Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Posts tagged ‘fast food’

Sloooow food.

We’ve been warned of the dangers of fast food till we’re bored with it. Judging by how full the parking lots are, it  hasn’t made a dent in people’s eating habits. I’ve recently become even more enamored with slow food. Really slow food. I’ve been making bread using only sourdough starter, and still making my yogurt.

This isn’t going to be a “how-to” post, rather a yes, you can. I realize we are all busy and tired, but these are foods that don’t take a lot of time. Or rather, they do, but not from you. For example, it takes less than a few minutes to feed your starter:

potato sour dough starter

potato starter

Starter

This starter is made from a few table spoons of instant potatoes, sugar and water. It can survive in your fridge or freezer almost indefinitely. You just feed it and it does its own thing.

Sourdough

You use it to make sour dough bread. I’ve been using the recipe it came with (from a friend), and one from the internet, and you don’t have to use yeast. It does take a looong time, but you just put it in a bowl and ignore it. You can start it the night before and it’ll be ready for the second rise when you get up in the morning. I started my last one on a weekday and didn’t have time for it for days, so I put it in the fridge till I was ready for it. sour dough

It did fine.

yogurt being cultured in little glass jars

Yogurt

The yogurt is the same thing. I saved some of the last batch I had made in the freezer. I take a little over a liter of milk, microwave it for 11 minutes till it bubbles, then let it cool to 115/120 degrees. Add some of the frozen yogurt, stir and pour into jars. Put them in my yogurt maker and walk away. This time it took longer. It was yogurt in the morning, but I wanted it thicker, so I went to work and popped them in the fridge when I got home. I drained them after dinner and I was done.

Beans

I also recently read that you don’t have to soak beans before cooking. I tried that, and it’s true. I put them inbeans simmering in the crockpot after dinner, and they were well cooked the next morning. Since beans are such a good food, cooking up a big batch and having them on hand to add to a variety of other foods is a great thing.

Fast Food

Now, in telling you all this, don’t think I hate fast food. I can use my microwave and frying pan to get dinner on the table in 20 minutes. I cook fish straight from the freezer and nuke broccoli and potatoes. Any way you can get tasty healthy food instead of garbage is ok in my book. But if you want fast food all week, take a few minutes here and there to add slow food. Cook a batch of rice while you are eating dinner for the next day. Always through roasted vegetables in with your chicken, make your stove work harder. I don’t think anything’s easier than roasting a whole butternut while my chickens cooking, then I de-bone the chicken and scoop the squash at the same time. Could be then, could be two days later. Make your fridge, freezer, microwave and oven really work for you.

If You Needed More Reason to Make Your Own….

So many of you might already have read this article. I heard about it from a Nutrition Diva Podcast. It’s an article outlining how the food industry really is out to get us. I don’t think there is anything new in this, but seeing it in black and white, with quotes from the people involved, really can give you pause.

In my last blog post I talked about how people don’t really factor the odds of their behavior into their choices. Immediate gratification wins out for most people. This article from the Times spells out why that is.

The public and the food companies have known for decades now — or at the very least since this meeting — that sugary, salty, fatty foods are not good for us in the quantities that we consume them. So why are the diabetes and obesity and hypertension numbers still spiraling out of control? It’s not just a matter of poor willpower on the part of the consumer and a give-the-people-what-they-want attitude on the part of the food manufacturers. What I found, over four years of research and reporting, was a conscious effort — taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery-store aisles — to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive.

Nothing new, right? How many times have you said “I must have potato chips”,  “I can’t live without chocolate” or found yourself with things in your cart you didn’t want or need?

We KNOW the food industry spends millions of dollars “optimizing food”, finding the perfect combination of salt, fat and sugar, mouthfeel and odor, to make the food irresistable. irresistable. How’s that work with your waistline? Here’s another snippit from that article:

As we talked, he made clear that while he has worked on numerous projects aimed at creating more healthful foods and insists the industry could be doing far more to curb obesity, he had no qualms about his own pioneering work on discovering what industry insiders now regularly refer to as “the bliss point” or any of the other systems that helped food companies create the greatest amount of crave. (italics are mine)

Wanna feel sorry for them?

The prevailing attitude among the company’s food managers — through the 1990s, at least, before obesity became a more pressing concern — was one of supply and demand. “People could point to these things and say, ‘They’ve got too much sugar, they’ve got too much salt,’ ” Bible said. “Well, that’s what the consumer wants, and we’re not putting a gun to their head to eat it. That’s what they want. If we give them less, they’ll buy less, and the competitor will get our market. So you’re sort of trapped.”

Poor babies are trapped!

Release them! Don’t buy those products. Don’t try them. Don’t succumb. What’s the easiest way to quit smoking? Don’t start. I will tell you, in the beginning, you will go through withdrawal. The language of addiction in this article is not coincidental! You started out with a biology ready to succumb to sugar, fat and salt, as those used to be hard to get, and were like bonus rounds back when starvation was a real possibility. Now, when that basic drive has been shaped and honed by scientists, working on them to trigger them over and over, you will feel a loss when you stop stoking that fire. However, in 6 months to a year, you will find that some of your previous favorites taste too sweet. You’ll be able to taste the chemicals in many of them. Non dairy french vanilla creamer- yuch- once you are off it long enough to distinguish real from fake.

You know the answer; if it comes in a box, a bag, a carton, if it has more than five ingredients, and if sugar or salt are in the first two, don’t buy it. Start cooking for yourself, and if you tell me you don’t have time, I’ll tell you you are wrong. I can get a meal on the table in the time it takes you to go through the drive through at McDonalds. It does take planning ahead and preparation. I have about 6 containers of soup in my freezer for “quickies”.

Before you go freaking out about GMO or vegan, gluten free, dairy free or whatever, get chemical free and junk food free. See how you feel after that. Even peanut butter has been engineered, get all natural first, and see if your peanut butter intake drops. (That was for all my friends who complain about finding themselves pigging out on that in an attempt to avoid other sweet, salty, fatty snacks) Get unsalted peanuts- you won’t find those nearly as irresistible.

The Modern Dilemma,What is Your Solution?

We know that for good health, we all need to eat a good breakfast, consisting less of  the typical empty carbs, and more protein, fruit or veggies and whole grains. Lets not kid ourselves, all those breakfast cereals are lying when they say they are a good source of whole grain, unless the first ingredient is whole wheat, brown rice or just corn, although corn isn’t all that full of fiber even in it’s natural state. We also know a really good breakfast usually takes time to make, hence most people’s dilemma. How can we get a really good breakfast without taking a lot of time?

Let’s meet my mythical client. She’s 38, a working mother, normal body weight, and a type II diabetic, only using metform, for now. Her typical breakfast is either toast, cereal or nothing. I suggest an omelet, with onion, tomato, spinach and or peppers. The idea of spending that much time making breakfast is appalling to her. I suggest that most of the work could be done in the microwave, but it’s obvious she’s not convinced.

For someone like that, a smoothie would seem the perfect solution,  but it would have to be carefully crafted. For a diabetic, dumping fruit in their system first thing in the morning is hazardous. It would have to be mostly spinach or kale, with just enough fruit to sweeten, and some protein powder to dampen the effect of the fruit. For those who don’t know, for most diabetics, the effects of higher glycemic foods can be offset by consuming them with protein or fat, making them digest slower and not flood the bloodstream with glucose. This is the reason pumpkin pie doesn’t always raise blood sugar, along with the cinnamon.

Speaking of pumpkin  pie, that is another solution, baked oatmeal. You could easily add a can of pumpkin to most of the recipes, adding a serving of veggies to your breakfast. Here’s another recipe with the pumpkin already added. I would suggest not using a site like “allrecipes.com”, only because the people who post their recipes their are often more interested in taste than health, adding too much sugar. I do use that site for many things, just not health food.

One of my favorite breakfasts, outside my usual, is whip up 1/4 c. cornmeal and a cup of water in the microwave. Heat the water 2 minutes, briskly stir in the corn meal heat while watching till it thickens, stirring occasionally. Crack an egg on top,  and a slice of cheese, put back in for 30 seconds or until egg is cooked. Top with a heaping mound of salsa. Yum!

My usual breakfast, if you haven’t read my blog, is oatmeal, with dried cranberries, walnuts and blended kale, molasses, cinnamon and tumeric. I don’t recommend it to others, it is an acquired taste. The tumeric isn’t for taste, it’s for the anti- inflammatory properties, although anything you eat on a regular basis becomes an acquired taste.

Everyone wants to eat healthy, not take any time to do so, and have it taste really good, hence the title of this post. What is your solution? Share with us that we may all be enriched. Plus, even I get sick of the same breakfast all the time, and lunch suggestions would be good, I don’t always have left overs. Even if you have favorite bloggers or websites for ideas, share those too.

Making Healthy Cooking Easier and Cheaper

Eating as healthy as possible, as cheaply as possible does require more effort on your part. Here are some of my top thoughts on making it easier. There is a phrase I hear a horse trainer using that applies here:”Make it easy to do the right thing, and hard to do the wrong.” If we make doing some of these things too hard, we won’t do them. The other thing to keep in mind is the “80/20” rule – make 80% of your diet as “clean” as possible, so you can afford the other 20%. So if tonight you have a whole wheat pizza with black bean and salsa topping, it will won’t be so bad that you get your potatoes from a box the next night.

  1. Prepare beans overnight, double batch, freeze half
  2. Cook double portion of brown rice, freeze half
  3. freeze produce, including large amounts from auction or market
  4. Do some of the prep work for tomorrow’s dinner while cleaning up tonight’s
  5. Soup usually makes huge batches, freeze half.
  6. Use tools- food processor, blender, whatever, to make it easier.
  7. Use the microwave as often as possible

I think you can see a trend here. I rely heavily on my freezer, especially since there are only two of us. With the worries about BpA’s in canned food, I’m reluctant to use too many, especially tomatoes, since their acid is more likely to leach the BpA’s out of can’s lining. I have canned my own, and will do so again, but I also dry and freeze a lot.

Of course, all this work fits into my philosophy that it is too much sitting and easy food that led us to where we are now, so reversing that by actually participating in our own food preparation is a good thing. If you have any ideas, tips, favorite recipes or any other tidbits, send them along.

If it sounds too good to be True….

Wendy’s announced a new “Natural cut fries with sea salt”. It sounds healthy, but as the this Yahoo article explains, they can only go so far.

the company’s product development team found a way to leave the potato skins on, make the fries crispier and give them a much tastier flavor. What they didn’t manage to do, however, is make the fries an actual all-natural product. That, says CMO Ken Calwell, would be too difficult given fast food customers’ demands for items that are cheap and can be hoisted through a car window.

While they are not steaming off the skin, they are pre cooking, freezing, spraying with sodium acid pyrophosphate, dusting with dextrose, and, finally, cooking them in vegetable oil containing dimethylpolysiloxane, to prevent the oil from foaming. So much for natural. If you want natural food, you have to cook it yourself. Which is a healthier way to live, and will prevent much overeating, as you then have to take the time to do so.

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