Thursday, May 7, 2009

Grocery Store Wars

This creative YouTube video was twittered by Steamy Kitchen.
It’s too good not to pass along.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Meanwhile… visit my family friendly food blog


I’ve been focusing most of my time on my other blog - 1 family. friendly. food. Please visit me there until I get back to my usual food rants over here, OK?
Here’s the link:

Thanks! Nurit

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cereal for Breakfast?

I’ve been having mixed feelings about cereals for a long time. But not anymore.
A few months ago I ran into this book called Mom-a-licious: Fresh, fast, family food for the hot mama in you! written by Domenica Catelli. She thinks that eating cereal is like eating candy for breakfast. I never thought about it that way before. She convinced me with her argument. In a minute I’ll explain. But before I do, I have a few questions. There’s a point. I promise.

* When a persistent sales’ person is trying to sell you something, how do you feel about it?
* Do you listen to them patiently or do you feel like running away?
* If they are at your door, will you open it?
* Does he or she usually convince you?
* Do you end up buying it?
* Is the experience a pleasant one or does it make you nauseous?

My desk and computer are in the family room and when I sit to write on the weekend, my kindergartener is watching TV in the same room at the same time. I could not help but notice the abundance of cereal commercials for kids. It’s really annoying, whether you like cereals or not. It’s just… too much.
I think all commercials aimed at kids – who don’t earn their own money, so they are not consumers yet, in my eyes – are annoying, but that’s another story.

Up until a year ago we had 5-6 boxes of different cereals on top of the refrigerator. That was my son’s main breakfast. That’s all he wanted to eat and nothing else. After a while, it really started to bother me. Well, more than bother me. Actually, I hated it.
Then the battle began to stop it. Why?

The big guns of the cereal marketing got me to believe it is healthy, more than healthy, the ultimate breakfast – quick, easy, no sweat, healthy, heart-healthy, whole grain healthy, etc etc, and the kids love it. No picky eater’s scene in the morning while still trying to drink my coffee.

Then I started reading the labels.
And even beyond the labels, I started realizing that serving yogurt, cheese, fresh fruit, is just as easy and even better than serving cereals and it’s a better habit to eat fresh food than something out of a box.

So we started with 2 days a week that my son had to choose something else to eat. Then we went up to 3 days. Now he doesn’t eat it anymore (unless we’re on vacation outside home) and I don’t buy it anymore.

Mark Bittman in his book “Food Matters” writes what I think about cereals:

“Once upon a time, cereal meant oatmeal, or even relatively benign corn flakes or puffed rice. But many of today’s packaged cereals have long lists of ingredients… it can be as simple as putting oat flour into a cereal that is effectively a boxful of small cookies… a cereal contains 30 percent sugar, as many do. Yet a claim like “may help reduce the risk of heart disease” may be featured on cereals that contain less than a gram of fiber… it’s like adding vitamin C to a candy bar and maintaining that the candy is good for you”.
“The marketers of cereal and many other foods if often shamelessly aimed at kids… The marketers have invaded every possible space”.
I explain to my son and I tell him that if cereals were that good and healthy, these people who are trying so hard to sell it to us wouldn’t have to advertise it so much to convince him/us to buy it and eat it.

Surprisingly, for his age, he understands that.

Monday, February 2, 2009

More Control, Portion Control

You got to see this video:

Read more about portion control here:
Portion Control, or How Can We NOT Eat More Than We Really Need?

If you are interested in weight loss, check out this post: Weight Loss Weekly: My Relationship With the Scale

To get more updates about this topic, I invite you to subscribe to my blog. Click here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 should be changed to PETA.ORGY


I just watched CNN’s report on PETA's Veggie Sex Super Bowl Ad being Rejected by NBC.

PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. I guess they care more about animals then about women.

Gosh, the ad makes me feel so mad.

As a supporter of eating more veggies and eating less meat, I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the back.

While I support PETA’s idea in general, and I think the women in the ad are beautiful, I find the ad offensive to women. And to vegetables too.

It makes me angry.
It makes me feel like I don’t want to support PETA at all!
And it makes me want to go and buy a double big Mac cheeseburger Whopper with an extra patty today just to make them mad back!

What am I talking about?
From this web site:

“The New York Post's Page Six reports that NBC has rejected a Super Bowl ad from animal rights organization PETA due to its hypersexualized nature:
NBC pulled the plug on a PETA pro-veggie commercial planned for the Super Bowl because it "depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards," according to NBC Universal's advertising standards executive, Victoria Morgan. The ad, which carries the tagline, "Studies Show Vegetarians Have Better Sex," shows lingerie-clad stunners getting "intimate" with vegetables.”

Watch/read more about it here
or here
or here

What do you think about this?

Don't worry, I did not go to McDonald or Burger King today. (And I never will, unless it's the last place on earth that has food, even then it's a maybe).

From an organization named "Ethical Treatment of Animals" I expect to be just that – ethical. And I think PETA would have better results achieving their goal of people eating less/no meat – if that is really their goal – by showing people the horrific videos they made depicting how the animals are being treated. And I'd say that will be a more family friendly ad than a woman licking pumpkin. It looks to me like PETA is not focused on that goal.

I estimate that plenty of women will not support "the cause" because of ads like this one.
You can say many things about broccoli and pumpkin but I wouldn't say they are sexy. No.
I think that many people who never heard about PETA will not get the proper message about the animals and eating meat from the sexy veggie ad.

I watched the videos with the animals on the other hand. It made me change my habits. It was very very effective. Watch it, click here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grass Fed Beef – Part 4: Why Did I Go To That Lecture?

A while ago I have posted a few posts about grass fed beef (see links at the end). I wanted to know if grass fed beef is healthier for us to eat than “regular” beef, that is beef that is fed corn, soy, M&Ms (yes, M&Ms!!!), potato chips, hormones, antibiotics, dead animals’ remains, and all kinds of other “stuff” cows are not meant to eat by nature but their growers-producers force them eat.

So, of course grass fed beef is better. Did you have any doubt? It’s healthier. And cost more too. But apparently, our bodies don’t need us to eat meat every day.
How much beef exactly are we supposed to eat?
Does grass fed beef solve all the problems?
What should we know about the beef industry anyway?

I did not have a chance to post about those questions, but Giyen Kim from Bacon is My Enemy went to a lecture given by Mark Bittman about this topic and wrote a post about it. Bittman discusses these issues, among others, in his book “Food Matters”. A good read.

Meanwhile, here's a Guest post by Giyen Kim from Bacon is My Enemy blog

Last night I went to see Mark Bittman speak about his new book called Food Matters: A Guide To Conscious Eating. If you have never heard of Mr. Bittman, he is a James Beard Award winning author and has written a litany of books like How to Cook Everything, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and The Minimalist Cooks at Home. He also is a columnist and blogger for the New York Times, as well the star of a companion new media show called The Minimalist. I know all this because I am crushing on Mr. Bittman. (He’s probably a fuddy duddy of a man who has an acerbic personality, but I’ll live in my fantasy for now.)

Mr. Bittman wants to help save the world. Or rather, he wants to save YOU and I. The world will still be here if the human race dies out. You can see a version of his lecture here:

I don’t like to preach or get all up on the high horse, but it is humbling to hear the statistics behind the general concept about food/diet that we all know already:

* American’s eat like shit.
* We definitely eat too much meat.
* Meat production produces 1/5 of the world’s greenhouse gases.
* Greenhouse gases causes global warming.
* Global warming can have catastrophic affects.

The conundrum is that I like to eat meat.
But I also like the planet.
And I care about my kid and your kid too.
So what do we do?
What do you do when you start thinking about this stuff?

Related posts:
Grass fed beef – part 3: How much does a hamburger cost?
Beef eats grass, remember?: Part II
Beef eats grass, remember?: Part I
Bacon is My Enemy

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Portion Control, or How Can We NOT Eat More Than We Really Need?

Look at this. The same portion of soup – which is a very nice serving size of soup! – makes an old-fashion plate look full to the top, while it looks half empty in the newer contemporary plate.

And look at these photos. Need I say more?
I’m sure you can guess by yourself which flatware is new and which one is old. And which plate is 1-year old and which one is… I can’t remember when or how or where did I get it.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?
If you want a slurp of the lentil soup, click here for the recipe.

For more fantastic recipes click here.

If you are into losing some weight this year, click here.

To subscribe to my 1 family. friendly. food. blog – it’s free – click here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Confused by Soy

A long long time ago my sister sent me an article about soy, or to be more accurate the unhealthy sides of soy. Up until then I thought that soy was supposed to be the super food, a perfect one. Not that I ever ate soy. Well, not intentionally. Why “intentionally”? Because soy has become an ingredient in almost every prepared or boxed food item we eat, whether we want it or not. But I never purposefully bought or ate soy, tofu and such.

Anyway, I still remembered this article and thought I’ll look it up again because you might be interested to read it, if you haven’t already. So I started doing some of my own “research” and Googled it, and found out that… Wow! What a war there is for and against soy and soy products.

Most of the information I have found was old news. I didn’t find any new “evidence” from let’s say 2007 or 2008. Have I missed it? Do you anything new? And of course, it is all very confusing. You know how it works – this research found X, and another research found Y. Companies pay for research that will enhance the sales of their products, while other organizations support their own research findings. Yes, no, for, against, eat, eat not. Uu, my head is spinning.

As a former researcher myself I can tell you that there is no such thing as an “objective” research, fact or truth. We all have goals and interests to prove, right?! Anyway, here are a few points collected from a few articles (see resources below). They might be old news to you. Or maybe not.

* Advances in technology make it possible to produce isolated soy protein from what was once considered a waste product - the defatted, high-protein soy chips - and then transform something that looks and smells terrible into products that can be consumed by human beings. Flavorings, preservatives, sweeteners, emulsifiers and synthetic nutrients have turned soy protein isolate, the food processors' ugly duckling, into a New Age Cinderella.

* Early on, products based on soy protein isolate were sold as extenders and meat substitutes - a strategy that failed to produce the requisite consumer demand. The industry changed its approach. "The quickest way to gain product acceptability in the less affluent society," said an industry spokesman, "is to have the product consumed on its own merit in a more affluent society." So soy is now sold to the upscale consumer, not as a cheap, poverty food but as a miracle substance ... The competition - meat, milk, cheese, butter and eggs - has been duly demonized by the appropriate government bodies. Soy serves as meat and milk for a new generation of virtuous vegetarians.

* New studies have however raised questions over whether the ingredients in soy might increase the risk of breast cancer in some women, affect brain function in men and lead to hidden developmental abnormalities in infants

* Soy critics point to the fact that soybeans, as provided by nature, are not suitable for human consumption.

* Marketing costs money, especially when it needs to be bolstered with "research"... All soybean producers pay a mandatory assessment of 0.5% - 1% of the net market price of soybeans. The total - something like US$80 million annually - supports United Soybean's program to "strengthen the position of soybeans in the marketplace and maintain and expand domestic and foreign markets for uses for soybeans and soybean products".

* … the carefully worded health claim the Food and Drug Administration permits for cholesterol reduction is for soy protein, not for isoflavones… The scientists are worried that the public is interpreting the approval of soy protein as a recommendation to take soy supplements, which generally have higher levels of isoflavones than occur naturally in food.

* A baby fed soy (formula – N.) will receive, through the phytoestrogens, the equivalent of approximately 5 birth control pills per day!... Soy-based formula also has over 1000% more aluminum than conventional milk based formulas… but if one, for whatever reason, cannot breast feed, then (there are other) commercial formula currently available.

* A very large percentage of soy - over 90% - is genetically modified and it also has one of the highest percentages contamination by pesticides of any of the foods we eat.

* Some sources claim that "soy has demonstrated powerful anticancer benefits...the Japanese, who eat 30 times as much soy as North Americans, have a lower incidence of cancers of the breast, uterus and prostate."… But the Japanese, and Asians in general, have much higher rates of other types of cancer…

* The public looks for black and white answers, said Dr. Sheehan, adding: ''We don't have enough information to be able to give the public good advice, and that's why we need to do the studies. Not only can there be some outcomes that are beneficial and some adverse in the same individual, there are also going to be different degrees of susceptibility in different organs, depending on age. This sort of confusion and attempting to sort through the confusion is characteristic of science, but people don't understand it.''

As I read more and more I started to feel dizzy from words like phytochemicals , isoflavones , phytic acid, hemagglutinin, soy protein isolate, goitrogens……….. and trying to figure out - is it good? Is it bad?
And then I became bored with the whole thing.

My conclusion: If people (producers, farmers, companies, etc) mess with this product so much, work on it so much, and process it to make it edible and likable, I don’t want to eat it.
What do you think?

Links to a few articles I read:
Is soy healthy?
Soy: For Your Health or Their Wealth?
Doubts Cloud Rosy News on Soy, By Marian Burros. January 26, 2000

I got an e-mail from a reader, Richard, who wrote: “The amount of money soybean producers contribute to market development and research is 1/2 to 1 CENT per bushel, not percent as the article states. 1 percent of current soybean prices would be about 100 times more than the $80 million the article states is currently being collected.” And “ Years ago we voted to pay one half cent per bushel of soybeans we sell, for promotion. Last year producers voted to double the amount to one cent.”

So I looked it up again to see what the articles I read said. I found both “percent” and “per cent”. However, I think it is “per cent” and not %, and I’ll take Richard’s words on it. Bottom line, it’s still millions and millions of dollars for marketing soy and tofu and all their by-products as healthy, good for you food.

And, I still haven’t found new news or updates. It seems that most people are quoting the same resources. My conclusion, however, is still the same – if the food it processed to that extent, and it is genetically modified, stay away from it.
My love for corn has changed because of that. I’ll never look at it the same way. Now it all seems just too suspicious to me. To read more click here.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Eating Mud Pies

When I was a kid, and a picky eater one, I remember adults used to say there are hungry people in Africa or Cambodia, to try to make us kids appreciate the food we have. I say these things to my kid too from time to time. He doesn’t believe me. I couldn’t understand what the h_ll my mom was talking about either.

Sometimes there’s a food drive and we collect food items and put them in a bag to be picked up from the school or near the mail box. I explain to him the reason why we do this. But I suppose that for young kids the concept of people, mainly other children, with no food to eat is just unperceivable.

I read an article on National Geographic magazine while I was waiting for my appointment at my doctor’s office – “Poor Haitians Resort to Eating Dirt” by Jonathan M. Katz, January 30, 2008. It made me feel like a little kid too. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked by this idea. Not that I have never heard about hunger before, but still... We are living in a country with so much food everywhere we look, every place we go, and we take it for granted. We are so blessed to have an abundance of food to eat.

A few points from the article:

With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice. They eat cookies made of dirt, salt, and vegetable shortening which has become a regular meal.

Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher oil prices, needed for fertilizer, irrigation, and transportation. Prices for basic ingredients such as corn and wheat are also up sharply, and the increasing global demand for biofuels is pressuring food markets as well.

The problem is particularly dire in the Caribbean, where island nations depend on imports and food prices are up 40 percent in places.

Caribbean leaders held an emergency summit in December to discuss cutting food taxes and creating large regional farms to reduce dependence on imports.

Beans, condensed milk, and fruit have gone up at a similar rate, and even the price of the edible clay has risen over the past year by almost U.S. $1.50. Dirt to make a hundred cookies now costs U.S. $5, the cookie makers say.

Still, at about 5 cents apiece, the cookies are a bargain compared to food staples. About 80 percent of people in Haiti live on less than $U.S. 2 a day and a tiny elite controls the economy.

To read the article, click here.

This is an excellent opportunity to remember all the people who are trying to change the dynamics of the current agriculture, mainly all the people involved in bringing back sustainable, seasonal, local, organic, and free-range practices to agriculture and to our table.

Do you think that with our consumer support this type of agriculture just might be the main stream once again? Prices of food will go down and more people will be able to afford healthier and fresher food from their local farmers?