Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Out with the blah, in with better options!

It's a new year ladies, and I've decided after a semester of good food and recipe sharing it's time for some thought about what we're actually putting back into our bodies. To start out with, I'd like to share with you seven of the worst foods that you should never eat...

1. Canned tomatoes.
Why? The metal linings of the cans contain a synthetic estrogen connected to heart disease, diabetes and obesity that becomes released through the high acidity of the tomatoes.

Instead: Buy your tomatoes in glass bottles, or Tetra Paks (Trader Joes carries them!). Also, it's always much more delicious to simply buy fresh tomatoes for use in your sauces and cooking.

2. Corn-fed beef.

Why? Cows are natural grazing herbivores, but when kept in pens are fed corn and grains. This leads to different nutritional content in their meat. In a national study conducted by the USDA, grass-fed beef is contains a higher content of beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega 3s, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and are lower in saturated fats-which are linked to heart disease!

Instead: Grass-fed beef. It's a bit more pricey, but easily found nationally at Whole Foods and speciality markets. If you don't see it, ask the butcher.
3. Microwave popcorn.

Why? The lining of the bags contains an acid known to cause cancer in lab rats. This acid is becomes vapor in the microwave and migrates to your popcorn, to then be ingested and sadly, stick around. Scientist say this build-up could lead to cancer, and thus all of these acid bags will be phased out by 2015. But there's a few years (and a lot of movies demanding popcorn) between now and then.

Instead: Pop kernels the old-fashioned way-in a skillet. This is also dirt cheap in comparison…plus you get to control exactly what spices and flavorings you put on. Not too much salt!
4. Nonorganic potatoes.

Why? Potatoes are grown in soil that has been sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. That's a lot of chemicals. Because the vegetable is grown underground, it absorbs those same chemicals through the water it takes in. Later, they are sprayed with more chemicals to stop them from sprouting the store. You can wash all that off the surface, but you can't get it out of the flesh itself.

Instead: Just spend the extra dollar or two and buy organic potatoes. It's a better investment in your health in the long run.

5. Farmed salmon.

Why? Nature didn't intend for salmon to live in small pens and eat poultry litter. Or be fed high levels of antibiotics and pesticides…which you also get dosed with when you eat farmed salmon. As a result of farming, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D, and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardant, and pesticides such as dioxin, and DDT-linked to diabetes and obesity.

Instead: There are NO commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon. If the packaging says fresh Atlantic, it's farmed. Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon, or canned salmon almost exclusively from wild catch, which comes at almost $3 a can.
6. Milk produced with artificial hormones.

Why? The growth hormone that milk producers treat their dairy cattle with allows them to produce more milk…but also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. This also leads to an increase in a hormone directly linked to causing breast, prostate, an colon cancers. While there isn't 100% that this is increasing cancer in humans, it's still banned from most industrialized countries. Ban it from your fridge too.

Instead: Look for labels that indicate hormone free products, such as 'produced without artificial hormones', 'organic', and 'rBGH-free or rBST-free)'.

7. Conventional apples.

Why? Apples are are descended from the same tree, grafted down to maintain their individual flavors. Because of this, they don't develop a resistance to pests and diseases, earning them award for 'most doused in pesticides.'

Instead: Buy organic apples. And if you can't, be sure to wash and peel them.

Click Read More for a yummy recipe to start the year off right! -With organic potatoes of course.

'Sneaky-Baked-Potato-Parading-as-a-Soup' Soup


1/3 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour

3 cups milk

2 large potatoes, baked, peeled, and coarsely mashed

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

crumbled cooked bacon (optional)

*Just a reminder. The potatoes used in this recipe need to be baked, not raw.

In a large saucepan, whisk the flour and milk together until smooth. Bring to a boil; stirring for two minutes or until the mixture thickens. Be careful not to let the flour and milk separate, so keep stirring if need be. Slowly add the potatoes, the cheese, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the sour cream and onions. Cover, cook for another ten minutes (but do not boil). Garnish with any remaining cheese, onions, and bacon if you so feel like it!

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