Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Bowl Full of Dirt

This is an amazing article from the New York Times...take note.

Babies Know: A Little Dirt Is Good for You

Published: January 26, 2009

Ask mothers why babies are constantly picking things up from the floor or ground and putting them in their mouths, and chances are they’ll say that it’s instinctive — that that’s how babies explore the world. But why the mouth, when sight, hearing, touch and even scent are far better at identifying things?

When my young sons were exploring the streets of Brooklyn, I couldn’t help but wonder how good crushed rock or dried dog droppings could taste when delicious mashed potatoes were routinely rejected.

Since all instinctive behaviors have an evolutionary advantage or they would not have been retained for millions of years, chances are that this one too has helped us survive as a species. And, indeed, accumulating evidence strongly suggests that eating dirt is good for you.

In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirt” spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma.

These studies, along with epidemiological observations, seem to explain why immune system disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and allergies have risen significantly in the United States and other developed countries.

Training the Immune System

“What a child is doing when he puts things in his mouth is allowing his immune response to explore his environment,” Mary Ruebush, a microbiology and immunology instructor, wrote in her new book, “Why Dirt Is Good” (Kaplan). “Not only does this allow for ‘practice’ of immune responses, which will be necessary for protection, but it also plays a critical role in teaching the immature immune response what is best ignored.”

One leading researcher, Dr. Joel V. Weinstock, the director of gastroenterology and hepatology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, said in an interview that the immune system at birth “is like an unprogrammed computer. It needs instruction.”

He said that public health measures like cleaning up contaminated water and food have saved the lives of countless children, but they “also eliminated exposure to many organisms that are probably good for us.”

“Children raised in an ultraclean environment,” he added, “are not being exposed to organisms that help them develop appropriate immune regulatory circuits.”

Studies he has conducted with Dr. David Elliott, a gastroenterologist and immunologist at the University of Iowa, indicate that intestinal worms, which have been all but eliminated in developed countries, are “likely to be the biggest player” in regulating the immune system to respond appropriately, Dr. Elliott said in an interview. He added that bacterial and viral infections seem to influence the immune system in the same way, but not as forcefully.

Most worms are harmless, especially in well-nourished people, Dr. Weinstock said.

“There are very few diseases that people get from worms,” he said. “Humans have adapted to the presence of most of them.”

Worms for Health

In studies in mice, Dr. Weinstock and Dr. Elliott have used worms to both prevent and reverse autoimmune disease. Dr. Elliott said that in Argentina, researchers found that patients with multiple sclerosis who were infected with the human whipworm had milder cases and fewer flare-ups of their disease over a period of four and a half years. At the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Dr. John Fleming, a neurologist, is testing whether the pig whipworm can temper the effects of multiple sclerosis.

In Gambia, the eradication of worms in some villages led to children’s having increased skin reactions to allergens, Dr. Elliott said. And pig whipworms, which reside only briefly in the human intestinal tract, have had “good effects” in treating the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, he said.

How may worms affect the immune system? Dr. Elliott explained that immune regulation is now known to be more complex than scientists thought when the hygiene hypothesis was first introduced by a British epidemiologist, David P. Strachan, in 1989. Dr. Strachan noted an association between large family size and reduced rates of asthma and allergies. Immunologists now recognize a four-point response system of helper T cells: Th 1, Th 2, Th 17 and regulatory T cells. Th 1 inhibits Th 2 and Th 17; Th 2 inhibits Th 1 and Th 17; and regulatory T cells inhibit all three, Dr. Elliott said.

“A lot of inflammatory diseases — multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and asthma — are due to the activity of Th 17,” he explained. “If you infect mice with worms, Th 17 drops dramatically, and the activity of regulatory T cells is augmented.”

In answer to the question, “Are we too clean?” Dr. Elliott said: “Dirtiness comes with a price. But cleanliness comes with a price, too. We’re not proposing a return to the germ-filled environment of the 1850s. But if we properly understand how organisms in the environment protect us, maybe we can give a vaccine or mimic their effects with some innocuous stimulus.”

Wash in Moderation

Dr. Ruebush, the “Why Dirt Is Good” author, does not suggest a return to filth, either. But she correctly points out that bacteria are everywhere: on us, in us and all around us. Most of these micro-organisms cause no problem, and many, like the ones that normally live in the digestive tract and produce life-sustaining nutrients, are essential to good health.

“The typical human probably harbors some 90 trillion microbes,” she wrote. “The very fact that you have so many microbes of so many different kinds is what keeps you healthy most of the time.”

Dr. Ruebush deplores the current fetish for the hundreds of antibacterial products that convey a false sense of security and may actually foster the development of antibiotic-resistant, disease-causing bacteria. Plain soap and water are all that are needed to become clean, she noted.

“I certainly recommend washing your hands after using the bathroom, before eating, after changing a diaper, before and after handling food,” and whenever they’re visibly soiled, she wrote. When no running water is available and cleaning hands is essential, she suggests an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Dr. Weinstock goes even further. “Children should be allowed to go barefoot in the dirt, play in the dirt, and not have to wash their hands when they come in to eat,” he said. He and Dr. Elliott pointed out that children who grow up on farms and are frequently exposed to worms and other organisms from farm animals are much less likely to develop allergies and autoimmune diseases.

Also helpful, he said, is to “let kids have two dogs and a cat,” which will expose them to intestinal worms that can promote a healthy immune system.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cooking with Healing Herbs

Six plants to spice up your health

Cooking has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I grew up with a father whose love for cooking came out in every meal. He emphasized the importance of colors, textures, fresh organic ingredience and most of all flavor. And with every flavor there was a reason behind it; garlic for our hearts, parsley for our vitamins, or ginger for our stomachs. Going back nearly 2,500 years ago Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” He was right, and now with science to prove it. The heaing properties of food has only begun to be explained but has always been understood.

Here are six plants to help all aspects of the body achieve health and wellness along with recipes that will bring the flavor to life.

Turmeric-Curcuma longa
Anti-inflammatoryThe famous yellow color of curry is due to this brightly colored spice. Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help with pain and swelling associated with diseases such as arthritis. It also is a potent antioxidant, helps prevent cancer, anti-fungal, improves the immune response, and aids in the digestive process.
So color your foods (and your fingers) with this whole health spice whenever you can.

Curried Couscous
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup small-diced carrots
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/4 cup small-diced red onion

Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in the boiling water and pour over the couscous. Cover tightly and allow the couscous to soak for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Pour over the fluffed couscous, and mix well with a fork. Add the carrots, parsley, currants, almonds, scallions, and red onions, mix well, and season to taste. Serve at room temperature.

Ginger-Zingiber officinale


When I was little and sick with upset stomach, my mother would run to the grocery store and buy me ginger ale to sip on. Not only does ginger settle a nauseous stomach it also can help decrease blood pressure, arthritis pain, cancer risk and regulate blood flow.

Carrot and Ginger Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 to 6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
Chopped chives, for garnish

Set a 4-quart stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pot. Once the butter is melted, place the onions and celery in the pot. Sweat the vegetables until the onions are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic to the pot and cook for 30 seconds. Place all of the carrots in the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are lightly caramelized and start to soften, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the stock, salt, pepper and bay leaf to the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook the soup until the carrots are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf from the pot and using an immersion blender puree the soup directly in the pot or in batches in a bar blender. Adjust the seasoning, add the heavy cream to the pot.

To serve, garnish with 1 tablespoon of sour cream per serving and a sprinkling of fresh chives.

Cinnamon-Cinnamomum verum

Lower blood sugar

This delicious aromatic spice is not only great on a cold winter morning, it also will reduce blood sugar, lower cholesterol and is great for people with type 2 diabetes by aiding in reducing related heart risk.

Cinnamon Oranges
2 oranges
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Fresh mint leaves, torn, for garnish

Peel oranges and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place on a serving platter.

Combine honey and cinnamon in a small bowl. Drizzle honey mixture over oranges and garnish with mint leaves.

Rosemary-Rosmarinus officinalis

Avoid carcinogens

Summer is here and grilling season has begun. While there is nothing like the taste of barbequed chicken there is something to be said about the dangers of grilling, frying, and broiling food. When meat is cooked at high temperatures it creates HCAs (heterocyclic amines), a potent carcinogen implicated in several cancers. But the good news is when rosemary is added the HCA levels are reduced.
So, marinate your meats in a rosemary mix to protect your cells.

leg of lamb, bone in (about 6 to 7 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

1 cup chopped fresh herbs (combination of rosemary, chives, and parsley)
2 cups diced onions
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup red wine

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using your hands, rub the lamb all over with the lemon juice. Pat the garlic and rosemary evenly all over the surface of the meat. Season the meat with the salt and pepper and place the lamb in a roasting pan. Place the lamb in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to cook for about 1 hour longer for medium-rare, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers about 145 degrees F to 150 degrees F (be careful that the thermometer does not touch the bone.) Remove lamb from pan and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Position the roasting pan over your stove burners. Add mixed herbs and onions to pan, and stir to combine with pan drippings. Add chicken stock and wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to release any fond. Reduce over high heat until sauce consistency. Strain before serving, if desired. Slice lamb and serve with sauce drizzled over the top.

Basil-Ocimum basilicum
Reduce stress

The smell of fresh basil can fill a room and take you back to the summer months of heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn and sun. This herb can not only taste delicious in salads, on pasta, or by itself, it can also help combat stress, help with indigestion, headaches, and maybe even prevent cancer.
Use the essential oil to help cheer the heart and the mind.

Basil Pesto
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, and salt and puree. While the motor is running, drizzle in the oil until incorporated. Season with pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator with a piece of plastic wrap placed right on the surface of the pesto to prevent discoloration, for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Garlic-Allium sativum
Heart health and lower cancer risk

There has been so much research on garlic and the more you can eat it the better. Its been shown that high consumption of garlic lowers rates of certain cancers as well as providing cardiovascular risk.
If you can make it a daily routine to include fresh garlic in your diet, whether roasted, sautéed, baked or raw, your body will thank you.

Broccoli with Garlic and Soy Sauce
1 head garlic, peeled (about 16 cloves)
1 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 stalks broccoli, cut into florets (8 cups of florets)
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Put the garlic cloves and oil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the garlic is browned and tender. Turn off the heat and add the red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Immediately pour into a heat-proof container to stop the cooking. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the salad, blanch the broccoli florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain well and immerse immediately into a large bowl of ice water until the broccoli is cooled. This process stops the cooking and sets the bright green color. Drain well.

In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup of the oil used to cook the garlic, the soy sauce, and 8 or more cloves of cooked garlic. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

Combine lime juice, vinegar, honey, cumin, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil. Whisk until well-combined. Reseason with salt and pepper, if necessary.

*All recipes courtesy of

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's Turkey Time

For the past two years I’ve made the same turkey recipe, which is unlike me because I’m usually experimenting with recipes on a daily basis. I’m constantly altering, manipulating and adjusting ingredients to create flavors outside the margins typed up in one of the many cookbooks that I own. But this recipe is so good. The key is in the brining so you have to think about this a day ahead.

A very good friend of mine just got a notice from our local farmer that her free-range pastoral raised turkey was ready for the feast. And investing in local organic meat is a great way to add health and wellness to your table and support the sustainable future of food. For more information on buying local pastoral meat near you go to

As for this turkey recipe? Here it is, and I usually go with a couple of sides like roasted veggies, squash, minted peas, smashed root vegetables, stuffing, or brussel sprouts.

Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Roast Turkey

1 (14 to 16 pound) turkey

For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
1 gallon iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
olive oil

Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled or stick it out on the back deck to cool. I usually don't have room in my fridge.

Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement or again, outside) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.

A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.

Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage. Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with olive oil. I also wrap the bones of the leg in tin foil because they have a tendency to dry out with cooking.

Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Seasonal Foods for the Winter Months

Fall is by far my favorite time of year and here in Oregon the rain has begun. When the rain mixes with the fallen leaves it creates the richest smell of fall and earth, leaving every inch of me dying for a roast chicken with root veggies and a cup of hot cider.

We also got a delivery of firewood that’s stacked neatly on our front porch.

I’m ready. I’m so ready for pumpkins and mums and cold nights by the fire.

So what should be in the fridge and in the oven during the winter months? I’ve made a list of seasonal winter deliciousness.


Jerusalem artichoke; white beans, lima beans; beetroot; broccoli; Brussels sprouts; cabbage; carrots; cauliflower; celeriac; celery; kale; leeks; lettuce; onions; parsnip; potatoes; sea kale; shallot; turnip; watercress, pumpkin, winter squash.


Apples, cranberries, pears; citrus fruits, such as grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines, clementines, satsumas, oranges, ugli; chestnuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts.


Beef and pork roasts, chops, calf’s liver, buffalo, pork. This is also a great time to make sausages.


Chicken, chicken livers, turkey, goose, Guinea fowl.


Hare, wild rabbit, farm rabbit is available all the year, partridge, pheasant, wild duck and venison.


cod, dogfish, flounder, haddock, hake, halibut, mock halibut, plaice, skate, sea bream, sole, whiting, as white fish; carp, herring, mackerel, grey mullet, perch, pike, pilchard, sprat, as oily fish.


Clams, crab, lobster, prawns, shrimp.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Now In Season

Summertime Eating

When summer comes I think two things: salsa and sweet corn. Probably because for as long as I can remember these are the two things that my father made in abundance when I was younger. But I have to say, there’s nothing like fresh tomatoes, carrots, cilantro, scallions, and peppers chopped, diced and married into a perfection of flavors, served with a side of chips or fresh bread. And then the corn on the cob, boiled and buttered, it pops in your mouth in a way that takes you by surprise.

So what’s in season for the summer months? Here’s a list to keep in mind next time you’re at the grocery store or the local farmers market.

Broccoli, cabbage, corn, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, fennel, fresh onions, green beans, kohlrabi, hot and sweet peppers, potatoes, shell beans, zucchini, tomatoes, tomatillos.

Albacore tuna, trap-caught sablefish (black cod) free-range chicken, halibut, pastured pork, wild-caught salmon

Amaranth, orach, purslane, quinoa greens

Basil, cilantro, dill, mint, savory, tarragon

Blackberries, blackcaps, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupes currents, figs, prunes, plums, galia melon, gooseberries, peaches, raspberries, sweet and tart cherries, table grapes, watermelon, wild huckleberries

Fresh chevre, feta, fromage blanc, Tumalo Tomme, sheep’s milk yogurt, eggs

Friday, June 13, 2008

Going Green for your Baby
five tips to a greener, healthier pregnancy

In light of my sister-in-law recently giving birth to her first child I thought I’d throw some ideas out there for moms and moms-to-be to go green. And there’s nothing like pregnancy to motivate you to make some healthy lifestyle changes, clean up your environment, and make choices that are best for you, your baby as well as the earth.

Choose Organic Foods
I know, I know, I’ve beaten this into the ground but its worth saying it again: eat organic foods. This not only supports the efforts to clean up the water, soil, and air, it also reduces you and your babies exposure to chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics, nitrates, and a host of others. It’s important to remember that a developing fetus is far more sensitive to chemicals and toxins than adults.

Choosing organic also provides the both of you with more of the super nutrients that fruits and veggies have to offer because of the mineral rich soil that they were grown in.

The down side is that embracing a totally organic lifestyle can be on the pricy side. So to get the most for your money buy the organic versions of the foods you eat the most. And remember to buy organic versions of the “top twelve.” These are the guys with the highest loads of insecticides. And in no particular order they are: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, grapes, pears, spinach, and potatoes.

Getting Pretty Without the Chemicals
Although our skin protects us from pathogens and is our external defense system, it also is capable of absorbing much of what it’s exposed to, whether its lotion, sun, fabric softener, makeup, or the water in your bath. So it’s important to choose products that do not contain noxious chemicals, such as phthalates, which have been linked to birth defects. An easy was to avoid phthalate exposure: pass on the products that list “fragrance” as an ingredient.

It’s a good idea to be wary of hair dyes and nail polish as well. Formaldehyde-releasing ingredients are found in nearly all brands of skin, body, hair care products, nail polish, and antiperspirants.

Also sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a good one to avoid because it has a degenerative action on cell membranes and is mixed with triethanomlamine (TEA), which may be contaminated with the potent carcinogen, nitrosamines. It also may be damaging to the immune system. SLS is used in nearly all shampoo, cleanser, and toothpaste so just be aware.

Instead, choose green products at your local coop or natural food store, look for brands like Burts Bees, Aubrey Organics, Jason, Dr. Hauschk, to name a few. But if you’re not sure just read the ingredients, and remember, you’re doing this for you and your baby.

Make it Organic Cotton

It’s known that conventional cotton accounts for 16 percent of global chemical pesticide use, more than any other single crop and almost 25 percent of the insecticide use, making it one of the most toxic crops on earth. So help clean up the earth by choosing organic cotton linens, blankets, towels, and clothing when you can. The demand for organic is growing and prices for these items is coming down and they’re showing up on shelves everywhere.

Green Cleaning

Honestly baking soda and white vinegar can do 99 percent of the household cleaning, cost you nothing, and help reduce your exposure to toxins found in common household cleaning products. But if you’re not into making your own, try nontoxic cleaners such as Vermont Soapworks Liquid Sunshine Spray & Wipe (vermont, Seventh Generation Free & Clear Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner (, Howard Naturals Kitchen Cabinet Cleaner & Polish ( and Sun &Earth Glass Cleaner (

Avoid Mercury

Fish contain important omega-3 fatty acids, an important nutrient for you and your baby. But unfortunately many of our fish are contaminated with mercury, toxic industrial compounds (such as PCBs) and pesticides. These substances can cause problems ranging from brain and nervous system damage to cancer. Tuna is one of the most contaminated fish and pregnant moms shouldn’t eat more than once or twice a month. Safe choices are wild Alaskan salmon and halibut. But if you’re a tuna fan check out, they only buy get 6-8 lb tunas because the smaller the fish the less mercury content. And if you don’t eat fish, a good source of the omega 3s are walnuts and ground flaxseeds; sprinkle some on a salad or put them in your smoothie.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Grocery Store Guidelines

I just finished the book "In Defense of Food," by Michael Pollan where he talks about how Americans eat, how its affecting our health, and maybe how we should rethink the choices we make next time we go to the store. The 256 pages can be boiled down to three simple sentences:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” –Michael Pollan

When I first read those words I wanted to kiss him.

Thank you.

Thank you for making it simple Mr. Pollan.

Grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do. Living in Portland we’re spoiled with the quality, variety, and price of whole organic foods. I do understand that its not available everywhere and that, sadly, the foods on the shelves are becoming increasingly more complicated. They are “enriched” with whatever the new vitamin or mineral of choice happens to be.
I promise, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. I can also assure you that any food or food product out there that claims to be healthy…probably isn’t.

We are caught up in the reductionist thinking and have lost sight of the big picture; the big picture being whole foods. We no longer look at a carrot and see and carrot, we now see it as vitamin A or beta-carotene or bioflavonoids. We are now adding vitamins and minerals to processed foods that in their original form already contained those nutrients. We’re slapping health claims on foods also containing additives and artificial colorings that have been linked to behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, gastrointestinal distress, and many others.
My favorite is the Whole Grain Lucky Charms that have been approved by the American Heart Association to be “heart healthy.”


I think when Lucky Charms start tooting health benefits it might be time to stop paying attention to foods that claim to be good for you.

I also read an article the other day that said that companies actually purchase prime locations on the grocery store shelves. Eye level being the most expensive and sought out, along with the height of your child…so when your kid just runs down the isle, grabs the bag of Cheetos, and screams until you put it in your cart, it was no accident.

So what do you do?

I’ve made a short list of some basic guidelines to consider next time you’re wandering the isle wondering what to make for dinner.

1. Shop the edges. Whole foods tend to hang out around the periphery of the grocery store. The veggie isle, fruits, meats, fish, eggs, etc. Shop the middle for oils, spices, the occasional canned good, paper products, household items, and pet food.

2. Choose foods that have less than five ingredients…and make sure you can pronounce them all.

3. Buy food that will spoil. Yes, I said will spoil, this helps you avoid foods that have preservatives, additives, colorings, fillers, artificial flavoring, of have been irradiated. If your garlic goes bad, that’s good.

4. Buy whole foods. When I say whole foods I mean when you pick it up and hold it in your hand you can identify it as, say, an apple, or celery or a chunk of steak. There is no list of ingredients or nutrition facts. It is food the way nature intended it to be.

5. Feel good about what you’re buying. There’s a lot to say about the emotion around food and how it’s utilized in your body. I think I’m going to have an article based solely on that concept.

One last thing. If you haven't read any of Michael Pollan's books I HIGHLY recommend them. Especially "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food." They are worth every page.

And remember, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." -MP