Inspiring and Refreshing Summer Cooking

It was love at first sight when I spied their cute little round white heads peaking out from a cluster of delicate verdant leaves.

All it really takes for me to get inspired is a single outstanding element and an entire meal results. And what better time than early summer to find that inspiration! These baby turnips ooze summer, light refreshment!

REFRESHING SUMMER LUNCHEON

Baby turnips and greens with summer squash dressed with fresh ginger and coconut white balsamic vinaigrette.  

 

Cooking method for turnip and greens salad starts with the tiny turnips cut in halves and dropped into salted boiling water until just bright and slightly tender then take them out. Next the sliced summer squash is dropped into the same water for just a few seconds and removed. Finally the greens, sliced, get dropped into the water and removed as soon as the color turns bright green—less than a minute!  Drain and let it cool.

The vinaigrette consists of freshly grated ginger, coconut white balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sea salt.

The rest of the meal soon followed: Easy BBQ tofu, leftover radish pickles and corn and quinoa medley.

BBQ TOFU

Barbecued Tofu made with quick-grab-what’s-available homemade BBQ Sauce.

Barbecue sauce has got to be tangy, slightly sweet, slightly (or more than slightly) hot and its got to be thick and finger-lickin’ good.  No measuring occurred here – just thrown together country barley miso, barley malt syrup, aged balsamic vinegar, chipotle pepper sauce, garlic and a little mirin. It came out real good! Tofu doesn’t have any flavor on its own so these firm tofu triangles were marinated in the sauce for half an hour and then the whole shebang got baked at 350 for 30 minutes.

QUINOA AND CORN

Quinoa, corn and scallion medley.

While my tofu was marinating I washed up a cup of quinoa. Quinoa has a coating of saponin on it and that stuff tastes very bitter. So wash the quinoa thoroughly before cooking. I use 1 1/2 cups of spring water for one cup of quinoa and once it’s brought to a boil, simmer until all the water is cooked away — 20-25 minutes.  I cooked mine with 2 crushed and sliced garlic cloves and a pinch or two of sea salt. At the end I added the corn which has got to be organic. The sliced scallions and some roasted chopped almonds were tossed in last along with a bit of olive oil.

And the radish pickles?  See this post. Only this time I didn’t include the radish greens.

A note on choosing your inspiring vegetable or fruit

The later we get into summer, of course, the less “baby” veggies we’re going to see because, well . . . those little sprouts sure do grow fast don’t they? You can go ahead and make this turnip salad with regular turnips and turnip greens no problem. It can be just as refreshing as long as you choose your veggies wisely and that’s what I want to talk to you about.

As you’re shopping or harvesting from your garden, know that bigger is not always better. Vegetables that are allowed to grow really big are less flavorful, have more seeds and can even be pithy. You might be impressed with that giant baseball bat of a zucchini, but the little skinny one is going to taste better and sweeter.

I don’t pick the biggest onion or the biggest of any veggie or fruit. I pick what is not overgrown and not harvested too late.  I can’t think of any example where it’s better not to do that.

Happy inspiration and Happy Cooking!

 

 

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Marketing Word Games

Have you seen this?  so delicious PAINT sugar free cocunut milk

 

It’s just a little tricky thing some of the alternative milk companies are doing.

The label on the front says “No Sugar Added.” You might think you’re getting something without sweetener.

No. You’re not. You’re getting something that doesn’t have sugar but does have some kind of other sweetener added that you may or may not want.

They used to just say “unsweetened” and that was that. But now there is “unsweetened” and this other, “No sugar” label.  They are definitely not the same.

To be fair, there is nothing on this label that tries overtly to make you think there is no sweetener at all in this product. But I know food shoppers and I know that many of us don’t actually read every label and if we do, we might not get all the ingredients that we aren’t familiar with defined for us before we buy and consume them.

I just bought a box of So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk. That was after first picking up and reading the one that said “Sugar Free.” The sweeteners were “Reb A,” which is a stevia extract and “Monk fruit” which is a small, exotic Asian fruit that one writer called the “latest darling of the alternative sweetener world.”

Monk fruit sweetener, however is usually mixed with other things such as erythritol, a sweet substance extracted from certain lichens and algae, along with molasses and sugar. Another monk fruit sweetener recently marketed also contains corn-derived dextrose.

Right off the bat when I see one of those words ending in “ose” I know that it is a simple sugar that can wreak havoc with our bodies just like any refined sugar does. I personally stay away from foods with any “-ose” ingredients and that has been a very workable way to avoid unhealthy sweeteners.

Then there’s the matter of “corn-derived,” which should raise another red flag if you’re interested in avoiding genetically modified foods. Corn, unless it specifically says “organic,” is most likely GMO. The exception is when you buy corn at a farmers market, can talk to the farmer himself and he says he doesn’t grow GMO crops and you trust his integrity. But then you aren’t buying a corn-derived extract from him, so he can’t help you with the monk fruit sweetener problem.

I don’t know which type of monk fruit sweetener the folks at Turtle Mountain (who manufacture the So Delicious line) used. But I know that I’ll avoid it altogether and stick with the “So Delicious Unsweetened” which I like very much.

The moral of the story is 1) Read your labels thoroughly, and 2) Understand what the ingredients actually are before trusting you should consume them.

 

 

Not Just Brown

Did you ever look back on what you’ve been cooking and notice there’s an awful lot of brown food going on? Brown rice. Toasted almonds. Roasted cauliflower. Soy sauce. Apple pie. Barley. Whole wheat bread and pasta. Nut butters.

All of the above are things I recently cooked and they were really, really delicious and eaten with plenty of lightly cooked greens or salads. But I need C O L O R! My mama always said that one way to ensure good nutrition is to make sure you have a colorful plate of food. She didn’t mean the Fiesta Ware! (Although colorful serving dishes do help with the aesthetics.)  I think she was wise to tell me that.

I don’t go in for specially hybridized food such as the purple and orange cauliflower that I saw in Whole Foods last week. Too unnatural! So what can be done to put some vibrant, natural color into that whole food, plant-based diet? Plenty!!!

Wild rice salad with celery, carrots and peas.  Dressed with a white miso, walnut oil, lemon dressing.

Wild rice salad with celery, carrots and peas. Dressed with a white miso, walnut oil, lemon dressing.

Very lightly boiled kale and yellow squash. I eat greens every day! If you don't overcook them, they will put out this incredible "Alive Vibe!"

Very lightly boiled kale and yellow squash. I eat greens every day.  If you don’t overcook them, they will put out this incredible “Alive Vibe!”

The strawberries make the difference on this bowl of oatmeal with toasted almonds, don't they?

The strawberries make the difference in this bowl of oatmeal with toasted almonds, don’t they?

Colorful Pico Di Gallo could put some zing in your bowl!

Colorful Pico Di Gallo could put some zing in your bowl!

What could you do with these beauties to brighten up a meal?

What could you do with these beauties to brighten up a meal?

How about some red beans? They do wonders for this quinoa dish.

How about some red beans? They do wonders for this quinoa dish.

Sometime try this: walk through the produce aisle of your natural food store and just look for colors you like. I learned this technique from clothes shopping, by the way, because I walk up and down those racks and when I see a color I like then I’ll take a closer look at the clothing item. Maybe you’ll find something you haven’t considered using before.

As growing season is upon us here in the northern hemisphere, we can look forward to an abundance of vibrant colors to choose from!  What is your favorite way to infuse your menu with color?

Shop Your Local Farmer’s Markets

The growing season is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere and soon we will be able to get freshly picked, locally grown foods!

Copley Square Farmer's Market

Copley Square Farmer’s Market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the best things you can do to improve the nutritional value and taste of your cooking is to venture over to your local farmer’s market or roadside stand and buy fresh, locally-grown produce.  Your local natural food store may even feature local food growers and producers.  Mine does and they usually have special weekend events where you can meet and talk with these local growers and ranchers.

I would much rather make the acquaintance of the people who are actually growing and raising my food than suffer a distant, from-my-wallet-to-your-cashier relationship with a huge mega-supermarket conglomerate food chain.  I am much more interested in supporting a local grower and seeing that my dollars go into his/her hands rather than having my food dollar pay for transportation, packaging, marketing and warehousing my food—all of which contributes to reducing the taste, freshness, safety and nutritional value of that food.

There has been quite an increase in farmer’s markets over the past decade or so.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, operating farmer’s markets have increased by 17% between 1994 and 2011.  One resource I found quoted Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of the USDA, saying, “There’s a yearning for the 99 percent of Americans who are no longer connected to the farm to reconnect.”  Check here for the entire article which includes tips for locating truly organic food at these markets.  http://www.mnn.com/money/green-workplace/stories/farmers-markets-spur-job-growth-new-report-finds

That is good news and it reflects a demand for fresh, locally-grown food.  In a economically stressed environment it is refreshing to see this food marketing niche showing such healthy growth.  (Pun intended!)

For both experienced and budding cooks, preparing fresh, locally-grown foods has the big advantage of creating great taste without much effort.  We’ve all probably had the experience of picking or buying fresh-picked corn on the cob at the height of its season in the summertime and taking it home and cooking it same day.  Can’t get any sweeter!  And we’ve all probably had the experience of buying same corn and storing it for a few days in the refrigerator and then tasting the disappointing starchy corn that results from letting it sit.  No comparison.  Fresh-picked corn wins!

The same is true for all vegetables and other food products.  When you buy it fresh and prepare it right away you have superior taste as well as superior nutritional value.  That alone makes it easier to create incredibly delicious food without breaking a sweat.  And I’m all about making my cooking life cooler and easier in the summertime!

Do you frequent a farmer’s market?  I’d love to hear what you find there and how you like it.

Keep It Simple Sweetie – Five Basic Rules for Knowing What to Eat

Me:  “Hunny, could you get the soap box outta the closet for me please?  I think it’s under that basket of hats and gloves.”

Hunny:  “Again?  Why don’t you just keep it out if you’re going to use it so much?”

Me: “I know.  I know.  I’m trying not to get on it but sometimes I just can’t help it.  Believe me, I would love to write a nice, pleasant little blog that everyone knows and loves.  But it is not always possible.”

~~~~~

[Guests walk in.]

Oh!  Hello there!  So glad you dropped by!  Can I offer you a recipe or two?  How about a nice cup of tea?

[Silence]

Hmmm.  You seem upset about something.  What can I help you with?  Oh I get it!  You’re confused about all these foods that people are running around raving about and telling you that you need them in order to be healthy?  You’re under pressure to consume acai berry but you don’t really understand why?  You’ve heard you shouldn’t eat soy, you should eat soy, you have no idea if you should eat carbs and now you’ve read my blog and wonder what the hell there is that you can safely sweeten your food with?  You never in a million years imagined that plain old feeding your face was really so complicated?

No problem!  Let me tell you the basic rules of knowing what to eat.  The rules are so simple, I’m sure you’ll say you really already knew them.  I’m just reminding you.

1.  Choose whole foods.  These are foods that have all their edible parts left intact.  They have not been heavily refined or processed.  Examples of whole foods are unpolished grains, beans, whole vegetables, whole fruits, whole animals.  Yes!  Have a cow!  Really, if you are going to eat animal protein at least eat something that resembles a part of the whole animal instead of meat-like products that are ground, pressed and blended with God-knows-what.  About a year ago I learned that ground beef is often mixed with other things and that this is not necessarily included on the label.  And just recently we all read about “pink slime” and how some school districts are vowing to eliminate it from the school lunch menus.

2.  Eat organically grown and raised food.  There is plenty of information available about what organic farming is.  But it can get confusing if you don’t know the legal definitions so here you are (from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture website):

100% Organic and Organic:  Products labeled as “100 percent organic” must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients and processing aids. Products labeled “organic” must consist of at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt). Any remaining product ingredients must consist of non-agricultural substances approved on the National List including specific non-organically produced agricultural products that are not commercially available in organic form.

Made with Organic Ingredients:  Processed products that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients” and list up to three of the organic ingredients or food groups on the principal display panel. For example, soup made with at least 70 percent organic ingredients and only organic vegetables may be labeled either “soup made with organic peas, potatoes, and carrots,” or “soup made with organic vegetables.”

3.  Choose foods that are as fresh and local as possible.  Sure you can buy a can of organic pinto beans, some frozen organic brown rice (and I have been guilty of both on occasion) but it is simply not possible to preserve the nutrients and life energy of a food when it has been harvested a year ago and has been sitting in a warehouse six months after that.  And even if you are buying fresh—let’s take cabbage for an example—your “fresh” cabbage is losing precious vitamin C while it’s waiting for you to pick it up and put it in your cart.  If at all possible, look for “locally grown” and look for any farmer’s markets local farms or other sources of food that is truly fresh.  Better yet, start your own garden, grow some herbs, participate in a co-op or community organic garden or whatever you can.

That is one reason why locally grown food is important.  But there is another reason to choose locally grown food.  That is, your ability to easily get along with your environment. Today we can get any food from any part of the world.  But why do we have to import something like fresh pineapple if we live in Alaska?  Obviously pineapple doesn’t grow in Alaska and in many other climates as well.  So if we ate tropical foods every day while living in a cold climate we’d probably find it harder to stay warm.  Tropical foods are in balance with tropical environments.

I have a friend who was recently consulting someone about their diet.  She found out the person, who lives in a southern state, had a problem of being too hot all the time.  She wisely recommended that he consume less meat because she knows that meat keeps a body very warm indeed.

4.  Include naturally fermented foods.  Naturally fermented foods provide valuable “good bacteria” for your digestive tract.  In a world dedicated to killing every kind of bacteria and “germ” with fluoride in water and toothpaste, chlorine in water and chlorine wipes for every surface, and the king of intestinal flora killers–antibiotics—it’s no wonder that people suffer everything from chronic gas to serious yeast infestations.  First of all, realize that if you are ill and have to take antibiotics, do it responsibly.  Antibiotics kill bacteria but don’t differentiate between the good and the bad.  Every day put back the beneficial bacteria that the antibiotic is killing.  Some people feel this is wasteful and they just wait until they are finished taking the antibiotic.  I don’t agree.  By that time you have been totally stripped, leaving your intestinal tract open to infestation of whatever comes your way.

All traditional cultures have fermented foods.  It was done to preserve foods and it was well known to be helpful to digestion.  Pickled vegetables, pickled fish and yogurt in western cultures.  Naturally fermented soy products such as shoyu (real soy sauce) and miso as well as other types of pickles and fermented foods are used in eastern cultures.

When looking to purchase naturally pickled or fermented foods, beware that many of the cultured dairy products are pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized and then they add the beneficial bacteria such as acidophilus.  When I talk about including naturally fermented foods, I am talking about ones that are developed by traditional processes that result in live beneficial bacteria.  You should also know that the ever-so-popular yogurts available are often flavored with sugar and sugared fruit products.  That defeats the overall purpose of protecting health and leads to my final basic rule for knowing what to eat.

5.  Don’t eat refined sugar.  Get to know what is sugar and what isn’t and which types of sweeteners are complex carbohydrates and which ones are not.  I have written many posts on this blog about the subject.  Sugar is one of the most devastating food additives ever and it has been around so long, and contributes to so many health problems which are blamed on other things that it is truly insidious.

I know many people who consider themselves very healthy and conscientious who say they mostly avoid sugar and only eat it as a special treat.  That is excellent and I admire their intentions to avoid this toxic substance.  But the problem I see is that sugar is in so many things that it is difficult indeed to eat little or none of it.

~~~~~

Me: “I’m done with the soapbox now, Hunny.  Help me get down, please.”        

Hunny:  “Shall I put it away?”                                                                                              

Me:  “For now, thanks.  But I might need it again so don’t bury it too far into the closet.”

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil, Georgia O’Keeffe and Inspiration

No matter where I go, my cooking life is easily inspired.

My husband and I took a little 24-hour vacation this weekend and went to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  If you haven’t been there, it is nestled about an hour north of Albuquerque and has an altitude of about 7,000 feet which makes it a cool relief on a hot weekend.  Being true blue to you, my blogging friends, I always have my eye out for something good to write about and I certainly found some things!

I can always count on Santa Fe to surprise me!  Last time I was there on a warm, spring weekend, this happened:

But this time, we were surprised by one of the Santa Fe shops we found instead of by the weather.  We discovered a shop called “Oleaceae” which sells olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt from around the world.  Not much of an inventory you say?  Think again!  This store had dozens and dozens of plain and flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

The oils were incredible extra virgin olive oils and the flavored ones were infused with wonderful things that sent my imagination out-of-this-world with culinary ideas.  What would you make with Blood Orange Olive Oil?  Olceaceae suggests using it as a substitute for shortening in brownies and cakes or to pair it with Cranberry Pear, Dark Cocoa, Pomegranate or Fig Balsamic Vinegar.  Or how about making your hummus with Harrisa Olive Oil that is infused with cumin, coriander and garlic?

All the oils were available for tasting and the staff at Olceaceae can suggest the most outrageous pairings of oil and vinegar for you to try.  I found an oil there that was not an olive oil and it is one I have only heard of but never found available anywhere:  roasted pumpkin seed oil!  This was a very intense, rich unrefined seed oil made by roasting pumpkin seeds and then crushing them to extract the oil.  This is the one I purchased!

I understand that pumpkin seed oil is used in Austria on just about everything and I will be experimenting with my precious find and sharing what I come up with.

All the balsamic vinegars were aged for at least eighteen years and all imported from  Modena, Italy.  There were two main types:  dark and white balsamic vinegar.  And these came in a myriad of flavors!  My favorite dark balsamics were Lush Black Cherry–which you could actually drizzle on ice cream or mix with sparkling water with a slice of lime; the Cafe Expresso Balsamic, and the Blackberry Ginger.  Even the plain dark balsamic vinegar was divine and it was so sweet and delicious, you wouldn’t even need oil in your salad dressing.  And it could definitely be an ingredient for either savory or sweet dishes.

The white balsamics–which I’d never tried before–were wonderful too!  Mmmmm . . . what could you do with Island Coconut Balsamic or Fragrant Oregano Balsamic?  Tasting these was better than any wine tasting!  I know I have a whole new world of variations ahead of me using these beautiful condiments.

The Oleaceae Oils

The Oleaceae Vinegars

This company does mail order through their website, which is Oleaceaeoliveoil.com.

Having tasted more than a dozen oils and vinegars, we wandered out to the Santa Fe Plaza and decided to visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.  I hadn’t known much about Georgia O’Keeffe before, except that she spent quite a lot of time in New Mexico painting the mountains, mesas, flowers and desert landscape.  The museum was very worthwhile and included a great selection of her work as well as fascinating insight on her philosophy of life.

She said, “I simply paint what I see.”  And she said, “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else.”

Of course we went into the gift shop and having been thoroughly impressed with the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe and the fact that she lived at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico for years communing with nature and painting it, I was drawn to two particular photos of her.

In her kitchen, of course, where I imagine she was also quite creative.

Making Stew at Ghost Ranch

Pouring Tea

When the day was about over and we sat in the historic Santa Fe Plaza as the shops began to close, we met the apparently extremely popular “mayor” of the Santa Fe Plaza.  He was very friendly and very hip at the same time.

Motion, Mayor of Santa Fe Plaza

Back home, I’ve already opened my toasted pumpkin seed oil and savored the aroma again and again.  I’m dreaming of roasted vegetables with pumpkin seed oil, a lovely quinoa whole grain summer salad and a pumpkin seed with lemon zest dressing for tomato salad.  You will be the first to know!

The Layout of the Organic Foods Industry

It’s early Friday morning.  I’m checking out my facebook and come across something about organic foods.  Hmmmm . . . there’s a lot of information here.  All graphically demonstrated.  This is like one of those “Where’s Waldo” things.  Well I don’t see Waldo, but I see a lot of somewhat disturbing data.

I spent some time following the arrows and learning what companies actually own some of my favorite natural food brands.  These are big organizational boards showing the layout of the natural/organic foods industry.  Very interesting data and plenty of it, but it is–at least for me–unevaluated data at this point.

Although I must say, my emotional response to the fact that an organic food manufacturer like Seeds of Change is owned by M&M Mars is that it makes my heart sink to the ground.  Some of the others don’t surprise me as much and I make a quick and loose observation, “No wonder some of these so-called natural products have sugar and other weird ingredients in them.”

I am soothed to know that Lundberg, Eden, Amy’s and Frontier are still independent.  I wonder, “But for how long?”

My friend who posted these commented that it may be more and more important to grow your own food.  She is probably right but I don’t think that is a total solution.  I think we have to be vigilant about label-reading and continue to refuse to purchase pretend natural food products and demand high-quality selections from our stores.

Is it important when organic food companies are bought out by huge conglomerate corporations that also manufacture the very foods we are trying to get away from?

Organic food product labels

Organic foods acquisitions

Top 30 Food Processors

Acquisitions by the Top 30

Top Brands that are still Independent

Got Sugar?

Macro photograph of a pile of sugar (saccharose)

Macro photograph of a pile of sugar (saccharose) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My oh my!  This sugar topic is certainly a hot one!  I have gotten more responses, “likes,” and comments about my sugar posts than anything else I’ve done. Thanks to all for stopping by to read these and taking the time to comment.

And I plan to stir the pot further about sugar right now.

Since I’ve been writing about the evils of sugar, I was curious to see how many items in my natural food store had sugar in them that I would not have suspected.  I don’t know the exact number as there are so many, but here are some that are pretty obvious and some that are not so obvious. [When I say “obvious,” I mean that you probably already know or heard that it’s got sugar in it.]

Obvious:  Most fruit-flavored yogurts and vanilla yogurt have sugar in them.

Not-so-obvious:  “Made from real almonds non-dairy frozen dessert [I almost bought this today until I decided to check the ingredients.  Probably it was wishful thinking!]

Obvious:  Chocolate or vanilla soy milk.

Not-so-obvious:  Original, organic, plain soy milk found in cartons in the refrigerated section of the store.  This one truly surprised me.

Obvious:  Ketchup and cocktail sauce.

Not-so-obvious:  Organic low-fat mayonnaise.

Obvious:  Canned soups.

Not-so-obvious:  Most brands of organic and/or kosher chicken broth, beef broth and vegetable broth in the aseptic boxes list cane juice.

Not-so-obvious-and-just-plain sinful:  Organic miso soup in an aseptic box.  I was offended!

Kudos to IMAGINE FOODS brand of soup broths.  They do NOT have sugar!

Obvious:  Most barbecue sauces.

Not-so-obvious:  Organic lemon herb rub (for fish) with thyme. And sugar.

Obvious:  Many breads and flour products.

Not-so-obvious:  Organic, whole wheat panko bread crumbs.

Not obvious but for a different reason:  Salad dressings.  Some of the natural and/or organic brands have sugar in them and some don’t.  It’s about 50/50 so just check the labels because it’s a TOSS UP!  (Okay, okay. Bad pun.)

All I can really say is read every label no matter what store you are in.  I asked an employee at my natural food store what items had sugar in them that surprised her and she said, “Nothing surprises me here.  This isn’t a health food store.  Have you seen the bakery department?”

We can gripe about the natural food stores and what they decide to sell or not sell all we want.  They are there to make a profit and they have so much shelf space to designate for a product line.  What makes the most difference is what we decide to purchase.  They provide what we will purchase.  It’s as simple as that.

You can find some alternative suggestions below and I’m going to add one more treat to this list–it’s something I just discovered.  Suzanne’s Specialties Brown Rice Syrup products “Just Like Honey” and  “Ricemellow Creme” for a special treat.

Food Adjectives

I have a very fortunate shopping ability when I buy clothing–I can walk in the store, look around a few minutes, pick something up that I like and as long as they have it in my size, I am ready to buy.  It’s fast and painless!

I could do that when it comes to food shopping too, especially if I go in there hungry.  It is so easy to breeze through, load up the cart (start to eat some of the purchase before reaching the checkout), and voila–food for the week!

But I don’t.  In the food store (grocery, health food or otherwise) I am a label reader and I bet you are too.  If you’ve been reading my recent posts you know how important it is to check on the quality of your ingredients before you buy them no matter what store you’re in.  (See https://mycookinglife.com/2012/03/18/the-whole-food-and-nothing-but-the-food/ and https://mycookinglife.com/2012/01/23/whats-good-enough-to-eat/ and https://mycookinglife.com/2012/01/24/a-bandwagon-worth-jumping-on/)

A row of shopping carts.

A row of shopping carts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not only is it important to know the basic ingredients and make sure those are all actually real food, but you have to know the food adjectives.  These are the ones on the front of the packaging and in the ingredient list such as “healthy,”  “whole grain,”  “low fat,” and here’s a real doozie, “smart.”

To help you with more pieces to this puzzle, here’s an article I thought you would like to see:  Health – philly.com.

And P.S. I am all for going food shopping while hungry.  Some of my most inspired menus result from that!