Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Genetically Modified - How Bad Is It?

I just can't support genetically modified farming.  I understand that there is potential to grow more food than without it (at least that's what I've read), but it just is wrong.  I don't think that nature was meant to be played with like this. 

I found an interesting page on PBS that attempts to show both sides to the issues.  Read it here.  You can peruse and decide for yourself:  However, despite any arguments for GM foods, I find myself thinking, it just isn't right. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vegetarian Update

It was in April when I saw "Food Inc" and saw how animals were treated cruelly as they are raised and killed for food. It broke my heart and I felt I could never eat meat again. For about two months, I didn't eat meat. I tried to supplement my diet, but honestly, I didn't do a good job. The time and energy required to educate myself just isn't there right now. I started having random dizzy spells and it freaked me out. I decided to begin to eat cruelty-free meat "sparingly" and "with thanksgiving" and that's where I am now. I eat about 3 meals a week with meat in it. I can count on one hand the amount of times I have had non-cruelty free meat and am working hard to eat vegetarian when possible. Since that time, my dizziness went away. My heart still aches for the sweet animals, even when the package says cruelty-free. I hope to be able to study better about supplemental to keep my meat-eating down.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Making Good Choices

So, I know I haven't posted in awhile.  I have been trying to stick to this way of life and find that it is harder at times than I would like.  I found myself at a Target the other day looking at the frozen chicken.  Compared to Whole Foods where I usually buy my chicken, the Target chicken was much cheaper.  However, I couldn't do it.  I didn't know if the chickens were raised in a cramped, dark factory farm.  Also, I wondered if these chickens were genetically modified such that they developed much sooner than they were supposed to (if you haven't seen Food, Inc - you must go watch it now).  So, I decided not to buy any meat at Target and now I am back to Whole Foods for all of my meat.

While back at Whole Foods, I tried their pre-cut vegetables for the first time the other day.  These ones are in bulk containers over by the cut fruit.  They cost more than buying the vegetables whole, but less than when you buy them pre-seasoned.  I made a great vegetarian stir-fry the other day (pictured below) green, red and yellow peppers, onions, and brown rice.  I added some soy sauce and it was a tasty meal.


I've also discovered Greek yogurt recently.  What I don't like is that it costs more than regular yogurt, but what I like is that is offers a more substantial treat, with more protein.  And, it is so creamy that it really does feel like a treat. 

Given the cost, though, I may actually start couponing like my sister Heidi.  I've never had the patience to look for and collect coupons, but I think that it is necessary.  The bottom line, I continue to discover, is that the key to health is whole, healthy, and local (if possible) foods.  So, while it can cost more or take a little more time, it is worth it. 

McKinney Trolley

I've lived here practically all my life, and sometimes I feel like I don't know the area well at all!  Every weekend my husband and I take our wee one somewhere close to explore.  We woke up a little late to hit up the Farmer's Market, so instead we went to Dallas to ride the trolley!  We had a lot of fun, even though it was really hot.  And we plan on making this a regular thing.  The trolley driver gave us some excellent history on the trolleys in service and we rode the oldest one available (and no A/C in this bad boy!)  It began service in 1906! 

The best part is that the:
Yes, that's right, take it up and down all you want for nothing.  There are some great little shops and restaurants along the way.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Things to Avoid in Processed Food

As much as I try to avoid processed foods at home, it's inevitable that I need something quick and easy.  I dream of making my own everything from scratch and having frozen scratch meals for the quick and easy days, but it just hasn't happened yet.  I've talked to people who say they don't buy anything they can't pronounce, and while I think that's a good rule of thumb, that makes shopping a little more difficult, as sometimes even safe ingredients may have a long and arduous name.  I came across this list a few days ago and I think it gives a good basic nine to avoid.

I've heard a lot about avoiding artificial colorings, but I didn't realize that they were linked to headaches, rashes and asthma to name a few!  I used to frequently get headaches for no real reason.  Once I started going to a chiropractor, they mostly went away, but sometimes I still get one. I decided I need to make a list of when I get headaches, and I wonder if it's linked to the amount of artificial colorings I consume!?

What do you look for when purchasing premade foods from the store?  Are there particular ingredients you avoid and why?

Monday, July 18, 2011

DIY: Dishwasher Detergent

I've seen a lot of talk about phosphates.  I've noticed that a lot of cleaning supplies advertise being phosphate free.  I don't really know a lot about phosphates, so I decided to do a little research and I found that phosphates are bad for the environment as they basically eat up oxygen in streams and other water sources. (For more detailed info about phosphate, I found great information here and here.)

Along with this, I also started noticing that the taste of the cups my son drinks out of taste like the dishwasher detergent.  I assume it's because his cups are plastic, since I don't notice it on our glass cups as much.  This really bothered me, so I had to come up with another solution.  A greener and healthier approach to dishwasher detergent, that didn't contain harsh chemicals (and sometimes petroleum based products!)

Here is my recipe:
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda
1 cup kosher salt
1.5 cups LemiShine (Depending on how hard your water is, you can use 1 to 2 cups LemiShine.)

You use this mixture where you would traditionally put your detergent, and then add white vinegar to the rinse aid area.  This helps prevent spots and coating on your dishes!  We've used this for about a week now, and it gets the dishes clean and I no longer taste or smell the dishes!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Companies Reject Gov't Offerings

Companies reject the government restrictions on marketing junk food to kids and are proposing their own restrictions.  Who is shocked that the companies have looser standards on what is and isn't acceptable?

Read the article here.

What do you think?  Do companies need to change what should be allowed in their marketing campaigns?  Or does the responsibility lay on the shoulders of those in charge of feeding kids, namely parents and schools?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chipotle

Anyone who knows me probably knows that Chipotle is my favorite place to eat out.  Not only is their food fantastic, but they use humanely treated animals, organic and local when possible- they call this Food With Integrity.  I love this concept and ate at Chipotle long before I cared about where my food came from- because it as delicious.  Crunchy and non-crunchy folk alike can love Chipotle.  My usually picky almost 2 year old LOVES Chipotle, and we go there about once week after story time.  We order one bowl and he eats half.  It's about $7 for the bowl, so we feed both of us for just $7!  Who says well treated animals and local, organic food can't be cheap?

Their menu is basic.  Rice, beans, meat and various toppings including cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, lettuce, corn, etc.  You can have it in burrito fashion, as a salad, or in a bowl, which is how I always get mine (kind of an upside-down salad, if you will.)  You control how much or how little of the toppings you want and if they have the ingredients, they'll make it for you.  So while quesadillas aren't on their menu- I've seen plenty of customers order and enjoy them!

They also offer a fairly good selection of drinks, plus chips and guacamole!



 This is what I order every time.  Rice, black beans, barbacoa (so yum!), pico de gallo, corn, sour cream, lettuce.  Then I take half and give it to my son!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How Far Does Your Non Local Food Travel?

When people take pride in buying local food, they can not only take pride in supporting the local farmer's, but also in reducing their carbon footprint.  I recently learned that non local food choices travel an average of 1500 miles before it hits your stores.  1500 MILES!  That's roughly from Dallas, TX to Los Angeles, CA and takes a travel time of 24 hours.  This distance (because I know you all like to be educated here) is called "Food Miles."

"Food miles are the distance food travels from where it is grown to where it is ultimately purchased
or consumed by the end user. The term food miles has become part of the vernacular among food
system professionals when describing the farm to consumer pathways of food.  The average WASD (weighted Average Source Distance) for locally grown produce to reach institutional markets was 56 miles, while the conventional WASD for the produce to reach those same institutional points of sale was 1,494 miles, nearly 27 times further. Conventional produce items traveled from eight (pumpkins) to 92 (broccoli) times farther than the local produce to reach the points of sale." (For more information on food miles, go here.)

Imagine the huge difference we could make if people simply started purchasing local just 50% of the time.  This is one reason why I like shopping at Whole Foods, they make it simple to purchase local (and often local and organic) produce because they clearly label where the food is coming from.  You can also obtain this type of clarity at places like Rosemeade Market or local farmer's markets (where you can often talk to the farmer himself!)!


What if all major food chains labeled their food sources?  How many Americans would begin buying local if they knew how far their food traveled and how much pollution and extra costs it involved?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Amy's Does It Again

YUMMY! Amy's Country Cheddar Bowls are my new FAVORITE. Organic, veggie, tasty...what more can you ask for! 


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grapevine Farmers Market

Today I hit up Grapevine Farmers Market (hit up their Facebook page here and their website here) and were very pleased with what we found.  We were hesitant because Grapevine's Main Street doesn't offer a lot of great parking.  As luck would have it, we found parking right next to the Market!  

Produce Selection: They had a fairly large selection, ranging from potatoes to peaches (yum, right?) to tomatoes and Israeli Melons!  They even had a small organic selection, which thrilled me to pieces.  The location also had:

Staff Knowledge: What I love about markets is that you often talk to the people who make the products themselves.  The Spice Boys knew their spices and what they are best paired with.  I bought some spices to try to make my meatloaf a little better.  We purchased some jerky from Don's Smokehouse (delicious, by the way) and we really enjoyed speaking to the gentlemen about the different types and flavors.

Overall, a great experience and we will definitely come again!  Most definitely a thumbs up experience!  Enjoy some pictures from our visit!















Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Years ago, before EatCrunchy was even thought of, I had high blood pressure.  I actually developed it during my pregnancy and even after birth, it didn't go away.  I knew I had to get off the medication I was taking.  I never really noticed or cared about the level of sodium I consumed.  When people said processed foods had more sodium, I didn't realize HOW much sodium they contained.  I didn't eat processed food all the time, I figured (processed in my mind being frozen pizzas and such), so I didn't need to change that.  What I didn't realize was there was danger lurking in almost anything prepackaged!  All those convenience items I had loved so much were detrimental to my health.  So I resolved to cut back on those items and begin making more from scratch meals.

I learned I could eat nearly the same meals I enjoyed before with less sodium (and as a side benefit of fewer calories, and less chemicals) by just taking more time to prepare them myself.  Today, I made homemade teriyaki sauce.  The benefit to making your own means you know exactly what's in it, and if you want organic teriyaki, use organic ingredients!  Cheap, and way easier than I thought!

1/4 soy sauce (I used Whole Foods 265 brand, organic)
1 cup, plus 1/4 cup water
3 slices ginger (smashed)
4 cloves garlic (smashed)
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp honey (I used local honey)
1 tbsp corn starch


Get a pot, mix soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, garlic, ginger, and 1 cup water.  They heat up on low to medium heat and stir.  Before it comes to boil, combine 1 tbsp corn starch and 1/4 cup water and mix together (free from lumps).  Then stir the cornstarch mixture into the pot.  Turn the heat down and it should start to thicken.  Keep stirring until you get close to the consistency you want.  (It'll thicken one you take it off the heat and it cools.)  Then pick out the garlic and ginger and enjoy!

We enjoy this over chicken and whole wheat couscous and veggies.  My almost 2 year old was mmm mmmming with each bite!  Which, of course, made me as a mom, so excited!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wildflowers

I know it's a little late in the season, but I don't think you can talk about nature in Texas and not take a moment to appreciate the wildflowers. Texas has the most amazing wildflowers! Once spring comes, they pop up everywhere and provide lovely scenery to the highways, byways, and fields. Bluebonnets are my favorite!




Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!!

Happy Independence Day everyone!! What yummy recipes is everyone trying this holiday? My favorite entry about the 4th so far comes from this blog.

Thank you men and women who work tirelessly to preserve our rights and freedoms!!

Yummy Pizza

 So I made a pizza the other day and was SO excited! I used veggies from my food storage, got some organic Bertolli tomato sauce (I think it is technically pasta sauce) and created something yummy. It was DELISH if I do say so myself.
I was so excited to find that Bertolli had organic sauce. I like their sauces anyway but this made me an even bigger fan.



 



Unfortunately, I think the canned spinach was bad so I was sick the next week. :( Let this be a lesson to check the dates on your food storage!!