Sunday, November 28, 2010

At Least the Chili Was a Winner

As the weather gets colder, football season takes over our little apartment. We are hard up on our luck though. I’m a Buffalo native so I haven’t been excited to watch since the early nineties. Now that we are living in Seattle, I have been giving the Seahawks a try to no avail. We aren’t that impressed on Saturdays either with the Cougs or the Huskies. Oh well, at least we can eat chili and that is what we are going to do today. Everyone has their “secret ingredient” when it comes to chili. Some people use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, other use chocolate, cinnamon, or Guinness. These are all delicious ingredients, but you heard it here first, I am going to let you in on my secret ingredient. Beef. Okay I know that you are disappointed to hear that, you already knew beef, duh! Well read on…

Grass fed beef is definitely where it is at, and it is the ONLY kind of beef that we eat in our house. See, cows are grazers. They like to roam about in an open field and munch on grass and that is what they are meant to do. America eats a lot of beef, as I am sure you know, mostly in the form of a patty that they pick up at one drive through or another. In order to increase production to meet the needs of Americans, beef producers crammed bunches of cattle into a small spaces scattered throughout the Midwest and fed them corn, and lots of it. Why you ask? Well another thing that Americans eat a lot of is corn, what is another story in itself, but we have a lot of it. Also, it fattens cattle WAY faster than grass so they can go to slaughter in a matter of months, as supposed to years. The sad part to this story is that corn makes cows sick. Their multiple stomachs aren’t made to digest it, as it ferments in their bellies, giving them bloat and ulcers. Next come the antibiotics to keep their ulcers from becoming infected and making them sicker. Are you grossed out yet?

Aside from the moral dilemma that corn fed beef brings up, it is nutritionally, a nightmare. It is extremely high in saturated fat and causes inflammation in the body, one of the largest contributors to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Grass fed beef, on the other hand is quite the opposite. It is extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lessen inflammation, and lower in saturated fats.

In our house, we are lucky enough to have a rancher in the family. Jon’s dad raises grass fed beef so we get our meat from him. Don’t fret if you don’t know a rancher. Grass fed beef is popping up in all the quality grocery stores and if you visit your local farmer’s market, you are sure to find it. You will definitely pay a little extra for it, but the cows and your body will thank you!

To leave you tempted to eat some delicious and healthy grass fed beef, I have some photos of my homemade chili! Now for some football! Go Hawks!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Stuff the bird, not yourself!

Could it get any better? A day filled with family, friends, and delicious homemade food! You know what I am talking about! Thanksgiving! It’s tomorrow! Hooray! I have very fond memories of Thanksgiving Day in my house growing up. The smells, the tastes, the warmth, the laughter, and the games (I will beat you at Parcheesi some day, Mom!) are all part of the holiday for me.

There is of course, one uncomfortable thing about Thanksgiving. I am sure that you can relate. Sitting at the table, getting in one more bite of turkey because it is so delicious and that is what Thanksgiving is about, right? Eating until you keel over. What gives? This can’t be right. We are celebrating our thanks for the delicious bounty of food we are privileged enough to have…doesn’t that mean that we should appreciate it? How can you possibly appreciate your lovely thanksgiving dinner if you make yourself sick on it? Since when did this become a tradition?

Therefore I present to you, the Thanksgiving challenge. It’s about tuning in to your body. What we call in the nutrition world, listening to your hunger and satiety cues. It’s about eating enough, but not too much, and eating when you are hungry and not eating when you aren’t. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to practice listening to your hunger and satiety cues. It is easy to fill your plate to the brim with all the different options and favorite dishes. Try and be mindful of the fact that all that food on your plate is probably more than you need. Eat slowly and appreciate every bite and all the flavors. When your belly tells you it’s had enough, listen. Put down the fork people! You can always pick it up again later, if you are still hungry. Make it a new tradition to feel well nourished after your Thanksgiving dinner, not over nourished!

Enjoy this Thanksgiving by NOT eating too much. Think of it this way, more leftovers for turkey sandwiches the next day!