Scary Margarita

theAfterBurnSG

The Scary Evolution of the Margarita

Margaritas are a cocktail synonymous with relaxation: lazy days on the beach, pool parties, or a summertime girls’ night out on the town. Invented sometime in the 1930s or ’40s (depending on who you talk to), margaritas hit the scene just before the post-World-War II industrialization of the food system. While original margarita ingredients used to be simple, today’s run-of-the mill versions harbor science-lab-type ingredients that should make you very nervous. “As with anything you eat or drink, no margarita ever rises above the quality of its ingredients,” explains Paul Abercrombie, author of Organic, Shaken and Stirred. “You should use the freshest and highest-quality stuff you can get. Typically, this means going organic.”

Canned Chemical Chaos

This spring, Anheuser-Busch launched the Lime-a-Rita, a blend of Bud Light Lime beer and margarita flavors. It’s a concoction that’s likely to make a true margarita connoisseur…

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Eat Fresh, Not Subway.

I came across some interesting info at 100 days of real food.com and could not help but share.  Subway boasts that their food is fresh and eating healthy off the menu is easy.  However, like most food offered for convenience, it’s highly processed.  Do yourself and your family a favor and skip the sandwich chain right up.  There are better options available when you are on the go, try to stay local and explore small deli’s and mom and pop eatery’s. Still not convinced?  Check out these facts:

Why Buy Local?

I couldn’t say it any better. Local food is the way to go!

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1. Locally grown food tastes better.
Food grown in your own community was probably picked within the past day or two. It’s crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor. Produce flown or trucked in from California, Florida, Chile or Holland is, quite understandably, much older or it is picked green so it can ripen in transit. It rarely does, so it does not taste the way it would if ripe. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. In a week-long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality.


2. Local produce is better for you.
A recent study showed that fresh produce loses nutrients quickly. Food that is frozen or canned soon after harvest is actually more nutritious than some “fresh” produce that has been on…

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Seed Selection – Sow What?

We’ve all heard the nursery rhyme about Mary and her gardening prowess.  What really made that garden grow though was diversity.  In today’s plant kingdom, diversity is losing the war being constantly waged upon it.  More and more we see that fields rolling with amber waves of grain, corn, or beans that have been planted from a relatively small and homogenized list of seeds available from catalogs or large distributors.  This affects the whole scale of agriculture reaching from the large corporate owned farms to the backyard gardener.  With so few options being utilized we’re giving up regionally-developed differences in plant DNA and losing out on what makes eating, and growing, local so unique.

“Why is where we buy our seeds an important topic?  We eat and grow plenty of crops; I see everything in my grocery produce department.  Isn’t that diversity?”

Some have asked me questions of this ilk when I climb off my soapbox and engage in real conversations regarding food.  I tell them how genetic diversity protects our food supply, often using The Great French Wine Blightas a prime example. In today’s modern seed market mostly what is found is Hybrid Seeds.  They have been bred with an emphasis on yield at the expense of hardiness, resistance, and inability for farmers to save seeds to be replanted next season.  Reliance on these seeds also enforces the use of chemicals in fertilizers and pesticides and requires lots of water often times leading to irrigation systems that do harm to the land.   

This National Geographic infographic by John Tomanio is staggering. Using the metaphor of a tree, it charts the loss of U.S. seed variety from 1903 to 1983. And what you see is that we’ve lost about 93% of our unique seed strands behind some of the most popular produce. No strong root system for this tree.

Heirloom seeds, sometimes referred to as open pollinated seeds, are genetically diverse and have been handed down throughout generations.  Typically, heirlooms have been developed over time for optimal response to their local climate and soil by virtue of being hand-selected for particular traits.   These varieties produce a plant with better flavors and hardier profile. Growing heirlooms gives farmers and gardeners a role in maintaining the biodiversity of our planet. While hybrid seeds have been bred to resist particular diseases, there are occasionally threats that could possibly wipe out entire crops when a new disease arrives, due to the lack of diversity in varieties commonly planted. Every time an heirloom seed is planted, that seed stock is regenerated, maintaining that gene pool with its own taste, growth habits, and resistance to disease and insect pests.  The renewed effort by many gardeners’s to keep heirloom seeds alive is a vital tradition that hopefully will continue to grow not just in the U.S. but worldwide.