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Mother Linda’s Update

 © Mother Linda's  

    March 2004

Crisco and Prilosec®

If you haven’t read it, I think you will find my article entitled “The Rise and Fall of Crisco” most revealing: see http://www.motherlindas.com/crisco.htm. As discussed in the article, Crisco was a mainstay of Proctor & Gamble (P&G) for almost 100 years. But P&G recently divested its huge portfolio of two well-known items, Crisco and Jif—both of which were sold in June 2002 to the J.M. Smucker Company. Its remaining food portfolio includes Eagle, Folgers, Millstone, Pringles, Punica (drinks sold in Germany), and Sunny Delight brands—products that bring in only 7 percent of their revenues.

While gradually getting out of the food business, P&G is seemingly not unhappy to make profits from food-related maladies. Prilosec® is owned by P&G. Pepto-Bismol and Metamucil are two other P&G “health care” brands. You’ve all seen the ads for Prilosec® on the TV, with great claims of stemming the rages of “heartburn” and “acid-reflux.” Once only available by prescription, now Prilosec® is available OTC, i.e., over-the-counter. That means no prescription is required and now anybody with a little stomach discomfort can self-medicate. In 2001, even before all the print and mass media ads went bonkers, Prilosec® sales topped $5.7 billion worldwide and $3.7 billion in the United States, making the heartburn medicine the second-biggest-selling drug. (I wonder what’s No. 1?)

Although I’m not a doctor, I really do wonder about the root cause of heartburn and acid reflux. Could it be that most of the processed foods on grocery store shelves are so darn “undigestible” the stomach revolts? And, bottom line, don’t you need the acid in your stomach to adequately digest proteins? What’s the sense in turning off or hindering its production?

Instead of resorting to pharmaceutical solutions that usually come with side effects, wouldn’t it be wiser to watch what you eat? Makes sense to me. For an interesting alternative view for the treatment of acid reflux or heartburn, or for what is sometimes referred to as Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD—see http://www.westonaprice.org/askdoctor/ask_gerd.html.

But P&G is smart. When lung cancer patients (or their survivors) started successfully suing tobacco companies over lung cancer, it probably assumed, and rightly so, that junk food manufacturers could be sued over obesity. So, “as the stomach turns,” P&G is selling less and less foods, and more and more profitable “guiding light” drugs that offer quick fixes for stomach problems caused by its competitors.

Muesli Soda Bread

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I am sharing with you one of most prized, heretofore secret, recipes. About ten years ago, I met a woman on a flight back to the United States from Ireland. We chatted about Irish soda bread, and she recited one of her favorite recipes from memory. Made with muesli, it has become one of my favorites, too. I use Bob’s Red Mill muesli. If you are lucky enough to have a source of raw milk, measure out the required amount and set it in a warm place overnight to sour. The reason you need to sour the milk is to produce enough lactic acid to react with the alkaline baking soda, which produces carbon dioxide gas to raise the bread.

3 cups spelt flour

    or 2¾ cups whole wheat flour

2 cups muesli

1 tsp. baking soda

¼ cup butter

1 egg

1½ cups buttermilk,

    soured raw milk, or yogurt

Measure out the flour, muesli, and baking soda in a medium-to-large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and then pinch them into smaller pieces working them into the flour with your fingers until you obtain a grainy texture. Add the egg to the buttermilk and lightly beat to incorporate. Pour the milk/egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to make a thick, yet moist, dough. Be ready to add a little more buttermilk, soured milk, or yogurt if necessary.

Turn the dough out on a floured piece of parchment paper and shape into a round loaf. Move the loaf to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cut a cross in the top of the dough. Bake at 375ºF for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool overnight and serve for breakfast with lots of butter and jam.