Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Are you a drug addict?

******Warning******This might offend you******


The title is a question I've been thinking a lot about lately. Am I a drug addict? Is my family? Are my friends? What drug am I talking about? Sugar. I've been watching and reading a slew of information about the harmfulness of this highly accepted drug. What I've come to realize with all my research is that there is no difference between sugar and cocaine or heroin. It is as addictive. Does that seems like an extreme comparison? Lets look at some facts. Sugar is in 90% of the items that line our store shelves. Go to your local Walmart and tell me how large is the produce, meat and dairy isle compared to the rest of the store. Have you ever stopped to read the labels on the boxes of the food that you are buying. Can you pronounce the ingredients? Have you ever went home and googled those names?  Looked at the grams of sugar in a serving. Do you know that 4 grams is equal to 1 teaspoon. Now just for a moment imagine a bag of plain old white sugar on your counter. The average teenager eats 45 teaspoons of sugar a day. Would you sit in front of that bag of sugar and eat 45 teaspoons? No? Then why are we allowing our children to eat it? Is it ignorance is bliss? You don't want to think about it? You don't want to fight with your kids about it? Its too much effort to eat something real? You don't like the way real food taste? You don't have enough time? Well now let me ask you, how do you feel on a daily basis? Are you tired mid-day or all day? Does your body ache? Are you swollen? Irritable? Are you looking for that next bump? In the form of something sweet or caffeinated? WAKE THE HELL UP! Your killing yourself. The sugar molecule is made up from glucose and fructose. Yes, fruit has fructose. However it also has fiber and nutrients that are vital to our bodies. Eating whole fruit is good. It's not fructose that has been chemically altered. Our livers convert this nasty little molecule into fat. HMMM... ok so we are FAT! Getting fatter by the day. Our children are fat. They are predicted to be the first generation that will die before their parents. What! Why? SUGAR! It is the devil. When I first started my plant based diet, there were many things that I didn't enjoy the taste of unless I added fat, salt or sugar. I was addicted. My taste buds had been assaulted with processed food for years. It took time for me to change. I didn't wake up in the morning and say yes I want to drink a green smoothie. But I did it and slowly I have changed. You know what. Food taste so much better to me know. Because Im not assaulting myself with chemicals. I eat real food and it taste amazing. It's pretty. It smells good. I don't miss the other shit. Now I'm not saying you have to give up meat and dairy. Most people really love their meat and cheese. It is better for you to limit it to only a few times a week. When I eat out. If I can't get vegan I will eat cheese or fish. The next morning my eyes are so swollen that I look like I'm asian. No joke! I also feel like I have a hangover. It's the salt that most restaurants use to flavor there food. Salt and fat. At home I have salt. But it's not table salt. It's a form of sea salt. Himalayan or Celtic. It has lots of nutrients still in it. It hasn't been heated to kill off all that makes it special. We need salt for our bodies. We need iodine too. News flash, the salt that says it has iodine is a lie! Your body can not absorb the "iodine" salt. Get your iodine through sea vegetables instead. Hey the Japanese know what they are talking about and they live longer than anyone!  Regular salt causes high blood pressure. Do you have a retirement plan? Do you want to give all that hard earned money to a doctor? WAKE THE HELL UP! Now lets talk fat. We need a little fat in our diet. NO olive oil is not healthy! Shocking I know. I love the stuff myself. I have a hard time living without it. It is 100% fat. I know it has less saturated fat blah blah blah. Its still a fat. If you have fat all day long guess what. Your going to be fat and sick. In the form of heart disease. Again do you want to be old, going to the doctor multiple times a week, taking copious amounts of pills that have all kinds of side effects? WAKE THE HELL UP!
          
Listen friends, you don't have to be perfect. Its not an all or nothing plan. We live in a time where we are blessed to have the information available to us. Don't believe what the companies are telling you. Educate yourself. Educate your family. Make better choices. Start out slowly. Be kind to your self.
But mosr of all BE HEALTHY!

This 5 minute video is hysterical and informational as well. It's about sugar. Enjoy!
http://vimeo.com/71478142

Thursday, August 1, 2013

100 Days of REAL food?

I came across a blog a while back. It is called 100 days of real food. The idea of this blogger mom is to get her family off all processed food. I love this idea. I realize that somehow I have a pantry filled with snack type foods for the girls. I don't eat it. Except organic corn tortilla chips. Thats it for me. Why? Because I know it is not good for you. Even though I buy the best stuff I can find. With no artificial coloring or flavors and absolutely no HFCS! Here's my recent revelation. Its still crap! Albeit better than the alternative food like substance we see lining the shelves of our local supermarkets.
How did we get here? I'm not sure. Now I've started paying attention to what they eat and just how much sugar they have for breakfast. The one thread that binds it all together, SUGAR. The recommend amount for children is 12 grams. That's for the whole day. WOW thats it? They far surpass this number just at breakfast! My brain is screaming somethings gotta change! I eat well. We are plant based at home. I make them eat lots of fruit. They eat a wide variety of vegetables. However, lately that has gone by the wayside. Somedays they eat no vegetables at all. What? I'm saying to myself! This is all I eat everyday. A lot of vegetables. Why am I not making them eat it too? They love bacon. It's the one meat they won't give up. So I buy really expensive organic, free range, humane, no additives bacon! Same with eggs. But I justify it because I only let them have it on Sunday. I think they look forward to this day because of the bacon and Daddy being off work. Sometimes they go out to breakfast with Daddy and have regular bacon and eggs. I cringe at it but I don't say anything. My motto is a little bit every once and awhile is ok. They even say the very same thing to me. Normally when they want to eat something they know I wont approve of. This from five year olds. They are smarter than we think. And they listen a lot more than we realize.
Now they are in kindergarden. They need snack food to take to school. Plus I pack their lunch. I don't want them to eat the school food. It is nutrient deficient. Like all the snack food in my pantry.
What does all this mean? We are going to take the challenge. Go 100 days without anything processed. I will have to make everything from scratch. That means crackers, cookies, fruit leather and anything else I deem snack worthy. Ive been wanting to make my own bread for years. I guess now is the time. My Aunt Julia makes delicious bread with only 5 ingredients.
This is important to me. I have time in my day to commit to my families nutrition. I just will do a little less laundry, internet and running errands that I don't need to. I'll keep y'all posted about how it goes.
I can do this!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Stupid like cows

It's hard to believe I haven't posted a word since November. It's not because I didn't have anything to say, I always have a lot to say. I guess like most people I just didn't make time to post. I've realize that blogs are like new friendships, they require more maintenance in the beginning to support the development of the relationship.
I have a confession to make. I fell off the proverbial vegan wagon over the Christmas holiday and it's been a challenge to get back on. I first became a vegan because I believe it is the healthiest way to live. After a while I started to feel like it's really not right for all those animals in the factory farms to be treated the way they are. My neighbor has cows and they have had babies. It's so interesting to see the interaction of momma cow with her calf. They do care for them, love them in their cow way. I don't want to eat the flesh of this animal anymore than I want to eat my own dog. I love my dog and care for it as a pet owner so it can't be that much different. Right? I mean I don't love them the way I do my kids or husband. But I do love them.The meat is not the issue however. It's the cheese. Yes the almighty God of the milk world. I do love me some cheese. But not just any cheese. It needs to be stinky and creamy. Or just stinky. The stinkier the better I say. Or hard and salty. Or moldy. Or moldy and creamy. OMG I just love the stuff. Like before I became a vegan you would ask anyone what my favorite snack was and they would tell you olives, salami and cheese. Throw in some crusty bread and a glass of wine and that my friends is about as close to perfect as you can get! So I fell off the wagon with cheese. It was a slow progression at first. Like most addicts, I thought I could control my use. HA! Who am I kidding. For some of you non-vegan's let me explain why eating dairy is no good. First, if you look at it from an animal kindness point of view. Those cows are pregnant their whole entire miserable life. I can not imagine that. I had twins and I did breast feed for 6 months. That's like a year for you singleton moms. There were many days that I felt like this is all I do. Produce milk for my babies. Well, momma cow doesn't get to have that loving relationship with her young because they are taken away from her as soon as they are born. Most the time to become veal meat or another calf for the feed lot. Lot's of time just killed off. So if that doesn't strike a nerve for you then lets look at the second reason. Dairy causes disease! Plain and simple. It creates acid in the body. Acid = Disease. Too much acid is no good. And I don't mean LSD. However, too much LSD is no good too. Unless your Timothy Leary and you are doing experiments at a University or on the military, that is. But I don't know about any of that.  Where was I? Off on some trip I guess! The milk protein casein is being linked to breast and ovarian cancer. And at the rate we are getting cancer in this country, this was enough information for me to forgo my love for the stuff. Or so I thought. The countries that consume the most dairy products have the highest rates of osteoporosis. Amazing I know. Since Milk, it does a body good! What a lie! Which is a whole different blog. How much deception there is and how badly we are being lied too by big argi-business. They just count on us being stupid like the cows. Lastly, if you are concerned about the environment. Then I know you have heard of green house gases. They are the one's that everyone is claiming to be tearing a hole in our ozone layer. Bad stuff here! It's because of the cow's un-natural feed. See cow's have 4 stomachs. I know amazing, right. Well, big factory farmer man says lets feed these bitches as much grain and corn as we can. So we can get em right and fat for slaughter. This causes the cow's to have a whole bunch of extra flatulence. This flatulence is the type of gas called methane which is not good for the ozone. I rest my case. NO cow's for me. But hey if you still want to eat meat and have that rotting animal flesh sit in your gut that's your call. I'll still call you my friend.
I am proud to announce, as of this post, that I have gotten back on the vegan wagon. With some hardcore restrain on my part. I have a lovely Parmesan still in my fridge. I guess I have one more confession to make...my kids eat cheese. I try to make sure it's organic and I don't let them have more than an ounce a day. So I'm a total hypocrite. Especially after what I just wrote. I am also not perfect. I'm just a mom just trying to make her kids happy. They love the stuff like me. It is the only dairy I allow them to have so I'm half way there. I kinda feel like they will make the choices they need to when they are old enough. I don't totally push my beliefs on them. They are vegetarians in my home. I am truthful as to why I choose to eat the way I do.  Olivia (4 yrs old) says at the dinner table; Mommy you don't eat meat? I respond, no honey. She says why? I say, because I don't want to eat animals. She says; that's just life. I say, what is? She responds; dying. They are smart, they'll figure it out.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Is it still Thanksgiving without a turkey?

Fall. Yep it is here and I am loving it! It's the time of year that makes me feel nostalgic and homey. My natural nesting insticts kick in and I spend lots of time in the kitchen making comfort food. Well this year is no different except now there will be no turkey on Thanksgiving and no ham on Christmas. I normally host Thanksgiving at my house with a total head count around 20. Ughhh! What's a vegan to do? My extended family are meat eaters to the extreme. They have no interest in that weird hippie stuff called tofu.
I figure I have two options. First being I can back out of hosting, which kinda seems like a copout. Second I can find some rocking new recipes to substitute for the normal mashed potatoes with copious amounts of butter, stuffing with gravy drippings from the bird, apple pie with more butter, rolls with more butter, sweet potatoes with more butter! Are you seeing the trend here. A whole lot of dairy that doesn't happen in this house.
My mother in law likes to say she is not interested in the holiday's anymore, as they are too stressful. She doesn't want to have to prepare all that food and make all that mess. However, she is very good at organizing everyone that's coming and making sure they all bring a dish so I don't carry the full load. I secretly think she still loves the holiday's but doesn't want to tell anyone. It's an act that she has perfected.
As I have stated before I love to have a plan. So I am starting super early on this game plan. I already know the gravy that I will be having. The yummy mushroom and red wine gravy that has now become a house staple. I have a great stuffing recipe that is so easy. Just the basics with a small twist, green olives. Mashed potatoes will be easy. I do them with a little olive oil and veggie stock instead of the normal butter and milk version. Green beans always make an appearance but instead of that creamy casserole thing, I do them with almonds, lemon, garlic and some olive oil. Peas too will be at the table. A French version of petit pois, with shallots, garlic and some fresh parsley from the garden! So the only thing missing is the turkey. I'll probably splurge this year and buy a Field Roast Celebration Roast. If you haven't tried it, do so. It's stuffed with butternut squash and stuffing. It's from a company in Seattle. They really know what they are doing with vegetable protein. Everything I've had from them was fantastic.

All that is left is the pumpkin pie. I found a raw version that will blow your socks off. It's from Raw Food, Real World. The author's of this cookbook are professionally trained chef's that own a very successful raw food restaurant in New York City call Pure Food and Wine. I have never been there but some of my friends have. They will attested to the outstanding taste and quality of the food. I will attested to the amazing taste of this pie. The only surprise is, it has no pumpkin it it. I'm going to serve it and not tell a soul. I promise you they will never guess that it's not the real deal.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Summer time and the livings easy

I've been noticing lately that the weather is getting cooler in the mornings. I love the slow drawn out southern transition from Summer to Fall. It's really breezy out here and mornings become more enticing to sit on my lanai and enjoy a cup of coffee. I was talking to a girl friend about getting up early to do some morning Yoga. I love yoga but I never do it. I'm working on that laziness but procrastination is winning out.
This morning I decided to make the girls and I some apple pie oatmeal. It was ohhh so good. They ate every last bit and so did I. I got the recipe off Oh She Glows blog. By Angela Liddony. I wish I had a picture to share but we woofed it down so fast. The only evidence that it was made is the empty pot I cooked it in!

APPLE PIE OATMEAL

Yield: 1 serving
Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup regular oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger + pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 + 1/4 cups Almond Milk
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1-1.5 tablespoon pure maple syrup + more for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, for sprinkling on top

Directions:
1. In a medium sized pot over medium heat, whisk together the 1/3 cup oats, peeled and chopped apple, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1.25 cups Almond milk, 1 tbsp pure maple syrup, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, pinch of kosher salt. Whisk well.
2. Heat over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring often. When the mixture thickens and the liquid is absorbed, it is ready. Stir in the pure vanilla extract.
3. Pour into a dish and sprinkle with chopped walnuts, a pinch of cinnamon, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. Add a tiny bit of almond milk on top.
Nutritional Info (Serves 1, without walnuts): 438 kcals, 10 grams fat (healthy fats!!), 13 grams fibre, 11 grams protein.

Were breaking out the Halloween decorations today. The girls have been asking me about them for about a week. I need lots of energy for this one. So this breakfast should do the trick.

Have a great week Y'all. Be kind to yourself!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back to my simple life

Ahhh... well our most anticipated vacation is over. It's funny how you can't wait to get it started and then you can't wait for it to end. Maybe not in all cases but for this one, it was especially true since Todd did not get to come with us. It was hard to be without him for a week. The girls really missed him. Watching them discover a new city was fun but without daddy it just wasn't quite as fun. We did have a great visit with Aunt Maggie and her family. Her younger sister took the girls under her wing and was a great help. Thanks again Shannon! I would like to adopt/borrow a big sister for the girls. Age 10-12. Room and board included. Some light house work a must and hours upon hours of playtime with the twins is a requirement!
It took me till Thursday to unpack everything including my brain. Which I needed, since the refrigerator was empty and I needed some meditation time in the kitchen. I got just what I asked for in the form of a birthday dinner for my adopted brother in law. Are you noticing a trend here? I like to adopt things/ people/ pets. You name it really and I don't ever get rid of it. Once it's in my clutches it's there for life. But back to the meal. Misi, that's his nickname. He's from Hungry. He's a crazy, loud, full of life kinda guy. When you first meet him your not sure what to think but he is lovable and warm and just makes you wish you were part Hungarian so you could be as loud and get away with it! I asked him what he would like for his birthday dinner and he said something with dill. Uh what? He loves dill. I don't. I'm Italian for peets sake. We don't know what dill is. So I look through all of my vegan cookbooks. I scourer the Internet for days. I finally came up with a simple salad. Cucumber, mint and dill. With a lovely yogurt dressing.  I also made some white bean, roasted garlic and dill tarts as an appetizer. The rest of the night was Asian themed. I made broccoli slaw and napa cabbage egg rolls, with a ponzu dipping sauce. YUM! And the main meal was a Gardein beef"less" stir fry with big portebello mushrooms, red bell peppers, sweet yellow onions and asparagus. It was fantastic. He loved every bite. The salad was tasty too. Maybe I will get to know dill just a little bit better.

On Sunday, my usual day for power cooking, I was feeling a bit sluggish and not so much like a marathon of cooking. I wanted to use up the monster size portebello caps that I had. I've been thinking a lot about meat"less"ball. I used to make a mean meatball, post vegan life. I wanted to incorporate all the usual flavors. Copious amounts of garlic, parsley, basil and a binder. Not eggs because I don't eat them anymore. So I used flax "eggs" instead. I started with TVP, added some veggie broth and after it all melded together for a bit, I added my herbs of choice, flax eggs, a couple Tbs vegan Worcestershire and made little mini meatballs for the girls and topped a couple of mushroom caps for Todd and I. As if this wasn't enough I topped that off with a nice thick mushroom and red wine gravy. It was yummy. The gravy was superb. I could have slathered it on oatmeal and enjoyed it. Really fantastic stuff. The meatless ball had really good flavor but I think I will mess around with the texture a bit. They held together but I want them firmer. Maybe I'll fry them next time instead of baking. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Today I made another fantastic meal. Spinach lasagna with tofu ricotta. I got the recipe out of Veganomicon. Fast becoming my favorite vegan cook book. Isa Chandra rocks the vegan world. I was thinking tofu ricotta sounds a bit strange but the one thing I am learning about being a vegan is I know nothing about flavor combinations. I always centered it around the strong flavors of meat and now it's all about the herbs, spices and vegetables. And let me tell you my friends they taste srumdiddlyumptious! Wow all this food talk is making me hungry. Since this weekend started off my world tour of food I think tomorrow I'll make Spanish.

Monday, September 5, 2011

If the plan doesn't work it's ok I have a backup.

On Tuesday, I'm taking the girl to Minnesota to see their Aunt Maggie. It's bitter sweet for me because Todd is not able to come with us and this is the girls first trip on a plane. Like the super planner that I am, we purchased toddler books about flying to get them used to the idea. I think it was more out of fear on my part that I would have two little nightmares in the airport. It's all planned out. I've been running the secnario over in my head for 2 weeks. Hopefully, all will go as planned and we will breeze through the airport with all our hairs intact. However, should there be a mishap it's ok because I have a backup plan!

I am a planner at heart. Some say it's because my zodiac sign is the crab. Maybe? It might also be my mom. She always said to have a back up plan and to save for a rainy day. However you want to look at it, I am a planner. I also have my list. It's a mental check list but it's there. I've had the suitcase packed since Sunday. Seriously this is even funny too me.

I went to a weekend seminar in Boston in 2006, the last time I went away without Todd. He ate hormel chili out of the can for 3 days! Wow! I really wanted him to sleep in the barn the night I returned. I'm surprised he didn't burn holes in the sheets. How do they survive without us? Well this time I made him a weeks worth of food all nicely packaged into individual servings. Nothing to fancy. He's still a meat eater even though I'm trying to convince him to give it up! I just refuse to cook it. So, I made yellow rice and chicken which is one of his favorites and then chili. I did make the chili with crumbles because I'm not touching bloody beef anymore. No thank you. Those days are gone for me. I'm born again! I did cheat on the rice and bought the packaged stuff which I don't normally do but it was a time issue. Feelings of guilt are here. I'm going to ignore them and focus on what a wonderful wife I am for feeding my husband all week. Or maybe it's for me? I wouldn't want to come home to cans of hormel again. I'd like to think I've refined his palate since 06. We'll see.