Sweeping Away Products of Greed — Welcome the Creative Kitchen Cabinet

A few years ago, when people were first waking up to the idea that waxy, solid, partially hydrogenated oils were not such a great idea, a Kraft official testified — under oath — that their company could not comply with the no-trans-fats pressure because it was impossible to make an Oreo cookie without them.  A moment later, Paul Newman’s daughter (who runs the Newman’s Own Organics brand) offered the Kraft representative and the judge a Newman-O cookie — a copy of the Oreo, without the trans fats.

A little ingenuity goes a long way.  A little less regard for share holders’ quarterly reports, and a little more regard for the health of the share holders’ children and grandchildren goes a long way.

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When a product you use turns out to have HEALTH RISKS attached — like canned tomatoes or microwave popcorn — the first thing you do is look for alternatives.  We switch to jar-tomato products like spaghetti sauce, salsa, and some of the new tomatoes and sauces being packaged in glass that are showing up on store shelves in response to this news.  We get some oil and some organic, non-GMO popping corn and make our popcorn the old-fashioned way.

The same is true for other questionable products.  We switch from regular Oreos to Newman’s Own.  We switch from sugar-filled “juice drinks” — to no-sugar-added, 100% juice, and organic juices. The trick, as they say, is to never, not ever, no matter how snappy the name is, or how pretty the picture on the label — NEVER buy anything that says JUICE DRINK, FLAVORED WITH REAL JUICE, FLAVORED DRINK, JUICE BEVERAGE, BLEND, ___-ADE, or COCKTAIL.

For a few hints, look at this article in Women’s Health Magazine called “The Unhealthiest Juices in America,” and always remember that even the healthiest juices are not as nutritious as the fruits they came from.  That’s important.  It’s a clue.

Even the healthiest juices are not as nutritious
as the fruits they came from.

…which should tell you how much you want to stay away from all those Kool-ade wanna-bes that try to pass themselves off as nutritional or healthful juice….

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When agriculture researchers tell us that regular-market apples and potatoes have 12-times the pesticides applied to them than any other veggies and fruits in the produce aisle — we switch to organic potatoes and apples!  That one switch cuts down the pesticides we consume from fresh produce by over 65%.  Easy switch.

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There are also changes to be made just because food companies have been thinkings and using technology in really healthy ways.  FOOD TECHNOLOGY/NUTRITION in the hands of creative and resourceful people has produced a landslide of foods with more compressed nutrition in the last few years.  Suddenly, fiber (which formerly was so elusive that people bought 1g-fiber pills and capsules to up their daily intake) is a viable ingredient.

Vitalicious muffins, brownies, and Vitatop Muffin Tops manage to squeeze 5-7g of fiber, 5-6g of protein, and almost no fat at all into a 100 calorie desert.  Compare that to a Glazed Krispy Kreme donut at 200 calories, 12g of fat, 1g fiber, and 1.5g protein.  Or to Twinkies: ONE Twinkie (half a 2-pac) has 150 calories, 4.5g fat, NO fiber, and only 1g of protein.  A single Sara Lee Banana Nut Muffin has 440 calories, 13g fat, NO fiber, and 7g of protein; and a traditional home-baked brownie has 240 calories, 10g fat, NO fiber, and 6g protein.  Best news of all –> Vitalicious products are now available in almost all major grocery store chains (in the frozen breads/waffles/breakfast foods section, or as mixes on the baking aisle.)Similarly, Fiber Gourmet pastas and snack crackers slice off 40-50% of the calories in our favorite macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, cheese crackers, and  wheat saltines.  Still, Fiber Gourmet manages to make those crackers kick in 12g of fiber per 70-calorie bag.  Regular store brands of enriched pasta (and homemade pasta) average 210-220 calories per 2oz-dry serving, with 1-2g fiber, and 6-8g protein.  Fiber Gourmet’s pasta, weighs-in at only 140 calories per 2oz-dry serving — but with a whopping 18g of fiber, and 7g of protein.  Suddenly, pasta — the bane of Atkins and low-carb mavens everywhere — is back on the menu as one of the most nutrition dense foods you can have in your diet!  All the vitamins of other enriched pastas — but with a full 1/3 of its dry weight made of much sought after fiber!

Additionally, almost every major bread bakery in the country now offers a “Double Fiber” version of its bread — and even King Arthur Flour Company has joined in by introducing hi-fiber flour and bread ingredients to its Baker’s Catalog customers so they can make hi-fiber and double-fiber bread of their own using a handy bread machine.

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If it sounds like I’m only paying attention to fiber here — rest assured, there are lots of these high-tech nutrition Aces up my sleeve.  Fiber is maybe the most obvious first hit because according to anybody and everybody associated with dropping weight these two changes:

#1 -the addition of fiber, and
#2 -the reduction of sugars in the American Diet

stand to make the most difference in our overall health and well-being — and weight management.  If we don’t change anything else about our diet, and we increase fiber and decrease sugar, our overall health will improve so dramatically that we won’t hardly recognize ourselves — our energy levels, our sleep habits, our weight, our mood — just about every aspect of our lives will change in ways we (and those who know us) will see in as little as 2-3 weeks.  REALLY

That’s a pretty astonishing claim.  Absolutely.   And if we make 4-5 more changes (we’ll talk about them later) we can get as much change as that AGAIN.

This makes me happy.

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I’m not going to list a lot of sugar reduction products here right now. Sugar is a fairly complicated subject — made more complicated by the fast-food and convenience-food American life.

However —

I’ve stopped drinking sodas for several reasons.  All the chemical artifical-sweeteners give me migraines, headaches, and slow-thoughts.  So no blue packets, pink packets, or yellow packets, either.

Similarly, caffeine is a drug for me.  I have severe asthma, and caffeine is an emergency drug for asthmatics.  It has the same properties for asthma that adrenalin has — and can boost the ability to breath on short notice and in hostile environments like work, school, shopping and church. 😉  So rather than build up a tolerance to caffeine and lose this drug of last resort — I save it for when I need it.  I’ve had asthma attacks when I’d lost or forgotten my inhaler that I’ve treated it with shots of espresso at the closest Starbucks –and surprisingly, (or maybe not) the barista there knew exactly what I needed when I came in — pale and wheezing — and he started pulling double shots for me before I could order!

So between the artificial sweeteners in diet soda, the caffeine in ALL my favorites, the sugar in most everything that isn’t chemically sweetened, the chemical preservatives, the artificial chemical flavors, the artificial non-food derived colors and the waste-of packaging environmentally-unsound-plastic bottles — I’m thinking there are better choices to be made.

My normal everyday drinks-menu is full of herbal teas, decaf chai, Illy decaf espresso, and little green packets of Sweet Leaf Stevia Plus — which kills both big birds with one stone, in that a single packet of this super-sweet natural sweetener (stevia is a plant with sweet leaves) has no sugar, and is packed with 1g of non-soluble fiber as it’s carrier.  😀

Evidently, other sweetener manufacturers have discovered Stevia — and SweetLeaf’s 1pk=1g fiber idea and so the little green packets are tangled up in some sort of proprietary or patent or formula legal thingie — and it’s hard to come by right now — but I found the bulk 4oz jars of Stevia Plus on Amazon for good $.  It’s been SweetLeaf Stevia Plus for at least 6 years that I’ve been buying it — so we’ll see how the lawyers sort it out.

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The problem with sugar reduction is that sugar — the strongest carb of all — is a tough addiction to get over.  If you’ve been having 1 soda with sugar, 1 cup of coffee with sugar, or 1 candy bar a day –every day of your life — then your body is very comfortable with that sugar.  If you stop the soda and switch to a cup of gen-mai, or a decaf coffee with stevia, then your body is going to miss that sugar.  If you were eating a big desert every day — or a shake — or waffles with lots of syrup — then your body is going to miss it more.  Sugar is an addictive energy boost.  Sugar is an addictive mood altering food.  As much as Thanksgiving turkey makes you sleepy — the 32oz Big Gulp of Dr. Pepper is making you alert and full of pep.

And if the gurus are right — it takes between 15 and 20 days to get yourself out of that addiction.  And it’s easier if you go cold-turkey for a while.  Yep.  That’s the cure.

Just stop.

If you break the connection between all those years of sugar and your body — you can add little bits — small servings — moderation in everything — back into your diet in a few weeks.  But for now, it’s a bare naked addiction.  So it has to be a bare naked and very cold turkey.  Making the pasta change to Fiber Gourmet is easy, because the pasta tastes like every other pasta on the store shelf.  Switching to their cheese snack crackers and wheat saltines are just that easy, too.  Buying whole grains and other hi-tech hi-fiber products –same thing.  Easy.  Tastes great.  Organic potatoes and apples to avoid poisons — easy-peasy.

Reducing sugar — not so easy.

But do-able.  Get your energy burst somewhere else.  Buy yourself a box of Emergen-C packets and drink a big load of Vitamin C and B-Vitamins when you start to feel the absence of sugar — and that will help you over the energy hump.  Eat a handful of vitamin enriched Total Cereal — same thing.

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One thought on “Sweeping Away Products of Greed — Welcome the Creative Kitchen Cabinet

  1. Pingback: Stevia Plus Fiber

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