A little change of pace for this Sunday afternoon, and something that I hope to do more of since we’re trying so many different products as part of this new lifestyle. One is good, the other not so good (notice I didn’t say “not so much,” because people need to stop saying that). I’ll start with the good.
La Brea Whole Grain Bread
Ever since I read In Defense of Food, I’ve been very conscious about the number of ingredients in everyday foods which I took for granted to be natural and healthy. In his book, Michael Pollan recommends avoiding foods with more than five ingredients (the book, by the way, has all kinds of simple, memorable rules like this). Certainly this rule doesn’t apply to food you make at home, since you know exactly what’s going into it, but it’s a very quick way of determining what food at the grocery store is “real.”
Following the five-ingredient rule isn’t too difficult when you’re conscious of it, but one food which astounded me with the length of its ingredient list is bread. Even the whole-grain, whole-wheat breads are generally loaded with preservatives and lots of other ingredients that are hard to pronounce (another dead giveaway for fake foods). The best solution is probably to get your bread fresh from a baker, but the bakery near me doesn’t even make whole-wheat bread, so that’s not an option. But today I found La Brea Whole Grain bread in the supermarket. It’s sold near the fresh-baked bread, not the packaged loaves, so that’s the first sign that it’s decent. The list of ingredients is much longer than five, but almost all of it is whole or cracked grains and seeds, with just a few of the hard-to-pronounce things at the end. Just some of the grains, seeds, and other good stuff: Cracked wheat, dark rye, millet, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, barley, oats, corn, soybeans, and brown rice. And it tastes as good as any other whole-grain loaf I’ve found. It’s definitely not a perfect solution to my bread-hunting woes since the first ingredient is unbleached flour rather than 100% whole -wheat flour, but it’s the best I’ve yet found. I haven’t looked too hard in the natural foods store yet, because I am not overly excited about spending five dollars for a loaf of bread. But I’m interested in learning more about the “sprouted” wheat bread that they sell there. Anyone know about this?
Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style
To sum this one up in the immortal words of American Idol’s Randy Jackson, “It wasn’t good for me, dog.” Gimme Lean is a line of substitute products for meat, designed to mimic the flavor and texture. This one even came in a tube like ground beef sometimes comes in. It’s made primarily from water and textured soy protein, and to its credit, it contains very few unnatural-sounding ingredients. We bought it not because we miss burgers so much, but because we miss tacos so much. Our at-home taco operation took a small hit when we started substituting ground turkey for ground beef, but since we went pescetarian we’ve been sin tacos altogether. That’s Spanish by the way; I don’t believe the Church has yet established an official stance on tacos.
So we used Gimme Lean for tacos, and the only thing I could say was “Gimme something different to eat.” I’d sooner eat no tacos than eat these again. The meat-substitute was slimy, weird tasting, and I won’t even start on what Erin thought it resembled in the pan. So Gimme Lean didn’t do it for us, and we won’t buy it again. In fact, I’ll probably stay away from anything masquerading as meat and just stick to black beans for vegetarian tacos and burgers.
As I’m finishing up this post, I’m smelling the seasoned plum tomatoes with garlic and oil that are roasting in the oven for tonight’s dinner. It’s a new pasta recipe that we made up by combining two others. I think it will make a really hearty vegetarian meal. Check back tomorrow to see how it went and how you can make it this week!
UPDATE: Instead of roasted tomato pasta tomorrow, there will be a surprise post! But not to worry, pasta will be up on Tuesday.