Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dilemmas: "Brunch"

As I've been spending some time thinking about the food I eat, I figured it would be fun to deconstruct a meal and really try to trace it back to the earth. It seemed like a good idea to start simple, so I picked todays "brunch": Eggs, salad, and toast.

Now I would rate this as a fairly healthy meal: I scramble the egg whites in a little Pam or butter, and dress the salad with a tsp of olive oil and splash of vinegar. According to weight watchers, this is only 3 points worth of food. Also, thanks to the protein-veg-carb combo, it feels nice and balanced. That's always my favorite way to eat, and meals just feel better when I have one of each on my plate.

I started my deconstruction with the salad. The lettuce is earthbound farms, so organic, but not so eco-friendly, as it is shipped from the west coast, just like the tomatoes I put in as well. Roasted red peppers from a jar, a little salt and pepper, pinch of italian seasoning, a tsp of organic olive oil I brought back from italy, and a little balsamic vinegar rounded it out. So far, its been relatively easy to trace my food to its source. And all these foods, upon label inspection, contain only recognizable ingredients (For example, vinegar in the roast red pepper jar). I can handle that.

Then, a little water with a piece of that california lemon- so far, I'm a real gas guzzler, but nutritionally, this is headed in the right direction. And NYC water... well, god only knows that ingredient list.

I'm now thinking I need some protein, so I reach for nellie's eggs, the cage-free range-roamin' brown hens. Nellie is from new hampshire, so a little better than her west coast produce friends. I have to admit, her eggs really are different. I notice that the yolks are a really nice bright yellow, and they are somehow stiffer than a regular egg- I'm guessing its the omega 3 and vitamins in her healthy diet? And the whites fluffed up like nobody's business in my scrambled eggs. So I am digging nellie. And nellie is again, easily traced back to her corn, grain, and grass diet, on a real farm, run by a real family. Cool.

This is the end of the good news. I love hot sauce on my eggs, so a little pinch of red devil, which when I read the label- I am shocked to find contains corn, under the disguise of xanthan gum (the yellow devil?). Now why in gods name do I need some chemical corn in my hot sauce?That's lame. So in attempting to trace my hot sauce to the earth..I have to work my way backwards through a food processing plant that turns corn into xanthan gum. yuck.

An even worse offender was the bread. My husband looooves white bread. His brand of choice? SUNBEAM. So the other night I thought I'd treat him to his favorite. Now, I knew that this was a bleached flour heathen- but I DIDN'T know there is a disturbing 15 ingredients in my "bread", including High Fructose Corn Syrup as the third on the list... so, my bread needs a little sugar now??? Worse, I can only recognize 3 ingredients as real FOODS: flour, water, and yeast. The rest is a list of chemicals. Most of which are corn-derivatives and preservatives. I think. Ew. Bread with a bonus? Indeed.

I put a little butter on my toast and some blackberry jam from smuckers, which low and behold, has MORE high fructose corn syrup (#2), corn syrup #3, and two preservatives. Yeesh. That's a no. There apparently are actual blackberries in it... and a lot of refined corn....

Now my husband is convinced I have been kidnapped by the food police and brainwashed, but this seemingly simple, straightforward meal is riddled with corn! No wonder obesity and type II diabetes is such a huge issue. We're sneaking carbs and sugars into our hot sauce, bread, and jam. Just doesn't make sense to me.

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