Heartfelt Gratitude

As 2014 draws to a close, I’d like to take this opportunity to express my profound thanks to all of the subscribers, participants, visitors, and supporters of both this blog and my business: “Project Lunchbox: Let’s Eat!”  To date, my blog has been visited by and/or subscribed to by people living in a staggering 39 countries across the world!

Lately I’ve been thinking back to October of 2012 when I published my first post.  I titled it “Hello World,” but really at that point I was just writing to my Mom, my sisters, and a few very close friends.  To my profound delight, my initial cautious optimism  blossomed into a dynamic, global, conversation about food and health…THANK YOU!  I am really looking forward to continuing the conversation with all of you in 2015!  Be on the watch next week for a blog post about soy…is it really good for you, or not so much?

Finally, it was Gilbert Chesterton who said, “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”  Please know that I regard all of you with so much gratitude!  Happy, Healthy, Delicious New Year everyone!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Season’s Greetings!

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

-Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

I hope that you and your family have an awesome holiday season, and a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Ode to Bob, Continued…

Our sourdough starter, Bob, had a bit of a meltdown over the weekend.  In fact, my sister came downstairs on Saturday morning to find Bob in a state of disarray in our refrigerator– he had crept up the jar, causing the top to burst at the seams.  Sourdough starter had exploded onto the refrigerator, but other than this minor mishap, things have been going quite smoothly.  In fact, the malfunction has not interfered at all with the results of our kneading and baking. Thus far, we’ve made four loaves of sourdough bread, one batch of sourdough rosemary crackers, and a sourdough pizza dough.  They’ve all been delicious, especially the sourdough bread… its scent whiles its baking permeates the entire kitchen, and it tastes amazing, especially right out of the oven!

So, why all this sudden talk about sourdough?  Well, it has gained popularity among nutritionists and consumers alike for a variety of health reasons.  First off, unlike other types of bread, sourdough bread aids the body in proper digestion and absorption of much needed vitamins and minerals.  In addition, sourdough bread does not have any cholesterol or trans fats in it, yet does have a rainbow of minerals: selenium, folate, thiamin and manganese.  All of these minerals promote health and decrease a person’s chances of contracting cancer, heart disease, and other health complications down the road.  In particular, the presence of manganese in sourdough bread makes this option most viable for diabetics.  The manganese prevents rapid spikes in blood sugar and in doing so maintains stable blood sugar levels (Kerns).

How is everybody else doing with their sourdough starters?  Any funny stories?  Be sure to let me know!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Kerns, Michelle. Healthy Eating SF Gate. n.d. Demand Media. n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2014. <http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-sourdough-bread-7206.html>

Ode to Bob…

Yes, our family has dived in headfirst to the world of homemade sourdough bread making.  And, you guessed it, Bob is the name of our sourdough starter (the instruction manual said to name it as it quickly becomes a part of the family… we’ll see).  He’s being fed as we speak, and I’ll report the hopefully yummy findings next week.

Does anybody else make their own sourdough bread?  If you do, what is the name of your starter? 🙂  Also, if you have any favorite sourdough recipes, please leave a comment, as my family and I are looking for some to put in the sourdough rotation!

Everybody remember to share their sourdough stories!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Fluoride in City Water

I received an email request this week to publish a post about the effects of adding fluoride to drinking water.  Here’s what I have come up with:

The addition of fluoride in drinking water only results in health complications when the concentration added to the water exceeds a certain amount (Grush).  The U.S. Public Health Service announced a few guidelines for fluoridation that upholds the safety of the drinking water: they suggest that the concentration of added fluoride should exist somewhere between 0.7 through 1.2 ppm (parts per million) (Grush).  When the fluoride concentration in drinking water reaches beyond this range, fluorosis, an adverse effect of excess fluoride, occurs (Grush).  Ironically, fluorosis results in the tooth degradation and decay (the exact things that the fluoride was trying to prevent in the first place) (Grush).  Most of the time, the initial effects of fluorosis can be found only in the physical appearance of the teeth (Grush).  However, a type of bone disease, known as skeletal fluorosis, can result from excess fluoride consumption (Nordqvist).  This disease leads to health complications such as hyperparathyroidism (thyroid issues), faulty joint movement, and an individual’s susceptibility to bone fractures can increase dramatically (Nordqvist).

Is fluoride necessary?  It depends upon a person’s eating habits and dental habits (Nordqvist).  While there’s zero doubt that fluoride prevents cavities and encourages the process of remineralization, the amount of fluoride that should be added to drinking water varies from city to city, country to country (Nordqvist).  Interestingly, the majority of European countries do not add fluoride to their drinking water (Nordqvist).  For the few countries that do, the statistics in these countries suggest that the amount of fluoride added to water has no effect on the erosion of their teeth (Nordqvist).  After I reflected upon this, I hypothesize that this statistic could be a result of the food culture in Europe, the processed food industry is a lot less pervasive there, explaining the reason behind cavities being independent of fluoride concentration in European drinking water.  On the other hand, the processed food industry tends to dominate our American food culture, and our diets consist of excess sugars.  This is part of the reason why an overwhelming number of the major U.S. cities have made the decision to add fluoride to their drinking water (Main).  But is this decision right for your city?  I’d say it depends on the collective health of the city’s population, and also the amount being added… I hope that this helps!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Grush, Loren. “Portland’s fluoride debate: Is adding fluoride to drinking water dangerous?” Fox News. 24 May 2013. Fox News Network LLC. 2014. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/24/portland-fluoride-debate-is-adding-fluoride-to-drinking-water-dangerous.html>

Main, Douglas. “Facts About Fluoridation.” Live Science. 3 June 2013. Purch. n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <http://www.livescience.com/37123-fluoridation.html>

Nordqvist, Christian. “What is fluoride? What does fluoride do?” Medical News Today. 8 Sept. 2014. MediLexicon International Ltd. 2014. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154164.php>