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Tip Of The Week

I have been wanting to put more veggies in my morning scrambled eggs, plus I have been trying to figure out what toppings to put on some flat bread pizzas that we are having this last week. I came of with an idea! I chopped up some mushrooms*, onions and green bell pepper then lightly sauteed them in a a little bit of olive oil. Now, not only do I have some veggies for my scrambled eggs for the next few days, I also have some veggies for my pizzas. Pre-cooking veggies at one time and then storing them in a container is a fast an easy way to add veggies to whatever meal you are cooking. You can use any kind that you want, the sky is the limit.

*Using mushrooms is a big deal for me because until recently I refused to eat them.

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Fake Health Site: Moderation Nation

We are all aware of major food companies manufacturing ‘healthy’ products under different names so that it can appear that they are independently produced. Now they are also creating websites claiming to promote healthy eating habits and lifestyle choices. Moderation Nation is a website claiming to be a ‘Center For Health And Nutrition’, run by Hershey. You know, that company that makes awful chocolate and that buys their cocoa seeds from farmers that use forced child labor*. Sounds incredible, doesn’t it? There are so many awful sections of their website that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Um…let’s begin with some ‘healthy’ recipes.

Here is a recipe called ‘Rustic Seasoning Spice With Salmon Or Chicken’.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 tablespoons black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons HEATH BITS ‘O BRICKLE Toffee Bits, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons HERSHEY’S Cocoa

Their whole claim in this recipe section is, I quote: ‘Chocolate as part of a balanced life’. What is balanced about putting toffee bits in a seasoning that you are going to put over something otherwise healthy? They recommend putting it even on vegetables. Those ‘Bits o’ Brickle’ contain saturated fat and sugar is its first ingredient. Of course, they don’t list the stats on this wonderful recipe.

Next there is a section entitled ‘Moderation Eating’. Quote:

‘We understand that creating a healthy, balanced meal that pleases everyone’s taste buds is no easy task, so we’ve created the MODERATION NATION Meal Balancer tool.’

After you create a meal on their meal planning tool guess where it takes you to? That’s right, it takes you to those awful recipes! Yum, there is nothing like eating saturated fat, I know that I can’t get enough of it!

The ‘Moderation Lifestyle’ section has the following tip:

  • Did you know…

    You can enjoy chocolate as part of a balanced, homemade snack by adding bits of dark or milk chocolate or cocoa nibs to yogurt, trail mix or low fat ice cream for a little sweetness and a delicious dose of antioxidants.

In other words they want you to put their really bad tasting chocolate in everything that you eat. Why yes, I think I’ll put it in the shrimp with pasta recipe I’m making today because wouldn’t that be DELISH? The sad thing is that I can well imagine some soccer moms* thinking that that would be a totally good idea! What about adding some tears of the children who are forced to pick their cocoa beans too! My, wouldn’t that taste good!

My favorite section of all is the one involving them sponsoring track and field games for kids. Hey, I think it’s a good idea to help kids get off their computers and outside, but they are a chocolate company! So, I guess they want the kids to first eat a ton of Hershey products and then go out and run off the sugar high they just got? Not to mention the fact that they obviously don’t like all children since they don’t care about the ones in Africa picking their cocoa beans. I guess the welfare of children only counts when they are in the Western world.

What it comes down to is that you can’t trust any of these large food manufacturers to have your health and well being in their best interest. After all, they are making food filled with additives and bad ingredients that are helping make this country obese. Yes, people should be responsible by checking the labels on all of the food they buy, but these companies also have the responsibility to stop trying to act like their products are something nutritious and healthy when they are in fact not.

* Link to site all about Hershey’s buying cocoa beans from farms that use the forced labor of children.

* I didn’t mean ALL soccer moms, just the ones who don’t read labels and believe everything that somebody such as Hungry Girl says.

Recipe: Orange Pumpkin Muffins

These muffins are really dense and moist! I made mine using all organic ingredients but you don’t have to do that if you don’t have them. I used butter, but you could use either vegetable oil or olive oil. Also, I used orange extract but you could grate some orange peel finely and add that instead. It has to have some sort of orange flavor in them though because it makes them taste super yummy.

1/2 cup of all purpose flour

1 cup of wheat flour

1 tsp. of baking powder

1 can of pumpkin (15 ounce)

1/3 cup of melted butter

2 large eggs

2 1/2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice

3/4 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. of aslt

1/2 tsp of orange extract

Preheat oven to 350. If using a dark non-stick muffin pan preheat oven to 325. Mix pumpkin, melted butter, eggs, pumpkin pie spice,sugar, baking soda, salt, and orange extract until smooth. Stir together the flours and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture until just combined. If you over mix your muffins will turn out tough. I use a whisk to do this and count to 7. Fill each cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Should be done when toothpick comes out clean.

Can You Trust The ‘Mommy Blogger’?

First, let me say that I am not going to be talking about all ‘mommy bloggers’. If you are a ‘mommy blogger’ that actually cares about nutrition and won’t sell out your soul for a free box of cookies, or a free trip to a conference, then this post is not about you. However, if every other post on your blog is a contest for a free product, you give mad props to places like McDonald’s for their lame attempts at trying to appear healthy, or you give glowing reviews of really unhealthy food products and call them healthy then I am knocking on your door.

The whole ‘mommy blog’ phenomenon is a corporate food producer’s wet dream.  For one these blogs usually have huge online audiences that hang on their every word and will go out and purchase any product they praise without question. They figure, hey they’re a mom so they must care a lot about the food that they are serving their children. For some reason some people think that moms have special powers, that they can detect healthier foods than people who aren’t moms. Sorry to tell you this folks, but moms can be just as naive and stupid as the rest of us. Giving birth does not give you any more insight into health and nutrition than being a childless old woman with a bunch of cats.

These ‘mommy bloggers’ ,with the somewhat naive natures and the tons of followers, actually believe that these companies care about the health of their children. For example, the companies send them free cookies with the promise that they are nutritious with added minerals and vitamins, and that their children will just love them. Then to look even more better in the eyes of these women they will even sponsor a contest on their blog to send out a sample of their product free to a lucky follower! For the company this is a win win kind of deal, because not only do they get a glowing review from a ‘mommy’ they also get all of her followers out to the stores searching for their product.  Now, don’t think that these women are totally naive, because quite often these blogs will have a page devoted to the rules that they set concerning receiving free products. Seriously, some of the read like legal paperwork. Sometimes I even wonder if these blogs are run by food companies masking as ‘mommy blogs’ in order to try to connect to their intended consumer base.

Reality is a bitch, because in truth these companies really don’t care about the ‘mommy blogger’ at all. All they care about are the number of people who will rush out and buy their product. All of this makes the ‘mommy blogger’ look like a hypocritical liar to those people who actually read product labels and know better than to trust these companies. Promoting an unhealthy product and then bragging about how your children love it makes you look like nothing but a corporate tool. These bloggers may have a lot of followers, but in terms of quality content they are sorely lacking. If you Google WhoNu? cookies for example you will easily find a ton of ‘mommy blogs’ promoting and giving away free product. The majority of the rest of the content will be yet more positive food reviews and giveaways, with maybe an occasional article about their weight loss or what their little Sally did at school.

Companies will even go to blogger conferences such as the one held in San Diego for BlogHer. Not only that, they sponsor them! Companies such as Pfizer and McDonald’s, among others, sponsored this years BlogHer event and even flew in ‘influential mommy bloggers’ that help promote their brands on their blogs. Shouldn’t they be reporting on the nefarious crap that these corporate liars spew instead of taking their money? I guess everybody has their priorities, and it seems like those particular bloggers are more interested in money than promoting a healthy lifestyle. McDonald’s USA President Jan Fields hosted a ‘Listening Stop’ at the conference, inviting the ‘mommy bloggers’ to talk with her about the company’s nutritional content in their food aimed at children. This video shows a little of what happened and it should come as no surprise that they were given free food and it didn’t appear that any hard questions were asked of Fields. If there were any really serious allegations made at it concerning how McDonald’s serves really unhealthy food they were probably edited out, but it really doesn’t seem like they were there for that. It feels like that just sat back and listened to the garbage that Fields said, ate their free food and then afterwards praised McDonald’s on Twitter and Facebook. That’s not the worst of it though; they will actually pay ‘mommy bloggers’ to fly out to their corporate headquarters, and to the farms that supply their ingredients, in order to pitch to them how healthy their food really is. I don’t know what is sadder, the fact that these women praise McDonald’s or that McDonald’s is using these women to get bonus points from the public in general.

What it boils down to is that the only person you can totally trust when it comes to your health is yourself. Always question people when they promote a product and ask about what ingredients are contained within it. It is better to be an informed consumer than to fall for overly marketed hype.

Who Really Owns Alexia Foods?

More and more independent natural and organic food companies are being bought out by huge food conglomerates, so it should come as no surprise for you to find out that Alexia  Foods is now owned by…ConAgra. Yes, that’s right this ‘natural’ food line is owned by the company that has brought you Slim Jim, Chef Boyardee, and Banquet: three food lines whose products contain enough preservatives to embalm you before you die.

I went to Alexia’s website and no where on it does it mention that it is owned by ConAgra.  That is very typical of these large food manufacturers, because they want you to think that their ‘natural’ food lines are independently owned. They think that if their products seem to be produced that way that you the shopper will feel as if you are supporting the little guy. This is what ConAgra says about Alexia Foods on their site:

Today, Alex Dzieduszycki’s thirst for innovation, culinary creativity, and entrepreneurial expression has led him to the creation of Alexia Foods. Alexia is an all-natural, trans-fat-free line of premium frozen products developed for the natural and specialty food consumer with a sophisticated palate. Each Alexia product has been individually crafted by Alex himself to ensure a superior quality product that delivers outstanding flavor in every bite.

I wonder how much money ConAgra gave Dzieduszycki for the company? I guess everybody has their price no matter how much their ‘thirst for innovation’ is. ConAgra has been involved in some major recalls and helped fund the defeat of a bill that would have made companies disclose on their food labels which ingredients are GMO produced. I guess those ‘specialty food consumers with sophisticated palates’ wouldn’t be too thrilled to hear that would they. They have also bribed federal food inspectors and destroyed a historic building in order to make room for their offices. These guys sound like the bullies of the schoolyard, don’t they? Not exactly the image of a nice and small natural food company that’s for certain.  The ingredient lists for the products are not anywhere on the site, which makes me think that they are hiding something. They have the nutritional stats for them, but what is the point of reading that when you don’t know what is inside the bag.

You have to do your homework these days when it comes to the food that you are purchasing. Not only do you have the read the labels, you also have to look behind them.

Food Review: Back To Nature California Lemon Cookies

Back To Nature is a band of cookies and crackers that have found their way into Walmart, Whole Foods and some other stores. They are owned by Kraft, so if you are boycotting that particular company do not read any further. I copied the nutritional information from their site and I had to take links from it directed to Kraft out of the text, so take that for what you will. I know that some people say that products that claim to be ‘natural’ are in fact bad for you, but these cookies actually are not that bad at all when it comes to the ingredients contained within them.

The only totally negative ingredient that I see on the list below is the always appearing ‘natural flavor’. It has whole grain wheat flour, evaporated cane juice and actual lemon oil. The fat is a bit high, but if you are only eating a serving at a time you aren’t going to automatically get clogged arteries. I have some very mixed feelings about huge food companies jumping on the healthy food wagon and making foods that are in fact unhealthy. However, these cookies aren’t bad, so I will give Kraft credit where credit is do. They are quite yummy and have a very distinct lemon taste. Not the typical fake lemon taste that you usually find in name brand lemon cookies, but a real lemon taste. These are in fact probably the best tasting lemon cookies I have ever tasted from a brand name. They crumble kind of easy so hold your hand under your mouth or you’ll get crumbs all over you. I only wish Kraft would put their name visibly on the box instead of trying to fool people that this is an independent brand. To be quite honest I don’t know whether or not I will be buying these again because of that very issue.
  • Nutrition Facts
  • Serving Size
  • 30g
  • Servings per Container about
  • 9
  • Amount Per Serving
Calories 150 Calories from Fat 60
  • % Daily Value*
  •  7g total fat
  • 11 %
  •   3g saturated fat
  • 15 %
  •   0g trans fat
  • 0 %
  • 0mg cholesterol
  • 0 %
  • 100mg sodium
  • 4 %
  • 20g total carbohydrate
  • 7 %
  •  2g dietary fiber
  • 8 %
  •  9g sugars
  •  Protein 2g
 Vitamin A 0 %  Calcium 2 %
 Vitamin C 0 %  Iron 2 %

More Nutrition Facts

Ingredients:WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR, EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, PALM OIL, SEA SALT, BAKING POWDER (MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE, BAKING SODA), NATURAL FLAVOR, LEMON OIL. CONTAINS: WHEAT.

Kellogg’s Smart Start Cereal Is Concentrated Evil

Kellogg’s Smart Start cereal claims to contain ‘Lightly sweetened, toasted multi-grain flakes and crunchy oat clusters.’ Doesn’t that sound nice and innocent? Kind of makes you want to run around a meadow in the Alps and sing some songs from The Sound Of Music. However, something dark and insidious is hiding in this cereal! Actually several dark and insidious things, but who’s counting?

Let’s take a look at the ingredients:

RICE, WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT, SUGAR, OAT CLUSTERS (SUGAR, TOASTED OATS [ROLLED OATS, SUGAR, CANOLA OIL WITH TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS, MOLASSES, HONEY, BHT FOR FRESHNESS, SOY LECITHIN], WHEAT FLAKES, CRISP RICE [RICE, SUGAR, MALT, SALT], CORN SYRUP, POLYDEXTROSE, HONEY, CINNAMON, BHT [PRESERVATIVE], ARTIFICIAL VANILLA FLAVOR), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SALT, HONEY, MALT FLAVORING, ALPHA TOCOPHEROL ACETATE (VITAMIN E), NIACINAMIDE, ZINC OXIDE, REDUCED IRON, SODIUM ASCORBATE AND ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, YELLOW #5, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), BHT (PRESERVATIVE), VITAMIN A PALMITATE, FOLIC ACID, BETA CAROTENE (A SOURCE OF VITAMIN A), VITAMIN B12 AND VITAMIN D.

My, that is a lot of sugar! Let me list them as I see them on there: sugar, sugar, sugar, molasses, honey, sugar, corn syrup, honey, high fructose corn syrup, and honey. I don’t think I have EVER seen that many sugar loaded ingredients listed in just one product! I believe that Kellogg’s has broken some sort of record by making this! I guess they consider this cereal to be a ‘smart start’ because you’ll get a sugar high that will last a few hours after eating it. TBHQ and BHT also make an appearance, which are both really bad preservatives and that are banned in other countries. I guess they are good enough for us though! Polydextrose is partying in there as an added source of fiber, even though it’s proven that it doesn’t have the same effect as fiber that occurs naturally in food. Then there is your friend and mine gold oldie yellow #5! Plus, look at all of the added vitamins! It has been proven that vitamins added to a food do not absorb into the body as well as vitamins that are naturally occurring in food.

I’m beginning to think that Kellogg’s is trying to secretly decrease the surplus population by poisoning them with this stuff! Let’s look at the stats and see if we have anything further to fear.


It doesn’t have any fat, BUT it has 43 grams of carbs! 43! That’s insane! There are 14 grams of sugar alone. Well, that doesn’t comes of a surprise considering how often sugar appears in the ingredients. All of the bad things in this monstrosity negates those poor added vitamins. How could they ever stand a chance with all of that damn sugar crowding them in like that! Kellogg’s ought to be ashamed of themselves for promoting this as a smart start to the day, a good source of fiber and for having antioxidants. If you want to eat those things without the added preservatives in this cereal than I suggest you eat a bowl of oatmeal with some blueberries. This is just another example of a company pushing their junk cereal as a healthy food product. Stay as far away from this cereal as you can!