Thursday, January 29, 2009

Surfin' the 'net: What I'm Reading

Are we too clean? Is there a connection between our obsession with killing germs and the rise in allergies and autoimmune diseases? From the New York Times, Babies Know, A Little Dirt is Good for You.

Chelsea Green: The Politics and Practice of Sustainable Living
. Get green living tips by following GreenTweet on Twitter.

Be safe, be seen. By way of, a New York Times review of the best bike lights.

Paper or plastic? What exactly is meant by "recycled?" Calculate your carbon footprint. Also on Treehugger, a green living primer.

Wear Your Music Guitar String Jewelry, as seen on Keith, Eric, and Pete's strings seem to be worth the most. Not only are the strings recycled, 100% of the profits go to charities chosen by the artist.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Not so sweet

Have you seen those obnoxious commercials about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), how it is "all natural" and mocking those who try to say anything bad about it? Well, an overly processed sweetener is not what I consider "all natural." Yesterday at clinic, we were discussing sweetener options, including the new stevia derivative, Truvia. We concluded the closer to nature, the better the sweetener, which pretty much left us with stevia (sweetener made from the whole plant, not just one sweet element of it), honey, and maple syrup.

What is so bad about high fructose corn syrup? There are studies showing that consuming HFCS can turn down leptin, a hormone that acts as one of the body's regulators of satiety (or feeling full). See the above picture? The mouse on the right lacks the gene that makes the hormone leptin. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has implicated HFCS in the obesity epidemic. Now there are claims that the process of manufacturing HFCS contaminates the product with mercury. Gee whiz, I see nothing wrong with any of that!

The Corn Refiners Association has a rebuttal for every claim against HFCS, but the consumers have the final say. Refuse to buy products with high fructose corn syrup.

Here is a spoof of the HFCS commercials by the guys who made the movie King Corn. And just to make your grocery store trip a bit more challenging, takes a look at the new stevia-derived sweeteners.

The Corn Refiners Association
The Ethicurian
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Make it slow and easy

Not a stranger to kitchen tools of convenience, I admit to using a microwave on occasion to cook my oatmeal and I openly profess my love for my slow cooker. I'm a busy bee and I need to eat. I'm not the biggest fan of packaged or canned foods, but sometimes in these hectic times our only option is to add canned beans to a recipe or steam frozen veggies instead of running to the store to buy fresh. What could be more convenient than turning on a slow cooker before you leave for work and come home to a fully cooked main course? I used to use my slow cooker just on St. Patrick's Day—it makes the most perfect corned beef, potatoes, and cabbage—but it is truly the best friend of the working gal (or guy).

This is why A Year of Crockpotting is my new favorite website. These recipes are not only delicious and easy, they are gluten-free. Thank you to my Twitter friend, CyndiinBC for introducing me to Stephanie and her crockpots! I made my own pantry's version of Clean Out Your Pantry CrockPot Chili. Two cans of beans, rinsed (black and white kidney), 1/2 can of chopped green chilies, 1 tsp crushed garlic, 1 can of tomato sauce, 1/2 large onion, sauteed, 2 lbs of ground supercow, browned. Combine in slow cooker pot, add water (I used a tomato sauce can-full), spices to taste (Italian seasoning, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper), and go!

What is your favorite slow cooker recipe?
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