1. What the average American consumes in one year (courtesy of Visual Economics, check here for the over-indulgent details).
• 53 gallons of soda
• 24 lbs of ice cream
• 141.6 lbs caloric sweetener, includes 42 lbs of corn syrup
• 24 lbs of artificial sweetener
• 600 lbs of non-cheese dairy products
• 110 lbs of red meat
• 134 lbs of wheat flour (who ate my 134 lbs?)
• a total of 1996.3 pounds of food per year
Seriously, how can 1 person (in 1 year) consume 600 lbs of dairy products, excluding cheese? Add in the 31.4 lbs of cheese the average American eats per year and that adds up to 632 lbs of dairy products. Yuck. Just the thought makes my nose stuffy and my head ache.
2. “Per calorie, cooked spinach has more than twice as much protein as a cheeseburger; lentils have a third more protein than meatloaf with gravy.”
Bittman, Mark. Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating, page 85. Simon & Schuster, New York, 2009.
3. What does the word natural mean on food labels?
Not much, if General Mills’ Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Peanut Granola Bars are any indication. The product claims to be “only natural” and that you’ll always be getting The Taste Nature Intended (which is a General Mills registered phrase). Okay, here’s the label ingredient list. Is this what nature intended? Would you call this natural?
Ingredients: roasted peanuts, high maltose corn syrup, sugar, rolled oats, high fructose corn syrup, palm kernel oil, crisp rice (rice flour, sugar, malt, salt), wheat flakes (whole wheat, sugar, salt, malt), fructose, peanut butter (peanuts, salt), yogurt powder (cultured whey protein concentrate, cultured skim milk, yogurt cultures), canola oil, water, maltodextrin, salt, nonfat milk, soy lecithin, color (yellows 5 & 6 lake, red 40 lake, blue 1 lake, and other color added), natural flavor, almonds, baking soda, honey, sunflower meal, mixed tocopherols added to retain freshness.
Whew, did nature really intend for us to eat all that icky stuff? If nothing else, the list of dyes should be a tip-off that natural isn’t natural to the folks at GM. And what does “other color added” mean? Like yellows, reds and blues aren’t enough? And what does “natural flavor” mean in the midst of all that? Does that mean the other flavors are unnatural? My online dictionary/thesaurus includes “undyed, uncolored and unbleached” in its description of the word natural. UH-OH, I can no longer call myself (or at least my hair) natural as I occasionally have “other color added” in the way of a few sun-kissed streaks here and there. Don’t tell anyone.
Bottom line? The food industry has a weird and skewed definition of the word natural. Make your own granola bars. Check here for one of my recipes. Or, here for one of Shirley’s recipes at Gluten Free Easily.
4. Who hates Brussels sprouts?
Whoa, almost all of you? Okay, here are some tips and facts to help you warm-up to Brussels sprouts.
• Don’t overcook them as it promotes the release of those unpleasant (and stinky) sulfur compounds that give them a bitter taste. It also destroys the vitamin C. Quick cooking leaves the delicate, nutty flavor of the vegetable. You can also eat the leaves. It’s okay, I promise.
• To retain nutrients and flavor, quick steam, stir fry or quick roast sprouts. Sauté the leaves with other veggies in a touch of coconut oil and mix with brown rice.
• Hold sprouts in your hand and choose the ones that feel heavy for their size. If possible, pick sprouts still on the stalk and buy the smallest stalk. Those are the sweetest.
• One cup (60 calories) of Brussels sprouts provides 273% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K and 161% of the recommended value of vitamin C. They’re also high in folate and vitamin A, along with a host of other cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory, heart healthy, detoxing, and health-loving plant chemicals. These little gems are the real deal, hundreds of research studies have taken place on the health benefits of Brussels sprouts.
I love this stuff. It’s SO good sprinkled on salads, rice, quinoa, soups, stews, sautéed veggies, Brussels sprouts (see above). Be creative, sprinkle outside the lines.
Here’s a simple (and wonderful) calcium-rich, nutty, yummy condiment. The sesame seeds provide lots of bone-building nutrients. They’re high in calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and zinc – and rich in fiber. One fourth cup of sesame seeds also contain 74% of the recommended daily value of copper. Studies show that copper may help people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Good stuff, although not low in calories (high oil content) so keep that in mind. Store in a glass jar in a cool, dark, dry place.
• 1 cup white sesame seeds
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
In a small skillet, dry roast the seeds on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often until they begin to brown. Using a blender or mortar and pestle (I use a mortar and pestle), blend or crush together the warm sesame seeds and salt. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks. Recipe from The Kripalu Cookbook: Gourmet Vegetarian Recipes.
* You can also add dried garlic or dried celery to the mix.
Peace, love and REAL natural food!