Category Archives: food

It’s About Time that South Park Does a Spoof on Gluten-Free

I’ve never bought into the gluten-free craze, even though I live in Boulder, which embraced the movement from day one. Now, 99 percent of our grocery stores are devoted to gluten-free products. Well, maybe not quite that much, but it’s certainly in your face when you walk into the grocery store. Items such as shampoo for dogs are labeled gluten-free and customers are sure to choose the gluten-free dog shampoo over the dog shampoo that is not labeled gluten-free. This is sadly true, and I supposedly live in one of the smartest towns in the nation. Argh.

A few years ago, at my local Kroger’s grocer, I was picking out a flour to make bread. A very young couple was shopping for gluten-free flour-like products near me. So, mystified, I asked them why they’d gone gluten-free. They explained to me very enthusiastically that gluten coats your food in your bowels so you cannot obtain the nutrients in your food and now that they’d gone gluten-free they felt SO MUCH BETTER. (They looked really healthy to me.) I left the store with my bag of flour unconvinced.

In this episode, South Park rather impressively presents the USDA and our Secretary of Agriculture. I’m not sure why they make Vilsack look so good. He’s more handsome and thinner than in real life, and they have him wearing a white lab coat as if he’s a scientist, and not the tie wearing lawyer-politician which he really is.

The crude-humor (warning – DO NOT watch if you are sensitive to crudeness) based in Colorado clever and funny South Park has finally done an episode on gluten-free ebola. Everything they do is centered around bad taste.

The New Avant-Garde Markthal in Rotterdam

This month a cutting edge piece of prominent architecture has opened in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. A giant horseshoe arch which houses a food court market the size of a soccer field below, is made up of apartment dwellings with open air balconies above. The food market will be open seven days a week and there is a large amount of underground parking below.

For those who buy or rent the new apartments contained in the structure, they will have the ultimate opportunity to eat, shop, or work local with fantastic views of the city.

There will be 100 fresh produce units, 15 food shops, 8 restaurants, 228 apartments and 1,200 parking places included in this market hall concept.

The market is to sell “fresh and affordable fair products” arranged with bread and dairy in the hall’s center, fish and meat on one diagonal, and potatoes, vegetables, fruit and delicacies on the other diagonal. Four separate fresh produce units will be spread out across the floor for seasonal products or specials.

The arch is ten stories tall.

This fearless architecture food center is sure to become a huge tourist attraction in Rotterdam.

To learn more:

A Scientist’s Case Against GMO Labeling

Andrew Staehelin is a professor emeritus of the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado here in Boulder. He wrote a guest commentary for our local newspaper titled, “GMO labels – a $500 food tax”. I think it would be wise for everyone to read it as it is as good as anything you’ll find on the subject and contains quite a few bits of information that I’ll bet you didn’t know before.

Here in Colorado we have an initiative on the ballot to label GMO products now that enough signatures were gathered for the vote. Many other states are also going this route. While I would love to see many parts of Ag policy change, I am not an advocate of GMO labeling, in part, because people can already buy GMO free if that’s what they really want. Also, I think “be careful what you wish for” applies here.

Here’s a link to the article which I do hope everyone will take the time to read and pass around.

Staehelin wrote another piece recently which I also strongly recommend concerning GMO rennet in cheeses. The article tells us that places like Whole Foods should be labeling most of their cheeses as having GMO content if they really want consumers to know which products contain GMO ingredients.

And, there is yet another important point (against the rationality of labeling) explained in this previous post:

Caution: GMO Labeling Regulations Could Soon Become Obsolete.

Sweet Potatoes are Gaining as Regular Potatoes are Losing Ground

U.S. sweet potato use per capita has increased significantly during the last decade and was estimated at nearly 7 pounds in 2012, up almost 50 percent over 2002 levels. People recognize the health benefits of fiber and many nutrients contained in sweet potatoes and, of course, sweet potato fries have become extremely popular.

According to the Univ. of Kentucky, “sweet potatoes gained some popularity as a ‘lower-carb potato’ in the early 2000’s, and high antioxidant levels in sweet potato skins and other health benefits contributed to consumption staying strong after the low-carb diet craze. Sweet potato consumption is highest among Americans over 60, and sweet potatoes may have special appeal to aging, health-conscious baby boomers.”

source: North Carolina Sweet Potatoes

U.S. Sweet Potato per capita consumption has been rising nicely:
4.2 pounds in 2000
5.2 pounds in 2009
6.3 pounds in 2010
7 pounds in 2012

As a comparison, American’s eat about 50 pounds per year of all types of potatoes, including processed and fresh baked.

Do you know where your sweet potatoes come from?

North Carolina has been the number one sweet producing state since 1971. According to NC Sweet Potatoes, “Its hot, moist climate and rich, fertile soil are ideal for cultivating sweet potatoes, averaging at nearly 50% of the U.S. supply. According to the USDA, North Carolina harvested nearly 50,000 acres of sweet potatoes in 2010, the same amount produced by California, Louisiana and Mississippi combined – also top producing states.”

Sweet potatoes were formerly thought of as a poor man’s food, but now are realized to be a nutrient lovers food. I like to put cubed sweet potatoes in Indian cooking dishes with other vegetables such as cauliflower over rice, or, in pasta.

One lady is even reported to have done a sweet potato diet. She claims to have lost 90 pounds while eating one sweet potato per day topped with cinnamon, along with other healthy foods.