Barring the bars (Day 284)…

December 9, 2007

lara bar

I’ve never been a big fan of PowerBars, or really any food that comes in bar form. Clif bars are OK for long bike trips, as are certain flavours of Lära bars (banana cookie and cinnamon roll in particular), and for breakfast on the go, the Nature Valley granola bars are pretty decent.

But that’s just it — these bars encourage eating on the go, which isn’t good for anyone’s digestive system. Plus it means shoving something in your mouth while doing something else, and that’s no way to appreciate a meal. On top of this, there are all the preservatives required to keep these things on the shelf for months or even years at a time, as well as the unrecyclable foil packaging they come wrapped in (and the cardboard box that contains the whole bunch).

It’s not just the bars that are a problem, either — there are individually wrapped cookies, individually wrapped crackers, individually wrapped brownies, cake wedges, sandwiches, veggies and dip, patties and more, all of which can easily be made at home and transported, if necessary, in reusable containers. So from now on, I’m not going to buy anything that’s sold in a single-serving portion, unless it comes without packaging.

Image courtesy of this site

Spilling the dry beans (Day 280)…

December 5, 2007


One of my favourite dinners is actually breakfast: Scrambled eggs with melted cheddar cheese, toast and baked beans. But the ingredients list on my usual brand of baked beans makes me suspicious.

Although the label says there are no preservatives, and the back of the can doesn’t include anything too crazy — “water, beans, tomato purée, sugar, salt, calcium chloride (a naturally occurring mineral used to produce firmer beans), spices, onion powder, garlic powder” — that added sugar sends off HFCS warning signals, and I’m not too sure I like the sounds of calcium chloride, no matter how naturally occurring it may be.

Therefore, when it comes to the so-called musical fruit, I’ll be preparing my own from scratch using dried haricot beans, local tomatoes and whatever seasonings I can find in my pantry; maybe I’ll even go a little Québécois and throw some maple syrup in there. If I’m craving a falafel or hummus, I’ll get some dry chick peas; same goes for kidney beans, lentils and so on.

I’m not quite at the point where I want to be soaking bowls of mung beans overnight (some more nutritionally advanced people I know do this, but I still can’t get over the scatalogical phonetics of “mung”). However, as the official green change of the day, if there are any beans or legumes involved in one of my meals, I’ll be purchasing them in the bulk aisle of the health food store so as to avoid both packaging and suspect additives.

Photo of a 15-bean stew, before stewing, courtesy of Roger Smith on Flickr