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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Two ways that my husband proved we are soul mates today:

1) He is currently in Washington, D.C., on a student trip for spring break (lucky!), and today he told me that they were going to the Holocaust Museum.  Being a total history nerd, especially for WWII history, I was quite jealous.  (I also realized after I hung up that I told him to “have fun” at the Holocaust Museum.  Which was not the best thing to say.  Perhaps I should say “have a day of reflection, depression, and resolve?”).

Anyways, later he called me and told me that I got a gift from the Holocaust Museum – two books on the Holocaust (one on consciousness and how people were able to convert to Nazism and group think so easily, and another on Nazi propaganda).  He said he felt bad that I wasn’t able to come with.

And then I realized that my husband bought me two academic books on topics that he knew I would like from a museum of genocide.  He knows me so well.  I heart him.

2) He called me this evening while I was nursing Frankie and when I answered the phone, I told him to shush because I was watching Diane Sawyer’s report on the disgusting pink slime inside ground beef.  And then he told me that not only is he watching the same thing, but that he was calling to tell me about it.  Sigh.

Is it possible for love and marriage to be based on activist and research?  Cause I think ours is.

He was actually calling to tell me not to buy any beef except organic, grass-fed beef.  The report was eye opening.  I’ve heard of such things before, and knew that most processed meat was not good, but my lack of funding forced me to buy the cheaper stuff.  Lately, I’ve been revisiting some of the literature and research on food that I’ve read before, and I really want to detoxify our lives.  And beef is definitely a great place to start.

Pink slime is basically this nasty crap leftover after processing beef that the FDA says is OK to eat.  The stuff that used to get thrown out is now processed, washed with ammonia (!), and then frozen into chunks and added as filler to beef.  And, according to the report, there’s no way to tell what has this filler and what doesn’t – over 70% does and we don’t know it.

What’s more disturbing is that several scientists working for the FDA told them that pink slime is not safe, but the FDA (in cahoots with the beef industry) ignored them.  As my hubby pointed out, according to this logic, what’s the point of having science and research at all?  Let’s just go back to using leaches and witch burnings as a means of curing disease, and assuming the world is flat.  Why bother with things with logic and reason?  Let’s have the corporations decide!

Luckily for us, I’ve found a local beef provider at our local organic food store (Food Fantasies) that costs $5.99/lb.  Yes, this is more than our $3.99/lb on average Meijer beef, but it’s local, grass-fed, and organic.  And seriously, I’ll pay $3 a week extra to avoid the slime.  However, I’m starting to rethink my monthly craving of a cheeseburger, and what about meat sauce in pasta?  And my occasional Taco Bell?  I’m not even sure Taco Bell contains actual meat!  Will this make me a vegetarian when I eat out?  Or will my treats become even more spaced out?  Dude, sometimes knowledge is not a good thing, because I love me some Taco Bell crunchy tacos.

Here’s the video.  Watch it with someone you love.

Pink Slime

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Hubby has been on a diet lately.  Well, he’s always on some kind of diet, and the rules of each diet seem to change as often as the weather in Chicago.  After Frankie was born, he went on a no-carb diet.  And since the basis on our diet was rice and pasta, I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to eat.  And since I had a newborn perpetually attached to my boob, I figured that he could take over the cooking for a while. 

We mainly eat some sort of dinner consisting of a meat and sautéed veggies, whatever we have lying around.  I often add either pasta or brown rice to the mix, to help out with the I-can-eat-everything-in-the-house hunger that goes along with breastfeeding a 22 lb baby.  And I have to say that, since the basis of our diet is now veggies and not starch, hubby has lost about 40 lbs and I have successfully lost most of my baby fat.  (Not in the belly, sadly, which still looks like a deflated marshmellow and gives me a muffin top, but I am technically back to my normal weight).

Part of the diet that drives me nuts, however, is his daily morning regime of scrambled eggs.  I can’t complain too much, because almost every morning I get delicious scrambled eggs with cheese, tomatoes, and green peppers, but hubby isn’t exactly the quickest to clean up after cooking.  <sigh>  Long story short, after months of cooking eggs every morning and letting the egg remnants sit there and then scrap off the remnants day after day after day…let’s just say that the pan didn’t stand a chance.

(I love you sweetie!  Even if I just told the world that you drive me crazy with eggs).

Image from here.

The pots and pans set that I have was given to me by my folks several years ago, and it’s a nice Calphalon non-stick set.  I know, I know, there’s a lot of potential problems with Teflon and non-stick coating giving you cancer and such.  And I want to replace the set, one of these days when I’m not on WIC and trying to squeeze pennies out of thin air.  I figured that as long as the pots weren’t scratched, were fine, right?

Well, the egg pan had to go.  I took one look at it the other day and determined it had to go in the dump.  As much as I hate adding to the landfill, that pan was probably going to give us all tumors.  Of course, once I explained all this to hubby, he sort of freaked out and for a couple of days would randomly express concern that he was now cancer-ridden.  Which made me think that perhaps I need to tone it down a bit when I complain about environmental issues. 🙂

At Target the other day, we found the perfect solution: The Original Green Pan supposedly eco-friendly frying pan.  At $35 a pop, this was no cheap replacement, but I reasoned that hubby’s fears would be abated more easily with such a purchase.  Like other eco-friendly non-stick ware, this one is made from Thermolon, not Teflon, which means that all the nasty chemicals and petroleum are gone.

 

Image and lots of my info from here.

Most traditional non-stick cookware uses a synthetic product called PTFE, or PolyTetraFluoroEthylene.  However, at high temperatures, PTFE lets off fumes that can be toxic; birds have been known to die from it!  Another product in non-stick cookware is PFOA (PerFluoroOctanoic Acid), which the EPA has identified as a known human carcinogen.  Why these items are in products we use to COOK OUR FOOD WITH is beyond me.  Supposedly, Thermolon’s technology is much safer and greener, while still allowing food to slip right off.  I often wonder if such claims will be disputed in later years, but today, I think it’s reasonable to assume that it’s safer and better for the environment.

These pans are supposed to last longer and hold up better than all the others.  Ha!  We will put it to the test in this house.  More eggs, anyone?

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March Groceries – Week 1

I’ve talked before about my struggle to eat a green, organic, healthy diet on a budget.  Trust me, it’s no small task.  Everything that I put into my grocery cart reminds me of either Food Inc. slaughterhouses or some ingredient that will probably give me cancer.  It’s exhausting to be educated on your food sometime. 

One of my favorite blogs, Little Home, publishes her weekly groceries and how well she does on her weekly budget, so I thought I would give it shot as well. 

First up is a trip to Jewel.  I normally go to Target every Friday for groceries, but this week Jewel had some good deals on their organic generic brand.  I got the following there (minus Tommy the cat, who refused to move for this shot):

Tom’s of Maine toothpaste was half off at $2.99 a pop, which never happens, so I bought three.  I also bought a Burts Bees conditioner, only because I really needed conditioner.  I usually buy the generic Whole Foods brand, but I couldn’t rationalize an entire trip there for one thing.  Other good deals: organic rice milk at buy one get one free, and organic baby food for $.69.  I bought a few of the baby foods that I insist on buying organic, namely apples and peaches.  All for around $87.  Not super cheap, but we did stock up on a bunch of stuff we’ll use it soon.

While at Jewel, I used two of my WIC coupons.  Yes, we’re on WIC, which is Women, Infants, and Children government-sponsored program that provides nutritional foods to pregnant and nursing moms, and young kids.  It’s a great program, especially when you’re cash strapped like us.  Although I do have a few concerns about what the government deems a healthy food (like an over-reliance on tuna and cow’s milk), but it really does help out our food budget while Tony’s still in graduate school.  Especially when it comes to baby food. 

Here’s what WIC provided for us this week:

I love their coupon for $10 of fruit and veggies.  Normally, this wouldn’t go very far, but I figured out that frozen veggies are very cheap and I can usually get 6 bags of frozen generic veggies for $10. Other than that, we got eggs, cereal, juice, and a lot of baby food.

Last, we got our first order from Door to Door Organics!  I love this program.  In Chicagoland, they deliver different size boxes of organic fruit or veggies.  I signed up for the small fruit box first, and loved it so much that next week we’re getting the small veggie box as well.  Organic food shipped right to your door weekly, for a reasonable price?  Yes please!

Our fruit box this week delivered this:

Yum!!  I don’t know how, but the strawberries taste like it’s June.  All of the fruit is fantastic – and no, they did not bribe me to say this.  It’s just damn good fruit, people!

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Diet Dilemmas

On Monday, while the rest of the US of A was celebrating the Hallmark holiday Valentine’s Day, I took Frankie to see Dr. Kris at Serenity Health and Wellness.  Dr. Kris is a chiropractor that I saw while I was pregnant and developed a burning stabbing feeling in my back that made me want to scream.  Oh, I mean sciatica.

**Side note: FYI, Tony is no slouch of a husband, and he did recognize Valentine’s Day by buying me flowers, some chocolate, and, my personal favorite, a Social Distortion CD circa 1990.  I love you, my punk rock hubby!

But Dr. Kris is so much more.  She is also trained in holistic medicine, specifically for pregnancy and pediatric care.  She also LISTENS.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a doctor that listens to you and asks a million questions, and then puts all that information together into one comprehensive assessment of your health?  Of course you do, you try to navigate the American health care system just like I do.  Well, Dr. Kris does that.  She gets it.

Frankie got a clean bill of health, although she did do some adjustments on him and some craniosacral work to open up his chest and nose from his cold.  We talked a lot of diet (both his and mine), and while I got lots of kudos for his diet (no juice, all fruits and veggies), there’s a few things we need to change.

– I eat WAY too much dairy.  I know this makes my family laugh, because it reminds of Tor, the holistic healer on Seinfeld, but it’s true.  And it affects both Frankie and my congestion.  So I’m off cow’s milk and drinking rice milk instead, which is surprising delicious!  It’s very sweet and I really don’t notice the difference.  I do miss cheese though…

– More beans, and less meat in our diet.  I’ve been meaning to work on this anyways.

– To help with our colds (yes, I caught Frankie’s cold.  He’s cute but highly contagious), she gave me this stuff called D-Hist, a natural sinus/allergy/cold homeopathic medicine.  It tastes a little weird, but I think it’s working.

– We need to find a better Vitamin D drop for Frankie.  The one we’ve been using is the most common, mainstream brand, but it also has unnecessary artificial flavors and other nasties in it. 

I’m thinking of reworking our diet a bit in general, based on her advice.  Frankie will be eating what we’re eating in a few months, so we need to start off right.  And seriously, my diet has been half dairy for years.  I need to get vegan cookbooks or something and figure out something else to eat!

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As I’ve mentioned before, we are expecting our first child at the end of the month – actually, make that 9 days. Yikes! 

In order to prepare for the arrival of our little one, we have been doing lots of organizing, cleaning, and stocking up of various items.  Last night, we went to our local Whole Foods (which just opened up a few weeks ago) and stocked up on easy-to-make dinners, like frozen chicken, frozen veggies, mac & cheese, etc.  Here’s a portion of our stocked pantry:

We also grabbed some non-high fructose corn syrup strawberry popsicles for when I go to the hospital, as alternative to those ever-so-tasty ice chips.

Yes, Whole Foods took a large portion of our grocery budget for the month, but I used some of our baby fund as well to pay for the stock-up.  Plus, we were very careful and looked for the cheapest and/or sale items for everything we bought.  Whole Foods does have the reputation of being “whole paycheck,” but I love knowing that almost of its products are healthier and sustainable.  And since I plan on breastfeeding, I need to make sure that the food I put in my body post-pregnancy continues to be wholesome, healthy, and as pesticide-free as possible.

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