"Mom, is that real food?" my son asked, pointing at the sugary, highly-commercialized cereal advertised on TV. "Can I have it?"
At 4, he knows that we only allow "real" food in our house; that is food that is either directly from the earth or animal, or minimally-processed with quality ingredients. If it's locally-sourced and organic, even better.
Personally, I like to be able to identify every item on a label before deciding if it is safe enough to feed my family.
The recent tainted pet food scandal should have alerted us to the fact that not everything in our processed foods may be safe for consumption. Not only are many of our food additives imported from overseas, but they are largely unregulated and may have mysterious origins. We fool ourselves if we believe that this is only a concern in pet food.
Trans fats, artificial sweeteners and petroleum products are just some of the health-jeopardizing ingredients found in our most familiar packaged foods.
Steve Ettlinger, author of Twinkie Deconstructed, traced three of the ingredients in the snackcake to Chinese petroleum products. Not that Twinkies claim to promote health, of course, but it's a warning as to the state of our conventional processed food industry as a whole.
How can we be sure our food is safe? Look for pronounceable ingredients, sustainably-grown produce and meats, and eat more real foods!
Here is an easy summer recipe that's a great alternative to a frozen entrĂ©e.
10-15 red boiler potatoes, sliced thickly
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 lb-1 1/2 lb salmon fillets
1 tsp. olive oil
2 pinches lemon rind
1 large yellow crookneck squash
15-20 mushrooms, sliced thickly
15-20 stalks thick asparagus
3-4 sprigs rosemary
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray inside of 3 1/2- or 4-quart cast iron Dutch oven and lid with olive oil. Set slices of potato in a thick layer in base of pot and season lightly with salt and pepper. Lay salmon in next. Spray or drizzle olive oil on the salmon; then sprinkle fish with lemon rind.
Trim top and bottom off of squash and cut it into wedges like a pizza. Toss squash into pot and follow with mushrooms. Snap bottoms off of asparagus and set the stalks in next. Top with rosemary sprigs.
Cover and bake for about 30 minutes, or about 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully-cooked meal wafts from the oven. Remove rosemary before serving.
By Elizabeth Yarnell CNC
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