Tag Archive | gmo

Posers

Bean Tacos

If you are someone who has to, or chooses to, avoid wheat gluten, then you might think corn and rice products would be natural go-tos for things like tortillas, chips and crackers. I choose to ingest as little wheat gluten as possible, so for awesome taco night we snagged these corn taco tortillas by Sonoma. They went perfectly with Jon’s homemade ‘refried’ black beans, sautéed vegetables and cilantro. Until I grabbed the package out of curiosity and noticed the ingredients.

Sonoma Handmade Organic Corn Tortilla Ingredients: water, stone ground yellow corn masa flour, wheat gluten

wait…what?

The strange thing is the website makes it clear that it’s a wheat/corn blend, but my packaging was totally different and just said “Corn Tortillas.” It has made me understand that while the wonderful world of healthy food is growing and embracing the best our world has to offer, I also need to remain vigilant when choosing packaged products. I wouldn’t say that trust was lost, but it was a nice reminder to take the time and read the ingredients carefully. A few extra seconds could save you some agony later. With that said, the tortillas themselves were delicious and pliable, and the corn/wheat blend is great if you can still manage small amount of gluten in your diet in your efforts to reduce consumption. Trust is pretty powerful, especially when it comes to food. I remember looking at a bag of beef jerky while at a small ‘fresh & local’ market a while back thinking about the great snack this would be (and it said nitrate/nitrite free). A read through the ingredients made me set that bag down and never look back. It made no attempt to hide the ‘Monosodium Glutamate‘ listed. Yikes.

POP QUIZ

Name this product (and NO googling) – the answer will be posted Thursday afternoon.

Ingredients: Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Soybean Oil, Sugar, Cornstarch, Maltodextrin, Malt Syrup(from Corn And Barley), Salt, Invert Sugar, Cayenne Pepper Sauce (Cayenne Peppers, Vinegar, Salt, Garlic), Leavening (Calcium Phosphate And/Or Baking Soda), Tomato Powder, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Yeast Extract, Vegetable Color (Paprika Extract, Annatto Extract, Turmeric Oleoresin), Spice. BHT Added to Packaging Material to Preserve Freshness.

Smells Fishy

Halibut July 2006

Dad, me (big ones are mine!), mom, younger brother; Homer, AK 7/2006

Those beauties are halibut, and it’s the weirdest-looking-most-delicious-tasting fish. Living in Alaska at the time I got to take home around 20 pounds of the freshly frozen fish and I learned to cook it every which way. After moving away halibut wasn’t on the menu but once or twice a year. The costs of animal and fish meats have noticeably risen, particularly when you’re making local, antibiotic/hormone-free, organically fed, and biodynamic meat purchases a priority. If you’re considering the insanity behind the uppity choice in meat and fish labels, I can shed some light.

You’ve possibly heard about the horse meat scandal across Europe; beef containing horse DNA that got as far as European Ikea’s meatballs. The issue is not wholly about the fact that it was horse meat, but rather that people didn’t know as the meat wasn’t labeled as such. Debating the consumer demand for horse/beef meat isn’t my intention, but rather to address the origination issue.  What came first (think chicken and egg); The mislabeled food we knew about – or the mislabeled food we didn’t know about? The latest round of sandal around our fishy friends comes from a 2 year test by Oceana, a conservation group, showing 33% of the fish tested was not what it claimed to be; snapper and tuna being the worst offenders.

FISH HATER!

I love fish and wholeheartedly agree with The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth when it states,

“…it’s refreshing to find a principle upon which everyone absolutely agrees. One such principle is to eat more vegetables and fruit. Another is that seafood is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.”

Salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, sablefish, anchovies and farmed oysters are particular health superstars. White fleshed fish are high in vitamins and minerals, and low in fat, calories and proinflammatory omega-6 fats. Fish like halibut, flounder, cod and orange roughy are lower in fat than any animal protein. You could say white fish are a nice all-around fish. Orange roughy and cod also contain selenium (in Brazil nuts too) which has been linked to lower cancer rates.

Fish is food AND friend, so procure as thoughtfully as you can to the best of your ability.

Ketchup and Catsup

After making Shakshuka, I have this fantastic little jar of fresh tomato paste left. I have found the perfect use for the rest of the paste. KETCHUP!

Just how doable is it to make homemade ketchup?

Very!! Count yourself lucky!

Easy Homemade Ketchup (from here)

  • 8 oz tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp maple syrup – grade B
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • Optional: pinch ground mustard
Directions:
  1. Mix all but the water in a bowl. Add water until desired consistency is reached. Adjust sweetness with maple syrup.

Dip these homemade fries into the ketchup. What an easy substitute for the corn syrup and food coloring that poses as ketchup! I imagine because of the lack of preservatives, it should be used quickly, but use your own judgement. I don’t see why you couldn’t freeze a batch…

I do want to share some information on maple syrup. I haven’t used it as a sweetener yet, pretty much just because it makes me want waffles, bad. Maple syrup is really quite an amazing food, but you have to know what to look for. Also keep in mind that it’s not a low-glycemic sweetener like coconut/date sugar, so use it in moderation. Maple syrup has a fascinating history. It’s one food you want to get the (generally) cheaper Grade B instead of Grade A. However, the industry is moving toward a universal label of ‘Grade A’ for all maple syrups with color differentiation; light, amber, dark, etc.). Well, what’s the kerfuffle? People tend to prefer the sweeter syrup (Grade A) vs. the maple-y tasting Grade B. My grandma always got Grade B and I can’t believe how different it is to traditional brands. But here we have syrups like Aunt Jemima which is mostly high fructose corn syrup, without the word “maple” anywhere in the ingredient. Weird, no? The abomination also occurs with honey in the plastic bear, which bears little resemblance to farm-fresh honey (HA!).

Curious, I also looked up Heinz ketchup and did some math to compare it with the recipe above based on one serving of Heinz (1 tablespoon). Isn’t the sodium interesting? I highlighted the “winner” in each column for you. It didn’t surprise me then to see a “No Salt” version of Heinz.

Heinz vs. Homemade Ketchup Nutrition Information 

Heinz (1 T) Homemade* (1 T)
Calories 20 11
Sodium 160 mg 5 mg
Carbs 4 g 3 g
Fiber 0 g 0.5 g
Sugar 4 g 2 g
Protein 0 g 0.5 g
Vitamin A 2% 5%
Vitamin C 2% 10%
Calcium 0% 1%
Iron 0% 1%

One ketchup packet is about 0.7 grams. So you always use 1.5 packets of ketchup right? Mmm…probably not. Let’s say you use 5 packets. If so, then multiply the nutrition info above by 3.5. That sodium level is really standing out at 560 mg vs. 25 mg. And now with the homemade version you have 50% of your vitamin C.

Be green and make your own ketchup!

*I used nutrition info directly from my jar of tomato paste and maple syrup (they even have an anti-GMO statement).

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