Better Than Canned Coconut Milk

IMG_8003Coconut has long been a staple food in tropical regions around the world and has grown in popularity in America. This is thanks in part to Americans’ growing interest in the exotic flavors from countries like Thailand, India and Brazil. But it is also thanks to the growing body of research on coconuts’ nutritional benefits (a good resource is the Coconut Research Center).  Luckily it’s pretty easy these days to find good quality whole coconuts, shredded dried coconut meat and coconut oil. Unfortunately coconut milk is another story.

Do you buy canned or boxed coconut milk or eat at restaurants that cook with these products? Ever wonder what all those extra ingredients in the can are? Do you want to know where to find pure, fresh-tasting and additive-free coconut milk without having to make it yourself? Continue reading

Shame on you, Dr. Oz! Here’s how to *really* eat healthy on a budget.

I occasionally buy fresh spinach at the farmer’s market. And fresh carrots. And pasture-raised meats. Apparently that makes me a food snob who’s wasting money without actually getting any meaningful nutritional benefits from these food choices. At least that’s my takeaway from this month’s Time Magazine cover story, authored by the surgeon turned TV personality known as “Dr. Oz.”  In the article, Dr. Oz tells readers “What to eat now” based on his “Anti-food-snob diet.” Continue reading

Are You Unknowingly Eating Spoiled Foods?

A few weeks ago, while baking with my German mother-in-law, she politely informed me that my hazelnuts and whole wheat flour, which had been in my pantry for ~8 weeks and 6 months respectively, were both rancid.   She had me smell the flour. I did, but couldn’t tell it was rancid because I didn’t have fresher flour to compare to. Besides, the expiration date was still several months out. When I tasted the hazelnuts, however, I knew she was right.  They had a bitter aftertaste. She also explained that the dark color was another clue that they were old. I wondered how much of a risk rancid foods pose. Continue reading

What does “Organic” Really Mean? (Part 3 – Packaged & Processed Foods)

Packaged and Processed Foods

In my last two posts, I talked about what “organic” means for meats, dairy, wines, seafood, and produce – basically everything that you find along the perimeter of your supermarket. This third and final post on this topic is about what organic means for packaged and processed foods, which are found in the center aisles of the supermarket and include the product that started this post: organic stevia powder. Continue reading

What does “Organic” really mean? (Part 2 – Meats, Dairy and Seafood)

In my last post, I talked about what “certified organic” means for fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables, and wine. I started with those foods because they’re the least processed foods. That means that there’s the least amount of room for creativity in terms of how to produce them as cheaply as possible while still maintaining the organic seal on the label. Now I’m going to turn to more complex foods – meats, eggs, dairy products and seafood. Continue reading

What Does “Organic” Really Mean? (Part 1 – Produce & Wine)

A friend recently told me that she no longer eats conventional processed sugar, but has switched to Stevia. I was very proud of her for making this switch. It wasn’t until later in the conversation that I learned that she isn’t actually crumbling dried green leaves into her tea. She buys her Stevia from Whole Foods. It comes as a white powder, wrapped in convenient serving-size  paper packets.  I told her that I’m skeptical because this sounds like it’s just as processed as white cane sugar. After all, how do you take a green, leafy herb and turn it into a white powder without significantly altering the biology of the product and therefore impacting how your body synthesizes it? That’s when she retorted, “it’s ORGANIC stevia” with great emphasis on the word “organic.” In other words, she was convinced that this product was good for her and that clearly my insinuation that it’s not good for her was off base. Continue reading

Book Review: Folks, This Ain’t Normal – by Joel Salatin

Ever meet a farmer who opposes farm subsidies? Or a Christian who’s against donating food to developing countries? Or an environmentalist who believes we have too many trees in the US?  How about a forward-thinking innovator who wants to do away with sewage plumbing and go back to a hole in the ground? What if all of this described one person, and that person had the nerve to publish a book accusing everyone else of not being normal?

Continue reading