Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Eating Better: The Basics (Part One)

Wanna hear something SHOCKING?

My kids do NOT know what Trix cereal tastes like! Or Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, Apple Jacks, Cap'n Crunch...the list could go on for a while. They can not fathom the flavor of a Cheeto. Or recall the riotous jumping of Pop Rocks on their tongues.

Wanna know why?

They have NEVER eaten them!

Yeah, yeah, I know...I'm drinking the Kool-Aid (made with stevia and coloring naturally derived from beet extract) mixed up the earthy-crunchies.  A little artificial flavoring, MSG, and twenty plus ingredients that I haven't a clue how to pronounce, all cemented together by some high fructose corn syrup are way healthier than the bad wrap they've gotten...

Now, I will be kids have had their share of junk food. They do get out from under my strict control every so often. And...

I would likely cringe if I knew some of the unhealthy "treats" that have passed their lips and landed into their little tummies. Also, If you look back at my post on our summer picnic, you will see that Gabe is indeed drinking a soda. In my defense, I bought it because it was in a glass bottle, made with cane sugar (not high fructose corn syrup), and brought back a few childhood memories. I know, I know, it is the beginning of the post and I am already a hypocrite! But...if you can't bend the rules every once in a while, life would get a little dull. I am not perfect.

Let's clear the air about something else...I LOVE to bake. I make cupcakes, cakes, candies, breads, and all sorts of tasty treats. Here's the catch: I do it with natural and/or organic ingredients. I refuse to use shortening, artificial flavorings, bleached flours, beet sugar, or anything else that is "fake"or full of trans fats. My recipes consist of basics: Unbleached (and sometimes whole wheat) flour, pure cane sugar, organic eggs, real butter and real vanilla. I use organic flour when I can afford to, and turbinado sugar if I can get away with it and a recipe is forgiving enough. The key to this is MODERATION. 

One of the first steps I took in cleaning up our diet was eliminating/reducing the MSG and preservatives we consumed. In my research I found a few articles on nitrates that made me cringe.  In case you don't know, sodium nitrate/nitrite is used as a preservative in hotdogs, lunch meat, bacon and too many other things to count. It has been linked to several different cancers, most notably colon cancer. You can find hotdogs, lunch meat and bacon that do not contain nitrates, but it is difficult, and you have to look for sneaky labeling tricks. I buy my bacon...yes, we do occasionally eat my local meat market, where it hasn't been treated with as many nitrates (if any at all), because it is not prepackaged to sit in a refrigerator case for months at a time. Instead of lunch meat, I buy whole, organic chicken, bake it, and shred/slice it for sandwiches.

Also, in my Internet perusing, I came across a ton of information about MSG. A "flavor enhancer" used in...well...EVERYTHING! You will not believe the foods that contain monosodiumglutamate (MSG)! Funny (not so funny) story about MSG. My husband LOVES jerky. He loves it so much that he started making his own out of the venison from the deer he hunts. We would buy these packets of seasoning, thinking it was so much easier than mixing it ourselves. Well, since he then had a ton of jerky, he started eating it every day...lots of it. Very strangely, he also started getting headaches daily. This went on for months. Until I decided to read the packet of jerky seasoning. Monosodiumglutamate was one of the MAIN ingredients. We threw the packets away, and the headaches never came back! We now make our own seasoning (and it tastes much better).

This is post is getting a tad lengthy, and I have included a bunch of information to I will continue tomorrow with some alternatives I use to replace the preservative laden foods that had been a staple on my cupboard shelves. Also, I will give you some great links to recipes and websites that promote healthy eating.

Plus, in an upcoming post, I will show you a rarely seen photo of me at 185 pounds! If that doesn't get you to come back, I don't know what else will;)

Let me know what you think so far!



  1. Hi Jessie! Kudos on all of the nutrition research you've done - you really know your stuff! And I agree with you whole-heartily on eating more natural and organic foods and trying to minimize harmful preservatives and the like. I'm not perfect by any means - I still buy a lot of packaged foods, but I'm trying. By the way, don't you think organic fruits and veggies taste a whole lot better? Once I noticed how much better they taste, I was totally convinced that organic is the way to go when possible. So...I don't want to come off as a self-righteous vegetarian (and I promise I'm not judgy), but have you considered a non-meat (or less meat) diet? Here's a list with some health-related reasons to go veg:

  2. Thank you for he info, I know that we need to clean up our diet BIG TIME, I am junk food queen here!!! :) The bad thing for me is I don't like to bake or cook, I mean I don't mind it but it is not my favorite. I really need a kick in the rear to get going, which I have been saying for years, but I really to do it.
    I enjoy this and I hope that you can help me bit by bit replace some of the stuff we have with things that are better for us. :)

  3. Lauren-Very interesting vegetarian info! I consider us flexatarians. We eat meat maybe 2 or 3 times per week, usually chicken. I try to only make red meat every other week:) And yes, I do notice that organic produce is MUCH tastier. We also have our own garden, and that stuff in A-W-E-S-O-M-E! Thank you for your interest and the info!


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