Let’s be real for a minute. Does anyone actually stick to their new year’s resolutions? My Twitter feed is loaded with links to articles like, “10 Resolutions You’ll Actually Stick To!” Over the holiday, my sister-in-law asked me if I’ve ever had a resolution that worked and if yes, for how long. I started to ponder and I honestly don’t think I’ve had one work longer than a few months. But hey, don’t think that will stop me from setting new ones. Maybe 2102 will be the year!
Before I dive into my resolutions, I first want to pat myself on the back for a few food related things I did accomplish this year. They weren’t new year’s resolutions, but a goal none the less. I really should say “we” since all of these include my hubby too.
15 months ago we launched the Be Food Smart website. Our goal was to become the trusted source for ingredient information and your partner in making smarter food choices. Our website has grown tremendously and we are thankful for each and every one of you who visit our site, follow us on Twitter, and Like Us on Facebook. Keep the clicks, comments, and shares coming!
2011 was a busy year for food. It brought us Schweddy Balls ice cream, SkinnyGirl drama, Lunchables unwrapped and a food additive made from beaver anal glands. Below are the top articles, videos, and infographics from 2011. We wish you all a healthy and happy holiday season.
I’d been seeing “Greek-style” yogurt for quite some time before I actually tried it. My first thought was why the heck did I wait so long? This stuff is tasty. It’s thick, uber creamy, tart, and satisfying. Apparently, I’m not the only one licking my spoon. 5 years ago Greek-style yogurt was a $60 million business in the US. Fast forward to 2011 and sales are predicted to be $1.5 billion. Everyone wants a piece of the action and yogurt giants, Dannon and Yoplait, are scrambling as tiny player, Chobani, sky rockets to #1 with 10% market share in all yogurt.
Yogurt is often called a “superfood” and for good reason. It’s high in protein and the live cultures (probiotics) and helpful bacteria help maintain the healthy flora in our gut. A recent long-term study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that yogurt was inversely associated with weight gain. The more yogurt the participants ate, the less they gained weight. The popularity of yogurt shows no signs of slowing down as just last year, The Dairy Council of California named yogurt as the food trend of the decade. If you haven’t tried Greek-style yet, you’re missing out. Here is a helpful Q&A on this special variation of yogurt:
Dairy, dairy quite contrary
How does your bacteria grow?
With metal grates and heated plates,
And filthy cows all in a row.
Ever wonder how your milk gets from the cow to your bowl of cereal? Grist.org just did a great story on dairy. Essentially, milk goes through a 3-step process of pasteurization, homogenization and fortification. Here is a list of must-know terms from today’s milk production.
Pasteurization is the process of using heat to destroy microorganisms in foods. Do you know the difference between pasteurized, ultra-pasteurized, and raw? Here are the 4 main ways dairy is pasteurized:
High Temperature Short Time (HTST)
This is the most common method of pasteurization in the U.S. HTST uses metal plates and hot water to raise milk temperatures to at least 161F/72C degrees for a minimum of 15 seconds, followed by rapid cooling.
Ultra Pasteurized (UP)
Milk or milk product is heated to 280F/138 C degrees for two seconds. UP results in a product with longer shelf life, but still requires refrigeration. Most organic milk is ultra pasteurized to extend the shelf life.
One of my daughter’s favorite smoothies is my banana, peanut butter, chocolate smoothie. I know, you’re shocked, right? Tonight we had breakfast for dinner so I decided to go all out and whip up this smoothie too. The recipe has been rather fluid over the years. It started with bananas and chocolate protein powder. There was a brief stint with chocolate syrup, but I never liked the fake syrup flavor. My newest rendition replaces protein powder and chocolate syrup with unsweetened cocoa powder. The result? Purer ingredients, less added sugar, and amazing taste. I haven’t met too many people who don’t love this stuff.
After my blender broke, my immersion blender became my best friend. If fact, I love it so much, I haven’t even replaced my blender. For all my smoothies, I use an immersion “stick” blender and the tall beakers that came with it. A tall measuring cup, large plastic drinking glass or pitcher can work too if you are sans beaker. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a your blender, but remember to wash immediately after use to avoid a nightmare clean up.
If you try it, please post your pics on our Facebook page!
3 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup ice
Peel bananas, break in half and place in beaker. Spoon out peanut butter (approximate amount is fine) and place on top of the bananas. Pour milk over the bananas and peanut butter and blend until well incorporated. Add cocoa powder and blend at highest speed until frothy. Pour in a little ice at a time and blend on a lower speed. I like one final blast on high to add some bubbles, pour into 2 glasses and serve immediately.
For this smoothie I used organic bananas (please buy fair trade bananas whenever possible), Trader Joe’s organic peanut butter, Organic Pastures raw whole milk, and Trader Joe’s unsweetened cocoa powder. If peanut butter is not your thing, try almond butter. Serving as a treat? Add fresh whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings.
Part of my job as the primary blogger for Be Food Smart is to stay up to date on what’s new in the food and nutrition world. For the most part I love it, but inevitably, there comes a point in my week where I throw my hands up in frustration. It seems that every type of food I thought I knew somehow becomes a subject of debate. Need some examples?
Sugar – The stuff that comes from the lush sugarcane plant is now suddenly associated with the “T” word. Remember when toxic was primarily used to describe a pile of nuclear waste oil drums with skull & crossbones? Robert Lustig’s YouTube video has only been viewed 1.16 million times.
Wheat – Between whole, unbleached, enriched, stone ground, and bleached, wheat is downright confusing. And all this before I even mentioned the almighty power word: gluten.
Salt – Sodium is bad, right? Or wait, is the regular stuff bad and sea salt good? What about rock, kosher, or unrefined pink Himalayan salt? Do I need the iodine (especially since the Japanese nuclear reactor is leaking)? I predict a future blog post on salt…
This is Part 3 of a three-part series on raw milk.
Last week I attended a meeting given by the Santa Barbara chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) on raw milk. The guest speaker was Mark McAfee, CEO of Organic Pastures. If you are following this series on raw milk, you’ve already learned a bit about the differences between factory farmed milk and raw milk (click here for Part 1) and how raw milk relates to the all the good bacteria in your body (click here for Part 2). This is Part 3 of the series.
In standard dairy pasteurization, raw milk is heated to 161 degrees F and kept there for 15 seconds. This process will generally kill harmful bacteria in the milk. However, like antibiotics, the pasteurization process does not discriminate and also kills the good bacteria too. Mark is not a fan of pasteurization and continued his session with a whole bunch of reasons why. As you read this list, some make obvious sense and others require a bit more explanation (I’ll do my best to relay Mark’s enthusiasm on the subject). In my opinion, some of these reasons are not directly a result of pasteurization, but more of an after-effect of the new dairy production world, post-pasteurization.
Pasteurization was revolutionary because it allowed for a completely different way of raising cows. No longer did the dairy cows need to remain disease free or kept in clean and sanitary quarters because pasteurization would kill all the harmful bacteria.