Eating Clean On The Go: Impossible….Or Is It?

This past weekend, my family and I took a trip back to our hometown of Needles, CA. Needles is about three hours from where we are currently stationed. Fortunately for us, we were able to stay with family while we were there. With a tighter budget than normal, we were forced to cut back on trips to the local eateries – which is mostly fast food joints and Denny’s.

Our last day there, however, we decided to go to Denny’s for brunch. Horrible mistake.

Do not mistake this post as a review, nor me bashing going out to eat every now and then. I was reminded today, however, why we don’t go out to eat very often. It all started with the highchair. I had requested a highchair for my daughter, which was completely overlooked by the host (I think he is new). I waited ten minutes for him to get it with a clear view of him standing at his post twiddling his thumbs after he seated us. I walked up to him, told him that I still needed a highchair (politely!) and he looked at me like I had two heads, THEN remembered. He promptly got the highchair, and brought it back to our table. Well, next came my disgust. The highchair was covered in two different kinds of syrup and there was food all over the bottom. He had brought me the dirtiest high chair ever. I actually got out my own baby wipes and cleaned it. The waiter came, saw me cleaning it, and asked if I was ready to order. I told him that I was too busy cleaning up the highchair to even look at the menu. He looked at me and apologized, then walked away without offering to finish what was most likely HIS job. 

Then came the food. We ordered my daughter a grilled cheese and mashed potatoes, no gravy, side of butter. My daughter ate all of her potatoes, which I had tasted first. Sadly, they tasted like they came out of a box. I ordered a deluxe chicken salad with a side of ranch. The only thing edible in my salad was the iceberg lettuce, and even that was a bit wilted. My tomatoes weren’t ripe, my cucumbers were cut too thick (SKIN ON! Ugh….anyone who likes cucumbers knows to eat them without skin due to WAX!!!), and the chicken….omg. The “grilled chicken” was filled with grizzle, most likely from too much processing. It was awful. 

My husband and son’s orders were okay, but my husband had to send back his food due to a screw up in his order. He didn’t seem all that impressed with his ham or his hash browns. My son was the only one of us who ate his pizza and apples happily. and my daughter threw her grilled cheese on the floor. I know Denny’s isn’t exactly a gourmet eatery, but I remember them not only using fresh ingredients, but also having their (fancy language moment) shit together. Really guys? 

Which brings me back to my original point: Eating clean on the go. As restaurants are unpredictable and more food comes from a box than nature in most eateries nowadays, it is much more convenient (and cheaper!) to bring your own food on trips, or buy it from the local grocery store and stock your hotel fridge. Where we stayed, at my mother-in-law’s, we had a mini fridge, and we stocked it with our essentials – organic produce for snacks and apples. We also ate at their house mostly. While they aren’t as clean eaters as we are, what they served was WAY better than any restaurant. Most would argue that I am biased toward clean eating because I have been doing it so long – which they may be partially right, but I also know that this just means I have gotten to know quality food, and I know that it comes from nature, and is not processed to the point of a second death. I also know that it is cheaper in the long run, as our Denny’s trip cost us $36 for four people. Cost of dinners at my place? $10-15 for four people. Cost of dinner at my mother-in-law’s? Free.

I urge you all to consider making your next trip one where you bring your own food. While we didn’t do that this time, we did purchase our own essentials at the grocery store. I truly preferred my organic apples to that “salad” I had today. I would have saved $36 if it had not been for my own laziness. Lesson learned: don’t eat at Denny’s, no matter what the circumstance.

Until next time,

Jill ❤

 

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The Difference Between “All Natural” and All Natural

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Recently, you may have noticed a slew of brands slapping the words “all natural” onto their labels. Before I go any further, let me clarify what “all natural” really means. All natural means “made/grown in nature”. Why am I going over something most of us already know?

Because “all natural” labels can be really misleading. Sadly, most Americans don’t know that they are being mislead. It all comes down to this simple fact: most leading brands that slap “all natural” onto their labels actually contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). You may have seen me use this term before. Let’s just call GMOs he “ultimate crap”. What exactly are GMOs? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally”. 

So let’s get this straight. Companies, such as Hunts, are claiming that their tomato products are all natural because they have no preservatives, yet they contain genetically modified tomatoes. If I’m reading this right, Hunts is lying. Big time. As are many other companies.

Let me clarify something else here. Why are GMOs so dangerous, you ask? Well according to the WHO, “The initial objective for developing plants based on GM organisms was to improve crop protection. The GM crops currently on the market are mainly aimed at an increased level of crop protection through the introduction of resistance against plant diseases caused by insects or viruses or through increased tolerance towards herbicides.” That last sentence basically means they can put even more pesticides and herbicides, aka more poison, onto your food. Not only that, but crop protection? Farmers are being sued because GM seeds are being blown into their fields, and not only is there nothing they can do about it, but laws are being put in place that are allowing this to occur. Worst of all? These seeds aren’t even approved for mass production! 

So, WHO, are GM foods safe? “Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods.”

So basically, they don’t know. >.<. For all they know, GM foods are poisoning us all.

Why aren’t they labeled? Because the big companies who produce these foods have people all the way up the “food” chain (pardon the pun) paid off to block all bills to label them (including our dear President, who promised to do so back when he was first elected!). 

What’s more, the 40 nations that do label GMOs – including all of Europe – are not only well informed, but the companies that do use GMOs here, do not put GMOs in the food that is imported to those countries! Shocking, I know. But here, in the good old U.S., it’s all about money. If money can block GMO labeling and keep most Americans from being as well informed as the Europeans are, then imagine what else that money is going toward. Did you know that they now want to put pig genes in oranges? While I like bacon, I don’t want it mixed in my orange juice.

So which GM foods are the most common? Here is a short list:

  1. Corn
  2. Rice
  3. Tomatoes (some, most common is beefsteak)
  4. Soy
  5. White potatoes
  6. Cottonseed Oil
  7. Peas
  8. Canola OIl
  9. Wheat
  10. Zucchini
  11. Crook neck squash
  12. Alfalfa for feed
  13. Papaya
  14. Salmon

Bet you didn’t know you were eating a bunch of the ultimate crap, right?

It’s simple folks. While an organic diet can be expensive, if you avoid the list above and shop at your local farmers market, it can be pretty easy to live GMO-free. Of course, it is essential to avoid most processed foods, especially those manufactured by major brands such as Hunts, Craft, Nestle, Hersheys, Frito/Lay, etc. Remember: just because it says it’s all natural, doesn’t mean it is! Make sure you do your research before purchasing a product. Learn to read your labels as well! Here is what you need to know when purchasing produce:

  1. If the five-digit number on the label starts with “9”, the produce is organic.
  2. If the five-digit number on the label starts with “4”, the produce was conventionally grown with pesticides.
  3. If the five-digit number on the label begins with a “3” or an “8”, it’s a GMO. 

For more information on GMOs (these were my sources as well, please visit these sites):

http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/edison-de-mello-md-phd/gmos_b_3854198.html