Tag Archives: real food

New USDA food guidelines

Who to believe ?

The USDA recently revised their dietary guidelines once again. And, once again, they are so far off the mark of what constitutes a healthy diet. I have been researching nutrition for a long time and in the last few years discovered the work of Dr. Weston Price. He advocated eating a traditional diet of meat, fats such as butter, lard, coconut oil, raw dairy products, lots of vegetables and fruit, and staying away from grains and any processed foods. I know some of you have issues and your own ideas about the fats but once you read the research and once you start eating that way, you will change your mind.

In a brief summary, the new guidelines advise the reduction of saturated fat even further, the further reduction of salt, advocates increasing the consumption of grains and low fat products and dairy.

As you can imagine there has been much discussion of this in the blogosphere and twitterverse ( this post I especially like).  My comments are that history shows us that obesity rates rose significantly after the introduction of the world of lowfat foods. And that the USDA has many ties to the food industry so the individuals involved in making these decisions benefit greatly financially from encouraging people to eat processed food!

I encourage you to read the new guidelines here and the comments from the Weston Price Foundation here . I also encourage you to leave your comments. We need to be educated and not let the government continue to wreak havoc with our health and with the livelihoods of the small farmers . We all stand to lose from these new guidelines, and I don’t mean weight!

This post is part of the Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday.    

What’s brewing in my kitchen?

Lacto-fermentation

My kitchen has been a laboratory lately. I feel a bit like a mad ( but healthy) scientist. I have discovered the fun of lacto- fermentation. Cultures( pun intended!) all around the world have known the benefits of eating fermented food. Eastern Europeans eat sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables, Europeans and Americans eat yoghurt ( though some of the yoghurt available hardly counts as healthy fermented food), the Mexican people have a lovely dish called cortida, the Japanese drink miso soup, eat natto ( fermented soy), pickled vegetables, and the Koreans are famous for their Kim Chi.  Many people drink fermented beverages in the form of beer, wine, or mead. Back in the day, before electricity fermenting was a way of being able to store food. It just so happens to also be highly beneficial for our digestive systems, adding all kind of good bacteria, probiotics.

People who follow a traditional foods diet recommend some fermented food every day. Vegetables lend themselves to fermenting or pickling beautifully. We all know about sauerkraut and pickles ( cucumbers). Perhaps you have had pickled beets. How about trying fermented carrots ?

I wrote an entry a while ago featuring strawberries and this recipe for a drink called shrub.  How about some lacto fermented ginger ale ?

Ginger Soda

2 c. coconut water

1/4c. whey ( find out how to make your own here ) or water kefir grains

pinch of salt

1 T. cane sugar

handful of peeled roughly chopped fresh ginger ( depending on how much you like ginger)

Mix all of these ingredients in a clean quart jar. Put the lid on and let sit on your counter in a cool dark place for 2 days. Strain liquid into another clean jar and add the juice of 2 limes or 1 lemon, depending on your preference. If you are using water kefir grains, rinse and reuse. Enjoy. Keep refrigerated to stop the fermenting process.

I have an almost eaten jar of beets,onions, and turnips in the fridge, along with a jar of newly fermented beet kvass. The ginger soda is on the counter, starting its fermentation, and some beautiful red and orange carrots are waiting for my attention. Fermenting is fun. It is good for you. Try it! and please let me know how it turns out.

Why I Cook

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Ruhlman in 2008  and hearing him speak to our personal chef convention. I love his writing and his wife Donna’s photography is beautiful. He has many wonderful books, both cooking and otherwise and has a great blog. He is a big presence on Facebook and Twitter. Check him out. He wrote a post this week and challenged other bloggers to write about why we cook.

I loved cooking with my mom when I was young. I still do, though we don’t do it often anymore. I loved cooking for my family . I loved my Betty Crocker Junior Cookbook. I loved Home Ec class. ( I think it should still be offered!) I loved being in the 4H and doing cooking projects. I still love to tell the story of my first lesson in food styling. My  4H project one summer was to create a simple lunch and present it at the County Fair for judging. There were many practice runs of muffin and salad making. My lunch consisted of a large tomato stuffed with either tuna or chicken salad ( I don’t remember but I am guessing that Ohio in the early 60′s, it was tuna), a blueberry muffin,melon balls, and a glass of milk. We learned about presentation, that color is important. So, taking that lesson to heart, I colored my milk green and I think I flavored it mint! ( oh dear)  I was so disappointed to only earn a red ribbon ( second place). Why ? I asked. Everything is colorful, different textures, what was wrong ? Well, everything was round! So, to this day, I vary my shapes on the plate. Still looking for that blue ribbon.

I cook professionally now for people in their homes. I love what I do. I love the blending of the art and the science of cooking. How you can put a list of ingredients together and it creates something entirely different and one is not quite sure what the ingredients are anymore. I love the creativity and experimentation that recipes call out for. Perhaps I will use this herb instead of that one. How would this taste with chicken instead of fish ? What if I added some wine to the sauce ? etc. 

I love feeding people and caring for them in that way. I love nourishing peoples’ bodies with good nutrition and their souls with beautiful food. ( I now love doing that for myself after years of struggling with food and eating issues) And, yes, I love the smiles on peoples’ faces when they  taste it.  As a personal chef, not only am I providing my clients with tasty food, I am providing them with time. Time they wouldn’t have if they were struggling to get dinner on the table. I give them peace of mind, family time, less stress. I love that.

I love being part of the food world. I love learning about new food, talking about food, reading recipes. Lord, I have stacks and stacks of recipes I have cut out of magazines and will never in several lifetimes have the time to cook, yet I cut more out weekly or download them, share them on the internet. 

I love being part of the political side of food, the “Real Food” movement. I have found so many colleagues through the internet who share the same passions I do for trying to live more gently on the earth and not polluting Her with non sustainable Big Agriculture.  I love telling people about the benefits of eating eggs from pastured chickens, drinking raw milk, fermenting vegetables, not eating things with ingredients you cannot understand. You cannot really eat well this way if you don’t cook, or have someone to cook for you.

I love to cook. Plain and simple. I cook everyday, not every meal of course. I also do love to eat in a restaurant or with friends. But the best days are spent cooking.