Archive for October, 2011
For many years I’ve known that many foods people are eating are unhealthy and some dangerous. Most of the information I got was from fringe groups, but now it’s becoming mainstream. I’m going to include sites and videos that I think are worth taking a look at.
The first is a YouTube clip that has a lot of interesting information, that is backed up by documentation. Often times web sites and videos are just people getting up there and ranting, without anything to back their claims up. They say there are hidden documents, but somehow they got a hold of the information and didn’t publish it? That has always sounded fishy to me. But this video the person has clips of the actual articles (some of which are his own, but not all) that show outline what is happening to our food and it isn’t pretty.
Please try to ignore his purely political agenda and look at the actual information he’s giving. You’ll see that our food is not being produced to nourish us, rather to control us, possibly even to the point of controlling the population, but I’m not going to go there. What I’m concerned about is that we start getting food that truly nourishes us. We’d have so much less disease, less ADHD, less violence and aggression. When the body isn’t getting what it needs, even if its eating enough calories, we cannot operate optimally.
So, start reading labels. Become aware of what is being put in your food. Do research on additives, especially if you can’t say them. Most importantly start cooking your meals from scratch, buy organic when possible, buy from farmers you know and trust, and grow your own if possible. That’s the best way to ensure what is in your food. Check out my gardening blog to find out about buying seeds from companies that have signed the safe seed pledge, too.
One of the things I’m doing right now is trying to find really tasty, healthy snack foods, especially what I call crunchy-salty snacks. We’ve got a good stash of sweet treats, but finding recipes for healthy crunchy-salty snacks has been a challenge. We’re trying to avoid fried foods, too. Often either the list of ingredients or the steps to make something are daunting. As I’ve said before I’m always for tasty and quick.
Anyway, I found this great cracker recipe in Yoga Journal, so I’m going to share it with you.
These were reprinted in YJ from Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor house, 2008).
Seeded Amaranth Crackers
Make 3 dozen crackers
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup amaranth flour
- Coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2-1/2 T olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp each poppy, fennel, sesame, and amaranth seeds
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Preheat the oven 375˚. Line a baking sheet with cooking parchment.
- In a food processor, blend flours, ½ tsp salt, and baking powder. Add 2 Tbsps oil and pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Slowly add water, pulsing just until the dough comes together.
- Scrape out onto a floured board and use a floured rolling pin to roll out a rectangle that is 1/8” thick. Cut into squares and place on baking sheet. Brush with remaining oil and sprinkle with seeds, paprika, and ½ tsp salt.
- Bake until crackers are golden on edges and bottoms, 10-15 minutes.
Soon this will be my own recipe, as I already changed several things. First, I used white whole-wheat flour. Also, I ended up making my own amaranth flour, as I couldn’t find any available in our area. Last I rolled the crackers out on the parchment and then slipped it onto the cookie sheet. Much easier than picking each one up by hand. I cut them with a pizza cutter, worked great! Already my head is busy with different seasonings, flours, oils, etc. I’ll share my permutations with you as they develop. Mostly I needed a cracker recipe that actually came out like a cracker and not like a biscuit and this it perfectly.
Yeow! I was going to include a picture of some crackers in this post, but all I could find was where white pasty junk crackers! So you’ll just have to imagine some beautiful whole grain and seed crackers…
Using fall fruits can make excellent smoothies. Below is a recipe I prepared recently.
- 1 pear, peeled and quartered
- 1 banana, peeled and broken into several pieces
- 4 chard leaves with stems, washed and cut into large pieces
- 1 cup soy milk
- ½ cup vanilla yogurt
- ½ tsp Chinese five spice
Put all ingredients in a high speed blender or Vitamix and puree until smooth.
You can substitute almond or rice milk; ½ cup plain yogurt, 1 tsp vanilla extract, whole sugar to taste; leave out the Chinese five spice, add cinnamon and/or ginger; frozen banana for fresh.
By continuing to drink smoothies into the fall months, you’ll continue to get great nutrition by including leafy greens and fresh fruit in your diet.
This works great as a breakfast drink, or have it ready for the kids when they get home from school.
Very dear to my heart is helping kids to stay healthy and vibrant. Today over 30% of children are considered obese, what a tragedy. Obese children usually make obese adults, and obese adults leave themselves open for many more diseases than adults within their normal range of health.
One thing we need to remember is that kid’s taste is different than adults. Finding recipes for kids that they really like is an important key to the success of a healthy diet. If the kids don’t like the food, they won’t eat it. They’ll trade with their friends for food less desirable, but more tasty.
Children set their taste preferences early, so it is important to offer them what you would like to see them to eat when they get older. Don’t start out using white bread and then expect your child to willingly change over to whole wheat, even if it is better for them and tastes better to you. Avoid foods that are high on the glycemic index. Those are foods that are converted into sugar rapidly and often contribute to weight gain. That means all the white stuff: sugar, flour, rice, etc. You can find a list of foods by doing a quick search on the Internet.
Another thing to remember is that kids don’t eat as much. They are smaller, so make their portions smaller. Cut up fruit and only give them half and apple at a time. Make carrot sticks that are small and easy to crunch, then add a nice hummus or bean dip to go with them. Using a thermos and sending nice hot homemade soups or chilled smoothies when the weather is cold or hot is always a welcome treat.
I’ve heard many parents moan that they can’t get their kids to eat anything healthy. I’ve never known children to starve themselves to death, so just start having only healthy alternatives available. If you don’t have sodas, candy, white bread, and other highly processed foods available they will eat what is there. You might have to experiment a little to find what will satisfy their sweet tooth without it being a disaster nutritionally. Maybe try fresh fruit, a smoothie, frozen banana with peanut butter, yogurt with some fruit in it, etc. The best thing, though, is to start them out right.
I was on a diet when I was eleven, because my mother was concerned that I was gaining too much weight. I hated it, but it taught me a very important lesson. If I don’t regulate my own eating, someone else will, be it a parent or doctor. I didn’t want that, so I’ve managed my diet carefully since and I’ve never been seriously overweight my entire teen and adult life. Now I choose healthy food with a 5% leeway for some old favorite, comfort food. If you start them off right their comfort food will also be healthy for them!
We all have them, those items we can’t imagine our kitchen without. For me one of them is our Mac knives. They aren’t especially fancy, but the handle is bent up slightly, so that when you cut something hard and the knife finally breaks through, I’m not breaking my knuckles on the countertop or cutting board. They also sharpen easily and hold the edge pretty well.
For others it might be a favorite pot or skillet. Over the years I’ve tried all kinds of pots and pans. We found that, although quite heavy, cast iron is fantastic. It heats very evenly, once seasoned nothing sticks to it, and cleanup is a breeze.
One thing that we’ve found is, that if you have a favorite appliance, it pays to buy and store spare parts, especially ones that wear out the fastest, like gaskets or anything rubber or plastic.
Many of us have put out a pretty penny to get top of the line countertop appliances, such as mixers, blenders, food processors, etc. It’s very distressing to have put a lot of money into a great Cuisinart food processor only to find that they no longer make the part we need. Finding a good online source of cuisinart parts is something you should do as soon as you’ve decided that this is the processor you’ve always dreamed of. Picking up an extra blade and any other part you see that might need replacing due to regular use, and storing them away until they are needed, will save you a lot of heartache when the time to replace them finally arrives.
You might want to take an inventory of your favorite “must have” items, and see if any of them have easily replaced parts that might wear out. Then take a little time to stock your workroom with a box containing these parts, for future use. An ounce of prevention really pays when you have a big dinner party and the blade finally breaks on your food processor. Then all you’ll have to do is pull out the blade you stored away and no one will know the difference.