June 30, 2016

Nutritional Yeast for Health

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

While searching for a topic for this week’s article, I came across a topic I’d never thought of before. Most of us have heard of active yeast used to make bread or beer, but have you ever heard of nutritional yeast and Brewer’s yeast?

Nutritional yeast, known as nooch, is popular with vegetarians and vegans as a source of non-animal protein. It contains all nine essential amino acids usually found in a meat diet. It is a great source of B vitamins, including added B12, which again is mainly found in meat.

This food is neither plant or animal…it is a fungus, like mushrooms. The yeast used for baking and brewing is the same type of yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae) as nutritional yeast, with one big difference. Baking/brewing yeast is alive or active. Consuming active yeast can actually lead to an overgrowth of yeast in your body or to an infection. Nutritional yeast does not have these effects.

June 16, 2016

Artificial Sweeteners

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

In this article on sweeteners, I will present a few acceptable alternatives to the chemical slurries commonly used. There are six sweeteners to consider: stevia, stevia based alternative, xylitol, dextrose or pure glucose, and lastly, sugar and honey in moderation.

We’ll start with my favorite of the bunch, stevia. Stevia belongs in the herb and shrub genus in the sunflower family. It comes from the Central and South Americas. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar, has no calories, no fat, carbs or sugars. It has a negligible effect on blood glucose, so diabetics and low carb dieters can use it without worry.

June 09, 2016

Diatomaceous Earth Benefits

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

Now that gardening season is in full swing, one problem all gardeners deal with is pest control.  The big pests, like groundhogs, are easy to take care of – just shoot ‘em. It's the little munchers that are the problem. I really don't like using pesticides and chemicals at all, so I don't. I have found one chemical-free, nontoxic, edible product to use in controlling most insects, bugs, and worms. It is called Diatomaceous Earth, or DE.

Diatomaceous Earth is naturally occurring rock formed from the skeletons of fossilized diatoms, an alga. This rock is ground into a fine white powder. DE has many uses other than in the garden; more on that later. “Food Grade” DE must be purchased. I ordered mine from the local feed mill in Mifflinburg.  It came in a 40lb bag, which I’ve been using for 3 years, and it cost around $30 at the time.  I just found out that Harry’s repair and Garden center in Hartleton has it in 4lb. bags for about $10.   In the garden, DE works mechanically to destroy pests. The fine powder is as sharp as glass to these pests. It literally cuts through their exoskeletons, desiccating (drying) them to death. DE is a drying agent; it absorbs any moisture. It is very irritating to the eyes, and if you reach into it with your hand, it almost feels like chalk. DE will kill beneficial insects as well, so you must time your applications around when certain plants are being pollinated. For example, you don’t put DE on flowering tomato, potato or strawberry plants. You can use it before and after flowering cycles, and even on the ground around flowering vegetables during pollinations, just not on them directly, or you will harm bees doing their job.