Nutrition 101: Eating Local Produce All year

This was an article which I first published more than two years ago. However, I feel this is a timeless topic that bares repeating. You can never go wrong by eating locally grown food. This was a series of articles, which I’ll repost over the course of the next few months. This was actually the second in the series. I decided to post it first this time, because you should always look to your local produce services first. I’ve checked the links, deleted some and added others. Let me know if you have a favorite I’ve missed!

Here is the original article

When I first set out to write an article on purchasing groceries and produce online, I intended it to be just one article. However, upon researching, I discovered four sides of online grocery and produce delivery services: grocery store delivery, produce delivery, meat delivery, and meal delivery. So, I’ve decided to give it the attention it deserves and break it up into four parts. In my last article, I discussed the 1st aspect, grocery store delivery, and listed a wide variety of grocery stores that deliver to your home. Today, we continue on the delivery theme, by discussing the 2nd part, produce delivery.

Vegetables, Onions, Carrots, Beets, Food, Healthy

Since I started this particular blog series, a few people have asked me about buying locally grown produce, especially in the winter time. So, I set out to find online services that deliver directly to you, (Or at least to your town for pick-up).

The term “local” is relative, especially in the winter time. If you live in Northern Minnesota in January, it’s unlikely that you’ll find a farmer anywhere near you that has fresh produce. In a situation like that, sometimes “local” might mean Florida or California. The best thing to do, is to try to purchase produce grown within the country. You want it to travel the fewest miles possible.

That being said, why not just drop on down to the grocery store and buy produce there in the winter time? You certainly can do that. However, make sure to do your homework. Find out where the store’s brand produce is grown (it will most likely be California-and that’s ok.) and only purchase produce grown within the U.S.A., because that’s what is “local” at the moment. (Ask the produce manager, and read labels. Much of the produce in the store comes from Mexico, Central America or even South America-stay away from that).

If you can buy food grown within the U.S.A. at a local grocery store, you might be asking -what’s the benefit to using an online service? That’s a good question. Most of the online “stores” I found are very much like a physical “farmer’s market” only online. You are eliminating the middle man, buying DIRECTLY from the farmer(s), supporting small AMERICAN businesses, and receiving fresher, riper produce. So, just where can you find these “online farmer’s markets?”

The best place to find locally grown produce, other than a farmer’s market, is through a CSA-Community Supported Agriculture. CSA’s became popular 25 years ago, as a way for people to purchase locally grown produce, directly from the farmer. It’s like a farmer’s market, without the market. Unfortunately, unless you live in the warmer, southern climates, the CSA’s would be limited to the growing season, which ends in October, in most cases.

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Here is a quote from Local Harvest:

“Here are the basics (of a CSA): a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.”

To find a CSA near you go to:  http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

For more specific needs, such as fruit or meat, go to: http://www.localharvest.org/store/

Another option for locally grown food, produce, organic products and health food ingredients are food CO-OP’s. What is a CO-OP?

“A co-op is any voluntary organization composed of a group of individuals (or organizations) formed for their mutual (generally, financial) benefit. A familiar example is a group of roommates who rent an apartment together to save money.”

For a full listing of FOOD CO-OP’s for all 50 states go to: http://www.coopdirectory.org/directory.htm

In most cases, the CO-OP will be in the form of a physical grocery store, however, there are also “buying clubs”. A buying club is a group of people who buy food from a CO-OP Distributor.

For a list of a online CO-OP distributors go to: http://www.coopdirectory.org/distributor.htm

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An example of one of these online CO-OP distributors is Azure Standard. You can find them here: https://www.azurestandard.com/. Azure Standard isn’t just produce, they are a full online grocery store. Here’s a short video about their company. They have “drop sites” in almost every state, or you can choose to have it shipped.

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Farm Box Direct– This is a good example of a Buying Club, only on a national scale. FarmBox Direct offers weekly boxes, which change based on what is seasonally available and they deliver nationwide. Here’s a quote from their website, followed by a short video:

“Farmbox Direct delivers the most delicious fruits and veggies to the entire Continential United States. Our mission is to bring you and your family healthy organic & natural produce, and to support our local farmers and community.

Our menu changes weekly according to what’s fresh, local, and in-season. With our service, you get more control of what goes in your box, and you can make up to 5 substitutions in every delivery!”

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Prime Now-Amazon Fresh-Amazon has produce and grocery delivery services available in select cities. See the list below. (UPDATE: Amazon now has a “local/seasonal” section)

Below is a listing of other sites that offer produce delivery services. Most offer nationwide delivery, however, some do charge for shipping.

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Boxed Greens

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Bountiful Baskets

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T.G.L. Organic

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Green People

Hungry Harvest

Hungry Harvest

2020 UPDATE:

“Irregular” produce Delivery

Since this article was first published, a couple of companies have sprung up which sell “irregular” produce directly to your door. The concept behind irregular produce is simple. These companies deliver produce that is misshapen in some way, and not “fit” for grocery stores. In most cases, this produce is cheaper than grocery store prices by up to 30%.
I’ve actually tried this one and I HIGHLY recommend it. In most cases, you’d never know the produce was imperfect. The delivery area is quite limited unfortunately.

Imperfect Foods

“Imperfect Foods was founded in 2015 with a mission to eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone. We offer imperfect (yet delicious) produce, affordable pantry items, and quality eggs and dairy. We deliver them conveniently to our customers’ doorsteps and pride ourselves on offering up to a 30% discount compared to grocery store prices. Our customers can get the healthy, seasonal produce they want alongside the grocery staples they rely on, without having to compromise their budget or values. We’re proving that doing the right thing for the planet doesn’t have to cost more, and that shopping for quality ingredients can support the people and resources that it takes to grow our favorite foods.”
Misfits Market

Misfits Market

“Bring delicious, fresh, and affordable misfit produce to people everywhere and reduce food waste at a scale that creates positive and lasting impact.
Unlike other brands, we aren’t focused just on dense urban areas. We are made to go to every zip code in the states we serve, and be within reach of every household.
We are putting fresh produce that might not check all the boxes for perfection into boxes, and sending it straight to you. Sooner than you’d be able to buy it at a store. For half the price. And most importantly, our location is your location. Whether you’re next door to a fancy grocery store, in the middle of a food desert, or somewhere in between.
Every box of Misfits produce you order benefits farmers, helps prevent food waste, and ultimately helps save our environment. Our rapidly expanding Philadelphia- and New Jersey-based operation rescues produce from regional farms and distributes it throughout the Northeast, South, and Midwest in three business days or less.”

95 Ways to Eat More Veggies – Cooking Light

 

As I’ve said, you really can’t eat too many non-starch veggies. They are so nutrient dense and low in calories that it takes more energy to digest most of them, then the calories they do contain. So don’t be afraid to load up. On that note, here’s a list from Cooking Light on ways to incorporate more into your diet!

For the main article, follow this link: 95 Ways to Eat More Veggies – Cooking Light

What’s Your Nutritional Type? (FREE online quiz & e-cookbook)

As a future holistic nutrition consultant and educator, I am learning that there is no such thing as a “bad diet” or “good diet” for all humanity. What you quickly learn when studying holistic nutrition, is everyone is unique, and what is good for one person, may be incredibly bad for another person. We learn the concept of “biochemical individuality.” Basically what this means is there is no one perfect eating plan for all humans…it means that every human being has a unique food plan and eating style unique to them and their biochemistry.

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So, this leads me to tell you that carbs aren’t bad….fat isn’t bad…Certain body types prefer carbs, while other body types prefer fat and protein,  AND, still other body types like a combination of both.

Obviously, there is much more to it than that, because you need to break it down into micronutrient deficiencies, DNA issues, digestive issues, joint issues….whew, there’s so much involved. Suffice it to say, don’t demonize any of the macronutrients. Your body needs them all in some form or fashion.

On the most basic level, what it comes down to, is which foods YOUR body prefers. Some people do well with Atkins/keto style diets, while other flourish on vegan/vegetarian/high carbohydrate style diets. Nutrition professionals refer to this as your “nutritional type or ID”.

 

What is a nutritional type?

A nutritional type is a way of eating that is unique to the individual, and allows the body to properly metabolize food, and optimize nutrient absorption. Nutrient types are broken down into THREE CATEGORIES:

  1. PROTEIN TYPE – Large amounts of protein and fats, with small amounts of carbs
  2. CARB TYPE – Large amounts of HEALTHY carbs (mostly vegetables) with small amounts of protein and fat.
  3. MIXED TYPE –  Equal amounts of all three. This one is a hybrid of the other two.

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Through research and experience, Dr. Joseph Mercola, and others who use this method, have found approximately equal amounts of people in each group. They’ve also found that protein types tend to get sick more frequently. This is because the standard American diet (SAD) is VERY high in carbohydrates, and protein types who eat the SAD diet will suffer because of it.

When you understand your unique type, you will select foods which will be the most healing for your body. The theory behind nutritional typing is that the body will be eating proper foods, absorbable by the body, which leads to increased energy, ideal weight, and improved health.

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What’s your nutritional type?

CLICK HERE

to take

Dr. Mercola’s

FREE

Nutritional Type Test!

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The test only takes a couple of minutes. This test is similar to the test we’re taught to use with future clients to determine a food plan, and the beginnings of a treatment. First, you’ll sign up for a mercola.com account, which is free, no credit cards needed. After you sign up for an account, you’ll be taken to the test link. You’ll see a video (the video below), then click a link and take the test. After the test, you’ll be told your nutritional type, as well as given a link to a type description, BUT, you get other free items as well!

  • food chart/instructions
  • food list
  • free 367 page e-cookbook

Here, Dr. Mercola discusses the nutrition type, the test and what you get after the test.

Closing thoughts!

I’ve taken this quiz in two different forms, three different times. I’ve taken one through my school, with Depke Wellness, as well as the one above with Dr. Mercola. Though there are a few differences, both tests and eating plans are very similar AND, my results were the same for both tests. Stay tuned on Thursday for my next edition of “Fit by 50” to find out what MY NUTRITIONAL TYPE is and what I’ll be eating! (AND, if I lost any weight!)

 

How to eat healthy – Food Additives: Anti-Foaming Agents (Aka…silly putty?)

Yes, you read that right, silly putty.   I used to love to play with silly putty as a kid. Those of you from my generation (I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s) will remember buying and playing with silly putty.

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One of my favorite things to do? Press some silly putty on against newspaper cartoons, would transfer the image from the paper to the silly putty.

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Good times! Okay, we were easily amused back then. My point is, silly putty was fun to play with, but you don’t want to eat it! So, what does silly putty have to do with food additives and anti-foaming agents  and your food? Do you really want to know?

Below the Food Babe talks about the tie between silly putty and your food.

In the video she says.(3)..

  • Dimethylpolysioxane (That’s a mouth full!) is a type of silicone and anti-foaming agent, used industrially in caulks or sealants or even breast implants. and…You guessed it…it’s the key ingredient in silly putty!
  • It’s also the same chemical that fast food companies put in their deep fry oil to prevent it from foaming. So, it gets into the fries, chicken, and anything else that’s fried in the oil.
  • Fast food restaurants also put this chemical in fountain drinks, as well as  “phase oil”,  a butter substitute. (used by Dominoes Pizza to make their crust.)

Diet-Coke-IngredientsMcDonalds-French-Fries-Ingredients1

So, just what is an anti-foaming agent? (or defoamer, as it’s known in the industry)(1, 3)

Anti-foaming agents stop foam from forming on the surface of liquids. Although used mainly in industrial applications, it is also added to food, for the same purpose. Many oils, silicon and wax agents are used. Some common defoamers include: butter, margarine, lard, corn oil, coconut oil, mineral oil, and vegetabe oil

There are five types of defoamers.

  • Oil Based Defoamers – These are considered the best, since they don’t mix with water. These break up any foam which may gather on the surface of the product. These oils also contain waxes, which increase the “efficiency” of the defoamer.
  • Silicon Based Defoamers – Silica is hydrophobic, or is repels/doesn’t mix with water, which prevents the foam from forming. These defoamers have emulsifiers added and are used mainly in oil refining. (And in fast food deep friers!)
  • Water Based Defoamers – Used in water treatment plants and paper manufacturing, these defoamers are typically mineral oils, vegetable oils, fatty acid soaps and esters.
  • Alkyl Based Defoamers – These agents are used for aerated products or something that will be released through the air and are delivered in a petroleum base
  • Powdered Anti Foaming Agents – These substances are oil based then added to a carrier like silica. These defoamers are typically seen industrially in powdered substances like cement, plaster or detergents.

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The anti-foaming agents in your food:

  • Dimethylpolysiloxane – Discussed above. While there aren’t any definitive studies on the health and safety of this product, I really don’t think we were meant to eat silly putty.
  • Polysorbates – Known to contain toxins and can cause cancer in animals.They are known to contain harmful residues (ethylene oxide, ethylene glycols), which can increase the absorption of fat-dissolving substances, and modify the digestion of various substances. Mainly derived from petroleum Found in: cake mix, frozen dessert, salad dressing, doughnuts, foods with artificial chocolate coating, non-dairy whipped topping
  • propylene glycol –  Research from the Environmental Working Group, indicates the toxic load of this additive is low, though it has been known to have toxic effects on the blood at high does in laboratory animals
  • Sorbitan Monostearate – Not found to be deadly, though can cause liver enlargement in high doses. Found in: Candy, ice cream, flavored milk, bakery items, cake mix, icing, whipping cream, cake mixes, puddings, whipped vegetable-oil toppings, cookie coatings, solid-state edible vegetable fat, cream substitutes, coconut spread, beverages, confectionery and as a protective covering on fruits and vegetables.
  • Butyl or aluminum stearate– This is an salt attached to a fatty acid. It can cause skin, eye and lung irritation. For use in dairy (butyl) or beet/sugar and yeast (aluminum).
  • BHA – (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) -Evidence of causing cancer in experimental animals. May cause cancer in humans, although more research is needed. It has been banned in Japan and the UK.  Found in-lard, instant mashed potatoes, ice cream, baked goods, dry dessert mixes, shortening, cereal, potato flakes, chewing gum.
  • BHT – (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) -Known to cause cancer, kidney and liver damage, and birth defects in laboratory animals. May possibly convert other ingested substances into toxic or cancer-causing additives should be investigated. Found in: animals fats, chewing gum, potato flakes, shortening, enriched rice
  •  Hydroxlydated lecithin–  Health effects are unknown, though most are made from corn, soy or eggs and can be genetically modified or cause allergic reactions. Found in: Chocolate products, baked goods, frozen desserts, margarine, lard, cereal, candy, non-stick cooking spray.

Closing thoughts

 

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Research into anti-foaming agents is ongoing and, as of yet, has not discovered any deadly or particularly toxic side effects. This also means that these substances are being added to food, without knowing what long term effects they will have on the human body. Some studies have indicated that the very nature and properties of the anti-foaming agents, ultimately have detrimental effects on cells and the ability to produce proteins. (5) Whatever the case, it is clear we need more research.

That said, in most cases, these are man made chemicals which are unrecognizable to your body. Any substance, unrecognizable to the body, will have a toxic effect on the liver, whose job it is to cleanse the body of toxins. The liver then stores them away in fatty tissue. If the digestive system is poor or is leaky, these substances could get into the blood stream before properly stored away and will be attacked, leading to allergies, chronic disease or auto-immune disorders.

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So it’s time to fall back to my same, age old advice. Stick to a whole food diet, consisting mainly of plants, from all colors of the rainbow. Buy organic, locally grown, pasture-raised food as often as possible. Except for the occasional treat, stay away from fast food and refined/processed food. Then, you won’t have anything to worry about!

Namaste my friends.

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Sources:

  1. http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/articles/defoamer.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defoamer#Oil_based_defoamers
  3. https://foodbabe.com/sillyputty/
  4. http://www.befoodsmart.com/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3962157/
  6. Winter, Ruth. A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, 7th Edition: Descriptions in Plain English of More Than 12,000 Ingredients Both Harmful and Desirable Found in Foods. Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition.

 

How to eat healthy: Food Additives ~ Anti-caking Agents.

Did you know the FDA maintains a database of over 3000 different items, which are added to our food? This series covers the most common of these additives. Today, we continue working our way through the list of additives the FDA deems “safe”, as we discuss anti-caking agents. For the other articles in this series, FOLLOW THIS LINK.

What is an anti-caking agent? (2,3)

These substances are generally used in any product which is powdered or granulated in nature, such as salt, drink mixes, spice mixes, etc. They work in one of two ways, either by absorbing excess moisture or by coating to make the ingredients water repellents. The purpose is to prevent the ingredients in the powder from clumping together. The majority of anti-caking agents aren’t actual food products, which are foreign to our body, making it difficult to digest and break down.

Aluminum – Aluminum Toxicity

Silicon Dioxide

Silica is a mineral necessary for the human body. As you can see in the video above, silica is only absorbable in an organic form or food form. The recommended dose of silica is 40 mg/day.Food sources of Silica: (5)

  1. Oats – 20mg/100g
  2. Bananas – 5 mg/100g
  3. Spinach – 7 mg/100g
  4. Tofu/soy – 5 mg/100g
  5. Rice – 5 mg/100g
  6. Seafood – 3 mg/100 g

HOWEVER…Most food additives are made from inorganic sources, because it’s easier and cheaper to use. The inorganic form of silicon dioxide is not healthy for the body, nor is it absorbable.

Here is a quote from OSHA regarding Silicon Dioxide:

Crystalline silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen. Additionally, breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. The respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen.”

Ferrocyanide

While it does seem a bit scary to see the word cyanide, from my research, this substance appears to be safe. (If you can consider any chemical “safe”) Ferrocyanide, or cyanide bonded with a IRON molecule, is typically used as a salt, such as potassium ferrocyanide and sodium ferrocyanide. Unlike typical forms of cyanide, ferrocyanide is considered LESS TOXIC, because they “tend not to release the free cyanide.” (7)

With that said, there are certain, very rare conditions, where this substance becomes quite dangerous. Mixing ferrocyanides with hot concentrated acid frees up dangerous amounts of hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide. (8) Keep in mind, this reaction happens with pure ferrocyanide, not necessarily a reaction that would occur with your food. It would also need to occur in very large amounts.

 

Most common anti-caking agents

(1) (2) (4)

(This is a list of the most common anti-caking agents.

For a more comprehensive list, follow THIS LINK.)

  • Aluminum calcium silicate – Generally recognized as safe when used 2% by weight in table salt. A known carcinogen. May contain crystalline silica, a chemical that has been determined s to cause cancer and other chemicals known to  cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. Causes respiratory tract irritation. Causes skin irritation. Causes eye irritation.
  • Calcium carbonate – Generally regarded as safe. Helps promote phosphate balance within the body.
  • Calcium phosphate/tri-calcium phosphate – bone ash– Not considered toxic or irritating except in large doses. Inhalation can cause lung irritation.
  • Calcium silicate – Used in…2%Vanilla Powder, 2% in foods, 2%  In animal feeds, 5% in baking powder. May cause skin irritation. Prolonged contact and possible induction of altered pulmonary function (lung disorders) and lesions when silicate or asbestos are also present.
  • Hydrophobic silica and Silicon dioxide – the principle constituent of sandstone Extremely hazardous in case of skin contact (corrosive, irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Inhalation of dust will produce irritation to gastro-intestinal or respiratory tract, characterized by burning, sneezing and coughing. Severe over-exposure can produce lung damage, choking, unconsciousness or death. Inflammation of the eye is characterized by redness, watering, and itching. The substance is toxic to lungs, mucous membranes. Repeated skin exposure can produce local skin destruction, or dermatitis. Repeated exposure to a highly toxic material may produce general deterioration of health by an accumulation in one or many human organs. Repeated or prolonged inhalation of dust may lead to chronic respiratory irritation.
  • Magnesium carbonate – Relatively safe. Can be moderately toxic in large doses, however, relatively weak as an antacid or food additive.
  • Magnesium silicate – (AKA: Talcum powder) This substance is generally recognized as safe when used 2.0% in table salt. Toxic to lungs. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.
  • Prussiate of soda, yellow – An anticaking agent in salt. Contains a minimum of 99 percent by weight of sodium ferrocyanide decahydrate. Toxic to blood, lungs, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.
    • Ferrocyanide- (Calcium potassium or sodium) are permitted to be used as crystal modifiers and anti-caking agents in common salt, iodised salt and iron fortified salt in quantity not exceeding 10 mg/kg singly or in combination expressed as ferrocyanide.
  • Sodium aluminosilicate – An irritant to skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Irritation of the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. Burns or irritation of the esophagus or GI tract. Allergies and hypersensitivity.

Closing thoughts:

Whether they say natural or not, all of these substances are actually man made, with some ingredients POSSIBLY coming from nature. As they are processed, they become man made chemicals, at which time they become unrecognizable to our body. Once ingested, our body needs to do something with them, so they get sent to the liver for detoxification. The liver cleans what it can, then stores the rest in our fatty tissue. This over works our liver, creates fatigue, joint pain, allergies and a host of other issues.

Whether or not they are “safe” isn’t the issue. The issue is, the human body was NEVER meant to ingest and absorb these unnatural substances. As I always say,  avoid packaged/refined food and stick with real whole food. That’s your best bet.

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Sources

  1. http://www.organicspices.com/blog/2014/1/6/what-are-anti-caking-agents
  2. https://www.naturalnewsblogs.com/tag/anticaking-agents/
  3. http://www.chemistryindustry.biz/anticaking-agent.html
  4. https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/index.html
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_OP8U241WE
  6. https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3176.html
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrocyanide
  8. https://www.911metallurgist.com/blog/ferrocyanide-toxicity

 

How to eat healthy: Food additives-Acids

NOTE: I apologize for the lateness of this post today. This article was extensively researched and took much longer than expected. I hope you find it informational and useful.


The FDA has a database of Everything Added to Food in the United States. (EAFUS) There are over 3000 substances in this data base. In this series, I will attempt to cover just a small handful of these substances, the most common food additives found in foods. For a basic look at Food additives, see the first article in the series: Food Additives: The Basics.

Today, as we continue on with our discussion of food additives, we will look at the different types of acids in packaged foods.

Before we talk about acids, just what is a food additive? A food additive is a substance not normally consumed as a food, or used as an ingredient in a recipe. The intention of a food additive is to help with the manufacture, processing, preparation or storing of food products. (1)

 What do acids do and why are they added to food?

We won’t get into a long, scientific explanation regarding the difference between acids and bases. Acids, such as citric acid, malic acid and tartaric acid are found naturally in fruits, vegetables and even tea. These acids give the foods it’s tang and distinct flavor.

There are, however, unnatural sources of these, and other acids, which cause problems in the human body, such as irritation, allergies and inflammation.

These unnatural acids are  added to processed food for one of the following reasons: (3, 5)

  • preservative (most common reason)
  • ph stabilizer
  • color stabilizer
  • flavor enhancer
  • meat tenderizer
  • flavorant
  • Gelling aid

What are the different types of acids in our processed food: (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

  • Acetic acid –  Also known as ethanoic acid, acetic acid is an organic acid commonly found in vinegar, giving it the signature “aroma”.
    • Pickled food,
    • Condiments such as Ketchup, Mayonnaise and Mustard,
    • Salad Dressings and Marinades.
  • Adipic acid –  Is a naturally occurring acid, commonly found in living cells, such as beets or sugar cane. However, when used as an additive, it is prepared from the oxidation of cyclohexanol by concentrated nitric acid, resulting in an odorless white powder.
    • flavorent and gelling aid.  It is used in some calcium carbonate antacids to make them tart.
    • helps extend the shelf life of powdered products
  • Benzoic acid – occurs naturally in some fruits and vegetables.  However, when produced for commercial use, it is usually produced from toluene.  Toluene is found  in crude oil and is usually produced in the processes of making gasoline, or making coke from coal.
    • It protects foods against yeasts, moulds, and certain types of bacteria.
  • Butyric acid – is a saturated fatty acid. It  can typically be found in rancid butter, parmesan cheese, and vomit, and has an unpleasant odor and acrid taste.
    • Certain forms of this substance have pleasant aromas and tastes. For this reason, it is used as food and perfume additives. It is also used as an animal feed supplement.
    • Because of the powerful odor, it has also been used as a fishing bait additive.
  • Citric acid –  This one seems harmless enough. You see citric acid and think, lemons, oranges or grapefruit. But, on an industrial level, it is made from black mold, a far less expensive way to produce this substance. 
    • The most common food preservative in the world
  • Glutamic acid/Glutamic acid hydrochloride- (AKA-MSG) As a function in our body, Glutamic Acid is an amino acid, used in metabolism, and as a neurotransmitter. It is NOT an essential amino acid, since our bodies can produce it. Manufactured glutamic acid, however,  the most common food additive, sold as a “safe” flavor enhancer. When added to food, Glutamic Acid can only be tasted in its unbound form. (free glutamic acid) For hidden sources of MSG, FOLLOW THIS LINK. Dangers from MSG or Free Glutamic Acid include:
    • Headache.
    • Flushing.
    • Sweating.
    • Facial pressure or tightness.
    • Numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas.
    • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
    • Chest pain.
    • Nausea
  • Hydrochloric acid (HCL) – Our body naturally uses this substance as part of the gastric acid in our stomach. However, industrially, HCL is one of the most common food additives. It is mainly used to maintain acidity and alkalinity of food.
  • Lactic acid – Commercially produced by fermenting cornstarch, sucrose, molasses, potatoes, or whey. Water and lime or chalk are added to the process. Lactic acid helps to prevent spoiling and adds acidity to foods. This product is also found during bacterial fermentation process in foods such as:
    •  beer
    • sour milk
    • kefir
    • pickles
    • sauerkraut
  • Malic acid– “it is responsible for the tart flavor of many fruits, usually when unripe. It is added to wine to aid in the aging process and is used as an alkali in many foods. It is also responsible for the extreme sourness found in some candies.” (9). As a food additive, it is considered mild and relatively harmless. –
  • Phosphoric acid – Since I can’t word this any better, here is a quote about phosphoric acid from acidpedia.org: “It is a product that is only used in the industrial, medical, and agricultural fields, and it has no benefits that can be obtained on a personal level. In other words, no one would want to drink phosphoric acid directly or apply it to their skin. After all, it is an acid, so it burns. It does not have any real health benefits.” Enough said, I think!
    • preserve food
    • cleaner – such as rust, etc
    • flavoring – tartness
    • tooth whitener/bleach
  • Succinic acid – Biologically, it is created through fermentation. Commercially, it is produced from fossil fuels.
    • Used for:
      • de-icing
      • manufacturing biodegradable polymers
      • Industrial hand cleaner
      • Lacquer thinner
      • Paint stripper
      • Pesticides
      • Body soap
      • Food additive
      • Pharmaceutical additive
      • Oil dispersants
    • Human health effects (11)
      •  irritant to eye and may irritate skin by removing natural oils.
      • Ingestion causes diarrhea and intestinal bloating.
      • Listed as a suspected neurotoxicant
      • Toxic to blood (MSDS)
      • It is classified as moderately toxic
  • Sulfuric acid – colorless, corrosive oily liquid, used to control pH and aid in food processing
  • Tannic acid – This is a common food additive, and its use is widespread. It is used as a processing aid and clarifying agent in beer and soda production.

Closing thoughts

Well, there you have it. This list is, by no means, all inclusive. I’m sure there are other acids that have not been included here today. The main lesson to learn from this article, is  that processing any item destroys it’s nutrition and ultimately makes it potentially dangerous and toxic. Take citric acid, for example. This seemingly innocent acid, potentially healthy and useful, is destroyed by food manufacturers, who manufacture it, not from fruit, but from toxic mold. Remember, if it comes in a refined, packaged form, it’s probably not something your should be consuming.

God bless and Namaste!

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Source:

  1. http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/list-of-general-purpose-food-additives/
  2. http://www.foodadditivesworld.com/food-acids.html
  3. https://drjockers.com/natural-health-guide-food-additives/
  4. https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/about-our-products/quality-standards/food-ingredient
  5. http://foodconstrued.com/
  6. pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  7. https://ethicalfoods.com
  8. http://www.nutrientsreview.com/
  9. http://www.befoodsmart.com/
  10. http://acidpedia.org/
  11. http://www.toxipedia.org/

How to eat healthy: 5 Reasons to Keep a Food Log

Ugh, keeping a food log isn’t my favorite thing to do. And, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m horrible at it. I’ll do it for a week or two, then quit. I really don’t know why I struggle so much. It doesn’t take that much time. As I started my elimination diet yesterday, logging food is essential to my success. So, I’m doing my best to log every meal…

Anyway, if you’re trying to eat healthy and lose weight, keeping a food log is a must. But, why?

Why you should keep a food log…

  1. Food logs show you what you’re eating – While you may think you know what you’re eating, in my experience, keeping a food log is a very enlightening process. We imagine that we eating 3 meals and a healthy snack or two, often we don’t count the little nibbles and bites along the way.
  2. It can help you lose weight– It’s easy to dismiss just how much food you’re eating. A bite here, a nibble there…it all adds up. But, keeping a food log, of EVERY bite you take, helps you know exactly what you’re eating and how much. It’ll tell you just how many calories you’re eating, as well as your macronutrient percentages. This is all important information for anyone trying to shed a few pounds. According to WebMD, one study showed that people who kept a food log and had weekly support lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t keep a log.
  3. Helps keep your diet balanced – Knowing exactly what you’re eating throughout the day can help balance out your diet. It allows you to look back at your day and make adjustments. Maybe you realize that you’ve only eaten 1 serving of veggies, you can make sure to balance that out at dinner, by adding an extra serving.
  4. Helps with meal planning/meal prepping – I’ve found that food logs not only help with food I’ve already eaten, but helps me plan out future meals. I can go into the days ahead and add in my meals before hand, therefore planning out my week. This also helps with meal prep. The two go hand in hand.
  5. Helps you understand portion control – With a food log, you typically have a set caloric intake. Logging food allows you to better track your calorie intake, by learning about and controlling your portion sizes. You learn to spread your calories through out the day. Instead of 2 cups of pasta salad, which would take a good percentage of your daily calories, you know to only take 1 cup. You still get your pasta, just less of it.

Types of food logs and what I use…

Now that you know WHY you should be logging food, we need to discuss HOW to log food. There really is no hard and fast rule to a food log, as long as you log everything you eat and drink, in some way.

It all comes down to personal preference. It can be as easy as writing them down in a notebook or on a printable paper log, to using a smart phone app or developing a computer spreadsheet. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.

I’ve tried a few different methods of food logging, including trying out several smart phone apps. Using a paper log just isn’t for me. I prefer a smart phone app, since my phone is always with me, it makes logging easy.

After trying several phone apps, I find MY NET DIARY works best for me. I use the paid version, at about $5/month, which gives me the ability to track blood sugar levels and other extras. But the free version is wonderful as well. What do I like about it?

  • They have a catalogue of over 761,000 different foods.
  • Calculates a recommended daily calorie intake based on your activity level, weight and goal weight
  • UPC scanning capability-  meaning you can scan the barcode of a food, for ease of entry or if it can’t be found in the database.
  • Create your own recipes. – This is a wonderful and easy to use aspect of this app.
  • track individual nutrients
  • track exercise – which is accounted for in the daily calorie intake
  • track weight loss
  • track body fat percentages
  • track body measurements
  • track all forms of health data – including resting heart rate, blood pressure cholesterol, etc
  • links with my smart phone health app and other fitness devices – to track steps and other health info.
  • tracks water – Most apps do this, but, I love the flexibility of this one. It doesn’t just give you 8 glasses to cross off, but gives you to 15 glasses and allows you to adjust the ounces per glass. For instance, I drink 180 ounces of water a day. I was able to adjust the ounces per glass from 8 to 12 ounces, allowing for the extra water intake.

I could go on. I’m sure there are other apps with these same capabilities, but, I just find My Net Diary relatively easy to use. Here’s a sample of my own diary from yesterday:

 

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Other food log apps- Authority Nutrition’s 5 best calorie counter websites and apps

My Fitness Pal

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Lose It

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Fat Secret

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Cron-o-meter

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Spark People

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Free printable paper logs:

Weekly Food Log 

From: Get Buttoned Up

Free Printable Diet & Exercise Worksheet

Free Printable Diet & Exercise Worksheet

Weekly Food Log

From: The Project Girl

theprojectgirl.com-foodjournal

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Daily Food Log

From: The Freebee Mom

foodjournal

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Daily Food Log

From: Built Lean

free-printable-food-diary-template

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Other food log templates, apps and resources:

Well, there you have it. Now you have no excuses. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you log your food, as long as you do. What’s your favorite food app? I want to know! 🙂

Have a beautiful day everyone!

God bless, Namaste!

#sharethejoy #onesong

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How to eat healthy: 40 Foods No One Should Eat…Ever

This is a long post, so I won’t preface it with a lot of superfluous words. As you can see by the source list at the bottom of the page, I’ve searched several lists of foods to avoid, and come up with this list of 40 foods, which includes the “dirty dozen” and a list of 7 oils to avoid. Let me know if I missed something you think should be included.

  • Fruit Juice-This seemingly innocent food is full of vitamins and minerals right? What could be wrong with that? It is just as bad for you as soda. There are approximately 45 grams of fructose per liter of juice, compared to 50 grams per liter in soda. (1) Remember, fructose is useless in the body and has the same affect on the liver as does alcohol, and can cause fatty liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Agave Nectar – Think of agave nectar as the high fructose corn syrup of the health food industry. It is worse than both high fructose corn syrup (hfcs) and regular sugar. Sugar and HFCS are approximately 50% fructose. Agave nectar, on the other hand is approximately 85% fructose. (9) Avoid this at all costs.
  • Sports drinks – Unless you’re a college or professional athlete or a marathon runner, you don’t need to drink this stuff.  It was invented to replenish electrolytes in college football players, in other words, very active people who burn LOTS of calories. The average person has no need to drink it. It’s not any healthier than soda or juice. If you’re thirsty, drink water.
    • Gatorade contains 36 grams of sugar (9 teaspoons)/20 oz container.
    • Powerade contains 45 grams of sugar (11 teaspoons)/20 oz container.
  • Farm raised fish – Tilapia and salmon are the biggest culprits, but there are others. Make sure your salmon or any fish is marked “wild caught”. Farm raised salmon will be marked “Atlantic” salmon. Just avoid tilapia all together. I don’t think I’ve ever seen “wild caught” tilapia in the store. Farmed fish contain the following chemicals: (2)
    • Anti-biotics
    • pesticides
    • Chemicasl-dioxin (toxin/pollutant), Dibutyltin (chemical in plastic), Polybrominated Diphenyl (flame retardant), Canthaxanthin (food dye).
    • Environmental contaminants- large fish farms produce the same amount of excrement as a city of 10,000. (2)
  • Microwave popcorn – MMMM, hot popcorn fresh from the microwave, only 100 calories…with some added chemicals! The bags are coated with non-stick chemicals linked to cancer. (1)
  • Factory farm meat (aka-super market meat or corn/grain fed meat) – Cows have developed to eat grass, not grain. They are fed grains instead of grass because it makes them gain weight faster. Grains have a detrimental effect on a  cow’s digestive system. As a result, farmers are forced to give them antibiotics and other medications.   To speed rate of growth even more, the cows are given hormones. Studies indicate that other drugs, such as allergy medication, pain killers and anti-depressants are found in these animals (1). Purchase your beef locally, from a farmer you trust, someone who raised 100% grass fed beef. This type of beef is becoming more common with large grocery chains, as consumers are demanding it more frequently. (4, 1)
  • Margarine – This substance is made from liquid vegetable oil which is processed and transformed into a solid. This changed the fat in the oil from a poly-unsaturated fat to a trans-fat. Studies have proven that trans-fats have a detrimental effect on the cardiovascular system, resulting in approximately 50,000 fatal heart attacks/year. (1)  Instead use grass-fed butter/ghee or organic virgin coconut oil. Flax oil and olive oil are wonderful for salad dressing.
  • Vegetable oil – I consistently discuss the health benefits of whole, unprocessed foods. Vegetable oils DO NOT fall into this category. They are unhealthy, unnatural, highly refined/processeed and filled with inflammatory omege-6 fats. Unfortunately, vegetable oils are still touted by many dietitians as the healthiest oils for your body. These same people, not understanding  health benefits of saturated fats,  preach the old fashioned, out dated notion that saturated fat is bad. Many studies have proven that fat is not the demon it has been made out to be. There are fats to avoid, however, and vegetable oils fall into this category.
    • Avoid inflammatory oils (even organic versions):
      • hydrogenated oil/partially-hydrogenated
      • safflower oil
      • soy bean oil
      • corn oil
      • sunflower oil
      • canola oil
      • grape seed oil
    • Instead eat healthy, whole food or lightly processed sources. make sure any oil is  “cold pressed”:
      • organic coconut oil –
      • grass-fed butter/ghee
      • organic olive oil –
      • organic Flaxseed oil
      • avocados
      • nuts/seeds
      • fatty fish
      • grass-fed meat
    • Listen as Dr. Mark Hyman discusses why vegetable oils are bad:

  • Standard table salt (iodized salt) – Yes salt is essential to the human body, just as glucose is. However, just like glucose, there are healthy sources and bad sources. REAL salt, taken directly from the mine is considered a whole food and VERY healthy. It’s jam packed with dozens upon dozens of mineral your body needs.  However, manufacturers got their hands on it, stripped all these wonderful nutrients from it, and destroy it even further by adding drying chemicals to it. Now, since every ounce of nutrient has been stripped from the salt at this point, toxic levels of potassium iodide are added back in, along with dextrose, and anti-caking agents. It’s then bleached white. (YUM!)  (1)
    • Use pure forms of sea salt/rock salt, such as Celtic or Himalayan Salt
    • Here Dr. Axe talks about Salt:
  • Artificial sweeteners/Anything marked “sugar-free” – We have touched on artificial sweeteners in my Ultimate Guide to Nutrients series. These are just plain nasty, they are excitotoxins which destroy brain cells. Anything marked “sugar free” will contain these dangerous chemicals. If you want a zero-calorie sweetener use stevia or monk fruit. Or, better yet, use manuka honey, a real super food.
  • The dirty dozen– If you can’t afford to eat all organic food, at least eat these 12 foods in organic form. These 12 foods are the fruits and veggies most contaminated with pesticides. (10)
    • Peaches
    • Apples
    • Sweet Bell Peppers
    • Celery
    • Nectarines
    • Strawberries
    • Cherries
    • Pears
    • Grapes (Imported)
    • Spinach
    • Lettuce
    • Potatoes
  • energy bars/protein bars – Just think of these as another sugar disaster, and more like a candy bar than a health bar. For a side by side comparison, visit Alloy.com.
  • bottled salad dressing – Bottled salad dressing is usually made with soy oil, or other refined oil. They also contain high amounts of sugar. 2 tablespoons of your favorite brand has, on average 6 grams of sugar. Light versions aren’t much better.
  • processed meat/cheese – These foods aren’t really food at all, but a series of chemicals masquerading  as food. (3)
    • “American” cheese- a bit of milk fat/solids mixed with whey protein, emulsifiers and food coloring..
    • Processed “deli” meat- This includes deli meat as well as hot dogs, sausages and bacon. – They contain nitrates, nitrites, chemicals and preservatives. They contain 400 % more sodium and 50% more preservatives than unprocessed red meat.
  • Soda-both diet and regular – Simply put, they are very unhealthy. They are filled with either sugar or artificial sweeteners, neither of which you need.
  • Conventional chicken/eggs – Some reports indicate chicken feed contains traces of caffeine, Tylenol, Benadryl, banned antibiotics, and arsenic. (3) Opt for organic pasture raised or free range chicken and eggs.
  • non-organic corn/soy– Corn and soy are the 2 most genetically modified organisms in the country (USA). They are resistant to herbicides. They are also modified to produce a pesticide, which kills bugs that eat it. (Yuk). So, essentially, when you’re eating GMO corn/soy, you are eating a pesticide. You can still enjoy corn/soy, just choose ORGANIC soy and corn instead (7)
  • flavored yogurt (even if it says light) – Flavored yogurts are FILLED with sugar. A 6 ounce container of Yoplait contains 27 grams of sugar. You’re better off eating a Krispy Kreme donut which has 10 grams of sugar. The light version of Yoplait isn’t any better, with 14 grams of sugar. Instead, buy plain yogurt and add fruit, and a bit of Manuka honey or stevia for sweetenerScreen Shot 2017-06-13 at 10.56.04 AM
  • energy drinks – They contain the caffeine equivalent of FOUR cokes and 13 teaspoons of sugar (or 52 grams of sugar!) I think that’s enough said! (15)
  • Swordfish, shark, tilefish, swai, king mackeral – In a word…MERCURY. The larger the fish, the higher the mercury levels. These fish are notoriously high in mercury.
  • Canned tomatoes (or any canned food) – I am just as guilty as anyone for using canned foods. They are just so convenient. Unfortunately,  the cans are lined with bisphenol-A, or BPA, a synthetic estrogen. Canned tomatoes are especially vulnerable, because the acid draws the chemical into the tomato. If you love the convenience of canned foods, try glass containers or tera pak boxes, such as Pomi.

Sources:

  1. https://draxe.com/health-foods-you-should-never-eat/
  2. https://draxe.com/the-dangers-of-farmed-fish/
  3. http://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/advice/a37388/foods-you-should-never-eat/
  4. http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/7-foods-that-should-never-cross-your-lips/slide/3
  5. http://www.eatthis.com/foods-to-stay-young
  6. http://www.eatthis.com/unhealthiest-foods-on-the-planet
  7. https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/food-ingredients-avoid%3Fslide%3D1
  8. http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/25-foods-you-shouldnt-eat
  9. http://www.activebeat.com/diet-nutrition/13-healthy-foods-to-avoid-for-weight-loss/7/
  10. https://authoritynutrition.com/agave-nectar-is-even-worse-than-sugar/
  11. http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214
  12. https://www.health.act.gov.au/sites/default/files/Fact%20sheets/Sugar%20Content%20of%20Popular%20Drinks%20-%20Considerations%20for%20Children%20in%20Sport.pdf
  13. http://www.sugarstacks.com/snacks.htm
  14. https://www.krispykreme.com/menu/Doughnuts/Original-Glazed
  15. https://www.greenprophet.com/2012/05/5-reasons-avoid-energy-drinks/

How to eat healthy: Reading Labels

Since I’m studying to be a holistic nutritionist,  I advocate whole foods, which typically don’t come in containers with labels. However, if you are going to purchase packaged foods and/or refined food, here are a few tips:

Continue reading “How to eat healthy: Reading Labels”

How to eat healthy: A guide to meal delivery services

In our hectic, fast paced lives, it is often difficult to shop, plan prepare and cook healthy food. In previous editions of How to eat healthy, I’ve covered “grocery store delivery“, “finding seasonal produce“, and “finding quality meat“.  However, although these options have groceries delivered to your door, which is helpful, you still have to plan, prepare and cook healthy food.

Not to worry… In today’s edition of “How to eat heathy”, I’ve investigated 10 different meal prep and delivery services. I have included videos with each service to give you more information. So, if you have considered using one of these services, but aren’t sure which one to use, my guide can help you figure out the best one for you.

On with the show!

Hello Fresh

  • 50% off first box
  • Most meals ready in 30 minutes
  • 10 recipes from which to choose
  • No indication on website of “organic” food/options
    • Quote from site: “We source ingredients directly from independent producers to deliver you nothing but fresh, top-quality products.
  • Three meal plan choices
    • Classic-$9.99/meal
      • serves 2 or 4 adults
      • 6 recipes to choose from
    • Veggie – $9.99/meal
      • Vegetarian recipes only
      • serves 2 or 4 adults
      • Receive 3 hand picked recipes
    • Family-$8.74/meal
      • Serves 2 adults and 2 children
      • Receive 3 hand picked recipes

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Green Chef

  • Completely organic
  • 6 different diet types from which to choose
  • Prices ranging from $10.49/meal to $14.99/meal

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Blue Apron

  • 3 meals free on first order
  • 2 person or family plans
  • I was unable to see price plans on this site without signing up. (sorry! 😦 )
    • They indicate price plans start at $8.74- comparable to Hello Fresh
  • Food is seasonal, which is a plus.
  •  No hormones/antibiotics fed to animals
  • However, no indication of “organic” food options

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Martha Stewart Meal Delivery

  • $30 off first order
  • Seasonal food
  • No indication of “organic option”
  • 30 to 45 minutes for meal preparation
  • 2 person or family box
  • Choose from 2 – 4 meals per week
    • $48/2 meals- 2 person- $12/meal
    • $76/2 meals- family –  $9.50/meal

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Plated

  • 1 free plated night with first order
  • Seasonal food
  • responsibly sourced meat
  • 12 recipes from which to choose
  • Site indicates they use “organic food when possible
  • $12/meal

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Terra’s Kitchen

  • Clever packaging reduces waste
  • $35 off first order
  • 50+ recipes plus ready-to-eat salads, snacks and smoothies
  • meals ready in 15 to 30 minutes
  • meals include: Paleo, gluten-free, low-calorie, vegetarian + vegan options
  • Meals prices are based on the menu item you select per/serving with prices ranging from $10.99/serving to 18.99/serving

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How It Works from CHEF’D on Vimeo.

  • Site indicates that have 100’s of meals from which to choose
  • Prices are based on dinners for 2 or 4-beginning at $22/meal
  • Many specialty meals such as Atkins

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Purple Carrot

  • $20 off first order
  • Vegan-plant based food
  • Prices range from $9.25/plate to $13/plate
  • I could not find any indication that food was “organic”

 

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Home Chef

  • 30 minute meal prep
  • meals are $$9.95 per serving (“unless otherwise stated“)
  • smoothies and fruit baskets available as add ons

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  • meals have 2 month shelf life
  • 1 dish from every region of the world
  • for the adventurous foodie
  • You can try their “best sampler” for $95
    • Kits feed 3-4 adults
    • 30-40 minutes
    • $8 per serving

My final thoughts on this topic: Most of the companies use seasonal food, which is wonderful. Only 2 companies advertised using organic food-“Green Chef” and “Plated”, and, their prices were comparable to the others. If you want to eat healthy and are crunched for time. This is a great option, for a few meals a week, and is comparable, price wise, to eating dinner in a restaurant. However, unlike eating in a restaurant or using take out/pizza, you know what you’re getting, what’s in the recipes and you prepare it yourself.

Let me know what you think. Have you used any of the services I’ve listed? Do you use one not on the list? Has it been helpful for you?