Monday, July 19, 2010

The Beach and Planet X

Well, I just returned from a trip to Rehoboth Beach with my daughter and sister. This trip presented new challenges for me, as I wanted to maintain my all natural, organic eating as much as possible since it was still fairly new for me (and I didn't want to fall off the wagon, if you know what I mean). So, we decided we would only eat out one meal. For the others, we took Kashi cereal for breakfast. For lunch I roasted a whole all natural cage free chicken and we had chicken sandwiches with a variety of veggies, fruits, and healthy snacks. For 2 of our dinners I made and froze lasagna. These meals worked out well and we didn't seem to tire of having multiples of the same meal (even with all of the other delicious smells from various restaurants).

Thankfully, for our one meal out I was able to find The Planet X Cafe which was located just 1/2 a block from our hotel, The Atlantis Inn. As soon as we saw the outside of the restaurant, we were excited to eat there. It was in an eclectically decorated house with outdoor seating on the porch and indoor seating as well. Planet X specializes in using local, organic, and natural ingredients. The menu definitely had some unique dishes and we had a hard time deciding which ones to try! We decided to try one of each type of dish (Salads/Small Plates, Zen Bowls, Entrées) and share all three (since it was too hard to choose just one!) Here's what we ended up with:

 This is a Smoked Wild Salmon Quesadilla. Absolutely delish! The feta cheese on the lettuce/chard/grape salad was the best I've ever had (and prompted me to buy some this weekend). The pink sauce on the side is chili creme fraiche (no, I don't know what that means) but it is spicy, and good! The salsa was not spicy, but again, very delicious. 

We chose the Sesame Orange Beef Tips and Scallops for our Zen Bowl. Again, very good, especially the scallops!

Our last dish (although we are from all 3 at the same time) was an Entree, Jumbo Shrimp Red Thai Curry. This was very peppy, and I was glad to have 2 other dishes to work on at the same time to cool down my mouth, but again, it was of high quality!

The desserts were not on the menu and when we asked, there were 3 options: cheesecake, key lime pie or chocolate torte. If you know me, you know what I wanted- chocolate! Especially since I haven't been eating many sweets at all lately (and strangely enough, not really missing them!). This was the best dessert I have ever had in my life, and I've had some pretty good desserts! I found a few recipes online and if/when I get one to work, I will definitely post about it!

The torte is flourless with fresh whipped cream and mint. Phenomenal! And best of all, satisfying even though I only ate 1/3 of it (if even that much- my sis and daughter liked it a lot, too!).

If you ever get to Rehoboth, stopping here is a must. It is on the higher end regarding price, but you definitely get your money's worth, and don't skip dessert! (I almost never eat dessert out, but will never miss it here!)

And yes, believe it or not I was able to resist all other sweets and treats at the beach. I only took one sample bite of caramel corn and pb ice cream. To be honest, I didn't even really want it, knowing now where it comes from (and what it is doing to my body- I read Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels while there, she deserves a whole post of her own later!).

I also did not eat after 9 and tried to steer clear of carbs before bed. I also did not exercise other than walking to and from various places...and I lost 3 pounds! For a total of 9 in the last month since eating naturally. As an aside, we had our family reunion yesterday with a potluck lunch. I didn't not eat as much as I normally would have but still felt stuffed, and partly sick for the rest of the day. It is amazing how quickly my body has adjusted to eating natural, and it likes it and wants nothing else!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Red Dye Origins

Wow- did not know this: that the red dye 40 actually comes from crushed Mexican beetle! Please sign the petition to make labeling more explicit so that consumers know what "artificial coloring" actually means!

Chicken, Chocolate and the Sugar Lobby

When you purchase chicken, you trust that you are paying for the weight of the bird, but would you be surprised that you are also paying for salt water? Many companies inject saltwater into the bird to "plump" it and increase its weight. Read more here and sign a petition here. Just another reason to buy local and all natural!
How much is chocolate worth? If you're like me, a lot! But I have to admit I have eaten almost NO chocolate in the last 4 weeks except for some organic semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (mostly b/c I am cutting out processed sugars). Here is another reason not to. Be sure to purchase fair trade chocolate to help protect workers in other countries. Sign a petition here. Remember, if it is cheap for you to buy, someone, somewhere, is paying the price!
The Fed Up with School Lunch Blog is one of my favorites. This post will educate you on the enormous amount of sugar in our daily foods and what the sugar lobby has done to keep us in the dark regarding amounts as well as silencing the USDA in regards to guidelines on how much sugar to eat in a day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Seafood Options

I have been asked about safe seafood from various people lately, and have come across this site and this one. This was an interesting article on salmon. I have grown to LOVE salmon over the last few years, especially knowing the health benefits, but now the safe options are very limited. I did find that Rt 30 Seafood does sell wild caught salmon from the northwest- the only salmon that is safe to eat. It comes frozen in vacuum sealed packs. I'm still looking for wild caught northern U.S. shrimp though. I'll keep you updated on other areas that I find it! Please share if you already know of a location!

Sneaky Semantics

Do you ever wonder what "cage-free" and "grass-fed" really mean when on your food labels? I know I do. This is a great site that breaks down the semantics. Please read carefully, as deception is key in big business getting us to purchase a product that sounds like it is from organic, natural and sustainable origins when it often is not.This is why it is key to buy local so you can talk to the farmer or merchant and find out exactly from where the product is coming.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fresh Thoughts

Well, it has been a lot longer between posts than I ever anticipated or desired. I have had many ideas and not as much time as I had hoped to get these thoughts into cyberspace.

Last night I was able to attend a showing of Fresh which is in essence a sequel to Food Inc. The showing was at a local farm close to Glen Rock, Spoutwood Farm, which is also a CSA and still taking members for this growing season. This was the first of their summer movie series and was well done with numerous fans keeping us cool in the barn for the showing and vibrant discussion of the issues afterward.

As I mentioned, for me, Fresh was a sequel to Food Inc. Food Inc exposed the food industry for the fraud, deceit, inhumane working conditions and unthinkable treatment of animals, not to mention the plethora of chemicals that we are ingesting and the environmental effects of industrial farming. Fresh, however, gave hope for the future and how we can change the food system in our country. Here are some highlights:
  • Industrial farming is unsustainable, meaning the environment cannot maintain the level of abuse it is taking from the food lots.
  • The natural rhythm of farming has been disrupted by segregating the animals onto one condensed lot and one plant type on another lot. This requires food to be shipped for the animals and something done with their waste and fertilizers to be shipped for the fields. If various animals and plants live together on one farm, the natural rhythm can be of benefit to the land and the crops/animals.
  • Pests have become worse by growing the same crops year after year in the same field requiring the use of harsher and more harsh chemicals. The soil cannot maintain its nutrient source by growing the same crop each year either and then requires stronger (chemical) fertilizers.
  • Chickens are packed into small cages and most never even see the light of day or the feel of grass. Their beaks are seered off to prevent them from pecking each other. Pigs on feed lots have their tails cut short as they tend to become frustrated in their living conditions and bite each other's tails.
  • The run-off from the feed lots is an immense disaster of which we are not even aware. Many water supplies are being poisoned and we are oblivious to this fact (Read more about this at Grist)
  • Companies that are involved with industrial farming assert that they are "feeding the world" and that this is the only way it can be done. However, most of the food they are growing does NOT end up on someone's plate, but in an animal (which was most likely not designed to ever eat corn) or processed into additives for processed foods (think HFCS and hydrogenated oils).
  • Most of our food has been genetically altered and requires specific fertilizer and herbicides in order to grow. Now that genetically altered seeds have been patented, companies are requiring farmers to purchase new seeds every year instead of harvesting their own seeds.
  • Our fruits and vegetables of today have significantly LESS nutrition in them compared to the same fruits and vegetables of 40 years ago.
But all is not lost! Here are some that are farming the right way (and they believe that if you make sure your soil is top notch, the rest will follow):
  • Will Allen ( is a former pro basketball player who currently resides in Milwaukee. He is committed to community farms and training people to be able to farm in a sustainable, organic way (even in the city). He believes everyone should have access to affordable, nutritious foods. He has won numerous awards and is using aquaponics and composting as staples of his farming.
  • Joel Salatin ( was also in Food Inc. He has perfected the use of the natural inclinations of animals to have a sustainable farm. I highly recommend looking at his site as well as some of his videos. His farm is 4 hours away, but I would love to go visit him. He has a high regard for the animals and plants in his care and makes sure they are allowed to express their "cowness", "pigness", and "chickeness", respectively.
  • David Ball ( has created a chain of grocery stores containing local, natural foods that are supplied by various local farmers. I wish the Good Natured products were available here!
So, you may be asking, what can I do?
  1. Vote with your wallet- buy local, buy organic (both, if possible), stay away from processed foods
  2. Go to Eat Wild and Local Harvest to find local, organic farms for both meat and produce.
  3. Join a CSA and support your local farmers!
  4. Sign petitions, write, lobby for change in the government subsidization of crops and for stronger requirements on food labeling (I would like to know if I am eating something that was genetically modified, wouldn't you?) and for less use of harsh pesticides and herbicides.
  5. Start as many meals as possible from scratch! Here is a free, donation-only course on how to cook healthily from scratch I am planning on completing.
  6. If you go to a local market, ASK where the food came from- you may be surprised how often it does not come from your local area!
  7. Start a small garden or grow a few veggies/fruits in containers. 
  8. See if you can find a way to start a community garden in your immediate area.
  9. Educate yourself. I just picked up an organic gardening book and Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels. I have also been reading as many articles and blogs and watching as many videos that I can get my hands on!
  10. If you do shop at a chain grocery store, tell them you would like them to carry more local, organic foods. 
  11. Remember that the average meal travels 1, 500 miles to get to your table- what can you do to reduce that number?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Salads in Schools

This seems like a promising initiative to bring a salad bar to all schools. This blog (which is an interesting study in school lunches) post cites a short article stating that consumption of fresh fruits/veggies increased 25% after beginning to offer a salad bar at 3 different schools. Doesn't this seem obvious? Our children are crying out for healthy choices at school, why don't we respect them enough to offer salads every day as an option?

Thoughts from Jill

Many of you know that I follow Jillian Michaels closely on FB, Twitter as well as receive her email updates with nutrition/weight loss tips and tricks. These are two short articles that share my concern over the rampant use of antibiotics and pesticides.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Wow. Thanks to my sister for posting this article on FB. Please read and pass on, as well as sign the petition to not allow genetically modified (GMO) fish on the market!

Friday, July 2, 2010


Here are some great (although difficult) tips for making your 4th of July celebration more "food friendly."

In the article, they reference two great site: Eat Wild and Eat Well. These sites provide a search for farmers markets and farms with sustainable products. Eat well also provides bed and breakfasts and restaurants in their search results. There is a very reasonably priced B&B in Lancaster that looks interesting!

BPA Update

Thanks to my friend Jess for giving me this site:
It lists some products that are BPA free!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Here's a great article on why you need to buy BPA free foods and containers. Please be careful!

Clean Eating

This is a great article from Livestrong with tips on eating clean. Many of these principles are the ones that I have been trying to instill and implement.

Ready to Eat Soup

So, my mom informed me about this company:
She has tried the minestrone soup and LOVED it! I will try to get some this weekend to try as well. If you read on the web site, they are highly concerned with sustainability, no BPAs in the packaging and recycling. Let me know if you try it!

Milk Origins

This is a great web site for determining the "localness" of your dairy products. Simply type in the code (you know, the numbers on the milk carton that we never understood what they were there for). The first 2 digits determine the state, and the last set of digits determine the processing plant. Give it a try!

Food Dye Danger

This is a startling article about the food dye in MANY of our common, everyday foods.
Here are a few highlights directly from the article (emphasis mine):
- Red 3, has actually been identified as a carcinogen by the FDA, but you can still find it on supermarket shelves.
- Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 -- contain cancer-causing substances.
- The dyes are in a staggering array of foods, from salad dressing to matzo balls. In fact, manufacturers put about 15 million pounds of eight synthetic dyes into the food supply each year,
- Do not let your children be caught by the looks of a product. Chances are, if it is brightly colored it is due to one of these dyes and they are also most likely charging more for the product.

Just another reason to start from scratch!
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