Category Archives: Whole Food vs. Processed

What Were They Thinking?

 

 

What does this image say to you?compost sign

I posted this photo on Instagram and felt compelled to share it here, because I’m curious about what you have to say?

This is the compost sign used to direct elementary students to compost food scraps. Why are those images chosen to depict food that elementary kids would be eating? When I was a kid, those food items were considered treats; defined as something had on occasion not as a staple because they weren’t considered best foods for nourishing a growing body nor ideal for maintaining a healthy one.

These are lousy images to have on a compost sign anywhere, but especially at a school. Those food options are lousy choices at the best of times, but why showcase that kind of eating to young kids.

Imagine the subliminal message these youngsters are picking up!

Who chose this sign?

What do you think?

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Meet Your Urban Farmer

This is Julia and Ludo of Urban Digs Farm presented in Meet your Urban Farmer series by Fire and Light Media

“Until 1946, half of all produce was grown in people’s back yards!”

Some sage advice? at 6:13 in the above video:

“Take responsibility for your own food.”

“If you really want food security grow your own food.”

“If you can’t grown your own food, then know your farmer.”

“Know where your food is coming from.”

“Don’t buy food from somebody you don’t know.”

“You don’t have to wait for the government to make legislation around genetically modified food.”

“If GMO is not in-line with your personal values? Then don’t buy that food.”

“If you don’t think chickens raised in tiny cages is a good idea? Then don’t buy those eggs.”

“We have all the power.”

“We don’t need to occupy anything but our own kitchens.”

“Vote at the cash register at the grocery store…better yet, don’t go there.”

“Buy food from your local farmers.”

“Value food for the true value of food.”

“Don’t do it by yourself.”

“If its worth doing its worth doing poorly the first time.”

“Beyond Organic”

Meet Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms: “Beyond Organic” farmer. The following quotes are taken from an article written in 2006 by Michael Pollan for Mother Jones. Joel Salatin “We ask for too much salvation by legislation.”

“Don’t you find it odd that people will put more work into choosing their mechanic or house contractor than they will into choosing the person who grows their food?”

“Greetings from the non-bar code people…”

“…whenever I hear people say clean food is expensive, I tell them it’s actually the cheapest food you can buy. That always gets their attention. Then I explain that, with our food, all of the costs are figured into the price. Society is not bearing the cost of water pollution, of antibiotic resistance, of food-borne illnesses, of crop subsidies, of subsidized oil and water—of all the hidden costs to the environment and the taxpayer that make cheap food seem cheap. No thinking person will tell you they don’t care about all that. I tell them the choice is simple: You can buy honestly priced food or you can buy irresponsibly priced food.”

“When someone drives up to the farm in a BMW and asks me why our eggs cost more, well, first I try not to get mad,” said Joel. “Frankly, any city person who doesn’t think I deserve a white-collar salary as a farmer doesn’t deserve my special food. Let them eat E. coli. But I don’t say that. Instead I take him outside and point at his car. ‘Sir, you clearly understand quality and are willing to pay for it. Well, food is no different: You get what you pay for.’

No Sugar Added Banana Muffins

No sugar banana muffin

Today while shopping at Whole Foods Market, in the bulk section (using my reusable cotton bulk food bags) I happened across Diane Sanfilippo’s book: 21-Day Sugar Detox. I don’t really think of myself as someone who needs a detox because I practice eating very naturally. But as I started flipping through her book I found it incredibly informative and came across concepts that I had not included in my understanding of nutrition. I decided that I would introduce this 21-Day Sugar Detox philosophy to my family. Even though I rarely, if ever eat sugar anymore, my kids still do, mind you in lesser quantities, since I have been learning more on the subject.

Over the last year and a half, my kids and I have been following an elimination diet based on the results from our individual ALCAT blood tests, from which, my son was advised to avoid ALL sugars and gluten for an entire year – a tall order for anyone, but imagine how that would feel for an eleven year old. He surprised us all by accepting the challenge. When his friends were “enjoying” treats, he declined. When teachers handed out candies as rewards, he declined. When school-mates’ parents brought birthday cupcakes and donuts to school, he declined. He stuck to the plan and his health changed dramatically. He also learned a lot about himself in the process. He learned to practice self-discipline, something not many people practice. However, once the 12 months of being strict came to an end, he anxiously started to add in those toxic treats from time to time. What we noticed? His behaviour changed, and he admitted to feeling lousy each and every time he indulged. He learned a lot about himself going through that yearlong experiment and especially what happens to himself when he reintroduces those unhealthy ingredients. He is learning to control what he chooses to eat, backed up with knowledge.

The way I see it, our entire life is an experiment and my job as a parent is to help my children (and myself along the way) to continue to become educated on how to truly nourish ourselves as opposed to just fuelling up and dashing off to the next activity.

My kids often have sugar and grain cravings, and there are times when I do too. There is a reason why most us do experience cravings, it is partly due to to the fact that none of us really understands how to feed ourselves.

Ripe Banana

Because I had some ripe banana’s on the counter, making a batch of muffins was on todays’ agenda. However, what I learned from my quick glance through Diane’s book is that eating the overly ripe banana’s isn’t the best choice! In any case, I had already committed to using them. But because of what I learned from Diane’s book, I made some changes to the recipe I usually use. (Note: I only made muffins a few times this past year – they are not a staple). Next time I will make more changes based on Diane’s advice for eliminating more grains.

The way we feed ourselves is a vicious nonsensical cycle! We think we are making the right food choices but are actually contributing to these biological hunger games.

    “If what you are doing isn’t working, doing more of it won’t work any better.”

– Alan Cohen

Nowadays, I generally add very little or no sweeteners to foods that I prepare, and it has been a long road of trying to reprogram my brain to accept that all refined sugars affect the body in very similar ways. Be it cane sugar to agave syrup, from HFCS to honey. The truth is we really don’t need any of these sweeteners.

“Removing added sugars and very sweet foods retrains your taste buds to perceive sweetness, and you’ll find that foods you once thought weren’t sweet at all become quite sweet as the days pass [when following the 21 Day Sugar Detox].”

– Diane Sanfilippo

This is true for me. I enjoy all vegetables (which are carbohydrates) with such pleasure because I can detect the pure subtle sweetness. We have cut back considerably on the amount of grains we consume in our household, and I can see from picking up Diane’s book today that I will be cutting back on them even more. The key is to understand why we eat the foods we do and to learn how to prepare meals that are nourishing.

We do allow for some organic grains in our diet but as we become more comfortable with these changes, we are more accepting of continuing to learn what else we can eliminate to thrive better.

I designed this muffin recipe specifically for my daughter after receiving the results from our ALCAT test, but now I realize that going forward, it is going to get a whole new makeover, in fact this may be the last time I ever make it.

This is today’s version…

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Fine Organic Spelt Flour (Anita’s from bulk)
  • ½ Cup Organic Oat Flour (gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TBSP organic ground cinnamon

Wet Ingredients 

  • 3 Large Eggs, beaten
  • 2 Cups mashed very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 Cup (-less 1 TBSP) melted Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 TBSP melted Organic unsalted Butter
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla

Additions (optional)

  • 1/4 Cup finely mashed organic walnuts into paste, used mortar & pestle
  • 1 TBSP unsweetened cocao nibs, ground into walnut paste with mortar & pestle
  • 3/4 Cup finely grated organic carrot

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Prepare muffin tins (lightly greased with butter).
  3. Melt coconut oil and butter. Remove from heat.
  4. “Bloom” cinnamon by adding cinnamon to melted oil/butter. Stir well and set aside to cool.
  5. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  6. Mash ripe bananas in a small bowl.
  7. In a separate medium bowl, whisk eggs, then add mashed banana and remaining wet ingredients. Whisk together.
  8. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and incorporate. Not too much – stir approximately 10 times. Don’t over mix.
  9. Fold in additions if using. Careful not to stir the mixture too much.
  10. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full or to your liking.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes depending on your oven. Check for doneness using method of choice.
  12. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.

Yield: 12 mini muffins +1 mini loaf (I have a mini loaf pan & mini bundt pan that I use when I have some leftover batter).

Note: Spelt Flour is NOT gluten-free.

Diane Sanfilippo has great recipes in her 21 Day Sugar Detox book which is an accompaniment to her cookbook. This Fall, my kids and I will be learning and experimenting from this approach.

Let's live without single-use plastic! Better for our health and that of our planet.        Stop the Recycle cycle.        In this order: AVOID - REDUCE - REUSE - RECYCLE

The Kids’ Menu

Kids Menu

My kids don’t eat from the kids’ menu. Actually, they quit the kids’ menu a few years ago. Not that we frequent restaurants on a regular basis, but when we do, my kids are quick to let the server know that they will order from the adult menu, which in their opinion should be the only menu. My kids then privately launch into their usual contempt for the way kids are treated in restaurants. “Why is everything on the kids menu made with cheese and wheat or breaded?”

“Here, eat this food you’ve eaten a hundred times before…The children’s menu is always available, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.” – Seth Godin

This link will take you to a great short piece written by Seth Godin at Seth’s Blog: The children’s menu. It makes us think about our habits, habits that have become automatic. And automatic meaning: done spontaneously, without conscious thought or intention. However, having said that, a lot of people will argue that that is precisely how they like their habits to be.

Daughter and I overheard: Parent saying to child, “Here’s your lunch.” Child protesting, “I don’t want to eat that.” Parent says more to himself, “I don’t know why we keep ordering Mac & Cheese for you, you never eat it.”

Most often tired and busy parents like to have predictable outcomes. As a result, they feed their kids food that they know they will eat so that they can check that meal off the list and carry on, without running late to the next activity. The problem being is that kids don’t develop a taste for real food or a healthy habit in understanding hunger and satiety. Most foods that are given to kids are loaded with sugars (often disguised with unusual names) and highly processed. The kids’ health begins to decline and body weight begins to rise and so the parent’s automatic reaction is that the kids need to exercise more. As a result the kids are then signed up for more activities, which leave even less time to practice eating healthy meals.

Habits don’t change automatically with age. We don’t just “grow out of it.” Most adults carry their bad habits from childhood.

Follow these 5 easy steps to practice eating healthy right now:

  1. Eliminate refined sugars from your diet (see the 50 alternative names, but not limited to, for sugar listed below). This includes cutting back on fruit. Do not eat copious amounts of fruit assuming it is a healthier choice. Fruit is nature’s candy. Eating copious amounts of anything is a habit.
  2. Eat a variety of foods. Try a 4-day rotation. Try not to eat wheat, dairy, meat or coffee/tea every single day. If you are not a vegetarian or vegan, try eating like one on i.e. Mondays. You will survive, I promise and you might even feel better for it.
  3. Prepare for hunger. Generally, we get hungry every 3-4 hours. Be prepared, otherwise we make unwise choices by grabbing what’s available as opposed to what’s healthful.
  4. Drink Water (the plastic-free variety). Make water your go to drink.
  5. Join the Plastic Free July personal challenge. By avoiding purchasing foods packaged in plastic you will cut back on your exposure to processed foods that have many grams of sugar added. Practice being in control of what you put into your body and what you end up putting in landfill. Plastic is a hormone disruptor and damages our health and pollutes our waterways. The same water we consume. Click this link to learn more about Plastic Free July.

Our habits matter.

 

List of some alternate names for sugar

  • Agave Nectar
  • Barley malt
  • Beet sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Buttered syrup
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Confectioner’s sugar
  • Carob syrup
  • Castor sugar
  • Date sugar
  • Demerara sugar
  • Dextran
  • Dextrose
  • Diastatic malt
  • Diatase
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Glucose solids
  • Golden sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Grape sugar
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Icing sugar
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Muscovado sugar
  • Panocha
  • Raw sugar
  • Refiner’s syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • Sorbitol
  • Sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Yellow sugar

Navigating the Supermarket Aisles with Michael Pollan and Michael Moss

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