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The Best of MTTD…………….

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This post originally ran on November 17, 2010

In light of the newest research on fat I shared with you last Friday,  I thought it was topical to share the series on the Lipid Hypotheseis from last November to kick off  The Best of MTTD.

What Is the Lipid Hypothesis? 

Let’s start at the beginning.  What exactly is a  hypothesis?  

It is a guess, my friends. Just a guess.

According to Bing Definitions:

hy·poth·e·sis [ hī póthəssiss ]   

theory needing investigation:  a tentative explanation for a phenomenon, used as a basis for further investigation 

assumption: a statement that is assumed to be true for the sake of argument

Synonyms: theory, premise, suggestion, supposition, proposition, guess, assumption, postulate, postulation [All emphasis mine]

                                                                                                                       So, then the lipid hypothesis is a tentative explanation, an assumption, and/or a guess.

But about what? And why should I even care?

The lipid hypothesis is the theory that claims our artery walls thicken as the result of a build-up of fatty materials such as cholesterol in them.

OH!!! That one.

Yes. THAT one!!!

The one that tells us that saturated fats are bad for us and that the food police constantly tell us we should never ever eat no matter how good it tastes.

But what most so called ‘experts’ seldom, if ever, tell you is that this is just a hypothesis – or a guess.

According to Wikipedia:

Since the middle of the 20th century, the lipid hypothes is proposing that saturated fats and cholesterol in the blood are a major factor in cardiovascular disease has been the focus of research seeking to prove or disprove its validity.

The interpretation of this research has resulted in the general acceptance of the lipid hypothesis as scientific fact by the end of the century.  While it has attracted controversy, the scientific consesus was early on in its favor.   [All emphasis mine.]

But Controversy Does Still Exist

According to the web site smart-heart-living.com, “a comprehensive source of information and resources on heart disease,” the controversy does in fact exist. This website devotes an entire page that deals with it. They begin with a caveat. They are aware that what they write on this specific page  may contradict what is on the rest of their website. But as they also say is, “The simple truth is, there is no simple truth!” [Emphasis mine.]

What you will find is plenty of controversy about the lipid hypothesis: low fat diets, low carb-high protein diets, the government approved food pyramid, and just about everything else that we might consider “conventional thinking” when it comes to food and nutrition.

While we cannot attempt to be all-inclusive (there is just too much published material out there to attempt that!), we will present some of the results of our recent reading… things that seem to make sense to us.

We urge you NOT to take this information about the lipid hypothesis at face value, but rather to use it as a springboard to delve into this complex area in greater detail on your own.

And just as important, as stated elsewhere on this site, do not make medical decisions or changes (i.e., in your meds or diet) without consulting your professional care givers.

The article then goes into a fairly lengthy historical look at the diets of human beings since early times.

Next they go into what a hypothesis is, much as I did above. But they add a very important consideration:

The reality is, bias often becomes part of the equation [in research]… either inadvertently or purposefully. 

Ahhhhh, as Hamlet would say, “There’s the rub.”   

Bias.   

Human beings are imperfect fallen angels. They might just mess around with or manipulate data to say what they want it to say.

I mean they are scientists after all; searchers of truth. They wouldn’t really do that? Would they?

Well, yes, they would. And have. And did. 

In the 1950’s Ancel Keys did some research. He titled it the Seven Countries Study, and long story short, he said that saturated fats caused heart disease.

But there was this one little, itsy-bitsy, tweenie weenie problem. 

He cooked the books. He cherry picked his data.

From Smart Heart Living again:

Subsequent and independent analysis of the data that were available to Keys shows that he “cherry picked” only those countries with numbers that supported his hypothesis and omitted a significant amount of data that showed there was actually no correlation between dietary fat, cholesterol, and arteriosclerosis. But this information has been largely ignored.

Snip…….

The upshot is that today, some 50 years later, a lipid hypothesis based on faulty data is accepted as true by governments, health organizations, the media, and industry, and we, the general population are left eating a recommended diet that just might be causing more harm than good.   [All emphasis mine.]

To give you a visual idea of what Ancel Keys did, you can check out this short video.                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                       We will pick this story up there in Part 2,  What If They Were Wrong?,  next Sunday, June 12, 2011,  and the implications on government programs, and the diet industry, and the food we  are constantly being told we MUST eat.

Until then, sit back, relax, fix this easy recipe and eat it with a glass of wine. You’ll feel much better!! 

Featured Recipe      Mushroom and Swiss Crostini

This delightfully delicious and easy recipe comes from Tomcat and Kitty in the Kitchen. They do not post often, but when they do, it is an outstanding recipe.

Tomcat and Kitty were inspired to create this dish when they saw Julie and Julia, the wonderful movie about Julia Child with a tour de force performance by Meryl Streep.

And a wonderful recipe it is!!!!

I increased their basic recipe so that it would feed four people

These little treats can be an appetizer or you can make a dinner of them.

Actually, they are very filling. The ingredients do not cost too much and they fill you for a very long time.  And so tasty and delicious. It is like you are eating at the Ritz Carltion in Paris.

This is what you will need for 4 people.

A baguette or two or bread of your choice

4-5 medium mushrooms

1 tablespoon butter

2-3 green onions

1 small garlic clove

2 teaspoons white wine*

6 tablespoons heavy cream

4 slices baby Swiss cheese

Bacon bits**

NOTES:

*If you do not want to use wine, substitute chicken broth.

** I do not usually keep a jar of bacon bits in my cupboard.  So I used up some bacon from my fridge. I just chopped it into tiny bits and fried them till they were crisp and drained them on paper towels.

In fact, the reason I decided on using this recipe in this post today is because I had left over mushrooms, green onions, and bacon that needed to be used up.

This is a great little recipe for using up leftovers, yet it looks like food you would find in a five-star restaurant.

Here is what you do:

With a brush or a lightly damp cloth wipe the mushrooms clean and slice and cut the slices in half.

Clean and slice the green onions.

Also, mince your garlic.

Preheat the broiler.

Melt the butter and sauté the mushrooms over medium heat for a few minutes. Then add most of the green onion, reserving  a little for garnish.

Add the garlic and continue to stir and cook.

Add the wine to the pan and cook until it evaporates. It is best to do this over low heat.

While you are waiting for the wine to evaporate, you can begin slicing your cheese. (You can use store bought shredded Swiss instead if you wish.)

This is how I cut the cheese.  Pile and line it up.

Make matchstick like slices.

Then cut those sticks into little pieces. If you are worried about the mushrooms in wine, check them.

By now the wine should be nearly evaporated. Poof!!!! It is like magic. The wine just disappears. But it leaves behind it’s wondrful flavor in the mushrooms and onions. Right now it smells so wonderful in my kitchen I could eat the musroon mixture straight out of the skillet right here and now!!!

Although tempted to eat the mushrooms soaked in wine right this instant, I control the urge. So, I remove the mixture from the pan  and set aside.

Let the pan cool. When the pan is cool add the cream and place over very low heat.

Once the cream begins to warm, add the cheese……………

…………………and stir until it begins to melt and begins to thicken.

When the cream mixture is starting to thicken, return the mushroom mixture to the pan and add the bacon bits and stir into the melted cheese mixture.

Remove pan from heat and let the mixture slightly cool.

Lightly toast one side of the bread slices in your broiler or toaster oven.

NOW THIS STEP IS IMPORTANT: I had never done this until I made this Tomcat and Kitty recipe. It makes all the difference in the world. It makes the crostini easier to bite into, yet you still get the crisp toast feel too.

Flip the the toast over……………………

…………and spread the mushroom mixture over the toast slices.

Return them to the broiler and broil until lightly browned.

Remove and sprinkle with the reserved green onion.

Tomcat and Kitty say that these, “…are very tasty little things.” They are much too modest. These are divinely delicious!!!!! These crostini have so much tatse it is hard to describe.

Tomcat and Kitty also say, “These are so rich and filling that they can be served along side a salad for a nice lunch or a light dinner.”

Actually, they are VERY filling. The three you see on the plate above along with the salad filled me all afternoon and way beyond. They are a complete meal.

I had enough cheese topping to make 12 crostini.

Bon Appetit!!!

Cost

2 baguettes                              $2.50

4-5 medium mushrooms            $0.45

1 tablespoon butter                   $0.15

2-3 green onions                      $0.24                            

1 small garlic clove                   $0.03

2 teaspoons white wine            $0.22

6 tablespoons heavy cream       $0.72

4 slices baby Swiss cheese        $1.24

Bacon bits                                $0.50

Total Cost = $6.05
Cost per person = $1.51

Quote of the Day

You can’t base your life on other people’s expectations.

Stevie Wonder

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