Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Salt Sugar Fat" by Michael Moss is the first step

Michael Moss, in his book Salt Sugar Fat, exposes how the food industry has sucked us in with these three "bliss" ingredients. They have extensive scientific data that lets them manipulate us in unbelievable ways.

I haven't yet to read the book, but the interviews I have heard are very convincing. We all need to be better consumers. We need to read labels. We need to enter our supermarkets ready to do battle. We can look for the more nutritious products at the top and bottom shelves and not be sucked in by the salt-, sugar-, and fat-laden products at eye level.

But in these interviews Moss doesn't address a point I feel strongly about: we must also realize that the meat and dairy industries are also doing us in. They have convinced us that 1) if we don't eat meat we won't get enough protein and 2) if we don't eat dairy we will lack calcium. The truth is that these products are unhealthy and contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and, probably, cancer. They contain much more fat than is healthy for any human being. Cost-effective production means torturing the animals by keeping them in confined spaces and pumping them full of antibiotics and hormones that we then ingest.

What happens to them once they are transported to and reach the slaughterhouse is beyond civil discussion. The accounts I have read describe hideous, sadistic torture. I can't imagine that most workers in these slaughterhouses would abuse animals, but apparently some do and their actions have drawn attention to a crisis. If we continue to consume chicken, beef, and pork, we are condoning torture.

I have recently tried to eat a diet that is meat and dairy free, and I try to avoid any added oils. Proponents of this type of diet prefer the term "plant based."

This makes eating out rather difficult, so we prepare many home-made meals of beans and rice, with added veggies.

I have learned to love kale, collard greens, chard, and rapini. I came to love broccoli and spinach years ago. Potatoes are one of my favorite foods.

We usually just chop the greens up and eat them in salad. Husband Andy can just douse them in vinegar and be happy. I am still loving ranch dressing, which is an aberration for this diet, I know. Oh well! I figure if I eat lots of vitamin- and mineral-rich greens in the process I am doing good things. Potatoes can be cooked a thousand different ways. One of my favorites is to take cooked whole potatoes and slice them into "steak fry" sized pieces. I heat the oven and my baking stone to about 450, while I sprinkle the potatoes with seasoning. My favorite is garlic pepper. Chilli powder is also good. Once the stone is good and hot I put the fries on and cook till they are crispy brown. Delicious with a nice black bean burger!

We have also purchased Calphalon non-stick pans that let us sautee veggies without adding any oil. It works. Every chef will tell you to add oil but they are wrong. You can make delicious dishes without adding oil. Follow the recipe, use a non-stick pan, and skip the oil. If things get "sticky" keep some water or vegetable broth on stand by. Add as needed. You'll be fine.