Know what clean eating means? Here’s some help

Clean eating is one of those food terms that has been tossed around so much in recent years it’s almost lost it’s meaning. What does it mean, exactly?

Good question. You could do a Google search and get pages of links to explore. Or you can check this piece I found recently from the Cooking Light diet blog, Ask Our Expert: What Is Clean Eating, And How Can I Eat Clean With This Meal Plan?

Clean eating means sticking to whole foods as opposed to processed ones.

“In its broadest and most agreed-upon sense, clean eating means centering one’s diet around whole and minimally processed foods and ingredients,” the blog expert notes. But also, “it’s important to first note that “clean eating” has no official definition or defined protocol. Because of this, the eating approach can be interpreted and twisted to also include a variety of additional restrictions.”

So beware of food offerings claiming to be “clean,” with no official definition or regulation, the term is open to marketing manipulation.

Love eating local? Then here’s where you should live, according to a new study

I’ve written before about the challenges of eating local. How much locally grown food is available to us is often a function of geography. A new study shows the truth in that, with a few surprising exceptions.

A firm called Lawn Starter looked at the 150 largest U.S, cities and came up with the following rankings of the best cities for eating (and drinking) local:

Continue reading “Love eating local? Then here’s where you should live, according to a new study”

5 Sites With Low-sodium Christmas recipes (one is our site!)

Google “Low Sodium Christmas recipes” and you won’t find a lot, unfortunately. We know, we just tried it. But we have found some for you, so don’t lose hope. Ourcommuntiynow,com, for example, runs through where you can find low-salt ways to make turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. It sounds a bit Thanksgiving, but I have made turkey for Christmas too, so it’s feasible.

Epicurious.com has a page of side-dish recipes that are low in sodium.

Good Housekeeping has a piece called 35 Healthy Christmas Recipes That Still Taste Totally Indulgent. It seems to start with sides too but does have an interesting salad take on the traditional Italian Christmas Eve feast of the seven fishes.

And while not Christmas focued, tasteofhome.com does have 40 Low-Sodium Recipes That Are Kind to Your Heart which has some interesting sounding main courses you could make for Christmas.

And don’t forget to check our recipe page which has a host of special occasion low-sodium recipes to choose from, including a low-salt, low-fat take on a traditional Italian holiday manicotti.

My low-fat, low-salt manicotti, One of these has 128 calories, 1.8 grams of fat and 70 mgs of sodium. I eat five at a time

Pandemic Food Shopping: Predictions for 2021

While talk of vaccines is everywhere these days, those in the know seem to agree we’ll be well into 2021 before a large part of the country has access to vaccines, let alone has gotten the two shots of one to protect themselves. So how will that impact food shopping trends as 2021 begins?

Florida-based sales and marketing firm Acosta has put together the following predictions.

“Many of the changes we saw implemented in 2020 due to the pandemic will carry over into 2021,” said Colin Stewart, executive vice president of Business Intelligence at Acosta, ina press release. “Health and safety will continue to be paramount for retailers and consumers, and e-commerce growth will continue on its accelerated path. Grocery shopping was not fun this year, and post-COVID, stores will need to make it a more enjoyable experience with unique offerings, better prices and stocked shelves.”

Pandemic Shopping: Tips for bulk storage

The Covid-019 pandemic has certainly changed American eating and food-shopping habits. People are cooking at home and emptying store shelves of many staple items as a result. Just trying buying some yeast to find out what I mean.

Many people ahve turned to bulk buying, which is jsut a step short of hoarding in that hopefully they have need of the large quantities of foodstuffs they’re buying for large families.

We store non-perishable paper and cleaning products in our basement store room.

But buying in bulk can have its pitfalls, which is why I was attracted to this piece, 7 Life-Changing Tips from a Bulk Shopping Expert. While the headline is a bit melodramatic, the piece makes a few good points. Chief among those:

  • Determine (and buy) your highest-use items and target those for large purchases.
  • Have the proper storage space and type for items you stock up on.
  • Plan enough time to repackage perishables as soon as you get home.
  • Label everything with dates, keep a list of what you have, and use oldest to newest.

As the article states, “Buying in bulk is a shockingly great way to save money and to reduce the frequency of shopping trips for staples.” With food prices rising in the pandemic, stocking up may be the best way to stretch your food dollars.

Pandemic food casualty: Hey Costco, where’s my low-salt Thanksgiving turkey?

Looks like Costco let me down again (just like when it dumped chocolate frozen yogurt) and this time, only two weeks before Thanksgiving.

I journeyed out for a major shopping trip last week, knowing our locality would soon be telling us to stay home because of worsening Covid infection rates in our area.

I’ve written about how Costco normally has fresh, low-sodium turkeys this time of year — turkeys without any high-sodium liquids injecting into them for self-basting.

Time to eat all those turkeys! Happy Thanksgiving!
Where have all the turkeys gone at Costco? There were none two weeks before Thanksgiving.

But when I arrived last Thursday, there were no turkeys to be found at my local Costco in Glenview, Il. I asked a butcher who told me it was too soon for them. Too soon, two weeks before Thanksgiving and a day before we were told not to go out?

I know I’ve bought them earlier than that in the past because I’ve had to freeze them to keep them from spoiling before I cook them.

I looked at the home delivery option Costco offers through Instacart and did not find a fresh turkey last week either. I did find one this week, but at this point, I’ve found another source.

Romaine Lettuce Recall Hits 20 States

California-based grower Tanimura & Antle has announced a romaine lettuce recall that impacts product it shipped to 20 states.

The company is recalling packages of its single-head romaine lettuce with a packed on date of 10/15/2020 or 10/16/2020 and a UPC number of 0-27918-20314-9. The culprit — E. coli again.

The recall is effective in the following states plus Peurto Rico:

Illinois, Alaska, California, Oregon, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, New Mexico, South Carolina, Washington, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Massachusetts.

No lettuce-linked illnesses have been reported yet but for safety, if you ahve it, throw it out.

The recall doesn’t seem to ahve spread to other romaine lettuce so far. I was just at Costco today and saw its usual two brands of romaine hearts (regular and organic) on the shelves.

Low-salt product review: Braswell’s Raspberry Vinaigrette

When you have salad almost every day for lunch to avoid high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar alternatives, using oil and vinegar to flavor it up can get a bit repetitive. So I’ve been trying out some low- and no-salt dressing alternatives such as Farmer Boy Lite Greek Dressing, which you can read about by clicking here.

My Braswell’s with my large salad behind it.

Today’s review is of a dressing called Braswell’s Raspberry Vinaigrette which I bought online at the Healthy Heart Market.

I don’t particularly like eating whole raspberries, but I love raspberry flavors and so thought I’d enjoy this dressing. I did. It had a nice raspberry taste and enlivened the flavor of my salad, which that day included beets and artichoke hearts along with romaine lettuce, tomatoes and low-salt olives.

Braswell nutrition information

This dressing isn’t completely salt-free. It has 20 mgs per serving, which is two tablespoons. I put seven tablespoons on my rather large salad, so I got 70 mgs of sodium from this. That’s not an overwhelming amount. The other good aspect of this product is that it’s fat-free.

It also comes in a reusable glass carafe, a nice item if you want to blend your own no-fat, no-salt, no-sugar dressings.

While I bought this online, some research reveals it is available from several local retailers in my area, so I’ll search for it on-shelf and see how the price compares to the online Healthy Heart Market.

Some spice blending tips to spice up your pandemic cooking

Having a local source of great spices, I’m not talking about the pre-packaged kind in the supermarket, but fresher and specially blended spices, is a great aid in coming up with fun dinner options, even during this pandemic.

In the Chicago area, we have The Spice House, which has a variety of blends, including an entire section of salt-free mixtures for people like me trying to cut salt from our diets.

Salt-free spices are a must-have for any kitchen.
Salt-free spices are a must-have for any kitchen.

If you don’t have such a place, you can get creative and make your own blends. Here are a few from The Spice House to get you started. How much of each you blend is the art of it, experiment and see what works for you and the people at your table. Continue reading “Some spice blending tips to spice up your pandemic cooking”

How about eating that freezer-burned food? Yes and no

With everyone stocking their freezers during the pandemic, it’s likely whatever ends up at the bottom or back of your freezer will develop freezer burn. You know, that look, a frosty layer and a bit of discoloration.

Is such food still edible? Mostly yes but sometimes no, according to a recent piece on CookingLight.,com.

What do you do with freezer-burned food like this?

” USDA officials say that any meat affected by freezer burn is safe to eat. While your steak may taste a little ‘off,’ you won’t actually be at any greater risk for foodborne illness,” the article states. 

But don’t let freezer burned meats defrost on a counter and check the packaging.

“You should never leave freezer-burned meat out on a counter for an extended period of time. Bacteria can grow rapidly, thanks to the melting ice that has formed on the exterior of the meat (rather than on the interior, which can preserve the meat for longer periods of time). Continue reading “How about eating that freezer-burned food? Yes and no”

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