Friday, April 30, 2010

The next generation of Food Prudes

I am no green thumb. I have killed aloe plants. My parents did not garden, I had no experience. 

Gardening is a key ingredient to raising the next generation of Food Prudes. It is vital that children learn where their food comes from - before it gets to the grocery store. 

My children taught me, they inspired me....they nagged me. To them, there was no reason not to plant some seeds and see what happened.  My children have so thoroughly enjoyed growing a random assortment of things like carrots, corn, tomatoes, and strawberries, even though some of them didn't turn out, and were never edible.  It taught them the process and gave them an appreciation for the food on our table, and the work involved in obtaining it. Most importantly, it gave them a great desire to eat raw fruits and vegetables, for they could imagine the vine, root, or stalk it came from and daydream about the farmers that picked them, how they got them to taste so good, etc. It piqued their curiosity. Food became a tangible and 'cool' thing to think and talk about. It inspired creativity in all of us.

It is a wonderful thing to see your kids get so excited about their garden. They jump at the chance to weed it, water it, cover it in the cold. It's their baby and they feel so rewarded when they see their hard work pay off with some little baby strawberries.

They look forward to reaping what they have sown....and I look forward to having a very tangible example to use when they are teenagers!

Yummy Yogurt

A healthy meal plan will include several small meals throughout the day, which will aid in weight loss and blood sugar maintenance. Plan to eat a well rounded (protein + carb + good fat) meal every 2-3 hours.

This is a quick and easy, high protein and well rounded snack/meal. Complete with good fat (walnuts), valuable carbs (apple), and lean protein (yogurt).

1/4 c. organic plain low fat yogurt
3/4 c. organic vanilla low fat yogurt
1 green apple cubed
handful of small walnut pieces

Food Prude Facts:
Organic, Low Fat Yogurt is high in protein and good bacteria (probiotics) which are essential to a healthy gut, calcium, B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium and low in fat, sugar and calories. (Best when plain and vanilla are mixed, so you get the sweet flavor of vanilla, but with a reduced sugar content!)

Apples are known as a cleansing food, great source of fiber, antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamin C. Green apples are higher in C than red. Apples are best raw and unpeeled, cooking them destroys 70% of their disease fighting flavonoids which are contained in and near the skin.

Walnuts are a good fat, high in Omega 3, which works to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol). Walnuts, in particular, have significantly higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids as compared to other nuts. They are also high in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and antioxidants such as vitamin E.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Turns out it's not just plastic that turns carcinogenic in the microwave...

I've always used glass in the microwave, just as a precautionary measure, but I will be using the microwave a whole lot less after reading this.....

Check out our fellow Food Prude's blog about microwaves and the damage it does to our food.

On the heals of this news, however, I must share with you my favorite Food Prude investment: My stove.
I searched high and low for the perfect combination for the volume of food prep I do, and I use it more than any other gadget. 4 burners with a built in grill + double oven. A Food Prude's dream. Next time you are in the market for a stove, keep this in mind. Specialty foods can require more preparation, and this grill makes that extra step even more convenient. We can whip up almost anything with this baby, fajitas, pancakes, grilled sandwiches of all sorts, quesadillas (corn tortillas of course),  grilled get the point. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Cilantro Shrimp

1 lb. Fresh Jumbo Shrimp
1/2 Bunch Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Dash Garlic Salt

Toss shrimp with other ingredients.
Place in Steamer.
Steam for 15-20 minutes or until shrimp are opaque.

Serve with brown rice.

Food Prude Facts:
Like eggs, shrimp has gotten a bad wrap due to its cholesterol content. Contrary to past beliefs, eating shrimp does not significantly increase your LDL cholesterol levels but has been shown to increase your HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It is a very low fat food containing only 1g per 3oz. serving which is mostly polyunsaturated, containing moderate amounts of omega-3 fatty acid.

Cilantro, among several other benefits, is a powerful natural cleansing agent. Cilantro has been effectively used to help remove heavy metals and other toxic agents from the body.

Food Prude's Favorite Salmon Recipe - GLUTEN FREE

1 lb. Salmon
2 Tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup (NO Mrs. Butterworth's!!)
2 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
2 Tbsp. Tamari (wheat free soy sauce - or use soy sauce if you are not GF)
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl (except salmon).
Place salmon in glass baking dish and coat with mixture.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, turning once.
Preheat oven to 400*, or Preheat Grill to Medium
*OVEN - in glass dish, uncovered for 20 mins.
*GRILL - remove salmon from glass dish and place on heavy duty aluminum foil, or cedar plank, grill on low to medium until salmon flakes easily with fork, approx. 15 mins.

Serve over long grain brown rice, or Basmati rice, with your favorite steamed green vegetable.

Food Prude Facts:
Salmon is high in protein, and naturally high in omega-3 (good fat), which is beneficial to the eyes, brain, immune system, cholesterol, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.  A 4 oz. serving provides a full day's worth of vitamin D, half the B-12, Niacin, Selenium, and is an excellent source of B-6 & Magnesium.

When you make this, take a minute to come back and tell us what adjustments you made and how you liked it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Arthritis? Try this....

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 Tbsp. Honey

Take every morning.

In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.

Added benefit, that 1/2 tsp./day can lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Super Salad

Cube your favorite type of Tomato, toss with Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil & Basil, and enjoy immediately.  Even my 8 yr. old loves it.

Food Prude Facts
It's Gluten Free and full of vitamins. Tomatoes are one of the healthiest and most beneficial of all fruits and vegetables. Their natural anti-oxidant, Lycopene, is known for staving off cancers and reducing the risk of macular degeneration. Studies are leading scientists to believe that Tomatoes may also reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol, among it's long list of benefits.

Mixing with Olive Oil increases your bodies absorption of the Lycopene, and, because Olive Oil is a 'good fat' it reduces your LDL (bad cholesterol), and increases your HDL (good cholesterol). Olive Oil is also loaded with cancer fighting antioxidants, prevents gallstones, and soothes ulcers.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Real Sugar requires more energy to absorb, HFCS loses again...

Many people are interested in 'getting healthy', or 'watching what they eat'. Which are great motives. However, one of the basics of being healthier is being conscious of what you are putting into your body, right down to the last ingredient on every label. There is a movement in the food industry, toward more natural and less processed foods, which, in my opinion, is a great way to get, and stay healthy. This movement begins and ends with people paying attention to what they are buying, and demanding better quality.

High Fructose Corn Syrup has long been controversial, but the bottom line is that it is unnatural. It's processed, and it's in everything.

A Little History: According to the American Chemical Society, high-fructose corn syrup entered the industrial market in the 1970s. Two researchers, Richard Marshall and Earl Kooi, developed the manufacturing process in 1957, discovering that they could alter glucose's molecular composition to make fructose. Later, in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, Japanese scientist Yoshiyuki Takasaki and Osamu Tanabe further developed and improved the manufacturing process. By the mid-1970s, corn syrup had begun to replace sugar as a sweetener in many products. Partly because of the federal government's corn subsidies, it became cheaper to make, and its prominence grew.

Chemical Make-Up: High-fructose corn syrup, the most prominent type of commercial corn syrup, originally comes from cornstarch. Two enzymes, alpha-amylase and gluco-amylase, break down the starch to make glucose. A third enzyme, glucose-isomerase, turns the glucose into a mixture that includes fructose. The resulting syrup has a honey like thickness and is usually 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.

The very fact that this common product was created by researchers is proof that it is unnatural. There are no corn syrup farms, you cannot go out and harvest corn syrup from a corn tree as you would get pure maple syrup from a maple tree.

Psychology Professor Bart Hoebel tells News at Princeton:

It appears that in HFCS, fructose molecules are "free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized. " It may well take more energy to consume real sugar than it does to consume HFCS.

So, HFCS is more readily absorbed than plain white sugar. Our bodies have to work harder to breakdown sugar, than corn syrup. It seems that there could be a direct correlation to the overuse of HFCS in the majority of processed products to the increasing diabetes epidemic in our country, and some people are starting to catch on.

Check out this article about some major brands steering clear of corn syrup, and why:

I challenge you to read the label of everything in your pantry, or at least a few things, and see what you've been eating, what you've been feeding your family. And to steer clear of corn syrup, in all forms, not only because it's more metabolically accessible to your body, but because it's found in a lot of products that sugar isn't, and never should be.
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