Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Not a whole food

It's especially difficult in this culture to eat a whole foods diet, especially since most foods are refined in some way. Take whole wheat flour for example: conventional milling opens the grain, removes the germ and takes the endosperm away to be ground. The machines then put the pieces back together again in proper quantities to create flours with the right characteristics to create yummy, risen loaves. Grinding your own wheat still involves some processing because you take the whole kernel crush it. Granted, this process isn't nearly as detrimental as making something like corn syrup, a product whose creation cannot be reproduced in your own home but grinding wheat kernels into flour still exposes the vitamin and enzymes to air, leading to oxidation and denaturation of proteins. In fact, any food processing, such as cooking, baking or cutting in some cases, can lead to loss of nutrients. However, counting the minute loss of certain B vitamins when sauteing kale as a tragedy and pursuing an extremist raw food diet is not the answer either. Eating in such a way that the food is as whole and unadulterated as possible, while still loving the process of preparing and eating is the key to a healthy happy relationship with food and a healthy happy body.

This of course brings us to the faux Silk Creamer shown at the top of the page. I must have picked it up and put it down four times before purchasing it, and you know what, it actually tastes pretty decent. It will never, ever, in any way be true cream, but it's much better in tea than the hemp milk fiasco. Nothing makes a morning like having your "milk" curdle in your tea when your groggy and grumpy already. But purchasing such a product, whose ingredients include soymilk, palm oil, maltodextrin, cane juice, soy lecithin, potassium phosphate, sodium citrate, tapioca starch, natural flavors, and carageenan goes blatantly in the face of the whole foods philosophy which I hold so dear. As with so many other areas of life, moderation in all things, including moderation. Perhaps someday I will be able to give up my tea with cream and honey, but today is not that day. Having such a small, yet vital fragment of my former life makes me happy and so, let them drink tea!


  1. If you are celiac, than gluten is never a treat, ever. It’s very damaging to a celiac’s intestine. Don’t know much about casein. If it were me, I’d find out if I were celiac for sure.

    There’s another non-dairy cream on the market called MimicCream that you’ll only find in granola styled health food stores and the ingredients are a little better than the Silk creamer:

    MimicCreme Unsweetened—Purified water, Almonds, Cashews, Dipotassium Phosphate, Bicarbonate Soda, Rice Starch, Salt

    I never tried it. It just caught my eye in the store recently. There’s always the Internet and if you like it, you could buy in bulk since it comes in aseptic packages.

    Personally, my favorite soymilk is Edensoy Unsweetened Organic (Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Soybeans). My wife and I use it for and oatmeal porridges and my wife is a fan of the milk in black tea thing. She’s fine with Edensoy in her coffee as well (I take mine black, both tea and coffee). Westsoy has a minimal ingredients soymilk that is similar, but I prefer the Edensoy company. Some people think the basic ingredients soymilks are too beany-hippie tasting, but give it a chance, just remember to shake them well since there are no additives to keep it from settling or clumping (I made that sound worse than it really is.) My wife and I prefer it over the ice-cream-sweetness of most Silk products, though there is an unsweetened Silk. Finally, Edensoy is the beige color of soybeans and Silk is snow-white and I have no idea how they get their soy that bright white.

    You don’t have to go to a raw food diet, but it may be a good idea for you to scan through some vegan and raw food cookbooks (or Internet writings) for some ideas. They tend to be creative with food alternatives especially in light of your casein intolerance. There’s the assumption that vegan food is all soy meat-substitutes, but there’s enough of a whole-foods vegan health attitude out there that you can find some interesting options. There are plenty of other grains besides wheat and enough alternatives to dairy that can satisfy most people. Just don’t ever expect dairy alternatives to be identical.

    “It's not so much living without as living differently”

  2. Thanks for your input Ben. Lots of good ideas. Not that I'm all graduated from school, I hope to do a bit more experimenting. Since this last post I've started drinking green tea sans "milk" and eating yummy coconut ice cream.