Tag Archives: Kathryn Palumbo

We eat too much. And produce too much waste.

“Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” – Michael Pollan

I have started to practice thinking about everything, all the time. It’s great fun!

Cause and Effect

I practice thinking about the consequences of how all my actions, decisions and choices impact everything – literally from start to finish (from inception to decomposition). It seems a little odd to announce this doesn’t it? Especially since it should be a commonly practiced characteristic. Sadly, somewhere along the way of improving and making life easier we have been hypnotized by fast food (including healthy fast food!) and convenience merchandizers to believe that we are just too busy to think for ourselves…they want to think for us – and they have been. The result has been a disservice to our health and planet. Using the power of subliminal messaging via visual media and sound bites, we are being convinced of what we want and need.

From real product labels:

“Knowing the busy lifestyle of today’s families and the difficulty to make confident healthy food choices, [name withheld] brings these READY-TO-USE cooking stocks to Canada.”

It is so easy to make homemade stock which don’t require single-use disposable packaging.

“I know it can sometimes be challenging to eat right, especially when you’re on the go. That’s why I’ve created my line of healthy foods – so you can enjoy wholesome, tasty snacks even with your busy lifestyle…”

That come in single-use disposable plastic packages.

Thinking about cause and effect – from start to finish.

It seems to me that when we do something or create something, for the sake of our planet and for the benefit of all inhabitants that we need to consider in detail, from inception to decomposition the consequences of our actions.

Wind Turbines

For example: The incredible wind turbines. 537,000 Birds died at wind farms last year (including 83,000 raptors) in the U.S. alone and additionally it is estimated 888,000 bats were killed.

Were the details from start to finish properly or efficiently taken into account when designing these wind turbines? Perhaps the only consideration was how to create natural energy.  Producing clean power is fantastic, but causing hundreds of thousand deaths in the process is like blood energy.  How to create clean power without blades? Perhaps someone should ask James Dyson.

James Dyson

Yogurt fiasco? Whey Too Much: Greek Yogurt’s Dark Side

Greek yogurt’s acid whey by-product that is toxic to the environment and kills aquatic life has nowhere to go. Large-scale manufacturers are shipping it to farmers who feed it to their cattle (though the cattle can only tolerate a certain amount in their feed). Maybe we need to rethink the necessity of this yogurt rather than working on ways to turn the by-product into something else to ingest. Do we really need another sweetener syrup and would you really want to feed your baby infant formula made from this?

Cooks make meals from real food. Food scientists make ingestible substances disguised as food from by-products. By-products are the waste generated from processing. Think about what you are eating. Choose breast milk for babies. Choose naturally grown produce and if you eat meat, eat it in moderation from farmers who don’t feed their animals by-products! Grocery aisles with more meat than will be bought covered in plastic just for our convenience. We need to fix this.

I think of Marcella Hazan whenever I walk through the meat section at the grocery store. She was a self-taught American-Italian cook who having grown up in Italy had never stepped foot in a grocery store and prepared farm fresh poultry. When in American supermarkets, she came across chicken wrapped in plastic; she said it was unnatural, like they were in a coffin.

So many questions surface from such simple inquiry. Simple things such as buying milled flour, packaged in plastic.

flours in plastic

  • How does the plastic negatively affect the flour that I will be consuming?
  • How is the plastic package made in the first place?
  • What is the environmental impact that goes into making the plastic?
  • Where does the plastic wrapper go once I’ve used up the flour? Landfill? Waterways and ocean?
  • Where does the plastic wrapper go if I choose to recycle it with other plastic bags?
  • How much energy and water does it take to recycle plastic in the first place?
  • What does recycled plastic get turned into?
  • Isn’t turning recycled plastic into more plastic pointless?
  • I think I’d rather mill my own flour or buy from local farmers who package their flour in paper.
  • Paper packaging uses a lot of natural resources too, but it’s a step in the right direction.
  • Maybe I should re-think what I need flour for?
  • Am I eating more food than my body requires for optimum health?
  • Do I really need to make this much food?
  • Do I really need a treat? Especially every single day?

And so on…

I am trying to live a more Proactive Life. Being proactive is defined as: creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.

 

 It is easier to prevent disease than it is to cure disease.

This example would apply to both human and environmental disease.

These are some questions I have started to ask myself daily about everything in which I come into contact (not just flour!). I think about clothes, shoes, cars, bicycles, athletic gear, art, dishes, appliances and the list goes on.  How these items are manufactured and what will go into maintaining these items? Dry cleaning? Can the items be repaired when broken? How long will the items last? Where will these items end up when either they break or I don’t need them anymore? And yes, at times thinking like this has a somber effect on me, which is all the better, because that’s when I know that I can change. That’s when I wake up a little more and become more aware of my actions. The sadness I feel when I come to the realization: “What have I done? And “What am I contributing to?” This daily activity towards becoming proactive has helped me to come up with more constructive answers, which sit better with the person I effort to become.

“Do no harm & leave the world a better place than you found it.”

– Patricia Cornwell

I think about where my food comes from. Do you eat foods that are processed, which require opening a factory sealed bag or container to eat or cook with it?

I think about buying products from local farmers. But I take into account how those local farmers relate to the land; are they practicing sustainable agriculture? Do they practice food safety, equitable employment? Do they consider their environmental imprint from start to finish? How is their product delivered to store shelves? What’s the point in buying organic produce if it is covered in plastic?

Simultaneously, I think about how I cook the food that I buy. What kind of waste do I create in the process of making meals? How much aluminum foil do I use? I’ve read that cooking with foil at certain temperatures is not safe because the aluminum leaches into the food! I have cut down on re-heating food in the microwave and never use it for cooking.

“Think, think, think.”

– Winnie-the-Pooh

 

Eat Food.

Not Processed or By-Products. Not Packaged.

-Kathryn Palumbo

 
 
Note: I wrote to Bob’s Red Mill asking if they would consider repackaging their products in paper. In the meantime I am buying local flours that come in paper or from bulk.
 
 
 
 

Savory Breakfast (or anytime) Waffles

Savory Breakfast Waffles

When I woke this morning, while I lay in bed completing my bed stretches another part of my brain was configuring my breakfast plan. Once I got down to the kitchen and opened the fridge to see what I could combine, my breakfast waffle experiment came together.

Since having a couple years of trial and error with pancake batter, I decided that I could muddle my way through a savory waffle. Here is what I did.

Prepare vegetables:

  • 1 small carrot peeled and cubed
  • 1 small yam / sweet potato peeled and cubed
    • Place carrot & sweet potato/yam into pot of water. Boil until soft. Set aside ½ Cup.
  • ¼ Cup fennel, chopped, pan-fried in olive oil, until soft. Set aside
  • ¼ Cup scallions (green onion) chopped. Set aside.
  • 2 TBSP frozen spinach OR handful fresh washed leaves. Set aside.

Purée all the above prepared vegetables in small food processor; only ½ Cup combined softened carrot & sweet potato. Add 2 – 4 TBSP (or more) liquid from boiled carrot/sweet potato pot to facilitate mixing. Set aside.

Dry Ingredients:  Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.

  • 2 TBSP Organic Millet Flour
  • 2 TBSP Organic Quinoa Flour
  • 4 TBSP Organic Soy Flour
  • 4 TBSP Organic White Rice Flour (or brown rice flour)
  • 1-2 TBSP Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 scant TBSP Soy Protein Isolate
  • 1-½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground Sea Salt

Wet Ingredients:  Combine wet ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.

  • 1 Large organic egg, beaten
  • 1-Cup Organic Homemade Soy Milk
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil

Method:

  1. Pre-heat waffle iron. Wipe or spray a lightly with olive oil (not extra virgin).
  2. Prepare vegetable purée. Set aside.
  3. Combine dry ingredients. Set aside.
  4. Combine wet ingredients. Set aside.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and incorporate well.
  6. Add vegetable purée and combine well.
  7. Add more soy milk if necessary. But better to keep the batter on the thicker side.
  8. Pour batter onto pre-heated waffle iron following appliance directions.

Savory Waffles on ironExtra waffles can be frozen (after cooling) and re-heat very nicely in the toaster.

I enjoyed mine with a spot of unsalted butter, which melted nicely on the hot waffles, and they tasted equally good without any butter.

What I’ve been up to…

As a courtesy to those who have subscribed to my blogs, you may have noticed that I don’t just publish a post for the sake of publishing a post. I know that your time is precious and I do my best to write down my thoughts with as much care as possible. I hope you will recognize my integrity and take the time to read my infrequent but often long posts.

I have a post coming that is on the long side. Believe me, I am working at condensing my thoughts into manageable blurbs, but I admit that I just have so many streams of thought that relate to each other that I am having little success. If you are like me, you will scroll down to the end of a post determining whether or not you have the time or the desire to read it in its entirety. So, I have resolved to start with the following introduction. You will see the connection once you read the next instalment.

Homemade Hemp Milk

What I have been juggling:

  • January 2011 – March 2013

Following Eat Right For Your Type eating plan for each member of my family. Each of us is a different blood type. This meant that I often had to make four different meals. Lucky for me, my husband wasn’t really following the plan and he was happy to eat whatever I made for any blood type.

Amazing how quickly I was able to adapt to this theory. Within three months I felt like I had a good handle on it. Quite the good mental exercise; I was able to almost memorize each of our lists. We are more capable than we sometimes give ourselves credit. The trick is to persevere. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

  • March 2013

I started orthodontic treatment. I have been walking around with metal braces on my teeth which has been significant! Eating, talking, teeth shifting, soreness, cleaning, did I mention eating? I have adapted to the adjustment and quite like my braces. I think that I will miss them when they are taken off. I have learned a lot about my habits and self-discipline in the process.

  • April /June 2013

My two kids and I did The ALCAT blood test to identify specifically which foods we have intolerance and sensitivity to. After eleven years of observing my kids I had a vague idea which foods caused them problems. I was tired of guessing and I found the ER4YT program to be too generalized; it was a good starting point though, like a good warm up. But in following the ER4YT program, we ended up over-consuming the beneficial foods, all healthy, but perhaps those beneficial foods weren’t necessarily beneficial for us. In doing the ALCAT personalized blood test, we were given individualized food list and discovered some similarities and discrepancies with ER4YT. The results from this test taught us to add more variety to our diet as well as to space out these healthy foods. In doing so, I have noticed that we don’t over-consume any one product any more. I don’t have an overstock of food ‘staples’ in my pantry. And my kids are learning to have a real healthy and thoughtful relationship with food.

  • April 2013 – present (October 2013)

I have been really challenged with feeding my kids and me; each of us has very different intolerances. I am making most meals from scratch. I am making my own chicken and beef stocks. Making stews and soups and freezing portions. Going to a restaurant was really difficult initially, but since we have been gradually reintroducing the less intolerant foods, going out to a restaurant from time to time has become a real treat, not the frequent indulgence that going out to restaurants has become for many households. But I must admit, the more I cook and bake at home the more I prefer my own cooking.

My son’s most severe intolerances include ALL sugars (cane, maple syrup, agave, honey, hfcs) as well as wheat and other gluten grains, not to mention almonds, asparagus, celery, clam, crab, ginger, pecans, parsley and basil! My daughter has to avoid dairy and wheat, raspberries, bay leaf, artichoke, grapefruit and kidney beans. And my most severe intolerances include apple, fig, flaxseed and white potato. But the upside is that this is not forever. The idea is that if we eliminate these severe intolerances for twelve months and gradually reintroduce them, and by only eating those foods on occasion we should have no negative reactions.

After the initial shock wore off, I pulled myself together and got to work at designing dishes that we could all eat. That became very challenging, so I started making multiple dishes. I’m still standing, six months later! I am here to announce that anything is in fact possible. And I am becoming more accomplished each day with the challenges. Of course I have those days where I completely crash and nothing seems to go and so those are the days my husband rescues me and we go to a restaurant! Imagine just changing your personal lifestyle 180 degrees then go ahead and imagine working on shifting three lifestyles simultaneously. It all comes down to The Want; if you want something badly enough you will and can make it happen.

I have also been working on:

  • Specifically not eating the same foods again until four days have passed! Give that one a try. For example: if you have carrots today, wait until four days have passed before you have carrots again. Can you do that with your morning coffee? Most of us eat the same ten to twenty foods on a regular basis!
  • Learning to use less single–use plastic by reading Beth Terry’s book one chapter at a time.

Homemade Rice Crackers

  • Making my own flour, crackers, soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, oat milk, rice milk etc.
  • Designing recipes based on acceptable foods from the ALCAT test following the 4 -Day Food Rotation
  • Cleaning my own house, in even a more environmentally conscious way
  • Raising kids and caring for a geriatric dog
  • Taking care of my own body maintenance
  • Volunteering at my kid’s school
  • Finding time to write down my thoughts before I become overwhelmed with content and freeze.
  • Stay on top of my hobbies
  • Etc.

Dog Ruby

This post ended up longer than it was supposed to be…I’ll keep trying until I get it right. Until then, thanks for reading.

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