Tag Archives: real food

Buy Organic, Especially these “Dirty Dozen” Fruits and Vegetables

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Have you heard of the Dirty Dozen? I’m not talking about the 1967 movie starring Charles Bronson; this Dirty Dozen is a list of agriculture’s dirtiest pieces of produce. The following list of fruits and veggies ranks highest in pesticide residue. These chemicals are organophosphate insecticides, which are toxic to the nervous system. Make sure when you buy the following, you buy organic:

1. Apples

2. Celery

3. Sweet bell peppers

4. Peaches

5. Strawberries

6. Imported nectarines

7. Grapes

8. Spinach

9. Lettuce

10. Cucumbers

11. Domestic blueberries

12. Potatoes

And if you want to go a couple more down the list for good measure, eat these organic too:

+ Green beans

+ Kale/collard greens

Learn more from the Environmental Working Group.

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Bummed by raw milk shortage in Dallas? Check out real milk alternatives.

Real Milk from Texas Daily Harvest, Urban Acres, Dallas

August 2012 Update: Texas Daily Harvest has closed its creamery, much to my dismay. Lavon Farms still runs out of raw milk periodically, so get on their email list if you want availability updates. My current recommendation for low-temp pasturized milk is Mill-King, available at Patina Green and Urban Acres. See comments below the article for details.

 

I am a huge fan of real milk, preferably raw milk from grass-fed cows. The most convenient DFW source of raw milk, the Lucky Layla Farm Store at Lavon Farms in Plano, Texas, has been so popular that demand is sometimes greater than the supply.

If yours is one of the families disappointed when you’re unable to buy raw milk, I have an alternative for you: real milk from East Texas organic dairy, Texas Daily Harvest. It’s available locally at Urban Acres in Oak Cliff, at Whole Foods in Dallas and Plano, and through group and private delivery. They also have some good outlets around Austin, so Austinites check their website for locations. What makes Texas Daily Harvest milk “real milk?” It’s low-heat pasteurized and not homogenized, so it has the cream on top (shake it to mix before you pour).  Low-pasteurized means it’s heated to the minimum temperature required by law, so it still contains some good natural bacteria that you need for a healthy gut, as well as enzymes to help you digest the milk. If you happen to be out near Sulphur Springs, stop by Texas Daily Harvest and buy some raw milk from farmers, Ramy and Kent Jisha. I’ve toured their farm, and I am so impressed by these smart, conscientious farmers. I’m also thankful for them. Their passion and hard work keep good, real food on my table. Whether I buy their milk from Whole Foods or have it delivered (with free-range eggs and meat) to my house, I make sure I am well-stocked with my favorite real food. My husband and I drink a couple of gallons per week. If you can’t buy real milk, don’t bother drinking milk at all. Really. Ultra-Pasteurized milk from cows in confinement dairies, even if it’s organic, is not real food. For more info, check out my first post about real milk, and this one too. Be well! P.S. For my friends who prefer goat milk, or want to locate a raw cow milk dairy close to you, check out the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Real Milk site.

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Resolving to Eat Better is Easier With Solid Advice About Real Food

New Year's Resolution 2012Did you make a New Year’s resolution to eat better? If so, are you trying the same old things you’ve done in the past, or the latest thing, with varying degrees of success? Have you already fallen off the wagon? If so, don’t beat yourself up, and don’t stick your head in the sand … consider eating real food. It will bring you peace. I have so much peace in my life since I discovered real food, in fact the book Real Food by Nina Planck.

I grew up with female role models who made new year’s resolutions to lose weight on restrictive diets, and when that didn’t pan out, there was often the intention to start a diet “on Monday.” I followed suit for years, distrusting food and distrusting myself with food – white knucking it to avoid “bad” foods, and then ending up gorging myself on it (often in secret). Life is too short for that. Food should be enjoyed, and real food is so enjoyable and nourishing.

Take a deep breath, and rejoice in the fact that real food feeds your body, mind and soul. When you eat real food, you have energy, think clearly, breathe more deeply and cope with life better – and you won’t want to swing through the McDonald’s drive-thru. Another wonderful resource for information about traditional, whole food is the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Here’s  the Weston A. Price Foundation’s list of dietary guidelines:

  1. Eat whole, natural foods.
  2. Eat only foods that will spoil, but eat them before they do.
  3. Eat naturally-raised meat including fish, seafood, poultry, beef, lamb, game, organ meats and eggs.
  4. Eat whole, naturally-produced milk products from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and/or fermented, such as whole yogurt, cultured butter, whole cheeses and fresh and sour cream.
  5. Use only traditional fats and oils including butter and other animal fats, extra virgin olive oil, expeller expressed sesame and flax oil and the tropical oils—coconut and palm.
  6. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, in salads and soups, or lightly steamed.
  7. Use whole grains and nuts that have been prepared by soaking, sprouting or sour leavening to neutralize phytic acid and other anti-nutrients.
  8. Include enzyme-enhanced lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages and condiments in your diet on a regular basis.
  9. Prepare homemade meat stocks from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb or fish and use liberally in soups and sauces.
  10. Use herb teas and coffee substitutes in moderation.
  11. Use filtered water for cooking and drinking.
  12. Use unrefined Celtic sea salt and a variety of herbs and spices for food interest and appetite stimulation.
  13. Make your own salad dressing using raw vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and expeller expressed flax oil.
  14. Use natural sweeteners in moderation, such as raw honey, maple syrup, dehydrated cane sugar juice and stevia powder.
  15. Use only unpasteurized wine or beer in strict moderation with meals.
  16. Cook only in stainless steel, cast iron, glass or good quality enamel.
  17. Use only natural supplements.
  18. Get plenty of sleep, exercise and natural light.
  19. Think positive thoughts and minimize stress.
  20. Practice forgiveness.

Just eat real food. And be well.

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Real Food Dessert Recipe: Tiramisu

 Tiramisu Healthy Happy EaterUntil last weekend, it had been about ten years since I’d made tiramisu; I promise it won’t be another ten until the next time. On New Year’s Day,  my husband’s family makes and eats an Italian pasta called cappelletti, and I wanted to bring a special dessert for after the meal. A recent visit to Jimmy’s Food Store in east Dallas, a mecca of Italian specialties, inspired me to make tiramisu. It’s delicious, beautiful, easy and doesn’t require any cooking. Try it!

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs from pastured chickens, separated
  • 1 cup espresso or strong coffee, cooled
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • splash of maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups marscapone cheese
  • 4 tbsp maple sugar
  • 32 ladyfingers (avoid those made with enriched flour … or make your own!)
  • unsweeted cocoa powder
  • bittersweet chocolate shavings

Step One
Combine egg yolks, 2 tbsp espresso, 1 tbsp kahlua and sugar into large mixing bowl. Beat 2 minutes. Add marscapone, beat 3 minutes until smooth.

Step Two
In another bowl, beat 5 egg whites until stiff peaks form (you will not need the remaining 3 whites). Fold beaten whites into marscapone mixture.

Step Three
In a separate bowl, combine coffee, Kahlua and maple syrup. Arrange 1/2 of the ladyfingers in the bottom of a rectangular serving dish, and brush with half of coffee mixture; spread half of the marscapone cream mixture on top; sprinkle cocoa powder and chocolate shavings on top. Repeat one more time with remaining ingredients.
You may use a trifle bowl or springform pan; you’ll just have more than two layers. 

Step Four
Refrigerate for at least four hours, overnight is even better.

Feel free to experiment with different quantities of the ingredients. I consulted several cookbooks and recipes on the backs of the marscapone cheese and ladyfingers, and they varied greatly in the amount of sugar used (I used very little), the number of ladyfingers and the amount of liquor. The recipe above will serve more than 12 people.

Where does tiramisu get its name? In Italian, “tirami su” means pick me up. This dessert is so good that you’ll swoon, and need someone to pick you up off the floor. Cute, huh? Be well.

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Joel and Daniel Salatin’s Polyface: The Farm of Many Faces

Last month I had the honor of visiting Polyface Farm, in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley, for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund benefactor event. Joel Salatin gave the group a three-hour tour, that was fascinating and inspiring; it really touched my heart to be there.

The video below was recorded a couple of years ago by USA Today. It’s a succinct view of the Salatin philosophy of sustainable, symbiotic farming. I hope you enjoy it!

If you want to learn more about Joel’s philosophy and work, and how you can access nutritious, delicious real food, check out Joel Salatin’s book, “Folks This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People and a Better World,”  just released this week.
Joel Salatin

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Is Coconut Oil REALLY Healthy? See Dr. Mercola’s Answer

Dr. Joseph Mercola has two kinds of oil in his pantry: olive oil and coconut oil. Watch this video to find out why.

Coconut oil is beneficial for:

  1. thyroid health –  due to its metabolic effect, coconut oil increases the activity of the thyroid and help you lose weight
  2. heart health – lowers cholesterol
  3. and it’s great applied to your skin – as a makeup remover, moisturizer

Of these two oils, Dr. Mercola uses olive oil for salads, and coconut oil for cooking. Why does he use coconut oil for cooking? Because it doesn’t oxidize at high temperatures like live oil can, and industrial oils do. Speaking of industrial oils, avoid these polyunsaturated oils: canola, safflower, soy, sunflower, corn.

What … avoid canola? Yes! Many people think canola oil is good for them, but it’s not. Follow the money, and read this article about the Great Con-ola. If you eat packaged food, read labels carefully; if it says canola on the label, don’t buy it. I recently noticed canola oil on the ingredient list of a popular brand of hummus. Using canola oil in hummus instead of olive oil means the manufacturer’s focus is on cheap, not quality.

Now, back to coconut oil. Look for these qualities in a good coconut oil:

  • Certified organic by USDA standards
  • No refining
  • No chemicals added (including hexane)
  • No bleaching
  • No deodorization
  • No hydrogenation
  • Made from traditional coconut palms only, no hybrid or genetically modified (GMO) varieties
  • Made from fresh coconuts, not the dried “copra” used in cheap oils
  • Made without heat processing

You can buy good quality coconut oil from Dr. Mercola’s site or Wilderness Family Naturals. I bought mine from Green Pasture, but I don’t see it on their website today.

Dr. Mercola will be the keynote speaker at Wise Traditions, the Weston A. Price Foundation’s International Conference in Dallas, November 11 – 13, 2011. I’ll be there!

If you want to learn more about the health benefits of coconut oil, here’s a good article from real food blogger Cheeseslave, and read Bruce Fife’s well-researched book The Coconut Oil Miracle. Be well!

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Out on the Road with Real Food Chef and Holistic Nutrition Educator, Monica Corrado

Chef Monica Corrado articulates exactly how I feel when I’m away from home, looking for a good meal. Check out her story:

out here on the road

Last month I had the pleasure of eating some of Monica’s fermented food. We were at the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund benefactor lunch at Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm, in the glorious Shenandoah Valley.

Monica made fermented cucumbers and other vegetables, including beets and cauliflower; they were absolutely delicious. I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Monica, but as a casual observer I noticed that she has a wonderful smile and joyful energy.

I absolutely love this blog by Monica, and I hope you do too. Be well.

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Real Food Recipe: Whole Fruit Frozen Margarita

Dana, this marg’s for you! I’m glad you liked the margarita, fruit fiber and all. Here’s the recipe, as requested:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces Grand Marnier
  • 1 medium orange, peeled, halved
  • 1 lime, peeled halved
  • 1 lemon, peeled, halved, seeded
  • 1/4 cup sugar*
  • 6 cups ice cubes
  1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix* container in the order listed and secure the lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  4. Blend for 45 seconds, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.
  5. Pour and enjoy!

* Consider Sucanat (dehydrated cane juice; I used this in your margarita), raw honey or maple syrup. You may also think about a small amount of natural stevia (not Truvia) to taste. If you use stevia, use the green powder, which is the ground up herb, not the white powder, which is the extracted compound.

** Using a standard household blender? Make half the recipe at a time. The full recipe – whole fruit, lots of ice – works best with a large-capacity power blender like Vitamix or Blendtec.

Thanks to Vitamix for the recipe.

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Randy Travis Drinks Raw Milk


Last Sunday morning, my husband and I spent two happy hours with the Moore family at Lavon Farms in Plano, Texas, home of Lucky Layla drinkable yogurt. This is a picture of one of their beautiful Guernsey cows. We’ve been buying raw milk from the Moores since last summer when I first read Nina Planck‘s book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why?, and learned about the amazing nutrient-dense food that is raw milk.

We were out at the farm taking some pictures for a Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund fundraiser that will take place at Lavon Farms on November 11, during the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Wise Traditions Conference in Dallas. When details for both events become available, I’ll let you know.

Just 20 miles north of downtown Dallas, and a world away, this 200-acre farm is home to champion Guernsey and Jersey cows that live life the way cows were meant to. As we walked the pasture to get a better look a the cows, this Guernsey girl in the photo was so curious she just walked right up to us.

This great life they lead is in sharp contrast to the cows that produce most of the milk consumed in the U.S., even organic milk. Most milk is from confinement dairies where cows stand or lie on concrete, often in their own feces. At Lavon Farms, the average productive lifespan is seven to eight years; contrast that with industrial confinement dairy cows’ lifespan of two to three years.

Are you getting enough good protein in your diet? If you’re counting the protein in industrial pasteurized and homogenized milk, that might not count. Todd Moore reminded me that his milk contains the rare A2 protein that’s particularly beneficial for people with:

  • type 1 diabetes
  • high risk of heart disease
  • autism

Only milk from Jersey and Guernsey cattle have the important A2 protein, and Guernseys are known to produce the highest percentage of A2 of all breeds of dairy cattle. If you or your family members have any of the above conditions, and even if you don’t, you may seriously want to consider drinking A2 raw milk. Find your local source for real milk here.

Ann Marie of Cheeseslave.com, says this about protein in general: “Protein is made up of chains of amino acids, which are the precursors for the neurotransmitters in our brain. The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of endorphins and serotinin. According to Julia Ross, pioneer in the field of nutritional psychology and author of The Mood Cure, lack of protein causes:

    • anxiety
    • depression
    • insomnia
    • ADD
    • alcohol/drug addiction, and a host of other problems

Julia says we need 20-30 grams of protein per meal — three times a day. And that’s just to maintain our current brain chemistry. Animal protein is the most nutrient-dense form of protein — so why not just cut to the chase? Anxious? Depressed? You need more protein! It’s essential to always eat fat with protein.”

I am so passionate about real, raw milk that it inspired me to start this blog. My first blog post was about raw milk, and my masthead features bottles of fresh milk. My husband and I drink about a gallon a week; we’ve been known to drink two … and we find ourselves white-knuckling it toward the end of the week, trying to make it last until our next visit to Lavon Farms. I drink it before and after my Camp Gladiator bootcamp workout. Raw milk is the perfect food: you get protein, carbs and good fat, as well as tons of vitamins for healthy body and amino acids for a healthy gut. When your milk is from healthy, happy cows, milked under sanitary conditions, and it’s not pasteurized or homogenized, you get the full benefits of nature’s perfect food.

So what about Randy Travis? I hear he’s a fan of raw milk from Lavon Farms, too!

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Simple Real Food Recipe: Shrimp and Cheese Grits/Polenta with Bacon Tabasco Sauce

I’ve lived in the south all my life, and grits were always a breakfast dish made with white corn grits, mixed with butter and salt; yum. I have an Italian grandmother, and now an Italian husband, and yellow corn grits has always been polenta; also yum.

As contemporary American chefs get back to basic food traditions, I’m finding grits on the menu more often, and it’s not just for breakfast anymore. I was inspired to make this after a visit to Hattie’s (an American bistro with a southern low-country influence) in Dallas. Whether you call it grits or polenta, I have an easy, yummy recipe for you.

Ingredients

Cook the grits according to package directions; I use chicken stock or broth, instead of water, for flavor. The War Eagle grits have microwave instructions, Bob’s Red Mill has stove top instructions. Leave the grits mushy, there’s no need to let it set up in a bowl to cut into cakes.

Toss the shrimp with good olive oil and sea salt and pepper. Spread them in one layer on a sheet pan, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. (This great method for cooking shrimp is from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook – a great resource.)

Cook the bacon until crispy, remove from pan and reserve the fat. Mix bacon fat with Tabasco Chipotle to taste.

To assemble:

  • mix the grits with cheese and butter, place on plate
  • top with shrimp
  • break bits of crispy bacon over dish
  • spoon bacon Tabasco sauce over the top

Serve hot with a big salad, a nice glass of chilled white wine and enjoy! Be well.

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Simple Real Food Recipe: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Serendipity struck in the kitchen last night: I made a delicious broccoli cheddar soup on the fly, and it was terrific! You’ll see from the picture on the left, that it’s bright green, not orangey-yellow. When you mix green broccoli with naturally white cheese, you get a beautiful bright green soup.

Mainstream cheddar is orange only because industrial food companies dye it that way. I had a lightbulb moment about this last weekend when I visited some cheese artisans at the Texas Daily Harvest farm in east Texas. I must tell you, this was a revelation to me.

My broccoli cheddar soup was serendipitous because I was making another dish, and ended up with mushy broccoli that I couldn’t use. I had meant to blanch my broccoli, and then put it in an ice bath, but I ended up letting it boil too long. This turned out to be a great thing, because it turned into a delicious, easy soup. I hope you like it.

Ingredients

I blended it for five minutes on high in my Vitamix blender*, and it came out velvety smooth and piping hot. Drizzle good quality extra virgin olive oil (Tutta Toscana) over the top, and enjoy! You may also want to experiment by adding a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream, and maybe some toasted pine nuts. Buon appetito!

*If you don’t have a high-performance blender such as Vitamix or Blendtec, you’ll need to heat it on the stove. (Blend the broccoli with the liquid ingredients, pour it in the pot, add the shredded cheese, and heat.) I love the Vitamix; it makes hot soups, smoothies, and so much more; I use it almost every day. It has an air-cooled motor that allows it to run for long periods of time without overheating.

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Think Before You Choose the thinkThin® Protein Bar

If you think a thinkThin Bar is a healthy snack, because it’s:

  • high protein
  • sugar-free
  • gluten-free

… think again.

Check out the ingredients (the most objectionable ingredients are bold): Protein blend (calcium caseinate, soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate), glycerin, coating (maltitol, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, sodium caseinate, dairy oil, soya lecithin, natural flavors, salt), glycerin, maltitol syrup, ground peanuts, soy crisps (soy protein isolate, rice flour, calcium carbonate), water, peanuts, canola oil, peanut flour, natural flavors, tricalcium phosphate, soya lecithin, salt. Vitamins and Minerals: ascorbic acid, d-alpha tocopherol, niacinamide, zinc oxide, vitamin A palmitate, electrolytic iron, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, copper gluconate, riboflavin, thiamin mononitrate, folic acid, biotin, potassium iodide, vitamin B12.

Here’s the lowdown:

  1. Soy is the main protein source. Read my post about the dangers of soy. Most protein bars have soy as the main protein source; this is not good by any measure. Consider eating real food instead.
  2. Glycerin is not food.
  3. Maltitol syrup, like high-fructose corn syrup, is a processed syrup that has the same number on the glycemic index as sugar (about 60), but the body can’t process it as efficiently.
  4. There is no nutritional or culinary reason to use cheap, refined canola oil. Many other fats are superior: coconut oil, ghee, butter, olive oil …
  5. Folic acid is popular for enriching industrial foods; too much folic acid from enriched foods can mask a vitamin B-12 deficiency. You cannot get too much folic acid from food that naturally contains it (such as leafy vegetables, citrus, beans), but avoid food “enriched” with folic acid.

Want to eat a good snack? How about an organic Pink Lady apple and some organic peanut butter? If you need a bar for convenience, LaraBars  are made with whole food; these are the only ones I buy … and I still rarely eat them. Think real food, not faux food; raise your standards. Be well!

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Organic Restaurant Nora in DC is Not All That: Food Needs Fat

When traveling, as at home, I make an effort to eat fresh, local real food. Last week in Washington, DC I visited tony Restaurant Nora near Dupont Circle for what I expected to be a spectacular meal. Having read that in 1999, Restaurant Nora became America’s first certified organic restaurant, and that chef Nora was a pioneer in the sustainable food movement, I had high hopes. The $75 (plus tax and tip, not including wine) tasting menu left me flat; the food wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t all that great. Here’s what I had:

  1. First Course: Apple and Butternut Squash Soup
  2. Second Course: Goat Cheese Tart
  3. Third Course: Grass-fed Beef Filet with Carrots and Mashed Potatoes
  4. Dessert: Banana Bread Pudding with Coconut Ice Cream

The best thing I had was the filet which was absolutely tender and flavorful; there is nothing like a good steak from a cow allowed to forage, breathe fresh air and … well, be a cow. As for the rest of the food, I think Nora may not have gotten the message that traditional fats are actually good for you (e.g., butter and lard). I think that’s the missing piece in her menus.

Other observations: the wait staff that served my table were aloof and slow; the restaurant is decorated with museum-quality antique Mennonite and Amish crib quilts that are spectacular and perfectly lit.

The bottom line is that I wish I had read the following Zagat review about Restaurant Nora before my trip: “Never trust a skinny chef: the food here is as dull as it is overpriced. If you care more about seeing the organic label than you do about food quality, then …”

P.S. The perfect place to stay in that neighborhood is Embassy Circle Guest House.

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Obesity May Be Becoming the New Norm

A recent Harris/HealthDay poll found that 30 percent of overweight people think they are normal size. Is this wishful thinking or are we just putting our heads in the sand?

Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are the biggest threat to the health of our population. I think the vast majority of people are aware of this, but they’re either not willing to do anything about it, or they’ve tried various solutions through the years with no lasting success.

For me, depending on my frame of mind, I was either ignoring my obesity problem or optimistically trying another diet. I went on my first diet at age 10, the Air Force Diet, a popular low-carb diet in the seventies; I ate a lot of hotdogs. Then I fasted a few times until I almost passed out. In the early ’80s it was Judy Mazell’s Beverly Hills Diet; mangoes and papayas still remind me of that diet. Next was the Cambridge Liquid Diet in my late high school years. My friend’s Dad made her get on it to maintain her at 118 pounds; he actually made her weigh in front of him. Then there was Slim Fast. By then, I was in college and weighed 182 pounds; I had dieted off and on for half of my short life.

After college in the early ’90s I got into the cycle of going to diet centers for help. I bought a lifetime membership to Jenny Craig and dutifully ate their food-like substances. I lost weight very quickly, eating only 1000 calories per day. I was “perfect,” and I basked in the glory when I was able to proclaim to the counselors that I was “good.” At 132 pounds, I was two pounds away from my goal weight. Week after week, I would go to the Center, buy more boxed food, and I just could not lose those last two pounds. I was frustrated and sad, and the counselors kept telling me to try harder. If only someone (me?) had told me that I should celebrate how far I’d come, and not worry about another couple of pounds. Instead, I quickly gained all the weight back and then some.

For the next fifteen years, I would be in and out of Jenny Craig, on and off diets, until the past few years when I gave up on even trying to diet. My self-esteem was low, my energy was low, and the comfort of eating McDonald’s all by myself in my car was just too alluring. I was drawn to it, obsessed with it, soothed by it, addicted to it … and poisoned by it. It has been more than three months since my last visit to McDonald’s, and I have lost 26 pounds. I feel calm and strong and completely free of the pull of the Golden Arches. How did I do it? I did the AdvoCare 24-day challenge, with the support of Camp Gladiator, and then I began eating Real Food as described by Nina Planck. The challenge got me off sugar and fast food, and got me accustomed to eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Nina’s book is guiding me for how to eat for the rest of my life. I was afraid that eating well meant limiting your choices; on the contrary, a whole new world of great food has opened up to me.

If you are obese or overweight, you can break free from that prison. Do you have to do a strict challenge before you start eating according to the Real Food principles? No; it just happened to be my journey. You must understand though how sugar, refined grains and chemical-laden industrial food-like substances are affecting your brain. They are keeping you imprisoned. Get Nina Planck’s book, and start eating real food. One good thing that I did learn from Jenny Craig (way back when) was to shop the walls of the grocery store; you’ll find all the food you need there. Along the walls, you’ll find the produce, fish, meat and dairy.

Whether you’re gorging food with abandon or white-knuckling it to stay away from “bad” foods, you have a problem. Once you get the sugar and chemicals out of your system, and eat real food, you will realize the blessings of a clear mind and a healthy body. I feel better today than I’ve felt in more than 17 years; I wish the same for you. Obesity does not have to be the “new norm” for you. Eat well, move for fun and be well.

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Think soy products are healthy? Think again.

I’ve eaten some soy products on purpose (edamame and a brief flirtation with soy milk), but I’m sure the vast majority of my past soy consumption was hidden (in chocolate … to just about everything processed). After reading about some of the dangers of soy in Nina Planck’s Real Food, I cleaned out my cupboards of all products with vegetable oil, including my former favorite salad dressing that contained soybean oil.

Acording to Kaayla T. Daniel, Ph.D., hundreds of epidemiological, clinical and laboratory studies link soy to: 

  • Malnutrition
  • Digestive distress
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Cognitive decline
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Infertility
  • Birth defects
  • Immune system breakdown
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer

“Second generation soy foods are manufactured using high heat and pressure, chemical solvents, acids and alkalis, extruders and other harsh tools that are very likely to contain or produce toxic or carcinogenic residues.”
— Kaayla T Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story

Soy protein is a big staple of the vegan and vegetarian diet, in tofu and powder form just to name a couple of popular items. Interestingly, even some vegans are recognizing the dangers are soy, and bill themselves as soy-free.

Listen to the piece below for an audio interview with Sally Fallon about why soy is toxic.

What about Asians who eat soy, and seem to be healthier than we are? The soy they eat is fermented soy, as in soy sauce, which is not the toxic chemically-altered kind that’s in our American industrial food; they also eat smaller quantities of soy overall. Small quantities of the fermented products of soy sauce, miso and tempeh are fine for healthy people, especially if they have been slowly fermented over time, to maximize the reduction of toxins in soy.

For further information, check out this Soy Alert from the Weston A. Price Foundation. Be well!

27 March 2012 Update: Check out Food Renegade for more research on dangers of soy http://www.foodrenegade.com/dangers-of-soy/

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Julia Ross says, “Junk moods come from junk foods.”

You’ve probably heard that nutrition plays an important role in how we feel, but have you taken it to heart? If you feel crummy, I’d guess that your diet probably includes:

  1. Junk food (fast food, sugar, white flour, vegetable oil, processed food), or
  2. Foods you think are healthy, but are not (low fat meats like skinless chicken breast, or worse … no meat, soy products, grains)

Watch this five-minute video from the CheeseSlave’s online cooking class on how plenty of protein and good fats can help you be well:

Give your brain the nutrients it needs, and you will feel well and be well. The nutrients your brain needs are the same that your whole body needs for optimal functioning. I was addicted to white flour and sugar for years. I have recently ditched junk food, and I feel better than I have in more than a decade! And I’m not being “good” or exercising an iron will, I am eating real, beautiful, delicious food that just happens to be exactly what my brain and body need. I really feel like a new person, and I hope the information I share will help you too.

To learn about real food, read Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck.

For more information about how food affects your mood, check out The Mood Cure (by Julia Ross).

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Raw milk!

Until five weeks ago raw milk had never passed my lips, nor had it ever crossed my mind. Thanks to Nina Planck’s book Real Food: What to Eat and Why, it’s now a regular part of my daily diet, and I can’t imagine life without it. Raw milk is creamy, sweet, fresh, fat and an honest-to-goodness real whole food.

Besides the great taste, there are many nutritional benefits to drinking raw milk, including vitamins and more available calcium that are damaged if pasteurized. Milk is a whole food, complete with protein, fat and carbohydrates. What about people who say they are lactose intolerant? They can drink raw milk because it contains the lactase enzyme that’s necessary to digest the lactose (lactase is killed when pasteurized). Here’s Real Food author Nina Planck on dairy and eggs. Here’s Sally Fallon on real raw milk.

In some states it’s actually illegal to buy and sell raw milk. Really. You can buy cigarettes and all kinds of toxic substances masquerading as food, but not wholesome raw milk. That’s not the case in Texas; you just have to buy it from the farm. The weekly 40-mile round-trip trek to the Lucky Layla Farm Store at  Lavon Farms in Plano, where they sell milk from pastured champion Guernsey and Jersey cows, is a small price to pay.

Want to learn more about raw milk, including where you can get it? Visit A Campaign for Real Milk, a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

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