When Is Health Food Healthy?

When is health food healthy? The answer to that is most certainly when it has not been said by a food processing company because what they really mean is that you buying and eating their product is healthy for their profit margins. It rarely means that the product is healthy for you and often it is a highly processed food group that has had massive extra quantities of fats and sugar added together with chemical taste-enhancers to make sure you enjoy the taste and become a regular buyer of whatever it is. The marketing spin of the food corporations has reached such a saturation point of misrepresentation that it makes the false promises of politicians look like choir boys spreading the gospel.

The political lobbying efforts of the food corporations have dealt with the code of practice that requires package-labeling to be reduced to meaningless numbers for all the chemicals they have pumped into that health-food bar – just as the advertised pictures of hamburgers and chicken bear no resemblance to the food you actually get when you buy it. Yet when they have been sued in court for false and misleading advertising, the courts were persuaded by clever lawyers that the false advertising was poetic license and acceptable. That will never make sense to me – other than the fact that big business controls the government and law makers, all in the name of the dollar and bottom line profits.

We have every reason to be suspicious of big business, and this is most certainly true when it comes down to our food processing multi-nationals as they have shown no remorse or signs of changing to be ethical when it comes to the constantly growing ways they pump chemicals, preservatives, colorings, and taste-enhancers into our food stuffs. They have no regard for how these fat and sugar enriched foods have damaged the average testosterone levels in men today.

Mexican Food – Healthy Alternatives to Tempt Your Taste Buds

If you were scared away from Mexican food by the Center for Disease Control’s last report about it-and even if you weren’t-you may be wondering if there are any healthy choices in Mexican cuisine. Mexican food is an American favorite-even if it is just the Taco Bell variety. The key to eating healthy and enjoying Mexican cuisine is to make simple changes in the ingredients that you use and to change your preparation techniques. Before “civilization” came, centuries ago, Mexican food was very healthful. By using the key elements of beans, corn, fresh vegetables, and lean meats you can make your Mexican food healthy.

Enchiladas are a favorite Mexican dish-but they are usually loaded with fat as well. Just eliminate dipping the corn tortillas in the hot oil and soften them with a tomato or low fat broth based sauce and you can cut out a lot of calories.

Your choice of dairy products also greatly affects the fat content of your Mexican food dishes. There are lots of low fat and non fat dairy choices on the market today that you can substitute in your dishes. If you love sour cream, and don’t want to leave it out, use nonfat sour cream or nonfat plain yogurt as an alternative.

The cooking of Mexican food is where a lot of fat comes in. Look for dishes which are not fried-stay away from chimichangas and chile rellenos. Fajitas and soft tacos are good choices if they have lean meats and not a lot of dairy.

Choose corn tortillas and soften them by putting them for just a short time on a heated griddle. There are also many wheat flour tortillas on the market which are low fat, or nonfat and high fiber choices.

Believe it or not, refried beans can contain as much as a day’s worth of saturated fat in them because of lard and cheese. Make them a low fat alternative by mashing beans with a little bean juice, spices, and possibly even your favorite salsa. They taste great and are very healthy.

You can eat Mexican and eat healthy just choose well.

How to Calibrate a Thermometer at Home – Keeping Your Food Healthy and Safe

We all know we should have a thermometer but many of us do not know how to calibrate a thermometer at home. It does not matter if you bought your food from an organic, healthy food conglomerate or if you bought it from the neighborhood grocer, there is always a possibility of a pathogen being on your food. It will not matter how healthy your food is to your body if you can’t come out of the bathroom for three days.

There have been many food safety outbreaks from different pathogens that may have been prevented if foods were cooked to the proper internal temperature or held at the proper temperature. You could be being very diligent in checking your temperatures of meats and things like potato salad, but how do you know if your thermometer is working?

There is a very simple method to check thermometers to be sure they have not come out of calibration. Thermometers can become off-kilter if they are dropped or put into an extremely hot food well out of it’s normal range.

The first thing you will do is get a glass of ice water. Now this next part is very important. You want the mixture to be mostly ice. Many of the food safety books suggest a mixture of 50% water to 50% ice, but I have found that this is not always quite enough. Think of a very wet snowball or a glass of ice water that you can’t really drink because there is too much ice in it.

Let the glass sit for about 3 minutes and then place the stem of your thermometer inside. The temperature of the water at this point is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or the temperature at which water turns to ice. So, your thermometer should be reading about 1 degree +/- 32 degrees. If it is not and you have a dial stem thermometer, you can adjust it while the stem is in the ice water using the tool that is usually provided, a pair of pliers or just your own fingers. Adjust the dial to read 32 and it is that simple.

If it is a digital thermometer, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for calibration. Some thermometers have to be sent back to the manufacturer for adjustments.

Now that you know how to calibrate a thermometer at home, you can feel more secure that you are keeping your food healthy and your body safe from foodborne illness.

A Book Review: The Naked Foods Cookbook – The Whole-Foods, Healthy-Fats, Gluten-Free Guide

If you are like me, you have read and heard much about eating healthy, non-processed foods. I have read many great books and websites. Frankly, most of the time I am overwhelmed with the task. Like many, my family has budget and time constraints that add to the difficulty of the task. While looking for a different book, in fact, I came across this title – The Naked Foods Cookbook – The Whole-Foods, Healthy-Fats, Gluten-Free Guide to Losing Weight and Feeling Great by Margaret Floyd and James Barry and decided to check it out.

There are many recipes in this book, but before we discuss those, I want to talk about the first part, “Let’s Talk Shop.” In this part, Floyd and Barry present four key principles to introduce “Eating Naked.”

  • The closer it originated to you, the more naked it is.
  • The more it was grown in harmony with its natural environment, the more naked it is.
  • The closer it is to its original state, the more naked it is.
  • The less we do to it, the more naked it is.

They further explain naked foods in Appendix B with a chart giving the good, better and best choices for each food type as well as “okay” and “steer clear.”

I especially like the next part – “In the Naked Kitchen” – where they describe the different parts of the kitchen, the appliances and equipment with their recommendations. Next, they discuss “Naked Cooking Techniques” such as sautéing, steaming, boiling, grilling, broiling, baking and roasting. They briefly discuss food-preparation techniques that make foods “Better Than Naked”: soaking, sprouting and culturing or fermenting.

Reading this part was very encouraging, as they explained everything well and let us know that it was okay to go as fast or as slowly as we can.

Finally, in part two, there are recipes. First, they have recipes for the basics to be used in other recipes in the book. This includes making soup stock from different kinds of bones. Next, they have a section for “Better Than Naked” covering whey and cultured cottage cheese, yogurt, condiments and more.

In the next section, I found the first recipe that we tried -“Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash” – which was a hit at my house. I am looking forward to trying some of the gluten-free pancakes.

Other sections include; Salads and Sides; Sauces, Dressings and Dips; Soups and Stews; Main Dishes; Sweet and Savory Snacks; and last, but not least, Desserts. Each recipe has categories at the top: in a rush, vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, or “pescatarian;” Make it Once, use it lots, Better Than Naked, raw, everyday or impress the neighbor, In the Appendix A, they have provided two, one-week of menus for “best case scenarios” and “in a hurry.”

While there is much that I can use in the book, I was also happy to see that some of the suggestions are things that we are already doing.