Even as a health coach I am still discovering the crap that is in our food. It’s surprises me what one can find when you really read labels. I admit there are just some foods I never think to read labels. I hate admitting that, but it is so true.
During our hotel stay on our Hurricane Sandy evacuation vacation, I ate something that caused me to have a familiar food sensitivity reaction. I sat pondering what it was that I could have eaten that would have had high fructose corn syrup (hfcs)in it. I assumed it had to be the bread roll I had as that was the only food that I ate that wasn’t a whole food. I mean I had chicken, salad, fresh fruit. I drank only water and tea I had brought from home, minus some coffee. I had eaten out the first night but even then I was careful. Bread, especially white breads and rolls 95% of the time have hfcs in them. But bread is a comfort food and I allowed myself one roll and got it out of my system.
It wasn’t till days later, with the power out and shopping daily for food, that I went to a local grocery store I rarely ever shop in. They don’t offer a large selection of the foods I enjoy and have very little organics. It was just close and I was tired so we stopped in there. I was looking for Bratwurst to do quickly on the grill that night and breakfast sausage for the next morning. I stopped and read the label. While it looked fresh and possibly made by the store I was shocked to see the second ingredient was corn syrup. I picked up package after package of brats and other large sausages and in each one , in the first 3 ingredients was some sort of corn syrup. In the breakfast sausages it was hfcs. I put down my shopping basket filled with things I had found that I could replace what we lost in the power outage and left the store, mumbling how stupid I was to go in there. I just had hoped after months of nots shopping there, just maybe, things had changed. Nope. Then I got angry about how my body just can’t eat like other people.
In the car driving to the next store , it dawned on me I had eaten breakfast sausage at the hotel. I had skipped other dairy dishes and had fresh cut fruit and breakfast sausages for breakfast, along with that white bread roll, I know knew what had made me sick and uncomfortable, hfcs in the sausages. Why does it have to be one of the first three ingredients before the meat?? My son pointed out it was water then the corn syrup that were first so really where’s the meat? He’s to young for “Where’s the beef?”
I arrived at Trader Joe’s and I was so happy to find bratwurst with less than 6 ingredients. Each one being something I could pronounce and my grandmother would know, and no sugar!! Oh and for that whole stupid it’s cheaper to use corn syrup thought, these were several dollars cheaper. So there big brands. Stick it!
Pasta sauce is another things that most people don’t realize has so much extra sugar, including hfcs. Many are so expensive it shocks me people buy them at all anyhow. You can make pasta sauce for much less and it will taste a heck of a lot better.
In a perfect world I’d love to tell you I recently made pasta sauce from heirloom tomatoes I grew in my back yard and then spent an afternoon canning in my kitchen. I’ve got this lovely image in my mind on this one. But that isn’t how I do it. Store bought canned tomatoes work amazing. Here is where I say look at your store for their store brand organic. Oh yes they are out there. Trader Joe’s offers them, ShopRite, Whole Food’s 365 brand, whatever your store take a look. I am all for eating healthy but on a budget. I’ll pay more for the dirty dozen or organics when I see them but I am not going to pay out the wazoo for them. I was recently shocked how the same brand of Tahini I buy at a well known health food store had a $4.50 mark up from a family owned grocery store. Same can, same brand, same size. Huge price difference.
Change up my basic sauce recipe below and use what you like herb wise, Skip the wine add the wine. The butter added at the end give the sauce a creamy flavor that I think is wonderful. You can skip it if your not wanting to add it but one or two pats of butter adds very little fat to pot of sauce this size. I’ve given you how I do this sauce up with both meathballs and bulk sausage. You can cook it longer, or cook it in a crockpot. It still works. Using canned tomatoes is much cheaper and you an control the salt, sugar and other nasty chemicals. Once you start making your own sauce and you happen to pick up a jar of premade sauce you might find out it’s way to sweet and wonder how you ate it.
Pasta Sauce-no sugar please
- 28 oz can of whole (or diced) peeled organic tomatoes with juices
- 15 oz can organic tomato sauce
- 1 Tbs basil
- 1 Tbs oregano
- salt & pepper to taste
- splash of red wine (optional)
- fresh grated parmesan (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1lb bulk italian sausage or your favorite homemade meatballs
- 1 Tbs real butter (optional but don’t use margarine or any other fake butter, except ghee)
Heat a large sauce pan or skillet with a lid over med high heat. Add a splash of olive oil.
For meatballs :brown your homemade meatballs. Once browned remove from pan and place on a plate. Use the fat to cook your onions and garlic. Add a splash of wine if desired at this point. Add your tomatoes, sauce and spices. Bring to a boil and then return meatballs to pan, cover and cook at least 45 mins or untill the meatballs are cooked through. Near the last 5 mins, add butter and give a stir. Taste, adjust seasoning. Serve over your favorite pasta and fresh parmesan or nutritional yeast.
For bulk sausage: add your onions and garlic to the heated pot and cook untill the onion is translucent. Add your bulk sausage and break up with a spoon as you brown it. Once it is all brown, add your wine if using and then add your tomatoes, sauce, and spices. Stir well, put on lid and cook 15- 20 mins while you heat water and cook pasta. During the last five mins add your butter and check seasoning. Serve over your favorite pasta with fresh Parmesan or nutritional yeast.
Want to add more veggies? Cook up some diced bell peppers or carrots with the onions, add in some frozen kale or spinach when you add the tomatoes.
Skip the meat all together for a meatless dish or add your favorite meat substitute.
Making small changes like this, can make huge changes in your health. Give it a try and see how you feel.
Blessings & Love,