Monday, December 30, 2013

Boldly Healthy Christmas Dinner Earns Praise, Second Helpings

They ate my thoughtfully planned, carefully crafted, boldly healthy dinner, and they enjoyed it. Really enjoyed it, believe it or not. 

"They" are my immediate family... four adult children, one fiance, and my husband of twenty-something years. 

The dinner in question was Christmas dinner, a few days ago. My family invariably enjoys my meals, as I'm an experienced and fairly imaginative cook. In our home, meals are meant to be enjoyed, not endured. And my Yuletide fare is a special feast. 

This year's Christmas dinner, though, was different. Experimental, sort of.  It was vegetarian. (Well, except for the Boar's Head ham on the side, for those who just couldn't hack a meatless holiday.)

Yup, I boldly ventured where few middle-class baby-boomer cooks tread on indulgent foodcentric holidays... vegetarian!   Here was my scrumptious Christmas 2013 menu:
  • Penne pasta with elegant tomato-parsley sauce, Marcella Hazan rustic-style
  • Organic carrots, sauteed in butter, kissed with cinnamon
  • Organic greeen beans, sauteed in olive oil and soy, sprinkled with sesame seeds
  • Organic applesauce, spiced with light brown sugar, cinnamon
  • Asiago-rosemary rolls (source: Trader Joe's)
  • And yes, a Boar's Head ham, unglazed, succulent in its own juices
  • San Pellegrino water, fruit juices
All dishes and elements were homemade, except for the pasta (and except as noted). All produce was selected from our weekly CSA carton delivery, except vine-ripened tomatoes from Sprouts.   

As a delightful result, our family Christmas spread was healthy, low fat, largely devoid of dairy, and not loaded with carbs, salt, or sugar. 

I heard nothing but compliments on taste and that requisite feeling of satisfaction.  Eating was hearty, and second helpings were scooped up by all. To several of us, it was a revelation that a holiday meal could quench our appetites, yet not leave our bellies uncomfortably stuffed.  (I confess that three of us seven, including me, also sampled the ham. It, too, was delicious.)  

Would I serve vegetarian again at Christmas? Absolutely, although the group tentatively approved next year's theme to be Mexican cuisine.    

Would I again serve a Christmas meal that was healthy, low fat,  minimal dairy, and not saturated with carbs, salt, and sugar? Absolutely.  

In fact, consider it a new White family tradition. It feels terrific to grasp that we can genuinely enjoy holiday meals, without our table groaning with 2,000-calorie meals so typical in American homes. 

Yes, they ate my thoughtfully planned, carefully crafted, boldly healthy dinner, and they enjoyed it. Really enjoyed it. I am proud and pleased

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

FDA Blackballs Top Food, Clean Water Activist Group

Consider Food & Water Watch as you ponder year-end giving to worthy organizations. Put Food & Water Watch at the top of your giving list for two main reasons:

First, FFW is perhaps the most effective and prolific organization in working "to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainably produced" both in the U.S. and around the world.  

Second, the FDA is apparently blackballing FFW, in a strong-armed attempt to intimidate and silence this "non-profit organization that advocates for common sense policies that will result in healthy, safe food and access to safe and affordable drinking water."

Through info research  and dissemination, an authoritative website, events, media coverage, and protests, in addition to "tens of thousands" of petitions and comments filed with the FDA yearly, FFW is involved in dozens of vital issues, including...

  • Food safety, including factory farming
  • Food and water justice
  • Groundwater protection, including fracking
  • Water conservation
  • Water privatization, including bottled water
  • Federal budgeting
  • Consumer food labels, including GMOs
  • Congressional Farm Bill legislation
  • Climate change
Seems the FDA chafes at watchdog FFW's vigilance  at protecting the public and public health. And FDA brass have apparently taken action to blunt FFW's influence and access... 

Reported FFW yesterday:

"Last week, a representative from the USDA’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Office informed Food & Water Watch staff that its invitation to participate in a USDA event featuring CFC registered organizations had been cancelled. The representative stated in an email on December 5, 'I regret to inform you that I’ve been notified your organization has not been approved for entrance into USDA to attend the USDA-CFC event on December 10, 2013.  I do not have specific information on the reason approval was not granted...'
"This email denial came two weeks after Food & Water Watch staff members were turned away from an earlier CFC event at the USDA on November 20, 2013 when an agency guard insisted the organization was not on the confirmed list for the event, contrary to an email confirmation Food & Water Watch received from the event organizer on November 12, 2013. 
Food & Water Watch staff has attended multiple CFC fairs over the past several years without incident. The CFC is the Federal Government’s workplace giving program that encourages federal employees’ charitable giving...  Despite inquiries, Food & Water Watch has yet to receive any further information from the USDA as to why the organization was refused entry to this charity-related event."
Is the FDA attempting to...
  • Limit contributions given by federal employees to support FFW?
  • Inhibit FFW access to FDA resources and decision-makers?
  • Deter FFW investigations?
  • Curtail FFW activism and advocacy?
  • Suppress FFW's free speech rights?
  • All of the above?
The terrific news is that Food & Water Watch is clearly putting strong pressure on the FDA to protect  public health over corporate profits... or the FDA wouldn't push back, or push so hard, against FFW. 

The FDA should know better: FFW is not going away. Far from it. 

"Clearly, we are a thorn in the USDA’s side. But to block us from entry to this event by denying our security clearance is not only bogus—it’s intimidation. But we won’t be intimidated,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director. “We’ll continue to force the USDA to do its job to protect consumers, not corporate profits.”
Show the FDA that you support the causes of safe food, clean water, and food and water fairness.   
 I ask that you consider Food & Water Watch as you ponder year-end giving to worthy organizations. Click HERE to donate to Food & Water Watch. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

About Waffles, Fried Chicken and Freedom of Food Choice

I ordered a fried chicken and waffle plate last weekend at a local cafe. The trendy entree was on the eatery's Fall Special Menu, and it was luscious... a smallish round waffle with warmed maple syrup, and a freshly fried chicken leg and thigh. 

Most of my meals these days are what friends would call healthy: Greek yogurt, whole-grain granola and seasonal fruit for breakfast; salads for lunch; and dinners filled with veggies, whole-wheat pastas, homemade soups.  Not much bread. Often an apple for dessert.  Coffee and water to drink. No soft drinks.  Vegetarian days are not unusual. 

I feel better when I eat this way... and frankly, feel lousy when I've eaten greasy, dense, sugary, or carb-heavy foods.  But oh boy, once in a while, an indulgent dish such as The Filling Station's fried chicken and waffle plate satisfies to a full, pleased smile.  

I tell you this to clarify the mission of my blog: I don't directly eat for health. I eat to feel good, and to savor the experience of delicious food.  And I don't believe that scolding or nagging others ever leads to healthier eating habits. Ever. That's simply not human nature! is not a health site. Nor is it an animal rights advocacy site. is a food policy and investigation site.  I fervently believe that all people in free societies have a right to full facts about the foods they choose to ingest... origins, added ingredients, cleanliness, age, and processing, handling and storage protocols and realities.  

The goal of is to inform and surprise you, the reader, with info about:
  • food commonly consumed  in the U.S. and around the world;
  • how today's food supply affects public health; 
  • how government food policies affect or could affect your home;  
  • how food you eat affects how you feel, and ultimately how it affects your and your loved ones' health and longevity.  
You see, I believe that we should have enough information to make well-informed choices about food.   The federal government and mega-corporations should NOT be making those choices for us, and should NOT be allowed to cleverly obscure or hide accurate, understandable, relevant info from consumers.  

Sadly, the FDA in the 21st century acts far more interested in protecting corporate profits (and political donors) than the health and welfare of Americans. And industrial food mega-corporations are interested in only one goal: profits. Period. Your health matters naught to most fake-food makers and purveyors.  

I believe that every American has the right to the real, old-fashioned food enjoyed by our grandparents and ancestors: food unadulterated by chemicals, additives, cheap fillers, artificial flavors, colors, and taste enhancers, or genetic engineering. 

And every American has the equal right to indulge in fast, fried, and highly processed foods, and anything and everything legal and non-poisonous.  

Indeed, everyone has the delightful right to feast on a fried chicken and waffle plate, at their whim.  

So please, don't mistake for a health site. Think of this pet project of mine as a site that advocates for transparency in all things related to food. And respects your right to make your own choice.