Change your water! Change your life! Your bodies need it more than you know!
via PicsArt Photo Studio
Change your water! Change your life! Your bodies need it more than you know!
I hope you are excited about our CLEAN EATING CHALLENGE!
I’m going to keep giving you tips to survive this challenge, YOU ARE A WINNER, and YOU CAN DO THIS!
SOOOOO…I bet your body is like WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!! But you have to be strong and tell it that we are trying something new, that’s going to make us better!
Lets talk about those processed foods again….we cant do this enough!
What are processed foods? Allow me to shed some light…
A “processed food,” in general, is something that has had to endure a process to make it what it is before it is turned over to you. Almost everything that comes in a box… is processed. Almost everything that comes in a zip-sealed bag… is processed. Almost everything that comes from a big giant brand or huge corporation or massive factory plant somewhere… is processed. Almost everything that you purchase from a grocery store… is processed.
I mean, that includes a lot – that’s all the aisles in the grocery store! You’d have to scale the perimeter of the store to avoid that, right?
Let’s look at the history of food in this country over the past one hundred or so years.
Once upon a time, before food was big industry (meaning: before processed foods) and we were dealing with the fear of famine, people were much smaller. Being overweight was a rich person’s dilemma. Why? Because you have to ingest an AWFUL LOT of whole foods (as in, not processed) on a regular basis to develop and maintain an overweight physique in that day. So being overweight simply didn’t make financial sense. Things like bread, pies, cookies, cakes… they were rare – couldn’t always buy them at the store, so you had to make them at home. Highly unlikely that you could or would be able to bake sweets every single day for your pleasure.
Because they were concerned about famine, portions were rationed carefully. They didn’t want to be caught out there not being about to get food, and having little at the house. Sometimes, you’ll hear our elders talk about when whole grains were once rationed out to the masses because not only did they need to make sure they had it for the soldiers, they needed to make sure the supply could cover everyone in the event of emergency.
To sum it up, food wasn’t presumed to be plentiful, and it caused people to skimp, penny pinch, and exercise portion control.
Now, in comes the push toward larger food distributors – less focus on local, more focus on “getting big.” “Get big or get out,” I believe was the actual line. The US Gov’t honestly feared that they wouldn’t be able to feed everyone without food production going factory, and took every effort they could to try to get it there. With food production being taken to the factories, we were separated more from how our food was made. The further the process was taken from us, the less oversight we had in regards to what was in it. We used to have the milkman, right? You made arrangements with a local farm to have your milk delivered to your door, right? Now, if you drink milk, you’re buying a gallon that comes from a farm that you have no knowledge of. You’re buying from a brand.
Now, all this food (food, mind you, that seeks to NOT be nutritionally deficient although it admits that it is) is available to our families. We, knowing what it’s like to have to worry about food not being available, begin to indulge. Factories – and factory jobs – are springing up because industries are blossoming. Longer work hours, both adults in the household are now working, and all this super convenient food at hand. We’re eating what we can, when we can, and eating a lot of it… since we’re enjoying the ability to eat at our discretion, not at the discretion of a ration.
Keep in mind, also, at this time… a new generation of children are being born under this new understanding of food. Family tradition might lend to certain dishes being made a certain way, but lots of dishes are being replaced by the magic elixir in the box. Some of us have that Grandma who insists on cooking everything from scratch. We tend to write her off as crazy or paranoid because “Times have changed” and “No one has time for all that cooking,” or maybe because “This is the [insert decade]s, Nana, we don’t live in the kitchen the way you used to!” Things that are all true, but come with consequences.
I asked you, dear reader, the interesting loophole in the FDA’s policy about imitation foods is that there’s very little limit to what can now be put INTO food. That’s an important point.
You know how, if you leave food sitting out, it will attract flies? Why? Because flies and rodents are attracted to the same things that our bodies are attracted to in food – nutrients. Ever notice that with ALL the food in a supermarket, there’s rarely any ants or bugs in the aisles, but you have to swat them away from the tomatoes or kiwi in the produce area? That’s not because every area in the grocery store – except the produce – is sprayed down. I can only offer theory as to why that is. For starters, the processed foods have to be processedto maintain shelf life. They have to be able to handle being transported to the facility. They have to be able to withstand sitting on a shelf until purchased. They have to be able to withstand sitting in your cabinets until you cook them.
Can you do that with your home made cooking? I doubt it.
Here’s another question: What do you think they’re putting in these processed foods to ward off insects and rodents?
Last question: Do you think it’s a good idea to ingest the same chemicals that are put in food… food that flies don’t even want? The same chemicals that prevent flies from desiring our food, are the same chemicals we’re ingesting when we eat this stuff anyway. How healthy can that be? Nothing in the world can debunk what feels like logic to me.
Taking that one step further for those of us who DO indulge anyway, what about the fact that the average processed food contains more calories than it’s “real” counterpart? Let me tell you a secret I learned from a friend working in restaurants. Foods that have to be reheated to be cooked are pumped with extra fat, because it helps maintain the flavor through the reheating process. Chemicals – like monosodium glutamate, found in processed foods with rich, thick, almost meaty tastes – help reheatables that have to be pumped with extra fat taste more pleasing to you. The convenience that the food offers may be a welcome benefit, but it comes at the cost of a massive excess in calories and unnecessary additives and preservatives.
So here we are, living in the new millennium. For breakfast, we’re eating cereal. For lunch, we give our kids lunchables. For dinner, we heat up a pot pie. (If you want a laugh, look at the ingredients list on the back of any of those.) For a drink, we have a capri sun or a coke. Instead of nutrient-filled calorie-light whole foods, we’re now indulging in calorie-heavy nutrient-light foods that’ve been mainly cooked FOR us!
When we take in foods, our bodies are expecting a certain amount of nutrients and vitamins. If our body doesn’t get what it’s looking for fast enough, what happens? It compels you to eat more! Yes! Have you ever inhaled half a bag of wafers, only to be hungry again moments later? All that work your body put in to digest this vitamin-free food, only to find that there are no vitamins in it? Yes, it’s going to tell you to try again and eat something else!
NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, thats not what I want!
The problem for many of us, is that because it’s so much easier and quicker to grab another processed food item instead of cooking.. we try to fix the problem with something that’d only make it worse. All the while scarfing down the calories, forgetting all the nutrients, and packing on the pounds while we’re at it. The convenience, the fact that very few of us know how some foods are cooked, let alone what the foods SHOULD consist of, has allowed us to eat much more with much less effort. Is that a bad thing? If you know how to moderate yourself, of course not. Many of us, apparently, don’t.
Having said all that I have to say this. I know we all lead busy lives. If you managed to read all of this in one sitting, I give you kudos! We have to scale back in a major way if we want to be healthy. In writing this, I’ve decided to break this up into a series, continuing it on with how I managed to wean myself off of processed foods and what it’s taught me about how my body interacts with food, and how it wants to interact with food.
Big difference between the two.
Until next time,
Be Happy, Be Healthy & Be Whole!
(I’m back from my hiatus)
Beginning Sept 10th and ending Sept 17th,
We will begin the 7 Day Clean Eating Challenge!
But before I dive into the details, let’s talk a little bit about what clean eating is and how it benefits us.
What is Clean Eating?
Clean eating is eating as close to the source as possible. What is the source, you ask? The source is Mother Earth, of course. Sure, it sounds like hippie stuff, but think about it – look in your pantry or cabinets, then look in your refrigerator. If the vast majority of the foods you own reside outside of your refrigerator and you consider yourself overweight? Chances are, that pantry or those cabinets are why.
Basically, living a life of clean eating is living a life of simplicity. You’re probably not going to overindulge on the breads – or eat much bread at all -while eating clean. No refined white rice. No deep fried goods. No processed foods. I mean, don’t get me wrong — I can acknowledge and appreciate the fact that our little friends in the box or plastic wrapper have allowed us to do a lot in a short amount of time (I can get scalloped potatoes with only a little milk and a microwave? I’m in there like swimwear!), but it is certainly not clean eating. If you’re going to embrace the challenge then the boxed goods, canned goods and plastic shrink wrapped packages… have got to go.
Clean eating, with all the “Mother Earth” talk, might sound like tree hugger talk, but it isn’t. It’s making sure that we use and respect the Earth for what it is supposed to give to us while, in turn, giving it what it needs. I don’t have to tell anyone that after we’ve enjoyed our boxed and plastic-wrapped goods, that that trash has to go somewhere…and it’s usually buried in a forest…er…landfill somewhere. Clean eating, because you’re using items that rarely come with wrappers, are less harmful to the environment.
OK, Enough of save the world soapbox...
What are the basic tenets of clean eating?
For starters, avoid processed foods. Outside of my usual spiel about why you should avoid foods laden with chemicals we don’t understand, there is actually a multi-layer reason for why this is important.
Processed foods usually come with an excessive amount of sugar. I mean, let’s face it – sugar tastes good. The companies who make our favorite foods know that sugar makes their food so irresistible, so they’re good for putting it in, well, everything. Avoiding unnecessary and unnatural sugars is a key part of clean eating, and you can’t do that in a lifestyle that includes processed foods.
Should you insist on indulging in foods that come wrapped in a package, check the ingredient label – if it contains an ingredient that you wouldn’t keep in your own kitchen (monosodium glutamate? what? – (changed for clarity)) then try to find something a little more chemical-free, or pass on the item altogether.
If you avoid processed foods, you’ll also be avoiding unnatural fats (like trans fats) and unnecessary carbs. All carbs aren’t bad, but the processed foods that tend to contain the highest amount of carbs and fats usually have the least nutritional value… and that gets in your way when it comes to achieving the next target of clean eating.
OK, OK, i’m done…
2) Get the most out of your food choices! Usually, this means going for the fruits and veggies over the chips and dip. And remember, we’re eating as close to the source as possible… so get the regular peach and skip the fruit cups.
3) When you choose to eat something, aside from “make sure it tastes great” and “make sure there’s no [insert food allergy] in it,” add “make sure that it’s chock full of vitamins and minerals” and “make sure this is the most nutrient-filled choice I can make” to your list. So no, the white bread isn’t going to give you as much as the whole grain bread might. And if you don’t know whether or not your favorite sub spot offers whole grain bread? Call ahead of time and ask.
4) Practice portion control. I’ve written on this before, but this is one part nutrition, one part eco-friendly. There’s no reason to take more than you need. Your body will only suffer through trying to churn through all this extra food, and it’s excess and unnecessary calories to burn. And you all know I love counting a calorie or two…hundred.
5) Drink at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water a day! That’s right.. I said IT! That should keep you sooo busy, that you can’t drink your pepsis or your coca colas or your hawaiian punches or your capri suns. Outside of the fact that water has the ability to help you feel full (more on that later this week) and flush your body of impurities, it has zero calories.
Say it with me. Zero. Calories.
Those are the basics, but we’ll be counting down to the start of the challenge by digging deeper into the principles of clean eating.
During the week of the challenge i will have one post each day about clean eating – everything from drinking (and enjoying) water to eco-friendly organic living to shopping lists to preparation for a healthy lifestyle (check out “Fitting Clean Eating Into A Busy Lifestyle“)… and topping it all off with some great recipes…
Get your questions in this week, so you’re prepared for the next. Tell your Mama, tell your friends, tell everybody… build your support system and we all can connect and do this together!
Who’s with me?
Till Next time,
Be Happy, Be Healthy, and Be Whole
Dr. J (By Faith)
Hello my faithful followers!! ITS TIME TO GET EDUCATED ABOUT FOOD! We eat to live to LIVE TO EAT!!
My post this month is about what food is good for, and what it can do for you if you eat/drink it (prepared the right way of course)! Plus there are some great recipes to try!
Some things you might not be familiar with, but LEARNING AND TRYING NEW THINGS IS GREAT!!
Here is a video that gives great information about food and what we should & should not eat! Awesome Info!
Now that you have gotten some great guidelines to go by….here is some food and health information about some particular foods!
BITTER GREENS AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Eating spinach and bitter greens (including beetroot greens, chicory, dandelion, endive, fenufreek, horseradish, lettuce and nettle) to lower blood pressure is a very sensible strategy and not just because they’re rich in vitamin C or potassium.
Some of the reasons these greens lower blood pressure is because they spur production of nitric oxide, a molecule that helps blood vessels to relax, remain smooth, regulating blood flow, inflammation and blood pressure.
For healthy gums, put this green vegetable on your grocery list. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C and provides calcium as well, both of which have been linked to lower rates of periodontal disease. Fresh is always Best! SIDEBAR: I just had a teeth cleaning (which I had not done in years..I KNOW I KNOW, bad girl) BUT the doctor said i had excellent oral health and to keep doing what I was doing! Broccoli IS THE BOMB!! LOL
RAW FOOD FACT!
Why are raw foods better than cooked ones? Exposing any type of food to a temperature of above 112 degrees Fahrenheit is going to break down and destroy the enzymes in that food. Because we need those enzymes for our own good health, cooking is actually depriving of something that is vital to our health. When you eat raw foods, all of those good enzymes are still in place. Lets add more raw things to our diets WE DESERVE IT!!
JUICES FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Fresh fruits and vegetables are key for maintaining a healthy weight. Juice fasting is believed to get rid of the stubborn fat. But keep in mind there is never a fast cure for your weight problem. A healthy and balanced diet and exercise is always key. It is generally recommended to do juice fasting for a day or two once every few months to get rid of all the toxins in the body and lose weight. This also gives all your digestive organs a much need rest as juices are generally easier to digest. Also juicing generally helps your body absorb all the vital nutrients easily.
Here are some of the juices that help with weight loss naturally:
• Lemon juice with honey added to warm water first thing in the morning
• Carrot juice helps maintain blood sugar levels and controls the hunger pranks.
• Parsley juice also helps curb appetite.
• Cabbage juice is excellent of getting rid of excess body fat.
• Asparagus is a natural diuretic and helps you lose the water weight.
• Celery and cucumber juice also acts as diuretics and aid weight loss.
• Juice of lettuce, tomato and celery
• Juice of grapefruit, orange and lemon
• Juice of lemon and pineapple.
• Cranberry Juice.
Lets JUICE PEOPLE!! and as always:
Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Whole
Lets Try this this month! Tell me how it goes! Cooking is awesome for the family and it helps us stay away from processed foods! LETS GET BUSY!!
4 (6 oz.) skinned, boned chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pound broccoli, cut into florets
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 small sweet onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup orange marmalade
2 large oranges, peeled, sectioned and coarsely chopped
Cook broccoli in boiling water for 3 minutes; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking; remove from water and set aside. Drain chicken, reserving soy sauce; dredge chicken slices in cornstarch.
Brown chicken, in batches, in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat for 1 minute per side or until done.* Remove chicken from skillet, reserving drippings; keep chicken warm.
Add reserved soy sauce, onion, ginger, orange rind, red pepper, garlic and sesame oil to reserved drippings in skillet. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is tender.
Add broth and marmalade to soy-sauce mixture, stirring until marmalade is melted. Return chicken to skillet. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Slowly stir in broccoli and orange sections. Serve dish immediately.
1 teaspoon finely grated lime rind
1/4 cup lime juice (about 1 large lime)
2 teaspoons sunflower or olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
2 (6 ounce) salmon steaks
Whisk together lime rind, lime juice, oil, ginger and jalapeno. Set aside a teaspoon of the mixture. Place salmon steaks in a dish just large enough to hold them. Pour remaining lime juice mixture over salmon and turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes, turnig once (Do not marinate longer than 30 minutes or the salmon will go mushy). Preheat bbq to medium high and grease grill. Bbq salmon turning once, until cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove to platter and spoon reserved lime juice mixture over salmon. Serve immediately. If you wish to broil salmon, place on a rack set over a pan. Broil about 4 inches from heat, turning once, until salmon is cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
This is a video series by The Dr.’s, on how Junk food effects the body and how quickly it can turn your health towards a downward spiral of sickness…
This is a four Part Series, so get ready!
E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork takes on Project Unhealthy, a five-day experiment in unhealthy living.
I will let you think and comment on these things, and I will post the other two videos before 2011 is done…
Get ready for change in 2012!
Study Says Common Food Chemical Packs On Belly Fat!
We’re all familiar with my disdain for high fructose corn syrup, right? I mean, the stuff’s pretty awful. If you’d like a not-so-quick rundown, check here. It may help you navigate this post.
Apparently, researchers at Princeton put together a study comparing rats fed basic rat food and liquid sweetened with high fructose corn syrup to rats fed the standard chow and liquid sweetened with basic table sugar.
Um, you read the rest:
Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.
In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.
“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction.
“When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.” – [source]
Now, I’m not going to use this as an “I told you so” moment – that’s not my M.O. – but I do need to take a moment to make something clear.
This study further proves that it’s not about the quantity of what you eat (although, let me be clear – there ARE people who eat too much and they CAN get in their own way.) This is validation for the fact that it is the quality of your food, not the quantity. If there is proof that a chemical [that can be found in most of the food we eat] can interfere with the body’s ability to burn the calories that we take in, then it’s much larger than “eat less.” Why? Because if I continue to eat smaller portions of the same harmful foods, I’d still get the negative results. See where I’m going with this?
I’ve long said that my primary goal should be developing and understanding how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, because the pounds come off that much easier at that point. I know this because I’ve lived it, and still live it.
We should all seek simplicity in our diet… not 4-word-long chemical chains that our body cannot break down. Ewwww…not appealing
I never give new science 100% credit or a 100% stamp of approval in any way, so I’d love to see more studies done and see what the fallout is over this, but I’ve got to tell you.. this is major.
The public at large deserves the right to make their own choices about whether or not they want this stuff in their food. Those of us who are working toward a healthier lifestyle, however, deserve to know the truth – that this stuff isn’t going to help us get what we want.
After allllll that, I say this. Know what you’re eating. We can’t go wrong with the foods our families have healthily enjoyed for decades, centuries, millennia. We take chances on processed foods that make our lives easier, and we suffer those consequences. I’m done with taking chances and I hope you are, too.
All in favor of working to avoid the HFCS, say “Aye!”
I challenge all of my subscribers and their families to stop buying products with High Fructose Corn Syrup in them for 1 MONTH! We need to get a head start….don’t wait until the new year!
Once the New Year gets here, we should be continuing to make healthier choices with our food choices and fine tuning our great new life style! YES I KNOW THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING, but what a better time to start disciplining your self!
For all that are ready to take the challenge, Please comment!!!
You cannot always control what other people fix and what is placed in front of you in a restaurant, but you can control what comes into your home!
Lets Get It Together America
Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Whole
J. Davis & the Divine Wellness Crew
EATING HEALTHY…..is expensive…right! Wrong! This is what I know we all deal with trying to make a lifestyle change…..my thoughts
One of the big things with people changing their lifestyles is the fact that sometimes it’s difficult to know where to begin. Sure, you can cut a bunch of stuff out of your daily diet, but what do you replace it with? If you don’t have a readily available substitute, it becomes that much easier to revert back to your old habits… the ones we want to shed.
That’s why we’re preparing for this in advance. Part of that preparation is putting together a list of foods that will help you get it in and get it done. That’s also why I’m sharing the goods on what you’ll find in my healthy kitchen. If I can make it do what it do, then so can you!
- Spinach Leaves – Aside from being a great base for salads and a wonderful addition to pastas, they’re extremely low-calorie. 4 cups of spinach for 20 calories? Come on. Try a salad with spinach leaves, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and my strawberry vinaigrette.Last time I checked the grocery, a bushel was about $2… and it can easily last you several days if you’re exercising portion control.
- Apples – Slice ‘em up and toss ‘em in a salad, chop ‘em into chunks and cook ‘em with chicken (recipe to come), or stew a few in some apple cider vinegar and make apple butter. Either way, apples are inexpensive and versatile enough to be a mainstay in my kitchen.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sesame Oil… – Anything except vegetable/canola oil. In fact, I have the extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, too, when I simply need a base for my skillet when I cook a little chicken and don’t want the heavy oils. Is oil a bad thing? Not these kinds, and not if used sparingly. So no, you cannot deep fry something in these oils (and at the price tag of about $3 for two cups, trust me – you don’t want to), but you can certainly get a good stir-fry-style skillet going with some veggies. If you don’t have sesame oil available? Don’t sweat it. The olive oil will work fine.
- Garlic – In the form of minced garlic in a jar, regular garlic cloves, or garlic powder… garlic rocks. It definitely has its health benefits, but it is a light flavor that packs a mean punch. Combine the garlic with the extra virgin olive oil (maybe a half teaspoon of garlic to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a big pinch of oregano and a big pinch of basil), and you get a nice sauce for the occasional pasta and chicken dish.
- Almond Milk – Regular pasteurized milk and I don’t get along. It made my skin feel slimy and I hated the way it felt sliding down my throat. I used to drink rice milk, but then I gave up drinking milk altogether. Then… I discovered almond milk. Now, I keep a carton of the original and vanilla versions on the fridge. I will tell ya, though – it is pricey, but Whole Foods sells it at a price much higher than your local grocery might (if they have it.)
- Berries! – Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries… you name it. Around this time of year, the price goes down quite a bit from winter, and the berries come out to play. Chop ‘em up in your cereal, your oatmeal, pancakes or give yourself a nice light snack throughout the day. They are an awesome source of “sweet” taste, and can serve multiple purposes (remember.. I make strawberry vinaigrettes, blueberry preserves. I’m gettin’ the most out of my money!)
- Seeds – Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and poppy seeds. Oh yes. I use poppy seeds in my vinaigrettes, salads, pastas and chicken dishes as an additional little bit of texture. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds, tho? That’s just for me to munch on throughout the day. I’m a fan of snacking. Yes I am. Poppy seeds should be available in your grocery’s spice section.
- Peppers – No matter whether they’re green, red or gold… I love peppers! You can cut them into strips, toss a little olive oil on ‘em and roast them. You can chop them into little bits and throw ‘em into a diced chicken dish. You can cut it into big chunks, bake it with some garlic and vinegar and make your own hot sauce (toss a little mango in it for extra points.) You can make your own alfredo sauce and toss a few in there. Make strips, throw ‘em into a salad. Very versatile. Depending on where you are, they might be as pricey as $2 a pop. Dice it up thinly, and use sparingly. They’re really sharp to the tongue, so you don’t need much, anyway.
- Vinegar - Plain white vinegar is only about a dollar, with apple cider vinegar coming in at maybe fifty cents more. You can get red wine vinegar for a little more, and generic balsamic vinaigrette may top out at about $3.50. Use ‘em to add a little tang to meats without salt, mix with spices and olive oil to create your own vinaigrette, or use it as a base for a pasta salad. Try that balsamic vinegar with garlic and wrap it in your ground meat before you cook your burger… you’re welcome in advance! Either way, it’s an inexpensive way to get a lot done.
- Dried beans, lentils, quinoa – I’m heavy on the black beans. I live for ‘em. One bag goes for about $1.50, and they can last forever. Toss ‘em in a big pot with some water, chopped onions and cumin and just let it soak overnight (or before you head off to work… if you have that kind of time during the week.) That’s right… no heat. Wake up, cut ‘em on medium heat for about an hour, and I promise you’ll love ‘em. Pinto beans cook pretty much the same way. Without all the excess salt. Lentils are closer to peas than they are beans, but they’re awesome too. Soak these overnight with a little garlic in the pot, and then cook ‘em after a few hours. Golden. Quinoa is more like… a soft yet chewy kind of seed, but it acts more like rice in a dish. They don’t have to soak overnight, but give ‘em ten minutes in the pot before you cut on the heat.
You may not love all of these things, but if nothing else, take from this list an idea of how versatile you can make food items. Apples in your salad, cooked with your chicken, or stewed to make apple butter. I can buy a bag of apples for $3 and stretch it for almost a month. $3 is a box of 20 taquitos, that lasted me maybe a week. My money stretches like you wouldn’t believe, now.
Aside from the basic staples – brown rice, tomatoes, broccoli, lemons and limes, your meat of choice, etc etc – these are some of the things that I live for and love, and the different ways I take advantage of them in my healthy, clean eating kitchen. I cook three times a day for two people and with appropriate portion sizes, most of these last me about a month and total about $22.
What’s in your healthy kitchen? Help me compile a list so we can all do this challenge together!
Till next time Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Whole
If there’s one thing in the world the food industry is dead set against, it’s allowing you to actually maintain some level of control over what you eat. See, they have this whole warehouse full of whatever they bought last week when they were drunk that they need to get rid of — and they will do so by feeding it all to you. And it doesn’t matter how many pesky “lists of ingredients” and consumer protections stand between you and them.
#6. The Secret Ingredient: Wood
You know what’s awesome? Newspaper. Or, to be precise, the lack thereof. The Internet and other electric media have all but eaten up classic print media, with the circulations of almost all papers on the wane. Say, do you ever wonder what they do with all that surplus wood pulp?
“But Jackie,” you inquire, “what does this have to do with food ingredients?”
And then I look at you squarely in the eye, then slowly bring our gaze upon the half-eaten bagel in your hand.
The best part of waking up, is wood pulp in your face!
And everybody’s doing it. Aunt Jemima’s pancake syrup? Cellulose. Pillsbury Pastry Puffs? Cellulose. Kraft Bagel-Fuls? Fast-food cheese? Sara Lee’s breakfast bowls? Cellulose, cellulose, freakin cellulose.
Et tu, Hot Pockets?
It turns out that cellulose can provide texture to processed foods, so food companies have taken to happily using it as a replacement for such unnecessary and inconveniently expensive ingredients as flour and oil. As the 30 percent cheaper cellulose is edible and non-poisonous, the FDA has no interest for restricting its use — or, for that matter, the maximum amount of it that food companies can use in a product. It is pretty much everywhere, and even organic foods are no salvation — after all, cellulose used to be wood and can therefore be called organic, at least to an extent.
But the worst thing about cellulose is not that it’s everywhere. The worst thing is that it is not food at all. Cellulose is, unlike the actual, normal food items you think you’re paying for, completely indigestible by human beings, and it has no nutritional value to speak of. If a product contains enough of it, you can literally get more nutrients from licking the sweet, sweet fingerprints off its wrapper.
That loaf and the chopping block have an equal wood content.
#5. Zombie Orange Juice
Quick, name the most healthy drink your nearest store has to offer. You said orange juice, didn’t you? It’s what everybody makes you drink when you get sick. Hell, that sh-t must be like medicine or something. And the labels are always about health benefits — the cartons scream “100 percent natural!”, “Not from concentrate!” and “No added sugar!”
“Less than four thumbs per gallon!”
And why not believe them? When it comes to making the stuff, orange juice isn’t sausage. You take oranges, you squeeze oranges, you put the result in a carton, with or without pulp. End of story, beginning of deliciousness.
But what if we told you that “freshly squeezed” juice of yours can very well be a year old, and has been subjected to stuff that would make the Re-Animator puke?
Tropicana’s bottling room. Not pictured: Anything orange.
Ever wonder why every carton of natural, healthy, 100 percent, not-from-concentrate orange juice manages to taste exactly the same, yet ever so slightly different depending on the brand, despite containing no additives or preservatives whatsoever?
The process indeed starts with the oranges being squeezed, but that’s the first and last normal step in the process. The juice is then immediately sealed in giant holding tanks and all the oxygen is removed. That allows the liquid to keep without spoiling for up to a year. That’s why they can distribute it year-round, even when oranges aren’t in season.
Thanks to science, we can enjoy screwdrivers from Christmas to the 4th of July.
There is just one downside to the process (from the manufacturers’ point of view, that is) — it removes all the taste from the liquid. So, now they’re stuck with vats of extremely vintage watery fruit muck that tastes of paper and little else. What’s a poor giant beverage company to do? Why, they re-flavor that stuff with a carefully constructed mix of chemicals called a flavor pack, which are manufactured by the same fragrance companies that formulate CK One and other perfumes. Then they bottle the orange scented paper water and sell it to you.
And, thanks to a loophole in regulations, they often don’t even bother mentioning the flavor pack chemicals in the list of ingredients. Hear that low moan from the kitchen? That’s the Minute Maid you bought yesterday. It knows you know.
#4. Ammonia-Infused Hamburger
Any restaurant that serves hamburger goes out of its way to reassure you how pure and natural it is. Restaurant chains like McDonald’s (“All our burgers are made from 100 percent beef, supplied by farms accredited by nationally recognized farm assurance schemes”) and Taco Bell (“Like all U.S. beef, our 100 percent premium beef is USDA inspected, then passes our 20 quality checkpoints”) happily vouch for the authenticity of their animal bits. Their testaments to the healthiness and fullness of their meat read out like they were talking about filet mignon.
And aside from the rare E.coli outbreak, the meat is clean. It’s how they get it clean that’s unsettling.
Ammonia. You know, the harsh chemical they use in fertilizers and oven cleaners? It kills E.coli really well. So, they invented a process where they pass the hamburger through a pipe where it is doused in ammonia gas. And you probably never heard about it, other than those times that batches of meat stink of ammonia so bad that the buyer returns it.
If your Big Mac ever tastes like pee, this is why.
The ammonia process is an invention of a single company called Beef Products Inc., which originally developed it as a way to use the absolute cheapest parts of the animal, instead of that silly “prime cuts” stuff the competitors were offering (and the restaurant chains swear we’re still getting). Consequently, Beef Products Inc. has pretty much cornered the burger patty market in the U.S. to the point that 70 percent of all burger patties out there are made by them. Thanks, ammonia!
#3. Fake Berries
Even with your freshly gained knowledge that there may or may not be some cellulose in the cake mix, it’s pretty impossible not to start salivating at the thought. This is largely because of the berries themselves. What’s better — they’re so very, very healthy that it’s almost wrong for them to taste so good.
We could taste delicious if we wanted to. Stupid show-off berries.
Everything is better with blueberries — that’s why they put them in so many foods. Now that we think of it, there sure seems to be a lot of blueberries in a lot of products. You’d think we’d see more blueberry fields around …
… not that it would do any good, as the number of blueberries you’ve eaten within the last year that have actually come from such a field is likely pretty close to zero.
We can almost hear the muffins mocking us.
Studies of products that supposedly contain blueberries indicate that many of them didn’t originate in nature. All those dangly and chewy and juicy bits of berry are completely artificial, made with different combinations of corn syrup and a little chemist’s set worth of food colorings and other chemicals with a whole bunch of numbers and letters in their names.
They do a damn good job of faking it, too — you need a chemist’s set of your own to be able to call bullsh-t. You can sort of tell them from the ingredient lists, too, if you know what to look for, although the manufacturers tend to camouflage them under bullshit terms like “blueberry flakes” or “blueberry crunchlets.”
Natural News TV
Nothing says “nature” like petrochemical-derived food coloring.
There are a number of major differences between the real thing and the Abomination Blueberry: The fake blueberries have the advantages of a longer shelf life and, of course, being cheaper to produce. But they have absolutely none of the health benefits and nutrients of the real thing. This, of course, doesn’t stop the manufacturers from riding the Blueberry Health Train all the way to the bank, sticking pictures of fresh berries and other bullshit cues all over the product packaging.
Now, here’s some good news: The law does require the manufacturers to put the whole artificial thing out there for the customers. The bad news, however, is that they have gotten around this, too. First up, the Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats way:
READ THE INGREDIENTS
This is somewhat recognizable. They just stick a picture of the berries there, while not actually bothering to conceal the fact that the actual cereal looks like it’s made of cardboard and Smurf paste. LOL
A bunch of Betty Crocker products and Target muffins use the second route, which brings the cheat level even further by actually containing an unspecified amount of real berries. This way they can legally advertise natural flavors while substituting the vast majority of berries with the artificial ones.
Or, you can just take the “we don’t give a CRAP anymore” route, as evidenced by General Mills’ Total Blueberry Pomegranate cereal. The whole selling point of the product is that it contains a bucketload of blueberries and pomegranates, and the package boasts all the buzzwords the marketing department has been able to dream up:
In reality, not only are the blueberries fake, but also they’ve forged the freaking pomegranates as well.
#2. “Free Range” Chickens That Are Crammed Into a Giant Room
Buying “free range” eggs is one of the easiest ways to feel good as a consumer — they are at least as readily available as “normal,” mass produced eggs from those horrible giant chicken prisons Big Egg maintains. Hell, they even cost pretty much the same. There’s literally no reason not to buy free range even though, now that we think about it, we’re not actually sure what that means. But the animals must live in pretty good conditions. In fact, let’s buy our meat and poultry free range, too!
Fresh air, green grass, plenty of c-cks … free range chickens have it good.
Well, according to law, the definition of “free range” is that chickens raised for their meat “have access to the outside.” OK … so that’s not quite as free as we assumed, and it appears to only apply to chickens raised for their meat. But at least they still have some freedom, what with the outside and all that.
Words have power, and “free range” in its original sense means unfenced and unrestrained. That makes it a powerful phrase that, no matter how smart we are, conjures subconscious images of freedom hens, riding tiny little freedom horses out on the plains, wearing hen-sized cowboy hats and leaving a happy little trail of delicious freedom eggs in their wake. There may be mandolin music.
Although we have it on good authority that chickens prefer Jay-Z.
But the reality is there are absolutely no regulations whatsoever for the use of the term “free range” on anything other than chickens raised for their meat. Your Snickers bar could be free range for all the government cares.
The industry knows this full well and happily makes us lap up the free range myth, even though in reality a free range hen lives in pretty much the same prison as a battery cage hen — except its whole life takes place in the prison shower, rather than a cell.
Look, they’re free!
Awareness of the free range myth is slowly increasing, but although a manufacturer that has been pushing his luck a bit too much does get jailed every once in a while, that doesn’t do much to the overall phenomenon. In fact, Europe is set to ban egg production in cage systems come 2012. Guess what the replacement is going to be?
#1. False Health Claims
Nuts that reduce risk of heart disease. Yogurts that improve digestion and keep you from getting sick. Baby food that saves your kid from atopic dermatitis, whatever the hell that may be. Products like that are everywhere these days, and we do have to admit it’s hard to see any drawbacks to them. We eat yogurt anyway, so why not make it good for our tummy while we’re at it?
It’s just that we can’t keep wondering where all these magic groceries suddenly appeared from. One day your peanuts were peanuts, and then, all of a sudden, it was all coronary disease this and reduce heart attack risks that. Maybe Food Science just had a really, really productive field day a while back?
Or, of course, it could be that we’re being fooled yet again.
We don’t know if we could handle Mr. Peanut lying to us.
The vast majority of product health claims use somewhat older technology than most of us realize: the ancient art of fudging. The “health effects” of wonder yogurts and most other products with supposed medical-level health benefits can be debunked completely, thoroughly and easily. So why are they able to keep marketing this stuff?
It all started in 2002, when many ordinary foods found themselves suddenly gaining surprising, hitherto unseen superpowers. This is when the FDA introduced us to a new category of pre-approved product claims. It was called “qualified health claims,” and it was basically just another list of marketing bullsh-t the company can use if their product meets certain qualifications. This was nothing new. What was new, however, was that the list said no consensus for the scientific evidence for the product’s health claims was needed.
Since “no consensus needed” is law-talk for “pay a dude in a lab coat enough to say your product is magic and we’ll take his word for it no matter what everyone else says,” companies immediately went apesh-t. Suddenly, everyone had a respected scientist or six in their corner, and the papers they published enabled basically whatever they wanted to use in their marketing and packaging.
We’re not saying that none of the products boasting health properties work. There are plenty out there, but they’re kind of difficult to find under the constant stream of fake supplementary claims. Come on, food industry — just tell us the truth. Don’t you realize that we’ll just eat it anyway? People still buy cigarettes, don’t they?
Lets Get it together People!
Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Whole
Thought you might like this one! Enjoy! More to come…
1/3 cup red currant jelly
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 10-ounce package fresh spinach, thick stems removed
Heat oven to 425° F. In a small bowl, whisk together the jelly and red pepper.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.