Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey Day.

I recently saw the movie Food Inc. and the next day saw the author Jonathan Safran Foer talking about his new book Eating Animals - which I want to read, but after watching Food Inc. I need a break from the looming fear/guilt I now have for eating meat (and supporting factory farming), besides that I have plenty of text to read for school.

Back to the point, turkeys.

On the Eating Animals website the author offers a few links to learn more about the holiday bird, and they are not settling.

Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch in Tampa, Kansas raises natural turkeys that take the regular time to mature and are able to live without human interaction, unlike the Butterball or other mainstream brand you see massive piles of in your local supermarket.

"Turkey farmer Frank Reese has dedicated his entire life to changing that. If you spend some time with Mr. Reese, who runs Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch on a sprawling tract of land in Tampa, Kansas, he will be more than happy to give you a thorough rundown of all the things that he doesn’t like about the “broad-breasted White,” which, since the 1960s, has been the dominant breed favored by mass-producers of turkeys because of the speed and efficiency with which it produces meat: A broad-breasted White reaches slaughter weight in half the time it takes one of Good Shepherd's heritage turkeys. Unfortunately, as Reese is quick to point out, these birds can’t fly—nor can they reproduce naturally or grow at a normal, healthy rate. And (partially as a result of these flaws) the meat that they produce is mealy and bland."

Read the full article here.

Wait. They can't reproduce naturally? Wouldn't that itself be a red flag that this method of raising live animals isn't the best for both the animal and the human population who will consume it? Whatever happened to survival of the fittest or natural selection?

Want to find a natural turkey in your area? Try Local Harvest. It is an amazing network to find farms, farmer's markets, restaurants, grocery stores and much more.

If you haven't learned enough here is some information on factory farming.

You don't have to become vegetarian, I'm not, it just takes one small step to start down the road to a healthier life.

Get informed, see Food Inc., try to take steps to consume mindfully.

Happy Thanksgiving :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quinoa Salad Recipe

This is a salad I made for a party, everyone loved it, and a couple of people asked for the recipe.

This is definitely more of a Summer dish.

1cup Quinoa (pronounced Keen-WAH, it is a seed but tastes and looks like a grain, learn more here )
1 1/2cup organic corn kernels*
1 1/2cup organic black beans*
1cup organic cherry tomatoes*
1 Organic Red Bell Pepper- seeded and chopped small*
4 Organic (not from Mexico) Scallions chopped*
2Tbsp. Minced Garlic*
1/3Cup Lime Juice*
1/4Cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (red wine vinegar would work - but raw apple cider has more health benefits)
2Tbsp. Olive Oil*
1tsp. Ground Coriander
1tsp. Cayenne*
Salt to taste
2Tbsp. Ground flax (optional)

*You can add more or less depending on taste, I am not a big recipe user, so each time it's a little different, but always yummy.

Rinse Quinoa in a mesh colander (unless you have a brand that is prewashed). Soak it for at least an hour, but the longer it soaks the shorter the cook time and easier it is to digest (sprouted foods are easier to digest).

Some Quinoa will probably be lost in the soak/rinse/transfer process. Cook it as you would rice (1 cup sprouted quinoa will only need about 1 cup of water to cook), it takes about 12-15 minutes. Keep checking it to see if the water has been absorbed, and be ready to take it off heat early if needed.

Let quinoa cool.

Mix the dressing: Lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, coriander, salt, garlic, cayenne (flax, optional). Taste it and modify to your liking, the tart-ness will mellow once it is spread throughout the salad so if it tastes strong that is probably good.

Chop the veggies, rinse the beans and get the corn and tomatoes ready.

Once the Quinoa is cool, add all of the veggies and beans, toss. Then drizzle the dressing mix over and toss thoroughly.

I personally put the tomatoes on the top at the end so they don't get punctured and those who do not like them can go around. Also, try to not put the tomatoes in the refrigerator before, the coldness breaks down cell walls and makes them mushy.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sugar, Sugar.

I have been, for awhile now, telling people (sometimes complete strangers) about how terrible Aspartame and Splenda (Sucralose) are for you. So for this, my first real post, I want to talk about sugar, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup and healthier sweetener options.

First off, the bad.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS):

It comes from sugar derived from corn. Other sugars made from corn are: syrup, fructose, dextrose, dextrine, and HFCS. Why is it bad? All fructose must be metabolized through the liver, unlike glucose which is metabolized in every cell of the body. So if it is metabolized through the liver what are you doing to yourself when you have a rum and coke?

Also, studies show that the consumption of fructose interferes with the body's ability to absorb copper. Copper is integral for vital organs but also collagen and elastin, which most of us know as the stuff in our skin that keeps us young looking. Copper deficiency can also lead to: weak bones, infertility, heart issues, among others.

HFCS not only contains no nutritional value, but also leaches micro-nutrient stores from our body. HCFC has been identified as an inhibitor of white blood cells activity, making these "defense cells" incapable of protecting the body from foreign invaders and illness.

A researcher at UC Davis, Peter J. Havel, D.V.M., Ph.D., "We found that consuming fructose-sweetened beverages with a meal resulted in a decrease secretion of insulin and a decreased production of Leptin. Both hormones regulate appetite and body weight."

Research shows that items with HFCS in them contain detectable levels of mercury, and most of these products are marketed to children.

Splenda (aka. Sucralose):

What is it? It is table sugar that has had the molecular structure changed to replace three hydrogen molecules with two chlorine atoms. Ok ok ok, too much science, I know, but just think about it... replacing hydrogen with chlorine, can this be good? Sure chlorine is naturally occuring in the body, but should we be adding more, especially if one is diabetic?

First off the diabetics. All the science talk aside, using sucralose throughout the day can push a diabetic person to lose control of their blood sugar, because of a specific blood-marker disturbance. And if that seems too vague, the simple reality of Splenda is that it is only 1% sucralose and the rest is sugar! See more here.

The following list are side effects of sucralose by Dr. Mercola: redness of skin, burning sensation on skin, rash, itching, panicky/shaky feeling, swelling, skin blisters, welts, nausea, cramps, dry heaves, becoming withdrawn, loss of interest in regular life activities, forgetfullness, moodiness, crying for no reason, acne, anxiety, feelings of food-poisoning, headache, blurred vision, mental/emotional breakdown, bloated abdomen, dirrhea, trouble staying focused, feeling depressed, vomiting, seizures, faintness. Wow. That is a lot of potential problems for a few less calories.


Well known, long existing in many edible products. Also known as Equal and NutraSweet.

In lab rats, aspartame was chemically altered when ingested and became formaldehyde. And most of the human tests have been only a few people over a short time, and those people were of healthy age. To be clear, they were not elderly or children; the effects of this additive have not been studied in these vulnerable populations.

Aspartame has been shown to be a neurotoxin, meaning it changes brain chemicals. (That one you can google and read about for months)

Healthy Alternatives to chemicals:
Barley Malt
Brown Rice Syrup
Date Sugar
Fruit (dried, soaked)
Fruit Juice Concentrate
Maple Syrup
Molasses (blackstrap or sorghum)
Organic Cane Sugar (sucanat or rapadura)
Palm Sugar

What I think:

NEVER use a chemical to sweeten anything. If you think back a few decades, or even back to cave man times, there were less incidences of the diseases we have today. Sure modern medicine has helped us live longer, but if our bodies are inundated with chemicals is it a better life?

If you can break the sugar habit, you will find that an apple is sweeter and those crazy chocolate cravings subside.

If you still need to sweeten, use something from the list above.

Be aware, think for yourself, and honor your body.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why I am doing this.

Hello everyone!

I am starting this because I am currently a student at Bauman College studying nutrition and I wanted a way to share the things I am learning as well as talk about issues with food/nutrition. I also think this will help me to synthesize what I am learning and to ultimately turn this into a career!

Here is the site for my school:

And, I hope I can share information that helps people to make better food choices as well as live healthier lives!

Feel free to ask any questions and I will try my best to find an answer.