Friday, March 26, 2010

Real Food, Real People

I'm so excited about the growing interest in real food! So, what is real food? The first thought that comes to mind for most people is a vegetarian diet. While there is nothing wrong with that approach, I prefer to have the variety that meat, poultry and seafood provide. The key is eating whole fresh foods that are minimally processed. As Michael Pollan says "Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."

Many of my readers have expressed that they like the idea of eating this way, but need help. Michael Pollan has many excellent books that tackle the subject of food. These are two of my favorites and have been a source of inspiration for eating well. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Grilled Rib Eye Steak

There’s nothing like a grilled Rib Eye steak (and a glass of red wine), now THIS is real food. Grass-fed, locally raised Rib Eye steak on the grill is just downright amazing! It has a wonderful buttery taste, which is absolutely delightful. Add a green salad and some garlic smashed potatoes and you have a very delicious, yet simple, dinner.

How to grill a perfect Rib Eye steak:

• Purchase Rib Eye steak at least 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick, with bright red color and abundant marbling.
• Bring steak to room temperature — removing from the refrigerator at least 2 hours prior to cooking. This will prevent over-charring or taking too long to cook.
• Marinate for at least one hour. One of my favorites is very simple; olive oil, red wine, a dash of soy sauce, and salt & pepper.
• Preheat gas grill on high to 500–600 degrees.
• Place steak on very hot grill and close lid. This will help the steak cook from all angles and sear in juices.
• Cook with lid down for 2-3 minutes (resist the urge to open and look.)
• Flip steak after 2-3 minutes using grilling tongs. Don't use a fork, it will let out all the juices you're trying to keep in.
• Close lid and continue to cook until preferred doneness:
     About 1 more minute for rare
     About 2 more minutes for medium rare
     About 3-4 more minutes for medium

Garlic Smashed Potatoes:

• 3-4 organic russet potatoes
• 5-6 organic garlic cloves
• ¼ cup butter
• Just enough milk to make the potatoes creamy
• Salt to taste

Scrub potatoes thoroughly. Cut into quarters (leave skin on) and boil with garlic cloves until soft. Smash potatoes and garlic with a fork, add butter and milk to desired consistency. Salt to taste.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Grocery Shopping Critique

The emerging trend toward healthier, fresher foods that are also kind to the environment present a new dilemma for conscientious consumers. As a result of this, marketers tout the attributes of "organic" food, while the "local foods movement" is gaining popularity throughout the world. Consumers frequent local farmers' markets because they expect higher quality, freshness and taste, and lower prices. Organically grown produce is healthy and environmentally friendly because of the use of less-damaging pesticides. But the loaded question is this; do consumers really understand the difference between "organic" and "local" produce? And what price are we willing to pay for these fresh, premium products? These questions present challenges for growers, retailers, and ultimately, savvy consumers.

Follow the link bellow to learn more; I found this article to be very informative on the subject and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why Has Eating Become So Difficult?

Along with sleep, what you eat is likely the biggest determinant of how healthy you are. Now, the real question is: why is it so hard to figure out what we should be eating? A wolf doesn’t have a problem figuring out what a healthy diet is, birds know exactly what they should be eating (you probably see where I'm going with this.) So what’s the deal with us humans? I think the answer is that most of what we’re presented with isn’t real food. A stroll down the grocery aisle will confirm this, what you’ll see is (to quote Michael Pollan) “edible food-like substances,” but precious little “food”. We’ve been convinced that the foods nature has provided us are inadequate and need our intervention. We steer clear of fat, along with other important nutrients. Then we dissect food, and put it back together in unnatural ways, generally making sure that we never eat anything remotely resembling the foods our body recognizes.

What I mean by “real food” is simple…foods that are in, or very near to, their natural state. Here’s a short list of guidelines to lead us to real foods:

Food grows and dies; it isn’t created.
Food rots, wilts, starts to smell (you get the picture).
Food doesn’t need an ingredient label (and probably isn’t in a package either). Example, an apple is an apple, chicken is chicken, and almonds are almonds… and, yada, yada, yada!
Food doesn’t make health claims and doesn’t have celebrity endorsements.

So where do you find all of this food? Ideally, your local farmer’s market; the food is fresher with an abundance of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, raw cheeses, and grass-fed meats and eggs (not pies, cookies, and bagels), real food from real farmers. Okay, so let’s get real, a trip to the grocery is inevitable and I understand that. The key to the grocery store is sticking to the perimeter. Think about what you see on the outside of the store…meat, eggs, produce, nuts; all foods that are incredibly healthy and unprocessed. About the only thing I can think of worth venturing into the middle aisles for are things like olives, vinegar, rice, tomato sauce, and toothpaste.