Quick Bites from Pender

New Year’s Resolution #3 – Eat a More Healthy Diet

In Did You Know, Kitchen Tips on January 8, 2010 at 5:01 am

So…we’ve arrived at New Year’s resolution #3:  make your diet a healthier one.  That can mean a lot of things of course:  less fat, less salt, less meat, less sugar, less food…period.

bay-leaves

What do bay leaves have to do with eating healthy? I have no idea, but they're green, local and home-dried. So there.

Experience has taught me that extreme changes don’t last.  Small changes are more likely to — it’s easy to tweak most of your favourite recipes to reduce fat, salt, etc.  Slightly smaller portions are a totally legitimate way to make a positive change.  Try a healthy, protein-rich snack.

One easy thing you can do it start reading.  Scrutinize the ingredient list and nutritional data found on packaged foods — especially at processed foods — junk food is $%&! — something that resembles, but does not quite meet, my criteria to be labeled real food.

Now don’t think I don’t indulge in BAD snacks, and occasionally even “pseudo-food.”  (Just last week, I ignored my instinct indulged in a Chicken-Snack-Thing at a Victoria McD’s last week.  After the first bite, I was just glad it was dark, we were in the car, in a hurry, on the way to the ferry, and that I was so hungry I would have eaten anything, including Chorizo Fried Rice —  I polished it off.)

But back to looking at labels.  If you haven’t done it in the past few years, you may be surprised.  There’s a lot of things now that weren’t in food 20 or 30 years ago. Take a look at this list of ingredients my lovely assistant has popped up to show you:

frozen-yoghurt-ingredients

She's scared. Are you?

It’s frozen yogurt.  Now, I made ice cream several times at culinary school.  And although Chef Patrice’s version contained an obscene amount of egg yolks, it did not contain modified corn starch, natural or artificial flavours, guar gum, carrageenan, etc.

These things are added to thicken, improve creaminess and lengthen shelf-life, amongst other reasons.  But in my humble opinion:

  1. Chef P’s ice cream was plenty creamy.
  2. I am human –my digestive system has evolved over millions of years in harmony with the natural world.  For the most part, bar the occasional craving, I prefer naturally occurring food — I’m not an astronaut.  I don’t need Tang.
  3. Creating food to sit on a shelf/in a freezer for A VERY LONG TIME should not be necessary in a non-post-apocalyptic Canada.

For more info on food additives, check out this great little book.

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