"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - La Rochefoucauld

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Junk Food Make-Over

A few of my friends from my recipe club decided 2012 was going to be the healthiest year yet! Each month we have worked toward different goals. 

Jan.- Good-bye processed foods! Cut back on gluten!
Feb.- Beverage make-over! Increase water intake!
March- Get your vitamin D checked and act accordingly!
April- Track your sugar!
May- Amazing Abs! Do 100 sit-ups a day!
June- Junk food make-over!

For our June goal I am asking anyone who is interested, to post in the comments section, their junk food make over suggestions.  The assignment is to pick four regular household staples (one a week) and give them a make-over. Examples may be, salad dressings, BBQ sauce, marinades, ketchup, applesauce, etc., etc. You will be surprised how easy it is to make a lot of these items. The NourishMD pantry cook book has lots of great recipes for our junk food make-over. My first staple make-over is taco seasoning. Check it out!

Yellow Corn Flour, Spices, Salt, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Modified Corn Starch, Onion Powder, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color (sulfites).
 Lets discuss some of these ingredients:

Sulfites: "One food additive — sulfite — has been spotlighted in the media recently because new research demonstrates that it is more dangerous than previously known. Sulfites are chemical compounds used extensively by the food processing industry to preserve foods. They are also used as a dough conditioner, a bleach for starches, and as an agent to stabilize pharmaceutical medications.

Studies have shown that sulfites in foods can cause migraine headaches, which can be a particular problem in children. Some well-controlled studies also found a link between sulfites and tension headaches.

High sulfite levels in the blood and tissues inhibit an enzyme called glutamate dehydrogenase. This enzyme plays a major role in keeping brain glutamate levels from getting too high. High brain glutamate triggers a brain-damaging reaction called excitotoxicity, which can lead not only to headaches, but also to an increased risk of developing such degenerative brain diseases as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and a host of others. Inhibition of this critical enzyme by sulfite may also play a role in the worsening of asthma.

There is compelling evidence that high levels of sulfites can cause damage and chronic degeneration of the nervous system and may even cause behavioral problems such as depression, panic attacks, and anxiety."

Caramel Coloring: "Caramel coloring, found in cola and other foods, has shown a positive association with risk of hypertension or high blood pressure. In fact, The Journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study and found that it was not the caffeine in soda that raised blood pressure, but rather the caramel coloring that may be responsible for the increased risk of hypertension.
Caramel coloring acts as an emulsifying agent that keeps flavor oils suspended in a solution. It is made by heating food-grade carbohydrates (such as corn syrup) to high temperatures. Usually an acid such as acetic, lactic or phosphoric acid is added to break the bonds between the sugars as it is heated to caramelization. The result is a burnt sugar that is the world’s most widely consumed (by weight) food coloring ingredient. It is not found only in colas, but also in sauces, gravies and baked goods.
One must question why this additive is included in so many products. We are a society  that eats with our eyes. Color is the first impression that “sets the table” for other sensory experiences. Caramel coloring gives breads a deeper shade of brown, provides beer with a full-bodied appearance and lends baked goods a uniform appearance.
The FDA reports that the absolute safety of any food coloring substance can never be proven.  Because scientific knowledge is constantly evolving, federal officials often review earlier decisions to assure that the safety assessment of a food substance remains up to date." 

Autolyzed Yeast Extract:  "Autolysis is a chemical process in which salt and live yeast interacts. The salt causes the live yeast to essentially self-destruct--the digestive enzymes in the yeast "eat" themselves. This creates an inactive yeast with an entirely different set of proteins. Further processing creates autolyzed yeast extract. Many processed foods contain the ingredient; but what few are aware of is that autolyzed yeast extract, with its hearty flavoring, is also an abundant source of MSG."

Refresher on the dangers of MSG: "The risks associated with ingestion of (or even contact with) monosodium glutamate and other ingredients that contain MSG are simple and straightforward:
Brain damage
Endocrine disorders (obesity and reproductive disorders)
Behavior disorders
Adverse reactions      
Neurodegenerative disease."  
With all of that being said I would like to share a healthier alternative. I found this taco seasoning recipe from the wonderful people at NourishMD in their pantry cook book. If you use organic/clean spices, this recipe will be a healthier and more cost effective food for your family.  

Taco Seasoning Recipe:

2 T. Chili Powder
5 t. Paprika
4 t. Ground Cumin
3 t. Onion Powder
2 t. Celtic Sea Salt
2.5 t. Garlic Powder
1/8 t. Cayenne Pepper

Cook one pound of ground beef thoroughly.  Add 3/4 cup of water and 3 T. of taco seasoning mix.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 

Store taco seasoning in an air tight glass container. 

Choose which family staple you'd like to make-over and please share!!! :) 

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