solutions for Urban Equity & Inclusion. MUSIC, LIVE ART & Program by 2017 Grammy Winner blues musician Fantastic Negrito, Hip Hop soul musician Kev Choice & Oakland School of the Arts, KMEL DJ DC, Blues siren Naima Shalhoub, Hip Hop poet Ise Lyfe, Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Alicia Garza, Activist Artist Favianna Rodriguez, Destiny Arts Da more… (dothebay.com)

Fox Theater sign in Oakland, California.

The BelovedOakland.org website has more information about the fundraising goals of the group: BelovedOakland.org. Building community spirit and involvement is part of the goal (call to action) and raising funds to help displaced homeless people find acceptance and hopefully more places to live is part of the goal. The Dellums Institute for Social Justice (Dellums) is a leadership organization accepting donations for building more room and acceptance for displaced people.  So if you can’t make the fundraising and community building event on Sunday you can support the physical building of community (actual purchase of more living and community space in expensive urban areas is part of the goals) and support and education of new generations of leaders by donating to Dellums Institute for Social Justice: (DellumsInstitute.org/donate) More information about some of the housing initiatives the group has successfully led and are currently involved with is located here: (DellumsInstitute.org/OurWork)

Congressman Ron Dellums will be one of the people honored at the Beloved Oakland event being held on Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 8pm, doors open at 7pm. (BelovedOakland/BuyTickets)

More information about the historic Fox Theatre and other events that are being held at the event venue located on Telegraph Road, Oakland, California. (TheatreOakland.com)

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Car privacy panel updates for any DIY-ers or car people

The double-sided insulated privacy panels worked pretty well. Moisture is an issue so having removable panels that can be easily cleaned or replaced occasionally is important. There is definitely a demand. I saw many cars with the folding according style windshield panels that are already available and I also saw quite a few makeshift drapes on side windows. When sunshine is intense I’ve done that too. Just shut the window on one edge of a large fabric item like a square scarf or shirt and most of the window will be covered.

The advantage of my insulated panels was that they also helped keep the car warm in cold weather and cooler in hot weather. Moisture collects on the inside of the car window and ice scraping  the interior is needed on all the windows or towel drying. It would be too much moisture to expect the car’s normal hot air blower to be able to clear very quickly.

In making my set of panels I purposely left the occasional tarp grommets open to allow the interior to air out if needed. Once I arrived home I wiped both sides of all the panels with sanitizer. Campers know that musty tents are unpleasant. Tents and sleeping bags should be washed if possible and hung on a clothesline of some sort to air out before long term storage.

I grew up in a family that tent camped at least once a month every summer and so this is second nature for me.

Blue side faced out at night so it won’t cause a bright flash of light for other drivers. During hot sunny stops the reflective side facing out helps cool the car and the insulation absorbs heat. The panels physically felt warm.

Velcro tabs somewhere in the car would help hold them in place better but I was advised that the fabric ceiling liner isn’t attached strongly enough. I used a roll of blue painters tape to hold the side panels in place one very cold night. A more secure fit helps with the insulating ability. The ice buildup is greatest when the panels are securely in place.

Insulated window panels reversed for daytime sun, to reduce heat in the car and provide shade.

Addition, now that I’m on a laptop instead of a smartphone – If I was imagining a design for making all cars more energy efficient regarding the need for internal air conditioning or heating during any time of operation I would suggest a storm window type solution – two panes of glass with an air pocket in between on the side windows – both would open and close like a two lidded eyelid of a reptile or amphibian. For greater insulation and privacy a third insulating layer could be raised when desired which could fit in between the two see through panes of glass. Hemp fibers are used for insulation and can be made into a fiberglass type substance. https://www.blackmountaininsulation.com/products/natuhemp

Checking on parallax effects would be needed to assure that vision for the driver is not affected negatively.

Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use.