Category Archives: Websites I Like/Reviews

The Saturday Snippet – Fast Food Facts You Won’t Forget

I loved fast food. I would have married it had that been an option. When I was a city dweller, I would make every excuse in the book to eat somewhere so I didn’t have to cook. Not surprisingly, I craved this food more and more and ate it more and more. I recently decided to look up some of my favorite fast food places. Just reading about them makes my mouth water even now! Let’s take a look at what Knowledge Sutra has to say about my four favorite drive thru restaurants of the past.

McDonald’s

The egg’s reputation is recovering, but scrambled eggs as a part of McDonald’s breakfast include much more than egg. Their pasteurized whole eggs have sodium acid pyrophosphate, citric acid, and monosodium phosphate (all added to preserve color), and nisin, a preservative. To top it off, the eggs are prepared with liquid margarine: liquid soybean oil, water, partially hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils (trans fats), salt, hydrogenated cottonseed oil (trans fat), soy lecithin, mono- and diglycerides, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, and beta carotene (color). Though not all bad, these added chemicals may be the reason why homemade scrambled eggs taste so much better than McDonald’s.

For coffee drinkers, it would seem fairly safe to just grab a quick cup of coffee at McDonald’s on the way to work. But many health conscious people would object to it also including this list of ingredients: sodium phosphate, sodium polyphosphate, Di-Acetyl Tartrate Ester of Monoglyceride, sodium stearoyl lactylate, tetra sodium pyrophosphate, sodium hexametaphosphate, sodium citrate, and carrageenan. Do health nuts still drink coffee?

Salads can usually be counted on to be a “what you see is what you get” item. But McDonald’s adds some interesting ingredients. The salads with grilled chicken also have liquid margarine.

Several salads have either cilantro lime glaze, or orange glaze added. Along with many of McDonald’s sauces, both the cilantro lime glaze and the orange glaze contain propylene glycol alginate. While propylene glycol is considered “GRAS” for human consumption, it is not legal for use in cat food because the safety hasn’t been proven yet [10]. Propylene glycol is also used “As the killing and preserving agent in pitfall traps, usually used to capture ground beetles” [10].

The chili lime tortilla strips that are included in the southwest salads have several ingredients used to hide MSG. They also contain two ingredients that advertise the presence of MSG: disodium inosinate, and disodium guanylate.

The chicken has sodium phosphates (of an unspecified variety). It could be trisodium phosphate (a cleanser), monosodium phosphate (a laxative), or disodium hydrogen phosphate [11]. Why would McDonald’s add sodium phosphates (a foaming agent), and dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent in their crispy chicken breast fillets? It isn’t dishwasher detergent.

Burger King

It’s interesting to note that the BK Veggie Burger has six ingredients commonly used to hide free glutamate (MSG): calcium caseinate, hydrolyzed corn, yeast extract, soy protein isolate, spices, and natural flavors. At the end of the ingredients list, it states This is NOT a vegan product. The patty is cooked in the microwave. Was that a warning statement?

Burger King has three salads to choose from. The TENDERCRISP Garden Salad, the TENDERGRILL Garden Salad, and the Side Garden Salad.

A salad may be a little boring without a dressing like Ken’s Fat Free Ranch Dressing which includes titanium dioxide (an artificial color, or sunscreen, depending on use), preservatives, and the ingredient seemingly mandatory in all ranch dressings: monosodium glutamate.

Once again, as is typical with the fast food industry, they took a simple thing like chicken, and added a long list of ingredients.

TENDERGRILL® CHICKEN BREAST FILET
Chicken Breast with Rib Meat, Water, Seasoning (Maltodextrin, Salt, Sugar, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, Spices, Natural Flavors, Onion Powder, Modified Corn Starch, Chicken Fat, Chicken Powder, Chicken Broth, Disodium Guanylate and Disodium Inosinate, Citric Acid, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Dehydrated Garlic, and Artificial Flavors.), Modified Corn Starch, Soybean Oil, Salt, Sodium Phosphates. Glazed with: Water, Seasoning [Maltodextrin, Salt, Sugar, Methylcellulose, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Partially Hydrogenated Sunflower Oil, Modified Potato Starch, Fructose, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dehydrated Garlic, Spices, Modified Corn Starch, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavors, Disodium Guanylate and Disodium Inosinate, Chicken Fat, Carmel Color, Grill Flavor (from Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil), Chicken Powder, Chicken Broth, Turmeric, Smoke Flavor, Annatto Extract, and Artificial Flavors], Soybean Oil. [12]

Subway

If a sandwich is advertised as healthy, one would expect that the bread would be whole grain. Not so with Subway’s wheat bread. While it does have some whole wheat flour, it’s the third ingredient, listed just before high fructose corn syrup [4]. None of Subway’s breads are whole grain. Ammonium sulfate (a fertilizer) is also added. Unfinished sandwiches may be composted. The bread also contains azodicarbonamide. From Wikipedia,

Use of azodicarbonamide as a food additive is banned in Australia. In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive has identified azodicarbonamide as a respiratory sensitiser (a possible cause of asthma) and determined that products should be labeled with “May cause sensitisation by inhalation” [5].

Most of the meats at Subway contain MSG and/or sodium nitrite.

KFC

The chicken, the gravy, and even the rice all have monosodium glutamate added. Not surprisingly, the chicken in the salads also has MSG. For a healthy menu item, the House Side Salad without dressing has nothing more than iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, and tomatoes.

KFC claims 0g trans fat per serving for all their fried chicken. But The Extra Crispy Chicken, Colonel’s Crispy Strips, HBBQ Wings, Boneless HBBQ Wings, Fiery Buffalo Wings, and more have partially hydrogenated soybean oil listed in the ingredients. So if the trans fat content is below 0.5g per serving, they can round down to zero and claim zero grams per serving.

There you have it – in its chemical glory. Not so appetizing now, is it? I have a very hard time just smelling the greasy odors these places emit – there is no way I could eat at any of them now. Our daughter would love nothing more for us to succumb to the lure of the bright play areas and colorful containers but we have no plans to do that – ever.

Interesting facts about what they consider food! Head over to the Knowledge Sutra website – there are more restaurants listed!

Love, Me


Sacred Chocolate’s Super Chocolate Goji Lemon Bar

Wicked Wednesday: Naked Chocolate: The Astonishing Truth about the World’s Greatest Food is the name of the book. Delicious is what you’ll exclaim once you’ve tried just one of the recipes. Faint is what you’ll do when you realize every recipe is good for you.

Superchocolate goji lemon bar

  • 2 cups of goji berries
  • 2 cups of cacao nibs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon peel
  • 2 cups grated raw cacao butter

Add everything to a Vita-Mix and blend until smooth. Pour into any mould and put in the fridge to set.

Be patient – these are worth it.

Love, Me


Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Energy!

This recipe definitely provides energy! I found it also lifted my mood, helped in balancing my hormones (something all women struggle with) and cleared brain fog. I simply felt so much better when my meals included things like the Energy Balls instead of fast, packaged foods.

 

Change isn’t as scary as you think.

Healthy Energy Balls Recipe

(from Dr. Ben Kim.com)

Ingredients:

Ten dates
One cup of raw pecans
Heaping teaspoon of cocoa powder
Dried coconut shreds (optional)
Raw cashews (optional)
Goji berries (optional)

Directions:

1. Soak the dates in water. If you think to do this an hour or more in advance, it’s fine to use room temperature water. If you’re pressed for time and only have a few minutes for soaking, use hot water. The idea is to soften the dates so that they are easily blended into a soft paste.

2. Measure out a cup of raw pecans and put them in a food processor. A strong blender might also work, but for this recipe, a food processor works best.

If you have trouble digesting nuts, soak them in water overnight, strain, and dry with a towel before proceeding.

3. Process pecans on low or using a pulse setting until they’re nicely ground. You don’t want to make pecan butter here – you’re looking for nicely ground pecans.

4. Add a heaping teaspoon of quality cocoa powder. If you don’t enjoy chocolate, it’s fine to skip this step.

5. Blend or pulse for another few seconds to bring ground nuts and cocoa powder together.

6. Add six soaked and mildly crushed dates to the mix. It’s best to add a little water to this recipe to create proper texture.

A good way to add just enough, but not too much water is to lightly shake the dates as you get them out of their bowl of water, give them a gentle mush with your fingers, and add them slightly wet to the ground pecans.

7. Process on low or use the pulse setting until the dates and pecans become together into one mass.

You want the texture to be such that you can pinch off teaspoon-size chunks and roll them up with your palms into bite-size balls. If need be, add another mushed up date or two, but always be conservative in adding extra dates, as once the mixture gets too moist, it’s very difficult to fix by adding more nuts.

8. For some variety, roll balls in dried coconut, cocoa powder, and consider adding raw nuts and dried berries on top before serving.

If you’d like to view the recipe step by step with photos, click here. We love that you can make individual bite sized morsels! Enjoy your wicked, wicked Wednesday!

Love Me


Hot Diggity Dog!

Hello, my name is Shawn – and I loved hot dogs. I was very upset (panicked?) when I realized that hot dogs were never going to miraculously climb the nutrition chart to the point I could again eat them. I knew that was hoping against hope. Instead, I had to do some work and eliminate them from what I ate.

Hot dogs are easy to prepare – toss them in to boiling water until they burst and your ready to eat. Smear some ketchup (sugar), mustard, relish and onions on it and I was the happiest girl in the room! I can’t say I really tasted anything spectacular – it was just something about that ball park hot dog idea that I dug.

When wellness started banging at my door, I did a little research into what my precious dogs were made out of. I had always heard the joke that they were formed from ‘lips and butts’ but I avoided picturing it so I could carry on consuming it.

Then I looked it up:

Mechanically separated chicken, pork, water, corn syrup, modified food starch, contains 2% or less of salt, flavoring, potassium lactate, sodium lactate, sodium phosphates, dextrose, sodium diacetate, beef, hydrolyzed soy protein, sodiuerthorbate, sugar, sodium nitrite, sorbitol, extract of paprika“.

Let’s explore this, shall we?

1. Mechanically Seperated Chicken/Pork.

When I used to think of this, I imagined someone lovingly pulling the feathers off a chicken before whacking the head off and dismembering the bird for my personal consumption. I never imagined this.

2. Water – but just enough to make it all stick together. Something has to cook off later!

3. Corn Syrup: We are all aware that high fructose corn syrup is bad for us. Really bad – like nuclear bad. Yet we can’t get away from it! It is in so many products it would astound you to know them all. The Accidental Hedonist has a list of many foods that contain HFCS – it is quite alarming!

From another website, Fast Food Facts lists some of the most popular fast food places and what items contain HFCS. I wasn’t surprised to find that the low fat items contained corn syrup. It is what they do. Get you addicted and fat – and make a mint before your heart gives out.  Don’t believe me? Check out Mark’s Daily Apple – let you know that even health foods are hiding high fructose corn syrup in their items!

I actually laughed out loud when he posted this:

– 100 Calorie Snack Packs

When was the last time anybody starved? We’re all in favor of portion control, but what’s in the package matters. You’re much better off eating 100 calories of almonds or sugar snap peas than some processed cookie confection. Although we know this might make a few friends a little cranky.

I know so many people who swear by these little tasteless crisps of nothing. I have given these 100 calorie packs a good old college try too – and I was incredibly disappointed! There’s nothing to them and you wind up more snacky and tortured than before you ate them!

4. Modified Food Starch: OK – first off, we know that anything modified is not good. MFS is basically MSG. It is utilized as a thickener in foods. Basically, it assists in holding the food together structurally. Like clay.

I also found this. Needless to say I am always nauseated when I think of the things I used to eat and thus would be doing to my poor body. I can’t believe how resilient the human body actually is. I am awed – even today.

5. Flavoring: It is what gives hot dogs that hot dog flavor! I’m still uncertain as to what this is all about (the actual creation of ‘the flavor’) but I continue to search.

6. Potassium Lactate: The salt of lactic acid. Websites are saying this ingredient prevents a certain bacteria from growing on your meat, but ultimately the cancer will get you anyway.

7. Sodium Lactate: More salt – oh goodie!

8. Sodium Phosphates: Phosphoric Acid and it’s salt.

9. Dextrose: Sugar

10. Sodium Diacetate: Thsi ingredient is actually used to prevent mold and other nasties from invading your piece of dead whateverthatis. So this ingredient is a bacteriacide and pesticide. Yum! There is more information here.

11. Beef: Where?

12. Hydrolized Soy Protien: The extraction process of hydrolysis involves boiling in a vat of acid (e.g., sulfuric acid) and then neutralizing the solution with a caustic soda. The resultant sludge is scraped off the top and allowed to dry. In addition to soy protein it contains free-form excitotoxic amino acids (e.g., MSG) and other potentially harmful chemicals including cancer-causing chemicals in many cases. A newer method of hydrolysis involves the use of bacteria by itself or in addition to the chemical processes described above. There is a possibility that genetically-manipulated bacteria may be used.

The food industry sometimes uses a large amount of hydrolyzed proteins as a “taste enhancer” because it contains significant amounts of MSG (monosodium glutamate). This is what is known in the food industry as “Clean Labels” — adding MSG to food, without having to list it as “MSG” on the label.

In almost all cases, hydrolyzed soy protein contains a significant amount of genetically-manipulated soy. The hydrolyzed protein products currently added to foods should be considered a detriment to one’s health. There are much healthier sources of soy protein and soy nutrients.

Recommended Reading: Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by Neuroscientist Russell Blaylock, M.D.

13. Sodium Erythorbate: A preservative. Nuff said.

14. Sugar: I would (but wouldn’t) like to know what that hot dog would taste like without all of this stuff to make it seem edible!

15. Sodium Nitrate: (from Natural Acne Solution)

This little baby is used to color most of the meat sold in supermarkets (and other retail outlets). An old meat generally has putrid, gray color, which, retailers understand is not so attractive. To counter this issue they add sodium nitrite to the meat to color it red – to give an illusion that it’s fresh.

The thing that they conveniently don’t mention is that sodium nitrite is HIGHLY carcinogenic. In fact it’s used in cancer research. When researches want to inflict mouse with a cancer they inject sodium nitrite into the mouse.

It’s believed that the carcinogenic effect of eating meat is more to due to the added sodium nitrite than saturated fat in meat.

Here are couple of links to more info about sodium nitrite:
http://www.newstarget.com/011148.html

16. Sorbitol:

Sugar is not just sugar, it comes in many forms and names. Look for these:

  • Sucrose (table sugar)
  • Raw sugar
  • Brown sugar (is 91 to 96% sucrose)
  • High fructose corn syrups
  • Fructose (fruit sugar – fruits eaten whole and on empty stomach are ok)
  • Dextrose or glucose
  • Lactose (milk sugar)
  • Sorbitol, Mannitol, Malitol, and Xylitol
  • Anything with the ending “ose”

Sugar substitutes are probably more dangerous than sugar itself. Here’s a good article on dangers of common sugar substitutes: http://curezone.com/foods/aspartame.asp

Look for the following items:

  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame-K
  • Saccharin

Practically all the processed foods in supermarkets contain some amounts of sugar, but there are two food items that rise above the rest in sugar content:

  • Sodas, canned fruit juices and other sugary drinks
  • Candy, candy bars and other sweets

Just eliminating those will cut a huge amount of sugar out of your diet, and should be among your first priorities. Look out for sugar in other food items also, but cut those out first.

18. Extract of Paprika: Oh good – something healthy!

So there it is. The break down of the hotdog. Summer may not ever be the same without the smoky campfire hot dog – it can be far better! It is a change, but a change you know will take you places you have always claimed you wanted to go. Wellness awaits!

Also check out the Food Additives Guide I found. It was a very informational Monday morning!

Now off with you – go inspire others!

Love, Me


Raw Chocolate Icing – No Kidding!

You won’t believe this! You can create a smooth, creamy textured chocolate icing that’s good for you. Please don’t faint, I’m still picking blog readers up after the aphrodisiac post! Sex and chocolate? This blog rocks, doesn’t it?

So – chocolate icing. The story behind this one is that I am not a ‘baker’ by nature. I used to buy my baked goods at a bakery (where baker’s bake them for you). I bought cake and muffin mixes, tubs of pre-made icing and away we went.

These days, things in our house are far removed from the food coloring filled cakes and those dark brown chocolate sprinkles that looked so delicious but always left you feeling ripped off after you ate them. They were……disgusting!

So, I discovered a chocolate icing recipe that will blow your socks off (if you happen to wear socks, that is). This recipe from The Rawtarian.

Raw Chocolate Icing

1 cup dates
1/4 cup raw cacao (cocoa) powder
1/4 cup cold-pressed coconut oil

3/4 cup water a tiny bit more if needed

Add everything to your super powered blender/food processor (start at a slower speed and work your way up – the dates can take time to break up)

It is finished when the smooth, velvety chocolate contains no more bits to blend up! That’s it!

This icing is great on brownies, chocolate cakes – anywhere you need a burst of super powered cacao nutrition! Eat it plain out of the bowl – it’s good for you – go now!

Love, Me

 


Your General Health Questionnaire

I found a really cool way of determining where you stand when it comes to wellness. I wish I had found this years ago – it would have saved us some researching – but we’ve got it now!

I have gone through my questions, answering as honestly as I can. It’s your turn! Be sure to allot enough time to finish the questionnaire without rushing. Each one is as important as the last. The questionnaire is here.

It covers everything; women’s health, men’s health, immune system function and so on. It covers what I have never had a doctor cover with me. Strange – but true!

The place is called The Global Healing Centre and I have been exploring their website lately. The information and products look so great that I find myself stumbling to soak it all up at once. I am really enjoying the feeling these websites give me – I know I’m doing the absolute best I can for my body when I stick with real nutrition.

What you do is finish the questionnaire, then do a cleansing – and then redo the questions to determine the success you  had in certain areas. It is quite the unique approach and I shall be using this form the next time I plan a cleanse!

Remember to be honest when answering. It will be that much more beneficial to you – and really, aren’t we a tad past fibbing about the issues we are having anyway? Let’s just explore the way to wellness and forget the guilt! Get on over there and take your test! You’ll learn a lot and do great! There are no correct answers!

Love, Me


The Way to Anger

Anger. The word in itself makes me roll my eyes and think of aggressive, meat-eating chest thumpers who give people the finger in traffic. The mental morons who can’t keep it together long enough to get home, pull the blinds and remove their nasty attitudes from our sight. Who needs that!? If it be female, watch out! I have witnessed a few seriously unstable people reacting to things in very abnormal manners. It is frightening – not because they are going to get physically destructive (seen it!) or verbally aggressive (happens all the time) – it is because I realize what is probably wrong with them and they probably have no idea. I keep thinking back – I was one of these people at one point in my life. That really makes you consider things from a different perspective.

It’s the food, the medications, the water and unresolved issues. That’s my theory. People are dumping so many different things into their bodies, creating billions of chemical reactions – how can they feel or behave in a state of wellness? They then tuck away emotions they haven’t dealt with ever and then wonder why their lives just never seem to go the way they want them to. I’m sure I have been this person too. When I started changing things in my life, my mood, my mental clarity (brain fog) and alertness improved. I wanted to be better – I wanted to learn more! I wanted to learn more about how to be better! I became driven to something positive and it felt amazing. Let’s explore – it’s what I do……

The food: so filled with chemicals, dyes, fungicides, herbicides, preservatives (and I could really go one forever here) – people can’t think straight! Our bodies have literally become garbage dumps. I remember eating potato chips until my throat nearly bled – my blood pressure was all over the place and heartburn. Wow – don’t get me started. I watched a young mom at the mall one day – she was pushing her son in his wheelchair toward a fountain so they could watch it together. She then leaned over her son and offered him a Diet Coke. I could have cried.

The medications: we have no frickin idea what is in Tylenol, yet we pop them like candy! I saw one woman give them to her kids before school – just to keep them from complaining of tummy aches and wanting to stay home. This is how comfortable we have become with medications – small, powdery pills that promise wonderous changes in us – yet never seem to deliver what they are supposed to without messing up your system in other ways.

The problem I have with the medications and prescriptions is that we take them on the advice of someone we barely know (*coughourdoctorscough*) and then wonder why we haven’t magically morphed into perfect health. It only compounds the problem, adds chemicals and garbage to the mix until we reach a point where we can no longer keep track of how we feel or how we got to that point. I remember one woman in a waiting room. Her doctor came in and asked if she had brought her medications with her to show him. She replied yes and reached down into her bag. When she pulled out the grocery bag filled with pill bottles, I almost laughed out loud. I thought I might have been on an episode of Punk’d! They were serious though, and I held my breath and bit my tongue.

How do you convince someone so reliant on these things to try something else?? I have tried with certain people in my life and they just aren’t at the point where they understand me at all. That’s completely fine – their choice. I’ve shrugged off many a do-gooder in my day! I don’t feel bad, I don’t feel guilty. I simply offered the key to what they’ve been wanting forever. If they choose not to accept it now (for themselves, not for me) – I can do nothing about it. I can only continue doing things to better myself, and it’s not just the food. Our attitudes mean so much when it comes to our wellness! I watch these same people spend their time complaining about how they feel and how bad things are. Perspective is everything!

The water: fluoride. I have learned some interesting facts about fluoride – none of which I like! The strangest fact I was unaware of (yet feel I should have been made aware):

  • The fluoride that is used to fluoridate our drinking water supplies, is a toxic waste product. It is industrial grade, not pharmaceutical grade. There is a world of difference here. It is not even pure sodium fluoride — bad as that would be — but it also has impurities, including LEAD and ARSENIC, 2 other very serious poisons in their own right. Arsenic has been implicated in 6 types of cancer. And lead… well gasoline companies had to take the lead out of gasoline, because it is so toxic and causes learning disorders in children. Of course we don’t drink gasoline!

You can head here to read the other surprising facts about fluoride. The information is there for the learning! Have an informed day!

Love, Me