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

 

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Low Carb Sopes – Gluten Free and Grain Free

I’ve missed the taco truck since I’ve gone low carb and grain-free.  Asking for a taco salad at a taco truck can cause much confusion. Apparently, those working at my local taco truck have not heard of such a thing. You’ll have better luck asking for a burrito without a tortilla, but frequently that includes rice.

Forming sopes in muffin cups

Forming sopes in muffin cups

So, inspired by the cauliflower pizza crust we make semi-regularly, I decided to attempt sopes. Sopes (not to be confused with sopas, which are soups) are small masa patties that are piled high with Mexican goodness: beans, meat, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, etc. I decided to make some sort of Mexican concoction with this cauliflower crust recipe.

Using muffin tins seemed like it might work, and I cut parchment into strips, thinking that the crusts could easily be lifted out afterward.  They were cut narrow enough so that there wasn’t too much folding required, but they did stick to the tins in areas where there wasn’t parchment.  Cupcake liners might have worked better, but honesty, when I make these again, I will just make small circular crusts on parchment and not worry about the idea of little cups.

Here’s the basic recipe:  (See www.theironyou.com for original recipe)

  • 1 small head cauliflower, riced in a food processor or blender.  Cook in microwave for 7-8 minutes, and squeeze out excess liquid via cheese cloth.
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese shredded (maybe cheddar would have been better?)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ground black pepper to taste

P1030140After baking the crusts in muffin tins for 10 minutes at 400 (instead of the 15 at 450 that the original recipe calls for), I filled them with shredded chicken cooked with enchilada sauce, and topped with cheese.  These went back into the oven for only another 5 minutes or so, as the chicken was still hot, and all we needed to do was melt the cheese.

These were pretty good, but I’ll need P1030142to adjust.  They weren’t spicy enough for me, but that was my own fault.  Doused with Habanero hot sauce and eaten with a knife and fork, they were good.  Next time, we might top them with fresh jalapeños.

Now, I must say they did not taste like masa, but as a conveyance for Mexican goodness, these will foot the bill.  I think you could pile them high with about anything, and with enough spice, you shouldn’t miss the grains or carbs at all.  I will continue to play with this recipe and hopefully find low carb Mexican food perfection.

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.

Kohlrabi: Where have you been all my life?

I’ve not lived a sheltered existence by any means, but somehow, I’ve fumbled through life without ever trying kohlrabi – until tonight.  I think this is now my favorite vegetable – ever.

Last week, I eyed some in the organic section of Fred Meyer, and thought “Hmm, what does one do with that?”  After much research, we decidedly had to try it.  Tonight, my boyfriend cooked an amazing dinner which included roasted kohlrabi.  Delicious, and absolutely amazing.  I had to call my sister.

“Have you ever tried kohlrabi?” I asked.

“Uh…no.”

“Well, if you have a mandolin, it would make the most amazing slaw ever,” I touted.

“I just bought one today!”

There you have it.  Fate.  Destiny.  Kohlrabi.

Kohlrabi at Pike Place Market courtesy Lisa Norwood: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanorwood/

Kohlrabi at Pike Place Market courtesy Lisa Norwood: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanorwood/

The reviews compare it to broccoli stems, which I guess would be the closest comparison you could find, but to me, was not close at all.  Raw, it is amazingly crisp – I found myself fantasizing about kohlrabi slaw, kohlrabi and dip, kohlrabi shaved in a green salad.  Cooked, it is so much better than broccoli stems.

Equally exciting, is the fact that I can sow seeds in my garden now, and harvest kohlrabi in about 60 days, just in time for our Northwest gardens to warm up for things like tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers.

The chickens absolutely went crazy for the leaves and peels.  Although the leaves are also edible (as you would cook any other greens), I will likely just feed them to my girls.  The dog even ran away with a couple of leaves, which the chickens were not happy with at all.

So, kohlrabi is definitely in my gardening plan this year.  Hoping that next weekend includes sowing kohlrabi seeds and starting my Great Potato Experiment.  (Ok, it might be more like a Moderate Potato Experiment…)

This New York Times Blog has some additional information and recipes.  I think I must try kohlrabi home fries:  Discovering Kohlrabi (It’s a Vegetable)

What are we eating anyway, and why are we so sick?

Those who know me, know that food is my “thing”.  It only became my thing after spending hours – who am I kidding – days, poring over research.  I am a research junkie.  It’s been 37 minutes since my last research fix.

It started about 10 years ago, as best I can recall.  I’d heard that this High Fructose Corn Syrup might have some negative effects on health, so I had to research it further.  As a parent, it was my duty to know what was potentially affecting my childrens’ health.  On that day, I eliminated HFCS from our diets.  Back then, it was nearly impossible to find even things like bread without HFCS.  Thankfully, things have changed.  HFCS was only the beginning.

My second husband was from Norway, a country whose food regulations are more strict than that of the European Union.  For those who know food and additives, that is saying something.  When he moved to the US, he was 5’9″ (he’d say 5″10″) and 168 lbs.  After moving here, he began to feel horribly sick, and gained weight unexpectedly.  His family became sick while visiting, and his mother reacted to OTC Ibuprofen (later discovered as a reaction to our food coloring, which is banned in Norway).  All of this had me wondering “Gee, what is so bad about what we’re eating?”

Most people get up in the morning, go to work, watch their TV shows at night, and believe what the media tells them.  Product X must be good for you, because there’s a commercial that tells me so.  Soup Z “may help lower cholesterol” when part of a healthy diet.  Wake up, people.  It has beans in it.  Soluble fiber.  Plain old beans will do a much better job and not harm you with the added GMOs and preservatives.

Personally, since I’ve eliminated GMOs from my diet, I have much less hunger, much fewer asthma attacks, and very few digestive disturbances (unless I’ve accidentally eaten GMOs). Plus, I’m not playing roulette with something that has never been tested for safety on humans.

I encourage everyone to do their own research.  Don’t believe me because I post links to articles that mirror my view (which I’m intentionally not going to do).   Research these issues on your own, as I did, and come to your own conclusion.  Even China requires GMO labeling, a country that is frequently criticized for deficiencies in upholding human rights.  Think about it.