Foods for a Fatty Like Me

If you tend to be larger than you’re supposed to be, finding foods that satisfy you and keep you on the right side of the scales is a challenge. You could go for all the sugar-free (chemical laden) foods that line the supermarket shelves or simply eat raw (as I tried for a month – it certainly worked for a while).

No matter what ‘diet’ or eating regime you follow, you are likely to feel hungry, because we ‘fatties’ are used to eating more than is necessary. I’ve got to the point, though, of deciding hungry is not a nice state to be in. Therefore I have to find foods that nourish and satisfy my taste buds at the same time. For instance, those rice ‘biscuits’ that look like bits of polystyrene stuck together just do not do it for me.

I am also trying to avoid foods with large numbers of chemicals disguised as harmless numbers – which accounts for about 99% of products on supermarket shelves. I mean you have to understand that some of those innocuous numbers are there for a good reason. We don’t want to be eating stale-tasting food, or food that has gone ‘off’, so a little preservative is good for us if we shop in a supermarket. If we browse in our garden we can be sure (as long as we wash the produce before we eat it) by and large we’re not going to get sick eating fresh and we’re not going to be swallow a bunch of numbers. However, for most people that is not possible, or possible only during the growing season. Supermarket food is our only alternative.

I’ve also worked out that wheat products (basically bread) play havoc with my digestion so I am avoiding gluten. The path I’ve chosen is expensive! So what are my choices? Grow my own and eat copious salads, or educate myself into reading labels and uncovering some gems.

MexicanCornChips

That’s what I did this afternoon. I ate some Gluten-free Corn Chips  made by a NZ company called GoNutz.  This company packages nuts and snack foods for retail outlets, and while I’m well aware how snack foods are adding to our waist-lines, I was at first pleasantly surprised when I read the list of ingredients in these Wholegrain Corn Chips. Reduced fat and Low G.I. (better for diabetics), and there were only three sets of numbers!

Calcium 529 = Prepared from chalk as an acidity regulator. I’m fine with that.

Stabiliser 464 = Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose goes by the number 464 or E464.  It is a commercially prepared, chemically modified wood cellulose product. It is reputed to contain small amounts of heavy metals including:

  • Arsenic
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium

Oh dear. We have all heard how accumulation of heavy metals in the body can have life-threatening effects. It’s not as if there aren’t alternatives.

Research into safe stabilisers

A safer alternative cold be Furcellaria 408, A natural polysaccharide, produced from seaweed  in Denmark. It is used as a thickening agent, stabiliser and emulsifier especially in products for diabetics. Acceptable daily Intake: Up to 75 mg/kg body weight so you could eat a lot and still not have any poor effects.

Canola Oil (which contained an antioxidant 319 = Tertiary-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ). So I looked that up and found out that TBHQ is used in many foods, ranging from crackers to crisps to fast foods. TBHQ is in fact a chemical preservative which is a form of butane. It is used in foodstuffs to delay them going rancid and greatly extends their storage life on supermarket shelves. Oh dear. Oh dear.

Canola Oil Research

I did some more research and found out that Olive oil is a better healthy choice than Canola Oil, though more expensive. It is claimed that Olive oil can even help prevent or reverse type 2 diabetes, since it helps your body produce adiponectin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. As Go Nutz corn chips claim to be Low G.I. the implication is that the food is better for diabetics. The product is already a higher priced option, and if like me you’re looking for safe, tasty fill-me-up foods, you are prepared for that extra cost.

I guess I will have to leave my corn munchies to corn on the cob out of my own garden. For now at least – unless Go Nutz go Olive oil and seaweed and make a great product even greater.

Learn more:
Have you any favourite snacks that are gluten-free, ‘number’-free and use natural stabilisers? Let us know below:

Eco-choices hard to get right

We have a food scraps container – so do most people. So how ‘eco’ is that? Our food scraps go into our compost bin where the local mice party and compete with the worms. However, our cat enjoys the hunting and quite often brings in his trophies very much alive. In effect he is recycling our scraps – peelings – mice – cat food! In less rural localities compost bins are not possible.

Some town or city centres have bins where food scraps can go and they’re turned into compost at efficient composting plants where no intelligent mouse would risk her/his life (and which, I assume, are free of cats). Applying compost to the garden from such a centre is much more wholesome. It all comes in plastic bags … oops … what do you do with plastic bags?

Now I know that a good eco-warrior would buy everything in re-useable or compostable containers, and we did start buying those woven bags put out by supermarkets in NZ. They’re supposed to cut down the number of plastic bags sent to the rubbish tip each year. I was all for that until I looked at the Made in China label. Hmmm a lot of fuel was used transporting them down-under. Instead we resolved to re-use plastic bags as many times as possible before disposing of them. Our dog helps out in that regard – we still send the bags to the refuse disposal system but it does contain some compostable material.

I’ve decided, it’s all about getting the balance right for the locality you live in and the options it offers. We will still compost and apply it to our garden in a bid to be as eco as possible. We will still use plastic but re-use the bags as many times as possible before binning them. And, where there is opportunity to use recyclable containers, we will.

Hello world!

I am writing this blog to record the process of turning our suburban section (690 square metres) and house into an eco-friendly place, where we equalise what we take with what we give back.

Our plan is to evaluate and adapt our:

  • Water use and conservation
  • Energy use and conservation
  • Food consumption
  • Recycling systems
  • Garden production to organic foods

Each week, or more often, I will share with you our progress towards a more sustainable lifestyle. This will cover my research and our practical actions. Look out for photos and video!

Join me in my journey …

– Heather