Wednesday, June 30, 2010

In case my rant the other day wasn't enough, Bill Maher's "Anti-Pharma Rant" makes pretty much the same point, but much funnier.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Eat Your Way to Health

  • One third of all children are overweight or obese. 
  • The number of people who have Type 2 Diabetes has doubled over the last 10 years. 

Are you aware  that diabetes practically didn't exist 100 years ago? That the average doctor could work his or her entire career and not treat one single case of diabetes. I have read that this is a "life style" disease. And it is. We as a society don't eat well. We love quick and convenient, more is better.  All you can eat means you should arrive as hungry as you can and stuff as much food into yourself, because some how that is "value." It doesn't matter that you just consumed enough calories for 3 days because it was all fried.
It concerns me that we, as a society, are eating ourselves into disease. That we will spend an enormous amount of time and money at doctor's offices, on prescriptions, and tests that we could have spent on a vacation. That we will be sick and not feel well all for the sake of a cheap, easy meal.

I hear people say that buying organic or locally produced food is too expensive. That they don't like vegetables. And yes in some cases the up front cost is a little more (and even then not always) but the back end cost is lower... you are healthier, with a lower risk of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. You are out doing what you love and less likely to be driving to a multitude of doctor's offices and taking expensive medications.  You are living!

I listen to Pete Dominick on POTUS, Sirus/XM a lot. His show focuses on whatever the political hot topics are, but what I like about him, is not only is he well researched, but he encourages everyone to do the same. He believes that in order to make smart decisions we all have to know the facts, and that comes from reading multiple view points.  I encourage you to do the same when it comes to your food. Read what is out there, check out my reading list if you want. OR to get started read Dr. Oz and Michael Roizen's book, YOU: Staying Young  or Wired Magazine's article about Google's Sergey Brin and how he is reducing his risk for Parkinson's Disease through diet and exercise.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Growing Veggies and Herbs in Small Spaces

Think you can't have a garden because you live in a small space with no yard? Think again. Creativity is the key here. All you need is a pot, some good dirt, seeds/plants, sun and water. I live in a townhouse and my "back yard" is about 9 feet by 20 feet. It's pretty wet out back, so we grow herbs and veggies in pots on our front porch, which faces west and gets great full afternoon sun.

My approach is pretty simple: buy plants or seeds, put in pot, remember to water. Starting your garden doesn't need to be very expensive either. If you don't have pots, ask your local nursery if they have any left over ones from trees or shrubs that have been sold. They are black and not  the most beautiful, but functional. If you have a few smaller decorative pots, put them in front and nobody will ever know.

Don't be afraid to experiment either. This year we are growing two pepper plants, one hot and one sweet; two different kinds of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, tons of basil, mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, lemon balm and the beginnings of a lime bush and orange bush. All in a  4 foot by 4 foot space.

Tips: Water in the morning or evening when it is cooler out. The plants will have more time to absorb the water.

Don't worry if something doesn't work out, just try another variety. I bought green bean seeds, and In don't know where they went, but they are not in the pot I put them in. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Giving Up The Grocery Store

I just read this on Food Freedom's blog. Carol Crownover of Austin Texas has stopped going to the grocery store. Read about her experience and why she gave up industrial agriculture. I see more and more people choosing local food. Taste the difference.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Information Overload?

I saw this yesterday on Huffington Post and thought I would share. Click the title and check it out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Refreshing Summer Treats

I am always looking for ideas for something to serve my kids and their friends in the summer besides popsicles and those frozen icy things that come in a plastic tube (can you tell I have never bought them :0) It's not that I don't want my kids to have something sweet and refreshing, it's just the lack real food that bothers me so much. Most of those things are fake sugar, fake coloring and fake flavor... yuck.

Usually I make popsicle smoothies with the little popsicle forms you can buy, but they don't seem to be the "cool" thing to have now that my guys are a little older. I found a another great recipe from Clean Eating for lemon thyme granita. It takes about 30 minutes make and a couple hours to harden, with periodic fork scraping.

  • I mixed minced ginger, 12 thyme springs, agave, and water and brought it to a boil.
  • Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Strain the ginger, Reserving liquid in a bowl. Let cool. 
  • Juice 2 lemons, strain pulp and any seeds that jumped in and add to ginger, water mixture. Add 2tsp of chopped thyme, mix and pour into something close to a 9x9 pan. 
  • Throw in the freezer and scrape with a fork after an hour and periodically after that.

Mine came out a little coarse, but VERY tasty.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Food Labeling - Does it Help?

I have read in several food magazines about the ongoing dilemma over the benefits (or not) of labeling food products in more detail. Even Philly has an ordinance, that I believe was delayed until the fall, written that will require restaurant chains (more than 15 stores) to provide labeling for most menu items. Do you think this will help? When you go to the grocery store to you look at the label or read the ingredients. I would really like to know who is adding up the vitamin B12 they consume every day. Do you really want to know the nutritional value of Rita's water ice?  Please let me know what you think, write a comment. I would love some feedback.

I am all for more information when it's helpful, but in this case the only part of the label I read is the ingredients list. If it's not all real food, for the most part, I don't buy it. A quick scan at the ingredients will tell you how good something is. If it sounds like a real food, and is recognizable as one, then most of the time you should be ok. If you don't read ingredient list, I ask to you to check it out the next time you are at the grocery store. You will be surprised at what you are not putting in your body. And yes that would be real food. You are consuming lot's of preservatives, chemicals, extra sugar and fat. All stuff designed to make you want more, so you buy more.

So, if you have been thinking about trying to eat more healthy food try this:

1. Eat more veggies
2. Read the ingredients

Small changes will make a difference

And, by the way, that "natural flavor" that is in so many things, it comes from corn.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What We Ate for Dinner

Life had been full as of late, and last week was the first time in a while that I had a menu for dinner planned. What did we eat?

BBQ Shrimp and Sugar Snap Pasta Salad:
Another Clean Eating Magazine recipe. Oh this was so good and easy. The salad had grilled shrimp with Chinese 5 Spice powder on it, snap peas, cucumber, cilantro, basil and soba noodles with a gingery soy vinaigrette. A version of this will show up at the cafe. Email me at if you would like the recipe.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Fresh Tomato Salad:
I made this at Brian's request. Another exhausting day at the pool (it's a tough life for Brian :) ) left him craving carbs. And you might be thinking whole wheat pasta, what a mushy mess! We only eat whole wheat and multigrain pasta. Cook it al dente and you should be ok. I made a fresh tomato sauce with local tomatoes from Lancaster that were super ripe, sauteed summer squash, zucchini and mushrooms, added a clove of garlic, a little fresh thyme, oregano and basil and of coarse a dash of sea salt and pepper. After sauteing the squash and mushrooms, I added the chopped tomatoes and herbs to the hot pan and let it sit for about 10 minutes to let the flavors mesh. Anyone can make this, just add your favorite veggie if you don't like squash or mushrooms.

Baharat Tomato Soup with Couscous:
I made this one of the days it was over 90 degrees thinking my family would revolt because I was serving hot soup on such a hot day. We were all surprised by how refreshing it was. The soup is made with a mixture of spices called Baharat which means "spice" in Arabic, fresh tomatoes (again) jalapeno, couscous, cilantro, and mint. When you taste this soup there is a hint of heat at first. Without adding any real "minty" flavor the mint finished the flavor sensation with a refreshing coolness. I can hardly wait to make this again. AND I had extra  of the Baharat and I have been using it as a rub on chicken steak too.

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