Have you tried the tangzhong method to make your sourdough bread, yet?
I don’t know about you, but 2020 was a very long year, and 2021 is shaping up much the same. The one new thing I took up in May 2020 was making gluten free, dairy free sourdough bread.
It was a leap when I started. I was just someone who was bored and wanted to try something new. So I started right from the beginning with the thought that if it didn’t work, I would throw it out and move on. But it worked and I was hooked from the first loaf.
As the year went on, I continued to feed my culture and make my sourdough loaves. With each one I learned a little more, tweaked my recipe and technique a little. As I stumbled on new techniques, I researched and decided whether or not to give it a try. My sourdough bread just improved as the months went by.
About 2 months ago I stumbled on a technique called tangzhong.
Have you heard of it?
It is used in making Japanese milk bread. Well, at first I discarded the thought of trying it as I am both gluten free and dairy free, but then as I continued to have that word pop up in front of me I began to think that it might just work for gluten free and dairy free as well. So I gave it a whirl.
The tangzhong method is basically taking a bit of the flour and a bit of the liquid and making a roux of it, then adding it to the dough warm just before the sourdough culture. The dough then goes into the rising phase already warmed from the inside out.
Apparently, making the roux starts the starches in your flour, wheat or gluten free grain, pre-gelatinizing which in turn allows the starch to hold more liquid. This enhances the softness and the shelf life of the loaf.
Sourdough already has a great shelf life due to the sourdough culture, but I was intrigued at the idea of a softer loaf.
The result was quite amazing and the process literally took an hour and a half off my time.
That’s right 90 minutes off the time to make, rise and bake the loaf.
Now instead of letting the dough rest for an hour between mixing and adding in the sourdough culture, for the flours to absorb the liquid in the recipe, I just add it all in my special order ending with the warm tangzhong roux, and finally the sourdough culture.
Next the dough goes into a towel lined bowl covered with a damp towel and into my warmed oven which is turned off and the light left on to keep it warm. Here is where the other 1/2 is saved. Instead of letting the loaf rise for 4 hours, it is more than ready to bake in 3 1/2 hours.
My gluten free, dairy free loaf comes out with a soft enjoyable texture that has lots of bubble spaces or small holes. It stays softer for an extra day, but after that the softness can be brought back with a few seconds in the microwave.
Give it a try! If you are interested in receiving my Sourdough Bread recipe and method to create a gluten free culture click the link below.
Don't forget to keep me posted on the fun!
Food Sensitivity Coach, Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert and
All round general Food Lover. Exploring the world of food with you.
They are REAL!
When you are talking about your food sensitivities does it feel like you are talking about a unicorn? Some people believe, other's just don't get it. Sometimes seeing, feeling and experiencing is believing. To start of my next series of blog posts, let's begin by hearing it from an expert.
Trying to explain food sensitivities to someone can be challenging, but this wonderful video from Dr. Brenda Tapp, one of the naturopaths I work with, does a great job.
Watch Dr. Brenda Tapp as she talks about food sensitivities.
I am living proof that they are real, and knowing about them since my IgG test years ago has changed my life.
For those of you who do not know my story, I have suffered with food allergies and sensitivities all my life. Over 30 years ago, traditional medical specialists were going to do exploratory surgery to see if they could ‘find’ out what was wrong! Whoa, wait a moment here…… they were going to cut open my gut to see if they could find what was causing my issues at the time.
The next week I was at a dinner and seated beside someone else who needed to avoid some foods. He told me that recently his allergist had suggested that he may be reacting to canola. He had similar issues to me, so I went home thinking that before they cut me open, I needed to try eliminating canola to see if that’s what it was.
Now at that time I was living in Winnipeg. Oh yes, that is where a lot of canola is grown. Beautiful fields of yellow in the summer. I was breathing it in, it was on my skin and it was in most of the processed foods I was eating at that time.
The long and the short of this story is that I did eliminate as much canola as possible from my diet and 3 weeks later I was considerably better, not perfect but better.
Let’s fast forward 25 years. I had self identified over the years that I needed to avoid canola, yeast and nuts, but I still was not healthy, and had random bouts of symptoms.
That is when Dr. Tapp came into my life.
After much encouragement from my daughter I agreed to have the IgG test done, and it was quite a shock. I thought I had it all figured out, but clearly I was wrong.
The IgG test showed I was super sensitive to gluten, eggs, diary and a number of other things.
How could that be?
Well, I was a perfect storm when I was self diagnosing. If you think about it, whenever you eat canola, yeast and nuts, most likely you are also eating gluten, eggs and/or dairy. Yup that was me.
Of course from that day, I eliminated the foods I tested sensitive to and today more than 5 years later, I am healthier than I have ever been in my life. Amazing!
Having that IgG test done gave me a place to start to make a difference in my life and my health.
In the video Dr. Tapp talks about the other way to identify what you are reacting to, and that was how I did my own self diagnosing, but it is sometimes difficult and time consuming.
Your health and wellness is so important, especially today.
If you feel you may be sensitive to some foods I highly recommend having this test done. It is often covered by extended benefits. I know it was covered by my benefit plan.
Once you have your test results, when you are wondering how do I do this, I am here to help you get started, that is what I do.
I help people integrate a specialized diet into their everyday lives.
Whether it is knowing what foods and ingredients to avoid, or what foods you CAN eat, that is what I help with. I help you know what to watch for when shopping, cooking, sharing a kitchen, making family meals, and lunches too.
I am here to help you navigate the wonder world of food that is out there.
Take the guess work out of finding a path to feel what the most wonderful you feels like!
Food Sensitivity Coach and food lover passionately exploring the world of food.
Thank you to Gin Quist Photography for the perfect Unicorn photo!
I love this photo of my granddaughter Violet doing her shopping, when she was about 3, rushing nilly willy down the baking aisle.
Have you ever thought about how and what you shop for and what your personal food philosophy would be?
Now that my course to become a Culinary Nutrition Expert has begun, this is one of the assignments I have been given and it has been enlightening.
Over the years I have adopted different food strategies, low fat, low sugar, more veggies, etc, etc, etc. All those health washing ideas printed on the packaging of processed foods that I purchased, but I have never really put it all together, and wondered if it was good for me and my family.
I know all too well, that as my children were growing and I was busy working, getting meals on the table was the most important thing. Then getting to the end of the week so that we could relax for a couple of days before it all started again. Even though I am a planner by nature, it all just never came together to think about our overall food and eating habits.
I have also been overweight most of my life. When I think of the different diets I tried, lost weight then gained it back when I went back to my old habits, it was a downward spiral.
Maybe if I had a food philosophy back then it might have been different.
If I knew some of the things I have learned over the summer doing the pre-reading for my course, things might have been different. I accept that I cannot change the past and I am now in possession of some knowledge that I think will help me walk the future at a healthy weight.
So what is a food philosophy?
I would say that a food philosophy is an overall strategy that governs how you shop and make decisions regarding the food you purchase for consumption. As well, it goes to whether you process the foods yourself or purchase already processed. Sometimes it also goes to what you are willing to do, have the time for and what you feel is out of your wheelhouse of skills to do, like growing your own, or preserving, making jam, baking, etc. It is also something that will always be changing and evolving.
Previously I would have said my food philosophy was that I am a “Gluten Free, Vegan who eats Meat” with food sensitivities. If I think about that I guess it makes me an oxymoron but the statement covers off a lot of my sensitivities. Now however I have realized it is more than just that.
Although I was already eating whole foods, I now find that I am eating even less processed foods than I used to and when I do purchase them I look for organic, Non-GMO products where sugar is not in the first five ingredients. I consume grass fed, pasture raised meats and poultry, raised without the use of antibiotics and hormones as my budget allows. I prefer wild fish whenever possible, but if not cost effective I look for farmed fish raised without antibiotics. I also try to purchase local foods when they are in season.
I think that the biggest influence on my latest food philosophy, would be Michael Pollan’s book In Defence of Food. I agree with him that real food should be our source for nourishment, vitamins and minerals before looking to supplements to achieve optimal health.
I would say my current food philosophy is that I am a “Gluten Free, Vegan who eats Meat”, still an oxymoron, that is sensitive to gluten, eggs, dairy, peanuts, almonds, banana, and pineapple. I try to purchase products that are organic, Non-GMO and whole foods that have been humanely raised, without antibiotics and hormones. I also prefer to do as much processing of food at home where I control the ingredients.
That is mine! What would your’s be? Is it something you have given some thought to? Or is it something you have not really been concerned about?
Please let me know in the comments on my blog, I would love to hear what your food strategy is!
This is such an amazing journey, I have grown so much already!I look forward to further exploring the world of food with you.
Stay tuned, there is still lots coming to share and ponder on.
Food Sensitivity Coach and food lover passionately exploring the world of food.
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I hope you have been enjoying my journey to get ready for my Culinary Nutrition Expert program that begins in 2 short weeks. Yikes!
It has certainly been an interesting journey for me so far. I have read books and viewed documentaries I never would have thought to read or watch. I have learned so many things that I knew were out there, but never had the time to explore or become passionate about.
I can’t believe how much this new learned information has already changed my life, and look forward to more to come.
You know when you are going through daily life, sometimes you just have to get to the end of the day, then rinse and repeat. It takes time to think about things differently and decide what fits into your life and what doesn’t, at least not yet.
It all began with a desire to help my clients with food sensitivities be able to approach their food lives with a positive spin. Focusing on whole, not processed products to heal and become healthy once again.
But then it all changed and this journey became not just about my clients but about me and the food choices made in my home.
The information I was reading and watching began to have a huge impact on my everyday life and the decisions made in my home. My husband jumped on board watching documentaries with me.
We began to question what we had done for so many years. I think that is amazing.
So what are some of the changes we have made?
1. We don’t worry so much about eliminating fat as possible from my diet. We eat healthy fats, including some saturated from animal products. We try to use the appropriate fats to compliment each of the foods we are eating. Olive oil for salads or cold dishes, avocado oil for foods that are being cooked at a higher temperature. We stay away from canola, soy, corn and cottonseed oils that are most likely from GM crops.
2. I now realize that big business has really done their best to make me crave the processed foods in my cupboards that I just couldn’t leave alone. So I have eliminated many of those foods and opted for whole foods that will keep me satisfied. I have to say it was hard at first, but now I don’t crave those foods even when I see other people eating them and that has made a huge impact.
3. One of my big wake up moments was the day I realized that this is not a diet, this is a choice. This is a choice to fuel my body with foods that will keep me full, healthy and give me the energy I desire.
4. I have to say the documentary King Corn had probably the most profound effect on me, and it has little to do with corn. Instead it is all about feedlots and how cattle are treated while they are being fattened up for my consumption. Fattened on GM crops that yes I would prefer to avoid, but more importantly, I want to consume meats from animals that have had a good life, in a pasture with sunshine, that eat the grains and grasses they consumed long before GM crops were around.
5. I have been revolted by the photos of plastics in our oceans for quite a while, but just hadn’t worked out how to replace them in my home. I now use beeswax cloths to store vegetables and left overs, as well as glass containers. My tooth brush was a big problem until they began to sell bamboo tooth brushes where the handle can be recycled once the bristles are removed. I also now look seriously at the packaging my food products come in, and that enters into the decision to buy or not to buy. Even a small step can make such a difference.
6. Previously I never really felt the organic label on my food was worth the cost, but after learning more about how organic foods are never GM, and that being grown in the soil with weeds, and pests, those plants have to work harder to grow and thrive and there is a reason. They may not provide convenience for the farms, but they may provide more nutrition to me. The jury is still out on that one.
There are more changes as well, but I will leave the list at that.
Suffice to say, I have found the spark and the passion again. I am excited to begin my program and move into a whole new world of food. Hope you will continue the journey with me.
During this challenging and amazing time, what has given you a spark of inspiration? Please put a comment on the blog post to let me know.
Food Sensitivity Coach and food lover passionately exploring the world of food.
From birth we try to protect our children from so very many things. Some things are easier than others. What they eat is at the top of the list for many and that food is controlled by our choices good, bad, informed or blissfully ignorant. I must admit that some of my choices in the past were blissfully ignorant.
If you want to start a controversial conversation, you just have to say the word GMO and it is amazing how many people have a passionate opinion.
The next documentary I chose to watch as my Culinary Nutrition course start date draws closer was Genetic Roulette - The Gamble of Our Lives by film maker Jeffrey M. Smith released in 2012. Let me say, that I realize that this was released 8 years ago and there have been a significant number of changes in research since that time.
Genetically modified does not just mean taking the genes from cows and putting it into pig DNA to get a tougher hide on the pigs. Today it also means changing the DNA of seeds to be pest resistant.
When scientists first started looking at GM, it was to produce hardier crops, or to get a desired effect. One idea was to make crops less susceptible to weeds and pests, so that the farmer didn’t have to spray crops with insecticide. Many farmers at that time suffered health consequences from spraying toxic chemicals.
A friend reminded me that there are some good things that have been GM, and I try to remember that documentaries offer an opinion for you to research and decide what information you choose to accept.
This film taken at face value is enough to scare the pants off you! It covers a lot of territory regarding GMOs, but I am going to focus on the insecticide Bt (bacillus thuringienis) which occurs naturally on leaves and in soil around the world. It is approved for use in Canada and has been deemed to not pose unreasonable risks to human health.
Interesting phrase, ‘to not pose unreasonable risks to human health’. What does that mean?
Today, corn and a number of other crops have been modified (GM) to produce the insecticidal proteins that occur naturally in Bt.
So how does Bt work? When the insect takes a bite of the crop, the insecticidal proteins work to rupture the insects stomach to kill them and to protect the crop.
My response to that was WHAT about when humans eat the crop????
This is where it got interesting for me. If the insecticidal proteins break holes in the guts of insects, what does it do to us? As a person who suffers with food allergies and sensitivities, this is a big question for me.
When Leaky Gut occurs, holes in our gut allow food to pass into the blood stream that has not been properly digested for the body to use. The body then can identify the undigested food as a foreign body (which it is) causing an immune/allergy/sensitivity response.
Incidents of Leaky Gut or gut issues have skyrocketed in recent years, could this be the reason? And how many other diseases and conditions are made worse by the use of Bt? Could something that naturally occurs in nature be the cause? Or is it something else.
According to the film , of the top 10 GM crops today and the derivatives of those crops, more than 70% of the processed foods on our grocery store shelves today potentially contain ingredients that are GM without us knowing it.
As of today, there is no mandatory labelling of GMO products in Canada or the US. When polled 80% of Canadians and 90% of Americans today want to have that labelling.
The top 5 GM crops today are soy, corn, cotton, canola and sugar beet. How many processed foods do you currently consume that contain those ingredients or ingredients made from them?
I would hazard a guess there are many in your cupboards.
From my previous reading and blogs, I have learned that when the big money is behind a cause, and some researchers start saying that something those companies are promoting is harmful or incorrect, the researchers are often discredited to the point of where their reputations are shredded and their research buried. Such was the case in The Big Fat Lie, regarding saturated fats, that we now have learned some years later is not as harmful as originally designated.
When I started to do a little research on my own to see what was being said about this documentary, what I found was a lot of reviews that slammed what was being said, and questioning not only Jeff Smith but also the experts that he had on camera in this film. Literally, I did not find one review of support, which brings to mind that similar situation, and considering most of these reviews were done by researchers and universities that are dependent on the money from large corporations that deal in GM seed. Makes me wonder…..
Are the risks to our health being whitewashed in favour of big money and more profit once again?
As with everything, you need to make your own personal decision about what you consume, but for me this issue is too glaring, not to sit up and take notice. While I can’t vouch for the research used in this documentary, what was being said mades too much sense to me just to discredit it without further consideration.
Did you know that any product marked Organic cannot be genetically modified?
That makes me feel better, and there is an app from the independent agency called the Non-GMO Project that certifies products Non-GMO. You can also look for their Verified Non-GMO labeling on food packaging.
Sometimes, in the World of Food you find things that are a bit unexpected. Good and Bad!
What are you feelings on this blog, and/or the GMO issue? Please post a comment on the blog and let me know.
Exploring the world of food with you.
Food Sensitivity Coach and Food Lover Exploring the World of Food.
It’s time to take a break from reading and listening to books, and watch some documentaries. I must confess, I have not watched a lot of documentaries up until this point, but I think I am hooked.
Have you ever looked at a family and made a comment like ‘you can tell they are related’? I know I have, and I must also assume that others have said the same about my family………
Many family traits come through our genes, including hair colour, skin tone, size, shape and height. We have no choice or control over some, but others are affected by what we learn from our parents.
There are just so many documentaries on the recommended watch list for the assignment in my Culinary Nutrition course that starts next month. Fed Up: It’s time to get real about food directed by Stephanie Soechtig and narrated by Katie Couric, was one I thought would be interesting.
As I talked about in a previous blog, sugar is more addictive than cocaine.
I have never seen anyone addicted to a whole food, like a peach, but have definitely seen people craving certain processed foods and drinks. What about you?
For this film, the documentary makers interviewed teenagers about 14 years of age that were very obese, looking at what they ate, drank and what they did. Some of the teens were physically active, where others experienced limited physical activity literally limited due to their size. Active or not, it really seemed to make no difference.
To note here is that all calories are created equal when it comes to the energy required for your body to process that food into useable energy. When calories taken-in are in excess of what is immediately required for energy, the body stores those excess calories in the form of fat for future use.
Some calories require energy just to change them into a form that is usable by the body, like whole foods. Others come in the form of easily available sugars that do not require digesting. Those easily available sugars, such as many of the hidden sugars in processed foods, if not required for immediate energy, are converted directly into fat for later use.
It is easy to see in those terms why a diet with excess processed sugars puts weight on us.
BUT, is that the whole picture!
Next, the filmmakers began to interview the teens’ families, and I had a startling revelation.
Almost all the parents were obese as well, and the teens were eating the way their parents were teaching them to eat!
The filmmakers then started to adding up the amount of sugar consumed and amount of processed sugars consumed was astounding!
Families were then taught how to choose and make, whole foods meals and snacks. They were encouraged to buy less processed food, to be aware of nutrition labels and product ingredients to make better food choices.
Easy right? The best laid plans…….…
Convenience is one of the reasons that processed foods were developed and we all have enjoyed that convenience.
For all of us, when we think we are busy and don’t have time, those processed foods creep back into our diets.
Does that happen to you? Or do you just up your planning game to make sure the right foods are available?
In addition to thinking about the sugars in processed foods, since watching this documentary, I have thought a lot about how I have taught my children to eat!
Positive or negative we have all tried to provide nourishing foods for our families to the best of our abilities at the time.
I know for myself, when my children were young, I never knew how easy and quick it was to provide more whole food choices for my family and I didn’t understand the differences between whole food sugars and processed sugars.
Over the past few years I have began to make many different food choices regarding the processed foods I purchase, so I thought I was making good choices.
After watching this documentary, I jumped up and ran to my cupboard to look at ingredient labels, and the hidden sugars. However imagine my horror at what I found!
Let’s just say, there were definitely products that I will never purchase again, but this is a journey of learning. You cannot change your choices of the past, only your choices in the future.
There are so few things we can control in today’s world, but the food we make, purchase, consume and feed our families is something we can control.
There is a whole world of food out there to explore. We have so much more whole food available to us today, then we did 75 years ago. Explore your world of food.
What new whole food will you try this week? Post a photo of it in the blog comments to inspire it others with a new food choice.
Food Sensitivity Coach and Food Lover exploring the world of food.
As a Food Sensitivity Coach, I have had some clients who needed to eliminate corn from their daily diet. As I began my research into what foods contain corn, I was astounded to find that corn is in almost everything, from baking powder, spices to the sugars that are in almost all processed food. It was a real eye opener for me.
In prep for my Culinary Nutrition course this fall, I next needed to view a number of documentaries from a list provided. King Corn, the 2007 documentary directed by Aaron Woolf caught my eye right away.
The documentary was actually a fun one to watch as it followed 2 recent university grads who decide they want to grow an acre of corn and follow it to market. It seems like a reasonable thing to be able to do at the beginning, but what they found was not quite what they expected.
This is August in Ontario and don’t we all love our corn on the cob fresh from the field. This is not the corn we are talking about.
The corn we are looking at is the corn that has been designed to the exclusion of all other corn species to be used in big manufacturing, to be used as in animal feed, literally designed to be in our everyday lives.
I have to admit I was shocked when they started talking about feed lots for beef cows. I must be naive because I never realized that a beef ‘feed lot farmer’ only owned his cows for 120 days to fatten them up (on corn of course).
During their stay on the farmer’s feed lot they don’t have a nice life of wandering in a pasture like I imagined, instead they are confined to a small area waiting for them to reach the right weight to go to slaughter.
Fattened on corn is the quickest method to get cattle market ready and I am certain the same remains true for chickens, hogs and other animals that are consumed by the population in general.
This method has been developed to produce enough for the demand and make a good profit.
My uncle raised cattle on his farm when I was growing up. His cattle came in and out of the barn, wandered in the pasture eating what they chose. He baled hay to feed them in the winter. They weren’t fed corn at all as I recall, but I also remember that he would have his cattle for at least a few years before they went to slaughter not 4 months.
He also raised chickens who ran around the yard and terrorized me - but they tasted great when my aunt cooked them. Unfortunately there were always new chickens to keep me running.
There is the difference!
He could have never made money by today’s standards if each animal had to be fed and taken care of for a couple of years, waiting for it to grow and fatten up naturally on grasses.
Next, I thought about the fish I buy. Much of the fish offered today is farmed, and what are they fed but corn! Is that natural for a fish to eat corn?
Luckily, I have now found a supply source locally with grass fed beef and free range chickens. And when buying my fish I now look for wild caught from Canada if possible.
I think the most concerning thing for me is that big manufacturing has found ways to make corn into cheap sugars to use in the manufacturing of processed foods. High fructose corn syrup is now used less than it was in 2007 as we now know how very bad that type of sugar is for us to consume, but what about what it has been replaced by? Is it better for us?
At the beginning of the film, the 2 university students had their hair tested for corn and shockingly enough there was evidence of corn in their strands of hair. Mind blowing right?
I think it is safe to assume that if each of us had our strand of hair examined, the researchers would find evidence of corn in our hair as well as a result of the amount we have consumed.
How does that happen? If you do an internet search of what foods contain corn or corn by products you will be blown away by the length of that list. (Scroll down to see the products corn may be used in) How many have you consumed on a regular basis?
The one thing we all can control today is our food choices and their sources.
Today we are all so very busy, that sometimes it is just easier to take what is put in front of us to purchase without thinking about its origin.
We eat what our food eats! Food for thought!
Helping you explore your world of food.
Food Sensitivity Coach and Food Lover Exploring the World of Food
I don’t know about you but for so long I have heard all about how salt, sugar and fat were bad for me. I have definitely cut down over the years on how much salt, sugar and fat I consume, but I never really stopped to think about why I craved those foods.
For my next adventure in prep for my Culinary Nutrition course I decided to delve into the book Salt Sugar Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.
By the time I finished the book there were some startling questions that came into my mind.
The first block buster was how in the world did the cigarette company Phillip Morris make the decision to buy up a number of processed food producing companies and become the largest processed food producer in the world?
I will let you think on that yourselves, but it was a bit mind blowing to me. Wise business move for sure, but……..
Did you know that sugar is more addictive than cocaine?
Let me say that one more time!
Did you know that sugar is more addictive than cocaine?
That was a stunning idea for me. We can’t be addicted to those ingredients, can we?
Salt, sugar and fat have long been used to improve the taste of the processed food that people eat today and to make us crave it and go back for more.
Behind the clever marketing were labs where food was engineered to have you going back for the taste, the mouth feel, the bliss-point and more of just whatever, as long as you came back to their product and not someone else’s seemed to be the goal.
When you are looking at the product labels do you look at the number of ingredients listed, and the order they are listed in?
Most of us today know that the order the ingredients are listed in is based on the % that ingredient is of the total product.
Did you know that there are over 56 different ingredients names that are really sugar, and over 40 ingredients that are actually salt? AMAZING!
When you look at nutritional labels have you ever wondered, if you added up all the processed foods you eat in a day by the % of recommended daily amounts listed on the nutritional label, would you be over 100% for the recommended daily amount for fat or salt or sugar?
It is a little bit of a challenge to figure that out for sugar. If you go to your cupboard and look at some of the nutrition labels there, you will see that there are relatively few that actually give you the sugar % of RDA. Why is that? Hmmm……..
I consume far less processed foods than I used to, so imagine my surprise when I ran to the cupboard/refrigerator to examine ingredient lists and nutrition labels of some of the foods I have purchased.
I was not surprised to see products there that boasted low fat, where the salt and sugar were now significantly more than I imagined and how often sugar was brought into the first 5 ingredients. Condiments like salad dressing, ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc, sugar was the first or second ingredient! Products that you would never expect sugar and salt to be.
Recently, I have started to really try to only purchase products that:
It was really amazing to me now in hind sight, the number of products that have now been eliminated from my house.
This is such an interesting journey to be on, and such an interesting time. Now that I have had more time to explore what I purchase and why. Some of the questions I now ask myself in addition to the 5 listed above while I am in the grocery store are:
One thing for certain, I am taking more control over the foods that I consume, and the foods that come into my house. There are so few things that you can control today, but what goes into your body is definitely one of them.
Thanks for coming on the journey and exploring the world of food with me.
There is more to come, a little bit at a time, and I promise fun stuff too!
Food Sensitivity Coach and Food Lover Exploring the World of Food.
I don’t know about you but I have been cholesterol and weight aware for a very long time. I have lived a low fat and sometimes no fat diet and taken medication to lower my cholesterol on the recommendation of my doctor.
So a logical next choice in prep for my Culinary Nutrition course coming this fall was to jump into the book The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet by Nina Teicholz.
Imagine my outrage as I read/listened to this book to learn that the research studies that resulted in the my doctor’s recommendation were manipulated and/or seriously flawed to come to the researchers desired outcome. Next as experts acted on that flawed information, in an effort to lower heart disease, governments jumped on that bandwagon of recommending a low fat diet and doctors followed suit.
Even though the studies were questioned in the beginning, it wasn’t until much later that the public was made aware that these studies were flawed and by that time the giant ball was already in motion. We were all receiving recommendations to follow low fat diets and take medication to lower our cholesterol levels. We were brought up that way, so it had to be right. Right??
Over the years, I have consciously lowered the fat content of my diet. I have focused on not eating those whole foods that I now learn offer the fats that my body really needs.
Have we really been avoiding those whole fat foods unnecessarily? Could saturated fats really not be so bad for our bodies?
It all seems so very complicated.
In my learning curve, one of the big WOW moments was the day that I learned my brain is made up of mostly fats! Who knew? I didn’t but perhaps I was naive.
I always knew there were certain vitamins that you needed to consume fat with in order to absorb the goodness, but the thought that my brain needed fat was something that really made me sit back and question what I was doing.
The thought that the very thing I had been told to avoid for so many years, was something that my brain actually needed to be healthy is a bit mind blowing.
I don’t know about you but as I age, keeping my brain healthy is one of the things at the top of my list. I would like to keep my mental faculties intact so that I can enjoy my life to the fullest. Now there are a lot of factors that go into keeping my mental faculties, it is not just about consuming enough good fats but I think it is an important part.
There are just so many people out there making recommendations on what is good for you and what isn’t. There is a lot of noise, but how do they really know, why is their study better or not as good as another. Like I said it is such a complicated question to answer.
I must give credit to the medical research industry out there because there is a lot of amazing knowledge that has been identified through medical research that has greatly improved our lives.
And we need those experts to help us identify and make our personal decisions on what is good for us individually. We cannot possibly be experts in everything.
One thing that really hit home as I progressed through the book was that no matter what health recommendation you were listening to, moderation is probably the best route to keep you on a healthy path.
I watched the author Nina Teicholz give a talk about her journey writing this book. Her last words had a most profound effect on me. She told her audience to focus on whole fats in their whole food choices.
Let me say that again......focus on whole fats in your whole food choices!
I can do that!
Since reading this book, I can honestly say that I am not afraid of eating a little bit of fat on a steak. After all I now only eat beef about once, sometimes twice a week, and even then a moderate amount of 3 or 4 oz. I think moderation is the key.
Ideally if we kept track of our fat consumption in our daily diet, the Government of Canada now recommends that 20 to 35% of our total diet should come from fats.
In my eyes, I want those fats to come from good whole foods like avocados, fish, lean meats, nuts, and such.
How do you feel about all the confusion around fats and what is good for you and what isn’t?
What about the fact that the low fat diet recommendations made so long ago by the experts was based on incorrect information?
We are a whole body that needs whole foods including whole fats, in moderation of course.
Explore your world of food, and decide for yourself what works best for you.
Food Sensitivity Coach and Food Lover Exploring the World of Food.
As a Food Sensitivity Coach, I find that many of my clients feel quite challenged when it comes to the shopping for groceries. I can sympathise because I have to admit I have been there.
Many feel that there is no ‘food’ they can eat. I have been there too!
To ‘just eat food’ is kind of an ambiguous statement because we all don’t have the same definition of what food is.
The dictionary definition of foods is: any nutritious substance that people, animals or plants, eat, drink or absorb in order to maintain life and growth. Interesting!
Previously, I have often defined food by what would fill my tummy be it good for me or not.
So, the question of the day is … What do you consider to be food? Does food include your breakfast cereal, granola bars, hamburgers, condiments, fruit, eggs, meat, cheese, or veggies? All of these foods have at least some nourishing nutrients and could be thought of as nutritious, but are they all really good for our bodies?
In prep for my Culinary Nutrition Expert course, I have a list of books to read or listen to, and a list of documentaries to watch. I decided to start by reading In Defence of Food: An Eaters Manifesto by Michael Pollen. I am a food lover after all. I also watched the documentary just for my own enjoyment. He is an entertaining guy and he has some interesting advice. One piece of advice I really liked was ‘Eat food, Not too much, Mostly plants’.
Today, we tend to focus on individual nutrients instead of the whole food. Many of us take supplements to ensure we are getting the proper nutrients instead of just eating the food.
That is not to say that supplements are not beneficial. Sometimes they are needed because certain nutrients can be very challenging to get what your body needs from food alone.
So what is food?
When Michael Pollen wrote ‘In Defence of Food’, I believe he was referring to whole foods. The kind of stuff you find in the fresh department in your favourite grocery store, not the processed food like products that we find in those center aisles.
I used to purchase a lot of prepackaged, processed food. Let’s face it, they are called convenience foods for a reason.
Pre-packaged foods tend to have a lot of health claims like low in fat, low in sugar, etc. But if a product is claiming to be low in fat but has more sugar and salt to replace taste that removing the fat has taken away, is that really something I want to consume?
Nutrition labels can be very misleading, by focusing on just the nutrients listed instead of the processed product as a whole. What else is in there hiding? Many ingredients are also added in as extras to extend shelf life, but all that can change how your body reacts and digests that food and then how the nutrients are absorbed or used.
Many of these processed products have been created in a laboratory in conjunction with a marketing team to produce more sales instead of better nutrition. Does that thought bother you, I know it does me?
I have found over the last few years, as I journeyed toward a better life after breast cancer, that I shop less and less in those center aisles, skeptical of health claims in general. I still have a few favourite products that I buy in those aisles, but generally most of my shopping is done in the outer aisles, veggies, fruits, meats, etc.
Now, with different circumstances and having more time on my hands, I look to do the processing myself. Taking the raw ingredients and cooking, baking or preserving them for my family to enjoy.
By doing this I get to choose what goes into it; I get to avoid those food additives that I cannot pronounce; or additives to give the product a 2 year shelf life. I get to concentrate on just using the whole food that gives me all the nutrients those foods can offer.
I am amazed that it takes a lot less time than I ever imagined it would.
Is the topic of ‘what is good food’ something you have pondered, previously?
Now that we have had a reset on our priorities, is the fuel you put in your body something you would like to take more control of?
There are so few things in this world today that we can control, but the food we consume and the choices we make regarding that food are things we definitely can control.
If you are interested, I highly recommend reading Michael Pollen’s book ‘In Defence of Food’. It is a relatively short entertaining read (or relax and watch the documentary). Make your own opinion of what is best for you and your family.
Let me know in the blog comments any thoughts I might have provoked or any topics you might like to explore.
Everything that opens our eyes is worthwhile. Explore your world of food, decide what works for you, make your own rules and like Michael Pollen says ‘Sometimes you have to break the rules’.
Food Sensitivity Coach and Food Lover Exploring the World of Food.
diane Couse, Food Sensitivity Coach
I am passionate about exploring the world with a view to food allergies and sensitivities. I look forward to sharing with you what I find, from books, blogs and websites to recipes, hacks, inspirations and opinions, join me in a journey to live your best life.