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Real Food, Decadence, and Your Health

March 25, 2014 | By | Reply More

real foodPeople are always asking me about my eating habits. Some of the recipes on Tomato Envy are quite decadent and even more so when they’re washed down with a couple glasses of wine or prefaced with a glass of chilled champagne. People sometimes wonder how it is that I am not unhealthy or overweight given the enthusiasm I have for food that’s not considered “healthy” by conventional nutritional wisdom.

Tomato Envy isn’t meant to be a health or nutrition website. I am not trained in these topics and, truth be told, I’m not very interested in nutrition. I’m interested in the fun and joy surrounding food and what cooking and eating together can do for your lifestyle and the environment. However, because I avoid processed foods and believe in cooking real food meals from scratch, good nutrition comes naturally. Enjoying great food, decadence, and good health are not mutually exclusive.

Real food in our home:

  1. We shun conventional nutritional wisdom that diets should be low in fat and heavy in grains and carbohydrates. I don’t trust conventional wisdom because the science simply doesn’t support it. And, this ideology is designed to feed us more of the foods that our government is subsidizing farmers to grow-genetically modified corn, soy and wheat. It’s about money and politics, not health.
  2. We eat meat, eggs and dairy from pastured animals. I believe in animal welfare and good environmental stewardship, and conventionally-raised livestock doesn’t support either. Animals raised on pasture, eating what they’re supposed to eat are more nutritious for us too. For example, grass-fed beef contains more omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally-raised grain-fed beef. Pastured eggs blow conventionally-raised eggs out of the water, both in taste and nutritional value.
  3. Because pastured meat is expensive, we don’t eat a lot of it. Our everyday diet is heavy on plants and good grains. We have cut way back on refined sugar and white flour, but we do eat beans, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat noodles, and grains like millet and barley.
  4. We don’t follow diet trends, and we do not cut out entire food groups. I don’t believe in diet shakes, meal replacements or foods in packages that tout health benefits. It’s a real head-scratcher that we have thousands of  “healthy” food products lining our supermarket shelves, but as a society, we’ve never been fatter or sicker.
  5. real food

    Farmers markets are a great source of real food

    Recipes on Tomato Envy will never list low-fat or fat-free dairy in the ingredients. Low-fat dairy is made using processes that also lower its nutritional value. And, let’s be honest, that stuff just doesn’t taste as good as the real thing! From a scientific perspective, the link between saturated fat and heart disease is hotly debated, and there’s evidence to suggest that there’s no connection at all. When I eat the “real thing” whether it’s a fine brie before dinner or a decadent dish of homemade ice cream, I can eat smaller amounts because the food is much more satisfying.

  6. We eat local produce as much as possible, and hopefully we’ll even have some from our own garden this year. Locally-grown foods reach your table more quickly and with less handling than foods shipped in from who knows where, and this can have a big impact on nutritional content. For example, supermarket tomatoes are often harvested when they’re green and hard as a rock so they can make their long journey without being damaged. During their journey to your grocer, they will ripen but they will never achieve the vitamin C content of a local, vine-ripened tomato.
  7. We try, whenever possible to eat organic foods. Organic farmers create rich, nutritious soil for plants to grow in, and those nutrients are absorbed by plant roots making the entire vegetable more nutritious. And, I do not believe that petroleum-based fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides are safe for our health.

When it comes to health, there is so much confusion and many mixed messages. That’s why we’ve chosen to stick with what makes sense to us-cooking from scratch, moderation, reasonable doses of exercise, and above all, enjoyment of great quality food.



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