Monday, September 27, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
That's perplexing. I guess I supposed that whoever followed me here just came over from my other blog. (I don't examine my blog rolls, only my fat rolls.) I had someone find me today who thought I had disappeared. She made a very salient point when she said she didn't know what happened to me but was glad to find me again. I was glad as well and all I have to say is: I'M SORRY!
I just found it to be too much because THIS blog took so much research. All good stuff but not something I really had time for. Which made my other blog suffer. And that's the main blog. So if you would like to come join us over there, PLEASE do. Don't let the fact that I am an idiot deter you. You probably already realized that long ago!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
And by we I mean me, myself, I, and you, of course. (I, in no way, resemble these swimmers. One of them lives inside of me but I have concealed her REALLY well.)
Are you on your way with New Year’s resolutions, healthy eating, active living? Are you a self-motivated self-starter or maybe you’re more like me – the cattle prod variety. When it hits us, then we move.
We can start something, slack off, fall by the wayside and then feel like giving up. But stopping isn’t quitting so don’t give up and neither will I. I think this month is a great time to refocus and go back to the beginning – the throw down of fast food and processed foods. Maybe we need a tune-up.
I was talking with a neighbor who is committed to all things healthy and has lost 25 lbs. He gave me a GREAT tip I’ll be implementing. He keeps cut up fruits and veggies - especially veggies – available all the time and MAKES himself eat them BEFORE his meals. They are his appetizer. It cuts down on the amount of heavier foods he ingests and helps to get those healthy benefits we all need from raw, fresh, local/organic food.
Then I met Heidi, a delightful woman my daughter works with who recently started reading here and she had lots of questions about what to eat. What kind of rice do I cook? What bread do we eat? How about potatoes? I directed her to the archives but I also realized maybe we need to talk about it again. And we will.
But the bottom line is this: buy food and eat food in its most basic form whenever you can. The less processed the better and organic helps you avoid genetically modified foods as well as many chemicals. Choose locally grown organic fruits and vegetables as your first choice. Next best, choose industrial organic if local isn’t possible. If that isn’t something you can do, choose ANY fruit and vegetable – organic or not – over fast food and highly processed foods. Avoid convenience and processed foods. Period. These almost always include fast food, many restaurant choices, and are all over the grocery store – even the healthier grocery stores. They are usually packed with additives and ingredients that can negatively impact your health, your weight, and your energy. And keep it simple because it is! Don’t overwhelm yourself.
Fruits, veggies, grass fed meats and free range organic eggs (if you can), wild caught fish (never farmed), whole grain breads, good water, NO artificial sweeteners (choose Stevia, honey, molasses, or even cane sugar over ANYthing artificial or anything with high fructose corn syrup in it), exercise (what works for you), and the occasional indulgence in chocolate or something sweet. But if you do choose a dessert, make it something worth having. Try not to waste your health or daily calories on something you only marginally enjoy – like a store bought cookie. My family and I also drink raw milk but that’s not easy to find at the store in all states. Second best would be organic milk but avoid any that is “ultra-pasteurized.” That’s NOT a bonus.
So that’s where we begin again if you need a fresh start and a refocus. I do. I need to clean out the fridge and stock up on the good stuff. We don’t keep junk food anymore though over the Christmas season cookies and fudge abounded, albeit homemade. We were gifted with cookies. I didn’t actually make one. But I made copious amounts of fudge. I managed not to gain any weight but I managed not to lose any either. And I need to. I’m still keeping my year-long goal at 25 lbs. I hope it’s more. It needs to be. But I want to have something I think I can truly achieve. And then I’ll set another 25 lb. goal for the next year. As I said at the beginning of this blog back in September: When was the last time YOU came to the end of a year 25 lbs. lighter or significantly healthier? It IS a big goal when you look at it that way.
How about you? What are your goals? Do you have health problems that need addressing? Do you need to lose weight? Is exercise more verbal than actual?
You’re in the right place. Don’t forget. Lest you think I’m some skinny-minnie guru, I’m not. I’m fat. No, I’m not chubby, I’m fat. But I’m not as fat as I was September 1st, 2009. And I’m not doing this because I’m thin and think I can tell you how easy it is. It’s sometimes VERY hard but eating REAL FOOD and eating WELL won’t feel the same as terribly restrictive diets and the better you eat, the less you crave. TRULY. TRULY. TRULY. REAL FOOD is the key. It’s like a magic trick. And if you need to work on health – and most of us do one way or the other – you need serious fuel for your body. You won’t find it at a drive-up.
Now let’s eat. FOR REAL!
© Copyright 2010
Photo Source: Sacramento Bee
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
And this blog has gone a tad stale in recent days due to increased Christmas activity.
Also, Real Food and Christmas, like feuding family members, tend to avoid each other at parties and get-togethers. I’d love to tell you how I’ve overcome all obstacles and have not touched sugar or a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spiced Latte but I’d be lying and, well, then I’d have a fat conscience to go with my stomach.
But I HAVE made progress and progress is what we’re about here. I have eaten a little fudge but last year I ate a LOT of fudge. And to tell you the truth, fudge is a legacy in my house and NO Christmas will ever come that doesn’t include a taste of the stuff. Every bite connects me to the past 70 years in our family. It may contain sugar but it contains Lila, too. She was my great-grandmother. And the See’s fudge recipe was secretly bequeathed to the women of our family. It tastes EXACTLY like See’s. ZERO graininess, creamy beyond belief, and yet firm enough to cut and stack. It’s epic. I’m making more today because I have to. Friends, family, and neighbors expect it and even sneak around to ask for it. I’ve had surreptitious knocks on my door late at night asking me to slip more fudge – discreetly – to women without their husbands knowing so they can hide it and keep it all to themselves. I have complied. I am complicit.
If loving fudge is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
But it IS a one-time-a-year event. And Christmas is the event. And I try to offset it with vegetables. I believe vegetables balance everything out. I NEED to believe this. I know there is faulty thinking in there but please don’t tell me that right now. I can’t take it.
So there, I’ve confessed it. Now, on to healthier subjects.
Currently, I am writing up the post on Great Harvest Breads. Have I told you (more than 80 times) how much I love this bread? I’ll go there again today. I may live there. I'm not sure. I’ll ask them today if they have any mail for me.
January will be our contest month for them. It will be a contest for each person who is a follower and blogs about this blog and mentions Great Harvest. They have GENEROUSLY offered to send a $50 gift card to two different readers. The winner will take the gift card to their nearest Great Harvest and redeem it for a basket of REAL BREAD or other items they offer. If you have no Great Harvest Bread near you, they will make you a LOVELY basket of mixes and ship it to you – anywhere in the world! Does it get any better than that?
So, watch for our January focus wherein most of us will need to breathe fresh life into our commitments to our bodies, our families, and our health. Mine will probably need CPR as well.
I’m saying goodbye until the first days of January so that I can focus on family, writing, and projects. May you ALL have a blessed season and may I direct you to Robynn's Ravings for a Christmas story? I hope you’ll drop by. It’s my Christmas gift to you. :-)
Now let’s eat. FOR REAL. (Even if it includes the occasional piece of Christmas fudge…..!)
© Copyright 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Could the reality be as scary as the fiction?
It’s truly everywhere – High Fructose Corn Syrup. The best thing you can do for yourself when buying any processed food is read the label and know what you’re reading. A few examples of different additives:
In bread – HFCS
And finally, this delectable concoction. HFCS, Hydrogenated Oils (transfats), MSG (cornstarch-modified), Soy bean (remember 85% of all soybeans grown here and in Canada are GMO), Natural Flavor (another MSG possibility though not conclusive), Citric Acid (believe it or not, much comes from corn, not citrus), Xanthan Gum (corn based and not organic, obviously), Soy Lecithin (more soy), and lovely dyes. Who WOULDN’T want to treat themselves to this?
Vanilla Frozen Yogurt with raspberry & fudge swirls & chocolate flavored chunks.
SKIM MILK, MILK, SUGAR, CULTURED SKIM MILK, CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CREAM, RASPBERRY PUREE, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), COCONUT OIL, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, VEGETABLE OIL SHORTENING WITH SOY LECITHIN (PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL, SOYBEAN AND COTTONSEED OILS), CORNSTARCH - MODIFIED, VANILLA EXTRACT, COCOA, GUAR GUM, BUTTER OIL, NATURAL FLAVOR, CITRIC ACID, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, XANTHAN GUM, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, PHOSPHORIC ACID, CARRAGEENAN, RED 40, BLUE 1.
I was recently perusing the internet and came across a Consumer Reports article about high fructose corn syrup. Consumer Reports is pretty mainstream so I was interested to hear what they said. They were addressing the ad that began running about a year ago sponsored by the Corn Refiners Association. They want us to relax and enjoy HFCS just as we would cane sugar so they have us laughing at and pooh-poohing a concerned mom. Consumer Reports responds this way:
Let’s take the Corn Refiners’ points one by one:
- "It’s made from corn." True. High-fructose corn syrup is indeed made from corn. But you won’t get the same beneficial nutrients in it that you would from eating an ear of corn. (True, but only if that corn is non-GMO. My emphasis.)
- "Doesn’t have artificial ingredients." Partly true. The claim about artificial ingredients is a tricky one, since high-fructose corn syrup is processed using artificial agents. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that if the final product has come in contact with synthetic agent glutaraldehyde, then it cannot be called “natural,” which they define as meaning no artificial or synthetic ingredients were added. But if the manufacturer uses the artificial agent in its production, and it does not come in contact with the corn starch, it can be considered a natural product. So its possible that some high-fructose corn syrups may be able to claim “no artificial ingredients,” according to the FDA, while others would not be permitted the phrase. It’s distinctions like these that lead Consumers Union to consider the “natural” label not meaningful. (If you are using corn that does not occur in nature – genetically modified corn – I would think that would qualify as artificial ingredients. Yep. Me again.)
- "Like sugar, it’s fine in moderation." True. Most foods are fine in moderation. It’s too much or too little that causes problems. However, some would probably argue that with high-fructose corn syrup in so many products, to truly enjoy it in moderation you’d probably be better off leaving the “red juice” on the shelf.
From Thorn In Paw:
“Never mind those horribly misleading ads on TV about High Fructose Corn Syrup being "OK in moderation" and "natural"??? High Fructose Corn Syrup, made from farmed corn, most of which is genetically modified to keep costs down, is further modified via a switch in the molecules, also to keep down costs. The result is a sweet preservative found in just about all processed foods, and if the molestation of nature doesn't scare you, you should ask yourself — if they cheaped the sweet in this product, what else did they cheap out on and should I put that *&^% in my body?”
To see in more detail how the industrial food complex conspires to put HFCS and other wonderful things like beef fed on the same modified corn, antibiotics and the fat of other cows, read Pollan's "The Omnivore’s Dilemma".
Still not worried about your yogurt, soda, ice cream, breakfast bar, lunchmeat or soup? Read the following article by the Washington Post:
MONDAY, Jan. 26, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.
HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.
"Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply," the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies, said in a prepared statement.
Time to wrap up our conversation on HFCS. But I’ll leave you with this quote from Michael Pollan’s Book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma:
“Step back for a moment and behold this great, intricately piped stainless steel beast: (He’s talking here about the wet milling process corn goes through to separate each molecule from another to be used for multiple purposes.) This is the supremely adapted creature that has evolved to help eat the vast surplus biomass coming off America’s farms, efficiently digesting the millions of bushels of corn fed to it each day by the trainload. Go around back of this beast and you’ll see a hundred different spigots, large and small, filling tanker cars of other trains with HFCS, ethanol, syrups, starches, and food additives of every description. The question now is, Who or what (besides our cars) is going to consume and digest all this freshly fractionated biomass - the sugars and starches, the alcohols and acids, the emulsifiers and stabilizers and viscosity-control agents? This is where we come in. It takes a certain kind of eater-an industrial eater-to consume these fractions of corn, and we are, or have evolved into, that supremely adapted creature: the eater of processed food.”
May it not be so for you, or me.
Okay. Next up, let’s have some fun. It will be my pleasure to introduce to you a great company – Great Harvest Breads. We have one in Fresno and I was just there two days ago. They want to sponsor two incredible gifts for us and what better time to do that then the gift-giving month. December! Watch for details in the next several days.
Now let’s eat. FOR REAL!
© Copyright 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Christmas and an upside down schedule are killin’ me. Are you feeling it too? My fruit and veggie consumption is down. I’m shopping Whole Foods because every Saturday, every DAY, has been full and I can’t get to the Farmers’ Market. And I’m CRAVING salad tonight because I NEED it. But there are a few things I try to be very diligent about and a big one is High Fructose Corn Syrup. But why? What’s the difference between that and sugar?
Believe me, I don’t think sugar is my friend. It’s more like a grouchy neighbor who doesn’t leave me a better person after we’ve interacted. But HFCS is my enemy. Study after study show a growing concern about how our consumption of this product is having dramatic effects on our bodies.
Here is a recent quote from “Cell Metabolism” as featured in an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola:
“Insulin resistance is a common feature of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Both have reached epidemic proportions worldwide with the global adoption of the westernized diet along with increased consumption of fructose, stemming from the wide and increasing use of high-fructose corn syrup sweeteners.
It is well established that fructose is more lipogenic than glucose, and high-fructose diets have been linked to hypertriglyceridemia, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and insulin resistance.”
And that doesn’t cover it all. To begin with, most HFCS comes from genetically altered corn. And it’s used in so much processed food we’re drowning in it.
The good doctor goes on to tell us this:
“In fact, the use of high fructose corn syrup in the U.S. diet increased a staggering 10,673 percent between 1970 and 2005, according to the latest USDA Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption report. That too is no major surprise considering that processed foods account for more than 90 percent of the money Americans spend on their meals.”
Over 10,000 percent. Isn’t that mind boggling?
In addition, HFCS can make you fat far easier. Dr. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center and lead author of a study on fructose, published this in the Journal of Nutrition just last year:
"Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose. Once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it's hard to slow it down. The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in your body."
I don’t know about you but my body can’t afford any more fat. I could donate to a fat bank for a year and still look UNpleasingly plump. And why DON’T they have fat banks? I mean, if we can donate blood every eight weeks, why not fat? I’ll plump your lips for you! Just ask for the “Robynn Special.” Want a rounder, fuller backside? No problem! You can have my stomach following along right behind you.
Unfortunately for now, we’re left with having to manage our burgeoning waistlines without being able to donate and I need my body to be functioning as optimally as possible to help me. If I’m feeding it a steady diet of unhealthy, genetically altered, processed foods sweetened with HCFS, my body can’t work at its optimum.
If I have to use a sweetener, and I do, I try to reach for RAW honey (not refined), stevia, organic unrefined cane sugar, or organic regular sugar. And yes, I still use regular cane sugar for baking some things. I make fudge every year and if I require my family to give up all sugar and never have fudge, I will be healthy ALONE. Remember, it’s about striking a balance and we’re all struggling to find it. December won’t be kind to most of us. But if we want to enjoy our month, stay healthy, and have energy for all the demands this month will bring, we will limit the sweets, know where the “sweet” in it comes from, and not further assault our bodies with GMO’s.
A Holiday Tip
If you love to bake and have traditional dishes you make each year, bake them, save a little, and share a LOT. Take them to potlucks and parties where they have to go far and no one person (like you or me) is getting overloaded with sweets by grabbing something each time we pass by. And congratulate yourself because making anything from scratch is still far superior than processed foods. But we (read I) can seriously overdo it on my own baked goods. Consequently, I have to severely limit my access to whatever I make. Wish I was stronger but you know what? I ain’t.
Like Paul Newman said in Cool Hand Luke, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
I think I'd have to add that he also has to do the limiting. There's the rub. Dangit.
Now let's eat. FOR REAL!
Need some Christmas cheer? Calorie free? Come join me over at Robynn's Ravings for a down home, nighttime, electrical parade. So fun. :)
Thursday, December 3, 2009
The movie is out. It’s on my Christmas wish list. I’ll never make it until Christmas. Who am I kidding?
If you haven’t already done so, PLEASE see this movie. Rent it, buy it, share it with a friend. The trailer is only two minutes. Take a quick look. I am a huge fan of Michael Pollan who helped bring this movie to life. He is the author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and a compelling writer. I can’t put books like this down. In fact, his book opens with the story of CORN. And he teaches us about good old genetically modified organism corn. This AIN’T your mother’s corn. Your grandfather didn’t eat this. YOU are the lab rat of today’s chemically engineered corn.
As I’ve said before, 80% of all corn grown here in the U.S. is GMO. And with that huge factor comes the industry’s Golden Boy – high fructose corn syrup. HFCS. It sweetens almost all soft drinks, energy drinks, and electrolyte replacement drinks with it's Frankensteinian goodness. It enhances your bread, store bought cookies, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, and on and on and on. In fact, walk down any mainstream American grocery store aisle and try NOT to find it. Skirt the edges of the store and you might have more luck, but not much. It’s in your yogurt, frozen foods, ice cream. You could literally eat GMO corn every time you open your mouth. It’s unprecedented. No one knows all the long term consequences of changing food from the way God created it and people have eaten it for thousands of years, to fattening us up on this genetically altered cocktail. But we DO know certain consequences and I’ll be talking about them in the days to come and giving you ideas about healthier, REAL FOOD choices.
So, here’s the trailer. If at all possible, see the movie. It’s anything but dry. High fructose corn syrup will be our label focus for the next few posts. In the meantime, don’t eat it. Not the label, the HFCS. Well, now that I think about it, the label’s probably healthier.
© Copyright 2009