Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Fresh Fast Food Revolution

February 7, 2014

3025638-slide-3jars

Eating well on the fly isn’t easy. Fast food and vending machine choices tend be high in fat, sugar, and sodium, and low in quality and nutritional value. Luke Sanders agrees, and he set out to do something about it. His latest venture, Farmer’s Fridge, is a kiosk filled with fresh, organic and where possible, local food that is as good for you, and the environment, as it tastes.

The company fills the refrigerated kiosk daily, with fresh salads which are  high on both flavor and nutrition. Super foods, nuts and seeds are incorporated into the mix. Best of all, they are packaged in BPA and phthalate free, fully recyclable jars. The ingredients are layered  to keep them from getting soggy. At the end of the day, the product is discounted, and the remaining salads are donated to local food pantries.

The concept is sure to revolutionize the fast food market. While the only one is at the Garvey Food Court in the Chicago area, watch for future kiosks to emerge in other cities across the country.

Advertisements

Eating Outside the Box

March 7, 2013

4330300171

I pride myself in being a generally healthy eater, trying to concentrate on fresh, whole foods that are low in fat and refined carbohydrates. Not my whole household does the same.

When B was a baby, she ate everything I gave her. She loved scrambled eggs, fish, tofu, fruits and vegetables. Stir-fried broccoli from the local Chinese restaurant was greeted with smiles and kicking feet. Then, something changed.

It started innocently, with a chocolate chip cookie baked as a distraction during the days that followed 9/11. She eyed it tentatively at first, then gave it a cautious lick. As a big grin swept over her face, she realized she discovered something delicious. Still, sweets were offered in only in moderation.

Next, there was the hotdog, offered unwittingly by a parent on a play date. Little by little, she was introduced to the fried, the processed and the heavily sweetened. Little by little, she balked at the healthy foods being served to her, and morphed into an average kid, with an average palate.
Now heading into her teens, her poor habits are exacerbated by her ability to go into the kitchen and help herself. I am the enabler, making sure the cupboards and freezer are stocked with foods she likes.

Last night, when I saw the wrappers from the afternoon snacks in the trash, I offhandedly voiced my concern, stating that she was going to end up diabetic if she didn’t clean up her act.

Today after school, B asked me if she is really a candidate for illness, even though she is active and far from overweight. The sad reality is that she is headed in that direction. It was a wake-up call for both of us.
Article after article discusses how sugar, and an unbalanced diet could lead to all kinds of health risks, from diabetes to cancer. Just because those Pop tarts are organic, and the granola bars whole grain and trans fat free, doesn’t mean they are healthy.

By the time we reached home, she had outlined her new eating plan.

Scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow, instead of a toaster pastry. Perhaps moving onto oatmeal later in the week.

I have been instructed to stock up on pears, grapes and bananas, as well as cashews, carrots with dip, and the ingredients for an afternoon smoothie to be eaten as snacks or dessert.

Dinner will be a challenge, but if we focus on the foods she likes, it’s a start.

In essence, it’s time she starts eating outside of the box. Literally.

What can we offer up to the pickiest of eaters that comes from the earth, not a package? I intend to find out.

We have all heard of Meatless Monday. Perhaps we need to coin “Try it Tuesday”, “Whole Grain Wednesday” or “Thirsty Thursday”? Even a day called “F$2k It Friday” could exist, because sometimes you just to kick back and have some pizza after a long week.

Let’s see how we do. Can she change her eating habits? Can I avoid buying food in a box? Can I get creative with the foods she likes, in order to make her fresh, healthy dinners that she can enjoy? Time will tell, and I will of course tell it here.

Stay tuned, as we set out to eat outside the box.

A Memorial Day Story: The True Meaning of Success

May 28, 2012

My nephew is currently serving in the military, at a remote base in Afghanistan.
When he wrote that they did not have access to fresh foods, such as fruit, vegetables or dairy, and only received 2 dried meals per day, I set out to find things that I could send him to keep him healthy during his deployment.
At first I sent the obvious; boxed chocolate milk, protein powder, “power bars”, and pouches of pureed apples with bananas or carrots. Then one day while trolling the aisles of Whole Foods, I stumbled upon Orgain, the perfect meal replacement that is shelf stable, nutritious, and could survive being airlifted by helicopter if necessary.

The product itself is incredible. It is a doctor developed nutritional shake that is organic and free of artificial sweeteners. It also contains 24 vitamins and minerals, is high in protein and has the antioxidant equivalent of 10 servings of fruits and vegetables in each eco-friendly tetra pack. It is shelf stable for one year, without the use of preservatives. I know, this sounds like an advertisement, but I haven’t gotten to the good part yet…

I wrote to the company and told them about the less than ideal circumstances that my nephew was experiencing, and how thrilled I was to find their product. They immediately replied that although were just a small start-up company, they would like to help. They graciously offered to ship their product to him and his entire team with their thanks for the sacrifices they were making for their country. I can’t thank them enough for their generosity and kindness. It is not just a company with a great product, but also one with a big heart.

As we speak, 72 boxes of Orgain are making their way to an army base somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan, enroute to providing sustenance to a handful of men and women who are risking their lives on our behalf.

On Orgain’s website, there is an anonymous quote that epitomizes their business philosophy:
“To do more for the world than the world does for you, that is success.”

I guess they have a lot in common with those who will soon be receiving their gift.

This Memorial Day, please take a moment to give thanks for our fallen heroes, and for those who are currently serving. They, like Orgain are doing more for the world than the world is doing for them, and they are doing it with pride and dedication. I’d say they’re pretty successful, wouldn’t you?

Happy Memorial Day!

photo: Glasshouse Images

http://www.drinkorgain.com/

Schnitzel Burgers? Seriously?

January 21, 2012

Just yesterday, I was having a conversation about the evolution of school lunches.

Back in the day, a fat lunch lady with a hairnet ladled out some mystery concoction, and that was that. If you didn’t want it, you didn’t eat. (and you can bet your life, I didn’t!).

Today, B’s school (ok, a New York City private school) offers up a wide range of fresh, healthy options to suit even the pickiest eater’s palette.

Everyday, there is a meat or fish offering, a vegetarian entrée, a salad and a sandwich choice of the day and various side dishes. There is also a salad bar, and a sandwich section where a variety of sandwiches are made including Paninis to order.

In the morning, there is always fresh fruit, yogurt, cereals, breads and hot oatmeal available, with special items such as bagels, croissants or homemade muffins, biscuits or French toast.

Most of the food is organic, and locally sourced where possible. They do not offer soda, or desserts and serve as little of the gloppy white stuff as possible. Sounds great, right?
So of course I was shocked when I asked B what she had for lunch yesterday. Usually, the answer is “ I don’t remember” or “an Italian Panini.”  I didn’t expect her to say “schnitzel burgers”. Schnitzel what?

So, in my quest for greater knowledge and understanding, I Googled them.

It seems they are quite trendy and supposedly delicious.

The burger is made from an inexpensive cut of pork, ground up, and breaded and fried like the traditional Wiener schnitzel. It is served on a bun, with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. A fried egg was optional.

Excuse me for bucking the trend but, YUCK!

With all of the fuss about healthy ingredients, what you do with them makes all the difference. While it’s wonderful if the pork was free range and grass fed, the egg organic and the bun sprouted wheat, at some point, it all went to hell in a hand-basket when they ground it, breaded it and fried it in a vat of oil.
We need to stop and re-assess what healthy food really means. The preparation is as important as the purity of the ingredients.  You can still get fat on organic cream and cheeses, or donuts prepared with honey and heart healthy olive oil. Calories and fat grams know no boundaries, and locally sourced, free range and organic foods do not have less of them.

It’s ok to enjoy the occasional schnitzel burger, if that’s what floats your boat. But don’t try to pass it off as a healthy choice please.

photo: Serious Eats

Don’t Panic Over Buying Organic

March 31, 2010

There is so much controversy over the safety of our food these days. With all of the contaminants out there, it is best to buy organic fruits and vegetables wherever possible. Unfortunately, organic produce can be pricey, and is not always available in all locales. Below is a list of foods that experts suggest should be organic, based on the United States Department of Agriculture’s tests of pesticide contamination, as well as a list of those that have low levels of contamination.

Food that you should always buy organic:

Nectarines

Celery

Pears

Peaches

Apples

Cherries

Strawberries

Imported Grapes

Spinach

Potatoes

Bell Peppers

Raspberries

Foods that are least likely to be contaminated by pesticides:

Asparagus

Avocado

Broccoli

Cabbage

Eggplant

Kiwi

Mango

Onions

Papaya

Pineapple

Sweet corn

Peas

Sweet potatoes

Tomatoes

Watermelon

Being well informed is the first step to healthy eating.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Foods Banned In Europe That Are Approved In The USA

March 24, 2010

Although we think we have the safest food in the world, there are 7 “foodstuffs” that are banned in Europe and still available in United States.

Genetically modified foods have been banned in Europe and continue to be used in the U.S. Although there is no evidence to inform good public policy, the trans-fat controversy has been an example of a modified food with negative impact to our health.

A ban on 22 different pesticides still used in our country prohibits their use in the E.U. While critics claim that the ban will raise prices and may thwart malaria control, advocates say that their harm to public health is a greater threat. Buying organic produce will help you avoid unwanted chemicals in your food.

The bovine growth hormone, known as rBGH, is not allowed in Europe. In contrast, the U.S. fights for laws regarding hormone-free labeling, allowing consumers to have a choice. Choose grass fed, hormone free meat wherever possible, as a healthier option.

Chlorinated chickens are not allowed in Europe, which prohibits the importing of American poultry as a result. Purchasing organic, or free-range natural chickens from a reputable farm can protect you and your family from unnecessary chlorination.

We have spoken about the negative aspects of chemicals in plastics previously. Both the U.S. and Europe regulate food contact use of these chemicals, but the standards of approval are much more stringent in Europe. It is best to avoid plastic bottles altogether, especially those containing liquids. Buy food in recyclable glass bottles wherever possible, and use glass containers to hold liquid leftovers in the refrigerator.

Stevia, the new natural sweetener is unavailable in Europe, although it has been used in Japan for over 30 years.  The European government cites potential disturbances to fertility among other negative health risks, but the sweetener has also been tied to some positive benefits as well. This is a case of exercising caution; it may be the best choice among the chemically based additives (Equal, Sweet + Low) but eliminating any sugar substitutes other than raw honey is the best choice.

The best way to protect yourself from the possible negative effects of some the additives in our food is to be as educated as possible about the risks involved in ingesting them. Buying organic, hormone free foods is a great start. Eating less packaged and processed foods is always a healthier choice. Knowing your food sources and making wise decisions wherever possible is the best route to good health, long-term.

photo: Glasshouse Images


%d bloggers like this: