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Real food and clean eating

March 4, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
Be prepared for new buzz words in the food world. Real food and clean eating are the newest ways to eat, thanks to a couple of books by author Michael Pollan and a premier magazine by the publishers of Oxygen called Clean Eating. But this magazine isn’t the first and only time I’ve head the term.

Pollan describes all processed food as food-like imitations that look and act like food, but have been processed to the point that there are little nutrients left. In order to make up for this lack of nutrition, food companies, according to Pollan, add synthetic nutrients back in. So what are we eating? Who knows?

Eating real food may be harder than it sounds. Fresh fruit and vegetables is certainly a given. I suppose I should say good-bye to that occasional hot dog, even though the one I had for lunch on Sunday was advertised as being low in fat and heart healthy.

I am not a nutritionist, but even I know that advertising doesn’t necessarily make it so. Take for example the makers of the ant-cold product, Airborne. The product was under some tight scrutiny after a report from a national television program revealed that not only did the product not prevent or cure colds as advertised. As a result, a class action suit was filed against the company, who recently agreed to pay purchasers of the product more than $20 million according to information from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

I know that when I have my garden throughout the summer, I am “eating clean.” Fresh vegetables are always on the menu. Just yesterday I was excited to get 65 seed packets in the mail that I immediately sorted into piles of vegetables, herbs and flowers. Now if only spring were here.

Sunday morning breakfast was a toss up. I really wanted that bowl of oatmeal that I’ve become so addicted to, but thought I should change it up a bit. So I opted for eggs and toast. The eggs were prepared on the griddle with cooking spray and the toast was plain, with no butter, spreads or oils. I used to think I could never eat toast this way, but I find that it was something that really wasn’t difficult to get used to. I’m not saying I will never have butter on my toast again, but at this point, I would rather save my calories for other indulgences.

Lunch was the hot dog in question. As a trade off for the “imitation food” I had it on a whole wheat roll with mustard and the sprouts I’d been growing all week. To round it off, I prepared brussels sprouts with mushrooms and a glass of milk. I also had a banana to make up for the fruit I missed at breakfast.

Dinner was a conglomeration of a lot of things. I sauteed several vegetables in a bit of canola oil, including onions, peppers, mushrooms and carrots, tossed in some whole wheat rotini pasta and some wild salmon. I had about a half portion of what I cooked and saved the rest to take to work for my lunch on Monday. I seasoned the one-dish meal with Italian seasonings, salt and pepper. I also tossed in a bit of flat-leafed parsley and grated some fresh parmesan cheese on top. It was definitely worth all of the vegetable chopping.


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Breakfast: 2 ounces meat; 2 ounces grains; 1 cup milk (not shown); 30 discretionary calories (sugar in morning tea)