I have been a good girl most of my life... always a rule-follower. Growing up as the middle child, I was the watcher. I watched my older brother make mistakes in his teen years, and suffer the consequences. I watched my care-free little sister make even worse mistakes, and I watched my parents stress over the whole ordeal! I remember several specific moments when I wanted to be a little reckless, but thought to myself, "Poor mom and dad, I'll just be good and save them the headache!"
This didn't come without resentment from the edgier members of my family. As I caused little trouble, I felt somehow entitled to special privileges. It's sort of a family joke now. I was known to whine to my parents, "Why can't I ______? I'm the GOOD KID!!!" On occasion, the rest of the bunch still call me the "good kid" with a snarky undertone. I agree, I deserve it!
Nowadays, I live in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina. A town that advertises itself as a "Foodtopian Society". A place where culinary and dietary endeavors are celebrated. Where sustenance has a certain religious quality. Whether a classically-trained chef, an athlete, a nutritionist, animal-rights activist, herbivore, loc-a-vore, farmer, or plain-old-eater...Asheville citizens have a exuberant passion for food! A LOUD passion, I might add! You could say I've heard an opposing opinion or two in the last six years. This is thrilling, for those of us who love a good food-debate, but I admit, a little confusing at times!
Always a selective shopper and cook, I feel like my family eats well. However, an eternal student of...well, LIFE, I'm always eager to learn of healthier cooking methods and ingredients. Here is a list of popular "Food Laws" I've collected since moving here. Let's see if I can get them all straight.
Food Law List:
Avoid high fructose corn syrup. (Check!)
Avoid trans fats. (Check!)
Avoid caffeine. (Check..except for chocolate!)
Don't eat anything processed, only whole foods. (Check, 95% of the time.)
Eat low fat, but get lots of essential fatty acids. (hmmm...)
Never cook with oils and fats...but don't use Teflon either. (HMMMM!)
Never eat animal fat--except for duck fat--that is, unless you're a vegetarian!
Watch out for GMOs! They cause cancer!
Avoid dairy at all costs, but eat LOTS of yogurt (probiotics) and cottage cheese (protein) (???)
Only buy raw-milk cheese. No wait, I mean raw goat's milk cheese...I mean consume NO cheese at all!
Totally avoid all SOY products. (They say soy is actually DANGEROUS!)
Avoid nut milks and goat's milk. (Too fatty.) In other words...NO MILK of any kind.
Eat tons of whole grains for fiber, but never those that come from wheat or corn (You know, the two little grains that are in EVERYTHING!?!)
Humans were not meant to consume grains. We should all be eating a grain-free diet.
Avoid alcohol, but drink red wine for the antioxidants.
Don't drink fruit juices--too high in sugar--even the natural kind.
Drink a gallon of water a day, but NEVER while you are eating. (Disturbs your digestion.)
Oh...and the water you are constantly drinking when you are not eating? It should be either ice cold or room temperature, depending on who you talk too.
Never store, eat, or drink anything in plastic, only glass. (Cancer, again.)
Never use a microwave. (You guessed it--cancer.)
Always bake on parchment paper, but you better recycle it!
Avoid all corn bi-products. (In EVERYTHING from cheese to chicken soup.)
Never eat anything with MSG in it--you might as well eat rat poisoning! (Also in everything and labeled with code names.)
Eat at least five servings of veggies EVERYDAY--but only those that are organic, locally grown, and in season. (Winter???)
Eat mostly dark or brightly colored veggies. (But only those meeting the previous criteria.)
Don't cook your veggies because it kills the nutrients.
Eat dark berries and pomegranate for the antioxidants EVERYDAY--but again, only in season, and pesticide free.
Don't eat fruit--too high in carbs.
Eat red meat for iron. Whoops! I mean, don't EVER eat red meat. Ok, if you MUST eat red meat, only eat local, grass-fed red meat.
Eat LOADS of fish, but only those that are sustainable, caught wild, and low in mercury.
Only eat free range chickens. (Food Inc.)
Never eat pork or shellfish. (Dirty.)
Fully cook your meat because of bacteria. OR some say, under-cook your meat so you don't kill all the nutrients. I also heard--don't cook your meat at all, eat it raw to absorb the most nutrients!
You know what...just don't eat meat! (Easier to remember.)
Eat small portions of protein 5-6 times a day, but of course, not dairy or meat protein. Not soy or whey supplements (for OBVIOUS REASONS), or nuts either, too fatty! (What does that leave, beans?)
Only use natural sea salts, and very little of that!
Avoid sugar, and all sugar substitutes...and food coloring for that matter (Sorry bakers!)
ENJOY YOUR FOOD, SAVORING EVERY BITE!
HUFF...I suddenly feel bewildered, exhausted and slightly light-headed! This list, my friends, would make anyone, even a "good kid" feel a smidge rebellious! Dan and I have decided we land soundly in the All-Things-In-Moderation camp. We accept only the "food laws" that support our personal beliefs and life-style. And still, every now and again, I just throw all caution to the wind and make sugary, fattening, corn-starchy, pork-laden Maple-Bacon Corn Muffins! Is that so wrong??? I dare you to make them!
Maple-Bacon Corn Muffins
4 oz. bacon
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 Tb. baking powder
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400*. Heat a skillet to medium-high. Chop the bacon and cook until slightly crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set the skillet aside.
In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Whisk in the milk and eggs, followed by the melted butter, maple syrup and ¼ cup bacon grease.
Stir the bacon pieces back into the mixture.
Place muffin liners in a 12-cup muffin tin. Evenly divide the mixture into the liners. Bake for 15 minutes—until golden.
Remove from the muffin tin and serve warm! Makes 12.