Posts Tagged 'food for thought'

Who Cares About Processed Foods?

I just saw a commercial for French’s onion sticks or something like that. They provided a recipe involving the following steps:

1. Crush the French’s onion fries in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin.
2. Coat chicken breasts in egg yolk.
3. Bread chicken breasts in crushed French’s onion fries and bake.

I know a lot of people are about fresh food, non-processed things, and healthy cooking, but that’s not how I feel. In case you didn’t already know, my philosophy is this: the most important thing is that you cook and create your own meals. I don’t care if you use French’s onion fries, which are high in sodium, or if you use lots of cheese in your mac n’ cheese (like I did). What matters is that you’re proud not only to eat what you’ve cooked, but to share it with the ones you love. That’s what’s up.

**Also, I just realized that I didn’t post the mac n’ cheese recipe I made. I guess that means I’ll have to make it again…


Change Up the Pace

I realize that this blog is about food and the awesomeness of living cheap and eating well. But right now, I’m going to change it up a little. I’m going to talk about nutrition as it pertains to health. And we’re actually going to go a bit broader here – we’re going to talk about the pharmaceutical companies and universal health care.

Over the past week, I’ve had a UTI and I haven’t been able to take a decent shit. So I’ve been drinking water, pure cranberry juice, pear juice, apple juice, green tea, and something my work calls a “Spinach Slam” (which is absolutely delicious – pineapple juice, spinach, and mangoes). I’m still in square one. Usually most of those things work for what I need them to do, but the fact that I still have this infection is bullshit.

All I need is a simple antibiotic – ciproflaxin – but because you can’t buy antibiotics without a prescription in the USA, i still have this stupid infection. (Somewhat ironically, I’m pretty sure cipro has the side effect of making you constipated.)  I don’t have a car, so getting to the hospital or emergency room is a huge ordeal, even if I had the time to go. I understand the risks of antibiotics, i.e. developing an immunity to them if taken too often. That’s why I rarely take them. UTIs are the only thing I can ever remember choosing to get antibiotics for.

Here’s the other thing that angers me: last night I saw an advertisement for a drug that treats “Ulcerative Colitis,” which is a form of inflammatory bowel disease. It occurs in less than 0.1% of the US population. Less than 0.1% of the population. So we’re pouring all these resources into developing a drug to treat less than 0.1% of the population, meanwhile at least one in five women is likely to get a UTI in her lifetime, and is the second most common type of infection? WHAT THE FUCK PEOPLE?!

So my point is that you need to take care of yourself, regardless of what your budget is. Eating well will help you prevent health problems, big or small. Make it a priority to enjoy well-rounded meals and a healthy diet!

2 Day Detox: Follow up

Last time you heard, I was feeling depressed about my detox. When I got home last Tuesday, I decided “Screw it. I’m going to eat because I want to eat.” And I did. It was awesome. I went to Elmyr on Euclid Avenue and had a spinach burrito and a mango margarita. Noms.

In the end I realized that I really had no reason to do the detox. I didn’t want to do it in the first place, and I don’t really like grapefruit juice. Maybe someday I’ll decide that I truly do want to do a 2 day detox, but I think I may design it myself with a variety of juices. I think that was the most difficult part – the lack of variety. I don’t like eating/drinking the same thing all day (especially if it’s something I don’t really like to begin with). The acidity hurt my throat and left a terrible taste in my mouth. I just wanted all the detox juice out of my system, which I don’t think is the intended effect.

So that’s that. I realized I haven’t made a curry in a long time, so I’m going to try a curried chicken recipe from Recipezaar/ Peace out.

Arden’s Garden: Juice and Smoothies

I’ve recently accepted a job with the Arden’s Garden office, and as a result, I’ve been reading up on juicing and cleansing and nutrition and all that fun stuff. So far I’ve felt conflicted, mostly because I learned in my nutrition class that it’s better for you to eat your food than to drink it. I also can’t imagine that cleanses are that healthy for you, since you basically go on a liquid diet for 2 or 3 or 14 or 30 days.

One of the most important reasons to eat your food rather than drink it is because you need to exercise your digestive muscles. If we were supposed to drink our nutrients, we probably wouldn’t have so many muscles in our stomachs and intestines. Another problem with drinking instead of eating is that our bodies are not accustomed to receiving calories and nutrients from liquid. It takes practice and discipline to train your body (and mind) to feel full after drinking a meal’s worth of calories. Since your body doesn’t have to work as hard to process the nutrients, it doesn’t think it’s getting any, and so you don’t feel full, and so you eat more.

If, however, you’re not eating well to begin with, fresh juice and smoothies may be a great option for you. Drinking your fruits and veggies is still nutritious, and probably much easier than eating apples and spinach and blueberries while driving to work. You can easily have a serving of spinach if you blend it with fruits like strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. Furthermore, if you replace sodas, sports drinks, or processed juices with fresh juices and smoothies, then you’re cutting out bad sugars from your diet, especially since most Americans drink their calories nowadays. For example, if you replaced a glass of whole or even 2% milk with a smoothie with spinach, you could get your serving of calcium without the saturated fat from milk!

The only thing I’m still skeptical about is this cleanse business. A lot of people have made money through this kind of stuff, but I don’t believe that you need to do a cleanse in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. That being said, I may do one, just to see what it’s like. As Daniel Tosh of Tosh.0 said, “Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

Toe, toe, toe-MAY-toe…and donuts

That’s how my tomato song goes (much like my potato song). I was singing it a lot today when I went to the farmers market to get ingredients for dinner. My mom’s partner and I decided to go to the market, find ingredients we like, and figure out a recipe to make. It’s fun stuff. For some reason I’ve recently had cravings for tomatoes, and there were tons and tons of them out today. And so many colors! I decided to buy some Japanese black tomatoes because they’re crazy looking.

look at all those tomatoes!

early girl tomatoes? i don't know what that means.

Also, before I went to the farmers market, we stopped at Psycho Donuts, where I got this crazy Feng Shui donut: green tea glaze, chocolate chips, and powdered sugar. I had a discussion a while back with some friends in NYC about donuts. Most people I know who aren’t from California claim Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kremes to be their favorite/the best donuts. There’s a donut place in the Lower East Side that my friend liked (Doughnut Plant?), and he’d always bring different donuts back for us to try. To me, they were nothing new – they were the way I’ve always known donuts to be.

it's triangular! at least before i took a bite out of it.

I grew up with a mom and pop donut shop in Newark, California, which always made their donuts big and fluffy and delicious. When I was in 5th or 6th grade, a Krispy Kreme opened in Union City, and people would wait for at least an hour to get donuts in the morning. When I finally saw one, I thought “Really? That’s it?” tried it, and I was just as disappointed – they’re dense, they’re way too sugary, and nothing like what a donut should be. In high school my friend and I would go to the Happy Donuts on El Camino Real at 2 A.M. because that’s when they had freshly chocolate glazed donuts. My friends told me that the only non-commercial donuts they’d ever had were from the grocery store.

So if you know of a small, independent donut shop, please go there instead of Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme. Have a real donut. Spread the wealth. Rid yourself of ignorance.

Death of a Crab

I read an article yesterday in Diner Journal about Caroline Fidanza’s first experience killing a chicken. She talked about how she felt “the chicken was in good hands because she was in my hands.” She later reflects “when you realize what it’s like to really see the animal as a whole, it changes everything back to the way things are supposed to be.” I thought about this today while I cooked a live crab.

Cooking a live crab is by no means anywhere close to the difficulty of killing a chicken. All I had to do was plop him into a pot of boiling water. That, however, does not mean it was easy for me. I had to call my dad to make sure I did it right. He told me to grab the crab from behind, submerge the crab in the water head first, push him down with a wooden spoon, and then cover with the lid. Since I don’t have rubber gloves and I’m a whimp, I wanted to do it with tongs.

To make a longer story shorter, I ended up dumping the crab out of the bag into the pot of boiling water, made a splash, and the crab didn’t entirely make it in at first, but all of its inanimate legs quickly fell into the pot and I put the lid on top. At first it made me jump and I was a little scared. Once I pushed the crab into the pot and covered it with a lid, I felt quite proud of myself. Not because I had killed a living thing, but because I knew my dad and my grandpa would be really, really proud of me.

My grandpa loved cooking for me. Whenever I’d visit him, he’d spend the whole day cooking and then wait for me to arrive. (I don’t think we have proof of this, but I’m sure it happened.) Even though I was little, I remember him showing me how to cook. He was a great man, and I wish he were still alive to cook for me. I don’t think I appreciated how much he loved food, and how much he wanted me to love food.

Anyway, so tomorrow my friend and I are eating crab, roasted duck, pork buns, and noodles in black bean sauce. It’s my bachelorette party/gift/thing to her.

Love Like Salt

Just a head’s up, I’m planning on making two exciting things: Baking Bites carrot cake and Diner Journal tandoori-ish chicken. So stay tuned. I also wanted to share this poem that I read in high school called Love Like Salt by Lisel Mueller:

It lies in our hands in crystals
too intricate to decipher

It goes into the skillet
without being given a second thought

It spills on the floor so fine
we step all over it

We carry a pinch behind each eyeball

It breaks out on our foreheads

We store it inside our bodies
in secret wineskins

At supper, we pass it around the table
talking of holidays and the sea.

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