Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's not so EGGcellent


This latest round of salmonella infested eggs has me rethinking my choice to eat meat. A recent article in the LA Times detailed (via FDA reports) the disgusting state of the chicken farms from which the ill eggs were derived. I'll let you read the article yourself if you like, but (as maybe the least disturbing detail) I'll share this: There was manure built up as high as 8 feet pushing pit doors open allowing vermon in and chickens out to wander in the crap. It's no wonder the eggs contained salmonella (not to mention the shockingly dirty water used to "clean" the eggs).

I love cured ham. I will never become a vegetarian based on my love for prosciutto. HOWEVER - I do think there is something to be said about being an educated consumer and a humane omnivore. Purchasing eggs from chickens kept in sanitary and healthy living conditionss not only makes you feel good, but it also allows your intestinal tract to function properly. Confused by the varying types of eggs sold in grocery stores? Me too. Definitions follow.

Lesson for the day: 

FREE RANGE or FREE ROAMING:
Producers must demonstrate to the FDA that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside. A vague definition, but none-the-less better than no legal definition at all.

NATURAL:
A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural. The label must explain the use of the term natural (e.g., no added colorings or artificial ingredients; minimally processed.)

CAGE FREE:
A term that appears to have no legal definition for the USDA or FDA. This means that "Cage Free" is up to seller to define (uh-oh).

ORGANIC:
A term that refers to the regulations and standards of the feed fed to the chickens. For eggs to be labeled "organic," the chickens must be fed organic feed (grown without commercial fertilizers or pesticides), and not given hormones or antibiotics. This has nothing to do with how the animals are kept, however.
 
And just for fun, MECHANICALLY SEPARATED MEAT:
A paste-like and batter-like meat product produced by forcing bones with attached edible meat under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue. Can be found in products such as the Slim Jim.

Interested in this topic? I suggest the following reads:

If you haven't already, Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: The Penguin Press, 2006.

Nestle, Marion. Food Politics. Berkeley, CA: The University of California Press, 2007.

A USDA fact sheet on Meat & Poultry Labeling

The FDA's report on the state of the Iowa egg farms

Don't have the time to read? Watch Food Inc., it's free, relatively quick and on-demand on Netflix.

What makes me an expert? I'm not - by any means. But I am getting my Masters in Public Health and I currently work as a Nutritional Policy Advocate. All I'm saying is take the time to know where your food comes from. It might shock you. It definitely shocked me.

Sick of all the questions I am posing? Okay, I'll stop.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A 2 dollar wine that taste like 4

Maybe you've read the Fortune Magazine article on Traders Joe's, or possibly you were  listening this morning to NPR and heard the story covering the story from Fortune Magazine's article on Trader Joe's. Regardless - the best thing I have gotten from all of this story coverage is the following:


If you are a TJ junkie like me, you must agree that this video is genius.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I love Martha Stewart, but...

... does this sound disgusting to anyone else?


"Chicken breasts stay moist when cooked in the microwave on a bed of onion and apple. Ketchup, curry powder, and yogurt make a sweet, mildly spicy, and creamy sauce."


EW. Anyone out there, besides Martha, have a chicken curry recipe to share?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

flower inspiration

I am starting a new section for this blog: wedding inspirations. I find myself looking at life around me to obtain inspiration for planning our wedding day. Share-worthy? Definitely. I want our wedding to have details that personalize the day and make it our own. I don't have a long list of inspiration yet, but here's where I have started:

FLOWERS.


the girly-girl in me loves peonies. 
plus, ruffled petals...ruffled dress - it all fits in.

Have you come to visit us our new(ish) pad yet? If not - you are missing out on our front garden. It is filled with roses, sage, lavender, paperwhites, lemons, sunflowers, succulents, ferns, and three full garden boxes of fruits, vegetables and herbs. This enjoyable garden inspires me:


eden roses will definitely make the bridal bouquet.

mexican sage. i lust for the deep purple.

Our garden, er... I mean, Vince's garden. Caring for this garden is so instinctual for Vince.  Must find clever ways to incorporate gardening into our day!
color, height, shape. what's not to love about these craspedias?

VINO! but even more fun (maybe): the twisty-curls and full green leaves from the vines. details.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I'm currently listening to...

     NPR stations vary greatly from city to city. For example, 
(while still respecting and loving my hometown station) San Diego's KPBS is targeted for a much older audience. Classical music starting at 7pm...? Staying too classy, San Diego. Whereas KCRW, a broadcast of Santa Monica College, is an intelligent, hip, and entertaining station - even past 7pm.

    Potentially my favorite part of the morning (besides morning cuddling and my cup of joe - two separate events) is when KCRW broadcasts "Morning Becomes Eclectic." One morning, while listening at work (yes, I have a job!), I enjoyed the sounds of Luísa Maita.



     Luísa Maita, a 20-something Brazilian,  just released Lero-Lero, an album that is relaxed, yet vibrant. "Lero-Lero reflects Luísa’s personal artistic expression and outlook. With obvious allegiances to Brazilian samba and bossa nova, the songs on Lero-Lero also capture the influences of jazz, pop, soul and electronica. Luísa credits the inspiration for the album to her native city, its neighborhoods and its people."


Listen. Enjoy. Repeat.