Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why is it so hard to be good?

     Okay, I'm not going all spiritual on you. I did that Sunday. I'm not talking about being good to others, I'm talking about being good to ourselves. Specifically, to our bodies.

     A couple of weeks ago, in another of my favourite memes, we were listing things were were bad at. It seemed like every other list mentioned exercise, eating right, losing weight. Being in need of shedding more than a few pounds, taking care of myself has been on my mind a lot. Throw in the fact 50, yes I said it, 50 is coming up faster than I'd like, taking care of my body has become more of an issue.

     So why is it so hard?

     One reason is easy, temptation. I have zero will power. I can resist anything but temptation in any way shape or form. And I have lots of enablers. Damn you Kitchen Slattern for posting these delicious cookies, you too Niki Woo, for not one but two mouth watering German Chocolate Cake recipes (although you do have some delicious healthy recipes too). Movita's birthday is on the horizon, so testing recipes for frostings, fillings, cakes and decorations. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Baker Bettie and her  Cookie 101 showing me the way to make the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. Yes, I place the blame squarely on your shoulders for every notch on my belt. Wipe that smirk off your face Alexander Keith, you've added more than a few calories yourself.

     I have been accused of being an enabler too. Left Brain told me to lay off the recipes because Rory was baking so much that he was gaining weight. I do believe in spreading the calories around.

     Being slightly more than 20 pounds over my ideal weight, I was shocked to find I fall into the category of clinically obese. That has all of the associated health issues. A bit of a sobering read.

     Other than not being able to unstrap the feed bag, there is another reason it is hard to take care of ourselves. As anyone who has ever tried to research a food allergy will tell you, reliable information can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

     I know a lot about food. Between growing up on a farm and working in the industry almost 30 years, I've picked up a thing or two. Few things raise my hackles faster than mis information about food. Here are a few of my current favourites.

     I read an interview about a well know RAW restaurant and chef. Raw eating is basically not cooking your food, Google it if you'd like more information. It's an interesting premise. I'm not knocking the movement, the restaurant or the chef but... During the interview, she spoke about lycopene, a very potent anti oxidant found in tomatoes. Check, then she went on to say you'd never find a cooked tomato in her restaurant. Okay, but lycopene isn't heat sensitive, cooking tomatoes concentrates it and a tablespoon of tomato paste (or ketchup) has more than a whole raw tomato. Kind of a misleading comment.

     The subway has been inundated with these ads promoting vegetarianism. Quite frankly, I don't care if you eat meat or not. I do. I don't debate the ethics of my meals. The reality is something dies so something lives, be it plant, animal or fungi, every meal of every species on earth. We're omnivores, not carnivores, not herbivores, we're designed to eat everything we can cram in our grubby little cake holes.

     What I do take exception to are the ads and the misleading information about the animals with in. Pigs are not imprisoned in crates for no reason, they eat their young. Are notorious for it in fact. Never have I heard a sow "sing a lullaby" to her piglets, unless of course she's lulling them to sleep so she can eat in peace.
Piglets teeth are snapped off because they're tusks, and dangerous. People die every year in North America from pig attacks. They aren't like Babe, no matter what Disney tells us.

     Cows are very maternal and will often search for their young for days. Yes, that would be the calf you are lying on and have just crushed or perhaps the one you just stepped on. Cows are kept on a vicious cycle of forced pregnancy to keep milk production. What exactly do you think happens to them if left alone? They give birth, nurse, wean, go into heat, breed, repeat. They don't take a time out to pursue a career, or just have a holiday, they breed. As does every other animal on the planet. Whether they're physically ready for it or not.

      Cows enjoy solving intellectual puzzles and have been know to "jump" for joy. WTF, the only jumping I've ever noticed is the fence, usually into a swamp, away from plentiful food. Mensa material I tell you.

     You don't want to eat meat, fine. I respect that. Don't feed me bullshit to justify it, you don't have to. Not only do I not care, I don't judge. Do what feels right for you.

     The top of my list has to go to this little catch phrase I've been seeing around for a bit. "If you think organic is expensive, try paying for cancer." Offensive, dismissive and just plain incorrect. No health care worker on the planet will tell you if you eat organic you won't get cancer. That would be criminally irresponsible.

     I get it. We live in an age of the 15 second sound bite and catch phrases. Everyone is trying to sell you something, from their ideology to the tricked out 9 layer forced air food dehydrator for a mere $999.99. I have the answers, the way, your life will be better if you just do this. Unfortunately, the vast majority of it is crap, pseudo science at best.

     Our bodies are finely tuned machines. It takes surprisingly little to throw them off balance. Sure we go on, much like your car will even if you don't change the oil, but with a little care it runs so much better. Over the next little while, I'm going to post bits on healthier eating, sleep, hydration and exercise. Hopefully we'll all learn a little, lose a little and be ready for rockin' the summer.

      Just so you don't all despair, here is a little comfort food you can feel good about.

Apple Pear Crisp


4-8 cups of peeled, cored and sliced fruit, apples and pears for this recipe
1/2 cup of brown sugar, divided 1/4, 1/4
1/3 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, divided 1/4 , 1/2
3/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, divided 1/4 , 1/2


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare and 8x8 baking dish. I use cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine apples, pears, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Mix until fruit is lightly coated.
In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Whisk until well combined.
Add softened butter and using a fork or pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour mixture.
You should have soft clumps, about the size of grapes or smaller.
Put the fruit mixture in the bottom of the baking dish, then dot the top with the flour and butter mixture.
Bake in preheated oven 30-45 minutes. Cooking time varies with the amount of fruit used.
I normally use 6 cups and 30 minutes is about perfect.
Serve warm or cold, with or without whipped cream or ice cream.

     Why feel good? All the taste of pie with out all the calories. Far less sugar, fat, flour, no salt. What it does have, fibre, anti oxidants from the fruit and cinnamon and most importantly, taste. To really punch up the healthy? Throw a tablespoon of ground flax seeds into the flour mix, you've added lots more fibre and an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Boost the protein with some ground or crushed nuts, it's even better for you.

     Dairy allergy (or want to cut even more calories), use soy margarine instead of the butter. Gluten allergy, use gluten free flour and oats. Don't like apples and pears, use what ever fruit is in season or that you like. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. (or what your kids will eat) You're welcome.

     Drop by Rory's and see what's on everyone else's mind.


  1. I agree, it is really hard to be "good". I have a serious sweet tooth but I think it's ok in moderation. I was a vegetarian (thanks to PETA) in high school and just recently gave up meat again for health reasons. I also think there's a lot of misinformation to wade through, it can get confusing but again, moderation. I just try to do what feels right for me. Healthy dinner & chocolate for desert! haha - great post!

    1. Moderation is the key, just not something I'm very good at. Only one cookie? One handful, one row, one batch?? I was trying to do some canning ingredient posts, took for ever to find actual facts. Kind of disappointing, aren't we living in the information age?

  2. it is so how hard to be good...especially when you belong to a family where EVERYONE can cook so so well. I've been feeling overwhelmed about all the health changes required to get back to pre-baby body. So I decided to focus on just one thing for several weeks, then once that is an established habit...add another change - and so on. Right now it's Water. apparently mama cannot survive on coffee alone LOL So I am starting off with trying to get at least 4 glasses a day (they are large glasses though). It's much easier with some lemon, lime and cucumber slices I find.

    1. I agree and I can help with the hydration thing. Hopefully have that post ready by Friday

  3. I agree, in eating smart you have to rely on yourself instead of the "experts". Everyone has an opinion which they spin off a few not-so-tried scientific facts. If it's not in today, then it'll be in tomorrow kind of research.

    God gave man dominion over the earth. We are to use the resources He has given us to our fullest health benefit. I make no excuse for liking hamburgers or pork chops or steak or chicken. My diet isn't complete without animal protein. I like veggies. I like veggies a lot, in fact. I enjoy eating veggies - raw, steamed, grilled, or baked just as so as it's tasty.

    The key I found to enjoying all foods is to choose lean meat and avoid cheesey or white sauces on veggies. This is okay to do on occasions, but when making high calorie sauces to smother your meats or vegetable, then the pounds creep upon you in a heart beat.

    Why can't you have your cake and eat it, too? The real problem is moderation. People don't know how to control themselves and I'm no expception. Desserts are so darn tempting. The sweet goodness in confections or cakes and pastries are refined drug - you just gotta have it or you'll go stir crazy!

    My will power goes out the door when I'm confronted with a slice of cake that's big enough for two people. That's when trouble starts for me. Over the years, I discovered getting out very small portions help to not only satisfy my craving, but allows me to not deny myself completely. By controling tempting goodies from the beginning actually prevents a junk food binge another time.

    Your post hit so many things on the mark. I enjoyed reading it a lot. I especially like the looks of the apple pear crisp at the end. That looks fabulous! I think I better not show this to my husband. He has a major sweet tooth in this family, and well...I don't want the temptation of the dessert around. But, I'm certainly going to save the recipe for one of those occasions when I do want to make something yummy for the tummy.

    Thanks for the visit! Now following your blog. =D

    1. I think we're kindred souls here. Love your response. Moderation is where it all falls down for me too. If I like the taste, watch out. Thanks for the follow.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Clarinda, not exactly a training recipe but something sweet that isn't actually bad for you

  5. I couldn't agree with you more that there is a shocking amount of BS out there. Lately the battle I'm constantly fighting is over the misinformation about vaccinations. Don't want to vaccinate your kids? Ok, but at least have the actual facts about it, not the celebrity viewpoint. (Also, keep your kids away from my babies until they're fully vaccinated!). But anyway. That apple-pear crisp recipe looks fabulous. I love making apple crisp and can't figure out why I never thought to add pears to it!

    1. Ir's bad enough trying to get some straight answers just to try and be healthier. When you actually need facts, like for an allergy, or to make an informed decision about something, it's brutal.

      I love just plain old apple crisp but have made it with all kinds of combinations too. Anjou pears were looking good lately so... It's also good with some cranberries as well, or blue berries, strawberries, rhubarb, peaches, blackberries LOL

  6. WOW... you have said a mouth ful... and I agree with you on all the 'experts' who have new fads that are the 'must do' diet....
    I have seen so many people yo-yo up and down because of their fad diets...
    Eating is a life choice - - - an INDIVIDUAL life choice...

    1. Ir seems like every other week there is a new "super food" or must read about how to live better, stronger, or longer. It is impossible to keep up with, then a few weeks later it's no not that, it's this now. Craziness.

  7. I make poor food choices every day. Sigh. . . but your recipe looks like it would be good choice: healthy and yummy! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm right there with you. I had pizza, potato wedges and beer for dinner last night. Too easy, too tasty. I'm just trying to be more aware of the number of bad choices I make and reduce them. I'll never get rid of them, I like food too much.


Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".