a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What If . . . A Message from Paul Harvey

Yesterday,  while I was preparing a simple post on cucumbers, 
a cool refreshing summertime treat --- 

a chilling e-mail arrived in my inbox.

Do you remember the famous ABC radio news commentator Paul Harvey, known for telling us "the rest of the story"? Millions of Americans listened to his programs which were broadcast over 1,200 radio stations nationwide. 

On April 3, 1965 he delivered a sobering message. He updated it occasionally as time went by.  

Paul Harvey passed on in 2009.  Please take 3 minutes  to listen to his  47 year-old message --- observations from then that are stark realities today. 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dissecting . . . Soda Pop

      Dissecting is not a word that comes with pleasant images.

The things I am discovering about
edible food-like substances
are also unpleasant. Very unpleasant. 

Edible is probably even an iffy (and overly generous) word to use.

It is becoming more and more common for the common foods we eat to be less and less real --- and it is important to our health and to our family's health to find out if what we are eating is real.

I am going to be stepping on some toes                       
(okay, probably many toes) with this one but,
 as the saying goes,  if the shoe fits wear it or . . . 
take it with a grain of salt  sugar.

Soda Pop

Soda pop is "simply" carbonated water, sugar*, 
flavoring and coloring** --- 
and many/most contain caffeine, a stimulant.

A 16 ounce can of soda pop averages 200 calories --- all from sugar*

A 16 ounce can of soda pop contains approximately 12.5 teaspoons of sugar*

12.5 teaspoons of sugar = 4+ Tablespoons of sugar

4 Tablespoons of sugar =  1/4 cup

Seems unbelievable? 
It is unbelievable.

Would you ever put 1/4 cup sugar in a glass of ice tea or cup of coffee?

Even when the food is real, it is disconcerting to see that sometimes the real is too much of a good thing.

*and even worse, high-fructose corn syrup has replaced sugar in most if not all soft drinks. HFCS is another questionable manufactured product but aside from this small blurb below, I am not going to get into that --- at least for now.

"In the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-effective sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported. High-fructose corn syrup is found in a wide range of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year.

"The new research complements previous work demonstrating that sucrose can be addictive, having effects on the brain similar to some drugs of abuse."  

What Started Out as Good . . .

  • A hundred years ago, the first school lunch programs were started because a 1906 study discovered 2 million American children were so poor they frequently went hungry. The program was run by volunteers serving limited amounts of donated food.
  • In the 1930's President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided that the federal government should help feed poor children and he instructed the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to buy food from farmers and ship it to schools. This program helped farmers by giving them money during the Great Depression, and it met the needs of poor children. The federal government hired people to work in school cafeterias.
  • In 1946 Congress passed the National School Lunch Act, which expanded the program and announced that its goal was "to safeguard the health and well-being of the nation's children."
Became Ugly!

As the years passed, the needs of children became less important than the needs of companies hoping to sell them things. Soda, candy, and fast-food companies approached school officials seeking permission to put their products inside schools.

The U.S. government worried that selling junk food and soda violated the spirit of the National School Lunch Act.

  • In 1977 The USDA blocked the sale of "foods of minimal nutritional value" in schools.
  • The National Soft Drink Association and other food companies didn't like that rule and filed a lawsuit against the USDA.
  • At first the junk-food and soda companies lost in court but they wouldn't give up.
  • In 1983 a federal judge ruled that sodas and junk foods could be sold in schools, with some restrictions.
  • By 2006, 43  percent of elementary schools, 74 percent of middle schools and 98 percent of high schools had soda machines, candy machines, snack bars, or stores that served foods high in sugar, fat, and salt.
  • A study of the children in the New York City public schools, in 2006, showed more than 40 percent of the children were overweight and almost 25 percent are obese. 
Above excerpted from Chew On This (everything you don't want to know about fast food) by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson.

WARNINGS: Caramel Coloring

**Caramel appears innocent enough but you may want to make note of the following --- especially if  you or any of your family members have allergies.

"Caramel is manufactured by heating carbohydrates, either alone or in the presence of acids, alkalies, and/or salts. Caramel is produced from commercially available nutritive sweeteners consisting of fructosedextrose(glucose), invert sugarsucrosemalt syrupmolasses, starch hydrolysates and fractions thereof. The acids that may be used are sulfuricsulfurousphosphoricacetic, and citric acids; the alkalies are ammonium,sodiumpotassium, and calcium hydroxides; and the salts are ammoniumsodium, and potassium carbonate,bicarbonatephosphate (including mono- and dibasic), sulfate, and bisulfiteAntifoaming agents, such as polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, may be used as processing aids during manufacture.[2] Its color ranges from pale-yellow to amber to dark-brown." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caramel_color

In conclusion, if the above is not enough to make you gulp here are two comments I pulled off the net.

The concentrate for 70 percent of Coca-Cola’s 1.5 billion drinks served each day originates in the tax haven of Ireland, where enough concentrate for 50,000 Cokes costs $2.60—including labor. The concentrate’s main ingredient? Caramel.

Yes, America loves its Coca Cola. But keep in mind – with fountain soda running $2.00/glass these days, a family of four that dines out twice per week will save nearly $1,000 per year by skipping the soda pop and instead going with water. Don’t get me wrong – I like a nice, cold, refreshing (caffeine-free diet) Pepsi as much as the next guy. But personally, I’d rather spend that $1,000 on an extra weekend getaway or two. Wouldn’t you?