Readers have been asking more and more what real food products to buy at Trader Joe’s, so I thought I’d just turn the discussion into a blog post! First of all, I don’t do all my shopping at Trader Joe’s (I get produce, dairy, and other items at Earth Fare and the farmers’ market), but I do go there every couple weeks for some staples that in some cases I can’t get anywhere else. Secondly, I know Trader Joe’s is touted as a health food store, but just like the rest of them they still sell a whole lot of (organic, gluten-free, vegan, multigrain, etc.) junk food! A reader asked me once if there was anywhere she could shop for food without having to scrutinize labels and just buy anything that’s available (while still avoiding processed food). To be honest the closest you are going to get to a place like that is the farmers’ market, and even then I still like to ask if they spray chemical pesticides or use synthetic fertilizers on their produce. So long story short, you pretty much always have to have your guard up…and that even includes shopping at Trader Joe’s! Before I dive right into the products though I want to be sure to tell you about two of our sponsors. Our sponsors are what keep this site going for free so we really appreciate it when you send them some love. :) First there’s Real Salt that’s produced without additives, chemicals, or heat processing of any kind. Real Salt has a pinkish tint with flecks of color from more than 60 naturally occurring trace minerals. All salt is not created equal so you should definitely check them out. I’d also like to make sure you know about Tattler’s BPA-Free Reusable Canning Lids. If you haven’t […]
Archives for September 2012
I finally did it. I’ve been wanting to bake with some alternative flours for some time and this weekend I finally made Pumpkin Muffins using whole spelt flour! And they are deeeelicious. We’ve definitely been missing out. The texture is much more cake-like and the flavor is milder than whole-wheat flour. And it was super easy to make the 1:1 substitution…I have no idea why I kept putting it off! I must thank our sponsor, Nature’s Legacy, for giving me the final push (i.e. a bag of spelt in the mail!) that I needed to dive right in and give it a shot. Spelt may sound like a “new” grain, but it’s actually been around for more than 9,000 years. As I mentioned the flavor is “lighter” than wheat and even though it contains gluten, some with an intolerance to wheat find that they are able to enjoy spelt. Just like wheat though, you want to be sure to select “Whole Spelt” products as opposed to the refined (white) version. And to keep your whole spelt flour fresh, it’s best to stick it in the freezer (or fridge) along with your other whole grain flours. In addition to flour there are also other spelt products available, like pasta. To learn more about the benefits of eating whole spelt and how it differs from wheat check out this FAQ page.
What’s the best material to store food in? Will the storage system leak? Will it help the food stay fresh? How easy is it to use? And at the end of the day (literally), how tough will it be to clean up?
You may have noticed that almost every time I post one of my child’s lunches on Facebook quite a few readers leave comments such as…”Where’s the protein?” or “I personally need a lot more protein to feel full” or even “My kid wouldn’t have enough energy to get through the day if I don’t give them more protein.” All of this feedback has gotten me wondering…why is our society so concerned about protein? When and how did the notion begin that we need protein, protein, and more protein!? So here’s what I’d really like to say about protein… Why we don’t count protein (or grams of anything for that matter) I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…part of eating a real food diet means not counting fat grams, calories, carbs, protein, etc. You simply eat a variety of whole foods (without overeating) and the rest falls into place. Other countries outside of the U.S. routinely follow this practice and don’t obsessively add up numbers like we do. According to Karen Le Billon in her book French Kids Eat Everything, in France “Enjoyment is the goal of eating. You can’t enjoy yourself if you are … counting calories [or] keeping score of micronutrient consumption.” She also says “Variety is a happy side effect of this approach (because new foods are interesting thus making the French happy).”
A lot of readers have been asking me lately what kind of vitamins my kids take and the answer is…none at all. Vitamins aren’t necessarily harmful or going to cause medical problems when they’re used properly, but it’s not something we personally choose to deal with (or pay for). First of all, we pretty much rely on our steady diet of whole foods (including lots of variety and plenty of produce) when it comes to getting all the vitamins and minerals we need. No one does a better job than nature when it comes to creating the perfect delivery package for the nutrients your body needs. Secondly, in Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food he indicates that those who take supplements may be “healthier for reasons having nothing to do with the pills” because in controlled studies most supplements “don’t appear to work.” Now a lot of doctors and nutritionists do recommend taking a daily multi-vitamin, and, since you should of course take your doctor’s advice over mine, I want to share some of the better vitamin brands that are out there. My doctor recently recommended that I take a short term Vitamin D booster, based on my most recent blood results, and when I was out shopping for this vitamin I couldn’t believe how many of them are full of junky additives! Vitamins, especially for kids, are oftentimes full of artificial sweeteners, colorings, and flavorings. I’ve found that there is a bigger – and better – selection if you shop at places like Amazon.com as well as stores that are dedicated to vitamins and health like Swanson Health Products or your local Vitamin Shoppe. I’ll warn you now to just forget Target when it comes to shopping for vitamins because the choices there are pretty slim.
We have some fun offers for you today from my friend Carrie with Deliciously Organic! She’s offering our readers a very special deal on her beautiful cookbook (that uses only unprocessed ingredients), a weeknight “Real Food, Real Fast” meal plan (for all those busy parents out there), as well as some fall recipes and holiday menus. There are two different packages to choose from and the details are as follows…
I am so excited to be including a fellow blogger (and now author) in today’s post. Sarah Wu, the woman behind the persona “Mrs. Q,” went undercover as a teacher so she could eat school lunch for a year and blog about it! Her project has been widely recognized, including a nod from Jamie Oliver, and last year she revealed her true identity with the launch of her book bearing the same name as her blog, Fed up with Lunch. I started following “Mrs. Q” early on and was thrilled to be able to meet her in person at a food blogging conference (yes, those things exist) because she is clearly bringing some much-needed attention to an extremely important issue. I asked Sarah to share with us how her project got started, as well as what each of us can do to take action in our own schools. But before we dive right in I have to share some of the more startling facts from her book, which was a great read by the way. The way the book is written it flows more like a novel, but at the same time you take away some critical information like the following…
Our first “School Lunch Roundup” post quickly became one of the most popular pages on the blog so I thought I’d put together another one for you! For those who are newer to our site be sure to check out “My Favorite School Lunch Supplies” to see the details on all our containers, lunch boxes, thermos cups, etc. Also, if you see a recipe below that you may be interested in (like quesadillas, apple sandwich, refried beans, chicken noodle soup, etc.) just search for it using the search box at the top, right of the page. Most are on the blog, but unfortunately I’m not able to put a live link in photo captions. Also, I’d like to make sure everyone knows about our meal planning sponsor, Plan to Eat. The start of school means getting back on a schedule and they can definitely help when it comes to the kitchen and grocery shopping. Plan to Eat is a web application that creates a categorized grocery list from recipes that you drag into an interactive meal planning calendar. You can easily import recipes from any website using their handy bookmark (similar to “pinning” in Pinterest), which helps to keep all of your favorite recipes in one place. They are currently offering a completely free 30-day trial, so you should definitely give it a try! So without further ado, here is a summary of the school lunches that I’ve been sharing on my Facebook page: