Time for a Food Police Force?

Incessantly the media, scientists, doctors, self-proclaimed experts of this or that pronounce they have found the answer to some burning issue. Mostly the matters involve health. What fat is best, or are carbohydrates better than saturated fats, or is fish oil really any good, or is the rampant use of statins the product of evil pharmaceutical propaganda. The list is interminable. And everyone has a voice. Actors and actresses somehow as a consequence of their on-screen fame have absorbed knowledge beyond that which is possessed by even our greatest scientists. Newscasters weigh in and authors sell their latest tomes with promises of truth. The whole dance of the experts would be quite amusing were it not so dangerous.

What seems to be missing from all those who have managed to communicate so easily with the almighty is a sense of responsibility. When people voice their opinions with such certitude, and their audience believes in their veracity with such solidarity, what is truly opinion then masquerades as fact. As a consequence, fiery battles flare among opposing sides. The vegans pound their fists shouting, “Not even a drop of oil! No fat at all!” The Wheat Belly folk eschew the grains, while the dairy exorcists discard the milk, and the Atkins aficionados chow down on meat and more meat. Get them together on TV and you have a firestorm.

Now bring in the politicians and celebrities. They take whatever “science” they find most convincing and try to turn it into law. No large sodas for the sugar busters; no trans fats for practically everyone (that one I have to admit is compelling), nothing with a face for the vegans. In short order there won’t be much left to eat at all.

I have my own take on the diet issue. In short I’m fairly certain we are all quite different, and consequently do better with different diets. As a generalization though I’d recommend moderation in all things, avoiding processed foods, eating a balanced diet, maintaining an optimal weight, and exercising daily. Perhaps that prescription would make a good law.

Fundamentally it comes down to this. We should all be permitted to eat whatever we wish as long as it doesn’t harm anyone but us. Government should not have the right to tell an individual what he or she can or cannot consume. There is a key caveat though. This holds true, “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.” So what do we do about the ailments that occur as a consequence of food-induced obesity – diabetes for one? Do we penalize the consumers of sugar who as a consequence of their dietary predilections become obese and diabetic? Do they pay higher health insurance premiums? Probably not a popular notion. How about the smokers, should everyone foot the bill for his or her heart disease, COPD, and lung cancer treatments? Clearly these issues are slippery slopes, ones upon which I have no desire to tread.

I will emphasize one point however, and of this I am sure. No one knows what diet is best for all mankind. And until such a discovery is made, creating a food police force is probably not a good idea at all.

Learn more about preventive cardiology at www.preventivecardiologyinc.com.

For more information more about essential vitamins and supplements visit www.vitalremedymd.com.

Comments { 1 }

Wintertime Chili

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small yellow onions, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (16 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can whole kernel corn
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Shredded parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Warm olive oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, squash, and celery; cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add remaining ingredients, except cheese.  Increase heat to high; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered 45 minutes.  Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Learn more about preventive cardiology at www.preventivecardiologyinc.com.

Comments { 0 }

Audrey’s Almond Clusters

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut chips
2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar

Use a fork to beat the egg whites with the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add sliced almonds, walnuts, and coconut and mix by hand until thoroughly coated. Make into clumps or mounds on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 275 for 18 minutes. Then continue baking at 325 for about 8 minutes until golden. Rotate the cookie sheet half way through and watch closely to avoid overcooking as oven temperatures can vary.

Yields 18-20 clusters.

Comments { 0 }

Black Bean Burgers

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 15.5-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large egg
1 tsp. ground cuminSAM_0229
Kosher salt
½ cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
1 medium shallot
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns

Put the oats in a small food processor and pulse four times to roughly chop. Add half the beans and pulse into a course paste, about 6 pulses. Add the egg, cumin, and ½ tsp. salt and process to mix well, about one minute. Transfer the bean mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining beans, the cheese, shallot, and cilantro.

With wet hands, form the bean mixture into four patties and transfer to a lightly oiled plate. Refrigerate briefly to let the burgers set.

Heat a large heavy skillet on high heat; add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Cook the burgers until brown with a good crust, about 3 minutes on each side. Serve the burgers on buns, topped with sliced tomato and avocado, or your favorite garnish.

Comments { 0 }

Thai Chicken Salad

 

Thai Chicken Salad

1 cup long-grain brown rice
2 cups shredded/pulled rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, divided
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or put though garlic press

Cook rice according to package directions.  Transfer rice to a large bowl; fluff with a fork. Cool. Add chicken, carrot, onions, 2 tablespoons peanuts, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and salt to rice; toss to combine. Combine juice and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; drizzle over rice mixture and toss to combine.  Sprinkle each serving with remaining peanuts and cilantro; serve with lime wedges.

 

Comments { 0 }

Fusilli with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Feta

1-16 oz. box fusilli (spiral-shaped) pasta

Fusilli with Spinach, Chickpeas, and Feta

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2  teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon black pepper

2 (15-oz) cans chickpeas, drained

9-ounce bag fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

In a large serving bowl, combine crushed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and chickpeas.  Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. While pasta is cooking, chop spinach leaves and add to bowl.  Add crumbled feta and toss well.  Drain pasta and add to bowl; toss again.  Serve warm.  (10-12 servings)

This is one of my favorites and makes a  frequent appearance at family barbecues. It is simple and most of the steps can be completed well in advance of the crowd’s arrival (just short of cooking and adding the pasta).  Make sure you cook your pasta just until firm (al dente) as over cooking pasta causes the starch to be broken down into sugar more readily.  Chickpeas are legumes; they are a healthful carbohydrate with a low glycemic index (producing very little blood sugar).  They are a healthful source of  protein,  folate, magnesium, and zinc, and they are low in fat.  Spinach is rich in iron, calcium, and lutein (good for eye health).

Comments { 0 }