Thu, 26 May 2022
While many are focused on the Johnny Depp trial, Monkeypox, or other non-events much of the world, including the United States is entering into what I’ve coined “The Out Of Stockalypse!” Across most industries, American companies large and small are experiencing out of stocks at a rate never before seen in our history. I cannot understate the colossal challenges we are now facing that will be our reality for some time.
On March 28th, China locked down the biggest cities and ports in the world under the guise of a Coronavirus outbreak (more on that later) that has crippled global manufacturing and shipping resulting in a critical shortage of parts and materials.
The CCP has locked down over 26 million citizens in the most important manufacturing regions in China. Ports in Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Ningbo were shuttered. Since we’re extremely dependent on China to supply everything from prescription drugs to car parts to foodstuffs, to industrial components (pumps, switches, hoses, belts, etc) to plumbing parts, etc. this is a major problem. So many critical industries here in the US are facing serious challenges. Retailers are seeing inflation eat away at profits as consumers are struggling to pay higher prices while major retailers cannot raise prices fast enough to keep up with inflation. Couple that with out-of-stock items and the future is not bright.
Recently Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, and Target have seen profits evaporate and sales slow, the worst is yet to come. As the supply chain empties out, the same retailers will have major holes in inventory resulting in lost sales.
I wonder if China is using this lockdown as a way to further weaken their enemy, the USA? The reason for this thinking is China does not give a rats rump about the Chinese citizens. They have shown contempt for their citizens many times throughout their history, so why are they so worried about a virus which we know has a survival rate of over 99% in most cases? Hmmm, I smell a rat! They can crash our markets and might just succeed with these supply chain bottlenecks that are causing our retail business to get clobbered.
Just imagine how many items are not going to be in stock and all the missed opportunities our retailers, service sector companies, and manufacturers will face. Scarier still are the hospitals and pharmacies that will be short critical life-saving medicines…not good!
I have read about the myriad of industries and businesses that are short critical items with lead times that are many, many months out, this is not good folks. I have been saying for years on this show that allowing offshore countries to make our critical stuff is a major mistake and a national security issue. Instead of these bumbling government officials and congress making stupid laws they should have focused on laws that prevent American companies with government contracts to offshore critical items, but they are too busy lining their pockets, lying their asses off, and generally making the people hate them.
Now many might shout we don’t want the government involved in our business and I totally understand that, but what about critical medicines and infrastructure parts? For example electrical grid components and water system items like pumps, controllers, etc. These are critical, national security infrastructure parts that should only be made here domestically, for the reasons we are seeing now….unavailable parts and parts with stupid lead times that cannot be guaranteed.
In closing, the next few months are going to be a rocky road as the supply chain empties of critical items needed by industries very important to our economy and way of life. Be sure to get the stuff you need NOW, items like shoes, car parts (belts, hoses, oil, filters, tires, etc.) foodstuffs, electronics, etc.
Resources for today’s episode:
Wed, 18 May 2022
Show notes at Keith Snow.com
If you have ever visited Charleston SC you quickly realize that among the southern charm and historic buildings there is something else that has visitors flocking to the Holy City. Charleston was founded in 1670 as Charles Town, honoring King Charles 11, and is literally a living history book. Once the heart of the slave trade almost half of all slaves arrived at Charleston, or course this stain on the city’s past should never be forgotten.
One of the results of this slave trade was that many slaves from Africa brought their Gullah cuisine and cooking methods with them as well as other traditions such as basket weaving, these recipes, methods, and skills have become a treasure to the Charleston area and all who visit. it
Many ingredients that are considered basic commodity staples like rice and corn are now heralded in the Charleston area and have become the stuff of obsession.
A reading from Fast Company….The Grit Awakening: Why Antebellum-Style Cornmeal Has Risen Again
Tim Mills remembers that as a boy growing up on a North Carolina farm, one of his favorite chores was riding with his grandfather to the local mill to get the corn ground. So when “the still voice of God” told the 71-year-old Methodist farmer to build a grist mill on his small farm in Clarke County, Georgia, Mills says he at least had some idea what The Almighty was talking about.
God had great timing: Mills’ brand of grits, made with 19th-century techniques and a pair of mules, are now a hit in upscale Southern restaurants. Mills’ brand, Red Mule, is one of a slew of successful pre-industrial cornmeal companies that are seeing sales surge across the New South and beyond.
There are a number of trends that help explain the increasing appeal of Antebellum-style grits. First there’s the increasing preferences among consumers for less-processed, locally sourced foods. There’s the well-documented Southern instinct to celebrate old ways of doing things. But above all, the success of Red Mule is probably about their taste, which for most Southerners is older than living memory.
“I grew up eating those bland grits, and they didn’t have any taste, other than the butter, salt, and pepper you’d put on them,” says food historian John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance. He’s referring to the familiar white stuff pooling beside fried eggs on breakfast plates. Those grits are processed on high-speed roller mills, which heat to a high temperature, damaging the flavor of the corn and smashing the germ to dust. Edge has watched, happily, as grits have been resurrected into an artisanal food. “What’s happened to the South isn’t some fad but a genuine unearthing of old foods and varieties,” he says. “Grits are a reintegration of a very old food being enjoyed in a very new time.”
Now grits or corn are just one staple that is being celebrated and the focus of many Charleston area menu items, also oats, Carolina Gold Rice and other simple staples are making a huge comeback, and rightfully so. Several years ago I had the pleasure of filming an episode of Harvest Eating TV in an old steel building behind the railroad tracks in downtown Columbia SC with Glenn Roberts founder and principal of one of the most important companies in America, Anson Mills.
And then there’s Anson Mills in Columbia, S.C., which takes the term “heirloom” to a new level. Owner Glenn Roberts produces grits and meal made of corns that were raised as crops in the nineteenth century. But Roberts’ mission isn’t just to sell grits. He’s spent the last 20 years finding, protecting, and cultivating corn and other pre-industrial domesticated plants–called “landraces”–and resurrecting agricultural systems that existed in North America centuries ago. His Carolina Gold Rice, grown in the coastal area of South Carolina, is of the same variety that people were eating at the end of the Revolutionary War. In old journals and diaries Roberts discovered that in the South Carolina of the 1700s, many farmers followed a 17-year-long cycle of rotating specific crops to enhance their flavor, hardiness, and nutritional value without depleting the soil. -Fast Company
I literally could go on and on about how important the work Glenn Roberts does at Anson mills but suffice to say we all owe Glenn a debt of gratitude for his dedication to Antebellum grains and preserving southern foodways.
Resourced for this episode:
Mon, 9 May 2022
Many of you reading this are aware that some plants contain toxins as well as physical defenses that can injure. Some good examples are rhubarb leaves and wild mushrooms, both of which can make you very ill and possibly kill you. We all should know not to pick mushrooms without either having an expert forager with us or at the very least a field guide that shows which to avoid so you don’t die from poison.
Additionally think about very common physical defenses such as thorns on roses, blackberry and raspberry bushes, stinging nettles, cactus, poison ivy, oak, sumac, etc. There is much available evidence to demonstrate that plants do aggressively defend themselves with an arsenal of tools, none of which we enjoy.
Even though this is common knowledge most don’t equate plants having thorns or toxins as a way of defending themselves. Rhinos don’t have giant tusks just for show, those are weapons just like antlers, canine teeth, bear claws, etc. But plants don’t growl or run after you, they stay in place and hope their defenses keep them alive. Pretty amazing intelligent creations if you think about it.
Inside plants are also some pretty tough defenses, in the form of chemicals, enzymes, and other toxins. A few that you may have heard of are lectins, found in many beans, and oxalates, found in many plants, fruits, seeds, roots, etc. Of course, the “health experts” scream from the rooftops about NOT eating meat but instead healthy plants like kale, spinach, almonds, peanuts, and whole grains yet they do not mention the defense chemicals in these “foods”.
A great recent example of plant defenses happened the other day. I bought home a beautiful fresh pineapple, I cut it open and my daughter Ava gobbled up half a pineapple along with grapes and mangoes. Later she started getting rashes and hives all over her body, she thought it was a new deodorant she tried. My other daughter ate three or four pieces of pineapple then some nachos and blamed the nachos for her piercing stomach ache which had her in the fetal position for a few hours. The next day she also bought some fresh cut pineapple and ate it with a snack, within an hour she came home from work and laid on the bed miserable until I gave her club soda which seemed to help.
The next day Ava’s feet, and lips were STILL very swollen, she had to take allergy meds and Advil to curb the swelling and pain. So you see these innocent-looking plants can really mess with us humans.
In my quest for health, I have tried just about every fad diet there is in an effort to eliminate psoriatic arthritis that can damage joints and make a mess of your skin. Veganism destroyed my health (and my wife’s) in 5 mos, and we were forced to abandon the diet to heal. Paleo dieting which is rife with kale and nuts did not help me much either, yes it was better than vegan but still, I suffered from skin and joint pain.
For the last few years, I have read much about the carnivore diet which promotes eating grass-fed meats, organs, eggs, dairy and limited fruits, and very limited plants. While I love meat, the one thing I did not miss at all on a vegan diet was meat, the cheese is what got me most upset. I have been tinkering with a carnivore light diet and have started to research how plants defend themselves and if these defenses can affect me, and low and behold they do!
When I eat high oxalate foods my joints swell and my skin immediately shows signs of problems. It usually is nuts like almonds, peanut butter, and plants like broccoli that affect me. All of those are high oxalate. Oxalates bind with calcium and not only cause gut health issues they rob vital minerals too, making your electrolyte balance go whacky.
My father-in-law eats a few things in his daily regimen; black tea (he’s English), chips, peanuts, chocolate, potatoes, bread, all high oxalate foods, he shows many of the symptoms of oxalate poisoning; skin that bleeds easy, stomach issues like bloating, cramping, diarrhea, joint pain, mental fog, plus a history of kidney stones and gout. Of course, he just gobbles Advil and keeps going but will not change his ways, stubborn man he is! His doctors have never mentioned oxalates or any plant defense chemicals, yet they wear white lab coats :)
The list of high oxalate plant foods is long but the good news is many plant foods have tolerable amounts of oxalates. Both lists are below but first, let’s discuss what oxalates are.
There is much debate about whether cooking reduces oxalates in food, some say yes, some say no.
Here are some high oxalate foods:
beans, grains, bran, sesame and other seeds, peanuts, almonds, and other nuts, swiss chard, spinach, beets, potatoes, chocolate, rhubarb, figs, kiwi, blackberries, black pepper, cumin, turmeric.
Here are low oxalate foods:
meats, dairy, eggs, fats and oils, and other non-plant foods
A few words from the website of the foremost oxalate expert Sally K Norton who is. avast resource on oxalates and has a degree from Cornell University in nutrition.