Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Movie night

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a wonderful weekend in Madison WI last weekend, I'm going thru some pictures and writing a post about it.  Great food, great history and a great guide.  More on that later this week.  In the meantime, why not watch a movie?  I'm going to list some of the better movies about food, granted some of them are not the most exciting films, but that's not the point.  The reason to watch these programs is to be educated about your food,  where does it really come from,  are the giant livestock pens as bad as they say?  Just how much pesticide is are you really eating?  Is Monsanto the great Satan?  These films will present the arguments and let you decide for yourself.

Most of these are available on Amazon Prime for free.  Don't have Prime?  You should, just click below and get it. Free 2 day shipping, free movies and TV you cant go wrong.  The prices you see below the links are the cost to stream if you don't have prime.

Now on to the movies.
Food Inc. 
This is a well done documentary on the state of America's corporate controlled food industries

Learn what chefs, producers and activists are doing to bring safe quality food to your table and benefit local producers.

In Organic We Trust
Just what is organic any way?  This film attempts to answer that and explains why it may be the answer to our broken food industry.

Well those are just a couple of the very informational videos out there.  In the future I'll write some more about food films and try to give some more in depth reviews.

Stay hungry friends
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Friday, August 23, 2013

A recipe!!

I mentioned earlier that I have lost weight using a Mediterranean style diet (40lbs so far).  So I figured it was about time to put something up about it  This is just a quickie.

The Mediterranean diet is based on many of the best protein sources...especially those with the highest nutritional value.

Researchers suggest that healthy protein sources may help you maintain lean tissue while burning fat for fuel. And this happens without being sidetracked with constant hunger.

Eat this easy peanut butter & fruit wrap for breakfast or lunch to get your daily dose of healthy protein.

Ingredients (Makes 1 - 200 cal.)
1 8-inch whole wheat flour tortilla
2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tbsp 100% strawberry spread
1/2 banana (medium, thinly sliced)
1 tbsp granola

Directions: (Ready in 5 Min.)
Spread tortilla with peanut butter, then with fruit spread. Top with banana and sprinkle with granola. Roll up tortilla and enjoy!

Have a great weekend!!  And stay Hungry


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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Label madness

     We all hear "read the labels!", when it comes to buying at the grocery store.  But what the heck do those labels mean?  If you don't have a degree in chemistry it can be hard to decipher.  I think that it is easier just to know some things that you don't want to see on the label.  There is something like 45,000 items in a typical American grocery store, so knowing everything about every product is pretty much impossible.  I hope this list helps trying to navigate the confusion that is "nutrition" labels.

1. BHA
This preservative is used to prevent rancidity in foods that contain oils. Unfortunately, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) has been shown to cause cancer in rats, mice, and hamsters. The reason the FDA hasn’t banned it is largely technical—the cancers all occurred in the rodents’ forestomachs, an organ that humans don’t have. Nevertheless, the study, published in the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research, concluded that BHA was “reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen,” and as far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough to eliminate it from your diet. 

You’ll find it in: Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles


These synthetic preservatives are used to inhibit mold and yeast in food. The problem is parabens may also disrupt your body’s hormonal balance. A study in Food Chemical Toxicology found that daily ingestion decreased sperm and testosterone production in rats, and parabens have been found present in breast cancer tissues. 

You’ll find it in: Baskin-Robbins sundaes

Don’t confuse “0 g trans fat” with being trans fat-free. The FDA allows products to claim zero grams of trans fat as long as they have less than half a gram per serving. That means they can have 0.49 grams per serving and still be labeled a no-trans-fat food. Considering that two grams is the absolute most you ought to consume in a day, those fractions can quickly add up. The telltale sign that your snack is soiled with the stuff? Look for partially hydrogenated oil on the ingredient statement. If it’s anywhere on there, then you’re ingesting artery-clogging trans fat. 

You’ll find it in: Long John Silver’s Popcorn Shrimp, Celeste frozen pizzas

Nitrites and nitrates are used to inhibit botulism-causing bacteria and to maintain processed meats’ pink hues, which is why the FDA allows their use. Unfortunately, once ingested, nitrite can fuse with amino acids (of which meat is a prime source) to form nitrosamines, powerful carcinogenic compounds. Ascorbic and erythorbic acids—essentially vitamin C—have been shown to decrease the risk, and most manufacturers now add one or both to their products, which has helped. Still, the best way to reduce risk is to limit your intake. 

You’ll find it in: Oscar Mayer hot dogs, Hormel bacon

This additive wouldn't be dangerous if you made it the old-fashioned way—with water and sugar, on top of a stove. But the food industry follows a different recipe: They treat sugar with ammonia, which can produce some nasty carcinogens. How carcinogenic are these compounds? A Center for Science in the Public Interest report asserted that the high levels of caramel color found in soda account for roughly 15,000 cancers in the U.S. annually. 

You’ll find it in: Coke/Diet Coke, Pepsi/Diet Pepsi

Castoreum is one of the many nebulous “natural ingredients” used to flavor food. Though it isn’t harmful, it is unsettling. Castoreum is a substance made from beavers’ castor sacs, or anal scent glands. These glands produce potent secretions that help the animals mark their territory in the wild. In the food industry, however, 1,000 pounds of the unsavory ingredient are used annually to imbue foods—usually vanilla or raspberry flavored—with a distinctive, musky flavor.  

You’ll find it in: Potentially any food containing “natural ingredients”

Plenty of fruit-flavored candies and sugary cereals don’t contain a single gram of produce, but instead rely on artificial dyes and flavorings to suggest a relationship with nature. Not only do these dyes allow manufacturers to mask the drab colors of heavily processed foods, but certain hues have been linked to more serious ailments. A Journal of Pediatrics study linked Yellow 5 to hyperactivity in children, Canadian researchers found Yellow 6 and Red 40 to be contaminated with known carcinogens, and Red 3 is known to cause tumors. The bottom line? Avoid artificial dyes as much as possible. 

You’ll find it in: Lucky Charms, Skittles, Jell-O

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, used as a flavor enhancer, is plant protein that has been chemically broken down into amino acids. One of these acids, glutamic acid, can release free glutamate. When this glutamate joins with free sodium in your body, they form monosodium glutamate (MSG), an additive known to cause adverse reactions—headaches, nausea, and weakness, among others—in sensitive individuals. When MSG is added to products directly, the FDA requires manufacturers to disclose its inclusion on the ingredient statement. But when it occurs as a byproduct of hydrolyzed protein, the FDA allows it to go unrecognized.  

You’ll find it in: Knorr Noodle Sides, Funyuns

     This is by no means a complete list of the crap you will find on an ingredient list that is potentially harmful to you, but it is a start.  Try to eliminate as much, if not all, of these things in your diet and you will have a good start on healthy eating.

Stay hungry my friends

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Off to the Market!

     It's that time of year that farmers markets every where are in full swing.  Hopefully you are taking advantage of them on a regular basis.  In my opinion patronizing your local farmers market is one of the best ways to get good quality produce in your diet.  Not to mention supporting local growers and reducing your carbon food print as the product isn't shipped halfway around the world before it gets to your table.  I'm going to address what is and isn't considered "organic" according to the government and what it means to you in the future.  Today, however, I'd like to talk about just what you should be buying at the market.

     If you're like me, you head off to the market with certain amount of money in your pocket ready to buy some fresh produce.  When you get there, depending on the time of year, you can be overwhelmed with the wide variety of products and become unsure as to what to buy.  Here are a few suggestions.  Mostly from the good folks over at Rodale News.

The top 8.

     A bland, mealy grocery-store tomato will never rival a fresh-from-the-farm-market tomato. And there are more benefits to local tomatoes than just taste. In Florida, where a third of the country’s grocery store tomatoes are grown,the exploitation  illegal immigrants on tomato farms is a persistent problem. And farmers in that state apply five times as much fungicide and six times as much pesticide as farmers in California, which supplies another third of the country’s fresh tomatoes.
     You’ll never find anything but standard orange carrots at a supermarket, but you’ll find them in every hue, from purple to white, at local farm stands. Those colorful varieties, particularly purple carrots, have higher antioxidant values than commercially grown orange carrots, according to a study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. They’re also better for the planet. The energy required to store carrots when they’re out of season or being shipped long distances accounts for 60 percent of the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with carrot production.
     Grab a pint of local strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, and you’re doing the planet a favor. Because they perish quickly and have relatively short shelf lives, berries are often shipped from farm to distribution center via air freight, the most fossil-fuel-guzzling form of food shipment, from South America, Mexico, Canada, and even as far off as Poland. You’re also doing domestic growers a favor: According to Food & Water Watch, the United States imports $220 million worth of strawberries, while selling just $1.5 million worth of domestically grown berries.
     Oddly enough, buying local onions could help save a farm. A few years ago, the U.S. government loosened trade restrictions with Peru, and the result has been a glut of imported onions that has dropped the price local farmers can get for their crops by half. As a result, domestic onion growers have slowly been cutting back on the number of onions they grow. All of Peru’s onion exports aren’t doing farmers there any good, either. The primary pesticide used on Peru’s onion crops, methamidophos, has been linked to sperm damage in farmers.
     Sales of this crop have also benefited from our neighbors to the south. Asparagus imports from Peru have grown steadily over the past decade and now account for 51 percent of the asparagus we consume. The vegetable is now Peru’s largest agricultural export. The USDA requires all shipments of fresh asparagus from Peru to be fumigated with the dangerous pesticide methyl bromide, a neurotoxic chemical suspected of causing cancer. If that’s not bad enough, the chemical shortens asparagus’s shelf life, so it doesn’t even taste good by the time it arrives at the store! The best-tasting stalks are at the farmers’ market, even if the asparagus season is fleeting.
     Domestic, imported. Organic, nonorganic. Peaches just don’t taste good any other time of year than in midsummer, the height of their season, because they don’t hold up well during transport. Another benefit to buying local? Pesticides. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers Guide to Produce, peaches are treated with more pesticides than any other fruit. Buying local means you can grill the farmer to see which chemicals, if any, he or she uses.
7.Grass-Fed Beef and Dairy
     Like organic food, the environmental impact of animal products has more to do with how they were raised than how far they traveled—which is why buying local beef and dairy is important. Animals raised entirely on grass produce 8 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and 30 percent lower ammonia levels than corn-fed animals raised in confinement. Since the term grass-fed isn’t always reliable (it’s not well regulated), local venues allow you to ask farmers direct questions about how their animals were raised.
8.Anything Organic
     Despite the feel-good factor of supporting local farms, where your food is grown accounts for just a fraction of its environmental impact. It’s how your food is grown that matters most. According to agricultural researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, 11 percent of your food’s environmental impact comes from food miles, whereas 83 percent comes from how it was grown, particularly when it’s grown with the greenhouse-gas-intensive fertilizers and pesticides used on chemical farms.

     So there you have it, yes I know that buying beef and dairy at a market or other locally sourced option can be pretty costly.  But if you are limiting your meat intake to a reasonable level those costs should level out over time.  Get off to the market, you'll be glad you did.
    One word of caution, just because it's at the farmers market doesn't necessarily mean that it is local and organic.  Having a knowledge of what is in season in your area can help a lot, and don't be shy about asking the folks at the stands questions.  I recently found peaches at my local market that still had the product of Mexico sticker on it.  So be aware and ask questions.

Stay hungry my friends

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Something you didn't even know you wanted.

You know that list that you put people on who make you mad?  Well now you can put it on paper that is made of the same stuff!!!  Panda Poo Paper!! Check it out.  We gave it the sniff test and there is no bad smell.  The paper itself is a little rough, but that's to be expected.  Over all a very cool thing,  and a very good conversation starter.