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Eat The Foods You Love

10 Nutrition Myths

Regular readers here know that since I retired I do not buy magazines as they are just too expensive. So I get them at the library for free. That often means I am reading how to prepare soil for a summer garden at Christmas time. But I look at it this way; instead of being six months late, I am six months early. I guess you can say I am a glass half-full kinda gal! 

This explains why just this week I was reading the April, 2010 edition of Cooking Light. This issue has a wonderful article titled:

 10 Nutrition Myths that shouldn’t keep you from the foods you love! 

The article begins this way:

Some nutrition myths bounce around in crazy e-mail chain letters and pop up on goofy evening news reports. Others fuel the sale of rip-off diet books. Some are so accepted they seem hardwired into our brains.

This is music to my ears. Finally, a common sense article about food!! 

Some of you may remember my post, Common Sense Nutrition and Diet. In that post I shared with you my way of trying to eat delicious and healthy at the same time. 

Basically my technique is simply eating pretty much what I like and what I want. To that basic formula I eat smaller portions, add more fruits and veggies; eat more fish, eat real food as opposed to boxed food as much as possible; and all of this combined with moderate fun exercise.

Let’s see how my Common Sense Nutrition stacks up against Cooking Light’s.

  1. Added sugar is always bad for you.                      

          It’s not

     2.   Eating eggs raises your cholesterol levels.

           They don’t 

    3.   All saturated fats raise blood pressure.

          Some do not. Think dark chocolate.

    4.  The only heart-friendly alcohol is red wine.

         All alcohols in moderation confer the same health benefits.

    5.  Adding salt to the pot adds sodium to the food.

         Adding salt to water may make veggies more nutritious.

     6.  Fried foods are always too fatty.

         Not when fried correctly.

     7.  The more fiber you eat, the better.

          Natural fiber is good; foods fortified with fiber, not so much.

     8.  You should always remove chicken skin before eating.

       Only difference between the two, skinless is more expensive.

     9.  Organic foods are more nutritious than conventional.

          No difference in nutrition.

    10. Cooking olive oil destroys its health benefits.

         Olive oil can take the heat.

The Cooking Light article article explains each of its findings in far more detail than I have done here. I encourage you to go to your library and find this issue of Cooking Light to get the full scoop and details.

While I could not find the entire Cooking Light article on line I did find it on the CNN News Website. The CNN Health website has a very good and a very detailed summary, including the research to back up the claims, of each of the debunked myths listed above. Simply click the link.

As I always say, eat, drink, and be merry.
Featured Recipe          Roberta’s Taco Salad
Taco Salad My Way

I love Taco Salads. However, they are also very expensive. I can make one myself that costs far less. And in this economy that is a good thing. More importantly,  I can add ingredients I like that most restaurant Taco Salads do not include.

For instance, when was the last time you had Romaine lettuce in your Taco Salad? Or avocados? Or black olives?

I also do not use a Taco Salad Shell. First off they are way too expensive. Second, I am single. The packages have way too many for me to use up before they go stale and then I would have to throw them away. That is throwing money away. NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN.

So I just fix a salad.

I do not use refried beans in my Taco Salad. I like refried beans, especially as a side dish with cheese, green onions, and tomatoes. But they tend to make a salad soggy. So I use the avocado instead.

This is what you will need for 2 large (dinner) salads or 3 small (lunch) salads:

1 pound ground chuck

1 package taco seasonings

1 head Romaine lettuce

1-2 tomatoes

3-5 green onions

½ can sliced black olives

4 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons sour cream

14 tortilla chips

1 avocado (optional)

Here is what you do:

Slice the lettuce into very thin strips; as thin as you can make them.

I like to use Romaine rather than iceberg lettuce simply because iceberg lettuce  has few if any nutrients. Romaine is tastier and has far more nutrients. Plus it has a wonderful deep green to yellow green color that looks SO pretty.

Chop the tomatoes and green onions. I don’t normally use Roma tomatoes, but the regular tomatoes at the store looked terrible. So I bought some Roma tomatoes that looked better.

Observant readers will have noted that I forgot the olives in the ingredients picture above. My brain needs a memory upgrade! What can I say? I rectify that oversight here. So now that is done…..

Drain about 2-3 tablespoons of the olives and set aside.

Sauté the ground chuck over high heat. I keep the chuck in one huge piece…..

…….. until it browns really, really well. Then I flip the beef over……..

………..and continue cooking until well browned on the other side. You really want to sear the chuck and even let it burn in a few places. This will give the chuck a really rich, rich flavor in this salad.

You don’t get that in most restaurants.

Then break the chuck up and lower the heat and cook until it is done. Do you see the really charred pieces of beef in the picture. That is what you want. Drain off the fat.

Now add the taco seasonings and cook according to package directions. If you have  a recipe and the time you can make your own taco seasoning.

 While the meat is finishing cooking begin building  your salad.  Place the lettuce in one corner of a plate.

 If you are using the avocado cut it in half and then slice each half into three pieces. Squeeze some lemon juice over it to keep it from browning. Place to the side of the lettuce.

Avocado is not usually an ingredient in Taco Salad, but I like them and this is my sald so I use them.

Add the tomatoes, green onions, and black olives. You can see from the pictures that there is far more lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, and black olives  in this salad than any you are likely to find in any restaurant. 

Sometimes I have seen only a tablespoon or two of tomatoes, not even 1 whole sliced green onion, and only 3 or 4 slices of black olives. At least that has been my experience.

Add the cheese.

Observant readers will see some white cheese on top of the Cheddar. I had some Swiss cheese in the fridge I needed to use up so  at the last minute and spur-of-the-moment I decided to add a bit of that too. It is how I operate and cook. Looks pretty though doesn’t it? A nice contrast. 

Now add some of the meat mixture to the side of the lettuce. I like my meat to the side of my lettuce rather than on top because it keeps the lettuce from wilting and getting greasy. What can I say??  Even as a child I was a picky eater. Guess I still am!!

You will also notice there is a lot more meat mixture on this plate than in any taco salad I have ever had in a restaurant. I always want to ask, “Where’s the beef?”

Now add the tortilla chips off to one side of the plate, and last, top the salad with a tablespoon of sour cream. Doesn’t that look super yummy?  

There are other things you can add to the salad to make it your own. When I have left over carrots in the fridge I grate some of those on the lettuce. I have even chopped up radishes and used in my Taco Salad if I have some in the fridge.

Not traditional, but I don’t like to waste food. And it is Taco Salad My Way, so there you have it.

If you like hot you can chop some jalapeños and add to the salad. Many people like some sort of salsa on their Taco Salad, so add that if you like. Make your own Taco Salad Your Way.

Ain’t cooking fun?

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

1 pound ground chuck                       $2.41              

1 package taco seasonings                $0.99

1 head Romaine lettuce                     $0.62

1-2 tomatoes                                    $0.46

3-5 green onions                               $0.55

½ can sliced black olives                    $0.65

4 tablespoons cheddar cheese            $0.84

2 tablespoons sour cream                  $0.17

tortilla chips                                      $1.14

Total Cost for 2 = $7.83
Cost per person = $3.92 
1 avocado (optional)        $1.57 
Total cost for 2 with avocado = $9.40
Cost per person with avocado = $4.70
COST COMPARISON: Fast food/Taco Bell one taco salad runs around  at last $4.99 + tax; sit down restaurant $5.99 to $8.50+ at an average moderate restaurant. 

Taco Salad My Way is still the better bargain with more of each ingredient on top of it. And, I also use the avocado. In fact, you could make this salad with strips of real steak and it would still be a much better bargain than eating a Taco Salad at a restaurant. 

Ain’t cooking grand !!! ??? !!!! 

Quote of the Day

The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.

A. A. Milne

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2 comments to Eat The Foods You Love

  • I love a good taco salad. And you’re so right–refried beans on the side, please, not IN the salad. I’m into nutrition, organic, all that stuff, but like you, I take a commonsense approach to eating. Moderation.

    • Roberta

      Thank you for the common sense comment, Jean. Eating delicious food is one of life’s real pleasures. I think we can eat delicious and healthy at the same time.

      And I also think most of us wnat to eat healthy. But we don’t like being scolded and lectured.