Some of you may think you already stop eating when you feel full, but unless you are French – think again. Based on research, Michael Pollan says instead of using our internal cues to know when to stop eating most of us “allow external, and usually visual, cues to determine how much we [should] eat.” Think back to your last meal…did you stop eating when your gut told you you’d had enough or when your plate was clean, the package was empty, or the T.V. show was over? According to Pollan: Supposedly it takes twenty minutes before the brain gets the word that the belly is full; unfortunately most of us take considerably less than twenty minutes to finish a meal, with the result that the sensation of feeling full exerts little if any influence on how much we eat. What this suggests is that eating more slowly, and then consulting our sense of satiety, might help us to eat less. The French are better at this than we are, as Brian Wansink discovered when he asked a group of French people how they knew when to stop eating. ‘When I feel full,’ they replied. (What a novel idea! The Americans said things like ‘When my plate is clean’ or ‘When I run out.’) Perhaps it is their long, leisurely meals that give the French the opportunity to realize when they are full. I don’t know about you, but as long as I can remember I’ve been told to “clean my plate.” I am finding that it helps to start off with less food, because it can sometimes be difficult to stop eating an exceptionally good meal when there are only one or two or even three bites left. It wouldn’t be enough food to save or pack up at […]
Archives for April 2011
Today I am giving away a super high quality pizza stone to one lucky winner. This stone, which retails for $50, is made by Emile Henry and can be used in the oven or on the grill. Until trying their stone myself I’d never before grilled a pizza, although I’ve always been intrigued by the idea. And let me tell you what…the outcome was amazing! We could not believe how different the flavor was of our homemade whole-wheat pizza just by going from the oven to the grill. It was such a nice treat and we definitely look forward to grilling many more pizzas this summer.
Making corn tortillas from scratch is an incredibly simple process with the help of a tortilla press. And I promise it is worth the effort because freshly made corn tortillas absolutely blow away the store-bought bagged version. All you have to do is take a warm homemade tortilla out of the hot pan, sprinkle a little shredded Monterey Jack cheese inside, fold the tortilla over so the cheese can melt, and dig right in with a big bite to know exactly what I am talking about. Yum! And trust me – do not try to take shortcuts by making these without a tortilla press (pictured below) because as far as I’m concerned rolling them out by hand is an impossible task. I’ve tried it several times only to fail miserably so I just want to save you the trouble. The key ingredient to corn tortillas is “masa harina.” Even though this corn flour does not say “whole grain” on the package I’ve been told it is an exception to the rule. According to the Whole Grains Council, masa harina is not labeled “whole grain” because of the process that’s used to make the flour. Manufacturers start by soaking the corn kernels in an alkali solution; next the liquid is poured off; then the corn is dried and the remaining whole kernels are ground into flour. The thought is that some of the corn is lost when the liquid is drained, but the Council says the loss is so minimal that the end product is very close to a whole grain flour.
Today’s post is a follow-up to a store-bought snack list that I published last year. As dedicated as we are to eating real food and cooking meals from scratch, who doesn’t want a break from the kitchen? So here are several more of the “least-processed” store-bought snacks we could find that are great interspersed with fruits, veggies, and other whole foods. Most of these items are included on the “Supermarket Real Food Cheat Sheet,” but I thought I would take the time to highlight some of our favorites. All of these products happen to be crunchy and 100% whole-grain (or whole food in the case of the potato chips) so hopefully they will add a little “real food” variety to your pantry. But as a reminder, when you are shopping around for these items never make any decisions based solely on the “whole-grain” health-claims on the front of the package. Always (and I mean always) verify what the product is made of by reading the ingredient label on the back. In the case of crunchy snacks some of the key ingredients to look for are “whole wheat,” “whole grain,” and/or “brown rice.” If the ingredient list contains any “wheat” or “rice” it is not 100% whole-grain so keep on looking!
This Greek yogurt-based sauce is incredibly simple to make and versatile. It is traditionally served with souvlaki and gyros, but we think there are many more possibilities beyond these dishes. Tzatziki can be used as a dip for veggies and whole-wheat pretzels (instead of bottled ranch dressing) or as sauce to pour over chicken. It’s also good thrown into a whole-wheat wrap or pita with vegetables like cucumber and tomatoes. We’ve even mixed it together with whole-wheat couscous and feta cheese…so get creative and enjoy!
When I first learned that the whole low-fat campaign was pretty much a hoax I was absolutely shocked as well. For years I was right there on that bandwagon bingeing on everything from low-fat Snackwells cookies to fat-free flavored yogurt to low-fat ice cream. And as it turns out, according to Michael Pollan, “We’ve gotten fat on low-fat products.” Here’s a direct quote from Pollan’s book Food Rules that explains it all: The forty-year-old campaign to create low-fat and nonfat versions of traditional foods has been a failure: We’ve gotten fat on low-fat products. Why? Because removing the fat from foods doesn’t necessarily make them nonfattening. Carbohydrates can also make you fat, and many low- and nonfat foods boost the sugars to make up for the loss of flavor … You’re better off eating the real thing in moderation than bingeing on “lite” food products packed with sugars and salt. Another New York Times bestselling author, Mark Bittman, agrees in his book Food Matters. He says, “The low-fat craze caused millions, maybe tens of millions, of Americans actually to gain weight, because they were reaching for ‘low-fat’ but high-calorie carbs.” And right on cue directly from Pollan’s In Defense of Food: At this point you’re probably saying to yourself, Hold on just a minute. Are you really saying the whole low-fat deal was bogus? But my supermarket is still packed with low-fat this and no-cholesterol that! My doctor is still on me about my cholesterol and telling me to switch to low-fat everything. I was flabbergasted at the news too, because no one in charge – not in government, not in the public health community – has dared to come out and announce: Um, you know everything we’ve been telling you for the last thirty years about the links […]
Before you get too excited…this giveaway is for South Charlotte residents only! There is nothing I hate more than leaving people out, but unfortunately that’s the only way this one will work. Here’s what will be given to one lucky South Charlotte winner: $50 worth of free groceries from the Ballantyne Earth Fare location (which cannot be transferred to any other locations) Two lovely hours with me at your house to help you clean out your pantry/fridge, answer all of your “real food” questions, and come up with a customized week-long meal plan for you and/or your family…after all, we must decide how you will spend your $50! There is one catch. By entering the contest the winner is agreeing to being profiled on 100DaysofRealFood.com. It wouldn’t be any fun if we couldn’t share all the details of this “real food” transformation with the rest of the readers!
Since it is not always ideal or possible to make the most optimal food choice here’s my take on some of the options… Bad Better Best Why Bag of crunchy deep fried potato chips Bag of crunchy nuts that were oiled and salted in a food factory Raw nuts Nuts are a nutritious whole food especially when there are no unhealthy additives like oil and salt. Orange macaroni and cheese sold in a blue box Organic (but still refined) boxed macaroni and cheese Homemade whole-wheat macaroni and cheese The organic boxed macaroni and cheese is of course organic, and it also doesn’t have any artificial ingredients or food dyes. However, it is still highly processed especially since the noodles are made with refined grains (that are high in calories and low in nutrients). The homemade version is actually fairly simple to make and incorporates 100% whole-grain noodles. Even if the boxed version says “whole-grain” on the front it is most likely not even close to 100% whole-grain.
I never noticed until we made our switch to real food that every single holiday seems to revolve around food! And not just any kind of food…“junk food” of course. I think building family traditions around certain meals is priceless, but I often wish holidays weren’t so focused on foods that include white flour, sugar, and worst of all – store-bought candy. Halloween and Christmas certainly “take the cake” when it comes to our consumption of junk food, but in my opinion Easter isn’t that far behind. If our family managed to have a candy-less (and still fun!) Halloween this past year then we can certainly do the same for Easter. And by the way, its not that my kids don’t get any candy for these holidays…its just that they get so much of it from school/friends/parties that I don’t need to also supply it at home! I’ve compiled a fabulous list of candy alternatives (thanks to my wonderful facebook community – I love chatting with you guys!) for your child’s Easter basket this year. But before we dive right in I must share a super cute alternative to those big chocolate bunnies. Last year we got our daughters big honey whole-wheat bread bunnies (pictured) from Great Harvest, and they absolutely loved them! Right when I thought I couldn’t like Great Harvest any more they come up with this idea. And I know not everyone lives near one of their stores, but if you like to bake use this as inspiration to make something similar. Without further ado, here’s the list of ideas. The items that are starred will most likely fit inside a plastic egg!
I’ve come across a lot of “meal plans” lately in both magazines and online. They’re always inspiring with so many different and creative ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner (each meal requires a separate recipe of course and never utilizes “leftovers”). Sure, if someone else was doing all of the cooking for me I would sign right up for one of those plans. Then some other meal plans tell me that their dish made with goat cheese only costs $2 per serving. Well guess what, you can’t buy goat cheese by the serving (it costs $4 a container at best!). So rather than complaining about it, I’ve decided to come up with my own meal plan – two of them actually. And this is what you’ll find: Two 7-day practical “real food” menu plans designed for busy families Complete meals listed each day for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner Food quantities calculated for a family of four Corresponding grocery lists showing what to buy (in order of the store) and actual cost for each item Budget-friendly prices compatible to what a family of four would receive on full food stamp (SNAP) benefits – $167/week – with additional cost-saving opportunities because… Coupons were not used Sale prices were not used Prices for organic items were used in most cases