CONTEST CLOSED! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL YOU MOMS OUT THERE!
We are awfully proud to once again feature one of our local chocolatiers in this week’s giveaway: THEO CHOCOLATES.
One can drop by their smallish factory in the Fremont neighborhood and they are arms wide open. The friendly, local attribute is only the surface of the confection. Dive into the center to discover the sweet politically-correct heart of of the company. Theo Chocolate is dedicated to
Using only pure ingredients that are grown sustainably. We source our ingredients locally whenever possible.
Partnering with our growers by ensuring they earn a living wage and have access to education for their families.
Honoring and respecting our employees and suppliers. This is possible due to the unique fact that we control every step of our own manufacturing process.
Educating about social and environmental accountability 7 days a week through public tours of our artisan factory.
This Mother’s Day CONGO collection is part of their new partnership with Ben Affleck and the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) to help Congolese farmers cultivate a brighter future. A portion of proceeds from these boxes and their new Congo bars will be donated to ECI, with the potential to positively impact more than 20,000 people living in Eastern Congo.
They have high standards at Theo. And the flavor of their products stands up as tall as their mission. (more…)
Ellen DeGeneres, an avid vegan celebrity, raised a kerfuffle the other week by mentioning on her show that she eats her neighbor’s chicken’s eggs. The same day I was alerted to the Ellen egg news I was shopping at Whole Foods and noticed a new magazine on the racks titled PALEO, and nearby a loaf of something called “Paleo Bread” that had a pretty quirky list of ingredients. Both of these restrictive diets, veganism and the paleolithic diet, have benefits but if you intersect the two - well I think only lettuce, some fruit and nuts would make the list. Fascinating that these two dietary regimes are in vogue at the same time.
I thought it might be a good time to remind our Cookus Viewers that we WELCOME ALL to our site. I know that we would be much more wildly popular if we would just set up camp in one extreme diet or the other. But the truth is we embrace ALL fresh-from-nature whole foods and aim to supply a variety of recipes that fit those simple parameters.
A wise person once told me that “acceptance” of people who hold an entirely different point of view is fairly advanced. First we must begin with tolerance. Of course this doesn’t just apply to diet and food. Whatever your food beliefs, loves, or restrictions, we hope that you’ll tolerate our open-minded approach to eating. One that values Ellen’s pasture-raised egg as much as a raspberry from the garden, one that sees a good belly laugh as health-giving as organic kale.
The temperature here in Seattle just dropped ker-plunk. Fall is here. Which I have to tell you I love, don’t you? That back-to-school-ish feeling gets the busy bee part of my personality buzzing. Plus the Washington state APPLES are back. I even have some growing in my backyard! Here are three Cookus Interruptus ways to enjoy them.
Roasting sweet potatoes with olive oil and spices is heavenly. Add kale to the mix and nutritionists will swoon. Now give the dish sliced apples sauteed in butter and brown sugar + a little balsamic vinegar splashed on at the end and the swooning begins. Print the recipe!
Why mess to much with the perfect whole fruit dessert? That’s what I say. Baking apples releases their sweetest nature. And a couple of prep tips will keep them from bursting. Print the recipe.
We fold sliced apples into a whole grain crust made pliable with butter and coconut oil. There’s not too much sugar in this formula making a slice a legitimate healthy snack! Print the recipe.
Written by Sandi Kaplan, MS, RD, Associate Director, Clinical Development and Support, Free and Clear
The Smart Choices Program is a great idea. A Smart Choice seal of approval, a big green check mark, is put on the front of any product that is a healthy option. You are in the grocery store and the check mark lets you know right away that the product is a great choice for your own health and the health of your family. It’s so easy and convenient to know which nutritious foods to choose.
Unfortunately, this is only wishful thinking.
The Smart Choices program, which was released in August, has been underwritten by ten of the largest food companies doing business in the United States. One problem is that the Smart Choice check marks only appear on processed foods – which are typically not the healthiest choice. You won’t see a check mark on an orange, a carrot, or a bunch of spinach. Even though all fruits and vegetables automatically qualify for a Smart Choice check mark, they won’t be labeled that way in the grocery store.
A second problem is that the nutrition criteria used by the Smart Choice program are extremely problematic. Perhaps because the program is backed by food manufacturers, less healthy products like sugary cereal and salty packaged meals are able to qualify for the seal of approval. So a parent walking down the grocery store aisle, relying on the green checkmarks for information, would choose Froot Loops or Lucky Charms breakfast cereal as a so-called healthy choice for their kids. However, there is more sugar in those cereals than in many brands of cookies. Cookies for breakfast on a regular basis? Not so smart.
Unhealthy foods that have added nutrients also qualify for the check mark. So white bread that has been stripped of nutrition, and then had some nutrients (like vitamin C or vitamin A) added to it, is a healthy choice according to the Smart Choice program.
The Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture are not happy either. They sent the Smart Choices program a letter on August 19th explaining that the program was being monitored and that there would be concern if the checkmarks encouraged consumers to buy processed foods and refined grains, rather than whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
So the smartest choice is to ignore the Smart Choice check mark. Focus instead on the whole foods that really do support your health. Experiment with filling at least half of your grocery cart (and your plate!) with fruits and vegetables, throw in some whole grains and legumes, low fat dairy, lean meats and healthy fats. Let the highly processed foods take up the least space in your cart and your diet.
Chef Jamie Oliver gets incensed by what we feed our kids for lunch. Worth watching. Definitely worth showing your kids, especially if they have a penchant for chicken nuggets. It ends abruptly. Go to You Tube to watch part 2. If you’re incensed too, join Dr. Susan Rubin in her Better School Food movement.
If you’re packing, check out Laptop Lunches - an environmentally-friendly bento box style container. Use the coupon code “cookus” to get a discount!
The YOU docs, Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz (more likely their associates), submitted a news piece this week claiming that eating greens will make you smarter. The article says “Eating three or more servings of spinach and other leafy greens (such as kale and collard greens) slows mental decline because of aging by as much as 40 percent. Spelled out another way: Leafy greens can make your brain function more like the brain of someone who’s five years younger!” They give the credit for this to the brain-friendly nutrients found in dark leafy greens - carotenoids and flavonoids. Americans are a competitive bunch. We want to be the smartest, richest, thinnest, most beautiful and famous folks on the planet. So we are attracted to “news” stories like this. We eat it up. I sort of feel like – whatever it takes. If this angle works, that’s fine by me. It’s true that simple inexpensive food like flat-leaf Italian parsley is deceptively rich when it comes to nutritional analysis. Vitamin C, A, K and folic acid live with those noids too. Eating leafy greens like collards, nappa cabbage, chard and kale gives you sustained energy, good digestion and pretty skin. They probably improve your sex life too but if I could prove that I’d have made my fortune and wouldn’t be writing this blog. How do you eat your greens? Do you think they make you smarter? Or was it because you were smart already that you chose to eat greens?
Thank you to our wonderful Cookus Interruptus viewers for your insightful responses. From your comments I compiled this list.
1. CONTROL - you decide what goes in the food. Fresh local organic, salt, no salt, meat or not, quality of ingredients are all your decision.
2. LOCAL SUPPORT - of farms, CSAs, coops, grocery stores and farmer’s markets helps keep the local economy strong.
3. TASTE - with good quality ingredients you can make food taste better at home than many (most) restaurants. Certainly better than frozen or take-out.
4. EDUCATION - eating at home models the value of time spent with family at the table to your children. Learning how to prepare meals is a life skill all children need to learn.
5. ECONOMICAL - less money is spent cooking at home.
6. HEALTH - people who cook their own food tend to enjoy better health.
7. EFFICIENT - you can utilize leftovers, create enough food for lunch boxes, set aside fresh food for baby as you prepare a simple meal.
8. SKILL-BUILDING - cooking is an art and a craft. Unlike sewing a dress or building a cabinet, the results of your talent are immediate and edible.
9. ATMOSPHERE - a house where there is food cooking becomes a home, a place to be nourished.
10. LOVE - the time, energy and good thoughts you put into the food goes into yourself and your family.
Americans need to get lean. This message is in the President’s speeches, evident in our the bank accounts and for many it’s clear when we step on the bathroom scales. We have been free and easy with our pocketbooks and our waistlines. I heard a news report that families who cook most of their meals at home, regardless of income-level, enjoy financial savings and better health. We can’t afford to thoughtlessly get take-out 4 nights a week. If you consider everything from potential out-of-pocket medical expenses to the costly Styrofoam packaging, the price tag for convenience looms large, It takes time to make a good soup on Monday but the benefits on some future Tuesday could be extraordinary.
Here are 5 good reasons to cook at home:
1. You can choose fresh organic ingredients.
2. You control portion size.
3. You spend less money.
4. It is equal in total amount of time spent as going out (driving, ordering, waiting for the order to arrive, paying the bill – it is)
5. You don’t have to tip (but maybe you should). Can you give me 5 more reasons so we can make a top ten list? Technorati Profile
You know that guy that likes to just wear sweatshirts and jeans. He reads the paper really slowly and generally has an easy smile but doesn’t say too much. Hates spending money. Pretty happy wherever he is, but doesn’t like being rushed. Has a lot to offer but is often overlooked because he seems like..you know…like just joe or homer or whoever. Oh him. And you’re not sure you’d like to be married to him because it might get kind of boring after awhile. Or so you assume. And you’ve heard that he might have a bad habit or two but still you’re kind of turned on by his simplicity. For me, that’s the bean. The unsung hero of the whole foods world who’s often overshadowed by flashy pomegranates, sexy avocados, trendy farro and exotic spices with lounge-singer names like Saffron and Coriander. Take another look. You want low cost? Versatility? How about “enriches the soil its grown in”? The bean’s got it. Or are you dazzled by factoids like: low in calories, high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals? Research that links consumption to lower risk of some diseases? Beans are your guy. Oh wait. Maybe you’re shy about mentioning the farting thing. I’m telling you, if you’re getting gas from your beans you haven’t been treating them right. Like forgetting to let them have a long soak. Trying to rush them while they’re cooking. Eating them out of cans. Don’t do it. They appreciate hands-on cooking with TLC. Ya gotta let them take their time. Throw Cumin or Kombu or whoever in the pot with them to keep ‘em grinning. Add a little salt toward the end, maybe a little vinegar or salsa (to aid the digestion) and you’ve got a real fun cheap date.