Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wrap and Spin Tip

I've been aiming for more raw foods in our diet and any easy idea that incorporates that into my life, the better. I have plenty of filling ideas to put into sandwiches and wraps that are raw, but what to put them in? Bread, tortillas, pitas and crackers are baked. Chips, for dipping, are fried. Hmmm...something raw? Well, how about romaine lettuce?

We now regularly enjoy using romaine for wrapping around our favorite filling. Whether the filling itself is completely raw or not, doesn't matter...just knowing that I can enjoy things without heavy breads is quite nice actually.

Now I can have lettuce tacos, or hummus with veggies all wrapped up. And children love having a lettuce "boat" to fill and eat taco style. Your normal salad looks more fun all put into some leafy lettuce or romaine at lunch time. That crunch make you feel like you still ate something crispy like chips or the taco shell you miss.

Nothing beats lettuce washed and then spun dry with a salad spinner. Here's the style we have. I just wish it were bigger! If you eat any salad (and you know you should be!), then you'll need something to dry the leaves so that your dressing sticks better and your lettuce will last longer, should you have leftovers.

You can even spin them out in a clean pillowcase. You put your washed lettuce inside the pillowcase, hold closed with one hand, then spin outside (water the lawn =) or inside a shower (with the shower curtain closed around your arm while spinning). More fun and gets the job done!

You can wash and spin out any greens, herbs and sprouts the same way. Having the right tool to make your food healthier is so nice.

What tool has been helpful to you to make your eating better and easier? Please share.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Be Mindful of What You Eat

You know you're a health nut when...your grocery cart looks different than everybody else's. You buy this ____instead of that ___...

organic popcorn kernels to pop at home
...instead of pre-made & pre-flavored popcorn

rolled oats (old fashioned) to cook, bake or make into granola
...instead of oatmeal packets and a myriad of other boxed cereals

...instead of yogurt or milk for smoothies and to make ice cream

raw nuts and seeds
...instead of roasted and salted or pre-sweetened

dried beans
...instead of canned and pre-made baked beans, etc.

whole grain products
...instead of white flour products that have been bleached, devoid of nutrition

fresh and frozen whole fruits (nothing added)
...instead of juices and other sweets like: sugar, sodas, candy bars, etc.

fresh and frozen vegetables (nothing added)
...instead of tiny pieces of vegetables in soups, tv dinners, etc. with preservatives

bulk yeast make fresh whole grain breads and pizza crusts at home

honey, maple syrup and stevia for homemade sweets
...instead of sugar, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, splenda

water filters and purifiers for tap water at home
...instead of other drinks: sodas, bottled water, coffee

leafy greens to put in smoothies and salads
...instead of eating dairy or iceburg lettuce

nori seaweed and brown rice to make veggie sushi at home
...instead of going out for it

raw almonds to soak and make almond milk
...instead of buying soy or rice milk

This is just a small list, but you get the idea. Sometimes it feels funny to check out with others in line that are eating the standard American diet (S.A.D.). But I secretly think that many of them are wishing they bought the same things. Either that or they think I'm on a diet! =)

I will continue to buy food that will help me gain health and will help my family. If you haven't had major illnesses like diabetes or cancer hit your family in some way, then consider yourself blessed. But you are in the minority these days.

Please watch the "Food, Inc." documentary if you haven't already. It will change your mind about mindless eating. It will make you think twice about the mindless consuming of foods we have no idea where they come or how they are made.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Food, Inc." Thoughts

The posters advertising the documentary, "Food, Inc.", show a picture of a cow with a large upc symbol on its side. "You'll never look at dinner the same way again" it promises.

Ever since viewing the French documentary on Monsanto (click here for link to view online), I've been interested in our source of food. If you eat (we all need to) and particularly if you prepare food for others (families, children, etc.), then you need to know how food is grown, brought to market, etc.

I encourage people to watch "Food, Inc." on their own. Even if you borrow it from the library like I did, WATCH IT! It is indeed a must-see film.

I want to highlight some things I saw, heard and read while watching the "Food, Inc." documentary. The film is directed by Robert Kenner. There are some rather interesting things to note about America's meat and plant based food industry. You decide what you think.

You will hear Eric Schlosser, author of "Fast Food Nation" and Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" in the documentary and others with experience to know what they are talking about.


What we believe about how and where our food comes from are obviously two different things if you buy your food in a supermarket.

In the meat industry, farms are replaced with factories. Workers have many things to do in little time making injuries more common and decreasing quality of work overall.

There are a few corporations who are controlling a large part of the food industry.

Industry food really came from fast food demands. The kitchens of fast food brought the factory like atmosphere into the food preparations. They also needed food that tasted the same, looked the same, and was cheap. The demands from fast food, changed how things were grown and processed. They wanted few foods, but large amounts of them to sell to their customers.

"In the 1970's, the top 5 beef packers controlled only about 25% of the market. Today, the top 4 control more than 80% of the market."

Even if you're not a fast food person, the typical person is still eating food processed in this same way.

They are "building" the animals to fit what people want. Larger chicken breasts, faster growing animals, but what is sacrificed is the animals health and the workers who process them.

These processors are setting the standards for how they want their farmers to grow the meat.

"So much of our industrial food, turns out to be clever rearrangements of corn."

It costs more to grow corn, than it does to buy it, because of subsidies. Corn not only can be used directly for food (many times in very processed forms), but also fed to animals. Cattle, pork, chickens and even fish now are being fed corn.

"The average American is eating over 200 pounds of meat per person per year. And that wouldn't be possible had we not fed them this diet of cheap grain."

"Cows are not eat corn, they are eat grass. The only reason we feed them corn is because corn is really cheap and corn makes them fat quickly."

There is a link between corn fed animals and E. Coli.

"These regulatory agencies are being controlled by the very companies that they are supposed to be scrutinizing."

The bigger the processing plants, the larger the contamination problem.

FDA doesn't have the power it needs to shut down the plants that have the most contamination. By reintroducing "Kevin's Law" they could.

"If you take feed lot cattle off of their corn diet, give them grass for 5 days, they will shed 80% of the E.Coli in their gut."

Meat is being washed with ammonia to kill E. Coli.

Shopping for food becomes a dollar game, trying to get as much food for less money. The problem is that many cheap foods (heavily subsidized to stay cheap) are not as nutritious as the more nutrient dense foods, like vegetables.

Corn, soy, and wheat are commodity crops and are heavily subsidized.

"One in three Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes. Among minorities, the rate will be 1 in 2."

"IN 1996, when Monsanto began selling Roundup Ready soybeans, only 2% of soybeans in the U.S. contained their patented gene. By 2008, over 90% of soybeans in the U.S. contained Monsanto's patented gene."

"...70% of processed foods in the supermarket has some genetically modified ingredient."

"The irony is that the average consumer does not feel very powerful. They think that they are the recipients of whatever industry has put out there for them to consume. Trust me it's the exact opposite."

"To eat well in this country costs more, than to eat badly."

You vote with your food dollars every day.

Buy foods in season. Buy local. Plant a garden.

Buy organic. Buy gmo free. Read labels.

Cook at home and eat together.

If you get the DVD to watch, make sure you watch the deleted scenes and other special features. There is good information in there as well. There is so much I didn't touch on at all. All worth seeing once to decide for yourself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sweet and Sour Ginger Marinade for Mushrooms

I recently made this as a marinade for mushrooms. I wanted something raw or nearly raw to prepare mushrooms. It's as if you cooked them, without the cooking. Great flavor!

Sweet and Sour Ginger Marinade

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
1/4 cup honey
4 cloves fresh garlic, sliced thin or minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Put everything in a jar and shake well. Can use as a salad dressing or use to marinate vegetables, mushrooms or tofu. Makes about 1 1/4 cup.
To marinate mushrooms or vegetables, put into a jar (with tight fitting canning jar lid and ring)together and marinate for 24 hours, turning and shaking every few hours for best flavor. Great right out of the jar.
I was able to pack in a full pound of trimmed and cleaned mushrooms into a quart jar with a recipe's worth of marinade. It took a little waiting for the mushrooms to start absorbing the marinade before I could get them all in, but they finally all went in. I cut them into quarters before marinading. Use leftover marinade as salad dressing.