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Tag: diet

Chloe’s California Quiche

This is a guest post by Chloë Gladstone. Know of a food blogger, nutrition guru, farmer or passionate storyteller who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

 
I’ve been a vegetarian my whole life, and I was vegan for 16 years. While my views about the best diet for me have shifted somewhat, one thing has not changed since I was a child: a fascination with food and how it affects our bodies, our planet, and our relationships.

In addition to being vegetarian, my family always had a garden, and I remember the exquisite pleasure of walking barefoot among tomato vines that were taller than I was, feeling the prickly hairs on the stems tickle my nose as I leaned in to smell the ripe tomatoes, and biting into one like an apple, the sun-warmed juices running down my chin. My parents grew their own sprouts, made their own tempeh, and banned processed sugar from the house. When I went to public school, I got teased about the “bird seed” (honey-covered sesame seeds) in my lunches, but I also convinced several friends to taste (and enjoy!) my homegrown sprouts dusted with nutritional yeast.

When I became vegan at age 12, I thought it was a way to make a sacrifice for the health of the planet, but I found after many years of reliance on soy foods that my body was suffering. I was also alienating myself from other people, especially when I would travel and have to refuse food offered to me without being able to explain why. I felt like the costs in terms of my own health and my relationships were too high.

In the last five years, I’ve returned to a passion for locally grown whole foods. My partner and I are members of a CSA and we try to visit the farmers market every week. He eats meat, but his choice comes out of careful thought and I respect it. He is an importer of equitably traded vanilla beans from Madagascar, and he thinks a lot about food and how it relates to social justice and the environment. I know our diet differences will spark some spirited debates if we have children, but that’s also important to me—constantly questioning what we believe. I love hearing about what people eat and why.

Many people in the U.S. think it’s a luxury to spend time choosing and preparing our own fresh food, but I think it’s the opposite. It feels as if our “luxuries” have removed us farther and farther from our food sources, and this is part of what’s making us so unhealthy. I’m guilty of this too—I often prioritize other tasks over shopping for and eating healthy local food, but I feel so much happier and more energized when I’m paying attention to my diet. I get sick less, I sleep better…and hence I have more time and energy to spend on the rest of my life!

If you think you don’t have time to shop at the farmer’s market and prepare food from scratch, try to eliminate one non-essential activity from your life (Words with Friends, anyone?) and spend that time focusing on food in a way that makes you feel good. I think the most important thing is that we simply pay attention to what we eat. Putting a little bit of focus on what you eat is guaranteed to improve your diet. (This is partly why it’s so crucial for everyone in California to vote Yes on Proposition 37, which will help us to be informed about what we’re eating). For an interesting perspective on U.S. food issues and our lack of attention to what we eat, check out The Sun magazine’s interview with Joel Salatin, the founder of Polyface Farm.

Here’s a recipe we came up with during our endless experiments with vanilla. I love this recipe because you can get all the ingredients from trusted local sources. It was the most popular dish when we cooked brunch for 18 people recently. It also fills the house with lovely smells. Don’t be afraid of including vanilla in a savory dish—it’s very subtle and delicious!

 

Chloë’s California Quiche

For the crust:
2 c. (packed) grated raw potato (from 2-3 peeled potatoes)
1/4 c. grated onion
1/2 t. salt
1 egg

For the filling:
1/4 c. caramelized onions
1 ear fresh sweet corn (kernels cut from the cob)
1 small vanilla bean
1/4 c. creamy goat cheese or other cheese of your choice
4-5 large eggs
3/4 c. half & half
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F. Mix the crust ingredients together and press the mixture into a 9-inch pie tin. Bake the crust for 30-40 minutes. You can brush it with a little vegetable oil if it looks like it’s drying out too much. If you’re worried about the edges getting too browned, you can cover them with tin foil.

While it’s cooking, mix the eggs and half & half. Add salt and pepper as desired. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, and using the tip of a knife or a spoon, scrape the tiny vanilla seeds (the “caviar”) out of the pod. Add the seeds to the egg mixture and whisk to distribute evenly.

When the crust is done, take it out of the oven and turn the heat down to 350F.

Spread the quiche fillings (reserving a bit of the cheese) along the bottom of the crust, then pour in the egg mixture. Add the rest of the cheese to the top, and then put half of the vanilla husk in the center of the dish (for decorative purposes—the husk is too tough to eat!). Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until firm, and serve with a farmers market salad.


About the author:
Chloë Gladstone

Chloë Gladstone is a writer and doula living in Oakland, California. She is also on the board of directors for Green Branch, a mobile children’s library focused on social justice and environmental issues.


© Nikola Hristovski | Dreamstime.com

 

Chewing. The act of breaking down food in your mouth with your teeth. It’s something we take for granted because if we didn’t chew, we’d be preforming the Heimlich Maneuver on a daily basis. Chewing seems so simple. You just bite down a few times, swallow and repeat. But how often do you really chew your food and, quite frankly, why does it matter?

Here are 5 reasons you should absolutely care about proper chewing:
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While scrolling through my wall today, I stumbled upon this infographic from visualeconomics that Dr. La Puma posted on his Facebook page. I love checking out food related infographics and found this particular one interesting. Let’s see, we eat more fats & oils than chicken, more sugar & corn sweeteners than red meat, and crazy amounts of dairy (631 lbs per year if you combine cheese & dairy). The total amount of fruits and vegetables (688 lbs) looks decent, although I wish I could see a stat on what percentage of that number is fresh vs. heavily processed (aka. Campbell’s canned vegetable soup and the 29 lbs of potatoes in our french fries). I’m not entirely sure what “beverage milks” means. Does it include chocolate milk or is it just non-dairy “milks” such as almond, hemp, soy, etc., or all of the above?

What really caught by eye, though, was the section down below that shows the average American consumes 24 POUNDS of artificial sweeteners per year. 24 pounds? That’s about what my daughter weighed when she was 2 years old (and coincidentally, the size of the average giraffe heart…fun fact). If you think you’re not consuming artificial sweeteners, think again. They are hiding everywhere. It’s the saccharin in your iced tea, the aspartame in your diet soda, and the sucralose in that ice cream bar. Even your chewing gum has been infiltrated as it’s virtually impossible to walk into a grocery store and buy a pack without artificial sweeteners. These innocuous powders also lurk in diet foods, products marketed to diabetics, and all sorts of no-sugar treats. Even Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf uses artificial sweeteners in their “no sugar” beverages (I honestly thought that they were made without any sweetener until I actually asked). If you want to reduce your intake, start by reading labels. Once you spot these guys, make the commitment to try a new brand that doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners, make it yourself, or better yet, give it up altogether. Can’t quit yet? Yes, you over there drinking your Diet Coke. Start by reducing your intake until you can break the habit altogether.

Check out the infographic down below for details and tell us what you find significant.

 

Source: Visual Economics

This is a guest post by Traver H. Boehm. Be Food Smart showcases voices from all fronts of the food movement. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate food writer who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

 

This is Part 3 of a three-part series on The Paleo Diet. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2.

So how do we balance the strict boundaries of Paleolithic eating with living in the modern world? Today, “Paleo’ish” is how Eric, Ali (my fiancé and co-acupuncture/nutrition partner in crime at Alki Wellness) and I eat and how we recommend that all of our clients and patients eat as well. After a few more rounds with the above story, we’ve all come to the conclusion that the 80/20 rule is our Paleolithic nutritional savior. Going from one extreme to the other is a common experience for people who set themselves up to eat 100% Paleo 100% of the time. It just isn’t sustainable if you want to have a social life and allow yourself to enjoy some of the finer points of the human experience.
Continue reading…

This is a guest post by Traver H. Boehm. Be Food Smart showcases voices from all fronts of the food movement. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate food writer who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

 

This is Part 2 of a three-part series on The Paleo Diet. Click here to read Part 1.

Day 1 of our 30-day Paleo challenge is about to begin…and we have no idea what we’re in store for. What did this mean though, what were we actually allowed to and not allowed to consume? Here’s what we could eat: lean meat, fish, chicken, nuts and seeds (except cashews), vegetables (except legumes), and fruit. We could season our food with spices and that was it.
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The Paleo Diet: So Easy a Caveman Could Do It (Part 1 of 3)

This is a guest post by Traver H. Boehm. Be Food Smart showcases voices from all fronts of the food movement. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate food writer who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

Banksy's Caveman

Photo by Stefan Kloo

This is Part 1 of a Three-Part Series on The Paleo Diet.

By September 9, 2011, the words “Paleo Diet” or “Caveman Diet” have entered into the public lexicon to some degree.  Everyone has a cousin who knows someone who’s tried the diet and has developed an opinion from there.

I remember back to the very first nutrition seminar that I ever listened to as a CrossFitter.  A stunning woman named Nicole Carrol came into my gym in Santa Monica and proceeded to tell us that just about everything that I enjoyed in life – white rice, wine, Ben & Jerry’s (I almost walked out), chips with or without salsa, and on and on, was now off limits.
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Remember the new “My Plate” icon that the USDA put out a few months ago? Part of the new campaign is releasing specific marketing messages to the public. This is their first message:

Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables

This is borderline revolutionary. Can you imagine if every American filled HALF their plate with fresh fruits and veggies? And what if they did that at EVERY meal? I don’t care what’s on the other half of the plate – there is no doubt in my mind that we’d all be healthier (and likely less overweight). I applaud the government for such a straightforward and simple message. In my perfect world, the message would add the words “fresh” and “organic,” but hey, we have to start somewhere. Plus, if this motivates people to eat more produce, maybe they’ll start to experiment with new veggies and possibly even visit their local farmers market. Maybe they’ll start to understand how much better a tomato tastes in season. Maybe they’ll buy local and…I’m getting carried away. As you can see, I’m an optimist.

More of these USDA messages are coming soon. Here are a few you can look forward to:
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