Sunday, June 24, 2012

Favorite Tools: Great New App to Help With Making Healthy Choices

Nota Bene: I apologize for the lapse in articles these past two weeks as I have not written as many I would've liked. Sometimes it takes me longer to write these when I'm feeling under the weather, so stick with me- Thanks for your patience!

I stumbled across this app for my iPhone & was pleasantly surprised at how helpful it was in educating people about healthy food choices. With food manufacturers using tricky language & inventing new names on a daily basis (all with the FDA's & USDA's support, mind you), it can be more than baffling attempting to decipher packaging on foods. Many people see the words 'all natural', 'healthy choice', 'reduced'-this-and-that, etc. & think that they are making wise & thoughtful choices in regards to their health when in fact it is just not that simple.

Fooducate is not just for the iPhone, but for Android & online use as well. It works by scanning a barcode or searching for a product, the user is instantly able to see information about the product (good & bad) whether its present on the label or not. This information is gathered by requesting it from the manufacturers & also gathered research by the creators of the program (with the help of the users too!).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My New Article on MindBodyGreen about Food Energetics

I'm so excited to write about the posting of an article that I wrote for a site called MindBodyGreen. If you haven't heard of this site then you really need to check it out. The articles posted on this fabulous site are interesting & informative so last week I decided to submit one for the first time. I had been thinking about it for a while, but there were so many ideas floating around in my head, I had trouble narrowing it down.

When I wrote my last article about yin & yang in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & how essential this concept is to food energetics, I realized I needed to discuss more fully what role food energetics play in TCM & how whole foods are can be used as medicine to help heal your body or maintain vitality.The article is entitled "Food Energetics: Traditional Chinese Medicines Best Kept Secret" & really discusses energetics in general & how it pertains to our bodies.

Let me know what you think & anything you'd like to know more about food energetics or TCM as I try to figure out what next to write about! If you enjoyed the article or found it interesting, please pass it along via stumble, twitter, facebook, & email. Thanks!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Favorite Blog Posts: Excerpt of "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats" by Peter Menzel

I stumbled upon this website blog which posted pictures from a book of photographs CHRONICLING lifestyles & dietary habits of people around the world. I found it fascinating to see the types of foods being eaten by families. The excerpts compare not only foods bought each week but also how much money these families spend. Each family is photographed in their homes; for one family of nine that means a one room hut & another family of six a tent in a refugee camp. 
This post will really put things into perspective- not only for your country, homes, & food but also the amazing opportunities & things available to us living in more affluent countries. This is a chance to make sure we do not take for granted what blessings we have & also to take the chance to help others less fortunate. Make sure to send this photo diary to others & SPREAD AWARENESS!
MON MAY 26, 2008 AT 07:24 AM PDT

Global Food Disparity: A Photo Diary

In an increasingly globalized world, it’s still sometimes shocking to see just how disparate our lives are compared with other human beings around the world. A book of photographs by Peter Menzel called "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats" ("©Peter Ten Speed Press, published in 2005) makes a relevant point with great irony: at a time when hundreds of millions of people don't have enough to eat, hundreds of millions more are eating too much and are overweight or obese. In observing what six billion eat for dinner the authors note,
"Today, more people are overweight than underweight."  
It is these cultural differences, emphasized and reinforced by the author, which exemplifies the lifestyles and dietary habits of people around the world. In the United States, processed foods are par for course. In the Philippines, fresh fruit and vegetables play a far more significant role. In the  harsh Chad sun, a family of six exists on a measly $1.23 per week.
You can buy the book here.

You may have seen some of these photographs from the book as it been widely circulating on the net, if not, I urge you to purchase it and as one of my friends said via email: "I don't know about you, but I'm counting my blessings." Traveling to 24 countries, from Greenland, Chad, and Japan to Germany, Guatemala, and the United States, Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio photographed 30 families accompanied by a careful display of a week's worth of food. Chronicling the enormous differences in eating habits between industrial and developing countries, each section includes a family portrait, along with their groceries, and a listing of how much was spent in each food group. In the tradition of MATERIAL WORLD, this timely, fascinating photography book illustrates not only the growth of fast food consumption worldwide, but also the transformation of diets across the planet. One notes that except where poverty is the most extreme, packaged cookies and candies have gripped the world as have soft drinks, primarily coca-colas. I found it both encouraging that there is so much local food culture left in the world, and deeply depressing that our processed food culture has spread so far and wide. If you look closely at the types of food being purchased you can see the difference between "eating to live" and "living to eat."
Meet the The Manzo family of Sicily. Their weekly expenditure is 214.36 Euros or $260.11. Note the copious amount of bread. 
Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide 
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Importance of Yin & Yang in Traditional Chinese Medicine

The article I originally intended to write when I sat down at my computer was going to be entitled "The important role of the seasons in Traditional Chinese Medicine". But I soon realized that I had yet to fully address the cornerstone of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & before one could discuss the important role of the seasons in food energetics, one must first have an adequate understanding of yin & yang. So it looks like the 'seasons' will have to wait to be my next article.

Most concepts of TCM are new to Westerners, but many have at least heard the words 'yin & yang' and have seen the tai chi symbol that represents this foundational concept of Chinese medicine.The tai chi symbol (pronounced like the words "tie chee") represents the ancient Chinese understanding of how the universe operates. The outer circle represents 'everything', while the dark & white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies, called 'yin' (dark) & 'yang' (white). These two energies cannot exist without the other & cause everything to happen in the universe.
The tai chi symbol represents yin & yang, but more importantly our universe. The white shape must be on top & the black shape must be on bottom for the symbol to be correct; a symbol with the colors inverted is an incorrect representation. 
The concept of yin & yang is still used today & in many forms. Modern day physics uses this concept in much of the same way the Chinese did thousands of years ago when the idea was first invented. Physicists describe energy that is stored or inactive as potential energy, while this passive energy would be considered yin in TCM; energy that is being released is described by scientists as kinetic energy or would be considered yang in TCM. As you can see, there are many similarities in the way Easterners & Westerners describe the interactions in our world.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Favorite Books: Vegetarian Meals for People on the Go

For those that want to learn more about incorporating vegetables & whole grains into your diet,  I have a wonderful book that serves as an excellent introduction to vegetarianism. I highly recommend this book, not just for those who are vegetarians, but for people who want to learn how to cook new dishes & become inspired to create their own new recipes. Vegetarian Meals for People-on-the-Go, 101 Quick & Easy Recipes by Vimala Rodgers is probably one of my most reached for cookbooks. In fact I use this book as a reference as well. Not only does Ms. Rodgers give step by step instructions, tips, & nutritional information, but she demonstrates how to change up the recipes according to your own tastes. Most of the book serves like guidelines, allowing the reader to interchange ingredients & really teaching the tools to personalize the recipes as well as learning how to create your own. 

Friday, April 27, 2012


Two things... first, thanks to all of you who are passing my recipes & articles along! My last post "Homemade Nuts & Honey Crunchy Granola Bars" which was posted a week ago, has already been viewed by people 100 times! Thats a new record in the month & a half I've been writing &I am very grateful. Thank you very much for sharing! Second, new post & recipe coming soon- I should be finished writing this weekend so check back soon. Happy Eating!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Homemade Nuts & Honey Crunchy Granola Bars

Here's my new recipe for crunchy granola. I absolutely love Nature's Valley Oats & Honey Granola & Pecan Granola Bars but they're definitely not cheap enough to eat as quickly as I do! I love crumbling them and sprinkling it on yogurt- my recipe allows you to cut them into whatever shape you desire or use to top yogurt, oatmeal, or when baking. In fact crumbling the granola on top of my second recipe Lemon Ginger Banana Bread before popping the pan into the oven to bake will create a healthy crumble on top without all the sugar in a traditional crumble. I will post the recipe for Lemon Ginger Banana Bread subsequent article- just click the link! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Recipes for Crunchy Granola Bars, New & Improved Banana Bread

Crunchy Granola Bars baking in the oven
Filled the house with such wonderful smells
honey, almond, & vanilla! 

The last couple of weeks, I have been working on a couple new recipes that I would like to share. I absolutely love crunchy granola bars but have wanted a healthy and most importantly, tasty substitute to the Nature's Valley granola bars that I eat way too quickly! I think I've come up with an excellent substitute, but still think there are things to tweak. I will post the recipe later this afternoon and definitely need input from others that have been making homemade granola bars. Try this recipe, change up the ingredients along with me and share you're results with me at I will add the comments below so that others may benefit & come up with their own perfect, healthy recipe to share with their family! I hope that together we can eat scrumptious, healthy foods while knowing exactly what the ingredients are in our foods & all the while saving money!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Inspiration of the Day

I had heard of Rudolf Steiner before, but was not familiar with his works until doing a little research this morning. I thought he was interesting enough to share with everyone, especially because he has an interesting outlook & approach to the world around us. We get so busy & wrapped up in our daily routine that we often forget to think of things outside us, let alone contemplate or feel connected to it. He has a very unique approach to food energetics & gardening as well. I will definitely chew on some of Steiner's ideas as I work towards building & finishing my spring garden! 
Links at the bottom of the page- comments & ideas welcome!

No man will be satisfied for any length of time with a nourishment that tastes & smells of nothing, regardless of how rich it is in proteins, vitamins, & trace elements.
Rudolf Steiner

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pink Slime...

   I had heard of the controversial meat additive that is referred of as 'pink slime' long before the media frenzy these past few weeks & the long over due public outcry calling for the manufacturers to stop adding it to our meats. As I was watching the news last night, there was a short story about the pink slime additive that caught my attention. So when I heard on the news that Texas governor, Rick Perry visited & toured a Nebraska meat plant that is responsible for making the pink slime, I was rather shocked. Perry along with 2 other governors toured the facilities to support the company & their pink slime product. Governors of Texas, Kansas, & Iowa, three of the top 10 beef producing states in the nation- #1 spot going to Texas, stated that beef containing the additive was "leaner" & therefore healthier. The governors ended their press conference by eating hamburgers made from Beef Products, Inc. or BPI's  beef.
A Beef Products Inc. processing plant in South Sioux City, Neb.
The company injects fatty beef trimmings with ammonia to remove E. coli and salmonella.
   This controversial product has been called "safe" by the company who makes it, Beef Products, Inc. & the USDA has agreed with them. For decades, 'lean beef trimmings' or its informal name pink slime, has been used as a processing agent to kill bacteria in meats. The ammonia solution first came about in order to use other parts of the cow that otherwise could not be eaten by people.These fatty trimmings & connective tissues harbor significant bacterial growth & so where used in things like pet food rather than meat for human consumption. By soaking these trimmings & riding them of deadly bacteria like E coli, meat factories were then able to produce more meat, more cheaply which ultimately leads to more money!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein=MSG

"What could be better for us than protein? And everyone knows that vegetables are good for us. Thus, 'hydrolyzed vegetable protein' sounds safe and even wholesome. However, this is the chemical method of producing monosodium glutamate. A mixture of hydrolyzed proteins contains the salts of other proteins as well, and monosodium glutamate may comprise as much as 20% of hydrolyzed vegetable protein (the usual range is 12-20%). The flavor enhancement produced by this mixture is almost entirely dependent on MSG. Few people are aware that products containing hydrolyzed vegetable protein frequently are advertised as "all natural". While MSG must be specifically listed on food labels, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which contains MSG, may be designated simply as 'natural flavorings'."
 --George R. Schwartz, MD  In Bad Taste: The MSG Syndrome
   Oh my. Where do I even begin?! My crusade against MSG started years ago & is ever strengthened when I run across someone who is unknowingly ingesting such a harmful chemical. I definitely know what its like to suddenly realize that my carefully selected diet was not as scrupulous as I had thought. My MSG epiphany occurred in Whole Foods when I was about to put 'organic black bean soup' in my shopping cart when just for the heck of it decided to read the ingredients. Much to my dismay it contained the chemical I had been trying to avoid. As I went through my kitchen, it dawned on me that I had been eating products containing MSG for years. Even products that appeared healthy, had the words organic or 100% natural were in fact not good for me whatsoever! 
   The excerpt above from Dr. Schwartz explains the problem precisely. If it says "No MSG"on the product, then we want to assume that the manufacturers are producing something healthy. A good example: In an attempt to select healthier foods, a friend of mine came back from the grocery store with sea salt & lime tortilla chips. The bag even said no MSG on the front. We were about half through the bag when I happened to look at the label & saw yeast extract
   I soon discovered that the FDA requires a product to clearly label monosodium glutamate on its packaging. However, food manufacturers can use up to 20% of MSG in another ingredient without having to label it as monosodium glutamate. So names like hydrolyzed plant protein, yeast nutrient, & hydrolyzed oat flour which contain MSG get overlooked on the label because of healthy sounding names. 

   It seems as if people are either 1) naive in assuming a product is healthy since it has 'natural' or 'organic' on the label or 2) would rather remain blindly ignorant just so they can continue eating a favorite snack. How have people become so impervious to labels? We check the fine print on everything else, so why can't we take the few seconds to check our food?

There are more than 40 different ingredients that always contain the chemical MSG & even more ingredients that often contain it. I challenge you to look through your pantry & find these synonyms for MSG:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Women Happier in Relationships When Men Feel Their Pain

Men like to know when their wife or girlfriend is happy while women really want the man in their life to know when they are upset, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.
Read more about this study below:
Women Happier in Relationships When Men Feel Their Pain

West vs. East: How Foods are Viewed

  In the West, foods are described in terms of how much protein, fat, calories, vitamins & minerals it contains. The emphasis is placed on the chemical composition of a food to determine whether it is beneficial & nutritious. 
  In the East, foods are described by qualities such as temperature, flavor, & action. TCM determines the unique energy & characteristic properties of each food such as hot/cold, salty/sweet/bitter flavors, & how foods act on & move throughout our body. All foods have a distinct energy & characteristic properties that either help to balance our bodies & make us healthy, or to create imbalances which ultimately result in sickness.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St Patrick's Day Recipe

Happy St. Paddy's Day! Here is one of my favorite recipes- very easy to change it up by adding mushrooms, pancetta, or other spring vegetables. Add some fontina or parmesan cheese on top & you have yourself a meal! Be sure to let me know what you think or how you changed up the recipe on Twitter @CornuCopiaeFds, Facebook, or comment below. 

Zucchini & Basil Pesto Pasta

2 large or 4 medium sized zucchini
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely shredded & tightly packed in cup
4 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound angel hair whole wheat pasta
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt*

- Grate zucchini into a mixing bowl & sprinkle lightly with salt to taste
- Toss grated zucchini with shredded basil.
- In a large skillet, heat oil & sauté garlic over medium heat. 
- When garlic sizzles, add zucchini-basil mixture & sauté until zucchini begins to turn golden, about 5-7 minutes. Mix with angel hair pasta and black pepper. Grate a little parmesan cheese on top of pasta.

Serves 6, easy to make in less than 30 minutes.

Personally, I add salt to taste while cooking & don't squeeze out excess water from the zucchini. Most vitamins & minerals are water soluble and by squeezing out the excess water, you're getting rid of much of the vegetable's nutrients.  I included the step with the recipe in case someone might prefer that method or wonder why I left it out. 
(*many recipes & cooks will tell you to sprinkle salt on zuccinni, eggplant or other squash to draw out the water from the vegetable. After letting the vegetable sit sprinkled with salt for about 10 minutes, squeeze tightly (using a paper towel can help) to extract the water & set aside.) 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Facts: The Tomato

Eating 1-2 raw tomatoes daily will lower blood pressure.Tomatoes encourage digestion absorption & are excellent in treating low appetite, indigestion,food retention & constipation.
Although considered acidic, once a tomato is digested it alkalizes blood.
Reducing acidic blood helps to treat rheumatism & gout.

The Tomato- Food of the Month

  Food is the foundation of medicine; food has been used as medicine for thousands of years to prevent & heal the body from sickness. Eastern medicine is not alone in using healing foods; one of Western medicine’s greatest antibiotics, penicillin, was discovered in mold growing on an orange! 
  Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM), uses many approaches to healing the body such as acupuncture, herbs, & food energetics. All three of these approaches treat the whole person, not just his symptoms or a part of the body. If you are being treated with acupuncture or herbs, food energetics will help to supplement those treatments. By eating foods that help to balance your constitution, not only will it help you stay healthy, but it will also help the benefits of acupuncture & herbal treatments last longer. 
   The energetics of the tomato are very cooling in nature. Cooling foods tend to move energy inward & downward, cooling the upper & outer parts of the body. For this reason, tomatoes are an excellent aid in digestion & increasing circulation, especially in the limbs. 
  Tomatoes have a sweet & sour flavor. The sour flavor helps with absorption of fluids within the body, therefore tomatoes help relieve dryness & thirst. The sour flavor of tomatoes also helps to counteract the effects of fatty foods that tend to cause stagnation. The sweet flavor balances all other flavors in our diets while nourishing us & stimulating circulation.The sweetness of tomatoes are cleansing & cooling to the body which helps to relieve heat.  
The sweet flavor is also what gives the tomato its ability to moisten dryness. These are just a few energetic properties of the tomato!
Because of these energetic properties, tomatoes are great for helping high blood pressure, red eyes, headaches, indigestion, low appetite, food retention, constipation, cleansing the liver & blood, & detoxifying the body in general.