Monday, January 11, 2010

Tales from Europa

Ah yes, here we be, fresh off the gigantic KLM plane that delivered us safely home from our wonderful trip to Europe.  I learned a few things while I was there.  On a personal level, I learned that there's a reason why I don't eat gluten.  My body doesn't like it and my brain doesn't work on it.  Still, a croissant in Paris may just be worth some fleeting pain.

Here's some food stuff I was surprised by:
  • The cost of organic meat and raw, organic cheese!  We feasted on raw cheeses, and all sorts of organic, biodynamic cultured goodies (Germany had all sorts of cultured dairy products that I'd never even heard of).  I paid about 60-75% less for real food there compared to what I would pay here, in Canada.
  • It's easy to eat healthy in the parts of Europe we visited.  A trip to the grocery store bought our family of five an impressive meal for less than 20 Euros.
  • Raw butter is ridiculously good and even more ridiculously inexpensive in Paris.  We were looking for things to put it on.  After a while, we gave up and just ate it sliced, like cheese.  It was that good.
  • Glass!  I actually bought my cultured dairy products in glass while in France. I avoid plastic, especially with enzymatically-alive foods, but I had no problem finding plastic-free stuff. And, wow, the yoghurt there is to die for.
  • Raw, biodynamic honey is 80% cheaper than what we pay here. Why?  Same thing with organic coffee and raw, organic nuts. 
The trip was wonderful and it was such a happy surprise to learn that eating well was actually going to be easy for us there. If I was paying those prices here, our grocery budget would easily be cut in half (at least).

Other things I learned is that it's easy for me to have a couple Belgian chocolates here, and then something delectable from a bakery there.  It's not so easy on my body though.  I have some work to do on squashing my sweet cravings and getting my routines up and running.

In the meantime, here's a great little idea that Health Canada is presently pondering:  how to negate the toxic consequences of cooking starches at high heat (acrylamides, anyone?).  Well, let's logic this one out, shall we?  Acrylamides are cancer forming.  People like their acrylamide-rich foods.  Heck, let's just put the chemotherapy drug right into the food and then munch away happily!  Chemotherapy fries! Bloody brilliant!

Cancer-fighting additive weighed for junk food
By CBC News
Canada is investigating whether to approve the use of a cancer-fighting additive in junk food, but Health Canada wants consumers to weigh in on the idea first.
The concern surrounds a chemical byproduct called acrylamide that is produced when carbohydrates such as bread or potatoes are cooked at high temperatures.
Studies in mice suggest acrylamide may cause cancer. There is less evidence in humans, but the suggestion that it might has governments and food manufacturers looking for ways to reduce the potential.
That's where the additive comes in. It's an enzyme used in some chemotherapy agents to treat leukemia. Food manufacturers say adding it could bring down levels of acrylamide in heated foods since the enzyme breaks down the acrylamide.
Health Canada's safety assessment of the enzyme, which is called asparaginase, didn't turn up any health or safety concerns.
Asparaginase had not been used in food until the discovery of acrylamide, said Varoujan Yaylayan, a food science professor at McGill University in Montreal.
'At some stage, we need to take responsibility for our own good health.'?Liz Head
Use of the enzyme is approved by regulators in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Denmark, and has been given a green light by the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives, Health Canada said.
The Canadian regulator is seeking public comments on the proposal until Feb. 21.
There are easier ways to deal with acrylamide, said dietitianJennifer House of Calgary.
"It makes common sense to just stop eating these foods when we know they're not good for us."
The Canadian Cancer Society takes the same position.
The proposal has already generated a lot of opinions from consumers.
"I thought Health Canada was supposed to encourage healthy eating habits," Judith Ryan told CBC News. "If the additive is used, people will think junk food is safe and eat more. The result will be more obesity, more diabetes and more heart disease, and eventually more costs to the health-care system. How smart is this?"
Liz Head called the proposal "rubbish."
"When are we going to learn that to be healthy human beings we need to change our eating habits? The best way to prevent cancer is to eat a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and some protein.
"At some stage, we need to take responsibility for our own good health and I know those changes are hard to make. Just put some sour cream and onion chips in front of me!"

Further Reading:
For those wanting to let Health Canada know how they feel about this brilliant plan, this is the place to find more information, including email and mailing addresses.


    1. Welcome home Tara!!!

      I hope your trip was everything you wanted it to be.

    2. Welcome Back Tara !
      Love the new blog header - nice. Do you have the link or info as to where we can give our feedback on the asparaginase additive ?


    3. Danka, FluffedUpFeathers! I like your name, by the way.

      Yes, our trip was amazing! Europa is the place to be!

    4. Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I edited the post so you can now find the contact information at the bottom of the page.

      Go get 'em!