Galley: 1) the kitchen of a boat. Sally: 1) a venture off the beaten path, 2) a military action in which besieged troops burst forth from their position, 3) a witty remark.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

And... My Food! (Part 4, last installment)

You can find the other Parts here: Excitotoxins, BPA and Money

I have never added brown sugar to my kid's hot cereal, and we eat a lot of hot cereal.

Ever since she was a wee little one, I have mushed banana into her cereal (potassium!), sprinkled cinnamon (great health benefits!), and drizzled blackstrap molasses (manganese and iron!). With all this, how could she not love it? And she does!

Now don't get me wrong, I grew up loving brown sugar on my oatmeal and my ten grain, but I haven't sprinkled it on in over four years. At first, when I switched to cinnamon and molasses I definitely missed the lovely brown sugar sweetness. But that soon faded, and more and more I appreciated the rich flavor of the molasses, and the knowledge that I was getting much more nutritional bang for my buck. And I loved knowing that my kid wasn't overloading on refined sugar.

What I don't understand is how I could have been so smart about this (yep, I'm going to pat my back a little), and so clueless about food additives? There I am at home, being so careful about what I'm adding to my family's food, and then I march into the grocery store and fill the cart with a bunch of junk.

And I've been a pretty careful label reader. Just not careful, and knowledgeable, enough.

So I'm changing that, but it isn't exactly simple. If you're looking for me in the grocery store, I'm the one vaguely wandering around with a confused expression on my face, retracing my steps around and around the produce and dairy section. I'm actually a bit concerned I might appear as though I'm under the influence of something... but I haven't been asked to leave yet. The problem is this:

I cook us a hot breakfast every morning (the exception being when we have fruit and yogurt), and I cook us dinner every night. What I hadn't quite clued into was how many recipes call for cans of this, or a jar of that, or bouillon, etc. All those recipes are no good to me now, until I rework them to account for extra prep time for cooking my own beans, making my own hummus, chopping tomatoes, seasoning my own rice, making my own broth, sauce, etc.

I'm not complaining. None of these things are very hard, but they are a game changer, and I'm feeling the distinct need for some time spent browsing recipe books in the library. In the meantime, I've spent way too long in the grocery store, but have managed to feed my family Sauteed Veggies & Chicken over Rice with homemade Peanut Sauce, Chicken soup with Rice and Quinoa (made with leftovers from first dinner), Mushroom & Barley Soup with Spinach, and Radish Soup (my daughter's creation, and surprisingly good! I'll get it posted eventually).

A lot of soup! There have got to be some other whole food recipes I can handle, free of BPA and potential excitotoxins... this week I'm going to find them.


  1. Good Job Sweetheart. I look forward to the radish soup.

  2. This whole series has been incredibly fascinating and worrisome. I'm weary of the exotoxins information...not updated and not enough sources but have also had a hard time finding much more.

    As for BPA...I was under the understanding that the cans don't leach BPA unless put under heat. I know you mentioned assuming that the cans underwent heat to be sealed but did you ever get a verification? If not, then there really is no worry about BPA leaching unless you heat the can to cook the contents (like while camping). There are actually a whole line of canned goods that are now coming out that say they are BPA free...I've seen them coming out in the Co-op.

    A great book for cooking with whole foods is "Feeding the Whole Family" by Cynthia Lair.


  3. Hi Vanessa,

    I agree. I am tired of trying to find recent excitotoxin info. For BPA and canning, this is what I have learned:

    "From a public safety point of view, foods with low acidity (a pH more than 4.6) need sterilization under high temperature (116-130 °C). To achieve temperatures above the boiling point requires the use of a pressure canner. Foods that must be pressure canned include most vegetables, meat, seafood, poultry, and dairy products. The only foods that may be safely canned in an ordinary boiling water bath are highly acidic ones with a pH below 4.6,[1] such as fruits, pickled vegetables, or other foods to which acidic additives have been added." Wikipedia

    I'm pretty sure this means yes, the canning must take place at a high temperature to make the food safe (in terms of microbial contamination). To NOT take place at high temps would open the door to all sorts of food poisoning lawsuits...

    And I worry, "What are they using instead of BPA? Do we know IT is safe?" That is a concern vom Saal expressed in his interview as well. As he is one of the leading researchers on BPA, and he uses no canned goods in his household, I'm going to stick with that for now...

    !!?? It is all crazy, isn't it?

    Thanks so much for the cookbook recommendation. I just picked up a whole pile of new ones at the library, so I'll add that one to my list! Thanks for reading and commenting!!


Please be respectful and polite to everyone, so that I can keep the comment submissions open to all. Thanks!!