What I find so interesting is that how we Naturopaths have been saying for YEARS, is finally being born out by science. Better late than never, and some might say, it may be too late. A recent study between researches at Yale University and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg found convincing evidence that fast food, specifically the salt in fast food is responsible for the upswing in several auto-immune diseases. Basically, the salt in the junk food causes chronic inflammation, and results in things ranging from eczema, asthma to multiple sclerosis. Yummy, can I have another triple mystery meat with plastic cheese if you please. In a strange way, eating this stuff is basically a slow form of suicide. Giving it to children, is basically cruel, but that is just me, go ahead, eat it and let me know when you are sick, I can help out with Acupuncture, herbs and such.
The thought comes to mind, that our bodies are designed to take in food stuffs for nourishment. The substances that would stump any chemical PhD student to draw out in a limited time, well they are not recognized as nutrition, and the body tries it's best to isolate and get rid of them, which causes inflammation. Judging by the amount of junk food that is consumed each day in the States, 50 million meals a day, that is a lot of inflammation.
Salt Fat and Sugar are the culprits, and are added in copious amounts to junk food to make up for the lack of taste of the "food." But what, you say, are we supposed to do? Working all the time, tired, hungry, it is so much easier to just drive through, pop something in the microwave, or grab a bag of chips, wash it down with a soda and you are good to go. I just love this picture! Wish it were true!
This one is more honest, just picture this coating your blood vessels and padding your butt.
I guess when you are in love, eating lard is just par for the course.
Well, in the interest of maintaining a quality of life on earth, here are some solutions to help you not only nourish your body, but cut down on all the trash and wasted resources involved in fast/junk food. You will need three appliances that can transform meal times.
A Counter Top Grill, a rice cooker and a crock pot. These are widely available, even at thrift stores and estate sales.
You can order your vegetables through services, your local grocery store or through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) many communities offer produce CSA's others offer anything from milk, eggs and meat CSA's check out Local Harvest for your area and see what is available. http://www.localharvest.org/ Many grocery store chains offer deliveries, or for a fee will do your shopping for you and all you do is pick it up. Some farmers markets will also provide food box services, and you can pick it up or it will be delivered. Local Harvest will allow you to find ones in your area and the services they provide. The key is FRESH plain food you prepare. Anything that is prepared, processed or "fast" means lots of chemicals, fat sugar and salt. Even the diet stuff has lots of salt and chemicals. Remember, your body does not recognize it and will get sick.
Stews and Soups are fantastic things to have on hand, and basically you put stuff in the crock pot, turn it on and go on about your day.
Black Bean Stew
2 cups dried Black Beans, rinsed
2 stalks celery chopped
1 small red onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 medium, roma tomatoes diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
5 cups water
(if you eat meat, you can add 1/2 lb organic ground turkey, pork or beef)
Place all ingredients in a crock pot, turn on low, allow to cook over night. The next morning, stir and add more water if needed, then add 1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tsp smoked salt. When serving you can add a spoonful of organic Greek yogurt and some chopped fresh cilantro and green onions, everyone will think you are such a gourmet.
You can cook grains in the rice cooker, they turn out perfect every time. Simply assemble as you start your meal prep and by the time you are ready to eat, you will have a warm nutritious grain or pilaf prepared without you having to watch over it.
Fancy Quinoa Pilaf
1 cup red Quinoa (you can use another grain if you like)
2 cups organic chicken or vegetable broth, you can also use tomato or vegetable juice cocktail from a glass bottle (remember those pesky cans, lots of chemicals from the lining)
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped vegetable of your choice, you can use organic frozen vegetables if you prefer
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Put all in the rice cooker, turn it on. When done, salt as desired and serve.
Table top grills are great for cooking meats, fish, tofu, tempeh or vegetables. Simply brush what ever you want to cook with a thin film of olive oil, put on the grill, close the lid and cook till done, which rarely takes more than 10 minutes.
Marinated Portabellas and Eggplant
Marinade: Mix 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup of red wine vinegar, add 1/2 tsp powdered garlic, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, whisk until fully mixed. Slice portabellas and eggplant into 1/2 inch slices, place in a glass baking dish, pour marinade over slices and make sure it coats the vegetables all over. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, heat the grill, place on grill and cook for about 5 minutes, turn vegetables over and cook for another 2 - 5 minutes, removed and place on a serving plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley or basil. (Hint, you can do this marinade will any meat, tofu or tempeh you like, if you make the marinade yourself, it will not have all that salt in it)
I make up food for the week, including making salads, so I can put it in containers and take with me to work. It tastes so much better, and it won't make you sick.
Enjoy, with this kind of "fast food", you will never eat that other stuff again!