Monday, July 23, 2012

on my mind monday 7.23.12

news | photo: mconnors
It's never the same two weeks in a row.  This is a collection of what I find interesting in the world of food, nutrition, and holistic health.  Read what's on my mind.

Photo Essay on Food Waste - While the pictures are surprisingly pretty the underlying fact isn't.  One third of the food we create on this planet goes to waste.  One third!  That's a mind boggling amount of food.  What's even worse is that a significant percentage comes from the United States.  All of this food waste has an astounding impact on the environment.  It is also a startling thought when we stop to consider that, according to the United Nations, 925,000,000 people are chronically hungry in this world.  While it would be great to see more Compost Cabs and other community compost programs to help deal with food waste, the truth of the matter is we need to learn to waste less.  We need to be more mindful of what we buy and how much we are using.  Here are some great tips from Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland: how American throw away nearly half of it's food (and what we can do about it).

What's in your Greek yogurt? - Greek yogurt has become, hands down, one of the biggest food products to take over in it's category.  So popular that some manufacturers have tried to take shortcuts by not really making strained yogurt but rather by thickening their product to make it seem like Greek-style strained yogurt.  However milk protein concentrate and cornstarch are not good additives.  Look for versions without added thickeners or make your own at home.

Banana pasta? - It may sound strange but it's the newest thing to hit the market.  Appealing to the gluten free crowd this pasta may also wind up being a hot new favorite among those who want to eat lower carb.  Low carb?  Yes; green banana flour is a form of resistant starch, often referred to as the third fiber (after soluble and insoluble).  Resistant starch foods appear to bypass primary digestion and then function as a form of fiber in the intestinal tract.  Other foods which are forms of resistant starch include uncooked potatoes, certain high starch foods after they've been cooked and cooled like sushi rice and legumes, and also certain difficult-to-digest seeds like flax (in their whole form).  If this pasta takes off I imagine there will be other green banana flour products flooding the market.

Veggies - Raw vs. Cooked - There's a lot of information out there these days about a raw food diet and it seems that more people are eager to try it.  One of the common misperceptions is that by cooking food we destroy most, if not all, of the nutrients in it.  I am not opposed to a raw diet.  If done correctly there are a lot of cleansing benefits to the body.  However I find that many people have a hard time eating a varied, balanced raw diet over a long period of time.  As this article points out, some nutrients are improved by cooking, different cooking methods have different results, and for those nutrients that are most fragile (such as vitamin C), there are plenty of options to get them in the diet.

Nix the Country Of Origin Labeling on Meat? - This would certainly explain why I haven't seen this labeling appear on any meat packages in spite of the fact that it was supposed to be implemented by now.  I admit that it would change my buying habits even more.  Right now I look for the best quality meat I can and whenever possible try to choose pastured and organic.  But I still don't always know where it's coming from.  If you eat meat would this change your buying habits?

Fruit Kvass - while I had always heard of beet kvass I had never thought to extend that concept to fruit. This sounds quite intriguing however I confess to being over my eyeballs in kombucha and water kefir. So for the moment I'm going to have to pass on adding one more fermented beverage to my kitchen lineup.  But if any of my readers try it please let me know know it goes, I would love to hear from you.

Since we're talking about fermented beverages (and because recently I've been sharing a bunch of SCOBYs with folks) I thought I would show you this video about how to brew a batch of your very own.  Julie demonstrates how to brew one quart at a time....I typically do one gallon at a time, it is simply a matter of measurement.  [some people have said that the videos are not coming through in their email reader....for those folks here's a direct link

Email me to get a free copy of my kombucha brewing instructions (you will also receive a complimentary subscription to my newsletter).

What I'm reading:

Showing Rebecca Wood's article about fruit kvass above sent me to my bookshelves to get down my copy of The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia.  Including Western Nutrition, Aurvedic and Chinese properties of foods I always find this book fascinating.  I'm going through the sections for the foods I currently have growing in my garden.



Karen Langston Nutritionist said...

As my mentor to producing my very first batch of kombucha Thanks for this..this was awesome!
And I can not believe there is a new flour on the horizon!
Love keeping up to date with your updates. Better than the nightly news!

Sam said...

Yes, I want to know what country my meat is coming from. Given the size of the beef and poultry farms, it boggles my mind that we would import meat. Fish,yes, meat, no.