Then and now – food additives

Food additives are not new.

Artificial colors have been around for more than 100 years. And children have been eating artificially coloured and flavoured products for decades.

But then . . . most children ate these additives infrequently. They got an occasional lollipop from the bank or barber shop. Cotton candy was found at the circus. Jelly beans were given at Easter, orange cupcakes at Halloween and candy canes at Christmas.

Today . . . the typical child growing up in the United States is exposed to these powerful chemicals all day, every day.


What the child growing up in the U.S. in the 1940’s got:



What the child growing up in the U.S. today gets:


White toothpaste Multi-colored toothpaste, perhaps with sparkles
Oatmeal Sea Treasures Instant Oatmeal (turns milk blue)
Corn flakes Fruity Pebbles
Toast & butter, jam Pop Tarts
Cocoa made with natural ingredients Cocoa made with artificial flavoring, & some with dyes.
Whipped cream Cool Whip
No vitamins (or perhaps cod liver oil) Flintstone vitamins with coloring & flavoring
White powder or bad-tasting liquid medicine Bright pink, bubble-gum flavored chewable or liquid medicine
Sample school lunch:
Meat loaf, freshly made mashed potatoes, vegetable. Milk, cupcake made from scratch.
Sample school lunch:
Highly processed foods loaded with synthetic additives, no vegetable. Chocolate milk with artificial flavor.
Sample school beverage:
Water from the drinking fountain
Sample school beverage: 
Soft drink with artificial color, flavor, caffeine, aspartame, etc.
Candy in the classroom a few times a year at class parties. Candy (with synthetic additives) given frequently.

Any wonder we have a rapidly increasing rates of ADD, ADHD, OCD, food allergies, environmental sensitivities,  and other conditions that can be linked to artificial additives to our food (among other things)?



Bacon Pemmican (not for the fat phobic)

As you know, I went wheat free and sugar free on August 29th 2013, by following the Wheat Belly program.  But, I have continued to research other grain free/sugar free ways of eating and came across a link to Mark Sisson’s recipe for pemmican made more closer to the native Indian recipe.  But since I don’t have ready access to venison or buffalo and I don’t have a dehydrator to dry out the meat for days, I thought I’d have to track down a supplier here in my home town. Pemmican is a high fat and moderate protein, zero carb food that provides energy and was vital to my ancestors survival when food was not readily available.

Anyway, has you know on the internet, one link leads to another and another and eventually I came across a recipe for bacon pemmican and decided to try it out.

After I made it, I tasted the spoon and was immediately brought back to my childhood – instantly. When I was younger, my mother would make this toast spread from the fat of pork rind. I grew up really poor and when my mother could afford a pork roast (when it was cheaper than horse meat), she would slow cook this roast for many hours. It was deliciously moist and fell away just looking at it.

But what was amazing was that when she pealed the hard skin off the roast, there was a layer of white gelatinous fat that she scrapped off and kept, she would then break the pork rind into chips and we would eat it. I loved those chips!

She would then take that fat and mix it with bacon fat, lard, salt & pepper and make a toast spread. Now, I never really cared for the taste of that but when you have nothing else to eat, you ate it or went hungry. My older sister would gob it on toast and inhale one after another.

So, this leads me to making bacon pemmican.

I used naturally cured bacon without hormones, or nitrates/nitrites (I used the Free-From line of meat which I bought from Loblaw’s).

I used a package of natural bacon, slow cooked for several hours until the meat was well cooked and the solid fat has been reduced. I added a few twists of sea salt and a few twists of pepper as I cooked it. I let it cool then placed it all in a blender and added 1/2 cup lard (the original recipe called for coconut oil). I processed it into a creamy pate. I poured it into a glass  dish and placed it in the freezer.  I then cut it into bars and refrigerated.

The taste of it was incredibly close to what I used to eat when I was younger, and what sustained me through the cold winter months in Ottawa back in the 70’s.

I won’t be eating this with toast, or any other grain based food for that matter, but I just might go to the Organic’s Market in the By-ward market and buy myself some raw flax seed crackers t enjoy this with. Or eat on its own.

Happy Pemmicing every one!


Xyla by any other name would be just as sweet

Since giving up sugar on August 29th, I have struggled with finding a suitable sweetener that doesn’t have an after taste and doesn’t taste like chemicals.

I’ve tried Krisda – disgusting!

I’ve tried Truvia – not bad but make from GMO corn and Coca-Cola makes it, so not thanks.

Stevia – depending on the brand and how it is processed, gross in coffee and the taste doesn’t do well with coconut oil or chocolate.

Splenda – chemical after taste and it is a chlorinated sugar molecule so not thanks.

And my latest discovery – XYLITOL! woohoo! Sweet with no after taste of any kind. Made from hard wood and sweet spoonful to spoonful as sugar and bakes well. Just be careful that the brand (I use Xyla) is made form hardwood and not GMO corn.


Egg Nog Frozen Dessert (Non Dairy ice cream)

6 eggs yolks
2 eggs
2/3 cup xyla
1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup unflavored coconut oil (I did not want a hint of coconut flavour)
1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 twists of sea salt

Blend well in blender.
You may add 1 tbsp rum or brandy to add more of a festive taste, but is not necessary.
Pour into a 1.2 quart ice cream maker and turn on for 40 minutes. Freeze in sealed container. I divvy it up into smaller containers. Place in fridge for about 20-30 minutes before serving to get the ice cream texture.
**I did not use any substitute ingredients, what you see here is exactly what I used and I cannot attest to the use of any other substitute.

My new morning addictive breakfast

I had been having bulletproof coffee in the morning but I didn’t like the fact that I was hungry within an hour and increasing the fat in my coffee would leave me feeling nauseous.

I had the idea of making a breakfast smoothie that was wheat free/dairy free and would be nutritious after I started listening to the Smarter Science of Slim podcasts on Youtube, the emphasis is on dark leafy green vegetables, higher protein and it is grain free.

So, I devised a way to include dark leafy greens (and my cod liver oil) in my breakfast and not actually taste them. Hence, the Chocolate Salad Smoothie.

1 cup filtered water
2 big handfuls dark leafy greens (I alternate spinach and young spring mixed greens)
1/2 cup raw nuts (or use 1/4 cup nut butter)
1 small ripe avocado (peeled and seeded)
1-2 heaping tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp cod liver oil
1 tbsp gelatin
sweetener to taste (I have made mine with stevia but will be switching to xylitol)
2-3 raw eggs (hormone and antibiotic free, free range eggs, organic)

Blend well in a blender and drink up.

Surprisingly, this keeps me full for about 4 hours.

Cake in a cup

This is also called muffin in a cup. This makes one cake/muffin.

The basic recipe  

1/4 cup almond meal flour (gluten-free)**
1 egg
1 tbsp butter (or coconut oil)
1/2 tsp (gluten-free) baking powder
sweetener to taste (omit if using batter to make savory, see below)

Mix well ( I use a microwaveable container that holds 2 cups to allow the batter to rise)

the basic recipe will take 60-90 seconds in the microwave depending on the strength if your oven. After 60 secs, test the centre with a toothpick, if the centre is still wet, increase cooking by 15 secs and test again until it is cooked through.

To the basic recipe, you can begin to customize;

for something sweet,
add sweetener to taste, and 1 tbsp blueberries or strawberries, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (adding a wet ingredient like fruit will require longer cooking time, so start testing done ness after the initial 60 secs and increase cooking by 15 second increments.
add sweetener to taste, and 1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp vanilla extract
add sweetener, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (and 1 tbsp chopped apples although not really needed)
add sweetener, 1 tbsp grated carrot, carrot cake spice to taste, and cook. Mix 1-2 tbsp cream cheese with sweetener and 1/2-1 tsp lemon juice and ice your cake when slightly cooled
add sweetener and 1 tsp cinnamon and cook. Mix 1-2 tbsp cream cheese with 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp lemon juice and ice your “bun” when slightly cooled
Try any combination of “pie” spices for a different cake every time.

For something savory,

add 1-2 twists of salt to basic recipe and customize;
swap butter with same amount bacon fat (or other type fat) and 1 tbsp cheese of choice, pepper if needed
add herbs, fresh or dry
add chopped black olives and crumbled feta cheese (1 tbsp each), few shakes of greek seasoning
add 1-2 tbsp chopped cooked bacon
add 1-2 tbsp chopped veggies of choice

experiment to create a new version every time.  As with the sweet version above, if you add veggies, check cooking after the initial 60 secs to ensure it is cooked through.

**This recipe was not tried with any other type of flour, so I can’t say with certainty that the same amount of gluten-free flour would work.