Recipe: Super Quick and Easy Fried Rice

fried rice

I may be late to the party, but I am just now discovering how incredibly convenient frozen vegetables are. My default has always been fresh veggies, but, according to Michael Pollan in his book In Defense of Food, “Freezing does not significantly diminish the nutritional value of produce” [like canning does] because the crops are picked and frozen at the peak of freshness. So in some cases – if you are comparing, let’s say, fresh blueberries flown in from another continent to local organic blueberries that you froze yourself at the height of the season – the frozen berries could possibly even be the better (i.e. more nutritious and certainly less-traveled) option out of those two choices.

So in an effort to save time I decided to try out a bag of frozen, pre-cut, mixed veggies to make a super quick and easy weeknight dinner. And let me tell you what – not having to wash, peel, and chop (and even select at the store) all the different fresh veggies in this meal was definitely a time saver – without sacrificing too much in the way of taste. When there are a lot of flavors going on, like this fried rice recipe, I find it harder to detect the difference between fresh and frozen. I will continue buying fresh veggies for simpler meals and side dishes, but it’s nice to know that frozen is a decent option when you are in a pinch!

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Giveaway: Unconventional Kitchen Membership and $500 Blendtec Blender!

Desi with kids

You guys are going to love today’s giveaway! We are partnering with Desiree at UnconventionalKitchen.com to give one lucky winner a free membership to her online “Real Foods Made Easy Program” (details below) as well as a high-end Blendtec blender! Meet Desiree in this video below and watch her demonstrate how to make 4 different easy “real food” blender recipes including a green smoothie, applesauce, whipped cream, and homemade almond butter:

Unconventional Kitchen and Blendtec Giveaway

A 1-year membership to the Unconventional Kitchen online “Real Foods Made Easy” program ($299 value)
A Blendtec Designer Series WildSide Blender ($499 value)

Total package value is almost $800!

More about Unconventional Kitchen:

Unconventional Kitchen

Desiree says that after making some simple switches in your diet, through her “Real Foods Made Easy Program,” you can:

Have amazing energy
Lose weight
Sleep well
Have more confidence
And feel in control

This program lasts for one year, and each month you will receive downloadable worksheets, a goal setting packet, tons of recipes, 3 meal plans with shopping lists, 5 informative videos, and informative mini e-books – all so you can test things out one step at a time. All of these resources will make your transition to real food as easy as possible as Desiree teaches you everything she knows about:

What “real foods” are, where to shop for them, and how to incorporate them in your meals.
Goal-setting strategies and how to stay motivated and on-track.
Nutrition – how to triple the nutritional value in your meals and how to prepare nutritious meals for picky eaters.
Meal-planning strategies to save you time and money.
And how to make a powerful life change for the better!

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Kraft Acknowledged Petition But Didn’t Address Concerns

Kraft_artificial_dye_letter_snapshot

For the first time in the more than 2 weeks since we launched our petition asking Kraft to remove artificial dyes from their line of macaroni and cheese, Kraft has finally acknowledged our petition and the more than 270,000 consumers who have signed it. (Transcript of video below)

Our Video Response To Kraft’s Latest Letter

Kraft’s Letter Posted on their Website (This was not sent to us directly)

Our Video Transcript:

Their response, posted on their website, states that 14 of their 45 or so varieties of macaroni and cheese do not contain artificial dyes and the ones that do contain dyes do not violate any FDA or European safety guidelines. However, they failed to mention that when these artificial dyes are used in Europe they require a warning label stating they “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

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“Let Food Be Thy Medicine”

let food be thy medicin - 100 Days of Real Food.jpg

Earlier this month on Facebook I asked the following question:

Have any of you (or someone you know) been able to stop taking some prescription meds after making a change to your diet? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

I was definitely expecting to hear some great success stories, but was completely taken aback by almost 800 comments sharing amazing and – in some cases – truly unbelievable transformations. I just had to recap some of the really amazing feedback here in an effort to inspire and help others. But as I’ve stated on our Terms of Use page, “This information on this blog is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease. Never dismiss any advice your health physician gives. The authors shall in no event be held liable for any loss or other damages bla bla bla.” So now that our arses are covered please read these stories below and be inspired. And in all seriousness, it is advised that you not stop taking any of medications unless under the guidance of your doctor. If your doctor doesn’t believe that it’s possible to improve your health through a change in diet (instead of immediately resorting to pharmaceuticals) then – GET A SECOND OPINION! Just my two cents :)

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Recipe: Curry Chicken Salad

chicken salad

Inspired by my friend Amy Bishop with Greenbrier Farms (an organically run farm in S.C.), I am excited to share this tasty curry chicken salad recipe with you today. Chicken salad is traditionally made with mayo and unfortunately mayonnaise isn’t exactly a real food. The store bought versions are typically made with refined oils and also contain more than 5 ingredients. The homemade versions are more “real food approved” but oftentimes call for raw eggs, which I am on the fence about, plus we eat mayo so infrequently I don’t feel (for me personally) it’s worth the time to make it from scratch. So I’ve tried substituting plain yogurt in dishes like chicken salad, egg salad, and deviled eggs without much success because, frankly, I think plain yogurt is rather plain tasting and the flavor – or lack thereof – was a little too overwhelming in these dishes. So I was thrilled to be introduced to the idea of adding curry to chicken salad, because curry has such a wonderful flavor it totally makes up for what the yogurt is missing.

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Our Response to Kraft’s Letter: It’s Time to Surrender Your Artificial Dyes

Kraft-Kids

Today Vani (aka Food Babe) and I are appearing on the Dr. Oz Show – be sure to tune in!

It’s been a little over one week since we started a petition to remove artificial food dyes from Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. We have over 228,000 signatures and, while we heard from Kraft right after the petition launched, it was not the response we were hoping for.

We thought it would be important to share their response and exact letter with you, so you can understand exactly what we are up against.

Below you’ll see Kraft’s letter to us along with our specific response and reaction in bold.

From Kraft: Hi Lisa and Vani,

Thanks for contacting us. The safety and quality of our products is our highest priority and we take consumer concerns very seriously. We carefully follow the laws and regulations in the countries where our products are sold. So in the U.S., we only use colors that are approved and deemed safe for food use by the Food and Drug Administration.

Our Response: When Kraft found out the safety of artificial food dyes was in question in Europe – why didn’t they make the “safety” of U.S. citizens their highest priority, too? Food is food – whether in our country or someone else’s – why not make all Kraft products standardized to the highest safety regulation across the board? Kraft was able to reformulate their products without artificial dyes in the U.K. without noticeably changing the color or taste – we even taste tested it ourselves just to prove this point. We know it can be done; Kraft doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.

To further prove this point – Kraft stated this fact themselves by reformulating Lunchables in the UK without “compromising quality, taste and food safety.”

“Kraft Foods UK has no products aimed at children that contain the ingredients highlighted in the FSA [Southampton] study. . . . [W]ith our recent Lunchables reformulation in the UK, we reduced fat and salt, as well as removed artificial colours and flavours. Without compromising quality, taste and food safety, we will continue to see where we can make changes and still meet consumer expectations.”—Kraft Foods UK (Quote Taken from AllergyKids Foundation)

Because Kraft has not willingly and proactively reformulated their products in the US, it’s obvious to us that Kraft’s highest priority is their bottom line. We are asking Kraft, a multi-billion dollar company, to be the leader in the US Food Industry by voluntarily removing artificial dyes and owning up to the statements they make about safety and quality of their products.

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How To Be A “Once A Month Mom”

Once_a_Month_Mom_freezer

There is no doubt that the key to sticking to a real food diet is planning ahead. I like to call it “making your own convenience food.” Just imagine all those busy weeknights out at a late dance class or nighttime soccer practice and not having to worry about dinner (or resorting to the drive through) because you planned ahead. That’s what it’s all about!

So today I am here to introduce you to the Once a Month Mom (OAMM) website, which has taken planning ahead to a whole new level. OAMM offers meal plans where you can literally spend one day a month cooking and have enough food for weeks to come. We didn’t want to just take their word for it though so Kiran from our 100 Days of Real Food Team – who has 4 kids ages 9 and under by the way! – agreed to put the OAMM plan to the test for this sponsored post today. So I am super excited to share with you everything you could ever want to know from our very own first-hand “freezer cooking” experience!

By Kiran Dodeja Smith, 100 Days of Real Food Team

When Once a Month Mom was introduced to me, I was intrigued, to say the least. Cook just once a month and have your meals freezer ready for 4 weeks? It sounded too good to be true.

After signing up for a month, I watched this video in hopes that it would give me some insight as to how I would proceed. I then chose between 7 different plans; my choice was Whole Foods (not to be confused with the store – no correlation, actually, it’s just a plan with whole foods incorporated within).

How It Works

The directions seemed fairly straightforward: You get Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner recipes to last throughout the month. When it’s all said and done, I’d have 6-10 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 14 dinners. Sure; still sounded good to me. But what about the cooking part?

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Kraft Petition Update

Kraft_Yellow_Petition_CORRECTED

In a mere 36 hours our petition asking Kraft to remove artificial food dyes from their line of macaroni and cheese has gone viral and now has more than 170,000 signatures. I am so taken aback by the instant and widespread media attention on this topic, which I think indicates how this much-needed change in our Food Industry has been imminent for some time. One of the big guys just needed a little push in the right direction, and I hope this is it.

I want to take a moment to share that this petition is honestly much bigger than just macaroni and cheese or even Kraft. There are many large US companies that use artificial dyes – as well as other additives – in their food products here that are not used overseas. Everyone from General Mills to Kellogg’s to Pepsi, and of course Kraft, have formulated safer, better versions of their products for other countries and this petition is a vehicle to let these companies know it’s time for American consumers get the same.

Our petition in particular is focusing on an iconic food product like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese because we thought this would be the best place to start to generate public awareness. If Kraft, the largest US-based food company, takes the lead here by voluntarily removing potentially harmful – yet unnecessary – artificial food dyes our hope is that the others will follow suit. Whether or not you buy or eat this product think of those who do (the average consumer assumes products on the grocery stores shelves are completely safe and seldom reads ingredient labels). The UK version, which we made and sampled ourselves, is dyed with natural colors (paprika and beta carotene) and looks and tastes almost exactly the same. This is not about taking away anyone’s beloved mac and cheese.

Here’s the bottom line: Artificial food dyes are derived from petroleum, they require a warning label (or just aren’t used) in other developed countries due to health concerns, and they add NO value to the foods they are in whatsoever. These dyes are purely for aesthetic reasons only. Check out my post sharing the 7 reasons I hate artificial dyes for more information.

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We Deserve Better: Tell Kraft To Stop Using Dangerous Artificial Colors in Our Mac & Cheese

Kraft_Yellow_Petition

Hi there, this is Lisa Leake from 100DaysofRealFood.com and Vani Hari from FoodBabe.com. We recently discovered that several American food products contain harmful additives that are not used – and in some cases banned – in other countries. One of those products is an iconic staple that almost every American, us included, has had at one time or another: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

In the US, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese contains the artificial food dyes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. These unnecessary – yet potentially harmful – dyes are not in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in other countries, including the UK, because they were removed due to consumer outcry. Kraft reformulated their product for the UK, but not for their fellow American citizens, and it’s time we demand the same here in the US!

We are petitioning Kraft to remove all artificial food dyes from their line of macaroni and cheese products.

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