Friday, September 30, 2011

The Truth About Your Food - Doritos

Men's Health editor in chief and author of the series Eat This Not That, David Zinczenko, wrote an article -The Truth About Your Food. It's really interesting information and had a huge impact on me long before I began my Real Food journey.

What's Really in Nacho Cheese Doritos...11 chips = 150 calories, 8g fat (1.5g saturated), 180mg sodium
The concept is, well, sort of brilliant: nachos and cheese without the hassle of a microwave. Or even a plate, for that matter. You just tear open the bag and start snarfing. And as a parting gift, Dorito's leave your fingers sticky with something that looks like radioactive bee pollen. Now here's the question: Do you have any clue what's in that stuff? Here you go -

To create each Dorito, the Frito-Lay food scientists draw from a well of 39 different ingredients. How many does it take to make a regular tortilla chip? About three. That means that some 36 ingredients wind up in that weird cheese fuzz. Of those 36, only two are ingredients you'd use to make nachos at home: Romano and cheddar cheeses. Alongside those are a cache of empty carbohydrate fillers like dextrin, maltodextrin, dextrose, flour and corn syrup solids. Then comes a rotating cast of oils. Depending on what bag you get, you might find any combination of corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil and sunflower oil. Some of these will be partially hydrogenated, meaning they give the chip a longer shelf life and spike your heart with a little shot of trans fat. (The reason you won't find this on the label is that FDA guidelines allow food manufacturers to "round down" to zero.)

And then, after the fats and nutrionally empty starches, there's a seasoning blend, which includes things like sugar, "artificial flavoring" and a rather worrisome compound called monosodium glutamate. Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is the flavor enhancer largely responsible for the chip's addicting quality. The drawback is that it interferes with the production of an appetite-regulating hormone called leptin. A study of middle-aged Chinese people found a strong correlation between MSG consumption and body fat. What's more, the FDA receives new complaints every year from people who react violently to MSG, suffering symptoms like nausea, headaches, burning sensation, numbness, chest pains, dizziness and so on. Talk about radioactive bee pollen.

David Zinczenko

Monday, September 26, 2011

BPA in Kids' Canned Food

Earlier this month, The Breast Cancer Fund tested six different foods marketed to and consumed by kids:
  • Annie's Homegrown Cheesy Ravioli
  • Campbell's Disney Princess Cool Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
  • Campbell's Spaghettios with Meatballs
  • Campbell's Toy Story Fun Shapes, Shaped Pasta with Chicken in Chicken Broth
  • Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Pasta, Mini ABC's & 123's with Meatballs
  • Earth's Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup
Every food sampled tested positive for BPA with Campbell's Disney Princess and Toy Story soups testing the highest. Sadly, even organic food manufacturers, like Annie's and Earth's Best, are using these toxic cans.

The Report - BPA in Kids' Canned Food.

BPA has been linked to breast cancer, obesity, prostate cancer, learning disabilities, diabetes, early puberty, infertility, and more! Read more here.

Tell Campbell Soup Company, Con Agra (maker of Chef Boyardee), Annie's Homegrown and Hain Celestial (maker of Earth's Best) to stop marketing BPA to kids.

The Breast Cancer Fund

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stop Childhood Obesity!

Childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. Nine out of ten commercials shown during Saturday morning television promote foods of poor nutritional quality (Center for Science in the Public Interest and the University of Minnesota). And with names like Kid Cuisine, Kool-aid and Danimals, is there any question that these food giants know exactly what they are doing? Kids represent an important demographic to marketers and the companies they represent - $2 billion dollars a year to be exact. Kids today have their own purchasing power, influence their parent's buying decisions and are the adult consumers of the future.

Big Food Companies continue to undermine the efforts of parents to teach and instill traditional and healthy eating habits in their children. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission is working to establish voluntary, newly-proposed guidelines aimed at promoting more healthful foods for children. And guess who is fighting these new voluntary guidelines tooth and nail???? Big Food - Dannon, General Mills, Hershey's, Kellogg's, Kraft, McDonald's, Nestle, PepsiCo, Sara Lee and Unilever. These same food companies are calling these voluntary guidelines "irredeemable," "counterproductive," "unnecessary" and "monumentally flawed." They're promoting their own weaker set of guidelines instead AND trumpeting a bogus study that predicts economic disaster if these proposed standards - which are voluntary - are adopted.

Please join the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Science in the Public Interest to get the attention of the CEOs of large food manufacturers and tell them to stop their attacks. Demand today that these food companies use their resources to market healthier food to our children! Stand up to Big Food on behalf of our children, they deserve nothing less! Sign the petition here.

Environmental Working Group

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Modern Milk is Frankenfood

Sadly, what we consume today as "milk" is not your grandmother's milk. Like most of the other overly processed foods available on grocery shelves today, milk has been altered, stripped and reconstituted. There are so many additives and processes involved that buying a gallon of milk (or a cup of yogurt) at your grocery store guarantees that you'll get a mixture of substances from all over the country - possibly the world. When all is said and done, the product that you actually purchase is a far cry from what actually came from the cow.

Homogenization - John Bunting, a dairy farmer who researches and writes about dairy for The Milkweed, says "homogenization is not good". "The milk is pumped under high pressure which smashes the milk molecules so hard. Homogenization splits and exposes the molecules." The hard science goes like this: A raw milk molecule is surrounded by a membrane, which protects it from oxygen. Homogenization decreases the average diameter of each fat globule and significant;ly increases the surface area. Because there's now not enough membrane to cover all of this new surface area, the molecules are easily exposed to oxygen, and the fats  become oxidized.

Milk Solids - Critics believe that milk solids, which are sometimes added back into the milk, contain oxidized, or damaged, forms of fat and cholesterol. Nonfat milk solids are created through a process of evaporation and high heat drying which removes the moisture from skim milk. Exposure to high heat and oxygen causes fats to oxidize. And oxidized cholesterol has been shown in numerous studies to lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and to raise LDL, aka "bad" cholesterol. One study from 2004 found that oxidized dietary fats are a "major cause" in the development of atherosclerosis.

This phenomenon worries Nina Planck, author of Real Food. "This damaged cholesterol is much different than what I call "fresh cholesterol," which is found in egg yolks, whole milk, and butter," she said. "We know that fresh cholesterol has one main effect and that is to raise HDL [or ‘good' cholesterol]. On the other hand, oxidized cholesterol raises LDL." What's more, Planck says that the law does not require manufacturers to tell consumers when milk solids are in food or milk. "It's a [potential] scandal because it's unlabeled," she says.

Michael Pollan writes about this as well in In Defense of Food: "In the case of low-fat or skim milk, that usually means adding powdered milk. But powdered milk contains oxidized cholesterol which scientists believe is much worse for your arteries than ordinary cholesterol." In California, where the industry reports the ingredients on its website, all industrially produced milk contains nonfat milk solids. Even "whole milk" is a product of reconstitution; it contains at least 3.5 percent milk fat and 8.7 percent nonfat milk solids. This is also true for (industrially produced) organic milk.

Are these milk solids really as big of a problem as Planck and others in her camp believe them to be?  Lloyd Metzger is doubtful. He says there's virtually no fat left in the milk to oxidize. Bunting agrees, "If it's skim milk, there might be small amounts - but that's not a real concern. If you're worried about oxidized fat, it's homogenization that is the real culprit." Has Bunting seen evidence of the health impacts associated with oxidized fats in milk? "No," he says. "But who's going to fund it? The USDA is the largest funder of dairy research in this country and they're not going to fund a study they don't want to hear about."

Milk Protein Concentrates (MPCs) - MPCs are made using ultra-filtration - milk is forced through a membrane to remove some of the lactose. MPCs have less carbohydrates and more protein than other milk solids and are often used in protein bars and drinks as well as in some processed cheeses Nonfat milk solids are approved for food use, but MPCs are not considered GRAS (generally regarded as safe) by the FDA. "MPCs have undergone a change," says Bunting. "They cannot be reconstituted into anything called milk." He suspects that the protein in MPCs is not as digestible as that in milk, but it has never been tested. He says Kraft, in particular, uses a lot of MPCs.

Lorraine Lewandrowski, a fourth-generation dairy farmer in Newport, N.Y., is also concerned about MPCs. "MPCs are derived from milk, but they're not really milk," she said. "There have been a lot of complaints by farmers concerned about MPCs being added to cheese to boost production." She says that typically around 10 pounds of milk yields one pound of cheese. MPCs - many of which come from overseas - can increase yields considerably. The MPC's are being imported from countries such as New Zealand, Mexico and China and "we cannot trust foreign governments with the safety of these ingredients", says Planck.

Milk doesn't have to contain nonfat milk solids, MPCs, or any other additives. Mark McAfee, founder of Organic Pastures, offers an alternative in California. "What is in our bottle comes straight from grass-fed, pasture-grazed cows. All we do is chill it and test it," he said.

In the New York region, where the sale of raw milk is illegal, small dairies leave their milk unhomogenized and pasteurize it at low temperatures to avoid damaging the milk molecules. "The real issue is trust," Bunting said. "If people could buy from someone they trusted, we wouldn't even need pasteurization. It extends shelf life, but it's not a safer product."

I don't know about you, but I want my milk (butter, cream, cheese, yogurt, etc.) to come from that cow right there...

Why Modern Milk is Bad for You

This post was shared at Real Food Wednesday.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Are You Getting the Flu Shot?

I took my son to the pediatrician last week and there were signs all over the facility announcing that "flu shots had arrived". A special area had even been set up so that you could come in and get a flu shot without having to have an appointment or see a doctor, similar to what is offered at local retail outlets. It's very disturbing to me that you can walk into any number of drug stores (and other locations), pay a fee and get a flu shot. Heaven forbid, what if you were somehow harmed by the shot and incapacitated, how would anyone treating you even know that you had gotten a flu shot?

Meanwhile, back at the Pediatrician's office, the person sitting at the desk when we checked in asked if we were going to get flu shots that day. Very nicely I said, "no we are not going to get flu shots". Then, we were escorted back to the examining room, the nurse taking the vitals mentioned that flu shots were available. When I didn't give a response one way or the other, she asked if we would be getting flu shots. Once again, I nicely said that we would not be getting flu shots. She then looked at me and said, "so, you are refusing the flu shot for you and your son?" Refusing? How about I'm exercising my constitutional right to say no?! I responded, "I would not say that I am refusing, rather that I am declining the flu shot". And then, the pediatrician informed us that flu shots were available and asked was my son going to get one? At that point, I began to wonder if they were making a commission on each flu shot they "sold".

I'll admit, two or three years ago I wouldn't have hesitated to get the shot for my son (I have never had one and don't ever plan to get one), but since I began to read and find out exactly what Big Pharma and the FDA are up to, my decisions about what enters our bodies has changed drastically. I believe it needs to be a personal and educated choice that everyone should make for themselves. But what I experienced at the pediatrician's office really made me question the lengths that health care facilities will go to get people to have a flu shot. I am certain that there are a lot of people who would have just gone ahead and gotten the shot for themselves and their child if they had been in my situation. We have been trained since birth to believe that "doctors know best" and we make decisions and choices based upon that belief system regardless of whether it is sound or not.

I truly hope that some of you will pause and think twice about getting a flu shot for yourself or a loved one. But don't just take my word for it (or your doctor's), please do some research of your own. Find out the pros and cons, the risks, the side effects, etc. Here are some links that will give you more information and more to think about:
Why I never Get Flu Shots or Snorts by Chet Day
Dr. Mercola Flu Shot Information
The Forbidden Truth About the World Health Organization's 2009 "Pandemic"
What's in the Flu Shot?
Funny Video of What's in a Flu Shot?

Please leave a comment and let me know if you do or do not get a flu shot and why/why not. I look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kashi Serves Up "All-Natural" GMO Soy, Corn and Sugar

As a young girl growing up in Michigan we visited the Kellogg's manufacturing plant on numerous occasions and I have very fond memories of the company as a whole, so it was VERY disappointing to learn about their most recent betrayal of consumers. Like so many of you, I too believed, purchased and consumed many of the Kashi products produced by Kellogg's, thinking that I was getting a better, healthier product that I could trust. It is outrageous to me that Kellogg's knowingly mislead consumers with their false claims and outright lies (and continues to do so)!

Kashi products have been labeled "all-natural" and/or containing "nothing artificial" since 1999, but in reality there are many unnaturally processed, synthetic and GMO ingredients in their products. Kashi senior nutritionist and healthy lifestyle expert, Jeff Johnson, said that the company stands by it's claims. He said, "Kashi provides comprehensive information about our foods to enable people to make well-informed decisions. We stand behind our advertising and labeling practices." Those same advertising and labeling practices that prompted a class action lawsuit by consumers. The suit claims that Kashi products aim to take advantage of a booming market for natural foods and beverages - a market that is growing by leaps and bounds.

The FDA, which regulates the labeling of packaged foods, currently has not defined the term "natural", but it has said that a product is not natural if it contains synthetic or artifical ingredients. I honestly don't know how much more "unnatural" GMO soy can be??? Which leads me to ask, "Mr. Johnson - what part of synthetic and artificial do you not understand?"

Another thing that greatly concerns me is that Kashi has a campaign directed at kids through parents, who not knowing any better, are purchasing these Frankenfoods for their kids. These parents have been led to believe that they are purchasing healthier items for their children when in reality they are paying more money for the same garbage in different packaging. On Kashi's home page there is a large block of text that states - "Want to help your kids eat better? We want to help. Explore our Kid-friendly top-10 favorites and get tips on serving your family good-for-you foods." Well, if GMO sugar, GMO corn and GMO soy are healthier, than Kashi just might be on to something...

This post was shared at Traditional Tuesdays and Real Food Wednesday.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Biotech Interests Using Big Guns to Fight GMO Labeling

I recently ran across a publication named, Western Farm Press. Described on it's wesite as Timely Reliable Information for Western Agriculture, what I found were a bunch of California biotech, BigAg proponents whose main purpose is to tell lies about organic and conventional farming, GMOs and to oppose anyone who wants to see GMO labeling become mandatory. From the amount of time and space that is devoted to these topics, there is obviously a very large concern that anti-biotech is starting to get way more attention than these BigAg proponents feel comfortable with.

In a recent article, Harry Cline refers to those of us wanting truth in labeling as the "anti-biotech/anti-genetically modified/anti-science crowd". He adds, "it is about time this GMO labeling issue be tackled head-on so the public can be told the truth. Truth is, everything we eat today has been genetically modified, using either conventional plant and animal breeding or biotech technology." Yes, it is time that the truth be told, but it is a much different truth than what BigAg or Western Farm Press would have us believe.

The article goes on to state that a University of California team of scientists has identified no less than 14 different "so-called" genetically modified feedstuffs that are fed to cattle. Included are: Roundup Ready corn, Bt grain and silage corn as well as distillers grain; Roundup Ready soybeans, Roundup Ready cottonseed, Bt cottonseed, Roundup Ready alfalfa, Roundup Ready canola, BST used to increase milk production, genetically-engineered Renet used in 90 percent of commercial cheese production, Roundup Ready sugar beets, glufosinate-resistant corn grain and silage, glufosinate-resistant cotton, glufosinate-resistant canola and imidazalione-tolerant corn.

While not all dairy cows are fed the list of chemicals, obviously enough cows are that Mr. Cline believes that all milk coming from the state of California would have to be labeled GMO. And, honestly, isn't that the real issue????? Dairy farmers are so concerned that if their milk is labeled GMO, consumers will stop buying it and drinking it.

Mr. Cline then goes on to spout the "absurdity" of the anti-biotech movement, the scarcity of products worldwide and how the only "logical" answer is biotechnology and scientific advancement. Maybe Harry should ask the farmers in India how biotechnology and Round-Up Ready frankenfood is working for them.

It's called GM Genocide - an estimated 125,000 India farmers have committed suicide after planting genetically modified "magic" seeds. Coerced by Monsanto and other biotech companies with promises of higher yield and big returns on investment, the farmers purchased the GMO seeds only to have the crops fail miserably and, in turn, be massively indebted to the BigAg companies. Many of the farmers have ingested the very insecticide they were told they wouldn't need, to kill themselves. The seed cost is 1,000 percent more than conventional, non-GMO seed. India farmers and some state governments are fighting back, taking legal action against Monsanto and turning to organic Indian crops instead of GMO.

Mr. Cline, you said, "it is time agriculture and food processors take on this anti-biotech crowd straight out, with the facts and put a stop to this mandatory GMO labeling nonsense. It is time consumers are told the truth." Yes, it is time consumers are told the truth. But let's tell the whole truth, not the "truth" that BigAg, the USDA, the FDA and people like you twist to suit your own purposes. Perhaps you and your biotech ilk won't be satisified until what happened in India happens in the US.

Organic Consumer Association
Mail Online
Western Farm Press

This post was shared on Fight Back Friday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

REAL FOOD Tortilla Soup

While the weather is a bit cooler in the South than would normally be expected at this time of the year, I am thoroughly enjoying it!!! Cooler temperatures to me means the smell of burning fireplaces, wearing my favorite sweaters, opening the windows, spectacular color change, college football and SOUP!!!!! My favorite thing to eat is soup. I have toyed for years with the idea of opening a "soup only" restaurant (with, of course, fresh bread, rolls and muffins). I've never been convinced that enough people love soup as much as I do to support such a venture.

In the past I have not always used the most healthy ingredients in all areas of my cooking, but soup has always been one of those areas (to me) that the ingredients make the difference between a soup that is good and a soup that is great. Thankfully, my soup recipes will not require a lot of modifications to make them "real". I made my first soup of the season last night and wanted to share the recipe with you. It ranks as one of my top 5 favorites. I hope you like it!

The Recipe
1-2 cups cooked, pastured chicken cut into bite-sized pieces or shredded (I used leftover roasted chicken)
1 green pepper, cleaned and quartered
1 onion, chopped
1 pint or quart grape tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth (homemade preferred)
2 cups fresh corn
1 quart homemade tomato sauce (I made mine with Heirloom tomatoes)
1 can Lime Rotel (yes, my one vice that I cannot give up)
4 TBSP pastured butter
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
Fresh Cilantro, to taste
Cumin, to taste
Sea Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Ground Red Pepper, to taste
Olive oil (for drizzling)
Organic Tortilla Chips
Shredded or Cubed Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt (raw or organic, full-fat)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Wash grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and place cut side down on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Place in oven for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until they are fully roasted and almost flat on the pan. When done, remove from oven and let cool in the pan. When cool to the touch, place everything in a food processor and process to a paste consistency. Set aside. This step could easily be done in advance, just refrigerate or freeze the tomato paste until you need it

Switch your oven from bake to broil. Move one of the oven racks close to the top of the oven. Place the green pepper cut side down on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the oven. It will take approximately 15 minutes to roast the green pepper. The pieces will be browned on the top and the rest of the pepper should be soft.

Meanwhile, in a stock pot or soup kettle, melt the butter. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and saute (I like my onions slightly caramelized as it adds a nice flavor to the broth). Once the green pepper has been roasted, add it to the stock pot with the onions and garlic. Continue sauteing until the onions have reached the translucent stage, remove stock pot from heat.

Pour all contents of the stock pot into the bowl of a food processor. Add can of Rotel, including liquid, and fresh cilantro. Chop ingredients until it reaches a chopped salsa consistency. Pour contents back into stock pot. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken and corn. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, red pepper and cumin to taste. Heat gently, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, for approximately 30 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, crunch up tortilla chips into approximately 1/2" pieces. Add to the soup, stir and cook for approximately 15 minutes more. I always do a taste test here so that I can add more spices, if needed.

To Serve
Pour into bowls, sprinkle with shredded or cubed cheddar cheese and top with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt. We like to eat ours with either tortilla chips or cornbread. Enjoy!

This post was shared at: It's a Keeper Thursday and Pennywise Platter Thursday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nestle To Cash In On Obesity

It doesn't come as a big surprise that Chairman and former CEO of Nestle, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, thinks that organic food has reached it's peak. “It will stay the same," he says. "I don't think it will grow much more.”

Reality, on the other hand, tells us that this man doesn't know what he is talking about. Organic Monitor estimates that global sales of organic foods reached $54.9 billion in 2009 with the largest markets being the U.S., Germany and France. The Organic Trade Association reports U.S. sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $26.7 billion in 2010 with a growth in sales of 7.7% in 2010 over 2009. Organic food and beverage sales represented approximately 4 percent of overall food and beverage sales in 2010.

Brabeck-Letmathe continues his diatribe with statements such as "organic food cannot feed the world", "produces 30% less yield than normal agriculture" and "from a nutritional point of view, studies show no nutritional difference from bio to other foods. But it's more dangerous." Nutrition professors and some food scientists dispute many of those claims, suggesting that organic foods do show nutritional difference and are not more dangerous than processed foods. They consider those ideas to be myths that the big food industry promotes and suggest that large companies like NestlĂ©, Kraft Foods Inc. and Dole Food Company, Inc., don't embrace ideas in nutrition and fresh foods because it runs counter to their business model and profit base.

Brabeck-Letmathe added that he realizes that films like Food Inc., Michael Pollan books and farmer's markets are real trends that are shifting the American approach to produce and food production, adding that Nestle is investing more money in life sciences and the intersection of medicine and nutrition because its executives believe that how we eat plays a large role in chronic diseases. REALLY??????

Nestle and Brabeck-Latmathe have another reason for not wanting to see organic food production rise. Whole, organic and unprocessed foods represent not only a direct threat to NestlĂ©'s sales, it also threatens its new business line. You see, Nestle is is in the process of developing a line of neutraceuticals, or foods, designed to treat or prevent disease. And it's not unreasonable to assume that some of those foods will be designed to directly address diabetes, another chronic disease linked with obesity or obesity itself.

Don't you find it just a tad bit ironic that a company built on candy, sweetened beverages and highly processed convenience foods hopes to move into the business of treating obesity. Nestle is going to sell you highly processed, convenience "foods" until you are diabetic, obese or worse, at which point you will then begin purchasing their neutraceutical products to treat the obesity that originated with their junk food. A perfect business model - create the problem and then treat it.

And the medical journal, The Lancet, tell us that the pool for such products is growing at such a rapid rate that it's an epidemic that is just getting started. New estimates suggest that half the U.S. population will be obese by 2030.

List of Nestle Brands in the U.S. (not all-inclusive): Nestle, Cheerios, Trix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Crunch, Nesquik, Shredded Wheat, Clusters, Gold Flakes, International Roast, Nescafe, Taster's Choice, Arrowhead, Aquapod, Deer Park, Deep Spring, Nestle Aquarel, Perrier, Poland Spring, Pure Life, San Pellegrino, Zephryhills, Nestea, Carnation, Nesquik, Libby's, Good Host, Juicy Juice, Carnation, Coffee-Mate, Dreyer's, Edy's, Haagen-Daz, Push-Up, Skinny Cow, Gerber, Good Start, NanSoy, PowerBar, Pria, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Nutren, Peptamen, Glytrol, Crucial, Impact, Isosource, Fibersource, Diabetisource, Compleat, Optifast, Resource, Buitoni, Maggi, CHEF, Haoji, Stouffer's, Lean Cuisine, Hot Pockets, Papa Guiseppi, Tombstone Pizza, Jack's Pizza, Digiorno, California Pizza Kitchen Frozen, Herta, Toll House, 100 Grand Bar, Aero, After Eight, Baby Ruth, Breakaway, Butterfinger, Chips Ahoy!, Chunky, Goobers, Heaven, Icebreakers, Kit Kat, Milky Bar, Matchmakers, Lion, Munchies, Nestle Crunch, Nips, Oh Henry, Peppermint Crisp, Raisinets, Rolo, Snowcaps, Smarties, Toffee Crisp, Turtles, Yorkie, XXX Mints, Bottle Caps, Donutz, Fizzy Jerks, FruiTart Chews, Fun Dip, Gobstoppers, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, Oompas, Pixy Stix, Rainbow Nerds, Runts, SweeTarts, Tart 'n Tinys, Wonka Bars, Chef-Mate, Santa-Rica, Davigel, Minor's. Nestle owns 30% of L'Oreal - Garnier, Maybelline, Lancome and The Body Shop stores.

Fast Company

This post was shared at Real Food Wednesday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

REAL Fast Food - Chipotle

I can honestly say that I have eaten my share of fast food in my life -McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Chick-Fil-A, White Castle, etc. I was introduced to Chipotle a few years ago when they first opened in Atlanta. From the first time I experienced the food, I was hooked! So much so that I literally eat there almost every week (I heading there for lunch today), sometimes more. And judging by the long line that is always in place whenever I go there, I am obviously not the only one who finds their fare to be far and above what is offered at other restaurants (both fast food and casual dining alike).

So, imagine my delight when I began my quest to eat only real food - grass-fed and pastured meats, local produce, organic, etc., to learn that Chipotle only uses grass-fed and pastured meats!!!!! AND they also use organic, local and family farms for the majority of their products. Not only does their food taste excellent, is healthy and good for you, they support local farms in the cities where they are located. That's a Win, Win, Win in my book!!! Check out their Food With Integrity page for more information.

So, what can you expect at Chipotle? Four freshly made salsas, guacamole, black and pinto beans, grilled green peppers and onions, chopped romaine lettuce, cheese and sour cream from cows without anibiotics and hormones, cilantro-lime rice and chips freshly made every day with a hint of lime and kosher salt - yummy! And my very favorite part is that all of the food is freshly prepared at the location daily. Nothing made in a factory, shipped in, opened and poured into a container to heat. Classic culinary techniques - not shortcuts! That must be why it tastes so good! Don't take my word for it, get out there and try it for yourself!

As an aside, the most shocking thing to me about Chipotle is that they are owned by the largest contributor of empty calories in the fast food world - McDonald's. I would rather starve than eat the science experiments that McDonald's calls "food". Wonder what I'm talking about...check out this photo comparing a newly purchased McDonald's hamburger with one that is 12 years old (the one on the right was purchased in 2008 and the one on the left was purchased in 1996). See the full story here.

Photo Source:
Karen Hanrahan

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream in a Zipper-top Bag

As a follow-up to my post - What's Really in Ice Cream - I ran across this super easy, super quick recipe for making ice cream and it only has 3 ingredients! I made it in 10 minutes and my son and I inhaled it! It was so good! And the really awesome part is that while the recipe calls for vanilla extract, I'm pretty sure that you could use any organic extract - orange, lemon, lime, almond, etc. - and have any flavor of ice cream you want!

Here's the recipe:

1 cup organic half 'n half
2 Tbsp pure cane sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 quart-sized zipper-top plastic bag
1 gallon-sized zipper-top plastic bag
Approximately 3-4 cups of ice
1/2 cup table salt

1. Pour half 'n half, sugar and vanilla extract into the quart-sized zipper-top plastic bag. Seal and shake until sugar is dissolved.
2. Take gallon-sized zipper-top plastic bag and fill half-way with ice. Pour table salt over ice.
3. Take sealed quart bag and place into gallon bag making sure that there is ice on all sides. Seal securely.
4. Shake for approximately 5 minutes or until the ice cream has solidified (it will be similar to a soft-serve texture). I recommend shaking the bag over a sink as moisture builds up on the outside of the bag and flys off as you are shaking it. (The bag got so cold that I had to wrap a towel around it.)
5. Once solidified, remove the quart bag, rinse under water to remove the salt, open and enjoy!

This recipes makes approximately 1 cup of ice cream. It was just enough for two! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Next time, I think I will add crumbled up homemade brownies or cookies into the mixture after it is set and then stick it into the freezer and see if adding other ingredients will work. I also think I will try a version of mint chocolate chip by using peppermint extract and homemade chocolate chunk pieces - yummy!

What do you think? What version would you like to make? Do you have a quick homemade ice cream recipe to share?

This post was shared at Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Hearth and Soul Hop and It's a Keeper Thursday.