Gluten Free For Good


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Get ready for this.

Every day, nearly eight million people “dine” at a KFC “restaurant” (formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken). Every single day! In this case, I’m using the words dine and restaurant loosely. There are more than 11,000 KFCs in more than 80 countries and territories around the world. Ugh! It’s bad enough that we eat this stuff, but I also cringe to see our unhealthy fast-food obsession creeping into countries that consider preparing meals and gathering together to enjoy them an important part of their culture.

Combien triste.

The KFC website has links to hundreds of foreign franchises. “Finger lickin’ good” just doesn’t sound right spoken in French.* And addresses like Nantes St. Herblain, 6 rue des Cochardieres should not be connected with an American fast food franchise. French words go with fine wine and gourmet fare, not soda pop and junk food.

Talk about a cultural train wreck.

Although I haven’t read the book, French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano, I have spent time in France and know that the French take pleasure in eating. Meals take time to prepare, fresh ingredients are used, and people eat slowly and enjoy the food and each other. They put their forks down and talk in between bites. Meals are not made ahead, kept warm under heat lamps, or served in plastic wrap. Food is not tossed at them through drive-up windows. They eat real food and savor each bite. And in general (in general), they aren’t overweight and don’t suffer from poor health at the same levels Americans do.

Unfortunately, that is changing. With places like KFC on the rise in France, Mireille’s next book might be entitled, Uh-oh, French Women Do Get Fat: And End Up With Diabetes And Heart Disease.

We just spent the past several months listening to our presidential candidates talk about rising health care costs and how obesity and chronic disease has reached epidemic proportions. Everyone argued about energy independence, the economy, the health care crisis, and the environment, but no one brought up the food industry as part of the problem. What we eat, where it comes from, how much it costs, how it ends up in our grocery carts or on our plates, how it impacts our health, and what the government chooses to subsidize (or not and why) is a major part of this convoluted equation. Our industrialization of food impacts public (and foreign) policy, but no one seems to connect those dots.

Okay, I’ll stick to my nutritional roots and resist launching into a political rant, but I will suggest we support our local farmers and ranchers and eat a rich variety of wholesome foods. It is healthier for us, healthier for the animals, healthier for the economy, and healthier for the environment. If you’d like more information on these subjects, check the links I’ve provided below.

In the meantime, I’ll get back to my intention with this blog — healthy eating and healthy living. Last week I received a load of Yukon Gold potatoes in my Grant Family Farms CSA delivery and I thought I’d put together a compare and contrast menu for you on how potatoes can be a healthy vegetable choice or an artery clogging bowl of slop.

Nutritional profile of potatoes
• rich source of vitamin C
• high in vitamin B6, which promotes nervous system health, heart health, and is essential for new cell formation
• high in potassium
• good source of fiber, tryptophan, manganese, beta carotene, folate, lutein, zeaxanthin, and copper
• one cup of baked potato with skins contains 133 calories

Healthy holiday mix/mash of Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes recipe
what you need

• 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch chunks
• 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-2 inch chunks
• 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk (for dairy-free, use plain rice milk)
• 4 tablespoons butter (for dairy-free, use Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
• 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
• 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or Kosher salt
• freshly ground black pepper to taste

what you do
• Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a medium boil and cook until tender (20 to 25 minutes). Potatoes are done when you can pierce them easily with a fork.
• Drain well, return to pot, and mash them to desired consistency. You can also prepare them in a mixing bowl.
• Put milk, butter, and syrup in small saucepan and heat until butter is melted and milk is warm. Stir gently until well blended. Don’t let this burn, it can happen fast.
• Stir or mix in the milk/butter/syrup mixture and the salt and pepper until well combined.
• Makes 6 servings of about 2/3rds cup each, takes approximately 45 minutes to prepare

Nutritional breakdown of healthy holiday mix/mash of potatoes recipe
• 150 calories per serving with milk and butter (less with rice milk and Earth Balance)
• 4 g of fat (less with rice milk and Earth Balance), no trans-fats
• 11 mg cholesterol (less with rice milk and Earth Balance)
• 26 g carbohydrate
• 3 g protein
• 3 g fiber
• 320 mg sodium
• 369 mg potassium
• Contains 190% of DV (daily value) of vitamin A
• Contains 20% of DV of vitamin C

KFC Potato Bowl

what you need
• A car with gas
• Cash in your pocket
• Approximately 30 to 45 minutes of spare time
• Decent health insurance
• Tums or Nexium

what you do
• Get in your car and drive to one of the 11,000 KFC franchises.
• Push button and talk to speaker stand, ask for “mashed potato bowl.”
• Drive forward 25 feet, idle your car and wait.
• When attendant opens the drive-through window, be prepared to catch food as he/she tosses bag to you.
• After attendant closes window, realize you have no cheap plastic utensils to eat with.
• Wave frantically to get the attention of the teenaged attendant who is ignoring you.
• Honk your horn.
• When 16 year old attendant finally opens the window, sighs, and sputters with disdain, “Like, what do you, like, want now?” — answer nicely that you’d like utensils so you can eat your food.
• When he/she rolls his/her eyes and tosses you a plastic fork wrapped in a paper napkin and covered with plastic wrap, breathe deeply and practice kindness.
• Either eat while driving en-route to wherever you’re going, spilling food on your clothes and endangering yourself and others, or bring home and eat in front of the TV while watching Cops or America’s Most Wanted.
• Feel stressed, bloated, and icky. Eat 2 Tums.

Hey, no one’s perfect. We can all relate to participating in some version of this, but we also know we’d be much better off eating fresh, wholesome food while relaxing and enjoying it. Plus, it takes no longer to make up a bowl of roasted veggies or cook up some rice than it does to order and eat fast food.

Nutritional breakdown of KFC Potato Bowl
• 740 calories PER SERVING
• 35 g of fat (including trans-fats)
• 60 mg cholesterol
• 80 g carbohydrate
• 27 g protein
• 6 g sugar
• 7 g fiber
• 2350 mg sodium
• Contains 8% of DV of vitamin A
• Contains 10% of DV of vitamin C


Assorted links to more information

* My header (lechement de doigt bon) is supposed to say Finger Lickin’ Good in French, although I think I might have said Licking of Good Fingers instead. I like that phrase better anyway.

Go forth, make healthy choices, and lick good fingers.

In good health,

7 Responses to “Lechement de doigt bon (recipe included)”

  1. What a fabulous post. And how frightening that so many people subject their digestive system and their arteries to such junk *every day*. Sheer madness.

    As celiac vegetarian, there’s little I can get at fast food places to begin with, but just out of pure boycotting a place that promotes such bad health, I only get things like coffee from there under extreme duress. Thanks for reminding me I better have one heck of a I-need-coffee-migraine before I drive thru again.

  2. Lo! says:

    Ah, thoughtful eating. That’s something I can get right behind.

    It’s nice to take back the good-for-you potato too, after all that carb demonizing!

  3. Kay says:

    You crack me up! I had to give up my ONLY drive thru habit when going gf. I loved MacDonald’s $1 double cheeseburgers. Now I make my own at home, and eat them bun-less. Glad I’m not killing myself at the KFC window!

    My lob is cooking for college kids. They think everything they need to eat comes in a box or can. NONE are concerned about feeding themselves after college. They can survive on cereal, bagels, sweetened yogurt and Easy Mac.

    I like my real food. It’s great to see the shocking numbers behind fast food. Thanks!

  4. Hey Melissa,
    Awesome post! I am with you all the way with your political rant. I too feel the same way about our food supply in this country. Yesterday I watched Dr. Phil for a half hour and it was all about babies and younge children – like 11 months to 8 years old who are OBESE! Now, this is absurd! An 11 month old should not weigh 60 some pounds.
    But I really don’t blame the parents as much as how much *crap* is available to people very inexpensively. Well, inexpensive until it becomes a medical condition. These poor children are in risk of having a stroke!

    Okay, I’ll stop, I’m just as passionate about this topic as you are obviously. Thanks so much for this wonderful post.
    PS that pic of the KFC bowl makes my stomach turn.

  5. Melissa says:

    Dana — thank you! I appreciate your comments. As far as junk food goes — sheer madness, indeed.
    Celiac vegetarian? That makes things doubly difficult!

    Lo! Great line — thoughtful eating! We should all be more aware of thoughtful eating.

    Kay — think of the quality of the ingredients in that $1 double cheeseburger. And you, the queen of gardening and herbs and all that wonderful fresh stuff you grow from scratch! Glad you had to go GF, much healthier now that you must avoid the drive-up window. You’d never make it to Survivor on fast food! Eat more kale! And by the way, I want to go with you. We could make an alliance right now and pretend like we don’t know each other.


    Sarah — Thank you so much! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate people leaving me such nice comments. And yes, it’s tragic that little kids are obese. Part of the problem is soda pop. I’m inspired to do a whole post on just that. Hmmm?

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Shirley says:

    This post is excellent, Melissa!! First, when my family and I were in Grand Cayman this summer, we passed by a KFC with a big statue of the colonel. I was so surpised to see the KFC (hadn’t seen one when we’d been there in 2000) that I wanted to take a photo. So I said to my husband, hey, stand by the colonel and I’ll take your pic. He declined and said he’d take mine instead and I though a second and said, no, also.

    Your comparison of the home cooked healthy meal vs the KFC “equivalent” is right on. I read once in my newspaper in the Graffiti section an eye-opening statement: “People spend hours looking for instant food.” How true is that?! I used to be in that category before going GF. Your comparison demonstrates you don’t spend less time, certainly not less money, and the food you get is … well, not really food.

    Regarding the obese children, I was appalled to read a few months ago that anti-cholesterol drugs are now approved for children! How sad is that … incredibly sad, I think. “Foods” occupying most of the grocery store are so full of HFCS, fillers, preservatives, etc. As we’ve said before, we just need to eat real food. Even those of us who are GF need to avoid the processed stuff (even if it’s labeled GF) and eat real food as in your lovely recipe. Thanks for that, BTW!

    The French Women book is worth a read. Check it out from the library. Of course, you already know it’s been shown repeatedly that folks from other countries who start out very healthy decline rapidly when they adopt a SAD.

  7. Kelly says:

    Oh my gosh this post is so awesome! I’m shocked and horrified – I’m going to forward it to my hubby now, knowing he too will appreciate it.

    Cheers, Kelly

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