Category Archives: high-fructose corn syrup

Epic breakfast…for dinner

Just for fun, here are just a FEW questions my students have asked in our first 2 classes:

  • How often should you have a bowel movement?
  • Is high-fructose corn syrup really worse than sugar?
  • Is stevia safe?
  • Why does the Atkins diet help people lose weight?
  • How many calories do I need to gain weight?
  • Do carbohydrates make you fat?
  • Why does the government subsidize corn  if the MyPyramid is aiming to reduce high-fructose corn syrup consumption?

Do I have some smart, inquisitive pupils or what? I guess I should now mention that the first 2 chapters we’ve gone over have nothing to do with any of those questions (and those were just a FEW), but the class discussion is priceless. And some of the false information floating around out there is just plain’ol SCARY!

So while teaching is going well, a 6pm start time has caused dinners to be very…rushed. And that is quite the understatement.

Let me preface this next part by saying that I am notoriously late, always. Not a lot, but a little. And when you’re the teacher, that just doesn’t fly. So I’m really trying to be ON TIME…if only to class.

Monday night I shoveled down a bowl of cereal and a banana before jetting off to class. Last night, I made an epic breakfast for dinner that I had to eat in, literally, 2 minutes. Of course, had I not taken the time to photograph this lovely meal, I would’ve had 4 minutes or so, but I had to do this French toast justice. Because I very well know that pretty pictures make you more likely to believe my rave reviews…riiiight?

Lightened Up Crème Brûlée French Toast from Skinny Taste

1 cup unpacked brown sugar
1/4 cup water
cooking spray
10 oz Challah bread, sliced 1 inch thick
2 large eggs
1 cup egg substitute
1-1/2 cups 1% milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp Meyers rum (optional) – I omitted
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon


In a small heavy saucepan melt brown sugar and water over moderate-low heat, stirring, until smooth and melted, about 1 minute, then pour into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, egg substitute, milk, vanilla, rum, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350° F and bring bread to room temperature. Bake uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 40 to 50 minutes. Top with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 342 calories; 4.5 g. fat; 84 mg. cholesterol; 378 mg. sodium; 64.6 g. carbohydrate; 1 g. fiber; 12.2 g. protein

Result: YUM-O! When I saw Renee rave about this recipe on her blog, I knew I had to try it. As if the title of the recipe wasn’t tempting enough. I made this in the morning and we had it for supper, but you could just as easily, and more traditionally, make it at night to serve the following morning. Super simple, absolutely delicious!

I want to continue making nutritious meals on Monday and Wednesday nights, but I think 1) I need to utilize the crock pot on these nights (or eat leftovers), and 2) I may need to go lighter on lunch and have a small, early dinner (4:30ish) before class and a snack afterward. I did the later last night — one piece of French toast before class and a fresh strawberry and banana smoothie for afterward. It worked well. 🙂

I am looking forward to a long workout and another healthy, homemade meal tonight. Lily is going to daycare so that after work I can get in a long run not feel guilty about it. Plus, she could use the exercise, too! 😉

Question: What’s your favorite quick and easy meal? Or a meal that can be prepped ahead of time?

P.S. Last chance to enter the LARABAR Giveaway! It ends TONIGHT!



Filed under Atkins, breakfast, carbohydrates, crock pot, dinner, dog, exercise, fruits and vegetables, Gina's WW Recipes, Giveaway, high-fructose corn syrup, pets, physical activity, recipe, running, snack, teaching, vegetarian

sweets for my sweetie

A bit ironic with yesterday’s post on high fructose corn syrup that this email pops in to my Blackberry at 7:22am while I’m on my way to work:

You want to make some brownies or cookies tonight for the bake sale? If not, I should probably pick something up at the store.



That would be my husband. Less than 24 hours notice for a bake sale at his work. Isn’t Mr. P one lucky guy that I responded happily with a, “Sure! No problem!” And I think his co-workers are lucky he asked, too. Store bought baked goods can’t hold a candle to homemade! 😀

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies adapted from My Wellnest and originally from

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend
1 cup sugar
1/4 skim milk
1/8 cup cocoa
1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
1 1/2 cups quick oats or old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Combine butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa in saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla until thick. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Cookies will harden as they cool. Yield: 16 large no-bake cookies.

Nutrition Information (per cookie): 146 calories; 7.6 g. fat; 10 mg. cholesterol; 58 mg. sodium; 18.4 g. carbohydrate; 1.5 g. fiber; 2.9 g. protein

Result: Ohhhh my! I should’ve stayed a no-bake virgin…these things are DANGEROUS!!! They taste so rich and just melt in your mouth. For that reason, I find the nutrition stats to be pretty wonderful. The fat in the cookies is primarily heart healthy MUFA’s and PUFA’s from the Smart Balance and trans fat-free peanut butter and they contain fiber from oats. And calorie-wise, I think they’re a great bargain for the size of the cookie. YUM! Added bonus: most people have every ingredient on hand, so when your hubby or kid pulls a bake sale out of left field, you don’t have to add grocery shopping to your to-do list, too 😉

Since the kitchen was already messy, I decided to make another recipe for the bake sale…

Basic Cookie Dough Recipe from Kitchen Daily

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in any goodies (i.e. chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, etc.). Tear off two sheets of waxed paper, each about 12 inches. Spoon half the dough lengthwise down the center of each sheet of paper forming a strip about 8 inches long. With your hands, roll each strip into a log about 2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Wrap the logs up in the paper. Freeze several hours until firm or freeze up to 3 months.

To bake: Preheat oven to 400° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap frozen dough and with a sharp knife, slice 1/4-inch thick. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back. With a wide, thin metal spatula, remove from baking sheets to wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Nutrition Information (per cookie, dough without goodies): 54 calories; 2.2 g. fat; 8 mg. cholesterol; 51 mg. sodium; 8 g. carbohydrate; 0 g. fiber; 0.6 g. protein

Result: I made 1/2 of the batch into standard chocolate chip cookies by adding 1/3 cup chocolate chips and the other half into white chocolate chip cranberry cookies by adding 1/3 cup white chocolate chips and 1/4 cup dried cranberries. I love the versatility of having a simple dough recipe, especially since you can stash a batch in the freezer for up to 3 months! This was your classic, yummy cookie!

OIAJ or LTIAJ (Lily’s tongue in a jar)? LTIAJ sure occupies her, so I went with that… 😉

Other than baking last night, I dragged my tush through a 3 mile run on the treadmill. I don’t know why, but my legs felt like lead…certainly one of my worst runs in awhile. However, after watching Biggest Loser last night, I don’t think I can complain!! Jillian is MEAN!!

Question: Are you going to be watching The Biggest Loser this season?

Half way to Friday,


Filed under butter, dessert, dog, exercise, fiber, heart health, high-fructose corn syrup, MUFAs and PUFAs, pets, physical activity, recipe, running, The Biggest Loser, trans fat

baked falafel & 10 not-so-healthy “healthy” foods

Happy Friday! 😀

Yesterday’s trivia answer: Madagascar. Madagascar produces 2/3rd of the world’s vanilla. Thank you, Madagascar! And I am seriously impressed with everyone’s food trivia knowledge!!


The only thing that would’ve made last night’s dinner better would’ve been someone to enjoy it with! I’ve been wanting to try this recipe of Karla’s for quite a number of weeks now…and I knew that I’d have to do so when Mr. Prevention wasn’t around. He hears “garbanzo beans” and he loses interest. His loss. Seriously.

Baked Falafel adapted Foodologie and Epicurious

1 cup dried garbanzo beans
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp flour (I used all-purpose flour)


Soak beans overnight in plenty of water.

The next day, put the garbanzo beans and onion in the food processor and pulse to roughly chop.  Next, add remaining ingredients and pulse until combine.  Refrigerate mixture for a few hours.

After the  mixture is chilled, pre-heat your oven to 375° F.  Form garbanzo bean mixture into 25 walnut sized balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Increase oven temperature to a 500° F broil. Broil falafel for 3-5 minutes (or longer) until the tops are golden brown. Serve with pita, cucumbers, tomato, and either hummus or a tahini yogurt sauce. Yield: Serves 5 (five falafel per serving).

Nutrition Information (per 5 falafel): 135 calories (27 calories per falafel); 1.6 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 567 mg. sodium; 27.4 g. carbohydrate; 5.4 g. fiber; 7 g. protein

Result: Soooo good! There are so many falafel lovers among my family and friends…I can’t wait to spoil them with this healthy falafel rendition. These really did FAR exceed my expectations, and I do consider myself somewhat of a falafel connoisseur after working in a Middle Eastern restaurant during high school. And as for the nutrition? A++!! Low calorie, low-fat, high-fiber! 😀 A much leaner choice compared to the deep-fried traditional preparation.


10 Not-so-Healthy “Healthy” Foods from Cooking Light

1. Multi-grain and wheat breads. Ideally, breads are from whole grain and 100% whole grain sources, not enriched, bleached, or from a refined source.

2. Prepared salads. Tuna, egg, and chicken salad are loaded with calorie-dense mayonnaise. Even tossed salads which have lots of yummy, tantalizing ingredients atop a pile of greens can yield one very high calorie meal. Be careful not to assume salads are always the healthiest choice on a menu.

3. Reduced-fat peanut butter. Peanut butter contains healthy monounsaturated fat. When fat is removed from products, like peanut butter (and salad dressings), sugar is substituted in. Furthermore, there is no calorie difference between regular and reduced-fat peanut butter.

4. Energy bars. Many energy bars are packed with calories, high fructose corn syrup, and saturated fat. There are much healthier (and cheaper) alternatives for pre and post-workout fuels.

5. Bran muffins. Bottom line: portions of such baked goodies are way, way too big. I agree with Cooking Light, make your own muffins at home! Cut calories and cost for your breakfasts on-the-go! Need muffin recipe ideas? There’s tons on my recipes page under “Breakfast”!

6. Smoothies. Many chains add sugar, sherbet, or ice cream to smoothies to get that oh-so-wonderful taste leading you back for more time after time. Smoothies are simple to make in the home with fresh or frozen fruit, low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt, and/or 100% juice or calorie-free beverage.

7. Packaged turkey. While packaged turkey offers and easy, low-cal meal option it is loaded with sodium.

8. Foods labeled “fat-free”. Fat-free does not mean calorie-free. Always read labels to get the whole scoop on a product.

9. Restaurant baked potatoes. The potato isn’t the problem, but the heaping scoops of butter, sour cream, bacon, and cheese sure are! Ask for toppings on the side and watch the portions.

10. Sports drinks. These drinks are designed for intense exercise and training, not your weekend stroll or casual jog. Using them inappropriately simply packs on the calories (and cost) unnecessarily.

I really enjoyed this article. While I think a few of them were obvious, the information was factual and valuable.

Question: What are you up to this weekend?

More chili is in our future…entry #3, bring it! And I’m cutting Mr. P off from his buffalo chicken dip…but not completely! I have a new buffalo chicken appetizer I want to swoon him with!! Stay tuned! Have a super weekend! 😀



Filed under carb-controlled, convenience foods, Cooking Light, diet, dining out, dinner, enriched/fortified, fiber, Flexitarian Diet, fried food, fruits and vegetables, garlic, guilt-free, healthy cooking, heart health, herbs, high-fructose corn syrup, MUFAs and PUFAs, protein, recipe, restaurant, salad, saturated fat, snack, sodium, weight loss

Friday Fun Day!

No work on Fridays, wooo! 😀

Yesterday a fun new kitchen gadget arrived: a Soda Stream! I don’t think I’ve seen Mr. Prevention so excited over something blog-related…ever. I’ve seen the Soda Stream in the blogosphere and I’m excited to have one of my own :-D. Tonight we tried the Diet Grapefruit flavor and it was delicious!

Mr. Prevention also tried the cola and really enjoyed it. We put together a video to demonstrate how EASY making the soda is…(sorry about Lily barking…she’s not a fan of new noises!)

You can make 50 8-ounce servings for $4.99! Score! Added bonus: the diet flavors are aspartame-free and the regular soda contains no high fructose corn syrup and are a mere 35 calories for 8 ounces! This will certainly help off-set the cost of my Zevia addiction 😉

I also had an itch to bake last night…so I did! There’s soooooo many new recipes I want to try this week!! My co-workers are going to be getting a lot of cookies and muffins next week at this rate!


Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies adapted from Cooking Light

6.75 ounces all-purpose flour whole wheat pastry flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg 1/4 cup Egg Beaters
3/4 cup finely chopped dried fresh apple
3/4 cup caramel bits or 16 small soft caramel candies, chopped


Preheat oven to 350° F

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a bowl; stir well.

Place sugars and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture; beat at low speed until just combined. Fold in apple and caramel bits.

Drop dough by 2 teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten balls slightly with hand. Bake at 350° for 9 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Yield: 3 dozen

Nutritional Information (per cookie): 94 calories; 2.5 g. fat; 63 mg. sodium; 17 g. carbohydrate; 0.9 g. fiber; 0.8 g. protein

Result: These. Are. Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!! These truly may be the best cookies I’ve ever had!!!

Apricot-Coconut Bran Muffins from Lily’s Health Pad

1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 1/4 cups non-fat buttermilk
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup natural turbinado sugar (could use refined cane sugar)
2 eggs
1 cup chopped, dried apricots
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut


Preheat oven to 350º F.

Combine the wheat bran and buttermilk.  (Simply wet bran with milk.  Don’t over mix.)  Set aside for 10 minutes.

Combine and stir flour, baking soda, and sugar.  Add bran mixture and eggs.  Stir just until ingredients are moistened.  Fold in apricots and coconut.

Grease or line cupcake tins with liners.  Equally distribute batter into 12 moulds.  Bake at 350º F for 16 to 18 minutes.

Remove muffin tin from the oven.  Let muffins sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information (per muffin): 150 calories; 2.8 g. fat; 37 mg. cholesterol; 35 mg. sodium; 28.8 g. carbohydrate; 4.4 g. fiber; 2.6 g. protein

Result: Yum! These are reeeally good!!! Love muffins for breakfast 🙂

I’m taking a break from NNM topics today. I’m pooped after all that baking 🙂

Mr. Prevention and I are off to Dallas this weekend to visit friends. Not sure what the weekend brings, but I’ll try to check in!

Question: What’s the last thing you baked? Is there a baking modification you always make (i.e. canola oil for vegetable oil)?

Any fun weekend plans? 🙂

TGIF..have a wonderful, healthy, happy weekend!


Filed under artificial sweeteners, aspartame, blog, breakfast, budget shopping, Cooking Light, dessert, dog, friends, high-fructose corn syrup, pets, recipe, soda, Splenda, sugar substitutes, travel

Thank you, Oprah!

Oprah Winfrey aired a show on Thursday about diabetes, the Silent Killer. The show featured America’s doctor, Dr. Oz, as well as Bob Greene. USA Today put out a great article on the show.

If you didn’t get to catch the show, here’s a 10-minute excerpt:

I am passionate about diabetes and nutrition — it’s what I do. And we are learning more and more about diabetes, the disease that is predicted to bankrupt our health care system. I loved the show — diabetes and its compliacations were explained in a fashion that any American could comprehend.

Facts I learned:

  • Drinking just ONE can of regular soda a day increases one’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 83% !!!!!!!!!
  • Engaging in 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week reduces one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 60%!!
  • If your waist circumference is greater than half your height in inches, you are at increased risk of diabetes. Ex: 5’5 = 65″; waist > 32.5″ is a risk factor for developing diabetes

Points made that I question:

  • Dr. Oz said that type 2 diabetes is reversible. I think this is debatable. Can a type 2 diabetic lower blood glucose levels to safe, normal ranges (with or without pills or insulin)? Yes.  Does this erase their diabetes diagnosis? Nah. This was just a logistical thing that I wanted to voice my opinion on. Specifically, for insurance purposes…chronic disease diagnoses don’t just disappear, even if they are well managed.

Other points to clarify:

  • Dr. Oz discussed staying away from the “whites” — white bread, pasta, sugar, etc. I agree with him in that these foods should be limited and more healthful replacements should be used when possible. However, I wanted to point out that there are a LOT of foods that are carbohydrates and ALL breakdown to sugar (glucose) in the body, such as: milk, wheat bread, brown rice, fruit, vegetables, juice, cereal, etc.

The bottom line:

  • Eat a balanced diet with an emphasis on lean proteins (animal sources of otherwise), complex carbohydrates (fiber-containing foods), fruits, and vegetables
  • DO NOT drink your carbohydrates — kick the soda habit and limit juice (even 100% all juices — eat the fruit instead!)
  • Exercise. 30 minutes a day. Most days of the week. As Bob Greene stated on the show, “Exercise is not an option!”
  • Do not focus on the dollar signs. Simple sugars and carbohydrates are cheaper and more easily accessible, yes. Be an educated consumer and understand the long-term cost that can be associated with poor health.
  • If you have uncontrolled diabetes and “feel fine” — please, don’t fool yourself. The statistics don’t lie. Change NOW before it’s too late. If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “If only I did something before it was too late…”

After watching the show on Friday, I walked into my local Walgreen’s. And look what was on the door:

In the red circle it says, “As featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show”

There was a woman getting her blood sugar tested and I thought it would be rather invasive and  inappropriate to take a picture, so just take my word for it 😉 The table was set-up right inside the door. What a wonderful event! Go, Oprah and Walgreens!

Question: What’s your take on soda? Juice? Do you choose to drink regular or diet soda? No soda? If you were counseling a regular soda drinker, how would you encourage them to kick the habit? What about diet soda drinkers?

I feel soda drinkers have VERY strong opinions on soda and easily justify their habit. Diet soda drinkers say, “Regular soda is too many calories and sugar.” and regular soda drinkers say, “Diet soda has that fake stuff that isn’t healthy.”

Random question: Do you say “soda” or “pop”…or “soda pop”? 😉

P.S. Email any burning nutrition questions to me at! I’m planning my next Q&A! 🙂

Giveaway alert:

Michelle over at Lucky Taste Buds is giving away a $50 Safeway giftcard!


Filed under artificial sweeteners, aspartame, blood glucose, budget shopping, cancer, carbohydrates, chronic disease, diabetes, dietitians, Dr. Oz, exercise, fiber, fruits and vegetables, Giveaway, grocery store, high-fructose corn syrup, low-carb, physical activity, protein, soda, sugar substitutes, US health care, weight gain, weight loss, work

get fiber from nature

…Hope we all survived Monday Fun-Day! On to some research…

Foods that naturally contain high amounts of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Over the past several years there has been huge efforts made towards increasing fiber in the diet from alternate sources such as yogurt (e.g. Yoplait’s Fiber One yogurt) and granola bars (e.g. General Mill’s Fiber One bars), to name a few. These fiber sources contain isolated or functional fiber ingredients such as inulin, maltodextrin, and polydextrose [1]. The health benefits of these fiber sources remain to be seen. Mayo Clinic dietitian, Jennifer Nelson, states, “They have not necessarily been studied to see if they’re beneficial [1].”

Naturally-occurring fiber, dietary fiber, contains powerful cholesterol-lowering effects. Dietary fiber also decreases the glycemic index of foods, a most desirable feature among diabetics and the insulin resistant. Further, dietary fiber aids in preventing constipation and reduces the risk of hemorrhoids and diverticulosis [1]. And lastly, a high-fiber diet helps to improve satiety, an important piece to any weight-loss or weight maintenance endeavor.

Fiber One bars are a perfect example of why label reading is crucial. While a 1.4-ounce breakfast bar contains a whopping 9 grams of fiber – nearly a third of the daily recommended intake – the product also contains chicory root extract (inulin), high-fructose corn syrup, and maltodextrin. Unfortunately, none of the “dietary” fiber in Fiber One bars comes from a natural, whole grain source.

While this post is not intended to slam Fiber One bars (truly!), I am simply trying to emphasize a diet rich in naturally-occurring high-fiber foods – whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. While the jury is out on the efficacy of inulin, malrodextrin, and polydextrose, I recommend sticking to the tried and true fiber sources!

Remember 25 to 35 grams a day…every day! 😉

And in other news, we tried (and loved) another new recipe tonight…

Crock Pot Cranberry-Chipotle Chicken

Crockpot Cranberry-Chipotle Chicken

1 cup chopped onion
1 15 oz. can black beans (rinsed/drained)
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans (rinsed/drained)
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 cloves minced garlic
1 lb. skinless/boneless chicken breasts
1 16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1 small can chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce
1 tbs. lime juice
salt/pepper to taste

Layer everything in the crock pot (chicken, onions, tomatoes, beans). Mix the broth, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, cranberry sauce, chipotle peppers and lime juice in large bowl. Pour over all. Cook on low for 8 hours or on low for 4 hours. Yield: 5 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 380 calories; 3.3 g. fat; 30 g. protein; 625 mg. sodium; 11.4 g. fiber; 59.6 g. carbohydrate

This recipe is not for the temperature weenie! It is hot-say-tot-say!

[1]. Conis, Elena. All Fibers May Not Be Created Equal. The Los Angeles Times. January 11, 2010.

Question: Have you heard of inulin before? Do you know of any research in support of isolated or functional fibers ability to lower cholesterol?

And on a lighter note…do you watch The Bachelor? Team Jake or Team No-way Mr. Perfect?

Giveaway over at Eat Move Love — a Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook!


Filed under blood glucose, chronic disease, diabetes, dinner, fiber, fruits and vegetables, glycemic index, healthy cooking, high-fructose corn syrup, recipe, weight loss, weight maintentance

Soap boxin’ and kale chip rave!

If you are yet to see or read Food, Inc. I strongly suggest you get a move on! Husband and I watched Food, Inc. tonight and I really enjoyed it…in a wow-our-food-supply-is-scary-and-sucks kinda way.

Did you know…

  • …tomatoes are picked when green and ripened with ethylene gas?
  • …most meals consumed in the US travel 1500 miles from their origin to be consumed?
  • …it takes approximately 39 days to raise a hormone-injected chicken versus the approximated 90 days it takes to raise an organic chicken for slaughter?
  • …some fish are being fed grain to increase mass more “efficiently”?
  • …WalMart’s “Great Value” milk is free of rBGH?
  • …1 in 2 minorities born after 2000 are expected to develop type 2 diabetes?

Things I loved about the movie…

People and Interviews

This farmer interviewed fabulously. He showed how to gut a chicken (…is that a correct term?) and the practices on his farm where he raises chickens, hogs, and cattle. I do, however, wish that he was wearing gloves during the process!

My husband strongly identified with this family — a family of 4 on a very tight budget. The father has diabetes and his 2 oral medications run nearly $200 a month. After prescriptions are purchased, along with their busy schedules, $1 menu items are a way of life. A viscous cycle of chronic disease and low economic status, if you will.

Nutrition Information

Food, Inc. did a good job of pointing out major food products containing GMO’s — mayonnaise, Reeses Pieces, etc…

This leads me to my 2 major “critiques” of the film (as if they’d ask a dietitian’s opinion!) 😉

::stepping on soapbox::

1. Health impact. The film did a great job of covering the farming and agricultural side of the story, however, that’s not tangible to most consumers. What is meaningful enough to “hit home” to consumers, forcing a desired change, is the cost of chronic disease secondary to poor food selection/availability. Perfect example is the above scenario with the diabetic gentleman, whose medications are running the family over $2k annually. How much can one save by PRESERVING health and PREVENTING chronic disease, taking into account work absenteeism, performance ratings, hospital and health provider visits, prescriptions, equipment (c-pap machines for sleep apnea, glucometers for diabetes, etc.), and so on? Until the emphasis in health care switches from reactive to proactive, we won’t get ahead. This, in my opinion, would have been an IDEAL media to disperse such and important and valuable message.

::stepping off soapbox::

2. Labels. It was shocking to ME how many foods contain GMO’s. Why did Food, Inc. not allot a few minutes to discuss label-reading and the vast INCLUSION of these suckers in our foods?

This is a list of foods that likely contain GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), unless otherwise specified on the label (labeled non-GMO or organic):

Aspartame, baking soda, baking powder, canola oil (rapeseed oil), caramel color, cellulose, citric acid, cobalamin (Vitamin B12), colorose, condensed milk, confectioners sugar, corn flour, corn gluten, corn masa, corn meal, corn oil, corn sugar, corn syrup, cornmeal, cornstarch, cottonseed oil, cyclodextrin, cystein, dextrin, dextrose, diacetyl, diglyceride, Equal, food starch, fructose (any form), glucose, glutamate, glutamic acid, gluten, glycerides, glycerin, glycerol, glycerol monooleate, glycine, hemicellulose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), hydrogenated starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, inositol, inverse syrup, inversol, invert sugar, isoflavones, lactic acid, lecithin, leucine, lysine, malitol, malt, malt syrup, malt extract, maltodextrin, maltose, mannitol, methylcellulose, milk powder, milo starch, modified food starch, modified starch, mono and diglycerides, monosodium glutamate (MSG), Nutrasweet, oleic acid, Phenylalanine, phytic acid, protein isolate, shoyu, sorbitol, soy flour, soy isolates, soy lecithin, soy milk, soy oil, soy protein, soy protein isolate, soy sauce, starch, stearic acid, sugar (unless specified as cane sugar), tamari, tempeh, teriyaki marinades, textured vegetable protein, threonine, tocopherols (vitamin E), tofu, trehalose, triglyceride, vegetable fat, vegetable oil, vitamin B12, vitamin E, whey, whey powder, xanthan gum, and Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) unless made outside the US.

….so basically, everything. 😦 Eating “cleanly” basically means 100% organic and 100% homemade. I am printing this list off and carrying it in my purse for shopping. While I can point out most of these additives, some of these were news to me. Sadly.

I’ve read a lot of reviews from consumers across the nation claiming they’re going meat-free after watching Food, Inc. Not me, because I can DO something to protect my body against growth hormones, rBGH, E. coli, etc. I told husband tonight that I do wish to purchase organic meat and eggs and to make an ardent effort to support our local ranchers and farmers.

What  can YOU do to make a difference?

  1. COOK! Seems basic, but we don’t do enough cooking. Making meals  eliminates the excess sodium and trans fat from commercially-prepared meals, and they tend to be lower in calories and fat. Plus, home-cooked meals are, 9 times out of 10, cheaper when shopped for and prepared wisely
  2. Buy organic when you can — look for labels stating “USDA Organic” or “100% organic”
  3. Support your local farmers and ranchers by buying local meat, eggs, and produce when possible. Go here to find local, sustainably grown foods near YOU!
  4. Scope out your community for farmer’s markets and attend each week. To find market near YOU, go here!
  5. Buy produce in-season and always wash your fruits and vegetables to remove any dirt, organisms, or pesticides

On a WAY less serious note, kale chips ROCK!

kale chips

I admit to being slightly apprehensive about these blogger-beloved kale chips (kale and I have a disagreement in palatable texture). These babies are DELICIOUS, however. And, once again, a thumbs up from the hubby! 😉

Kale Chips a la Nicole

fresh kale
canola oil spray
seasoning salt (such as Adobo)
Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast*


Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut kale into bite-sized pieces. Line a cooking sheet with tin foil and arrange kale chips in a single layer on the foil. Spray lightly with canola oil. Lightly sprinkle with seasoning salt and Parmesan cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes, until edges begin to brown. Enjoy!

* Jessica suggested nutritional yeast in place of Parmesan cheese — trying this next time!


  1. If you made one change surrounding our food supply, in reference to Food, Inc., what change would you make?
  2. Has anyone tried kale chips and NOT liked them?

Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone! 🙂 Thanks for reading!


Filed under book, budget shopping, chronic disease, convenience foods, diabetes, diet, dining out, farming, food safety, fruits and vegetables, going "green", grocery store, high-fructose corn syrup, hormones, meat consumption, movie, MSG, nutritional yeast, recipe, sodium, sugar substitutes, trans fat, Uncategorized, US health care