Archive for February, 2009
Do you ever wonder which water is better for you? Better for all of us? Here’s an article from Seventh Generation that discusses which water to choose.
Q * How to choose water? Bottled water (supposedly from the spring and stored in a plastic bottle) vs. filtered water (who knows if all the harmful things are taken away?)
A * As you know, water is one of our most precious natural resources. Within the last several years, bottled water has become an integral part of our society and carrying around bottled water is even viewed by some as a status symbol. You only asked about spring water and filtered water, but I’m going to add in tap water, because I think you’ll be very interested in some of the data that compare the three.
Bottled water has very few regulations for purity. In fact, bottled water that crosses state lines is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and required to be bottled under sanitary conditions. If the water is bottled and shipped within the same state it is only subject to that state’s regulations. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 60-70% of bottled water brands sold in the US are single-state operations. There is an organization called the International Bottled Water Association that about 80% of manufacturers belong to, and they do have a Model Code that members are required to follow; however, the Code is not legally binding or enforceable.
Tap water, on the other hand, is strictly regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) so levels of bacteria, chemicals, and water treatment parameters are all dictated to drinking water system operators, who must test and publish an annual compliance report.
So many people think they can toss healthy living overboard when it comes to the weekend.
Don’t do it.
Stick with the guidelines you’ve set for yourself. Keep working your plan. Eat well. Exercise (it’s a good time to do something different – maybe something family-friendly – like a bike ride, or a hike, or day on the slopes). Drink water. Get enough sleep. Plan ahead for next week.
Keep taking care of yourself. You deserve your best effort, every day.
Remember when salad meant some watery, white iceberg lettuce with a slice of tomato and a big glob of dressing?
Today we have a lot more choices – many of which have better health benefits than iceberg. (The greener the leaves, the more nutrients you get!) These other choices bring lots of flavor and color, too. If you’ve never eaten these, challenge yourself to try a new kind of salad green (mix it with others) each week or month.
Be sure to add more veggies (try grape or cherry tomatoes in the off-season, use cukes, steamed green beans, grated carrots or zucchini, raw or steamed broccoli or cauliflower, and/or diced bell pepper). Top with a light vinaigrette – or check the Recipes over there on the right >>> for some other dressing ideas.
Photo by Frankie
arugula = arrugola = rugola = rugula = rocket = rocket salad = Italian cress = roquette = rucola = Mediterranean rocket
Equivalents: 1 cup = 1 ounce
Notes: With its peppery and slightly bitter flavor, arugula is a terrific green to throw into an otherwise boring salad. It can be gently braised, too. Some supermarkets sell it in small bunches, but you’re more likely to find it combined with other greens in a spring salad mix.
Substitutes: watercress OR tender spinach leaves (milder) plus dash of ground pepper OR Belgian endive OR escarole OR young dandelion greens (more bitter) OR young mustard greens OR chicory OR radicchio.
Belgian endive = French endive = witloof = witloof chicory = chicory (in Britain) = Belgium chicory = blanching chicory = Dutch chicory = green-leaved blanching chicory = chicon
Notes: These crunchy, slightly bitter leaves are often used to make hors d’oeuvres, but they can also be chopped and added to salads, or braised to make an exquisite (although expensive) side dish. Select heads with yellow tips; those with green tips are more bitter. Their peak season is the late fall and winter.
Substitutes: radicchio (similar flavor) OR arugula OR watercress.
Bibb lettuce = limestone lettuce
Notes: This butterhead lettuce has delicate, loose leaves and lots of flavor. The only downside is that it’s usually expensive. Adds a nice bright color to a salad of darker greens.
Substitutes: Boston lettuce (larger) OR corn salad OR leaf lettuce OR celery leaves.
Notes: This is a type of butterhead lettuce, with soft, tender leaves. It’s terrific in salads and sandwiches, or the leaves can be used as a bed for other dishes.
Substitutes: Bibb lettuce (smaller, more flavorful, and more expensive) OR corn salad OR leaf lettuce OR iceberg lettuce OR celery leaves.
corn salad = mache = lamb’s lettuce = lamb’s tongue = field lettuce = field salad = fetticus
Notes: Corn salad has tender leaves and a very mild flavor. Substitutes: butter lettuce OR Bibb lettuce.
Notes: This is a peppery green that’s great in salads, sandwiches, and soups. It’s attractive enough to make a good garnish as well. There are several varieties, including watercress, upland cress, curly cress, and land cress. Cress is highly perishable, so try to use it as soon as possible after you buy it. Substitutes: arugula OR radish sprouts OR tender spinach leaves OR nasturtium leaves OR young dandelion greens OR Belgian endive OR purslane.
curly endive = chicory = chicory endive = curly chicory = frisée = frisee = frise
Notes: You can use this crisp, bitter green in salads or cook it as a side dish. The outer leaves are green and somewhat bitter; the pale inner leaves are more tender and mild. Don’t confuse this with Belgian endive, which the British call chicory and the French call endive. Substitutes: escarole (milder flavor, different texture) OR radicchio OR dandelion greens OR mustard greens.
dandelions = dandelion greens
Notes: Dandelions have a somewhat bitter flavor, which Europeans usually appreciate more than Americans. Older dandelion greens should be cooked; younger ones can be cooked or served raw as a salad green. They’re available year-round, but they’re best in the spring. Don’t eat the dandelion greens from your yard unless you haven’t sprayed or fertilized for several years.
Substitutes: watercress (not as bitter) OR curly endive OR escarole OR arugula OR collard greens (if cooked).
escarole = Batavian endive = Batavia = scarole
Notes: Escarole has sturdy leaves and a slightly bitter flavor. Young escarole leaves are tender enough to add to salads, otherwise escarole is best cooked as a side dish or used in soups. Substitutes: curly endive (stronger flavor, different flavor) OR radicchio OR borage OR mustard greens OR arugula OR spinach.
This is the basic leafy lettuce available in most US grocery stores.
Substitutes: red-leaf lettuce (different color, but otherwise similar) OR bibb lettuce.
iceberg lettuce = head lettuce = cabbage lettuce = crisphead lettuce
Notes: This is prized for its crispness and longevity in the refrigerator, but it’s a bit short on flavor and nutrients.
Substitutes: romaine lettuce (also crunchy, and more flavorful) OR leaf lettuce.
leaf lettuce = looseleaf lettuce = bunching lettuce = cutting lettuce = salad-bowl lettuce = lechuga
Notes: With their crispness and mild flavor, these lettuces are great in salads and sandwiches. Substitutes: butterhead lettuce OR Romaine lettuce.
Notes: These are mild salad greens that are always served fresh, either in salads or as garnishes. There are four basic categories: iceberg lettuce, with leaves that grow in a dense “head,” leaf lettuce, with loosely gathered leaves, butterhead lettuce, with tender leaves that form a soft head, and romaine lettuce, with closely packed leaves in an elongated head. Select lettuce that has rich color and crisp, fresh-looking leaves.
Substitutes: spinach (use only young leaves for salads) OR spring salad mix OR radicchio OR cress OR corn salad OR arugula.
Notes: This mild, tender lettuce has ruffled red edges.
Substitutes: red-leaf lettuce.
mizuna = Japanese greens = spider mustard
Notes: Mizuna has tender leaves and a pleasant, peppery flavor.
Substitutes: young mustard greens (more pungent) OR arugula.
oakleaf lettuce = oak leaf lettuce
Notes: Oakleaf lettuce has crunchy stems and tender leaves. There are red and green varieties. Substitutes: butter lettuce OR Romaine lettuce.
radicchio = red chicory = red-leafed chicory = red Italian chicory = chioggia
Notes: With its beautiful coloring and slightly bitter flavor, radicchio is wonderful when combined with other salad greens. You can also use the leaves as a base for hors d’oeuvres, or sauté them for a side dish. The most common variety, radicchio rosso, is round, while the treviso radicchio is elongated.
Substitutes: Belgian endive OR escarole OR chicory OR red-leaf lettuce (for color).
Substitutes: green-leaf lettuce (different color, but otherwise similar) OR radicchio (for color).
Notes: This has a pungent, peppery flavor that adds zip to salads. You can cook it, too.
Substitutes: mizuna OR arugula.
romaine lettuce = cos
Notes: Romaine combines good flavor and crunch, plus it has a decent shelf life in the refrigerator. It’s the preferred green for Caesar salad. Green romaine is the most common variety, but you can sometimes find red romaine, which is more tender.
Substitutes: iceberg lettuce OR Boston lettuce.
spring salad mix = mesclun = field greens = spring mix
Notes: This is a mix of different young salad greens. Commercial mixes usually include arugula, mizuna, tat soi, frisee, oakleaf, red chard, radicchio, mustard greens, and radicchio.
Notes: This mild green lettuce has ruffled edges, which makes it an interesting salad lettuce.
Substitutes: green-leaf lettuce.
Substitutes: watercress (leaves have smoother edges).
tat soi = spoon cabbage
Notes: This has an interesting spoon-like shape and a peppery flavor.
Notes: Named for the three leaves that sprout from each stem, trefoil has a crunchy texture and aromatic flavor. It’s great in salads or as a garnish in soups.
Substitutes: sorrel OR celery leaves.
winter purslane = Cuban spinach = miner’s lettuce = claytonia
Notes: This resembles ordinary purslane, only the leaves and stems are smaller and more delicate.
Phew! That’s a lotta greens! There’s no reason to stay with the same old, same old. Try a new one… or two… or three.
Check out Marilu’s favorite salad (for now) right HERE.
More does not equal better. And the Clean Plate Club could kill you.
Here are a few techniques you can use to keep your portions under control.
Use smaller plates. Did you get “luncheon” plates with your dishes? They’re usually halfway between the dinner plate and the dessert plate size. Make those the plates you use all the time.
If you’re at a restaurant and you know the portions are going to be huge (seriously – look at the platters everyone else is eating from!), ask the server to put half your meal in a to-go container before it even gets to the table. Hey! Tomorrow’s lunch! Plus, better calorie allotment per meal.
Share an entree. Two people can easily order a dinner salad (you know, just the lettuce and tomato with some vinaigrette on the side) and split an entree. It’s good for your budget and your waistline.
Serve smaller portions – for everyone. It’s better to take a small first serving and a small second serving, than to force yourself to clean your plate of a King Kong serving. Another benefit? You won’t be eating food the kids left on their plates.
Here’s one clue.
Fish is usually on sale at your local grocery store. Stock up now – if it’s already frozen, just pop it into your freezer. If it’s fresh, ask them to wrap it in the portions you need, leave it wrapped (you might want to put the whole package into a freezer-weight zipper bag) and put it in the freezer.
Some restaurants also have fish specials during Lent. Order it broiled, no butter. Skip the fried fish, mkay? That includes the fast food fried fish bits, and the fried stuff at the grocery store. Eat healthy!
Photo by Rob Owen-Wahl
I recently answered this question for an article in Personal Development magazine.
List 3 books everyone should read and why. (If you have written any they can’t be your own.)
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare because it’s difficult to choose only one of his plays to read, and everyone should read at least one; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, my latest favorite book; The China Study by T. Colin Campbell for the most comprehensive explanation of why we shouldn’t be eating dairy products.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
So – if you’re not eating dairy anymore (who wants to be a 300 pound cow???), what do you drink?
Water. Hands down, the best thing you can drink.
Tea – preferably herbal (doesn’t contain caffeine) or decaffeinated green tea. Of course you can choose other teas – try to find it without caffeine, or added ingredients (sweeteners, chemicals). If you’re a Southern sweet tea drinker, switch to agave or stevia for the sweetener.
Juice – sometimes. Remember that it takes a lot of oranges to make one glass of oj – so you get all the sugar from those oranges with none of the fiber that helps it digest more slowly. You can add more water to the juice to make it less sweet.
Decaf coffee – sometimes. Even decaf has some caffeine in it. If you’re a hardcore coffee drinker, wean yourself from coffee slowly, adding a greater percentage of decaf to your cup each week. Use a non-dairy (low-chemical) creamer, like soy milk or soy creamer. Use stevia or agave as a sweetener.
Spritzers and “sodas” – sometimes. Organic soda is still empty calories and hard on your teeth. Read the label and choose a brand made from juice. Go easy on your wallet, and consider it a rare treat.
Bottled juice blends – rarely. They look tasty, but they pack in a load of calories and sugars. Even if all the sugars are from fruit, they’re in there.
Milk subs – soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, and oat milk are all generally available. There are many brands, many flavors, many origins, and they all taste different. Some are found in aseptic cartons on the shelf; others are in the refrigerated case. You may not like it at first – give it another chance, and try a different brand. Some tips about milk subs –
- For gravy and savory sauces – plain soy creamer
- For chocolate milk – try chocolate almond milk (especially warmed up!)
- For ganache – soy milk or soy creamer (can use vanilla here, since it’s dessert, but plain works great)
- For mashed potatoes – soy milk or soy creamer (decadent!)
- For your coffee – soy creamer or soy milk (rice milk tends to separate)
- Powdered – Better Than Soy Milk® and Better Than Rice Milk® – available in health food stores
- Buttermilk – make this quickly by putting 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in a 1 cup measure, and filling with soy milk. Let it sit for a minute. Doesn’t work as well with rice milk. OR – start with 1/4 cup of plain soy yogurt and add soy milk. Stir gently and let sit. Thicker, but not as sour.
- Rice milk is naturally a little sweeter, and much thinner in consistency. If you are used to 1% or skim on your cereal, this is for you. Does not bake as well because of consistency, and does not do as well in savory dishes because of the sweetness. Check grams of sugar with brands – again, it’s sweet from the rice, you don’t need any added sugars.
- For soy milk, know that some brands taste more “beany” than others. Those may not be as drinkable, but do really well for making gravy or “buttermilk.” Some of the more processed brands have some chemicals in them, but they may be more drinkable.
- Remember, you don’t have to drink milk to be healthy. But it’s handy to have in the kitchen for cooking.
Feel free to share your favorite beverages in the comments!