Corn Syrup in Soy Sauce?!

Getting comfortable upon our return to the US, post living in Australia for two years, I cannot help but find myself feeling “culture shock.” Maybe, “food shock” is a better term.

No doubt, I love America and the lifestyle it offers, yet, since being accustomed to daily food markets, butchers with fresh, free range meat and eggs, it is overwhelming walking into a Giant Eagle, let alone Costco these last few days.

Goodness, I bet my bank account I found a kiwi in Costco the size of a mango. How is this natural? And wow, I could literally get any cuisine I wanted in one store, regardless of the season. They had seaweed salad in Ohio! I mean this is great, but is it that great? The salad was delish but after reading the food ingredients, it lost it’s appeal seeing there were at least 3 food coloring’s in it. Why would my seaweed need to be more green? I wish we had an option.

And whereas it’s lovely to get any ingredient you want, it makes it tough to know what is truly in season. In Australia I literally bought produce by the season and made recipes accordingly. I remember one day I wanted red grapes (out of season) and the supermarket clerk looked at me like I had two heads.

Also, whilst visiting with family, my mom asked I help point out some healthier choices for her to eat/prepare for meals and I was/am more than keen to do so. This morning I began helping her by proofing her cabinet and found science experiments of ingredients. What do I mean? Some of the items in the pantry would never pass as food if it weren’t for the label or food container. I nearly fell over when I saw corn syrup in soy sauce! Why? I mean really, why? I know corn is cheap and before you know it, it is going to be found in our chewing gum. Oh wait…

I am probably coming off in this post as harsh, but the point I want to make is it’s not anyone’s fault for not knowing what is best for them to eat or feed their family with. There are so so so many mixed messages in the media and heaps of information to sort through. Most recently I had forgotten how hard marketing makes it on the regular consumer in knowing what foods to choose for health.  If you need some clarifying, I am happy to help. Send me an email and I will do my best to reply within 48 hours.

A pointer to start you off with is a line by Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Most plants.” And sure as heck eat real butter!

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

Shop With Reason This Season

I, along with many others, see the importance of shopping locally and since moving to Australia where I have a farmer’s market on my doorstep, I see the benefits of shopping seasonally. The hardest thing to overcome when desiring to shop with the Fall, Winter, Spring, etc is learning what is “in season.” Today’s post includes a cheat sheet for the month of June. I have noted a (*) for the enlisted produce that is also in season in the Northern Hemisphere this month. Overall, July is much more resourceful in the Northern Hemisphere than June. Many of the listed fruits and vegetables are in peak season next month back in the US.

FRUIT – Southern Hemisphere:

Apples, avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, custard apple, grapefruit, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, mandarins, pears, oranges, passionfruit, paw paw, and strawberries*.

VEGGIES – Souther Hemisphere:

Artichokes, green beans, bean shoots*, bok choy, broccoli*, brussel sprouts, cabbage*, capsicum, carrots*, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, fennel, leek, lettuce*, mushrooms*, onion*, parsnip*, potatoes, pumpkin, shallots*, silverbeet*, snowpeas, tomatoes, and zucchini*.

I am loving roasted pumpkin right now. It is so satisfying – I throw it in a salad, pair it with chicken or even just mix in some cinnamon and sea salt and call it a day. Pumpkin does not have to be sweet – like my childhood birthday pie around Thanksgiving.

What is your favorite dish this season?

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

 

Alternative Health

Perhaps “alternative medicine” is a better term since health is such a loose word, but medicine seems so intimidating and foreign.

Most recently I have been surrounding myself in some new practices – acupuncture, Chinese herbs and meditation. All of them have been great, especially since my glass is currently spilling over with stress while we are figuring out our visa situation here in Melbourne and considering a move back to the US in August. Yes, that is about 3 months away and we have no confirmed plans, nor know where we will move to or what/if I will have a job. It is no bed of roses, but I have been trying to enjoy the confusion. Oh! And I will be having jaw surgery again in July. 

Life goes on and why not try meditation and acupuncture to cope, right?

Sure enough, it has helped. I am pleasantly pleased with the outcome of both meditation and acupuncture. I think the expensive Chinese herbs could fall by the wayside though. I am not sure if I notice anything different when drinking them in dissolved warm water and I cannot fail to mention how awful they taste. Has anyone else tried them? Do you have any insight to share?

The meditation is so interesting too. It is actually funny how I got involved in this. I purchased a yoga voucher and quickly learned there was more focus on breathing, etc than downward dog poses.

However, anything I do, I try to go into it with an open mind regardless of what it is. At my first session, I sat there thinking to myself, “I know how to breath, why do I need someone to tell me to take a deep breath and scan my body while listening to some weird sounds?” But gosh by golly! By the end of each session I feel pretty content. I have since been, a handful of times, and plan on continuing some sessions every month. Overall, I have realised I handle stress better, I go with the flow better and live in the moment a bit more.

I highly recommend meditation and suggest doing it at least a few times. It is a great way to shut off any chaos in your life and feel more comfortable in your own skin. 

Now onto acupuncture – why did I try this out?

Besides Robb Wolf preaching how great it is among many other health advocates, I wanted to reduce my hay-fever symptoms (I take anti-histamines every day and want to wean that down), try something new and see what it did for my diabetes (type 1). On a side note, I strive to eat paleo every day but sometimes that does not happen. When it doesn’t I often see fluctuations in my blood sugars and pay for it. So overall, I wonder what acupuncture can do for my cravings, circulation and over blood sugar stabilisation.

So far, things feel pretty good. After session one I felt engerized and invigerated. It’s not everyday someone sticks a needle in the top of your head and forehead wrists and tummy. I have session two this weekend and look forward to what differences, if any, I feel. I will be sure to provide an update on anything surprising.

Overall, the prices for alternative medicine are a little high, but I think they are worth it. They are natural and a new approach for caring for yourself. I am personally all about touting the benefits of a good diet and often forget the other sides of health including stress, sleep, movement, and fertility. These alternative health practices have helped me bring my well-being full circle.

Cheers to you and good health!

Time For An Update

Life’s been a whirlwind.

Starting in March we went on a 3 week holiday visiting about everyone we knew in the US. Nothing short of spending time in Vegas, Missouri (sister and new baby), Indiana, Cincinnati, Columbus and Chicago. Exaggeration nil, I think we met up with over a 150 people – it was awesome to be back and hard work.

   Yet thpace e didn’t slow nor has it. A few days after returning to Melbourne and doing a final parental-approved clean sweep through our house, my mom came to visit for 3 weeks. We engulfed ourselves in adventures stemming from a pub crawl in Sydney, hot springs in Victoria, a wine tour, 15k run (I smashed my husband’s time), wild life tour, and many nights out on the down and loved every bit of it.

  
We certainly haven’t left time for any grass grow beneath us. Currently we entertaining another bout of friends from Chicago for 3 weeks.

This time adventures include footy, a trip to Cairns, white water rafting, snorkeling, wine tours, zip lining and more.

  
In all fairness it has been a bit challenging to eat right and keep blood sugars level. Yet, it’s been a blast and I am always aiming to put my best foot forward. Nonetheless I have many posts to come – addressing acupuncture, meditation, mental health/diet, vitamin K2, recipes and more.

Thanks for your patience and stay-tuned. Cheers to you and good health.

Silly American: #5

With some help from my husband, we have come up with the below. This information is helpful all and anyone traveling to Australia, particularly from the USA. Note-to-self, opt for cider, you will have a much larger variety of gluten free options.

Cheers to you and good health!
The O’Schmidt’s

  • Pot 285 ml (10 fl oz) – Small sized beer in Melbourne (yes, Sydney and Melbourne have different size beers)
  • Schooner 425 ml (15 fl oz) – Small sized beer in Sydney
  • Pint 570 ml (20 fl oz) – A pint is pint
  • Stubby – Bottled beer (example, I want a “stubby” of Corona)
  • Light Beers = low alcohol beers (don’t order a light beer unless you are on probation)
  • Blonde Beers = light beers in the US, (example Pure Blonde = Bud Light)
  • Shout = round of drinks, Australians take this very serious, see video for some info on shout “politics” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfdW4iCSmFE