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Month: August 2017

Corn- Do you know how to pick it?

Corn- Do you know how to pick it?

Corn is one of the coveted farmer’s market finds in my house.  We wait all summer for local corn to finally show up, and when it does, we devour it!  Corn is actually not a vegetable, it’s a grain.  But it’s kernels are so sweet and delicious and it offers such a good boost of nutrition that many of us consider it alongside our vegetables.

Corn is kind of a touchy subject.  It tends to be one of the most genetically modified foods on the market today.  Buying organic offers better assurance of non GMO products, so this should be step number 1.  In addition to being heavily modified, it is quickly becoming one of the top allergens for food sensitive people.  Some of this has to do with the exposure to sprays and chemicals, and some of it to genetic modification.  But corn is harvested and then milled, and then sometimes, it waits.  If the corn is not properly milled and stored, it tends to mildew and is vulnerable to mold growth.  Fungus spores grow with the corn and find their way in to the final product.  This also increases the sensitivity to corn, or rather the unknown and unintended additional microorganisms that come with eating corn.  On top of this, corn shows up in just about everything!  You may not see the word corn on the label, but it appears as so many other ingredients that it is absolutely mind blowing- maltodextrin, ascorbic acid, baking powder, lactic acid, dextrose… and the list goes on.

(If you are interested, here is an updated list of food ingredients that contain corn:  )

This overuse of corn is a constant barrage of corn exposure to our system, and like wheat and sugar, too much is proving to be toxic to our system.  So keeping corn products to a minimum would be ideal to reduce overexposure to corn, exposure to microorganisms, and pesticides or GMO substances.

But when you go to the farmer’s markets, you have a chance to get directly to the source.  Ask your farmer what their seeds’ heritage is.  Heirloom and organic, non GMO are best.  Ask them about their growing practices.  Do they spray?  If so, what do they use?  Often corn husks are thick and protective enough that spraying is minimal.  But ask.  Ask about their fertilizing and feeding techniques, too.

Now that you’ve done this, let’s talk about how to pick your corn.  Did you know there is corn etiquette?  It’s true, there’s a right way and wrong way!  Whether at the store or the stand, pick up a couple of ears of corn you’re interested in.  How does it feel?  Is it heavy or light?  It should be nice and heavy- this is an indicator of water content and freshness.  Light colored corn is often dried and old.

Next, inspect the husk.  The leaves should be bright and green, and fresh.  Again, dried out and yellowed is a bad sign.  If the leaves look ok, inspect the silks.  They should be light and fresh, just like the husks.  Darkened, dried out or soggy is not ideal.  Fresh ears of corn have fresh silks too!

Notice I have not yet mentioned opening the husks!  Resist the temptation!  This is where we get to the wrong part… opening the husks dries out the corn, whether for you or the next person, should you decide that ear was not up to par.  So don’t do it!  Dehusking the corn is also not acceptable.  The ears keep the corn fresh and the nutrients intact.  Save the removal of the husks until you are ready to cook.  The visual cues are all you need.  Trust your guides, and you’ll soon find that’s all you need.

As for cooking, you can eat these babies raw or steamed, but when they are fresh they need very light cooking.  My preference is to steam for just a few minutes, then remove and enjoy- no topping necessary!

How about you?  What are your favorite ways to eat corn?

The road less traveled…

The road less traveled…

What does it mean to you to eat healthy?  I know what it means to me, but what does it mean to you?

I often get asked how I eat the way I do, or how do I not eat the way other people do, how do I stick with it… and often there is a lot of mention of willpower, or the lack thereof.  But it has nothing to do with willpower.

Seven years ago, I thought I ate fairly healthy.  I knew there was room for improvement, so I decided I would give up diet sodas.  It wasn’t something I really wanted to do, but I could tell my daily habit was becoming more and more consuming and more and more expensive.  I knew it wasn’t good for me, and I had a vague desire to get rid of them.  And I really didn’t care for the idea of setting a bad example for my kids by drinking them.  Half of the time I found myself drinking them and not even enjoying them!  Or leaving them half finished because it just no longer appealed to me.

So April 1, 2010, I gave them up.  I don’t really know what I intended with this goal, and to be honest, I don’t think I ever really looked past just trying.  I figured I could give them up for a day, and see what happened.  And when day one came and I managed to not have a single one, I figured I could see what happened if I went another day.  Day two was successful, so I aimed for a day three.

With each day that passed, I felt more confident and content with my decision.  And every time I had a craving for a diet coke, I immediately thought about how many days I had already gone without one, and the fact that if I had one now, I would have to start over from square one.  I didn’t want to have to go through this again, so I just kept going.  And here we are, seven years, four months and two weeks later.  I still think about sodas sometimes, but it’s just a passing thought anymore.

But that was definitely the start of me eating healthy.  Over time my desire to do better grew and I eliminated more poor food choices and added more good food choices.  And over time, I came to where I am now.  I can make some radical changes in my diet from time to time, but it really has been an evolution of sorts.

So when you look at your own diet, and you feel like there is so much for you to do, or you feel overwhelmed and lacking confidence that you can get where you want to go, just set that aside.  Don’t worry about accomplishing everything right here and right now.  Put one solid, important goal in front of you for now.  Pick the one desire that resonates most with you at this time.  Maybe it’s a big one, maybe it’s a little one.  Maybe it’s a little one that turns into something with big effects for you down the road.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you do something that is right for you in this moment.

Maybe you want to drink more water.  Eat less sugar.  Eliminate gluten.  Add more green vegetables.  Cook more meals at home.  Give up candy.  It all counts.  It is all important.  And it is all as valid as the next desire, the next goal, the next accomplishment.  Because it all leads somewhere.

You never know where your journey will take you, and frankly, that’s kind of the fun in life!  Accept it.  Allow it.  Embrace it.  Take the road you haven’t traveled and see where it leads you.  You might just be pleasantly surprised.