8 disgusting things you’re eating on a regular basis

Do you know what really goes into your food?

It’s one thing to read food labels, but it’s quite another to understand what exactly those ingredients mean — and something else entirely to know what’s used in the process of making that food that doesn’t make it to the food label.

The Environmental Working Group is leading the charge on educating consumers about hazardous food additives, regularly publishing “The Dirty Dozen,” a list of 12 additives you should avoid and why. (You can read all about it HERE.)The dangers of such additives include hormone disruptions, developmental delays, behavioral disorders, and a host of tumors and cancers. The EWG points out that although these additives have been given the green light by the United States Food and Drug Administration, the very fact that their hazards are well-known yet allowed to be sold in our food shines a light on “some of the worst failures of the regulatory system.”

All health hazards aside, some of these additives are just plain gross. From beaver butts to bug poop, here are eight disgusting things hidden in the food you eat and the products you buy every day. Continue reading

How do you find “balance” in your life?

Do you consider yourself a balanced person? Or is it an ideal you’re constantly chasing — or one you’ve abandoned all hope of achieving?

I think the answer depends on your definition of “balanced.”

I used to think that balance was all about finding the sweet spot and staying there. I thought that if I chose my convictions carefully then I could fearlessly hold to them, never caving or yielding too far to temptation, never shirking and slacking off so as to lose my footing. Balance, I believed, was also about cultivating a zen-like aura so that no matter how fiercely the winds of chaos beat about me, I could maintain my sense of calm and persevere through the storm.

What a load of crap.

Look, I’m not saying this isn’t possible; for all I know it is and I just wasn’t the kind of person who could achieve and maintain that definition of balance. But the more I get to know the world and the people in it, the more I realize I’m not alone in rejecting it. I don’t mean giving up and thinking I can’t achieve my dreams — I mean staring this ideal in the face and saying, “This is not the life I want. I choose a different path.”

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Recipe Roundup: 2 one-pot wonders and vegan ribs (what???)

For years I hated cooking because the ratio was all wrong: Why spend an hour in the kitchen making dinner plus a half hour cleaning up afterwards when it only takes 20 minutes to eat? That’s 90 minutes of work for 20 minutes of enjoyment. (And if you’ve got picky eaters who pitch a fit at the table every freaking night, that 20 minutes is likely to be the worst 20 minutes of your entire day.)

But then along came the one-pot meal. It’s similar to slow cooking in that you throw everything in the crock pot and let ‘er rip, but it doesn’t take all day and there’s only one pot to clean. WINNING. Plus, there are so many more ingredients you can cook on the stove that you can’t in a slow cooker (but let’s be honest, the only ingredient I really care about is pasta).

I’ll be sharing many more one-pot meals as I test them out (cuz it’s SOUP SEASON, Y’ALL!!), so to round out my round up I’m throwing you a curve-ball: Vegan barbecue ribs. Oh yeah. I went there. And I highly recommend that you go there, too. Scroll down for more.

One-pot wonder tomato basil pasta

Image courtesy of ApronStringsBlog.com

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Why I eat the way I eat

How do you know which diet is right for you?

I’m not using the word “diet” as it’s commonly known, in the way that means “eating less to lose weight.” I’m talking about “diet” in the traditional sense, meaning “habitual nourishment.”

Maybe you read a book or heard about the latest health & diet bestseller. Maybe you had a friend or family member who lost a ton of weight after changing her diet and she convinced you to give it a try. Maybe you watched a documentary or two or started following a few blogs that made you realize it’s time to re-think the way you view food.

Whether you follow a specific diet or not or whether you’ve even stopped to think about how you feed and nourish yourself, there’s one question we all need to ask ourselves: “Is this really the way I should be eating?”

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What do I have to offer?

I have this terrible feeling that I’m not good enough for you.

That I’m not enough of an expert. That I don’t provide enough detailed information, or that I provide information with so much detail that nobody will want to read what I write. That I don’t provide enough insight and tools to actually be helpful. That the message I spend my nights awake thinking about, pondering over, writing and re-writing and re-writing so as to uplift and inspire and change lives — that it actually doesn’t matter to anyone else but me.

Most of all I worry that I’m not thin enough. Or more to the point, I worry that the way I live my life isn’t inspirational enough to get anyone to take notice. Despite what I’ve said about being skinny, and despite really really meaning it, I worry that nobody will bother taking my advice on healthy eating if I’m not a perfectly toned size 2. Because isn’t the thin, sexy, smiling woman on the cookbook cover the reason we buy the book? Sure, we want to be healthy and eat well, but what we really want is to look like that. Because even though I’ve made great progress over the past 11 months, even to the point where I actually bought a bikini and wore it for the first time in public in years, I still am only a size 8-10 and can’t seem to get below 140 lbs.

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Left, July 2014. Right, July 2015.

I really worry about all this stuff because somewhere inside, I feel that if I look like this and not like Giada de Laurentiis — if the way I eat and live my life isn’t as enticing as that teeny little package — then that what I have to offer isn’t valuable. That I’m not good enough to do this thing that I’m so passionate about it makes me skip through the house with glee whenever my daily page views go above 100. Or even 50, if I’m being honest. Because if I can’t offer you that thing that every woman in America wants, what do I have to offer?

Well let me break through the fear and self-pity and tell you what I’m offering.

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