Tag Archives: local grocery store

Getting prepared for 2014

Just wanted to give a little update as to what I am doing so far to prepare for 2014. I am hosting a biggest loser competition at work. I also joined an accountability group on facebook with some of my friends. I even joined a couple of challenge groups on myfitnesspal!

My mom helped me out and took some before pictures, front, side and back views. I took them in some shorts that are too small in the hopes that I can continue to have my picture taken in those shorts to show my progress until they truly fit.

Going grocery shopping after payday to get some fresh fruits and veggies and whole foods again. And, there will be a purging of all the crap foods that tempt me to much…hubby..if you’re reading this..hide your candy and treats from me! Lol.

Hope everyone had a happy new year’s! Let’s make 2014 our year! ~Charity 🙂

Advertisements

Do you know where your food comes from?!

My morning started off with me checking my Facebook, and a local farmer posted a link to a news article from 2003 on research of cloned animals in the meat industry. This caught my attention. I knew there were serious issues with the meat industry in the U.S. But, never had cloning crossed my mind. I soon began doing further research and reading other articles on both sides of this topic.  Quite frankly, I am deeply disturbed by this information. Here is a compilation of research I have found so far on this subject. I will list the websites from which this information came at the end of this document.

“Are You Eating Cloned Meat”-This article describes the many aspects of the cloned meat industry. The history of cloning animals began with the first cloned tadpole in 1952. In 1996 Scotland successfully cloned a sheep named Dolly from adult DNA. Though according to another article, “Clone on the Range”- “Dolly died from lung disease in 2003. By then, the hysteria and hype had faded and cloning had largely disappeared from the headlines. In the scientific world, however, the quest to perfect the techniques, and to profit from it, was just getting started.” The patents used by a Scottish biotech company to clone Dolly were then sold to ViaGen in 2003. Here is a chart trying to explain cloning:

The FDA’s stance in 2001 was to not allow cloned meat into the food supply. However, in 2006 the FDA stated that they did not find any dangers in cloned meat, but they asked manufacturers not to introduce into the markets just yet, though this was never enforced or regulated. Therefore the milk and other byproducts from cloned or genetically engineered animals could have been sold as far back as 2006. The FDA just looked at cloning as a “breeding option rather than food for the market option”. Their “studies” was on a “well it looks the same as normal bred animal meat, therefore it should be the same strategy”. In 2008, the FDA released a statement that the food from cloned cattle, swine, and goats were safe and would not require labeling. Of course, the biotech and meat industries are against labeling it, because it will “cause undo concern for consumers”. Arguments against labeling have also been the cost it would take to identify and track cloned animal sources.  But is it really unnecessary concern?

The Center for Food Safety argued against the decision of not labeling cloned food sources. The FDA in return released a 678 page risk assessment stating that “meat and milk from clones of cattle, swine, goats, and the offspring of clones from any species traditionally consumed as food, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals”. I thoroughly agree with a quote from one article, “Essentially the government is being dominated by the very industries that they are meant to be regulating.” The EGE-European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies studied the cloning of animals and found that “fewer than 5% of cloned fetuses live long enough to be born; roughly 20% of new born clones don’t survive the first 24 hours, and an additional 15% die before weaning.” In the cases of cows and sheep should the clone actually be born there is a very high risk of “large offspring syndrome” in which the animal may be born with extremely large organs, malformed limbs, and dysfunctional immune systems. There have also been cases reported that cloned and genetically engineered animals have been born inside out. There are other concerns that cloned and GE (genetically engineered) animals bring to the table, literally-no pun intended. “The National Research Council noted there other areas of food safety risks stemming from GE animals:

  •  Introduction of new allergens into the food system
  • Continuation of bioactive proteins after digestion
  • Creation of potentially toxic effects from novel protein expression”

The article “Clone on the Range” I found the most disturbing. This article gives a little bit of the history of cloning animals, but mainly focuses on ViaGen which is an Austin, TX based company that clones animals and holds animal DNA for future cloning. Their ambition is to be the foremost provider of cloned livestock for food. “The company claims it clones the hardiest breading stock in the industry”.

I think the people in the cloning industry truly believe this meat is safe. The owner of ViaGen has his own ranch in which he has his own batch of cloned cows from one prize winning cow. He says, “They’re just cows. A bunch of people are afraid of them being in the food chain, but they’re just cows. I wouldn’t be afraid to eat one” –Gene Bruner. Then later though in the same article Brian Bruner even admits “that his cloned cows do sometimes unnerve him”. He states, “When we go to vaccinate them, they all go to the exact same part of the chute as 248 (original cow) did. They act the same and are afraid of needles just like she was. It is kind of eerie”.

So, in conclusion, do we eat cloned meat? -Probably not because the cost to clone an animal right now is so high. However, and a BIG HOWEVER, we do probably consume a cloned animals offspring or the cloned offspring’s byproducts such as milk, butter, etc! There is also no way of knowing in the mass produced industry of meat if that meat was from a cloned animal. As I said before, cloned animal’s offspring and byproducts could have been introduced into our food sources as early as 2006. Though, you may not be eating meat that came directly from a cloned animal (though you could since there are no regulations and after the cloned animal has served its purpose for breeding it is usually slaughtered with the rest of the animals), if you don’t eat certified organic meat and byproducts, you most certainly have eaten products from a cloned animal’s offspring.

Do we really know where our food is coming from? I don’t know about you, but I was deeply disturbed after doing research on this topic. There is a whole bunch more aspects about this also concerning the more than 7 different growth hormones that are used in our meat, as well as the fact that antibiotics are overused in our meat sources as well. But, I could be writing here for days and days about the disturbing facts involved in America’s food industry.

I had watched the famous movie “Food, Inc”. Which, yes is disturbing, and yes you should watch, but not nearly as disturbing as the fact that we have no idea how much of our meat and byproducts come from cloned and genetically engineered animals.  This information certainly will spawn research into local farmers markets and the difference in pricing of organic vs. non-organic/who knows what the heck it is.

I was so moved by these articles I felt the need to share this information with you. As for me, I am now looking into local and organic options. I do not want to know what the repercussions of this will be in the next 20 years from eating these meats and byproducts.

Here are the links to the articles I found:

So, I ask you:

Yes…It’s Cabbage Again

I’m sure this is what I will be saying when the hubby sees me cooking cabbage again tonight. This will be the third time this week. Umm…well.. I don’t know why, but I’m a little in love with my “fried” (sautĂ©ed) cabbage. Yes it’s totally clichĂ© that a person from the south would fry cabbage…but this is actually healthy and not deep-fried, just sautĂ©ed in a little butter…don’t worry. 🙂 And, yes I know it’s totally weird…

Well, let me explain. You know how sometimes when you smell something it reminds you of a memory or a happy place? I had forgotten about how my great-grandmother loved to make “fried” cabbage almost every Sunday after church.

I cooked some sautĂ©ed cabbage Monday night and immediately thought of those great memories. And, when I tasted that wonderful taste when it was nice and cooked down soft and browned…well it took me to a happy place.

 Cabbage on the right cooking it down…yum..with some carrots and asparagus! That’s how we do it here in the south!

I know I sound crazy, and that’s ok. I’m just happy to have an obsession with a healthy food. If I’m not going to eat very much meat any more, this is one veggie dish I think I could eat every night. No, thankfully for my husband I won’t cook it every night…but the cabbage was on sale at our local grocery store for .38 cents! So, it might be every other night until next month…hehehe. 🙂

And it must be doing something good for me because when I weighed this morning I was down another pound. Bam! Heck Yes! Is there something in cabbage that promotes weight loss? I know I’ve heard of a cabbage soup diet for weight loss. I might have to make up a “fried” cabbage diet…uh no…don’t worry folks I won’t do that. But, seriously, it’s amazing, cheap, easy to fix, and tastes so good! I would take my “fried” cabbage over any french fry! (And I used to have a super obsession with french fries!!!) Yet again, so glad this obsession is with something that’s actually good for me.

Are there any foods that y’all have become obsessed with since you started eating healthier? Or am I just crazy…? -a definite possibility… Better question is does anyone else have foods that takes them back to a happy memory or place?

~Charity 🙂

My Ode to Green Smoothies

Most of you may not have ever heard of a green smoothie, and some of you could probably be millionaires if you had a dime for every time I mentioned green smoothies. But, I thought I would share with you why I think they are so important and why I am trying to get back into the habit of having a quart of green smoothie a day.

The “Green Smoothie Revolution” was started by Victoria Boutenko. Here is her family story and why/how she got her family started with eating a raw diet and then began to incorporate green smoothies: The Raw Family Story | Green Smoothies . A summarized version is that her husband was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis as well as thyroid problems. She also had a child with type 1 diabetes. Victoria was having weight issues and knew she needed to find a solution for her family. They started off eating a mostly raw diet and immediately all members of the family began to feel better and her husband did not have to use as much medication. However, after a few months Victoria realized they were lacking certain vitamins and minerals in their raw diet. She soon discovered that they were not getting enough green vegetables in their diet. Victoria studied the diet of chimpanzees and discovered that chimpanzees were not eating just fruit; over half their diet was in greens. Victoria also realized that greens are difficult to break down and unless we chew them repeatedly we will not absorb all their nutritional value. Therefore, one evening in 2004 Victoria had a crazy idea to blend up her greens with water, though after she took the lid off the blender she put it right back on after the horrid stench of just greens and water alone. She then thought to add a couple of bananas, and closed her eyes to take a sip. Amazingly, all she tasted was the banana. She then started experimenting with other fruits and voila the green smoothie was born!

Green smoothies blog has so much information and research on various types of green smoothies. This blog is run by the Boutenko family. Here is a link to frequently asked questions about green smoothies: How to start green smoothies | Green Smoothies .

My personal experience with green smoothies began when I started doing research on how I can improve my health. I know I needed to eat more fruits and vegetables, but I was getting really burned out on salads, and unless I could douse it with ranch or add other stuff to it, let’s face it, lettuce is boring and kind of gross-same thing with raw spinach.

I’m open to trying new things especially if I can get the nutrients I need without having to eat a bowl full of plain greens. I stumbled onto this blog first: Videos Page 1 | Green Smoothie Girl | 12 Steps to Whole Food Eating . Robyn Openshaw has also become very important in the “green smoothie world”. She wrote a book called “The Green Smoothie Diet”. Robyn has an amazing story as well and continues to educate and conduct research on foods and products that support the highest level of health/nutrition possible. The link I included goes directly to her video page which has a lot of information on green smoothies as well as recipes, and even other raw foods that are tasty and extremely healthy.

After doing my research I was hooked. I talked to my husband about it and even to my friends. I saved up and bought a Vitamix 5200 which is a very powerful blender (though you don’t need a Vitamix to make green smoothies-I just wanted one because I hate the seeds in berries and I knew if I was going to be having a smoothie every day, I would need a higher power blender). I was so excited to make my first green smoothie. It was 8oz of water, a fresh banana, a cup of frozen strawberries, and 2 handfuls of raw baby spinach. I did a blog post about this to. Here is the link from that day: Can eating this healthy taste so good?! | What The Heck Are Skinny Jeans? . There is even a picture of my first ever green smoothie.

Robyn explains that in one quart of green smoothie you will get more servings of fruits and vegetables than the average American will get in an entire day and possible an entire week. I know before I started incorporating green smoothies in my diet I maybe, maybe got 1 serving of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables (which were mostly cooked and had butter on them). In my green smoothie this morning, I took in 4 servings of fruit and 6 servings of raw green vegetables. And, it was sooooo yummy! I have now discovered my favorite fruit to put in my smoothies is frozen pitted cherries. I love cherries and they are delicious in smoothies. This morning I had 8 oz of coconut water, 1 ½ bananas (1 whole fresh, half of a frozen banana for creaminess), 1 ½ cups of frozen cherries, and ½ cup of frozen pineapple with 3 big handfuls of raw baby spinach. All you taste is the fruit and you get so much more vitamins, minerals, and protein from adding the spinach!

I have to say I’m a firm believer in the green smoothie and I am enjoying experimenting with different recipes, fruits, and vegetables. I have a goal to continue to have at least one quart of green smoothie a day. I can tell the days I don’t have one, I crave it now. I encourage everyone to give green smoothies a chance. They will definitely change your life!

~Charity 🙂

Chocolate cake you say???

TGIF!!! I hope everyone is having a fabulous Friday! Well, once a month we have a potluck for the month’s birthdays at work. I tried…I TRIED to do a healthy themed potluck. And, this has been the worst turn out for a potluck at work.

I did however try something made with soy for the first time…have to say I am not a fan. But, it was worth a shot. So, what did we have you ask? Well, I’m sure the title gives it away what my one weakness was today: Chocolate cake! Which, I shall harp on that in a little bit. Before I get all the fingers pointed at me, can I at least plead my case on what healthy foods I did eat??!!

Ok, here we go. We had a fruit tray, which I had some pineapple and grapes for breakfast. Someone also brought a raw veggie tray. We had homemade Mexican Chicken casserole, not all that healthy, but very tasty. Someone else brought a veggie goulash thing with zucchini, tomatoes, squash, and onions…it was ok. And, then I also tried Soy sausage wontons..not a fan of this either.

And then there was the chocolate cake! Well, want to know the worst part? No one else signed up to bring a dessert. So, I asked the January birthday folks what kind of cake they wanted. And, they all said chocolate. Therefore, last night I went to the bakery at the local grocery store and bought a chocolate cake and vanilla cupcakes. I drove home with that sweet chocolaty goodness in the car. Then drove to work this morning. It smelled wonderful. It has been taunting me and calling me since 9:00pm yesterday. I will admit it…I’m having a piece as I write this. It’s a lot smaller piece then what I would have gotten in the past. Sigh, I did cave and have a piece. Can I whine like a child and say “But, I want a piece really bad”? And it is so yummy, but I notice a lot sweeter than I am used to.

In conclusion, I admit I am not strong enough to resist chocolate cake altogether. Uh-oh. However, I will only have this one piece. I will also be walking on my break this afternoon.

I understand my eating habits won’t change over night and I’m working on it. Hopefully, by next month, I will be able to resist whatever cake they have. 🙂

Anyone else have problems resisting certain foods? It’s ok, you are not alone in this. 🙂

Well, I hope everyone has a great weekend. ~Charity