food

3 Ingredient Biscuits

imageJune is Southern food month and since my first formal culinary training was in the South, I wanted to share one of my favorite Southern staples. Biscuits! Who doesn’t love biscuits? It’s just one of those things that’s also quite versatile. I’m sure I can figure out a hundred different ways how to eat biscuits. It’s just.. so good.

I have a very busy schedule and two little kids who demand a lot of attention so I like things easy and simple. Oh, and it has to taste yummy too.

So, in lieu of Southern food month, here’s my easy and yummy 3 ingredient biscuit recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-rising flour, store-bought or homemade (I make mine ahead of time and store it in a mason jar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup almond milk, or any nut milk

*use organic whenver possible

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Knead the mixture until combined, but do not over-knead.

Place the dough on a cutting board and gently roll the dough out until it is about 1/2-inch thick. Use biscuit cutters to cut out the biscuits and place on a cast iron skillet or baking sheet. image

Bake for 10 minutes or until the biscuits have risen slightly and turn golden on top. Remove and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

 

Vani Hari, aka the Food Babe: Real Food Superhero, Warrior, Defender

The first time I ever heard of the Food Babe was about two years ago. I was researching the different baby formulas and was trying to figure out which was the best formula to put my daughter on after I was done nursing her.

Being in the entertainment industry, especially in the beauty aspect of it, I felt the pressure of losing the baby weight as quickly as I could. I had decided that I was going to breastfeed my daughter for a month-and-a-half, maybe two, and then I was going to switch her to formula. I was determined to lose the baby weight before I started my show which would start production four months after I had her.

I stumbled across an article by the Food Babe that she had written literally two days before the birth of my daughter called “How To Find the Safest Organic Infant Formula” that completely horrified me. I spent many sleepless nights afterwards researching absolutely EVERYTHING about baby formula and my different options. My findings turned me into a very angry mom and sparked my fierce crusade in the movement to better our food supply and to enroll in nutrition school to deepen and better understand food and our body chemistry.

When that month-and-a-half came and I had to decide whether to continue breastfeeding her or not, it was in that moment that I decided that my daughter’s well-being was way more important than trying to fit back into my size 3 jeans and I was going to nurse her for as long as I possibly could. I was not going to poison my daughter. It was also in that moment that I learned to TRULY love my body – the body that told the story of carrying two amazing and beautiful human beings.

I did eventually have to introduce formula after six months of exclusive breastfeeding when she started to wean herself off of me, but I was able to make an informed decision on the best baby formula for her.

Since reading that article by Vani Hari, the Food Babe, I have followed her fearless in-depth food investigations and campaigns. Hari brings transparency to our food system and holds food manufacturers accountable for the food products that are making us sick.

I view Ms. Hari as a pioneer in the food movement. To her critics, registered dietitians and food scientists say she lacks the credentials to speak with authority. But there is a reason big food companies are terrified of the Food Babe. She holds food companies accountable and exposes the truth about what is in your food.

As a certified holistic health coach who has studied over 100 dietary theories with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts, I can say that you don’t need my type of training or a degree to figure out how to be healthy. Anyone can pick up a food item, look at the food label and figure out whether it’s going to harm you or benefit you. Vani Hari is a fearless leader in this food revolution movement.

In her new book, The Food Babe Way, which releases today, Vani outlines the dangers that lurk in your food, shows you how to decode food labels and offers advice on what to eat and how to shop healthy and organic without hurting your pocketbook.
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I received an advanced copy of the book by Ms. Hari and I highly recommend it for anyone who needs an easy-to-follow reference and guide in navigating the thousands of food products lining our store shelves and takes the guesswork out of shopping for healthy and nutritious food. So if you’re tired of your taste buds being hijacked by the food industry and you want to take matters into your own hands and become your own food investigator, nutritionist and food activist, The Food Babe Way will show you how to live a more energetic and vibrant life while still being exposed to our current food system.

Hari lays out a 21-day flexible eating plan with dozens of recipes along with a list of pantry staples and a snack list. She will take you step-by-step through 21 simple changes that will help rid your body of toxins, lose weight without counting calories and restore your natural glow. These fundamentals are so much more affordable than expensive supplements, workouts and gym memberships.

In The Food Babe Way, you’ll learn how to:
~ Avoid the top 15 ingredients that wreak havoc on your weight, beauty and health
~ Develop 21 simple, lasting habits that will get you off chemical-laced food for good
~ Spot manipulative marketing and manufacturing techniques the food industry uses to get you to eat processed foods or hide questionable ingredients
~ Replace the foods that make you fat, look older and sap your energy with helpful, delicious substitutes
~ Prepare dozens of additive-free meals with easy and delicious recipes

Order your copy of The Food Babe Way here:
http://thefoodbabeway.com
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Eat well. Be well. Live your most beautiful life!

Xo,
Kristine

A Pink Ribbon Culture: Pinkwashing

My grandmother had breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and I can still vividly see the empty space in her clothing.

I was nineteen when I had a lump removed from my breast. I remember the day I felt the hard mass. I was eighteen and it was a cool November evening. It was a daily bedtime ritual for me to check for any unusual lumps. I remember the panic rise in my throat. Any chances of a good night’s sleep were just sabotaged by the thoughts that were running through my brain.

My mom took me to the doctor that week and since she is in the medical field, I was taken to the best physician on the subject. I was checked and he concluded that it was nothing to worry about. I knew my body. I have always been very aware of it and my gut instinct told me something was not right.

I insisted on a biopsy. It was benign, thank goodness, but I still wanted it removed; solely for my peace of mind. My surgery was scheduled a month after the biopsy. It was supposed to be a quick procedure and they were not expecting to find what they found when they opened me up. It had grown from the size of the tip of my thumb to the size of a softball. I had an aggressive fibroadenoma. Needless to say, I wasn’t administered the correct amount of anesthesia and I woke up in the middle of the surgery.

“Doctor, she’s awake… ” …and fade back to black. That was not a pleasant experience.

Yearly mammograms were expected of me post surgery especially because I had a family history. I haven’t had one yet for reasons that I will talk about in another post, but fear being the main culprit. Fear of them finding something.

All of that being said, I was a big Pink Ribbon supporter. Emphasis on the WAS. When an opportunity presented itself, I contributed to the breast cancer advocacy movement. That was up until I met my friend Angela. She is the mother of three young, beautiful girls, an Emmy award winning makeup artist and a two-time breast cancer survivor. Our conversations at work lifted the “pink haze” that clouded my view and gave me an authentic perspective. I have seen the scars on her body, a daily reminder of the worst year of her life. But you would never guess that she had this ugly disease. She is a ray of sunshine and I always find it a pleasure to bask in her strength and endurance.

Angela and I

Angela and I

Coming soon to the blog – she will share her experience with us and the monstrous face of breast cancer. Her view of all this Pink Ribbon “awareness” will make you reevaluate your standpoint on the matter. What also fueled many of our conversations was her decision to opt out of chemotherapy and choose a natural approach to treatment. Using food as medicine was a common thread between us.

We are all aware of this cancer but do we really know what it is? I think it is also important for us to see the faces of those who have or have had this cancer. We should not only be aware but we need to know WHAT it is.

Pink heralds that October is here. Pink ribbons everywhere, football players wearing pink garb, hundreds of people coming together to Walk or Run For a Cure, people sporting bracelets with the slogan “I (heart) Boobies.” I noticed though that Breast Cancer Awareness Month has extended itself to more than just October, making it more of a Breast Cancer Awareness season. And as of late, I feel like the Pink Ribbon has become more of a brand, just like the swoosh of Nike or McDonald’s golden arches.

If given a choice, people would rather give their money to a good cause. But have you ever thought about where the money actually goes and how much goes to the actual research? There have been campaigns from big corporations whose contribution was a penny for every purchase. A penny? Really? Wouldn’t it be easier to just write a check or donate directly to the organization?

I started to dig deeper into this thing called “pinkwashing”. There is a great documentary on YouTube called “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” that I highly recommend.

Also, as people are becoming more aware of what is happening to our food supply, companies are using marketing strategies that tug at our heart strings to help increase sales on the very products that cause cancer. So they make the product pink or they slap a Pink Ribbon on the packaging. There is a great article about this on the Huffington Post called “Think Before You Pink: Stop the Distraction.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karuna-jaggar/think-before-you-pink-sto_b_5910696.html

In the 1940s, a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer was 1 in 22. In 2011, it is 1 in 8. The risk factor? Being a woman. But this disease does not discriminate. We have yet to find a cure because we have yet been able to pinpoint the cause. There are so many factors that contribute to this disease. So what is the best course of action? Because I believe we need to start DOING MORE THAN JUST THINKING PINK.

Your thoughts?

‘We the People’ not ‘We the Corporations’

Before I had kids, I had the worst diet imaginable. I just didn’t really think much about it. As long as it tasted good, it was fast and it was convenient, I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I was clueless about nutrition and the powerful effect food has on us and I didn’t know the ugly truth about the food industry.

The birth of my first child, however, inspired an urgency in me because I now had to make decisions on his behalf. And if you are a parent, I am sure you can understand where I am coming from. One of my jobs is to provide him with the very best and to protect him from anything that could possibly harm him.

On top of that, I wanted to have the energy and vitality to keep up with him. I wanted to be my healthiest and live as long as I could to be there for him through this difficult life and to live long enough to see my grandkids.

Not only are those some of the things that propelled me down this path of health and wellness, but what also triggered it is that many people that I loved and cared about have been taken too soon from disease or cancer, or suffering from it. It got me thinking and I started to question what was causing this rampant plague that was ravaging people all over the country.

Is it fate – our genes? Is it what comes with age? I needed to know.

All directions kept pointing me towards our diet and lifestyle.

When it comes to the food that we eat, it is very important that we know where it comes from, who grows it and what the ingredients are. I know I sound like a broken record but I just can’t stress it enough!

Food is a very powerful thing!

The food that we eat becomes us.. literally! It becomes the substance of our muscles, our skin, our hair, our bones – basically every cell of our body. We gain the qualities of the food. Not to mention that our brain, which is a very hungry organ, absorbs around 60% of the food that we eat – and, yes, you’re connecting the dots here – there is a food/mood connection as well.

Our lifestyle and the foods that we eat, have the ability to turn genes on or off. Genetics load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.

As I mentioned in my post The Junk Food Generation, there are 600,000 food items in America today.

Last week, General Mills announced they were buying Annie’s for 820 million dollars. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Annie’s, it is a natural and organic food company who is best known for their macaroni and cheese line.

As people are becoming more and more conscientious of their health, the organic and natural foods industry is steadily growing and going mainstream. We live in a world in which food companies are extraordinarily competitive with each other. Their job is to sell more product; and if they are a publicly traded company, they have shareholders to please. And organic is profitable.

Most of the iconic organic brands today have been bought and are now owned and controlled by the titans of the junk food industry.

Coca-Cola owns:
• Honest Tea
• Odwalla
• Zico Coconut Water
General Mills owns:
• Cascadian Farms
• Muir Glen
Pepsi owns:
• Naked Juice
Colgate now owns:
• Toms of Maine, the toothpaste company

Some say that it is a good thing that the natural foods industry is growing. Others say it is in danger of losing its very soul.

What goes through your mind when you see corporate America taking over the natural and organic food business?

These corporations like Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola and Monsanto and others poured 22 million dollars into fighting the GMO labeling battle. How does that make you feel that the profits that they are earning from the organic brands they now own are being used to fight our access to information?

Why are they fighting tooth and nail to keep this information from us?

We don’t all need to reach the same conclusions but there are beliefs that we all share. There are certain decencies that matter to all of us.

Do we choose to close our eyes and ears to it? Or do we choose to engage in it? These are not radical positions. They are not Democratic or Republican positions. They are not old or young or urban or rural positions. They are fundamental human concerns.

I have strong opinions and I hope that my kids will share my opinions but I wouldn’t insist on it. I am not trying to create an ethical replica of me and it is not to create somebody who acts on my beliefs. It is to help somebody to become an adult who can act on his beliefs. I want my kids to be aware of the choices that are in front of them, be aware of their ability to makes choices and to be confident when making choices that are outside of societal norms.

The extent to which there is corporate control of our food policy and of our food supply has massive implications to the health of the people. What bothers me the most is the enormous effort that food companies are doing to try and sell their products, regardless of the effects of their products on health.

I just want to say, though, that they are not out to poison the world. They will sell whatever sells.

Food choices – how we eat, what we eat and what we buy is a form of activism. When people buy organic, more farmers will produce organics. When people complained that tomato pickers weren’t getting paid enough money, Walmart raised their wage to a penny more per pound.

Think about women’s rights or even slavery. Slavery didn’t end because people started buying sugar-free foods. It happened because people advocated to make it unacceptable and to end it legally.

Anthony Gucciardi said, “There’s a reason that mega corporations like Monsanto are afraid of you, the activist. They know that despite their billions, despite their deception, that you as a consumer ultimately control their fate. Because by changing a single purchase at the grocery store, you change the world.”

So eat well. Be well. Vote with your fork!

Xo, Kristine

The Junk Food Generation

In my last post, Killing Me Sweetly – Breaking My Sugar Addiction, I talked about sugar’s addictive and toxic nature. I want to dive a little deeper with you into the subject of sugar because it is not just about sugar. It is also about our processed food epidemic.

We are the Junk Food Generation.

Everyone says that everybody should be able to choose what they put in their mouths. I agree 100%. The problem is that you have already been told what to put in your mouth by the food industry because of this change that has occurred over the past 40 years as processed foods and sweets have basically taken over the entire grocery store.

If you go into a supermarket pretty much anywhere in the country and you pick up an item with a food label, the odds are very high that it will have some form of added sugar – most likely high fructose corn syrup, but there are many others as well.

There are around 600,000 food items available in America and, according to the most recent data, 77% of those 600,000 items are laced with added sugar.

What this means is that people can’t find products that would actually be healthy because they have all been adulterated.
It actually limits choice. We need to be able to make choices as to whether to put it in our diet rather than the food industry deciding it for us.

The food industry now employs a whole new breed of mad food scientists that they call “craveability experts.” Their job is to invent addictive, hyper-palatable processed junk foods to ensure that their employer gets the biggest market share – what the insiders call “stomach share.”

If it is true that sugar and highly processed foods affect our brains in ways that drive addiction, then it seems to me that we must, at some point, face the moral question inherent in feeding our children and adults, for that matter, substances that kill more people than smoking, alcohol, cocaine and heroine combined.

A little sugar is okay and had been for generations, really for hundreds of years, but a lot is not.

We have a limited capacity to metabolize this stuff in the same way that we have a limited capacity to metabolize all poisons. The dose determines the poison.

The food industry has learned that when they put the right amount of sugar in any given food, we go hog wild. There are now neuroimaging studies that demonstrate this phenomenon. This hog wild phenomenon – which they call the “bliss point” – is where the dopamine (the pleasure neurotransmitter in our brain) is most active. The problem is not that it causes pleasure. The problem is that it down-regulates its own receptor, which means that the next time you get a hit, you need a larger dose in order to accomplish the same effect.

A new study published online in the journal Archives of Diseases in Childhood indicates that obese children and adolescents have less sensitive taste buds compared to their lean counterparts. The science shows that people who go off sugar redevelop tastes for other foods.

As processed food has taken over the grocery store, our taste buds and our health, there has been a tremendous increase in obesity and diabetes and other related disorders.

Why is sugar such a problem?

Sugar is empty calories – the only thing sugar provides us with are extra calories. But the food industry’s mantra is, “Well, you can get your extra calories wherever you choose. You can get it from carrots, you can get it from cheesecake, you can get it from Coca-Cola, because a calorie is a calorie and it doesn’t matter where those calories come from. Therefore, why would you pick on any individual food stuff or any individual food additive, for that matter, like sugar?”

If sugar were just empty calories, they would be exactly right. However, that is not what the data shows.

The science says something completely different because of the way sugar is metabolized.

The molecule in sugar called fructose, the sweet molecule in sugar, is metabolized by the liver, completely differently from the other molecule in sugar called glucose, which is the energy of life.

Because of the way fructose is metabolized and the amounts of sugar many of us are consuming today, it overloads your liver and causes liver fat to accumulate which then leads to all of the chronic metabolic diseases that we know about: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and likely cancer and dementia as well.

In America, 33% of Americans now have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Considering this was a disease that didn’t even exist in 1980, the fact that 33% of Americans now have it is the true epidemic. Many of them will go on to develop cirrhosis and ultimately either die of liver diseases or require a liver transplant.

Fatty liver disease comes from sugar consumption which then causes the pancreas to make extra insulin to make the liver do its job. That raises insulin all over the body. When your insulin is high, it drives all of those diseases and it drives weight gain.

This is the first generation of American children to live shorter lives than their parents.

Childhood obesity has nearly tripled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

Why is there so much sugar in our foods?

One of the answers to that is because the food industry learned that it is a preservative. It changes the water activity so that it is much less likely that foods will go stale. Because high fructose corn syrup is miscible in food, they can actually add more to extend its shelf life. It works for the food industry, but it doesn’t work for your health.

If sugar is costing society in a big way, shouldn’t we be doing something to intervene?

When you say that sugar is not just a guilty pleasure and it is not just the source of empty calories but it is a health disaster, you are going up against enormous industries with trillions of dollars at stake.

You are also going up against the resistance that each of us feels to giving up the highly sweetened foods that we have come to enjoy and may have come to be addicted to.

Is the food industry violating our health by adding so much sugar to the food products they sell to us? I would love to hear your thoughts on this by commenting in the box below! 🙂

Eat well. Be well. Vote with your fork!

Xo, Kristine

Sowing The Seeds In Our Garden And In Our Children

I am getting very excited. The time I have been waiting for is soon approaching – planting for the fall and winter!

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I love gardening. I find it to be very therapeutic. It is an oasis of calm for me and a peaceful place of escape.

Studies have shown that gardening provides more than just food:

1) Promotes physical health and is a good source of full body physical activity
2) Promotes mental health through relaxation and satisfaction
3) Better nutrition
4) Shown to help dementia in seniors
5) Allows for more whole foods in place of processed ones

When I first started talking about planting a garden in my backyard a few years ago, people laughed! If you knew me then, I was definitely not a get-your-hands-in-the-dirt-and-bugs type of gal and I certainly did not have a green thumb. I killed a cactus once – it is very hard to kill a cactus!

So if I can do it, you certainly can! Even if you don’t have a backyard or much room, potted plants or small vertical gardens are great too! For those of you who use Pinterest, they have some great ideas on urban gardening. There are tons of books and magazines on organic gardening or you can download books onto your iPad, Kindle or mobile device or you can ask the people who work at your local nursery.

I wanted my family to have access to real, wholesome food that was free of pesticides and herbicides and whose genetic makeup was not altered in any way.

One of the biggest reasons I decided to plant a garden, however, is that I want my kids to learn how to appreciate the natural world around them. I want them to develop a sense of pride and responsibility by working the ground and watching it grow. It is a magical place for them and to see them pick the fruit off the plant, brush off the soil and take a bite, opens up a window in a world that is dominated by technology. I want them to have these childhood memories of not just gardening, but of being with mom and dad in the garden.

To eat something you produce is worthwhile, meaningful and empowering.

Food belongs to the people, not to the corporate food companies.

If any of you are looking for a reputable seed source, I recommend http://www.seedsnow.com. SeedsNow is 100% pure heirloom, 100% GMO-free and 100% natural non-hybridized. These seeds are so pure that you can plant them, save them after you harvest your crop and then replant the seeds!

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“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” -unknown

Eat well. Be well. Vote with your fork!

Xo, Kristine