Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Well, I Wonder...

Are all health-food stores connected to New Age "healing" emporiums? If so, what is the common denominator - aging hippies who decide to go into business?

Just wondering here, as there seems to be a pattern.

Just so you know, I am not one of the organic-soy-locally-grown-gluten-free-pro biotic-free-range fanatics. I have neither the time, budget, nor energy to obsess over these things, but I'm all for common sense when it comes to health, nutrition, and what we feed our kids. Read: fruit good. Twinkies bad. Shop at Market Basket; buy what's on sale; in and out in 45 minutes. However, intrigued by how the other half lives, (that would be the homeschooling, bread-baking mamas from my church), I thought it would be kinda fun to learn how to bake bread. (Besides, high fructose corn syrup is demonic, and they put it in bread. !!!)

My first efforts were pathetic. No one told me that salt kills yeast, nor do I recall that being mentioned in college chemistry. Unperturbed, I persevered and have managed to crank out a few pretty good loaves; although a bit dense. Turns out you have to add vital gluten to whole wheat flour to make it rise, and a dash of lecithin doesn't hurt, either.

Turns out you can only get vital gluten at your local health food store, with names involving the word "earth" in the title.

Works for me; I was, as luck would have it, out of court by 11:00 this morning. So off to the hippie-granola health food store I go, for the first time in my adult life.

They have cool stuff. Lots of gluten-free, wheat-free flour ( a godsend for peeps with allergies); organic veggies; herbal supplements galore. I got the gluten, picked up some raw honey for my husband, and went home to play with my new bread machine. But not without grabbing a few brochures on my way out.

Upstairs from this friendly food store, turns out the same company runs a "holistic" center, offering reiki, Ayurveda massage, clairvoyant readings, crystal energy balancing, Brennan energy healing, and things of that nature. Check out this page from the website on "Readers, Mediums, and Clairvoyants".  What any of this occultic and pseudo-esoteric stuff has to do with organic kale and red quinoa is beyond me, but a quick Internet search indicated this type of connection is pretty common.

Another "holistic" health center in the area with a similar "menu" of Eastern healing also has chiropractic services, a legitimate medical practice. My muse on the way home was this: if a Christian patronizes such an establishment, say for a facial, back adjustment, or box of vital wheat gluten, what is the moral implication? As far as I know, all the fundie mamas buy their funky bread ingredients there. If I noticed the New Age adverts (they didn't exactly try to hide their agenda), I'm sure those sharp homeschoolers do, too.

It's late and this is just an off-the-cuff post. I wonder if any "Christian" health food markets exist, which don't offer to "re-align [my] chakras using many different crystals and stones". I don't quite get the connection between organic veggies and all this weirdness....


Ma ~ said...

Our local HFS

"Nutrition Unlimited"

has hippie dippie stuff all over it, too. The guy that runs/owns it is nice enough. I LOVE going there...don't get me started.

Anyhoo, I do buy some of my herbs for teas online at They are a Christian outlet and their prices and service is great. I sometimes have to dash into the new age mart, though.

Congrats on the bread...I don't want to show off (tee hee) but after years of heartache, I am finally baking with a wild yeast (sourdough) starter and haven't used commercial yeast since 08. My hubby likes the dense bread..the kids don't. I do break down and buy certain items that I just can't replicate (ie hamburger buns) at home.

Sorry to ramble..Bake on!

Marie said...

Wild yeast?!? Wow! I was feeling all proud of myself for just figuring out how to use the Fleishmann's!! That sourdough sounds delicious. A friend from church gave me (yes, GAVE me) a bread machine with a whole cookbook for all different kinds of bread you can make in the machine; I've done three so far. (She found out she is allergic to wheat, so a bread machine won't do her much good. Her loss is very much my gain!)

I will definitely check out morethanalive. I've been looking for green chili powder for months and can't find it - I want to make green chili, which I had as a kid, in the crockpot while I'm at work. Apparently you can't get it in this part of the country. I have a friend in Arizona - maybe I'll have her check.

Anyway, I think it's good to support the local businesses, but I think I'd rather support the Christian businesses if the local ones bring shamanism, crystals and 'energy healing' into the picture.

Ma ~ said...

Believe me, it took years to get the wild yeast down..I baked with active dry for a long time.

That is so great about your free bread machine.I can't imagine being allergic to wheat..the horror:( It is so nice to be able to have a nice hot loaf made by yourself! I love chili, but never have had green'll have to post a recipe.

Barbara said...

Wait. Salt kills yeast?

I have to go back and re-check all my recipes again. I have yet to get any kind of bread to come out to be useful for anything other than a doorstop.

Marie said...

Yep. No only that, but water hotter than 115 degrees or cooler than about 100 does, too. That would be the reason behind the whole-wheat doorstops -- apparently, the folks writing these recipes assume that we already know this stuff.

If you have a breadmaker, it's much easier - temperature is regulated for rising, and you just throw the yeast in on top of the dry ingredients and let the machine work its magic (almost feels like cheating, it's so easy). But what I found prevents the doorstops:

1) Use a thermometer to get your water between 110 and 112; then add 1/4 cup to the yeast AND sugar, together, to dissolve.

2) Have the salt in with the dry ingredients - never mix it with the yeast.

3) Mixing white and whole wheat flour will enable it to rise better; if using all whole-wheat, add 1 T. gluten per cup of flour.

4) They say it's supposed to rise a second time. Mine never does. That's when I started using the bread machine - hadn't quite figured out that problem yet.