Bookmarks–April 8, 2024

In this edition of Bookmarks, a look at garlic and gochujang, developments in vegan cheese, combatting the stigma around Type 2 diabetes, and challenging persistent nutrition myths. 

Is garlic really good for your health?

Based on what is written in this article, the answer to its headline’s question is a qualified “yes.” It appears that garlic is good for us in a general sense, as it contains many essential nutrients along with a good dose of prebiotic fibre. As to whether it lowers cholesterol or prevents cancer or colds, research is ongoing. Regardless of its potential medicinal impacts, it just tastes good, and there are some handy tips in here for how to incorporate more garlic in your diet.   

“‘Garlic contains high levels of potassium, phosphorus, zinc, sulfur and moderate amounts of magnesium, manganese and iron. It’s a bit of a wonder vegetable…’” (BBC Food)

What makes Korean gochujang any different from other chilli pastes?

I have gochujang in my fridge and quite like it but lack experience in using it. I have a couple of recipes to follow but I’m never sure how to wing it with this sauce. There are some great ideas in this article. 

‘You can eat gochujang straight up [with fried rice or spread on crusty bread, say], mix it into dips like hummus to jazz them up, or cook it, and dissolving it into soups and stews, for example.’” (The Guardian)

Let’s Brie real: can vegan cheese pass the taste test?

I often share stories about the impact of industrial agriculture on our climate. Emissions from cattle are a problem and there is a strong belief that dairy and meat consumption needs to be reduced for the sake of our planet. (My last edition of Bookmarks had an article from Vox making this exact argument.) And while I worry about the climate impact of dairy production, it has not been enough to move me away from cheese, although problems with digestion mean I don’t eat a lot of it in any case. This is a long way of saying that I am open to vegan cheese, depending on what it’s actually made of–loads of starch and fat concern me–but I am also wary of wasting money on the ones I see in increasing numbers at the grocery store, for fear I will end up with cheese (or “cheeze”) that cost a bundle but tastes fairly disgusting. It’s great to see innovation in this field toward using more whole foods like nuts. 

“To make good cheese is to understand chemistry. Combine precise measurements of bacteria, salt, milk, and thickening agents at the right temperature and the mixture will congeal into a delicious mass. Miscalculations, however, can make a batch sour or clumpy or both. Take dairy out of the equation and the balance becomes even more fickle.” (The Walrus)

Why Is there still so much stigma around type 2 diabetes?

Having been diagnosed as pre-diabetic a couple of years ago, I always understood Type 2 diabetes to be a lifestyle disease. I was advised to make some changes, did so, and saw positive results. It seemed simple enough to me but it isn’t like that for everyone. This article was an eye-opener for me.

“There is a persistent stigma—fuelled by misinformation, fatphobia and colonialism—that suggests type 2s are lazy, eat poorly and can easily cure themselves by working out and losing weight. In reality, type 2 diabetes develops for a multitude of reasons that span genetics, ancestry, socioeconomic and environmental factors.” (Chatelaine)

Five nutrition myths I wish would go away

Speaking of diabetes, in this post dietitian Leslie Beck debunks the myth that eating fruit is verboten when you are diabetic or trying to lose weight. She takes on a few other fictions often thought of as fact too.

“We’re bombarded with diet and nutrition advice. It comes from friends and family, social media, blogs, news reports, magazines, fitness trainers, health professionals and other sources…With everyone acting like a nutrition expert, information that’s incorrect, misleading and without scientific backing is bound to arise – and stick around…Here are five persistent nutrition myths and what you should know about them”. (The Globe and Mail)

Books sketch: 125239212 | © Tanyaru |

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