Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

Cavities! Oh no! June 17, 2011

Filed under: Food For Thought — realfoodmama @ 1:29 pm
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I have cavities?!

So in a routine dental visit this month we discovered that my three year old has some problems with his teeth. FOUR cavities! I have been trying to keep his diet as close to my ideal as possible, but given that I am not the only person who feeds him, this hasn’t always been possible. On top of that, I have not always been as firm about sugar as I probably should have been. I consider natural sugars (things like honey and pure maple syrup) less harmful in general due to their other nutritional content, however he still probably gets too much. So after some internal struggles (which involved a certain amount of self-flagellation) I have decided that I probably need to stick to my guns better than I have been.

The real problem that I am having is that I am doing so many things RIGHT. Raw milk, lots of butter and high fat, high vitamin foods. Liver regularly. So the thing I have concluded is that it is the sugar and (duh moment here) the flour products. We eat a lot of bread – home made, fermented even, but it is still there. I am just frustrated I think because this is something that I feel like I was doing right and now I find out that my efforts, though good, may not be enough! His father – sorry babe 😉 – has terrible teeth and while we have always kind of assumed it was dietary (sugar, sugar, sugar) I am beginning now to think it is hereditary since the kiddo seems to be suffering from similar issues and his diet is significantly better than his father’s was at the same age.

Regardless, there will be some changes and I will renew my efforts to eliminate those things from his diet of which I know he eats too much. And luckily the trip to the dentist was painless – no screaming, no crying, no trauma. But I am determined to keep it from happening again and am hopeful that this can be accomplished.

Have any of you combated tooth decay successfully using diet alone? I’d be curious to hear your stories!

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Meet dinner! May 16, 2010

Filed under: Animal Husbandry,Eating local,Events,Food For Thought — realfoodmama @ 8:15 pm
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Mo the steerThis is a picture of my new steer – he’s the one looking at the camera. Yes, I officially own a cow.

Of course I don’t have to feed him or take care of him or even see him until he’s been ground up and put in my freezer. Yes, readers, I came face to face with my dinner. And it smelled a little.

This weekend I drove for about two hours, over 15 miles of bad forest service dirt road in order to arrive at a ranch located in what most people would consider the back of beyond in order to pick out my own Black Angus beef. My steer will graze exclusively on the grasses and shrubs of the New Mexican desert until the end of October, at which point his delicious self will be butchered and packaged to order for myself and my family. And then he will be dinner.

I admit to being surprisingly unfazed by the whole experience, but that may have a lot to do with my upbringing. My father hunted when I was young and our family friends would slaughter hogs every year. I frequently saw the progression from animal to food and I have always made the connection in my mind between the roast chicken I’m eating and the clucking bird in the yard. It has never bothered me and I am hopeful that my son will feel the same.

Because his father decidedly does NOT. It took some serious begging in order to get him to even come along on the adventure and he has yet to look at the picture of the cow I selected. Of course he’s the person who eats the most meat in the house and regularly asks for steak, but such is life. Admittedly watching them being castrated, branded and tagged wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience, but, no offense to any cow lovers out there, they don’t have much of a long term memory. And they all ran off happily afterward, so I am pretty sure they will survive.

I certainly hope that my cow has a happy life up there on the mesa’s, running around and playing with his other cow friends. I suspect when it comes down to it, he won’t know what hit him.

 

Food For Thought Tuesday March 16, 2010

Filed under: Food For Thought — realfoodmama @ 1:45 pm
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Apologies to those of you who may have been looking for this post last week. Things have been crazy here and I just dropped the ball.

That being said, however, I have a number of interesting things to talk about this week in an attempt to make up for it!

First of all, everyone should check out the current “Dirty Dozen” list, as well as the “Clean Fifteen” list here. The first is a list of the most contaminated conventional fruits and vegetables. The second is, alternatively, the cleanest or least sprayed conventional crops. If you are new to organics this is a huge help as it allows you to prioritize!

Santa Fe has a Farm to Restaurant project and a Farm to Table project, but have you heard of the Farm to School project? Check out the web site to see if there are any participating communities near you! http://www.farmtoschool.org/

More news about school lunches – the growth of a small lunch provider who insists on using organic and even local ingredients as well as nixing HFCS and artificial flavors and colors. While the article about the company, called “Revolutions” was fascinating, I was more than a little appalled by this excerpt:

Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says she’s slightly concerned with Revolution’s insistence on natural, local ingredients.

“You can have full-fat cheese from a local farmer, and it’s still going to clog your arteries and give you heart disease,” she says. “Having the food be natural is nice, but a bigger threat to children’s health is making sure that there’s not too much salt and not too much saturated fat.”

Banishing high-fructose corn syrup, Wootan says, is “a waste of time and money” – better to limit children’s total sugar intake. As for hormone-free milk, she says, most milk is hormone-free. “And if it isn’t, it’s not a health problem.”

Seriously Mrs. Wootan? It makes me wonder whose payroll these people are really on! For one thing I’m not sure that most milk is hormone free at this point, and as for the rest…well, I think the verdict is still out on whether or not it is harmful.

For the local readers, I urge you all to check out the new Santa Fe Alliance web site. It has been completely revamped and, if I may be so bold, looks so much better! Take a look at www.santafealliance.com.

Lastly, I highly recommend everyone check out this video, a well illustrated short about how the established global food market starves the poor. Interesting to say the least.

Happy Eating!

 

Food For Thought Tuesday – 3/2 March 2, 2010

Filed under: Food For Thought — realfoodmama @ 11:25 am
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This week has been spent doing a lot of work around the barn. It feels like spring, even though there is still snow on the ground and it’s hardly warm out.

We are awaiting our kids. One of my girls is pregnant and due within the month so there have been some additions made to the existing pen and we are getting ready to receive the little goats. Also, we have ordered our chicks and will have to make them a nice warm roost until they are big enough to survive the cold weather. Keeping them at 90 degrees may prove impossible, but we are going to get creative since they will be arriving at the end of March.

I also planted my first seeds of the year. I am trying to start my tomato plants from scratch, so to speak, and currently have 20 little pots sitting above the heater in my bed room. 10 Black Krim’s and 10 Red Brandywines. Hopefully they will all sprout soon!

That has been my week, but in the larger world of food, there are a few interesting stories.

The comment period regarding approval of Monsanto’s Round-up Ready Alfalfa ends tomorrow, March 3. This is another GE crop who’s cultivation could have broad sweeping impacts on organic dairy. If you haven’t already, please let the USDA know you are opposed to the approval of this crop! To submit your comment, go here.

Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef, is doing a new reality show here in the states. What does he tackle? The American school lunch program. Check out the video’s on youtube…simply search Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and watch the previews. Pretty terrifying stuff – especially the scene where a room full of first graders couldn’t identify a tomato. While I look forward to seeing this, mostly because I am curious about how the school lunch program really works, I am wondering if Jamie won’t just rehash the whole “fat free everything” mantra that pervades American “health food”. We shall see however. The first episode airs March 26 on ABC.

Lastly, for those of you local readers, this week is Santa Fe’s inaugural Restaurant Week. The City Dipherent’s favorite restaurants are offering prix fixe meals for two at special prices. This is a great way to sample some of the best restaurants in town without spending an arm and a leg. For more details, go here to see which restaurants are participating and how much their menu’s are running.

Until next week, Happy Eating and Reading!

 

Food For Thought – 2/23 February 23, 2010

Filed under: Food For Thought — realfoodmama @ 11:06 am
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There are some interesting things going on in food this week!

While at the dentists office waiting for my son’s father to get out from under the drill, I saw a full page ad in one of the magazines for Eco-Grain bread. Having recently read this article from the Cornucopia Institute about Sara Lee’s attempts to hoodwink the consumer, I was fascinated by the fact-less marketing speak utilized in the full page ad.

Phrases like “better than organic” and “sustainable” are sprinkled throughout the full page ad, luring the consumer in. Not only is the bread full of chemical additives and highly processed foods, but the whole idea of trade-marking a phrase like Eco-Grain just grates on my nerves. I simply don’t understand how food can be deemed intellectual property.

A second example of corporate participation in the overall movement toward better food involves mega-corporation Walmart. A recent article at Grist.org discussed whether or not Walmart was the future of local food, and it appears that there is a large push to increase their organic lines. Additionally, Walmart is touting this article found in The Atlantic as evidence that the corporation is saving people from food deserts. We shall see…having visited my local Walmart recently in order to pick up a post dental surgery prescription, I have to say I am not impressed. Perhaps it is my inherent cynicism or maybe it is just my local store, but if I am going to spend $6.00 on a gallon of organic milk, I want my money going to someone other than a multi-national conglomerate known for their poor employee treatment, low wages and general icki-ness.

On that note, lets talk about some GMO’s! There seems to be some evidence that Monsanto falsified research (shocker!) and might even have concerns for the safety of it’s product – namely a second generation GM corn crop. For more information and a discussion on the details, check out this article.

And lastly, a somewhat more positive piece of news. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund has decided to support Raw Milk enthusiasts by taking on the FDA’s refusal to budge on laws against bringing raw milk across state lines. Check out the article and the author’s blog about raw milk.

Hopefully all of this will give you something to ruminate on for the week! Until next time, Happy Eating!

 

Food For Thought Tuesday – 2/16 February 16, 2010

Filed under: Food For Thought — realfoodmama @ 11:39 am
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This week there are some great things going on locally including a heritage meat tasting event hosted by Slow Food Santa Fe and taking place at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market pavilion. Additionally the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference is taking place this weekend. All growers, sellers and buyers are encouraged to attend!

Concerning large scale operations there was also some news this week. I don’t usually watch mainstream media, but this last week CBS highlighted the dangers of routine antibiotic use in animals. Unfortunately the woman representing the pork board is clearly on the payroll of the drug companies. And the farmers are concerned only about profit. It is an eye opening interview, although I’m not sure anyone involved realizes the message they are really conveying. Additionally, the USDA released new organic dairy regulations. While most seem to be pretty happy that there are stricter rules, some organic dairy’s, including Strauss Farms, were not pleased.

For all of you New Mexico readers, the state senate has passed the food tax bill, although no one is sure if it will pass house approval. The main reason I am following this story is because the tax, apparently, applies only to things like candy, soda, processed foods and, strangely enough, white flour tortillas. Any food that is considered applicable to WIC (the federal Women, Infant’s and Children program) will not be taxed. This includes things like milk, eggs and vegetables – although it also includes peanut butter. We will see if it goes through, but I find it at least a little heartening to learn that the state of NM is trying to encourage its citizens to eat better, even if it means taxing the bad stuff. The only real concern, of course, is the tortilla tax. New Mexican’s eat a lot of tortillas. Check this article out for more info on the two sides of the debate.

Happy Eating!

 

Food for Thought Tuesday – 2/9 February 9, 2010

Filed under: Food For Thought — realfoodmama @ 10:10 am
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I have decided that given how many links I post on various social networking sites, and how much reading I do throughout the week, that I should really try to consolidate all that information into a weekly post so that my readers who aren’t on Facebook or Twitter can get all that info! Additionally, it might be nice to have a single “go-to” spot for this stuff so that it is all in one place. I know I certainly appreciate that!

Of particular interest this week to me was this article from the Cornucopia Institute about “raw” almonds. Apparently the USDA requires a “pasteurization” type treatment of raw almonds utilizing either high heat or a chemical application. The biggest concerns, according to the article, include the effect this is having on small scale farmers as well as the labeling issue – almonds treated this way can still be sold as “raw”! Now I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned if you treat something with “high heat”…you’ve cooked it!

I also learned this week that the NAIS (National Animal Identification System) legislation is undergoing a re-write. During consideration, the USDA went on a nation wide “listening tour” where they heard input from farmers across the country. The feedback really helped and made it clear to the legislators that the NAIS was not popular in it’s current form. Some of the key changes? It would only apply to livestock moving across state lines and the States and Tribal Nations would have a much broader say in regional enforcement. For more information check out the USDA news release. This is great news for anyone with a few chickens or goats in their yard!

Have you seen this? A teacher is eating school lunches every day in 2010 (barring her days off of course). If you’ve ever wanted a close up look at the school lunch program in this country, here is your chance. It’s pretty grim!

Check out my blog tomorrow for a wonderful beef stew recipe – I was experimenting last night and ended up with the best stew I’ve ever made! Until then, Happy Eating!