I’m in the check out line at the grocery store, and notice the woman ahead of me eyeballing my cart. I looked down, and realized everything in it was super healthy, with maybe the exception of a box of Kashi. This will probably sound silly, but in that moment of realization I felt like a proud peacock. I chose food that will contribute to my health and vigor, rather than damage it. Food that I am quite happily retraining my taste buds to enjoy! Realigning my palate as nature intended it to be. Food that will love me back.


Jewels and old choices

In the spirit of full disclosure, I did momentarily grab the bottle of marshmallow fluff, but when I read all the chemicals in it, I quickly returned it to the shelf, and reached for melons to satisfy my sweet tooth instead. My stomach literally churned at the thought of putting those ominous ingredients I couldn’t pronounce into it.

This information is not just for people doing A Course in Weight Loss, it is important to anyone who cares about their health, the health of their loved ones, and the environment.

Scare tactics in news reports, and the knowledge I gained as a founding member of Parents for Safe Foods back in the early nineties yielded meager changes in the way I ate, but reading books like In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, and the intense pleasure of eating Chef Tal’s vegan food started really swaying me. The chapter in Marianne‘s book that she talks about a love affair with food sealed the deal for me. The retreat even more so. If you can make the next one do! There are some scholarships available for those that can not afford it.

Marianne always making time to care

“Does that hot fudge sundae love you? No, hot fudge sundaes do not love me and they do not love you. They are full of sugar and processed chemicals that bring us anything but love.”

This cupcake junkie managed to find some that look like hot fudge sundaes!

“Those things feed cancer, increase cholesterol, decrease growth hormones, weaken eyesight, interfere with protein absorption, cause food allergies, contribute to diabetes and cardiovascular disease, impair the structure of DNA, create difficulty concentrating, reduce defenses against infectious diseases, lead to osteoporosis, and more. I wouldn’t call any of those things love.” Me neither Marianne!

Natures sweet tooth satisfier

I’m consciously trying to eliminate processed, highly refined foods filled with artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, sweeteners, hydrogenated fats, and high fructose corn syrup, because they offer no nutritional value, and appear to cause serious health conditions in the long run – they do not belong in our food supply, nor do radiated or genetically modified foods – we don’t even know all the long term effects associated with them yet, but I can assure you they are not natural, and I want natural, whole foods in my body that resemble the foods my grandparents and great grandparents ate.

Notes on how to eat consciously

Tal spoke last week about the west being the only culture to consume so much meat that it takes three entire football fields of cattle to feed the typical American meat eater per year. Our rates of heart disease, diabetes, and other problems have skyrocketed compared to places like India where they live off mostly plant based proteins. I’m not saying I’ll ever be completely vegetarian or vegan, but I did joke with Tal that I started with meatless Mondays, and now I eat meatless most days. It’s fun to discover plant based proteins you like, and experiment with them.

Jewels and Chef Tal Ronnen

One of the hardest shifts people are asked to make when adopting a conscious lifestyle is giving up convenience. We as a society have grown so accustomed to convenience food, and don’t have time to cook long involved meals every night. Even Tal, a classically trained super chef, admitted to using the principles of the personal chef approach to make it all happen smoothly at home. I loved when he told everyone he cooks large batches of the quinoa in advance, then will mix some with banana, agave, and peanut butter for breakfast, then a little more heated through to serve with white bean and mushroom ragu for dinner – it is the secret to making this lifestyle doable. I’ll be sharing more tips and tricks of the personal chef approach with you in the coming months to help you streamline eating consciously at home too.

Are you following the news on what is happening to our food supply? Does it concern you? What changes have you made to your diet as a result and why?


Simple Marinated Grilled Tuna

I do not eat fish as often as I used to due to high mercury levels, but I still believe everything is okay in moderation. When I do, I make sure the fish is wild and line caught. Did you know you are entitled to sniff the fish for freshness before buying it? It should smell like the sea, not strong and fishy, if it is really fresh. While the color of raw Ahi tuna is red, it actually has a very mild flavor.

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

24 ounces of fresh Ahi tuna (or salmon)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of honey
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1). Mix lemon zest, garlic, honey, lemon juice, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add tuna, turn a couple times to coat well, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2). Prepare a hot grill pan.

3). Remove tuna from the marinade, season with salt and pepper to taste, and grill 2-3 minutes on each side, or until you there is good color from the grill marks, but still rare in center.

Serving Suggestions: I served it here with sauteed zucchini and grape tomatoes, but it is great with any vegetable of your choice, or on top of salad greens with a little dressing.

Variation: For an Asian twist add 1 tablespoon soy sauce (omit salt), 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced, and substitute olive oil for dark sesame oil.
« Previous PostNext Post »
  • February 23, 2011
    4:58 pm

    Great post! I was eating with my husband the other day, and started wondering how many animals any given restaurant uses in the course of a seating. It made this carnivore a little sad.My doctor asked me to keep a food diary, and writing down everything I eat (rather than just writing down the calories, which I've done for years) has really made me face some gaping holes in my diet. I'll be shopping differently now.

  • February 23, 2011
    5:22 pm

    Don't know and I don't care. I love it more!!!! Yummmm……!!!Kathy Kendall Kimak

  • February 23, 2011
    5:22 pm

    Yuumm YummmScar Lette

  • February 23, 2011
    5:22 pm

    Really Kathy? You love eating food that will harm you? I'm not saying never eat another hot fudge sundae, but when you do – know what you are doing to your body. Eat consciously.

  • February 23, 2011
    5:23 pm

    I love it more cause I can't have it! Ice cream is a weakness for me. Have been dieting since the new year and have lost 18lbs so far. When I reach my goal weight (hopefully later this year) I will have to learn all good things in moderation.Kathy Kendall Kimak

  • February 23, 2011
    5:23 pm

    Wonderful blog, Jewels — filled with delicious morsels of very valuable information!!Catherine Roberts

  • February 23, 2011
    5:24 pm

    I know this may sound silly, Jewels but what helped me immensely is being in the biz I am of natural bath & body products. When I became more aware of the chemicals I was putting ON my body that get absorbed through the skin into your blood…Brittany Shai Harper-De Staedtle

  • February 23, 2011
    5:25 pm

    Congratulations Kathy – that is really commendable! Yes, all good things in moderation, but I also think changing our relationship with food as being key to keeping the weight off. Thanks Catherine – loved seeing you last night!

  • February 23, 2011
    5:25 pm

    It is SO hard to resist things though. I have been trying to make some better choices though, especially in restaurants. If we go to a diner for breakfast, say, I will get fruit instead of hashbrowns and tell them to go very light on the butter on my toast.Devoted Duranie

  • February 23, 2011
    5:26 pm

    Hey Devoted Duranie – I usually have a tough time with that too, but knowing more about why that food is harmful to me really helps change the way I view it, and I'm finding I want it less often, and in much smaller quantities when I do.

  • February 23, 2011
    5:48 pm

    That tuna is to die for! My daughter has changed her eating habits and is losing weight. She has def. cut the fast food, soda, tons of water, cut out red meat 80% of the time. I finally also got through to her she can still enjoy things but do it in moderate amounts (I need to take my own advice).TY for your personal thoughts you really do carry some of us through things with your sharing.

  • February 23, 2011
    7:16 pm

    Delicious love you am here xxAmanda Eliasch

  • February 23, 2011
    7:17 pm

    I am seriously going to have to look at my diet as I am shortly going to be starting chemotherapy I do NOT want this ever to return and if changing how I and my family eat helps so be it and I know it's going to be hard too.Phoenix Lebon-Taylor

  • February 23, 2011
    7:26 pm

    Phoenix – I'll be thinking of you and holding you in my heart. Changing your diet will not be as hard as you think if you ease yourself into it. Just get yourself well, that is all that matters right now.

  • February 23, 2011
    11:13 pm

    My body went awry a few years ago, probably due to stress and little by little, it rejected things like meat, fat laden foods. I've never been able to eat ice cream or major sweets, can tolerate the odd brownie or cookie once in a while. So, now I fill up on oatmeal, almond milk in my tea,tofu done up in different ways, lots of fruit, lots of fresh & frozen veg, very little bread or starches (potatoes). Lots of yogurt to get medication down, the odd piece of cheese. My downfall is popcorn, but I try to limit it to two or three microwave 100 cal. portions per week. I do indulge in a little natural peanut butter on an apple for a treat too. I'm trying to eat better, but still have a ways to go. I guess my biggest problem is making a regular time for meals instead of grabbing on the go.

  • February 24, 2011
    2:23 pm

    wow amazing post :) Totally getting the book

  • February 24, 2011
    7:14 pm

    I've just started reading the book and working on Lesson 1. I'm doing a LOT of writing. I'm tired of being this way and I really want to make this work.I'd started compiling my next online grocery order, and after reading this post I went and took out a few things that don't love me as much as I love them. I looked at some ingredient lists, and changed out different brands of products that had fewer things in them I couldn't pronounce.Thanks for always being positive and encouraging.

  • February 24, 2011
    7:34 pm

    YUM! That's is one of my favorites!Suzanne P Voelker

  • February 24, 2011
    8:21 pm

    Thanks so much. Well as I have now made it something else my girls could inherit I have to get them doing it too. So I guess I should start by going organic maybe?Phoenix Lebon-Taylor

  • February 24, 2011
    8:22 pm

    oh are you saying it doesn't?oh sadness.Madeleine Gallay

  • February 24, 2011
    8:22 pm

    Start with organic and cutting back on processed foods (that's where most the harmful chemicals hide). Ask your doctor to refer you to a nutritionist that is knowledgable about fighting cancer with diet. Your oncologist will probably know just the right person for you. There are also many books on the subject – so educate yourself as much as possible.

  • February 24, 2011
    8:23 pm

    Interesting post! I have improved my eating habits in the last years, but still veggies aren't my faves. I do eat more than before tho, but my chocolate craving is still strong… *sigh* I will be good, I will be good!Isabel Ortiz Bernad

  • February 24, 2011
    8:23 pm

    thankyou JulieAnne for taking the time to answer and give me good ideas. I will certainly start researching it and get going on cutting out the processed stuff. The more I think about what could be in what I eat the more I go yuk!Phoenix Lebon-Taylor

  • February 24, 2011
    8:24 pm

    Thanks Julie, I ordered Tal's book and loved the recipes in it, I am going to try some of them, glad you introduced him in this blog.Antoinette Voll

  • February 24, 2011
    8:47 pm

    Isabel – some of the things I've learned from the cleanse I did last summer, A Course in Weight Loss and the retreat are that when you eliminate the refined sugars and processed foods for a few weeks (the things your taste buds THINK taste better), your taste buds will realign, and food that IS good for you will taste better again. Also, sugar can be addictive, so it may not be that you just don't have good self control – it could be that it is causing a chemical reaction in your brain you have no control over. Just food for thought. That is exactly why my eating habits are soooo much healthier now Phoenix – once you know how harmful those foods can be, they are no longer as appealing as they were before. All my adult life I've eaten lots of vegetables and healthy oils, but there was also usually a little junk food that would creep into my shopping cart – now, not so much. I'm not saying I'm foregoing a piece of cake on my birthday, but it will be one small piece, not half the cake for the rest of the week. One of the reasons I admire people like Tal and Kathy Freston is they advocate leaning into a vegan lifestyle gradually – it doesn't have to be all or nothing. The same applies to the meat eater that wants be a healthier "conscious eater" – as you become more aware of what is good for you and what isn't – you will naturally start making healthier conscious choices. For example – the quality of the meat you choose to eat, the correct portion size, and perhaps a little less often and working a few plant based proteins into your diet. I still eat meat – just not nearly as often.I hope researching and getting proactive in your diet will help empower you a little in the battle you are facing as well as help you heal.

  • February 24, 2011
    8:52 pm

    Everything you said is "right on" Jewels. I gave up most meat about 18 years ago (I'll have a little free range chicken or wild seafood every now and again, but no red meat at all.) Recently I have also drastically reduced my sugar, dairy and flour consumption. Seeing both of my parents struggle with health issues AND turning 40 has really changed my tune! :) Thanks for sharing…Kim Phillips Cuccia

  • February 24, 2011
    9:00 pm

    I like the idea of a food diary so I can see what I'm lacking nutrition wise. Maybe that will help me get on top of a good eating pattern that maintains my weight at a healthy size, but allows me to get what I need nutritionally. Since I'm not as active, I need to be careful not to gain weight that will make more stress on my joints which are already shot.

  • February 25, 2011
    3:41 am

    reaaaallyyyy love tuna :)Steffken le Bon

  • February 25, 2011
    3:42 am

    I love grilled Tuna!Dawn Lassen

  • February 25, 2011
    3:44 am

    I think this is my favorite post of yours…such a wonderful message. Your blog continues to inspire me more and more.Giorgi Centeno-Antinori

  • February 25, 2011
    3:57 am

    That is the quite a compliment coming from you Giorgi, thank you. The wisdom well beyond your years, your courage, conviction, grace, talent and obvious beauty leave me in awe every time I read your blog. I can't think of any more inspiring. Thank you precious one.

  • February 25, 2011
    12:09 pm

    Great post! Don't we all check out the cart before us? Honestly when it is all laid out at the checkout is when you see 'where you are at' in terms of health. I'm with you Julie Anne, but it's shocking how many people don't get it. The easiest way to tell your body what it's worth, is by what you put into it.Cupcakexo

  • February 25, 2011
    11:11 pm

    They're watching everything I do! 8-)) xxEmily Cash

  • February 26, 2011
    5:50 am

    I can't believe I was alone in the house with them, and didn't eat any! We get a pass for our birthdays though. One for you and one for me. xoxo

  • February 26, 2011
    5:50 am

    Love you! XEmily Cash

  • February 26, 2011
    5:50 am

    Love you back!

  • February 26, 2011
    5:51 am

    Love you both! xMarie Toone

  • February 26, 2011
    5:51 am

    It's a Hot Chocolate Sunday Love Fest! Woooo Hoooooo! ;-))))Emily Cash