January 17, 2013

3 Food Myths: Busted!

When you start down the road to better health through better eating, there are a lot of billboards along the way that try to divert your attention. Big Food likes to offer you processed conveniences.

Here are some examples of foods that sound better for you than they really are ~ and some even healthier choices.

1. 100% whole wheat bread
First, check the ingredient list - it may be very long and contain a lot of chemicals. Also, it undoubtedly has added sugar. In addition, wheat flour can tax your digestive system and cause symptoms you may not recognize as related to wheat, such as slow digestion, bloating or other gastrointestinal distress. Many, many people are hypersensitive to wheat ~ it makes them feel bad ~ yet they do not have full-blown Celiac disease. 

Trader Joe's: "Food For Life" Organi...
Trader Joe's: "Food For Life" Organic Bread, "Ezekiel 4:9" (Photo credit: Chris Devers)
Try instead: Ezekial 4:9 Sprouted Grain bread, muffins and wraps.
These products are organic, sprouted, 100% whole grain (not just wheat but a mix of grains, which is better for you), and flourless. A two-slice serving contains 8 grams of complete protein and 6 grams of fiber, the BFF of the weight conscious, the health conscious and the diabetic.

2. All-natural peanut butter
Sounds good, but peanuts are one of the most common food allergens. Current theory tells us that the foods that we eat the most of can turn our bodies against us. In fact, the Big 8 allergens are common proteins: wheat, milk, eggs, fish, soy, shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts. Not everyone who is allergic goes into anaphylactic shock; symptoms can include hives, hyperactivity, swelling, runny nose, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or cramping. Many people have sensitivities to peanuts without realizing it.

Try instead: Almond butter

Almond Butter
Almond Butter (Photo credit: The Messy Chef)
Peanut sensitivities can even cause weight loss to slow down. Almonds are healthier and fewer people are sensitive. Enhanced Almond Butter from Naturally More, for example, is fortified with flax seeds to give it a healthy Omega-3 bonus.

3. Organic milk
 Okay, aren't we supposed to buy organics, aren't they healthier? Organics are great ~ because they have almost no pesticide residue ~ not because they have higher nutritional value. A huge number of people are sensitive to dairy. This sensitivity can cause indigestion, bloating, congestion. Lactose intolerance is usually due to an enzyme deficiency, not an allergic reaction.
Realignment of Pacific Almond Milk
Realignment of Pacific Almond Milk (Photo credit: Aaron Gustafson)

Try Instead: Almond milk
People sensitive to dairy can actually experience accelerated fat loss when they remove it from their diet. Many people prefer the taste of almond milk, and there's no lactose, indigestion or bloating. Almond milk is also lower in calories, especially if you buy Pacific Original No Sugar Added almond milk or make your own. You can throw almonds in the blender/food processor with water and make your own ~ easier than buying and milking your own cow, that's for sure! And the health benefits can be much greater.

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August 5, 2012

Post Hiatus: All moved in

Hello from the high desert, our new home. I can tell you right away, the canteloupe is much better/fresher here! Yummy! I thought I didn't like canteloupe ~ I just wasn't getting it fresh and ripe back East.

What we learned on our road trip ~ moving across the country ~ was that if you're pressed for time, there's virtually nothing available but junk food: sugar, gluten and fat. Even truck drivers complain about the monotony and say they miss home cooking.

We took to stopping at Subways off the Interstate, grabbing sandwiches on multi-grain rolls, and piling them with as many veggies as possible.

Fortunately, it was avocado season. I added none of the over-processed sauces or dressings, resisted the chocolate-chip cookies at the cash register, and gobbled my turkey and veggies off the bread ~ even the whole grain is full of sugar and gluten. But it was better having some tired tomato, weary onion and smooshed avocado than nothing even semi-live to eat.

Around Springfield, MO, we found a grocery with nice cherries and peaches ~ that was our first fresh fruit since we left NY. And a big bag of ice to keep us cool and hydrated: It was 105 degrees.

The cheapest, most ubiquitous pet-friendly motels were the La Quintas. But their complimentary, so-called breakfast was greasy and inedible, the coffee undrinkable. It didn't even smell like coffee! Everyone staying there was traveling with kids, pets or both. They all looked like long-term residents of the penal institution we like to call "vacation."

Ah well, now we are here. Our first night, with no furniture and only 2 camp chairs, we found brown-rice sushi and champagne. We sat on our deck, looking into the pine trees, eating off a plant stand that had been left behind by the previous owner. Heavenly!

By now we've found the natural food market (an excellent one: New Frontiers), the farmer's market (about 50 booths, including free-range chicken) and the local CSA ~ and Dennis has made a batch of sugar-free dark chocolate truffles. We're home.

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November 6, 2011

Grilled Summer Squash

Mmm...that's a picture of grilled boneless chicken thighs atop summer squash. Whether you choose zucchini, patty-pan or zapalito, seasoned well and grilled right, they are delicious. This summer, the beautiful, round zapalitos became our new favorite. 

These are beautiful before and after cooking, and are so simple to prepare. Using a mix of green and yellow squash creates a beautiful grilled vegetable platter.

They also have the advantage of being very low in calories, and their health benefits include carotenoids, an important antioxidant group. In addition, they contain high levels of manganese, vitamin C, magnesium and the B vitamins folate, B1, B2, B3, B6 and choline, which help to metabolize sugars in the body.

Recipe Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 lb. summer squash
  • Garlic powder
  • Fresh dill, chopped finely
  • Fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Celtic sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Cooking Directions:
  • Hold the squash on the round side and slice off the end. Cut evenly in half for uniform cooking.
  • Coat lightly by tossing slices in olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with seasonings, to taste.
  • Grill on direct heat at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes. Turn over and grill for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat before the texture becomes mushy.
Yield: 3-4 servings
Calories: 45 per serving
Suggestion: We cooked boneless chicken thighs on one side of the grill, sliced zapolitos on the other.

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