Lab-created milk: New from Coca-Cola

I normally stay on top of food news, so I’m surprised I missed this announcement in November.  As if we don’t mess with food enough, we will soon see Coca-Cola’s new lab-created milk Fairlife hitting the market.  Higher in protein and lower in sugars, the milk is essentially “ultra filtered”, then reformulated with different nutritional components.

With the steady decline in the consumption of sugary beverages over the past few years, its no surprise that the company would seek out a way to capitalize on the current market trends.  Unfortunately, many of us already eat more protein than we need (most of us need only 40-70 grams per day), and overconsumption of protein has its own health risks, including leaching of bone minerals.

Read more on this topic at The Washington Post: Why Coca-Cola wants to sell the world expensive “science milk”

After watching that conveyor belt of cows circling around in the video, I think I’ll stick with almond or coconut milk.  If you want to be further disappointed, just google images for the keyword “Fairlife’.  Apparently, sex will make it sell.

CocaColaCows

Photo Courtesy of Fairlife

 

My Favorite Cauliflower Crust Pizza: Low Carb, Gluten-free, and Delicious!

I went low carb nearly a year ago.  I guess the best explanation of why, is that I went on a research binge about the relationship between the carbohydrate and sugar-rich diet we enjoy in Western culture, and cancer.  The big C.  Both my parents died of cancer.  What I read was enough to convince me.  I was going to take sugars and refined carbohydrates out of my diet.  Cancer cells require glucose and sugars to survive.  I was going to starve those cancer cells before they could take up a home.

Now, please understand that this is a remarkable feat for a part Sicilian American.  I was raised on bread and pasta.  For most of my life I could not imagine existence without them.  Then there was college, and pizza, and beer.  Why would anyone give up pizza, bread, pasta, and beer?  Once you actually do, you will understand.  I no longer need or crave these things.  I feel well, satisfied, satiated, and like I could skip eating for 2 days if I needed to.  But, that’s another blog post.

So, I’ll get off my soap box and share the best ever gluten-free, low carb pizza crust.  We had it tonight, and it was amazing as it always is. I tend to add a little extra cheese and a second egg to the crust.  It never fails.  Enjoy!

The Iron You: Cauliflower Crust Cheese Pizza

Update: It came to me the other day that I could use this recipe to make sopes.  I will be experimenting with cauliflower crust sopes (instead of masa) for Super Bowl.  I miss my local taco truck since I’ve gone grain-free and low-carb.  Maybe this will fill the void!  If they turn out well, look for a new post!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower Pizza Crust – just add toppings!

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Whole Foods steps up against GMOs. Or do they?

The freedom to eat clean, non-GMO food is a passion of mine.  Not only am I (endearingly?) referred to as the “Crazy Chicken Lady” by the children of my co-workers, I guess I’m also the “Weirdo Food Chick” among my peers.

So, it was with much exuberance when I discovered that Whole Foods finally took a stand with GMOs, yet I was underwhelmed at the timeline of implementation.  This editorial essay from Organic Consumers Association does a good job of summarizing my own views on the topic:

Courtesy my Terra Organics box

Courtesy my Terra Organics box

The Whole Truth about Whole Foods Labeling Policy

Whole Foods is essentially engaging in a public relations tactic, in my opinion.  I-522 has great power behind it in Washington State, and taking a stand without having to take action is convenient for the retailer.  Nice strategy, really.  If I-522 fails, they still have 3 years to implement the labeling requirement and save face, but they’re betting they won’t have to.  If it passes, they look as if they were taking a stand.

I am personally contributing to I-522, and am participating in the boycott of the “No on 37” supporters in California.  Although not convenient, it feels good to send a message with my wallet.  I’ve had to give up some favorite products, but it feels good to eat with a conscience.  If only Big Ag had one.

Organic Consumers Association is a great source of information and has additional resources for those who want to learn about the boycott, the Big Ag companies who own those stealthy ‘natural’ and organic  brands, and the people who want to will sell your health for the sake of the Almighty Dollar.

The challenge that changed my views on food

As I mentioned in a previous post, I eliminated HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) from my family’s diet about 10 years ago.  That was the starting point, and the first big step, but back then, I was still miles away from what I would call a “healthy” diet.  I was still eating those microwavable big-name entrees for lunch at work – the ones where the ingredient list cannot be read without glasses and is 2-3 inches long.  But, if it didn’t have HFCS, I was ok with that.  I’ve come a long way.

The company I work for has a wellness program where employees can earn points throughout the year.  If a certain threshold is reached through completing certain challenges and a variety of other wellness-related activities, the employee earns a discount on their health insurance premiums.  When the program launched (I believe it was 2007), one of the challenges was to form a team and eat as many servings of fruits and vegetables as you could in a month.  Hmm… why not recruit my foodie friends at work and form a team?  I did, and it was life-changing.

The challenge was simple: eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can in a month, logging your servings daily.  There were no other requirements.  Within just a couple of days, I noticed a significant increase in my energy, and the “funk” that I’d regularly feel on an almost daily basis was completely gone. I frequently suffered from headaches, lethargy, and irritability.  These symptoms all subsided.  With the abundance of fruits and vegetables in my diet, there was really no more room for crap.  Truly, I felt amazing.

IMG_0306

Vegetables from Terra Organics: http://www.terra-organics.com/

What was strange to me at the time, was that in an attempt to eat as many fruits and vegetables I could, I actually got tired of eating.  I found myself completely satisfied, and cravings disappeared.  I would come home and make dinner, which would consist of a small amount of protein and a huge plate of vegetables, and I would frequently get to the point where I just couldn’t eat another bite, long before my plate was empty.  This was a completely new phenomenon for me.  We tend to fill our meals with dense calories, feel unsatisfied and un-satiated, then succumb to dessert.  For the first time in my life, I felt completely satisfied and left food on my plate.  Now, this is partially because chewing requires energy, and when you’re eating a large amount of food that requires work to eat, you get tired of eating it.  But, after a week or so, I truly grew to be in touch with my hunger, and it stabilized like never before.  I felt balanced.  Finally.

What was more significant to me was that those minor ails I felt daily, the ones I’d become accustomed to feeling that were just a part of life, had completely gone away.  I woke up every day feeling well; feeling healthy.  Was it really this easy?  And how many years did I waste having daily headaches, gastrointestinal pains and upsets, and a general feeling of malaise?

I think I ate somewhere around 280 “servings” (USDA sized) of fruits and vegetables that month, just slightly under 10 per day – significantly more than I had been on my supposedly “healthy” diet, but when you look at what a serving size actually is, it wasn’t that hard to do.  I can easily eat a cup of blueberries a day in August (2 servings).  I discovered that a USDA serving size is generally 1/2 the amount that an enthusiastic eater would desire.

Americans (and increasingly, other cultures) have become accustomed to convenience.  We have designed our lives around 15-minute meals, to the detriment of our health.  Preparing food with whole ingredients is not convenient, but neither are trips to the doctor.

I entered this annual challenge for 3 years in a row, each time renewing my belief that food is what makes us well, but unfortunately, is also what makes us sick.  I’ve also done “the challenge” on my own twice with my boyfriend (one month on the first occasion, and nearly two months on the second), wanting him to experience the difference in his health.  Though I cannot speak for him (maybe he’ll blog about it), he also experienced significant changes.

So here we are… happy, healthy, and viewed by the majority of industrial food consumers as “extremists”. I’m really just trying to eat the way humans were meant to, and in a way not so dissimilar from the way my grandparents ate.  I truly believe that time will tell, and the consequences will be severe.  In another 10-15 years, the largest experiment that has been conducted on humans without their informed consent will finally end.  I have faith.  (And I also feel a GMO post coming on… maybe that’s another day!)

Challenge yourself.