What’s in your Groceries?

Is the still shot above making you a little sick? It should. That pile of goo will soon be hotdogs…

Remember how I was talking about the fine print on food labels in my last blog post? And do you remember how I was saying that, regardless of what you believe to be a healthy diet, we can and should all unanimously agree that we all need to be responsible for knowing what is in our food and where it comes from? I recently came across a buzzfeed article entitled 14 Things You Really Don’t Want to Know About Your Groceries. It’s a list that will open your eyes, peak your curiosity, and churn your stomach all in one fell swoop. The article led me to the video I’ve embedded above, which I guarantee will make you never want to eat another hot dog again. And what’s surprising is that it’s narrated and scored with such cheer – like we’re watching and episode of Say Yes to the Dress.

Now I’m not usually one for scare tactics and I promise I’m not turning this blog into a rant-driven political forum. But, sometimes we just need to see what the hell is going on. I believe that what we put into our bodies is the only thing we really have control over when it comes to our health – it’s a sacred thing that we should be giving our full attention. New title for that buzz feed article: “14 Alarming Things You Absolutely Need to Know About Your Groceries”

And now it’s time for a weekend full of not eating hot dogs….

Happy Friday!!!!!!!!!!!

Fine Print

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Look at this picture. Do you see the fine print? I noticed this the other day when I was at Chipotle getting a salad before rehearsal. My immediate reaction was: what DOES it contain? Then I started to think of how many people come through the line and either don’t notice or don’t question that fine print. They just fill up their cups and suck it down, oblivious. If you’ve been a long time follower of this blog, you know I’m a huge proponent of plant based lifestyle – pure, natural, whole foods you get from fields and trees, not boxes and freezers and instant powders. It has worked so well for me and I’m convinced its the real way to live. But even if you don’t buy into this (which is totally fine), surely we can all agree that we need to educate ourselves and really be aware of what we’re putting in our bodies. If you see that the juice you’re about to drink doesn’t have any juice in it, you should be alarmed. Always question the fine print!

Granulated Vice

Granulated Vice

Speaking of coffee, my roommate has a new vice. I don’t think my new culinary profession is to blame, but it probably is entirely to blame. He’s had more than a few Blonde Cubans. It started fairly innocently with his tiny little coffee maker and its tiny little coffee pot. The entire time he’s gushing over how good it feels to be jolted up on coffee and how it’s helping him get through a span of long days and nights of recordings. And honestly, I can’t argue with him. As someone who never used to drink any real coffee, it’s almost alarming how much it effects my internal chemistry. It’s what I would imagine it feels like to snort cocaine – my heart rate rises, I start talking really fast (which, as my parents would tell you, is really saying something), I can practically feel the blood pumping through my veins, and I have the inexplicable desire to stand on a balcony ledge wearing terrible eye liner while listening to 70s rock (Forrest Gump). Once after one of my first lattes, I woke up in the middle of the night, 12 hours post latte, my heart racing, sweating, anxious… Panic attack? Nervous breakdown? Schizophrenic onset? No, just espresso. And then I think of all the people who frequent my shop and/or Starbucks multiple times per day. Those who “can’t function” without it and get headaches when they miss a dose. I never ever want to be one of those people, but now I totally understand how it can get there. Just like any drug, you get used to it. Addicted. You need that fix to keep you going.

My roommate’s innocent little habit quickly turned into 3-4 tiny little coffee pots a day. I kept giving him shit for it, but more just for the sport…. until I noticed my sugar jar. You see, my roommate doesn’t just simply drink black coffee, he drinks his coffee on ice with tons of half and half and spoonfuls of sugar. The jar you see pictured above is my sugar jar, which holds just under two pounds. When the roommate first started he was using the extra sugar in the bag that I couldn’t fit into the jar. After working his way through that, he moved to the jar. As you can see, the jar is now over half empty… and it has been less than a month since he started his vice. When I saw the jar, it really hit me just how much daily habits add up. This half-empty jar indicates over a pound of sugar and untold amounts of cream he wouldn’t have otherwise been ingesting were it not for the coffee. When seen from this perspective, it’s pretty harrowing to consider just how much seemingly small habits add up to enormous quantities and consequences. Not to mention all the havoc the effects of the caffeine and the high acidity are wreaking on his body.

What vices (food or otherwise) do you have in your life? I could name roughly 37 food-related ones, but I’m determined to keep coffee off that list. I’m reserving it only for those days when I *really* need the jolt – no more than once a week. I think I already have a headache…

Fun with Favas

You may have already heard me talk about this, but I’ve started a tradition at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Every Sunday I visit the market with a $20 bill. That  and every week I have to buy one thing I have never tried to cook or eat before. Last week I posted about lobster mushrooms. This week my item is a 2-pound bag of dried fava beans. Beans are the starving artist’s best friend: both healthy AND cheap (not to mention delicious). Normally you read about me making recipes with canned beans. And who can blame me? At 89 cents a can, it’s a no-brainer.  But the truth is that dried beans, particularly when bought in bulk, are often even cheaper. Yes, they’re a *bit* more effort, but come on, is it really that hard to throw them in a pot of water and let them sit overnight? And what’s better is that for next to nothing you can impart so much flavor and coax such incredible texture when you cook them yourself. What’s not to love?

I confess I have only had fava beans on a few occasions and don’t really have a memory for their flavor. I went for them because they were unique and seemed worth exploring… after I got them home I learned a very valuable fact: you have to peel them. Every single one of them. And I have two pounds… that is a LOT of fava beans. Though I’m all for taking the time to soak beans, I really wasn’t planning on having to peel the damn things. The good news is that there are so many, I’ll be able to use them in several different ways. But, right now I’m still peeling….

Midday Yummies

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Outstanding grilled salmon salad at Plate 38 in Pasadena. Had my music played at 12noon then a lovely, outdoor lunch. What could be better?