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.