What makes food healthy? I’d venture to guess that there are two considerations: what it has in it (proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients) and what it doesn’t have in it (harmful bacteria, plus pesticides and other natural and synthetic chemicals that might harm us).
I was shopping at my local supermarket when I came across this display of gluten-free baked goods. In case you can’t read the pink lettering, it reads “Healthy Alternatives.” Really?
Here’s a better view of what they’re selling:
The thing is, there’s nothing healthy about this stuff. These pies, cakes, and cookies might not contain gluten, but you can be sure they’re full of sugar and butter (or shortening).
Moreover, many gluten-free flour replacements are worse for you than flour*. Sure, they’re a God-send if you truly can’t handle gluten and still want an occasional treat. But if your goal is merely to eat healthier, look elsewhere (such as in the produce section). Corn starch, white rice flour, potato starch, etc. all cause a precipitous rise in your blood sugar. Can you say “diabetes”?
* According to a glycemic index chart, white flour has a glycemic index of 85, the same as cornstarch. Potato starch is 90 while rice flour is 95. (Pure glucose is 100.) They’re all bad for you!
What I learned from the internet in the last week:
- Beans are good for you. (source)
- Beans are bad for you. (source)
- Whole grains are healthy and we should eat more of them. (source)
- Grains are bad for you. Whole grains are worst. (source)
- Saturated fats (lard, etc.) are good for you. (source)
- Saturated fats (lard, etc.) are bad for you. (source)
- A daily handful of nuts will reduce your risk of heart disease. (source)
- Nuts are toxic and eating them causes heart disease. (source)
- Continue reading
Here we are, the day after Thanksgiving. Did you eat too much? Are you still feeling full? I, like many others, often throw out restraint on our national feast day, but the day after is another story. As I munch on leftover stuffing and sweet potatoes, my conscience is beginning to intrude on my carb-induced lethargy. It’s time to climb back onto the healthy food wagon before my cravings take over my life.
At the same time, Pete and I recently restructured our budget. I’m excited that we can finally plan our spending—he hasn’t missed a paycheck for an entire year now! Still, we’re not exactly flush (I’m looking for flexible employment), and our food budget is one area where we can conserve. The average person in the U.S. spends $7 per day on food. That works out to $420 per month to feed two people. We set our budget at only $300. (This is what we already spend, so we know we can do it.)
I know. This isn’t really a food blog. But I’m so frustrated with some of the misinformation out in web-land, I’m going to rant about food today. Specifically, I’m targeting sugar.
Friends recently posted a couple of recipes on Facebook, claiming they were very healthy:
Banana Bread with honey and applesauce instead of sugar & oil….Delicious & Healthy….
When you have a sweet tooth and want to stay on track, here’s a nice treat. Sugar is NOT an added ingredient. (The recipe for oatmeal cookies includes three ripe mashed bananas and ½ cup raisins.)
Wondering if either recipe fits my low-glycemic (that means food that won’t spike my blood sugar levels) diet, I did some calculations. Are they really healthy? Is either recipe actually low in sugar?
I call it “Carb Café.” Of course, that isn’t the official name, but it’s the most descriptive. Like many larger churches, our church has an area where you can buy boutique coffee, breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Breakfast options include cinnamon buns topped with gooey white frosting, huge cake-like muffins in several flavors (including chocolate), and biscuits (white flour and shortening leavened with baking powder) topped with high-fat white gravy. There are over-sized cookies, sausage breakfast burritos (high in fats and cholesterol), and, for a time, Belgian waffles. A bit more healthy are the recently-added bagels with (full fat) cream cheese, sweetened yogurt, and “breakfast sandwiches.” To be fair, they also have apples, oranges, or bananas for a dollar each.