Naked Juice. Naked Pizza. All Natural This. All Natural That. Some pretty big corporations seem to be cashing in on naked foods. So what does this actually mean?
Naked, in the culinary sense, means non-processed, no artiﬁcial ingredients, no chemicals, etc. It’s no secret that natural is healthy, but why do we wait for big corporations to make something trendy in order for us to take notice? Touting all natural foods is big business, so why do we allow these companies to proﬁt from our lack of nutritional knowledge?
Fast food chains count on those struggling with weight and other health-related issues by offering “healthier” menu items and grossly misusing the term “natural.” For example, Wendy’s started serving their All Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt. The natural cut of these fries have nothing to do with the ingredients, but rather with the way they are sliced. The potatoes don’t go through the process of getting steamed at such an extreme temperature that the skin bursts off. Let’s not even discuss the chemicals sprayed on the fries and the number of times they are fried – yes, it’s more than once. Sound natural to you now?
The lack of nutritional know-how that goes into creating these menu items is not encouraging. In fact, according to a 2005 article, (“Health experts recommend good home cooking”, USA Today), people consume 50% more fat, calories and sodium when they eat out than when they cook at home. If you opt to dine out, do your research. Most restaurants will list their menus nutritional value on their website. This can be a great tool in deciding what and where to eat.
What are healthy natural foods and what are their beneﬁts? Here is a very brief overview. Please note, I am not a medical professional. I’m just married to one.
Fruits and Vegetables
• Cut your risk of chronic diseases including stroke, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers,
heart disease and high blood pressure
• Lose weight
• Stay hydrated
Nuts and Seeds
• Sources of proteins and fats (GOOD FATS!)
• Excellent sources of essential fatty acids
• Good sources of vitamin E
• Cut your risk of chronic diseases
• Important sources of many nutrients such as dietary ﬁber, B vitamins, riboﬂavin,
niacin, folate, iron, magnesium and selenium
• Maintain proper bowel function, reduce constipation and avoid diverticulosis
Read the labels on what you buy and if you are unable to pronounce most of the ingredients, don’t buy it! Substitute healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. For example, use all natural whole grain pasta instead of regular pasta. Buy vegetables that are locally grown and not shipped from another country and sprayed with preservatives. Make your own tomato sauce. Be daring. Don’t be afraid to try new foods and spices to add a different ﬂavor. Don’t drown your foods in oil. Use vegetable broth in place of half the oil you normally would use.
I feel the same way about cooking as I do about packing my beach bag – less is more. Here is a great recipe that I love to start you on your clothing optional culinary adventures!
Prepare rice according to package directions and set aside to let cool. In a small skillet cook onion, celery and carrot in hot olive oil over medium heat until veggies are tender. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl place 1/2 the black beans and mash with a fork until completely mashed. Add remainder of the black beans, corn, garlic, oatmeal, egg substitute and spices. Mix well. Add cooled rice, cooked veggies, adobo sofrito, salt and pepper. Form into 6 patties (about 1/2 cups of mix per patty). Place on a tray, cover and chill for at least 10 minutes. Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Add patties and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the potatoes but do not peel them. Cut them in half lengthways and then again to make 8 wedges. Place the potato wedges in a saucepan of cold water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the potatoes have softened slightly. Drain well and pat dry on paper towels. Mix the remaining ingredients in a roasting pan. Add the potatoes and shake to coat thoroughly. Roast for 20 minutes.
Add a small side salad – and you have a healthy, natural, vegetarian meal!
Pam Ortiz Miller was born and raised in suburban New York avoiding books and writing of any kind as she preferred musical theatre where people sang you everything you needed to know. It wasn’t until she was a senior at the University of Maryland that she discovered a love of writing. Her main writing focus is poetry, however, she dabbles in short stories, news articles, screenplays and occasional angry letters to customer service reps and estranged relatives. Her latest endeavor is a blog entitled The Real Housewife of Ormond Beach chronicling her adventures in the domestic arts. Like most New Yorkers Pam ended up in Florida where she lives with her husband, three cats and a very special dog. Her hobbies include traveling, photography, cooking, cinema and getting rid of tan lines. On her off days from being a domestic diva she can be found rehabbing sea and land turtles.