Friday, November 26, 2010

You Have to Try This

A Disclaimer: I thought this would be gross, too, the first time I heard it.

But it's not.

Why does everything we put on ice cream have to be sweet? Try the following (in small quantity, because it's very rich): Vanilla Ice Cream** + A Drizzle of Olive Oil + A Drizzle of Sea Salt.

I first heard this suggestion from a caller on NPR's The Splendid Table, a cooking show that airs Saturdays at noon.* I was very skeptical, until one night I found I had all the ingredients and tried it. It's so rich it knocks you flat after a few spoonfuls, but it is deeeeelightful. (And I don't use that many e's lightly.)

*Is it sad that I plan my Saturdays around listening to this show? At least it's not Saturday night...
**I Suggest the "Five" line of ice cream, which contains only five ingredients.

One Year Later

When I started this blog after Thanksgiving last year, I thought for sure the project would be abandoned by now. Happily I continue to pursue all-natural eating.

A few reflections:

1. It's nearly impossible to eat all-natural socially.
I've had little success eating all-natural at a table other than my own. This isn't a knock on friends, it's just a fact of life. Most packaged food purchased at a store has some kind of preservative in it. And most institutions I know who prepare food en masse start with packages. And most people I know can't spend an hour cooking dinner from scratch. In keeping with my original goal, I don't want my healthy eating pursuits to impede healthy community. So, I've become at peace about breaking the rules sporadically at social functions and community dinners. Sometimes I actually can feel the effects of this decision later, because I'm no longer used to eating certain ingredients that are common in most American diets, but I'm okay with this. It's not always about having full control over what you eat. Plus, I know I'm eating all-natural when I'm by myself or cooking for others.

2. I used the "Ingredients, Okay" and "Ingredients, No Way" list a lot less than I thought.
Why? Probably because I'm mostly shopping around the "perimeter" of the grocery store, where the fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses and dairy items are located. These don't really have a lot of artificial ingredients, or extra ingredients at all.

3. The numbers don't lie.
When I have a chance to crunch the numbers, I'll show you my triglyceride and cholersterol levels last year, versus this year. In spite of eating more butter, eggs, dairy and meat this past year, everything bad that's in the blood...went down!

4. Eating naturally is a great opportunity for creativity and culture.
I feel like a primitive artist when I create my plate. Natural foods have great colors, textures and unique flavors on their own. In the absence of artificial additives, the foods come to life. I've also begun delving into different cultural staples that weren't a part of my upbringing--coconut oil, raw ginger, eggplant, and others.

5. The fridge got a face lift.
What was in my refrigerator at this time last year?
Diet Coke
Sugar Free, Fat Free Yogurt
An onion and a green pepper
Sugar Free Ice Cream
Sugar Free, Fat Free Caramel Syrup
Lean Cuisines
Shrimp, Ground Beef and Ground Turkey
Corn Tortillas (with preservatives)
Salsa (with preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup)

What is in my refrigerator now?
Coconut Milk
Fizzy Water
Free-Range Eggs
Eggplant, Onion, Garlic, Celery, Carrots
Pomegranates, Apples, a Mango
Frozen Spinach, Corn,
Shrimp, Ground Beef and Ground Turkey
Organic Sprouted Corn Tortillas
Salsa (no preservatives)

Goals for the Coming Year
1. Drink more water.
2. Eat more raw foods.
3. Rathern than focusing on the negatives (what is this food additive and will it kill me?) Research the health benefits of specific foods and implement them as homeopathic and preventative medicine.

Bread Book

Continuing in my adventures with wild yeast, I've purchased this book by Daniel Leader from Leader has his own bakery in the U.S., but has traveled extensively in Europe exploring different breadmaking techniques from the most state-of-the-art bakeries to the most traditional holes-in-the-wall across Germany, France, Italy, Poland, and more. All the recipes in the book begin with some kind of starter. The starters vary in composition depending on the origin and type of bread. Currently I have three starters in my fridge. I've had a few successful recipes and will post some pictures soon.