Eat all of the things!

I'm sure everyone has heard a lot of buzz about the terrible crimes you are committing by eating animal protein. Saturated Fat, Diabetes, Carcinogens, Heart Disease, Environmental Pollution and Animal Cruelty. 

While not all "scientific" studies can be 100% conclusive, there is strong evidence to indicate incorporating more plants and less animals into the American diet is extremely beneficial. 

According to the Mayo Clinic there are many benefits to incorporating more plant based meals into the weekly routine.

"A plant-based diet, which emphasizes fruits and vegetables, grains, beans and legumes, and nuts, is rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. And people who eat only plant-based foods — aka vegetarians — generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than non-vegetarians do."

There is also the added benefit of cost savings. Compared with eating animals, especially animals which are being raised responsibly and sustainable, plants like whole grains, legumes and vegetables are far less expensive.  For example you will pay upwards of $10/pound for Grass-fed ground beef. A pound of Organic whole grain Millet is a mere $1.50/pound. Millet contains all of the amino acids necessary to form a complete protein. 

We are in no way peer pressuring the general public to stop consuming your favorite grilled pork chops, marinated chicken breast or juicy steak. We do want to challenge you to try one or two meals a week without the oinks, moo's or clucks. Below are a few tips to get you started.

Our favorite method for incorporating grains, legumes and veggies is the hot mess bowl. The hot mess bowl is when you take everything in your fridge and cook it up, throw it together and enjoy.

There are no rules for this method, just pick your favorite flavors and throw em together. Some of the best combinations are:

Southwest Bowl= red quinoa, black beans, corn, red bell pepper, cilantro, avocado, your favorite hot sauce

Asian Bowl= millet, shelled edamame, broccoli, carrot, ginger, kimchi

Breakfast Bowl= mashed sweet potato, tempeh bacon, tomato, green onion, salsa verde

Tabbouleh Bowl= pearl barley, cucumber, tomato, mint, hummus, toasted walnuts, pickled cabbage

Once again there are no rules! Vegetables taste good! Experiment, make it your own, top it with all your favorite things! Send us pics! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genevieve
Do Good, Feel Good
active commute.jpg

This week is Active Commuter's Week! Everyone is encouraged to use an alternative mode of transportation to help reduce the number of cars on the road and to get people moving in their daily lives! This got me to thinking about the other ways doing good things for ourselves (being more active) equals an equally good thing for the world (reduced carbon emissions from cars). 

Here are a couple examples of ways we can begin to create our healthier selves and in turn create a healthier world! 

 

Buy and eat local food! When you shop at your local farmer's market or buy produce labeled "local" in the stores you are creating a more closed loop food system. The benefits are many including

- local food tends to be more nutritious. Fruits and Veggies start to lose their nutritional value as soon as they are harvested. If you are buying tomatoes from Michigan harvested yesterday versus tomatoes from California harvested 5 days ago the Michigan tomatoes win the nutritional contest. And you win all those extra vitamins and minerals!

- money spent locally stays local. Around 62% of every dollar spent at a locally owned store or producer stays local. 

- local food doesn't travel as far using less "food miles". Food miles is the term used to describe how much fuel is used to get our fruits, veggies and meat to our stores and homes. The less food miles we use the less carbon emissions are released into the atmosphere. 

Another way to help yourself and the world is to buy foods labeled "Organically Grown" or grown using "Organic Practices" 

- there has been a lot of recent controversy surrounding the word "organic".  Many people believe if something is labeled "certified organic" it is automatically better than the alternative. This is not always true. Many commercial organic companies still use organic "pesticides" which may harm the balance of nature. Talk to your farmers! Ask what their practices are. Many farms use organic practices without being certified (certification is very expensive). 

- eating organic produce can be more nutritious. When pesticides are used they deplete the naturally occurring minerals in the soil. This deprives the plant from consuming those minerals and passing them on to you through the edible portion of the plant. 

- buying organic can also help the environment, protecting nearby wildlife from unrecognizable sprays and fertilizers and preventing runoff of these poisons into our water sources. 

- use your dollars spent on food to increase the demand for sustainable meat and produce.  The supply of good food will increase with the food dollars spent on these items. 

There are many ways to do good for you and in turn do good for the world. Consider these other ways to make an impact...

-take a cold shower. Shown to decrease the size of your pores and seal your hair follicles against damage, this method also saves a ton of household energy from being used.

- grow your own food. Planting a house hold garden will save you money. Plants ingest CO2 decreasing the amount of carbon released into our atmosphere. Plant soil has also been shown to contain mood enhancers.....get your hand dirty!

Feel free to comment with other ways you or your family are making an impact!!!

 

 

 

 

 

GenevieveComment
Keeping it "REAL"

Lifefuel is one of the many food companies using the word "real" to describe our food. We like this word because it makes us picture vegetables being harvested from the soil, fruit being plucked from the trees and animals roaming the pastures. You should be able to easily picture where your food came from. This is what real means to us.

 

Like many words and terms used in the food industry, "real" doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. Let's talk about how food labeling can be both helpful and extremely misleading. 

The FDA does regulate certain food labeling standards to make it simpler for consumers to spot the products they are looking for and avoid unwanted products. A good example of this is the recent mandate for soda companies to list calorie and sugar content on the front label of their cans. This could help many people avoid unnecessary intake of empty calories. Some other terms are a little less helpful. My favorite example is when a product says "reduced fat" or "reduced calorie" or "reduced whatever". This term only means it is 25% less than the original. The problem is there doesn't have to an original version. Confused? For example there can be a reduced fat version of lemon sugar cookies but if you look around there is no non-reduced fat version of said cookies! What?! That is RE-diculous! How do you know they are any better for you?

Here is a helpful list to help you navigate those grocery store aisles with confidence. 

Low Fat- must be 3g or less of fat.

Reduced Fat- total BS

Low Sodium- less than 35mg per 100g or food

Natural- means absolutely nothing

Fresh- BS, ever seen the term fresh frozen...what?!

Gluten-free- this is a really good one because even products which do not contain gluten but are produced in facilities which process wheat, rye or barley can not carry this label

Light- there are about 15 different regulations regarding this word and they are all completely contradictory. Check it out HERE

Healthy- same as light

There are a lot more but my eyes are blurring from trying to read tiny rules and regulations on the FDA official site for food labeling. Sorry guys.

We recommend you stick to the produce and meat sections of the store where food looks like food, ya know the "real" stuff. 

Genevieve
French Fries are Vegetables, Right?

"Twenty-five percent of the vegetables consumed by Americans are french fries" -according to Dr. Susan M. Krebs-Smith, author of a study in the journal Cancer.

I first saw this statement in a book I was reading several months ago and it floored me! I think I told everyone I came into contact with over the next several days about this shocking statistic. But when I really thought about it maybe it wasn't so outrageous.  I had an extremely difficult time thinking of a restaurant that didn't offer french fries as a side if not the standard side for their entrees. 

Many Americans are actually eating more vegetables compared to Americans in the 1970's but as always it comes down to quality not quantity.  So what can we do to increase our veggie intake but still fill our obvious french fry obsession? My solution: veggie fries!

We tried several different variations using everything from carrots to zucchini, baking instead of frying. Here are a couple favorites.

Rutabaga Fries- These were by far my favorite as they maintained the satisfying starchy quality potatoes have but with a more complex slightly peppery flavor. We kept it simple with just a coating of olive, salt & pepper and baked them in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 min turning them half way.  (We serve these with our very popular Salmon Cakes).

Sweet Potato Fries- This variety is a little more familiar to the french fry lovers of the world but we spiced ours with a little cayenne before baking to cut down the sweetness and make them irresistible. 

Parsnip Fries- If you are not familiar with parsnip they are in the carrot family and have a less sweet flavor then their orange counterpart. They also stayed a little crispier than the carrots we tried. We did olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary on our parsnip fries although roasted garlic would be just as delicious. 

Fries we tried but didn't love: Carrot, Beet and Zucchini. 

Whether you are trying to quiet the french fry loving children in your life or just need a treat without the guilt, veggie fries are the answer. Enjoy!

 

 

The G-Word

Alright we are going to talk about that very bad, naughty, nasty word that everyone is buzzing over......GLUTEN! 

Hopefully some of you have seen "This is the End" starring Seth Rogen. They pretty much sum up what most Americans know about Gluten.

 

Jay (Baruchel): You have no idea what gluten is.

Seth (Rogen): I do know what gluten is. Gluten is a vague term. It’s something that’s used to categorize things that are bad. You know, calories, that’s a gluten. Fat, that’s a gluten.

Jay: Somebody just probably told you that you shouldn’t eat gluten and you’re like “oh well gee I guess I shouldn’t eat gluten.”

Seth: Gluten means bad sh** man, and I’m not eating it.

Seth is not wrong. For some people Gluten does mean bad s**t. People with Celiac Disease (their bodies cannot process gluten and can cause anything from stomach aches to migraines) or people with serious gluten intolerance.  These people should not consume Gluten even in small amounts. 

But let's not get ahead of ourselves...what is Gluten? Wikipedia says "Gluten is a composite of storage proteins termed prolamins and glutelins found in wheat and related grains, including barley, rye, oat, and all their species and hybrids. Gluten is appreciated for its viscoelastic properties."

Yawn right? 
Basically if you need to avoid gluten don't consume items containing wheat, rye or barley. Oats are gluten free but many are processed within facilities that process wheat so make sure you look for oats labeled "gluten-free". 

Now that we have all that covered let's talk about why the Gluten-free diet is blowing up in your face. 

Let's look at this logically. The average American is consuming a lot of food products that are not recognizable as actual food. Fast food, processed foods, processed wheat products, all contributing a lot of our calorie intake and all containing Gluten.

So someone decides to try a Gluten-free diet, they really have to start looking at what they are putting in their bodies. This means no more McDonald's, no more Wonder Bread, no more Oreo's and certainly no more Cool Ranch Doritos. It is no wonder they feel better after eliminating these "food" products from their diet. 

This article is not in any way attempting to be discouraging to those who have tried any elimination diet and found success. We are firm believers in eating what makes you feel like the best version of you. However if you have not been diagnosed with Celiac or Gluten Intolerance we encourage you to try some things we love.  

 

Sprouted Grains, many artisan bread companies and some tortilla companies have started using sprouted grains.  These grains are soaked and left to sprout. They tend to be easier for people to digest. 

Whole Grains or high fiber grains; barley, wheat berries, wheat bran, whole wheat cous-cous. Grains containing high amounts of fiber actually help with your digestive regularity and can provide a significant amount of protein. 

In conclusion do what makes you feel good. We just can't imagine making our sandwiches with a lettuce bun!!

 

 

 

 

Become a Kitchen Bad A** #1

Look for this title anytime you want simple tips to impress your family and satisfy your tummy all while nourishing your body!

Below are a couple simple formulas to step up your protein game and pack that old boring chicken breast with bold new flavor!

Let's talk marinades. There are three components every marinade needs; Acid (this helps break down the protein and tenderize your meat or seafood), Fat (a small amount of fat will help distribute your marinade and coat your protein), and Seasoning (something sweet or salty or spicy, whatever you're into).

Examples:

Acid: vinegar, citrus, pineapple, dijon mustard (contains vinegar), wine

Fat: olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, avocado oil, etc

Seasoning (some of our favorites): tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), sriracha, maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, cayenne, fresh herbs, garlic, ginger, this list can go on and on

Our favorite simple marinade:

Equal Parts: Balsamic Vinegar, Olive oil, Maple Syrup, Dijon Mustard and Garlic

Shake together in a jar or whisk until combined. We like to use a ziploc bag to toss the protein and marinade. Refrigerate at least 2 hours up to 24 hours. This marinade is great for pork, chicken, beef or tempeh!

*Bonus Lifefuel favorite!!! Equal Parts: Powdered Peanut Butter, Sriracha & Olive Oil. This is used on our Sriracha Peanut Chicken!

Be sure to experiment with different combinations to make your new favorite and don't be afraid to substitute. Don't have balsamic vinegar? Use red wine vinegar! Don't have maple syrup? Try agave!

Hope you enjoyed this post, now get in that kitchen and show off!