Friday, March 2, 2012

PALEO, ATKINS, VEGETARIAN OR REDNECK:TOOLS I USE

“Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.” ~Mark Twain

I have tried many different types of eating styles. After decades of experience and research and doctors’ advice, I can say with some degree of confidence, that the “no sugar, no flour” style is the one magic bullet to stop chronic disease, weight gain and the other plagues of our lives that are results of abundance and excess.

We are fortunate to be able to make these choices.

The low-carbohydrate, caveman, and blood type diets seem to make the most sense. The word “diet” should mean a permanent solution to a health problem, not a temporary one. These are the eating styles that are compatible with our DNA.

There are unlimited testimonials out there from those who have suffered with different illnesses and have taken medications to relieve their symptoms. Eating good food and eliminating the “white stuff” has cured them. As important, they are able to throw their medicine away.

Caveat: The following information might help some readers who have no one to ask about how to shop for the foods that can change, even possibly save, their lives. My life experience always seems to lead me to those people. To all of you who know how to shop, I apologize for giving you a tour of the grocery store. If I have learned something that I think is important, I think it is my moral obligation to pass the information on to those who want it.

Where do we purchase these foods? You don’t purchase anything. You hunt and kill and butcher…and fish and clean the fish…and gather whatever nuts and berries and roots are available.

So, you want to “hunt and gather” at your favorite supermarket?

We shop for different things at different markets. It is no different or any more time-consuming than shopping with coupons. My favorite store is a small market that advertises "serious food at silly prices". I also like a big box store and a membership warehouse store.

Here’s what to do:

·       Shop mainly on the outside aisles of the supermarket.

·     Notice fresh flowers are usually the first item that catches your eye when you enter the store. No, you don’t eat them. You buy them for someone else or for yourself to enjoy. Put them in your cart and enjoy them while you shop.

·        After “picking” some fresh flowers, meander around the fresh vegetable and fruit department. Select a few items that you will eat soon.

“ There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

·        Visit the butcher counter for fresh meat and fish that you will cook today or tomorrow.

“I didn’t fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.” ~Anonymous

I tried being a vegetarian in the late 60s. I found that it gave me mental and spiritual calm. However, my cravings for meat caused me to abandon that. I do have meatless meals every now and then. My favorite is a guacamole taco with some refried beans on the side.

A son-in-law of ours also tried being a vegetarian. He began feeling weak and experienced fatigue. On a visit to his doctor he received this advice; “You are a spirit having a human experience…eat meat!”

·        Take a detour and go to the canned fruits, vegetables, soups, and meats. Check the labels and the expiration dates. You are looking for cans that contain the item in the picture on the can with maybe some water and salt added. Sometimes they sneak in some sugar and/or citric acid too.

Soups are challenging. They throw all kinds of things into a can of soup. I like Amy’s Organic soups.

Recently I did a comparison of two cans of “sweet corn” that I had purchased in two different stores. The ingredients on one well-known brand were corn, water, sugar, and salt. The other can was purchased in one of those big warehouse grocery stores. Its ingredients were corn, water, and sea salt. Why sugar? It makes it taste better. They are deceiving us.

·        “Gather” some eggs. Locally hatched are the best tasting and the freshest.

·        Pick(up) some tree nuts like walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, or pecans. Peanuts are not tree nuts. They are from the bean family.

·        Stop by the “vineyard” for a nice bottle of wine.

“ A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let a fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts will never do.”  ~P.J.O’Rourke

·        On to the frozen food section where you will shop for fruits and vegetables again. Check that they have no ingredients except for the vegetable or fruit itself. Steam-Fresh vegetables are available now and have the least processing. That is my opinion. I rarely know anything for sure. I think they are the EZest to prepare in the microwave with no pan or steamer to wash. Follow the directions on the package.

·        “Flash” frozen fish is usually available in supermarkets. It is easy to cook and very nutritious. You can bake it in the oven from the frozen state. Follow the directions on the package. Use a small cookie sheet or a glass pie plate to bake it. It is expensive but not as expensive as eating in a “fast food” restaurant. Avoid Tilapia. It has the wrong kind of Omegas. Buy wild caught Alaska Salmon, Tuna, Mahi, Ono, Halibut, and Cod. A true indulgence in the fish department is Barramundi. It is a delicate whitefish. Very good.

·         Find a good source that you like of canned chicken breast, turkey, roast beef, salmon, and tuna. Always read the label to make sure that’s what’s in the can.

Granddaughter AJ would always request some unusual snacks when she would come to our house after school; she wanted canned salmon and Edamame. She wanted the salmon on a plate straight from the can and the Edamame steamed and chilled. This is the same child who loves Sushi. Training is important.

I recently asked her brother, HM, if he liked tuna. He looked at me wide-eyed and surprised that I would ask...then replied, " Of course, Nana, I love tuna."

I offered to open a can and make him a tuna sandwich. He informed me that he doesn't eat tuna from a can, only fresh in Sushi.

For AJ's graduation from Kindergarten I asked her where she would like to go for lunch. “Red Lobster for Snow Crab!” was her reply. We had quite a feast.

Emerson was onto something about how to buy a pear.

Recently I have discovered in doing research for this blog that the “newest to me” school of thought is that canned fruits and vegetables are safer than fresh. We don’t know where the fresh produce comes from and how long it has taken it to get to our supermarkets…or how long it has been sitting on the shelf. The theory is that canned vegetables have been picked and immediately preserved through the canning process so that they last a long time.

Canning was invented so that fruits and vegetables are available all year, not just when they’re in season. I have a good friend who cans elk meat.

We have seen so much publicity in the past several years telling us not to eat cantaloupe, fresh spinach, Romaine lettuce, and other fresh produce as it has caused illness.

I think we all know that the “fresh” roasted piping hot chickens we pick up from the supermarket deli for dinner are the chickens that are about to expire (or have) and they can’t sell them in the fresh meat section.

How can we be sure our food is safe?

Unfortunately, the answer is obvious. Grow it yourself.      

Next best choice, check expiration dates on everything you buy.

I know that this is common knowledge with our younger family members. It must be taught in schools these days. Our grandson, DV, arrived home from school one day a few years ago and started going through the refrigerator and pantry in his house, pulling out all expired items. His mother was aghast!

Plant a garden. It’s an education and “homegrown” food is fresh and delicious. DV is doing this also. He has been drawn to tending the garden since he was a little shaver.

You can plant vegetables in pots on a porch or an apartment balcony if you don’t have a yard. Lettuce is easy to grow from seed and is one thing you can’t buy frozen or in a can.

Have you seen the container tomato plants?

“It is difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” ~Lewis Grizzard

The quest for knowledge is an on-going one and something new is learned everyday.

To Life! Hallelujah!!





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