FoodLove's newsletter for 7/28/16 View this email in your browser ( Share ( Tweet ( Pin ( Forward ( Are you food educated, FoodLover?

Nope, I'm not asking if you have a degree in nutrition. I want to know if you have any idea what exactly you're putting in your mouth and where it comes from. Sounds like a pretty straightforward question, right? Well, if you have a CSA, shop at farmers markets or grow your own food the answer is easy to come by. However, if you eat pretty much any food item that comes in a package there's a good chance that question gets much harder to answer.

Why should you care? So many reasons but I'll share with you why I started to care. About six years ago the Chief Taster and I were trying to drop a few pounds and we signed up for a weight loss program. Under the guidance of that program we shopped for lots of typical American supermarket diet foods, basically any product with "lite" or "low fat" or "low carb" written on it. And you know what, it worked! We lost weight, felt good and all was well with the world.

Then one day I was tidying the kitchen and found a bag with a couple slices of diet bread that had fallen behind a shelf. As I went to throw it away thinking it would be covered in mold I noticed that it wasn't. In fact it was still super soft, not even slightly stale, and completely mold free, much like the day I bought it. The freaky thing was that I had purchased it at least six months earlier! (I know because this exact variety was hard to find and we hadn't been able to buy any in months.) In case you're wondering, bread is not supposed to stay fresh for six months!

This made me super curious how this bread could stay so seemingly fresh. I'm guessing the answer was buried in one of the 20+ ingredients, several I had no idea what they even were. Knowing that homemade bread can be made with only four ingredients - flour, yeast, salt and water - and that it gets moldy within 4-7 days I started to get curious about food additives.

The first thing I learned: there are thousands of ingredients used in packaged and processed foods that you do not find in any home kitchen and that do not grow naturally but are instead engineered in a lab. Of course, I was aware that food additives existed and were in things like candy and fast food, which I had avoided eating for years, but to discover them in a food I thought of as wholesome and that helped me lose weight and get healthier was very surprising.

I wanted to know more so I went to the library to get books on nutrition and food production. Each book introduced some new topic that would lead me to another book, for instance a book on laws regarding chemicals introduced the idea of dairy being an issue for some people so I found a book about dairy which introduced the idea of our food supply being affected by the loss of bees so I got a book on that and the chain of learning has continued for years now. In addition to books, I've found many documentaries to be particularly eye opening.

Of course, not everything you read or see is absolute truth but it gave me a place to begin and as topics arise that resonate with me I look deeper into them and try to figure out where I land in the debate. Because of what I've learned, the Chief Taster and I have made some significant changes to what we eat and we are able to feel confident that we are making the best choices we can for what's important to us. Hey, we all learned this on Sesame Street: "knowledge is power" and "you are what you eat" so check out these resources and use the knowledge you acquire to make the best choices for your family.

Disclaimer: what you eat is a personal choice and one you should make carefully and with the guidance of your doctor or nutritionist. I am not one of those professionals and the resources I have provided just happened to be what led me down my own path and what my own health care professionals approved of. None of this is meant as a prescription for anyone else, it's just some information to begin to build your own awareness.


Crazy Sexy Diet ( by Kris Carr

Fast Food Natio ( n by Eric Schlosser

Whitewash ( by Joseph Keon

The Hundred Year Lie ( by Randall Fitzgerald

The China Study ( by T. Colin Campbell

The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth ( by Jonny Bowden

Salt, Sugar, Fat ( by Michael Moss

Any book ( by Michael Pollan but Food Rules ( is a great quick read to begin with.

Films ( is the best one stop resource for documentaries exploring all aspects of food and health. You can also find many of the same films on Netflix and possibly other resources like Amazon Prime.

Michael Pollan's website ( is also a fantastic resource for all things food as he presents the whole picture including history, cultural significance, geography and health issues. His writing is totally accessible and I just can't say enough about what he's done for the world of real food.

These are some of my favorites documentaries:

Crazy Sexy Cancer ( Kris Carr is a powerhouse and so full of joy you will fall in love with her, she's amazing and shares so many wonderful resources.

Food Matters (

Hungry for Change (

Food, Inc. (

Forks Over Knives (

Vanishing of the Bees (

Dirt (

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (

Cooked ( This is a series of four episodes hosted by Michael Pollan. They're gorgeous to watch and they focus on how meaningful food and it's preparation is to a culture. CSA update

Our farm is suffering the effects of the drought Western Mass is currently experiencing. Production has been lower than other seasons and our kinda-small share last week was the first tip off. Red Fire ( has decided that the best way to ensure a robust season is to pause CSA pick ups this week, use all their man-power for some very necessary weeding, and hopefully add an extra pick up in October. However, all the Wednesday pick ups last week got shorted so they’ve decided to give all of us Wednesday folks a supplemental pick-up this week. This would normally be week 8 but really it’s more like half of last week so I’m calling it week 7.5! Fingers crossed their efforts and maybe some rain will help get things back on track for week 8, next week.

Yesterday was one of those days that I was just super happy to spend a couple hours at the farm browsing the farm stand for local products and taking my time walking the fields and doing some PYO. I took some photos of everything I picked up yesterday because all together it made for a gorgeous bounty and reinforced why I love living in the Valley. Our extra share to supplement the shorted share last week. Thanks Red Fire ( ! We received two green peppers in our share but they're so gorgeous I couldn't resist buying some extras in all the colors! I also got some locally grown and processed flour to make bread, some local yogurt to make ranch dressing with all the herbs I picked (in the next image), some heirloom potatoes, a bottle of krautonic (the liquid created during the fermentation of sauerkraut) because it's super good for you and tastes surprisingly delicious, and a package of frozen ginger which went into my favorite pineapple-ginger-lime-mint green smoothie this morning. Those little nuggets of sunshine and sweetness are my absolute favorite item our farm grows and the first week of PYO is cause for celebration around here! Seriously, I never cared for cherry tomatoes until we joined the farm. Supermarket tomatoes have a tough skin and are only marginally sweet. These are heirloom varieties, they come in every color and shape from pale yellow to almost purple and perfect globes to pear shaped, and they are sweet and flavorful and just plain wonderful!!! I also picked some herbs to make ranch dressing and because we love them tossed into almost anything we're eating. PYO also includes gorgeous flowers in a whole rainbow of colors. Who could resist these? Here’s this week’s CSA run down, week #7.5:

Lettuce Onion Eggplant Summer squash Carrots Chard Cucumbers Basil Tomatoes Peppers: This is the only new veggie this week and oh my do we love these babies! Neither the Chief taster nor I care a whole lot for cooked peppers as they tend to permeate the flavors of all the other ingredients in a recipe but we could eat them raw all day long. We mostly chop them into salads or eat them with hummus so I’ve included my favorite go to recipe for hummus. Happy dunking! FoodLove's go-to hummus 1 can chick peas, undrained 1/4 cup tahini 2 med/1 large clove garlic* Juice of 1/2 lemon* 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tsp ground coriander** 1 tsp coriander seeds**

Remove 1/4 cup of the liquid the chick peas are in, pour all ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until very smooth (a Vitamix ( does the most amazing job getting this super smooth). Store in the fridge. We LOVE freshly made hummus at room temp, in fact it's so yummy it often doesn't make it into the fridge!

*Garlic and any citrus juice should be fresh, always. Garlic in a jar and citrus juice in a bottle does NOT taste anything like the fresh versions and you will not have the necessary vibrance and pop these ingredients bring to a recipe. **Coriander happens to be my favorite spice and we love it in hummus. If you don’t have any, don’t worry about it, hummus is still super tasty without it. You can also use anything you like such as cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika or any herb. Start with a half teaspoon and add more to suit your taste.

Thanks, FoodLover, for reading. Head on over to our blog ( to join the conversation and please share ( with all the FoodLovers you know! Hi! I'm Tonianne, food evangelist and creator of FoodLove. That's me happy as can be, cooking for friends on a camping trip, and sharing wonderful conversation about – yup, you guessed it! – food. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the conversation, too. PHOTO CREDIT: D. SHEA

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