Category Archives: Food

If You Can’t Pronounce It, Don’t Eat It!

If it’s not one fad diet, it’s a food group. Last week you couldn’t eat carbs, this week, bread is okay, avoid legumes. Then just when you got used to a vegan diet, everyone has gone caveman with the meat. Last week you were all organic, this week it has to be raw. Frankly, it is enough to make your head spin, and your stomach. Genetically modified foods, pesticides, organic, farm fresh, hydroponically grown, really, where do you start?

Keeping healthy, keeping your diet balanced and eating properly can be difficult with a hectic lifestyle. It’s even harder if you have children, to keep them on track and off junk foods.

Skipping breakfast, then having a sugary pastry with a large coffee, a greasy burger or sandwich for lunch on the go and then pizza or something microwaved for dinner. It might satisfy at the time, but it’s not healthy. Plus, the ingredients are mostly unknown.

Food labelling has definitely come a long way in recent years, but it’s likely not enough. Reading labels on items we buy is a good idea, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Foods labeled Buying organic might make you happier about the choices you are making but they can be a lot more expensive. The term ‘organic’ can be misleading. It may mean the soil the carrots were grown in was organic, or just the seeds, or maybe just the farmer’s boots. It doesn’t tell us where he got the seeds and if they are genetically modified, like many foods are.

Genetically modified foods, frankenfood, as it’s been called, is food that has had its DNA modified. This is usually for longer shelf life, shorter growing period, quicker ripening and also engineered to resist bugs and other pests. Larger crops, corn, soybean, cotton and foods used for feed, oil and other processing have been being modified for years.

The usage and regulation of these foods varies from country to country and while most scientific research claims they are healthy for consumption, many people still are not convinced. The method of foods being modified today vastly differs from, say, thirty years ago, but many feel any is too much.

Demands in non-modified foods continues to grow, despite the ‘all-clear’ from many sides. Increases in diseases, allergies and less and less resistance to illness has many people pointing at the food we eat. Of course, not just modifying foods adds to it’s health or harm. Environmental problems,  pollution, exhaust, methane from the very livestock that are also being modified, genetically and with hormones and steroids, acid rain, it’s really  a wonder we eat at all!

Not everyone dislikes the GMO foods. Corn, one of the biggest crops and the most modified is widely used for livestock feed, used to make breakfast cereal, corn syrup, which in turn is used widely in other foods, corn oil, it’s really endless. But the increase in crops for the producer and the bug resistants of it means big money for the corn farmer. But even finding products that claim to be GMO free doesn’t mean they aren’t sprayed with pesticides, fertilizers and other harmful chemicals used for bugs and plant diseases.

So, if the soil is organic but the seeds are GMO, how are we to know? Well, we don’t But you can start by buying local, supporting your local farmer at the farmer’s market, where you can ask about the foods you are buying. Read the labels and stay informed.

Unjunked Candy Review

Need to get your chocolate on? Maybe your kids are indulging too much and you are trying to get them off of it? Looking to get a leg up in the New Year for a healthier diet? There are healthy alternatives but seriously, who can eat a raw carrot when chocolate is calling out to you? Chocolate is in its own food category, and so it should be. There are healthy candy and chocolate choices, and Unreal Candy is one of them.

The company was started by a dad and his teenaged sons who he was trying to keep away from junk food. The kids wanted chocolate After several thousands attempts, they came up with the recipe.

Unreal candy has peanut butter cups and M&M types of candy but with none of the really bad stuff. The peanut butter cups are made with dark chocolate and have peanut butter, crispy peanut butter and almond butter centers. The M & M types are called Gems and come in milk chocolate, dark chocolate and crispy dark chocolate.

As far as the ‘No’ goes, it’s an extensive list, No GMO, no corn syrup, no gluten, no artificial tastes or colors, no preservatives and they are vegan, fair trade and use sustainable ingredients. It’s a shame not to eat them, really.

In comparing the gems to M&M’s, the first noticeable difference is the color. Many people have allergic or other reactions to certain chemicals used in food dyes, and these don’t contain that. The color is made from plant-based coloring, and the flavoring is all natural. Just compare the listed ingredients on the packages and you will actually be able to pronounce the ones listed on Unreal’s packages.

The sugar content is lower than most compared candy and they taste creamy without the chemical aftertaste. Kids will likely still prefer the real M&M’s but it’s a start in the right direction. Considering the size of M&M’s, who eats one or two? So for those of us who like getting our chocolate on, and that’s a lot of us, this is a great, healthier alternative.

Of course, it’s still candy so moderation is always recommended, but any time we can do better for ourselves and the world around us, we should at least try.

The company have recently launched new items, and their products are available online and in most major grocery stores. They are a bit more expensive, but at what cost?

Zipfizz Review

For those of you who use or enjoy energy drinks, this is a decent one. ZipFizz is a concentrated,  carbonated powder you add to water or other beverages. They claim ‘Energy in a Tube’, so the mix powder is very convenient to carry with you. They have over ten flavors and are a great boost pre- or post workout. Vitamins, minerals, with amino acids, electrolytes, plus no sugar and lower in calories than some energy drinks, it’s a great tasting product that is also healthy.

You can have this energy drink as a pick-me-up anytime, morning, after work, whenever you feel the need. It’s very convenient to carry with you, you can take several tubes at a time, which is great when you have limited space for your workout gear.

The product derives it’s boosting power from caffeine, all natural sources, but if you are concerned with your caffeine intake, it’s important to know. Adding one or two of these a day, with your regular coffee or other caffeinated beverages, may prove to be a bit overwhelming. If you are sensitive to caffeine, try one first at home in case you get jittery, but chances are you won’t.

It is effective for boosting your energy levels. You will feel a kick right after consumption and revitalized with a big burst of energy. If you are a regular user of energy drinks, think about trying this one. It seems to be healthier than a lot of them and the flavors are very nice. Another nice feature is the carbonation. It gives the drink a soda-like appearance and quality which is nice. However, the carbonation will build up and can cause the container to expand, so when you remove the lid, it can have an explosive type of reaction. It’s best to use the drink within about ten to twenty minutes.

It’s so easy to use, just add the drink mix powder to the beverage and shake. Do not add the powder to an already carbonated beverage, use water, juice, smoothie, are best. The powder mixes quickly and it fizzes up, just like the name suggests. It’s a great refreshing energy boosting drink you will enjoy, carbonated, convenient and great flavors.

How to Make Packable Lunches

If you are tired of eating take out or the same store-bought sandwich or salad, the same tired microwaved rubber meal or just tired of the outrageous price you pay for a small salad everyday at work, maybe it’s time to start packing your own lunch. Chances are you are already doing it for your kids, and if not, and you think you don’t have the time, think again. It’s easy, saves money and it’s way healthier for you. Here’s some easy ways to get into the habit.

Plan Ahead:

If you don’t have any, get containers for the lunches. You can get sturdy containers with sections to add several items in one convenient package.

Plan your lunch menu, for yourself and if you have kids. Buy things you need for lunches and make anything you can ahead of time.

Packages things are handy and don’t need to be unhealthy. Single-serving packages of nuts, or trail mix are healthy and fill you up and give you energy to get through the day. Cheese and crackers,

If you set aside a day to cook some of the major dishes in advance, lasagna, casseroles, stews and hearty soups, you can portion them up, freeze them and they are ready to just take along with you.

Muffins, chopped vegetables or fruit, layered salads are easily put together the nght before. Boil up a dozen eggs and drop one in the lunch bag for an extra protein treat.

Roast a chicken or turkey and portion it out for use in salad, sandwiches, or a side snack. It’s amazing how far one will go. Making up rice, quinoa, pasta and other whole grain and filling staples will make it so much easier. Pasta salad, salads made with grains and fresh vegetables, you can make your own dressings, as well. Adding nuts or a hard boiled egg will add protein and flavor.

Make them up the night before. No one needs to be rushed about in the morning, have the sandwiches, salads, veggie or chicken stir-fry, and beverages all set up and ready to go. Nut butter is a good item to have around for a quick lunch fix and a healthy protein.

You can also take individual containers for snacks or a lunch to put together later, bagel, chicken salad, fruit, all in their own containers so they are fresh. Pita wraps make a nice alternative to bread and travel better.

Fruit and vegetables can be taken as is in many cases and are a healthy choice over the food court meals which may be ladened with sodium, fat and other chemicals and additives that you don’t want.

Making your own lunches is a healthy, inexpensive way that allows you more time in the morning, saves you money and keeps you healthier. Making your own allows you to know what’s in it and gives you the peace of mind you are eating better. You can even go out and get yourself a funky lunch box, with a rockstar or a superhero on it and make all your coworkers jealous!

Almonds Good. Almond Milk, Not So Much…

As we continually strive to make better choices for ourselves, our families and the environment, it’s easy to get bogged down. There is always a lot of information, not all of it accurate, not all of it good or bad, but there is always something. Just try eating something these days without an opinion. You may read something online or an article in a newspaper or magazine. Maybe your friend or coworker mentioned something about what you are having for lunch. The choice is entirely yours, of course, but it’s always good to be informed.

Getting off of dairy isn’t a bad idea, as a rule, and as long as you are replacing the protein and calcium, your heart and arteries will be happy. The switch to alternatives for milk have been increasing over the years, mostly due to knowledge about industrial milk farms. Soy, rice, coconut and almond milk are all very popular alternatives, but are they better? Depends on what you consider to be better, but let’s look at almond milk, the current front runner in plant-based milks.

Almonds themselves are very healthy. A crunchy little powerhouse of delicious goodness, protein, healthy fat, minerals and vitamins, they seem to be the perfect food. And they are, as long as they are still in the original package. But by the time they are processed and reach your table, there is precious little ‘almond’ involved.

First of all, they require water. A lot of it. Growing them is one reason, and as a great deal of them are grown in California, during times of drought, it causes the water to come from other sources and drives up the price.

Processing them requires a lot of water, as well. Almond milk is almonds soaked in water, then ground up, and drained. Most of the nut meat is discarded, leaving a light milky water. This is where things get sketchy. Things need to be added to the almond water to make it milk, so thickeners are added, locust bean gum, carrageenan or gellan gum are commonly used.

Once it has consistency, it needs flavour, so sweeteners are added. If you are reading cane sugar, evaporated cane sugar or pure cane sugar, just read sugar. ‘Natural flavour added’ is never a good sign, it could be anything. Anything that was once in a natural form that has flavour.

Vitamins, mineral, proteins, are also added. They call it fortified but it’s a grey area. They can also remove minerals from the almonds during processing and then add them back in later, but there is no way to know if it’s still healthy.

Some brands may contain vegetable oils, and so the milk also needs something to keep it together, to keep it all from separating. These are called emulsifiers, often from sunflower or carrageenan and while not unhealthy, may cause stomach upset or irritation.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink it, but you should be informed. It’s heavy sweaters and massive ecological footprint alone are not steps in the right direction if you  are looking for better alternatives.  If you are still considering almond milk, you may want to look up how to make your own. It’s relatively easy and you will know exactly what is in it, plus, a fraction of the cost.

 

 

 

 

 

Prop 37 California’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act

If it’s not one fad diet, it’s a food group. Last week you couldn’t eat carbs, this week, bread is okay, avoid legumes. Then just when you got used to a vegan diet, everyone has gone caveman with the meat. Last week you were all organic, this week it has to be raw. Frankly, it is enough to make your head spin, and your stomach. Genetically modified foods, pesticides, organic, farm fresh, hydroponically grown, really, where do you start?

Keeping healthy, keeping your diet balanced and eating properly can be difficult with a hectic lifestyle. It’s even harder if you have children, to keep them on track and off junk foods.

Skipping breakfast, then having a sugary pastry with a large coffee, a greasy burger or sandwich for lunch on the go and then pizza or something microwaved for dinner. It might satisfy at the time, but it’s not healthy. Plus, the ingredients are mostly unknown.

Food labelling has definitely come a long way in recent years, but it’s likely not enough. Reading labels on items we buy is a good idea, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Foods labeled Buying organic might make you happier about the choices you are making but they can be a lot more expensive. The term ‘organic’ can be misleading. It may mean the soil the carrots were grown in was organic, or just the seeds, or maybe just the farmer’s boots. It doesn’t tell us where he got the seeds and if they are genetically modified, like many foods are.

Genetically modified foods, frankenfood, as it’s been called, is food that has had its DNA modified. This is usually for longer shelf life, shorter growing period, quicker ripening and also engineered to resist bugs and other pests. Larger crops, corn, soybean, cotton and foods used for feed, oil and other processing have been being modified for years.

The usage and regulation of these foods varies from country to country and while most scientific research claims they are healthy for consumption, many people still are not convinced. The method of foods being modified today vastly differs from, say, thirty years ago, but many feel any is too much.

Demands in non-modified foods continues to grow, despite the ‘all-clear’ from many sides. Increases in diseases, allergies and less and less resistance to illness has many people pointing at the food we eat. Of course, not just modifying foods adds to it’s health or harm. Environmental problems,  pollution, exhaust, methane from the very livestock that are also being modified, genetically and with hormones and steroids, acid rain, it’s really  a wonder we eat at all!

Not everyone dislikes the GMO foods. Corn, one of the biggest crops and the most modified is widely used for livestock feed, used to make breakfast cereal, corn syrup, which in turn is used widely in other foods, corn oil, it’s really endless. But the increase in crops for the producer and the bug resistants of it means big money for the corn farmer. But even finding products that claim to be GMO free doesn’t mean they aren’t sprayed with pesticides, fertilizers and other harmful chemicals used for bugs and plant diseases.

So, if the soil is organic but the seeds are GMO, how are we to know? Well, we don’t But you can start by buying local, supporting your local farmer at the farmer’s market, where you can ask about the foods you are buying. Read the labels and stay informed.