Monday, February 28, 2011

Finding Healthy Recipes

I have always counted myself as exceedingly lucky that my adventures in cooking began with the Internet by my side. I wished my mother was alive to see how many new and different things I was able to try in the kitchen, simply on a whim, because the technique was a mere click away for free. However, as I began to transition toward a healthier lifestyle I found, in the beginning, that the recipes I needed were more and more clicks away. If you are beginning this journey yourself, I would like to impart some of the tips I have used to expedite the process.

Food.com, once known as Recipezaar, has always been my personal favorite for finding a recipe for all of my needs. I always loved how this was a community-built project and how the Nutritional Facts of all of the recipes are available. Now I have learned about other great recipe search engines like  Foodily.com. Recipe search engines are where my kitchen-computer relationship began, so it was here that I first began my quest for healthier recipes as well. While, in the beginning, I could just go to the site and type in anything I needed, I found that there are a couple of things I can do to ensure that I get back some of the less indulgent recipes when I need them. Here are a couple tips:

Choose Your Words Wisely

Select your search terms carefully, instead of just typing in "lemon chicken" search for "baked lemon chicken" (223 Food.com recipes come up for that search and Foodily's responses  seem endless). Terms such as baked, broiled, grilled, and steamed can steer your searches away from the deep fried delectable daring to tempt you on your search!


Use the Search Filters Provided

Begin by typing in your search into the search bar. When the results are revealed, click the button "Narrow Your Search", a menu will open up on the left hand side of search. You can really control what kind of recipes you get back here.
This is just a piece of the side bar.
The major categories for the filters are Courses, Main Ingredients, Preparation, Cuisine, Occasion, Dietary and Nutrition. These categories, particularly Dietary and Nutrition can help you find recipes that fit within your new dietary desires.

On Foodily.com each recipe comes up visually with its list of ingredients displayed. Next to each ingredient is a magnifying glass. These magnifying glasses serve as your filters (they are pretty awesome). Simply click on one next to an ingredient you love or hate and see the options appear:
You can instantly refine your search to either take out all the recipes that include this ingredient, or, if it is something you know you have sitting in the kitchen, you can show only recipes that have it. I love this feature, personally, because it helps me quickly sort out all of the gluten-packed recipes that I can't even consider!

Expand Across the Internet 
 
There are tons of other recipe search engines out there. Some of them have similar filters and many have "Healthy Cooking" or "Healthy Recipe" sections. Saying you don't know how to cook healthy is no excuse if you are reading this! Because if you are reading this, you have an Internet connection and there are countless places to find healthy cooking techniques for free! I gave you two to start with - Food.com that is created by people of the Internet sharing their own home tested recipes, and Foodily.com that searches many of the recipe sites of the Internet (food.com included) to give you exactly what you are looking for. No excuses now... Get in that kitchen!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

And now for something completely off topic...

The Versatile Blogger Award was given to me by Meg Appleby the author of the Do Good blog. Meg rocks and so does her blog, if you haven't checked it out yet, then you really need to GET ON THAT NOW!

Thank you Meg for giving me my first ever Blog Award!!


So, here are the rules:
- Thank the person who gave you the award!
- Share 5-7 things about yourself.
- Pass the award on to up to 10 other versatile bloggers.
- Let those other bloggers know that you gave them the award


Things About Me:
  1. While teaching I was the adviser for many clubs: the Math Team (of course! ...want to buy a t-shirt?),  the Video Game Club, the Anime Club, the Asian American Awareness Club (we took a trip to Chinatown), the Hindu Awareness Club, the Animal Rights Club... I fear I am forgetting one.
  2. I once got a zero on a math test in the seventh grade. I answered every question. I got every single one wrong. (One of my favorite things to tell my math students).
  3. My mother gave both my brother and I French middle names to honor the fraction of French in our genes and in hopes that one day, one of us would open up a restaurant with a fancy French name. Mine would have been Nicole Dominique's or something like that. (She also secretly signed me up for all types of info from Culinary Arts schools when college choice time came around!).
  4. I LOVE Hayao Miyazaki's films. 
  5. I once beat my brother in a game of Star Wars Trivia Pursuit by being able to translate what Greedo said to Han Solo in the Cantina from memory. (My brother nearly died!)
  6. I have an irrational fear of spiders, E.T. and most aliens.
  7. I have a huge crush on my husband :)

My Nominated Versatile Bloggers:
  • Margot, more widely known as The Damsel in Dis Dress the author, and my distant teacher through the Old School - Self Reliance 101 blog.
  • Gigi, one of my buddies I met through StumbleUpon, who entertains and educates me with her Kludgy Mom blog
  • Lishie, avid reader by day and posting all types of tasty treats and meals she shares with her family by night on DeLish! for all of us to enjoy
  • Shelley, a special needs mom with a background in Interior Design and Landscape Architecture who is the hostess with the most-est of the current run of the SITS Girls 31 Days to Build a Better Blog - if this woman isn't versatile, then I don't know who is! Shelley's blog is called I'm Still Standing - and Lord knows, with all she has on her plate, that is an appropriate name!
 It is time for me to tell the nominees of their great honor and then go get myself ready for another awards ceremony tonight! (You didn't forget that tonight is Oscar's night, did you?!)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Why Boycott Land O'Lakes?

Image from the FarmWars blog
Get out your grocery lists.

Grab a pen or pencil.

You have to cross off some stuff on your list and you have to do it NOW.

You must stop buying any products from Land O'Lakes.

OK, I know you're thinking that I've completely lost my mind and you don't want to take any rash action based on my word alone, so let me tell you why this is something that YOU will WANT to do yourself. Here is some information I just read both on the FarmWars blog and Foodmans Blogging for the Future:
"To produce its Round-Up Ready Alfalfa seeds, Monsanto partnered with a company called Forage Genetics International, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes dairy co-op. That’s right, Land O’Lakes stands to make a fortune from polluting our food supply with untested and unlabeled GMOs."
So there has been a call to action, an action that may actually make some waves in this economy in a way that our protests, petitions, and letters to Washington have failed to accomplish - a boycott of the purchase of Land O'Lakes products. And so that the impact of the action is not mistakenly blamed on our suffering economy or some other financial issue, it is also recommended that we just come right out and tell Land O'Lakes what we are doing!
"Send Land O’Lakes and other companies a clear message:  HAY you — We’re FED UP with GMOs in our food supply!
And to make sure Land O’Lakes knows why its sales are down, contact its president and CEO Chris Policinski and let him know you won’t be buying Land O’Lakes products anymore because you don’t want genetically engineered food or animal feed:
Chris Policinski
President and CEO
Land O’Lakes
4001 Lexington Avenue
Arden Hills, MN 55126-2998
651/481-2222"
In addition, some fired up foodies have decided to share their feelings on the Land O'Lakes Facebook page. Not a bad idea if you ask me since that message will not only be read by Land O'Lakes people, but also customers who may not know about the partnership with Monsanto.

Do you still have that grocery list? Have you crossed them off yet? In the end, it is up to you, of course. However, if you believe in this cause and decide to boycott Land O'Lakes (as I will be doing - I just informed the husband before this writing), then please be sure to share your feelings with others you care about.

For some further information on GMOs:

Are you ready to answer a call to action in the month of March? 
Check out Where Are All My Hummingbirds? A Call To Action to see what challenge the Searching for Sustenance blog has planned!

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Breaking (Gluten-free) Bread With My Brother

    My husband and I drove out to Long Island yesterday to hang out with my brother. I called in advance, of course, to make sure (a) he would be home, (b) he would not escape to the gym, or (c) he would be awake for our arrival. He was very excited we were coming and told me he was quickly running out to go food shopping, but he would be back by the time we got there. With the little bits of traffic we hit, he was, and when I got into his house, before I got my coat off he said, "You have to try this bread!"

    My heart sank. He must have been talking to my husband... I can't have bread. I am gluten intolerant. I miss bread so much... this was going to be a difficult visit.

    "Nicole! Try it! It's from the gluten-free bakery over here. I got it for you. You have to try it!"

    Whoa. He was talking to me. It was bread that I could have and it looked really good. I couldn't hold back my smile, "Oh wow, really? Well... can I take my coat off first?!"

    "No!" he said, while laughing and handed me a slice, "It's rye!" And then he had me. Standing in his hallway with my coat still on, bag in one hand, slice of gluten-free rye in the other - I took a bite...

    "Holy crap. That's good. That's like real bread. Are you kidding me? Where did you get this?!" The bread was still slightly warm. It was soft and had the right kind of give that bread does. I have only been gluten-free eight months now, but I have yet to find a bread that tastes like real bread, texture and all. This was an amazing find.


    My brother starting handing me party menus, business cards and informed me that he added me to the mailing list of the Bare Naked Bakery & Cafe located out in Bellmore, NY. While I don't live nearly as close to this establishment as he does, I can definitely see incorporating a swing-by trip whenever going to visit my little brother, or putting in small requests whenever I know my brother is going to swing my way!

    In addition to having a bakery on premises and a cafe that serves bagels, sandwiches, salads and pizzas (see their menu), they also serve as a pivotal place for gluten-free support of all kinds. Their BNTAC, or "Bare Naked Truth About Celiac" group is simply one example of what I mean. On the BNTAC website you will find that this establishment reaches far beyond satiating the cravings of the baked good deprived lot who have found themselves intolerant to gluten!  They also:
    I can't wait until I have the opportunity to actually check out the place myself! I have to say my little brother did really well. He has been talking about this place ever since I starting eating gluten-free. He kept trying to bring some of their stuff out to me, but every time he would stop by on his way here, they would be closed, or he would be running late and unable to fit in the trip. Of course I realize now that when he told me on the phone that he was "food shopping," he had actually jumped in his car to get me some gluten-free goodies as a surprise. So sweet... and I am not just talking about the amazing big chocolate chip cookies he got me. I guess some things never change in my family, it seems that thoughtful food will always be the simplest way for us to say, "I love you."

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Dirt: The Movie

    I have fond childhood memories of dirt - under my feet, under my nails, in the creases of my elbows. Evidence of dirt was evidence of a day well spent. For this, I was considered a "tomboy." It's funny how, as I grew older, I began to be pulled further and further from my dirt interactions. Whether it was about keeping my uniform clean in school, or working in a shopping mall, or finally, ultimately, making my way to a job in the "big city," each step of the way dirt seemed to get more and more, well, dirty and less and less fun.

    Dirt! The MovieAnd yet, even so, when I think of the most serene, happy moments of my life, they are glimpses of a "dirtier time." I think back to working in the garden with my parents, or grabbing fresh basil for my grandmother in her tiny, yet fruitful, Brooklyn backyard, or exploring the Greenbelt paths of the woods around my home and borough with my father and friends, I think of the sun-baking hours I spent squatting behind home plate as my softball team's catcher, or taking my dogs for a walk through the same Greenbelt paths I walked as a child. I have to conclude that dirt makes me happy. It is something that, honestly, I don't think I ever truly realized before. However, this week I watched a documentary called Dirt! that was recommended by the Facebook Foodies group (we're still working on an appropriate name!), and as the film outlined the precious, beautiful relationship dirt has with the planet, I began to realize how important it was in my own.

    As I watched the film, I began to reflect upon my own dealing with dirt while being educated about the absolutely pivotal role dirt played in all of our lives. I believe this is an incredibly important movie to watch and it is also entertaining (I simply love the little dirt cartoons - they are the cutest!!). Here is one of the trailers to give you an idea of what you will be getting out of this film.


    I, of course, highly recommend that you see this film if you have not already. The film also has a nice official website as well, that you should check out. As for me, I am going to take action on something I have long hoped to, but have simply been limited by time - I am going to learn about the big bad world of composting! I truly hope to get some sort of edible growth in my backyard this year, so, to that end, I am also going to start learning about dirt!

    I will keep you up to date with all I learn and anything cool I find in the composting world, but for now, I'll ask you:
    Any tips, tricks, "must-dos"for a first time composter?

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Transitioning to Healthy Eating

    Sometimes, the hardest thing about making the decision to eat healthier is understanding that the rest of the world is not on the same path as you. You have decided to cut down on your sugar intake, to eat less processed foods, to eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, but the television still inundates you with commercials for things you have concluded are not food. This is made so much worse if you are leading an easily swayed, or possibly resistant family in this transition.

    So, how do you do it? How do you make it through every week of temptations and distractions and continue to eat healthy?

    Michelle, from Organically Inclined, reminds us of how powerful it is to simply control what comes into the home.  I have always been a big believer in this one myself. Begin by thinking about the things that your family loves/craves and find a way to bring it to them in a more healthful manner. Here are some things we do in our house:

    1. Drinks. This can be a danger-zone for so many families, as many have soda-addicted members in their ranks. Buy fruit juices instead and buy a seltzer water to make a juice spritzer for that soda effect. Just be careful of the sugar levels in the juices. Eventually you want your family on mostly water and juice as a treat.

    2. Chips. This takes a while on your first shopping trip or two. Take time to really read the labels of the chips your family is eating. What's in them? We opt for Mulitgrain Chips or just plain potato or sweet potato chips when we do get them. Note: Do not buy chips on every trip!!

    3. Cookies. This is easy. If the family wants them, then the family has to bake them - from scratch! When you do this, you know what is going into your cookies from beginning to end. Your family appreciates them much more (as long as you make sure they do some of the work with you - YOU SHOULD NOT BE DOING THINS ALONE!) and perhaps won't inhale them at the same rate they do a regular store-bought bag of cookies.

    4. Meals. This is similar to the cookie solution. You have to rally the troops to get cooking! Spend a weekend deciding what types of things you want to eat for the week - no rules - whatever you want, blurt it out. Write the list down and then decide if you can make these things. For the things you can't make yet, table them until the following week (have the family ask around, or search around, during the week for a recipe for the next week - here's some advice on how you can do that!). It becomes an ongoing foodie adventure!

    Of course, in between work, life and all of your other obligations you are wondering, "When will all of this fit in?" Well, I want you to imagine this as you would any other large family project, for example redesigning your living room. There are multiple stages in such an endeavor, such as:
    • a planning phase - What do we want to buy/not buy?
    • a purchasing phase - (This is usually the longest part.) Finding the right store(s), the right products, at the right price for you and your family.
    • an assembly stage - Putting all this stuff together to make meals, meal plans and a new lifestyle for you and your family.
    • living the new life - Finally all your new stuff is in place, but as life moves forward you find new additions here and there, or things you thought you liked that need to be taken out. 
    This is not a simple task. People should not give up at the first speed bump thinking they've done something wrong - there will be bumps, probably a lot of them, but that's ok - working your way to a healthy lifestyle (especially when you are battling for a whole family and not just yourself) is quite an undertaking. Take it step by step, take your time, and ask for help when you need it!

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    My First "Green Drink"

    By Saturday morning, I still had not made any decisions in terms of my kale preparations. I decided, since my husband was pleasantly distracted with some video game of destruction to ask him about the possibility of using some of his mouth-watering spinach in a little "experiment." I told him about the Kale, Spinach Pear Smoothie I had learned about on Thursday. While he didn't seem too keen on the idea of trying any of the smoothie, he did acquiesce to trying a sip of mine.

    I immediately got to work. This was exciting! My first ever "green drink" (I am not counting, mojitos. of course!) - people talk about these all of the time, they write about them, they brag of their tweaked recipes and amazing health benefits - I was finally going to see what all the hoopla was about. And I was finally going to put some kale to work in my kitchen!

    I was surprised, first of all, by how little of my kale and spinach stash the recipe called for. Even though I made sure each cup was heaping, I still had plenty left over to do tons of things with. There was no need to worry my husband's head about any threat to his spinach, after all. I washed, I chopped and I remeasured to make sure I had enough, but all was well. So I went for the milk - decision time.

    There was some Almond milk in the fridge from my husband, but he didn't remember how long ago he opened it or how long we had had it. I felt uneasy about this and did not want my experimnent foiled by some icky milk. We also had coconut milk, but I have been finding that it does not really agree with me, so that was out. Finally there was my sweet treat - my hazelnut milk, a brand new container. It is not as healthy as the almond (less on sodium but more calories and sugar), but it is fun and, in this case, definitely fresh.

    I blended, then grabbed my pear, frozen banana and honey. Blended again. Wow - this stuff was super green. I suddenly became fearful of what it would taste like
    • will it taste like liquid kale?
    • will it have little chewy bits of spinach in it?
    • is this drink going to make me sick?!
    • did I ruin everything by using the hazelnut milk???
    I was turning into a nervous wreck. I grabbed a glass, poured and was too terrified to inhale. I took a sip. What? Wait... I took a second sip and breathed in deeply. Whoa... How did it DO that? The flavor was sweet. There was a little banana and a little pear. None of these strong flavors took over. I couldn't believe it. I thought this drink was going to be a savory war of wits, each sip attacking me with another victory, but, instead it was as it was created - a blend.

    I was fascinated.

    ...and I was not alone.

    After his "one sip" my husband asked for his own "Hulk juice."

    We drank each of our smothies wondering if the effects we were feeling - more awake, energized, less congested (I have been battling a cold), satiated without fullness - were just placebo effect or really as a result of drinking this green drink. Well, it was easy enough to make that we can try again and see if we have the same results next time!

    A big thank you, again to Kim Winston, of Incandescent Blue Flame, for suggesting this recipe last week!
    Do you enjoy a "green drink" to start off your day or to pep up a workout? 
    What recipe do you use?
    What benefits do you get from your green drink?

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Friday's Food Finds

    All week I am all over the Internet blogging about food, commenting about food, reading about food and finding tons and tons of stuff! I simply can NOT dedicate a single post to each individual find, so here's what I am going to do: I am going to give you a CliffNotes version of some foodie finds that I think you might all be interested in, so you have stuff to read and tinker with over the weekend! Here it goes:

    Food Web Sites and Tools
    • the epicentre The first thing that caught my eye on this site ia their encyclopedia of spices, however, it does not end there. They also have some interesting cooking videos, tips with recipes, an ingredients section that discusses each chosen ingredient at length and then includes recipes as well and other categories for the cooking curious. While the recipe index may not be as extensive as some other sites on the Internet, those topics this site does choose to address are done so completely.
    • Open Source Food I am beginning to think I have a thing for food photography. This site is exactly what it claims to be open source food. Free to join, open to everyone with the goal of "Amazing Recipes. Delicious Food. Beautiful Photography. Created and rated by you and fellow food-lovers from all over the world. Open Source Food is your gastronomic hub where every visit will bring inspiration and a rumbling belly..."
    Food Reads
    • Frankenfood:It's Alive! This is a great article from a local Long Island publication. What I love about it is how Marisa Musto teaches us to find out if our food is GMO by READING SOME LABELS!! Yay!! Thanks Marisa!! You should also check out Marisa's blog Cook's Book for a more personal take on her experience of going to The New Generation of Food lecture as well as some sweet-looking recipes!
    • The Organic Egg Scorecard We learned that eggs are a bit healthier for us than we first imagined, now the question is - who do we buy them from? This is a fabulous rating system put together by the Cornicopia Institute this past Fall that really looked into how the chickens are raised, fed and treated while they are laying our yummy breakfast treats.
    • Farm Bill Issues; Budget Issues; and Rural Data I have been saying it for months - the Farm Bill discussion is important and it is coming - well here is a bit of how it went down this Thursday. Washington officials will be on break next week for President's week, so that gives you time to read this through, mull it over and think about what you might want to tell you rlocal representatives.
    Good Food (Recipes)
    •  Kale, Spinach and Pear Smoothie This recipe was shared in my comments section by Kim of Incandescent Blue Flame in answer to my plea for produce help. Now I am pretty certain I will end up directly in the dog house if I use our spinach (my husband's favorite) to make a smoothie, however, this is definitely on my list of must-trys. First of all, it is like Yoda-green and the geek in me is screaming that drinking this will ensure that the force is strong with this one (wow... sorry. Did I ├╝ber-geek you without warning? It has been a rough day. My defenses are down). Secondly, it has PEAR in it and PEAR is deliciously awesome and makes everything so much better.
    • Favorite Family Recipe: Eggs Why not go crazy? Eggs are awesome, we can eat them again and with the scorecard above we know which brand to buy to soothe our conscience, so let us eat eggs. This is a listing of all of the egg recipes on the Family Favorite Recipe website. They all look egg-cellent (Oh boy... perhaps I shouldn't be allowed near a keyboard on days like these!).
    Food FiGHTS
    • Millions Against Monsanto I added this link to the Changing the Way We Eat post, but I could understand, if, with everything else that was in that post you were simply too overwhelmed to take any action at the time. If that was the case, do so now. Join the group to make a difference.
    • Food Democracy NOW Is another group from Monday's post, that I simply want to reiterate today. If you have not already joined, do so today. If you have joined, then just hop back on the site to see what the most current action to take may be.
    Do you have a food website, tool, food read, recipe or food fight you think I should check out and share with the readers of Searching for Sustenance? If so e-mail me at BlogWithNV@gmail.com!

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    I've Got The Produce... Now WHAT?!

    If you read my last post on Urban Organic, you know I just got a box of goodies - fruits and veggies! So, of course, now I have some questions...

    What SUPER COOL THINGS should I be doing with my new fruits and veggies?

    Kiwis. I can count on my hands the number of times I have had them. I pretty much have just eaten them straight out. Am I missing out on some very cool thing to do with kiwis??

    Same with pears - I LOVE THEM, but I eat them the way they are. I have seen lots of recipes where people cook them. Should I be doing this??

    I have lots of things to do with broccoli, but what is your favorite?

     Kale. I don't know what to do with it. in fact, one of my first tasks after writing today was to investigate the wonderful world of Kale. I'm not even sure I have ever had it. I think I must have, but not knowingly so, and, therefore, I am unfamiliar with it's taste.

    I am looking for all types of Kale suggestions. Of course, you know I will be referring to my Jack Bishop cookbook in minutes, but if you have a favorite, I am all ears!!

    My husband loves spinach. I wish I had my camera in hand when he recognized it last night. Actually, a video would have been more appropriate. Anyway, we typically do the wilted spinach with garlic, oil and red pepper flakes (oh... dear... mouth watering...), or a salad, or as a garlic-spinach-chicken dish, but that's where our experiments end. Do you have anything new for us to try?
    Anything else in there you see and have a great idea about? Zucchini? Yellow onions? Russet potatoes? Red delicious apples? Grapefruit? Carrots? Lemons? Hamlon oranges? Bananas? Green leaf lettuce?


    Any advice is welcome!

    Urban Organic

    19 bucks I definitely could do, to try it out!!
    Back in October I finally figured out that Groupon was pretty neat and got on board. Fall is a pretty crazy time around here (lots of birthdays) and the holidays were coming near, so I thought I would be able to find lots of cool gifts for everyone. Then, one morning, the Groupon deal seemed to be made for ME, not anyone else. It was a Groupon for a company called Urban Organic, a home-delivery service of organic produce and groceries. Since losing the ability to drive and, oftentimes being overwhelmed with my crazy "brain fog" and/or super headaches (thank you intracranial hypertension) when shopping and reading label and after label, I am stuck waiting for a grocery shopping buddy who may or may not be 100% on board with my quest for good foods and how long it takes me to find them. And it always takes me a long time to find them!

    Last night, though, they showed up at my door, in a nicely sealed box with a friendly driver. Here is what I received:
    Almost everything fit into this picture.
    • broccoli
    • carrots
    • green leaf lettuce
    • russet potatoes
    • kale 
    • spinach
    • zucchini **
    • grapefruit
    • red delicious apples
    • hamlon oranges
    • bananas
    • lemons
    • yellow onions  **
    • d'anjou pears **
    • kiwi
    This box ("Value Box") would have cost me just under forty dollars without the Groupon, and if one "subscribes: it would be weekly. However, there are other options:
    • The Little Box $24.99  which does not include the starred items above.
    • The Extra-Value Box $44.99 which includes everything my box does, just more of it, and
    • the Juice Box $34.99 which includes ten items each week.
    The items in the box change as the availability of certain product do, so you can check the Urban Organic website each week to see what will be coming in. They operate out of Brooklyn, NY, this is their current delivery area, schedule and fees:

    To be honest, I know I can't afford to do this every week at full price right now. Maybe we can swing the Little Box, but back in October, when I was still getting paid, $19 for a food experiment wasn't out of the question! I am going to work through this box, making it last as long as possible and getting the most out of it and then deciding if I'll get another box for the first week of March. I'll tell you oe thing though... if I were still working, getting paid and all of that, I think I would be all over this! Opening that box last night was like Christmas all over!!

    However, rumor has it, that if someone else signs up as a member based on my referral, I get my next box FREE, so if any of you locals decide to check out Urban Organic, just make sure to tell them Nicole Rivera from Staten Island sent you!

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Are the Green Movement and the Food Movement Really Two Different Things?

    image from: thegoldguys.blogspot.com/
    Earlier this week, I read an article in response to Saturday's TED event in Manhattan on Changing the Way We Eat, that claimed the Food Movement may be exactly what the Green Movement has needed (here is my post from the Changing the Way We Eat event). The article was in TIME and is called How Foodies Can Eclipse (and Save) the Green Movement and it begins with the line, "These are dark days for the environmental movement." Are they? Really?

    The claim in the article is that, politically speaking, climate change has not been making too many waves in Washington as of late, the EPA is now under the thumb of a Republican majority, and that environmentalist have come "to accept the fact that the chance of national and international action on climate change has become more remote than ever." I am not really sure I agree.

    In my eyes this is equivalent to saying modern medicine has failed and the chance for optimal health has become more remote than ever because medicine has still not found a cure for the common cold. That is a ridiculous claim, is it not? And why? Because the field of medicine is so broad and has so many successes along the way, that although we haven't cured cancer or AIDS, or tons of other diseases (my two included!), there is still hope!

    We understand that it takes time, resources, community awareness and ACTION to make these things priorities for the world around us. If you pay attention to these things you see that it is niche groups that rally support for research for their cause that, oftentimes, in turn, reveal new information for another niche - one discovery in the long fight and well-funded research against cancer, may help doctors learn more about the way the entire body works, therefore helping patients with other diseases (maybe even, one day, unlocking the cure for the common cold!).

    And so it goes with the green movement. This is a long fight. And just like the field of medicine, there are a great number of subgroups within the green movement that can help the entire cause move forward. The Food Movement is just one example. Many foodies are motivated to take certain food actions for no other reason than their inner environmentalist. Let's look at some examples:
    • Eating Local Foods because they travel less, therefore diminishing carbon emissions and overall carbon footprint.
    • Eating Less Packaged Foods because the packages themselves create too much waste, or the process used to make the foods is not environmentally sound.
    • Eating Less Animal Product because the waste created from the CAFOs are destroying the environments around them.
    • Avoiding GMOs in order to preserve the natural vegetation.
    I am sure there are plenty more, but you get the idea. I am not quite sure that one can claim the "The food movement will save the green movement" - I think the foodies have always been a part of the green movement.  And, ironically, it was I who said that exact statement in the comments section of the article, while wrapped up in a bit of a rant. Here's a piece of me talking about why food is SO relevant...

    "This topic is so relevant to so many of us in a stronger sense than the green movement on its own because we ALL, undeniably, have to eat to survive. The actual source of our survival is on the table in a VERY tangible way. The clear air, water, limited resources and all of the other environmental needs seem to exist as supporting actors in our play - definitely part of our tale and, if we stop to truly admit it, VERY IMPORTANT for each and every one of our acts, but we SWEAR we can get along with only our leads! Food plays the leading role, I think, in most people's lives and only when that comes into question do people start to look around to say, "Well what else do we have here?" ...and THEN it hits them, "WHOA! We are in trouble! This whole thing is a mess!"

    The food movement will save the green movement. The food movement IS the green movement. And this time, we are organizing for some positive action. Our children deserve it, our Earth deserves it and WE deserve it." 

     I did not mean the statement as blatantly as it came out there, but, alas, that is the curse of the printed word. It has plagued me since I wrote it so I wrote this post. I stand firmly behind the statement that follows,
    The food movement IS the green movement.
    That's my take, anyway.
    ...What's yours?


    To read the complete TIME article by Bryan Walsh: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2049255,00.html#ixzz1E8q7o9kt

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    The Perennial Plate

    Image captured from http://perennialplate.com
    I am late to everything. Seriously, I should list it as one of my chronic conditions. My best friend knows this, my brother, well, he shares this problem, and my husband and I are a disaster together when punctuality is in order. At work I take the latest schedule possible and then beg for a free period as my first class, at play, I swear friends and family are starting to give me separate times to be somewhere just because of this issue, and for grad school, I had my interview, on the phone, the day before classes began and was told to bring my application with me to class - OK??!! That's me. I'm "that guy". So it came as no surprise to me that when I discovered The Perennial Plate, a year long sustainable food documentary series, during its 48th week! Nonetheless, I have found it, I have started watching from the beginning, and I LOVE IT!!

    Daniel Klein is a chef and activist from Michigan who created this documentary to show a year of "socially responsible and adventurous eating." I have only just begun my adventure with Chef Klein, but I can tell you, what I have seen (the equivalent of nearly two months worth of documentaries) has been thought-provoking, engaging, inspiring and fun. I only wish I knew of this before Thanksgiving, so that I could have my whole family sit and watch Episode 1: Turkey together in order to have a full appreciation of the meal we consumed.

    What I think is so wonderful about this entire series is that it is not preachy, it is simply real. The sincerity in this project is evident throughout and the "good food", the "right thing to do" simply seems to sell itself. This documentary is simply a chef exploring his world so he can eat in a way that makes the best sense to him. On his journey he finds others who are doing the same, living the same way, and they learn from each other. If you want to join them on this adventure, GREAT, if not, well that's not going to stop them... soon enough you will see.


    I think it is high time I show you the trailer for this fabulous documentary, so you can get set to go on the journey as well. Without any further ado, I give you, The Perennial Plate:


    Perennial Plate Trailer HD from Daniel Klein on Vimeo.'

    You can either watch all of The Perennial Plate through Daniel Klein's Vimeo page or through The Perennial Plate website. On the website there are  recipes, however, if you are a regular Vimeo user, it might be easier to subscribe to Daniel Klein's videos.

    Start your journey now, even as the project is coming to a close - it is not too late, I doubt it ever will be - it is a perennial plate, after all. Watch them with those you eat with and then share them with others. Then come on back here and let us know what you think!

     

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Changing The Way We Eat: 1 Link at a Time

    image from: http://tedxmanhattan.org/

    There are certain times in your life when you are in the right place at the right time and when you look back at the stream of "accidents" that got you there, you know that it is nothing more than fate. Saturday I had one of those times. I was here, at home, but, through various clicks on my browser and an insatiable need to tweet a "thank you" to a distant teacher, I found out about a TED event going on in Manhattan that was being streamed live online. The title of the event: Changing the Way We Eat.

    It would seem enough that I had the good fortune to tune in missing only one and a half talks, but that, I would soon find out, was only the tip of this serendipitous iceberg. You see, there was also a live chat going on with the fellow viewers in the sidebar. Normally, due to my limited vision, I automatically have to zoom my screen to omit such niceties afforded by the interconnectedness of the Internet, but, on this day, I split the difference - I zoomed my screen so that half of the talk screen was cut off so that I could still see/read the chat. That was a decision that I believe, will prove quite life changing for me. I made so many new food friends, I learned so much, and I would like to take this time to share with you all of the links shared so that you, too, can benefit from all that ensued.

    The Group

    Before I get into all of the individual links, let me begin with the most important one: the group page. Currently named the Tedx FoodBook Group, this is a Facebook group started by the people in the chat. We decided to select a place to meet online and share ideas about spreading the word about GOOD FOOD. We are a group ready for action, we are empowered by what we saw and what we chatted about on Saturday (all day until about 6pm EST!). We are inspired by the actions of the people in Egypt and are thinking - if they can make a difference in their government, can't WE make a difference in our food industry? In the less than 24 hours the group grew to over 100 members, got filled with a number of resources (food films, food books, food websites) as well as a great conversation between like-minded people ready to act to change. COME JOIN THE GROUP to ne a part of what's next.    

    The Link Parade

    What follows is an equally overwhelming and inspiring list of links. They are from all over this country and the world. Some are local organizations, so keep your eye out for your area! I will give a brief discussion of each, in no particular order, and hope to do each of them justice. Enjoy!

    • http://www.oklahomafood.coop/ If you are from Oklahoma, this one is for you! This is the Oklahoma Food Cooperative that provides food from Oklahoma to Oklahoma. There are plenty of pick up areas and an online shop, so check the site, they also provide volunteer opportunities if you are looking to get involved. 
    • http://greenairradio.com/?p=1002 This is a direct link to an interview with Curt Ellis, a co-creator of King Corn one movie every conscious eater should see. Curt Ellis was also one of the speakers at this TED event, so it was extra special to have this interview on hand. Beyond the interview, though, GreenAirRadio.com just seems like another very cool website to check out, so browse around and see all the fun, informative stuff they've been "airing."  
    • http://voices.washingtonpost.com/all-we-can-eat/food-politics/moco-schools-say-food-gardens.html This is an outrageous article from the Washington post about one superintendent banning school gardens in the entire district. It is an important read so that we can understand what some of the arguments against forward movement are.  
    • http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=2788 Natural Solutions Food Freedom eJournal has a number of videos for each issue, with the January 2011 issue entitled "Food vs. PHUDE." Take a look at this video to decide if you are eating food or phude! (Another link shared in the chat http://www.globalhealthfreedom.org/ is related to this site and has some additional resources, including links to the eJournal mentioned above.)
    • http://growingpower.org/ Growing Power, Inc. started in Milwakee, WI, but it now is known and spread nationally. It looks like a fantastic program that teaches each of its local communities about sustainable food systems while providing its young people with a great skill and place to work! I am learning about it as I go, but I see there is a local chapter close enough to me in Brooklyn, so perhaps I will go check it out! 
    • http://urbanhomestead.org/ This looks like the website/project/family I have been waiting for! It is a family in Pasadena, CA that changed their home into an urban homestead in the middle of a city. I have been looking around at the land I have been blessed with around my home here and I have been thinking one thing over and over again... What a waste! Perhaps, you too, are wondering how to better use you home front for food, sustainability or more... if so, these are the heroes you've been waiting for. Check out the site just to see what one family can accomplish! 
    • http://simplestewardship.wordpress.com/ This is the blog of one of the fellow chatters. A document of her journey to "discover a life of simplicity, less stress and more joy" - I like that!  
    • http://www.citizens.org/ Citizens for Health "seeks to empower readers with the lesser-reported 'under side' of the stories about the dangers that hundreds of food, drugs and other everyday products bring into our homes." Their most recent posts focus on the shortcomings of the Food Safety Act and how we shouldn't simply accept a bill because it is better than what came before, instead we should not settle until we get the best. this is an excellent point.  
    • http://www.thegreenhorns.net/ Greenhorns is a non-profit organization for young farmers in America. It also seems they have an upcoming documentary on young farmers in America. I am excited about both aspects of this site. This looks like an excellent resource for information, as well as future edu-tainment! They are looking for donations for their post-production, so you might want send some charitable funds their way! 
    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mobius-Fields/295658902831 Mobius Farm has a micro farm in Westchester County, NY. This is their Facebook fan page. They have videos as well as pictures of the place, so it is really cool to look around. If you are local, make a connection! 
    • http://www.realtimefarms.com/ Love it, love it, LOVE IT!! This site is working on putting together not only a database of all of the places where your food comes from, but also to provide a richer experience/explanation of those places - through video, blogging, exploration and more. So many things to check out here. If you are a college student in LA, NYC, Boulder or anywhere in Michigan, or know one, you must take a look at their internship opportunities (applications due February 16th!!). If you are a farmer, a farmer's market, or a locally sourced restaurant, you need to contact them. And if you you are a consumer, you need to start spreading the word about this site and donate, if you can! 
    • http://www.meetup.com/TEDxManhattan/ This is a list of all of the pre-organized TEDxManhattan Changing the Way We Eat viewing parties all over the place. Perhaps you were in one. Nonetheless, this is a good resource of people interested in moving forward with food. 
    • http://www.integrativenutrition.com/ The Institute for Integrative Nutrition is an online nutrition school that a couple of people in the group had mentioned. If you are interested in entering the field, here is an option you may want to explore.
    • http://organicconsumers.org/monsanto/index.cfm We all know Monsanto is the BIG BADDIE in the fight for real food, this website "Millions Against Monsanto" is building a grassroots campaign to try and do something about it! Sign up, spread the word, or just read up on all the Monsanto news they have on their website to become more educated about the company's evil reputation. 
    • http://jari.podbean.com/2010/03/01/interview-with-vandana-shiva/ Here is one episode of the "Living Hero" podcast that features an interview with Vandana Shiva, a global mover and shaker in environmental movement. A great interview with such a compelling figure in our world. 
    • http://www.umass.edu/soiltest/ This site came up as a result of a request I made. After hearing one of the speakers talk about getting soil tested, I thought, That's what I have to do so my husband stops worrying. One of the chatters said that this was the place they used for their testing. So, in case anyone else is in my boat, I am sharing this link. 
    • http://www.windowfarms.org/ As Britta Riley spoke at the TEDxManhattan event about open collaboration in window farming, someone in our chat group shared this link with us. This is an amazing project. Whether you are interested in getting involved as a collaborator to create newer and possibly even better window farm systems or you just want to purchase a home or school kit, this is where you want to go. If you simply want to see what happens when people get together to build new ideas instead of one company patenting it and secretly trying to build it with its own limited resources, this is also where you should go. Interested in window farms for yourself or not, the project alone is one to learn from! 
    • http://www.loraxcommunity.org/ The Lorax Community, which also has a facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Searching-for-Sustenance/128595037195230#!/LoraxCommunity), is a "movement toward self-sustainability." According to their mission statement they "are committed to promoting a conscious, healthy, self-sustainable way of life based on community ethics, shared values, peaceful co-existence and a profound, harmonious spiritual connection between all beings. Lorax Community exists as a way to provide educational resources to members of our community at a reasonable cost, and also to offer charitable services when needed." Seems like a worthy mission to me!
    • http://www.fooddemocracynow.org/ Food Democracy Now, another group that also has a facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Searching-for-Sustenance/128595037195230#!/pages/Food-Democracy-Now/162878479387?sk=info), organizes both online and in-person actions through the country. This group is dedicated to building a sustainable food system that protects our natural environment, sustains farmers and nourishes families. Here's a group we all need to be in support of and a part of starting TODAY! 
    Well, that is it. I have no doubt that even more fantastic information will spring forth from this group of fantastic foodies, but you'll be right there with me, won't you? ...In our facebook group as we plan the next steps in our food revolution! (I promise to keep you up to date here as well, just in case you don't have a facebook account!)


    Until next time...
    love your food beginning to end and I promise you will have a delicious day!

    Check out my Related Post: Are the Green Movement and the Food Movement Really Two Different Things?

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    TEDxManhattan LIVE STREAM Changing the Way We Eat

    I don't know how long this will be on, but it is live right now (Saturday 11:25am EST) and you need to check it out:

    Watch live streaming video from tedx at livestream.com


    link to the live stream: http://livestre.am/Ggb

    I must go watch!! Join ME!

    UPDATE: As a result of this livestream a group of like-minded people, inspired by the acts of the people of Egypt, decided to come together to try to use social media to enact some change. Come join us on FaceBook at the following link:
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_191834737502915&ap=1

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Friday's Food Finds

    All week I am all over the Internet blogging about food, commenting about food, reading about food and finding tons and tons of stuff! I simply can NOT dedicate a single post to each individual find, so here's what I am going to do: I am going to give you a CliffNotes version of some foodie finds that I think you might all be interested in, so you have stuff to read and tinker with over the weekend! Here it goes:

    Food Web Sites and Tools
    • DinnerTool While catching up with my fellow bloggers I read on Life With a Possum by Kimberly Battersy about this new site from the iVillage Food Network. DinnerTool is a website that has recipes, videos, meal planners, shopping lists creator, articles, a blog by Ariane Duarte (who is in a number of the videos I watched) and, a number of customizable features for your recipe searches such as cuisine type, diet restrictions and the difficulty of the recipe itself. I like the videos and the recipe search the most, although I feel like both libraries are still growing, so I am waiting to see where this goes. Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think!
    • Mangoes and Chutney This is an excellent blog that I found through the 31DBBB program. Miranda, who writes the blog, tackles cooking for us all - from dealing with the crazy cooking terms we all need to learn when first cracking open our cookbooks, to the golden rules of cooking, meal plans, the deliciously fun series called "Fat Camp Friday" (be CAREFUL with this one!!) and MORE (yes, there's even more!!). Needless to say, I am now a faithful follower and look forward to learning as much as possible from Mangoes and Chutney in the future!

    Food Reads
    • Is 'Eat Real Food' Unthinkable? It is time for a new acronym ERF, maybe you have even seen #ERF on twitter this week, well here is where it all started. Mark Bittman's second column in the New York Times Opinionator. He also write a response blog post called "Beyond the Acronyms" which discusses the USDA dietary Guidelines.
    • Food Inc.: Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser Discuss Food Safety, Walmart and How to Feed the World I don't know how I didn't know about this sooner, but I read about it Thursday, instead of being one of the truly awesome people that followed it LIVE on twitter (thanks to @cocoxochitl) on Wednesday night. However, being a complete and utter food-geek, I found the tweets and copy and pasted them into Google docs, so I can try to see if I can figure it all out.
    • 10 Useful Cooking Tips This list from Bibi on the Daily Organized Chaos blog is absolutely INVALUABLE! If you are in the kitchen, you must check this out!! Bibi is another buddy from the 31DBBB group - I am finding so many cool people and cool things to share with you because of this project - YAY!!
    Good Food (Recipes)
    •  How to Cook Quinoa in a Rice Cooker I am not sure this needs too much explaining, but this post by the Gluten-free Goddess (lower your heads in respect of her greatness) added a number of quinoa recipes to the end of this post as well. I realized in my post about my quinoa, tomato and black bean salad this week that I pretty much just flew right over the rice cooker process - so, feeling guilty, I decided to go on a quest for this very thing for you!
    • Gluten-Free Chocolate Recipes for Love Two things are going on here: 1. Once on the Gluten-Free Goddess website, it is very difficult for me to just jump away, and 2. Monday is Valentine's day!! Who doesn't love chocolate?? (OK, OK, I know there are some of you.... My brother is dating one of you, but I LOVE chocolate!!). What I love about this post is that there are even recipes for the sad sacks like me that are gluten-free and dairy-free! So many different options if you want to show one of your diet-restricted loves that you really care.
    Food FIGHTS
    • Stop FRACKING Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a drilling technique used to extract natural gas from shales and tight rocks by shooting millions of gallons of a mixture of water, chemicals, and sand into the ground. In the last year the toxic results of hydraulic fracturing have lead to cattle being quarantined in Pennsylvania, an explosion at a mine in West Virginia, as well as continued contamination of drinking water in Wyoming and Colorado. In order to protect our water, we need to pass the FRAC Act. It has become clear that hydraulic fracturing threatens our drinking water, our health, and our livelihoods. Please send a petition to your local representative about stopping this practice!
    • GE Alfalfa If you have not already taken a stand against the genetically engineered Alfalfa approval, there is still time to let the President know how you feel. Please take a moment to use this tool from the Food & Water Watch to write to President Obama to let him know that regulation of genetically engineered foods is NOT one of the places where he should be worrying about government over regulation! 
      
    Do you have a food website, tool, food read, recipe or food fight you think I should check out and share with the readers of Searching for Sustenance? If so e-mail me at BlogWithNV@gmail.com!

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    The Incredible Egg Miracle

    Think big image by TiredTom of the Republicans 
    Last night, as I was preparing dinner I overheard Diane Sawyer talking to someone on my television about how a new study claimed that diet soda may be quite a dangerous drink (no surprise there) and how the USDA decided that today's eggs are healthier than the eggs back in 2002 (wait... What?). According to a study released earlier this week the eggs of 2010 have 14% less cholesterol and 64% more vitamin D in them than the eggs last tested in 2002! This is great news!! Except... I couldn't help myself, in fact I could stop myself, my brain kept asking, "WHY?!"

    Some answers from all the news buzz:
    "The decrease may be due to changes in hens' diets, the way the animals are bred or other factors, said Mitch Kanter of the American Egg Board, an industry group representing egg farmers." (Quote from: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2011/02/08/Study-Todays-eggs-have-less-cholesterol/UPI-37131297206067/#ixzz1DWwjf5dT)
    "The American Egg Board attributes the changes to improvements in American farmers hen feed, which includes a vitamin D supplement." (Quote from: http://healthland.time.com/2011/02/09/the-updated-egg-less-cholesterol-but-is-it-a-healthy-food/#ixzz1DWxKHLri)
    "Why would that be? Well, no one really knows. Maybe today's chickens are eating a better diet. Or maybe they're getting more exercise, although if you've ever seen an egg factory, you'll have a hard time believing that." (Quote from: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2011/02/new-and-improved-egg-usda-says-yes.html)
    The fact of the matter is, something magical happened to eggs within the last decade. My personal vote is for the way the animals are bred, because if I decide to believe they are fed vitamin D, then I am not too far off from believing they were also fed some statins. I don't want to think that. I want to trust my food and where it comes from. I want to still have my eggs each morning... even if I really should have less than two full eggs (one large eggs has 185mg of cholesterol - our daily intake should not exceed 300mg! Oops!).

    What's your take on the big egg news?
    Do you trust that the new "healthier egg" was obtained through healthy means?  


    The image in today's blog is called "Fried eggs, sunnysideup!" and can be found at http://www.freakingnews.com/Eggs-Pictures--2626.asp

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Quinoa, Black Bean and Tomato Salad: An Adventure in Hunger

    I needed to go grocery shopping, but I was also starving. This is when I started to scavenge to see what was left that I could squish together into something yummy.
    • Quinoa - since I have been buying this at CostCo now, I seem to always have some waiting in the wings. Possibility: I could just make plain quinoa... however, I could add some flavor to that if I just had some
    • Chicken Broth - AWESOME! Just enough left in the fridge to make two cups of quinoa (in case my husband had some crazy idea he was going to steal some of my gluten-free goodness on this day!).
    But, woe is me... while I do love my mother grain, wouldn't this be most mundane? My tastebuds cried out to me for more! I begged them to understand that I didn't think there was too much more to work with. Then I walked around the kitchen and there was a
    • Tomato - well now... it seems like a nice red juicy tomato like that is just begging to join the party, but how? What to do with this red voluptuous fruit?
    I went online and typed in quinoa and tomatoes in the search bar. The response that most intrigued me had one additional ingredient,
    • Black Beans - these are the moments I am thankful for canned goods. However, traditionally I prepare black beans with a whole bunch of ingredients (ie. bell peppers, garlic, apple cider vinegar, etc.) that I simply did not have available. This recipe did not speak of such things, it did, however, mention a
    • Lime - my husband LOVES these! I ran to the fridge - could it be? Would there be? YESSSS!! There they were - two lonely limes!!
    I felt like I was on to something. My taste buds were all a-flutter. Then I read the rest of the ingredients - I had none of them. I felt betrayed, I was disenchanted by the internet recipe - How could it DO THIS to me?!What a TEASE!

    I decided to compose myself and reevaluate my situation. I had a nice palette of ingredients to work with... Could these, along with some seasonings, perhaps, do the trick all on their own? And then it occurred to me: waiting in the refrigerator, holding out for its moment to shine was that little jar of
    • SOFRITO! and this wasn't any old sofrito, this was homemade sofrito! Made by my Puerto Rican mother-in-law! (In case you do not have a Puerto Rician Mother-in-law, or do not know how to make sofrito yourself, I found this recipe, but there are TONS out there. You can probably tell by the pictures of my quinoa that I did not use the tomato/red sofrito for this.)
    The crowd goes WILD!! The taste buds are tingling!! The stomach is grumbling!! We are ready to roll!! Here is what I did, so simple.
    Quinoa, black beans, tomato, lime & sofrito.


    1. I prepared the quinoa in my rice maker (I am lazy, I know). One cup of quinoa with two cups of chicken broth over it, stir, close up the top, put it on rice setting and got to the rest of my work.
    2. I cut the tomatoes (I found another, so I used two) into cubes, or as close to cubes as possible.
    3. I rinsed and drained the can of black beans.
    4. Put the tomatoes and the black beans in a bowl together.
    5. In a smaller bowl I put the juice of both limes (next time I do this I might do one or 1.5 limes instead) and two heaping tablespoons of the sofrito (I might kick this up next time!). Mixed well. 
    6. When the quinoa was finished I added it to the bowl with the tomatoes and beans and mixed.
    7. Finally, I added the "sauce" and mixed it in as well.
    It can be served warm, room temperature, whatever you like! I don't particularly like things straight out of the fridge (and I had so much I have been keeping it in the fridge), so I throw a bunch in a mug (is this weird?) and microwave it for about 30 seconds - that has been my favorite temperature.

    Want some?
    As I am enjoying my last mug of this delicious quinoa salad that I have eaten as lunch, snacks and one night it was a side with dinner (yes, yes, overkill, I know! But I LIKE it, it is gluten-free, dairy-free and clean eating!!) I am wondering: Why the heck didn't I buy any more tomatoes so I could MAKE MORE?!

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    5 Movies to Nurture Your Eating Conscience

    Being a conscious eater may translate, for some individuals, into a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, for others it may mean buying less processed foods, or buying more organic foods, but whatever it ultimately translates to on your plate, it all begins the same way - someone starts thinking about food. If you've begun thinking about food, or are looking for reasons why you should be thinking about your food, here are five films you should watch that will nurture the conscious eater in you.

    Food, Inc.
    No conscious eater has missed this one. It received a lot of press coverage when it was nominated for an Academy Award, so most people, even if they have not yet seen it, have at least heard of it. The tag line on the official movie website is "Hungry for Change?" The fact of the matter is, you will be by the time you finish watching this movie. Here is the trailer for the film so you can see for yourself



    Food Matters
    Where Food, Inc. focused mostly on the food industry and the impact it has on our diets and culture, Food Matters comes back to looking at the actual food and its affects on our health. The film begins with a quote from Hippocrates that pretty much sets the stage, "Let food be thy medicine." While the message seems to be pro-Raw diet, which I am not 100% sold on (see my post on Vegetables: Raw or Cooked?), the discussions of the nutrient deficiencies in our diets, the lack of nutritional education for most medical students and the cancer studies were all equally fascinating. The official website of this film is packed with all kinds of resources and communities, so if you are intrigued by what you find in Food Matters, there is plenty of stuff to keep your curiosity satiated. Here's the trailer for you to check out:


    Tapped
    Do you drink bottled water? Do you think it is better for you than tap water? Do you think it is different than tap water? If so, here is a film to get you to start reevaluating some of your choices. I was first awakened to the true horrors of the water industry when I watched Blue Gold: World Water Wars last Spring (see my post here), but Tapped managed to take that global perspective and make it incredibly personal for me. Their official site is also jam packed full of information from the movie and beyond. This is a must-see film for anyone who carries a bottle of water with them. Cue the trailer!


    King Corn
    Two guys, friends in college, decide that, upon graduation they will move from Boston out to Iowa to farm an acre of corn crops. Why? Well, they found out that an inordinately large proportion of their bodily make-up was from corn! If you have read The Omnivore's Dilemma or been exposed to Michael Pollan in any way - other writings, interviews, etc, than this news is not terribly earth shattering, most of us in America would find the same thing. However, these gentlemen decided to explore it further - grow corn and follow it to see where it goes and what it becomes. This was a fun movie to watch with a serious message. Do they have an official website? Of course! Who doesn't - check out the King Corn official website, then check out the trailer:


    No Impact Man 
    An author and activist in New York City was thinking about what his next project should be, when he came up with a year-long endeavor for his entire family to undertake. This family of three went through an entire year, still living in the city, producing no waste, turning off their electricity, using bike and scooters, taking stairs instead of elevators, buying no new products and everything else in their power to make NO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT on the world around them. This was a family that lived on food in packages before the project and then began to make use of the farmer's market, growing their own and eating in season. This is a compelling project that was documented on the No Impact Man blog and in a book No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process (holy moley! That is a LONG title!!). Take a sneak peek at the whole deal with this trailer:



    There they are - five films to make you think. There are more, and there are books, too, but for today, we will stop with this early primer. By the way, if you have Netflix, then you are in super-luck, because ALL FIVE of these movies are availble for instant streaming (I just checked), so you can start watching them right now! Enjoy the movies, come back and let us know what you think and whether or not you feel these films have nurtured the conscious eater in you!

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