Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Getting my food on

So lately I have been trying to eat healthier and make better decisions about what I eat. Part of this has been monitoring my calories, and part of it has been monitoring my sodium intake. A conclusioned I have come to, we as American's eat a LOT of crap, and by a lot of crap I mean A LOT.

For example, one of the "healthier" options that I really like is Subway. They market themselves as the lowfat low calorie diet friendly fast food chain... and they are quite successful doing so (I think I read somewhere they are the #3 fast food chain in America, and the #1 growing fast food chain). I typically order a 6" Turkey on White, provologne cheese, veggies and a single line of the sweet onion sauce... mmmmm, tasty! And at only 370 calories for the whole thing it fits in great with my calorie restricted diet right?.... WRONG!

So the other half of my "choosing to live healthy" new lifestyle is monitoring my sodium intake (my family has a history of heart problems and high blood pressure, my father has it, my grandfather has it, I am not even 30 yet and I have high blood pressure but I really don't want to end up on medication, because then I will just die of liver complications instead of heart disease). So anyway, I started counting up the sodium in my sandwich choice. There was 470 mg of sodium in the white bread, there was 530 mg of sodium in the turkey, throw some cheese and low calorie nofat dressing on there and you are up over 1400 mg of sodium on a 6" sub, over HALF of your daily sodium intake! (BTW, I changed my order to chicken breast on whole wheat, that alone cut 600 mg of sodium out of the sandwich and only increased the total calorie count by 30, if I switch to sourdough thats only another 10 calories, but takes another 200 mg of sodium out of the sandwich).

So after realizing how much sodium was in that I started looking around at the other foods I was eating. Chips and Salsa, I bet those chips have a lot of sodium in them, they taste salty... Hrm, not too bad only 140 mg of sodium for the chips. Then I check the salsa. 260 mg of sodium for 2 tablespoons! Figure if you have a tablespoon of salsa per chip (I like my salsa) thats 1440 mg of sodium for 10 chips... yikes!

So after that long winded introduction, this gets me to my actual point. One of the things I have found is that if you cook your own food, your sodium intake is way, way, WAY less... like impossibly smaller. I have never been a fan of cooking personally, but in the last few months I have found more and more joy in it. Plus with the anticipation of re-planting our vegitable garden again this year (after the very successful bounty we had last year) and the start of our fruit garden taking place (strawberry patch, blueberry bushes, cherry tree, tomato plants, watermelon, and hopefully we will find some more stuff to plant) and our new found love of homemade bread, I am really coming around to this whole idea of cooking. The idea of cooking with "my own ingredients" is even more fun. Shalisa pointed me to a blog article today on the Sourdough Monkey Wrangler about making your own woodfire pizza oven and that got me even MORE exited about possible avenues we could take in our food adventure, plus it's a lot healthier! (low sodium, lower calories)

This got me thinking, one of the best parts (in my mind) about growing and cooking your own food is sharing that food with others. I think most people take pride in cooking, and even moreso when they are cooking with ingredients they grew, caught, gathered themselves. So I was thinking this summer, we should have get together of all of our friends, sort of a potluck picnic if you will, only the stipulation is, you are only allowed to bring something you either grew or baked or caught or hunted or gathered. How fun would that be! I would love to get together and have the Clevelands bring some homemade brew, the Dale's bring some of James' legendary fish, Shalisa and I could provide some scrumptious bread and maybe some homeade veggy pizza's from our garden, the Holzgroves could whip out garden salad and kiwi's and others could bring who knows what. I really think more people probably have access to more than they think (and more than I would know of) and not only would it be super healthy, super tasty, it would be super fun!

So what say you, anyone else think it would be great to get together and partake in the breaking of (homemade) bread or am I just a silly weirdo?

PS, after looking at the chips and salsa, I was convinced that Shalisa and I need to get back to making our own salsa again. We found this salsa flavoring packet from the Oly farmers market that was THE BEST EVER, and we used our own ingredients last year to make it... soooo good (and way less sodium than commercial stuff). Plus Shalisa has been making homemade tortilla's forever, so I think I need to get back to eating homemade chips and salsa, not this store bought stuff :p


Julia said...

First, The bread Shalisa made and shard with us was so yummy!! The pitas were especialy delicious...

I LOVE your home-grown/gathered pot-luck idea!! Count us SO in!!!

Fish, mushrooms, pie...maybe I should grow something this summer.

beauty school drop out said...

What a wonderful Idea!

I want the tortilla recipe.

G. Mark Griffith said...

ryan, thanks for the comments on my blog. I'm getting pretty excited about growing my own food too. I'm also a home brewer and working on my own hops plants this summer!
we're having an event at Faith Lutheran Church you might be interested in, it's the "live simply" seminar series and we're going to be talking about a lot of these ideas. Show up at 6pm Wed. nights in may at the church, free childcare!

Eric and Jamie said...

I planted a garden this year! Yeah!!

jeremy said...

Dude! Count the Cleveland's in. We have a veggie and herb garden as well, so we can contribute - so long as we keep the dog from digging it all up.

I can whip up some homebrews too. Got a favorite type? In the summer time i dig the IPA's - and I make 'em heavy on the hops. But im also a dark beer freak as well - imperial stouts, and porters. Perhaps a couple brews are in order.

I don't know if you are aware of this, but my wife is a Hunter - as in Hunter Farms. They raise beef cows that graze and are *not* feed lot fatties. Not exactly home grown, but for us it kinda is.