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Real Food

posted Jan 6, 2012, 12:01 AM by Web Admin   [ updated Jan 7, 2012, 7:28 AM ]

Winter beach

And I thought physical activity keeps you slim and agile, flexible and sexy.

Some days ago the best wife of all told me to get rid of that regrowing muffin top near my belt. 

Since the ease of those meatless days last October had perished and was long gone, breathing became increasingly difficult. Even during the brutally cold Florida winter I had to catch my breath and I broke out in sweat just looking at a sports utensil. 

Even sports sneakers made me feel uncomfortable. History were those moments of newfound athleticism when I would have a run down the beach just for the sake of it. Something had to be done. I explored the possibilities and closed out only white food diets, sauerkraut or pineapple centered ones and I certainly would not start a steak or South Beach diet.


No diet pills were in the preliminaries, no Jenny Craig diet or belt watchers, no magic slimming potion made it into consideration and certainly no liposuction! 

I kept on browsing some of the diets, or as I prefer to call them, nutritional changes, because after all, that's what they are.

Finally I resorted to real food.

At long last I decided to get back to my roots, eat real food, what a novel idea. I would eat just like before, only  no alcohol for a month. Oh, and less carbs and some pounds less of those meats again, and possibly even less dairy. I would live just like last fall when I had shed  20 pounds easily without hunger and deprivation. Thus I would also reduce that animal fat growing around my waist.  Less sugar and less carbs would be on the menu, because I pay my health care bills myself and would rather spend the money on hiking in the Himalayas than on doctor, medication and surgery bills. 

By resorting to such a nutritional plan I would be less often in pain. I would feel like 17, or 27, or at least 37 again. Venturing to reach my goal I also added an additive free component  to this diet of no meat, no beer and no sugar.

It had bothered me for quite some time that on and off sometimes foods found their way into my baskets bearing ingredients I had suspected to encounter in a Frankenstein cabinet, not on my plate. I decided to make a conscious effort to avoid those chemicals. Out of several thousand additives I wanted at least those 24 buggers gone from my body.


A few days into this plan now I also research dairy. The results are surprising and shocking, especially for a cheese lover like me: Langres, Appenzeller, Camembert, the beauties of California like cheeses from the Cowgirl Creamery, or Vermont's raw goat cheeses (Twig farms) enjoy my regular attention, as do local Mozzarita, imported Scamorza and aged blue cheeses from Stilton to Roquefort.

Apparently a large portion, up to 60 percent, of Latinos, Asians and African Americans are Lactose intolerant which means they can not digest dairy properly. Humans are also the only animal, (yes, we are!) , which drinks the milk of other animals. Well, I knew we were unique.

There is this doctor, who says, that all the nutrients, vitamins and fibers are being found in a plant based diet. The animal just converts this diet into fat and cholesterol. 

For my real food diet this couldn't spell good news: Not even cheese? What about butter? Isn't butter, pure unadulterated butter, something completely different, especially when spread on a warm slice of crusty bread?

I suspended the restriction on minimally processed cheese and organic butter, but investigation continues....


Back to the real food diet: Apart from said belly propagators I want additives gone and fake food like analogue cheese and margarine to be absent in my daily life. Why? Because I just do not enjoy the thought of ingesting, or not, a truck load of artificial substances every year. Then second, I am a chef, and as such obliged to use the best ingredients I can find, because opposed to some people's believe you can not make gold out of crap.   

So into the aisles of my local grocery store I rushed, grabbed flour without potassium bromate and bleach, but enriched with vitamins. Here is what some think about this kind of flour , http://www.gratefulbread.us.com/research.htm

The enrichment rule goes for rice and pasta all the same. Asking my favorite nutritionist, she explained, no worries, these vitamins are being flushed out by your digestive system if unneeded.  O.K., she is right for all the undernourished and overfed,  but shouldn't I have a choice?

On I go, tomatoes crushed or peeled in a can, not authentic, I know, but it does the trick for a quick dinner. Nowadays even those come with beautiful basil aroma added. Could I have tomato paste please, without ascorbic acid, or “natural flavor” ? “Natural" flavors, which only must have the same molecular structure as the real thing, but could be, and sometimes are, produced from saw dust or other beautiful ingredients. 

No, no doughnuts, though just the sprinkle of sugar on top has 15 tasty ingredients. In case I would like fries, the frozen variety, why do I want guar gum, gelatin, benzoate etc. in them? I know, to protect color, make them crispier, preserve them. How difficult is it to cut up some spuds and toss them in oil, or even better, put them in a pan with olive oil, garlic and rosemary? 

Talking about preservatives: A lady had a burger meal in her office for a whole year, just to see what would happen. Nothing happened.

The burger and the fries had not decomposed or smelled or changed shape, after one year.......


Maybe another indulgence: Chips maybe, but why do I want Maltodextrin and a dozen other spelling bee challenges in there?

Why does sausage , not that I consider a purchase, but I never know where my evil forces might take me to, involve countless additives apart from the best parts of the animal, eyes, tail, cartilage?

Why would I want growth hormones and antibiotics in my chicken, pork and beef? Why do I want a water and salt solution added, topped with "natural" flavors in my meats? They claim it’s butter aroma, but it smells like the Bayer factory back home in Leverkusen/Germany.

No, I am not afraid of cancer, and even if I could care less about animal cruelty, why do they feed me this horror meat, despite my lax ethics?

Oh, and why do I want sulfites in my wine or Meta Bisulfite in my coconut milk when I fix a nice green curry?

Why does a piece of pastry consist of stuff I couldn't even pronounce? I want real food, don't want to be the trash chute for sub optimum ingredients, which largely haven't been on the market for a long time at all. What did we feed on for the last 20 000 years? And why is it that we are eating chemicals in bulk in 2010?

Today I have a hard time finding anything without chemicals in a grocery store, and I deplore this fact. 

But I will try and eat one month without additives.

I will post an update next month and confess...

It might be harder to live without beer for a month. 

Could I have beer without rice in it?