I’ve always loved food. And after learning how to be a pretty good cook, I thought, how cool would it be to work with food everyday. So for most of my adult life, I’ve been working in the food industry in one form or fashion. It’s this experience that lead me to write my book, FAT PROFITS. Now while FAT PROFITS tells the story about a corrupt food company, I can honestly say that company does not exist. That said, I’ve seen some disturbing trends in the food industry over the past 20 years, and I’m passionate about trying to improve the quality of the food we eat. After all, if the old adage “you are what you eat” is true, these days we can’t even pronounce each other’s name. If that doesn’t make sense to you, start reading some ingredient labels. I guarantee if you’re eating like most Americans, they read more like a lab experiment than something that’s truly good for you. Please, do yourself a favor and check your labels out.

Recipe: Rosemary & Herb Whole Wheat Stuffing

If there’s anything that brings back my childhood memories of preparing Thanksgiving it’s stuffing. When I was a little kid I’d help my mom put together our family’s homemade stuffing. As a child of the 70’s, though, our stuffing recipe was filled with white bread and then later bags of Pepperidge Farm Stuffing mix. Unfortunately these bags of stuffing have become the norm. But when you take a quick look at the ingredient label most of us will agree, we can do better!

Skipped the popular bagged stuffings and choose REAL ingredients instead

Here are just some of the things I don’t like about the popular bagged stuffing mix. (more…)

Rosemary and Herb Whole Wheat Stuffing

Continue Reading Recipe: Rosemary & Herb Whole Wheat Stuffing

Recipe: A Healthier Green Bean Casserole

One of Big Food’s tried-and-true strategies to drive sales is to create recipes that call for use of their products. Most larger food companies have a team of home economists designing these recipes. Sometimes contests like The Pillsbury Bake-Off ask consumers to share recipes.

Bruce Bradley's REAL food version of the classic Green Bean Casserole

These days even bloggers are getting in on the action by designing “sponsored” recipes. But every so often one of these recipes literally becomes so profitable it’s what industry insiders call a “signature recipe.”

(more…)

Bruce Bradley's REAL food version of the classic Green Bean Casserole

Continue Reading Recipe: A Healthier Green Bean Casserole

Recipe: Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Canned cranberry sauce was a mainstay on my mom’s Thanksgiving table. Refrigerated and cut into slices, it was exceptionally easy and popular—even us picky kids ate it up! But somewhere along the line a good friend of my mom’s introduced us to REAL cranberry sauce. Over the years hearing the “pop” of cranberries on the stove has become a new tradition, and something I think your family might enjoy as well.

Ditch the canned cranberry sauce that's full of HFCS and maybe even BPA. Here's a recipe for a fresher, REAL alternative.Why should you consider Kicking the Canned Cranberry Sauce? It’s pretty simple. With a whopping 24g of sugar per 70g serving, Ocean’s Spray’s Jellied Cranberry Sauce is OVER ONE-THIRD added sugars. And by the way, we’re not talking unprocessed sugars. Nope! Ocean Spray uses Big Food’s finest sweeteners: high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup. If that’s not enough reason to make the switch, another is to avoid Ocean Spray’s continued sketchiness about BPA in their cans. After going around and around with their staff, the closest I could get to a statement was, “yes, our cans contain trace amounts of BPA.” Unfortunately, more and more research suggests it doesn’t take much BPA to effect your body, so I think we can all do better.

(more…)

Ditch the canned cranberry sauce that's full of HFCS and maybe even BPA. Here's a recipe for a fresher, REAL alternative.

Continue Reading Recipe: Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Let’s Talk Turkey

In Let's Talk Turkey Bruce Bradley shares how to find a healthier turkey PLUS recipes on how to cook it perfectly!
Factory-farmed turkeys. Yikes! What a mess. If you missed my earlier post, I interviewed a former turkey farmer who supplied a Big Ag company. I think the single best insight from this interview was when George “Buddy” Black said,

Big Ag ... lets greed overtake ... quality products. Their bottom line is all about quantity not quality, and maximizing profits.

So what can you do? If you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, but want to serve up a more sustainable, healthier turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner, here’s a game plan:

  1. Shop organic: Organic certification assures that the birds receive organic feed, have access to the outdoors, and are raised without antibiotics or growth-enhancers like Roxarsone and Topmax.
  2. Shop local: Smaller, local farms usually employ more sustainable practices that can be better for your turkey and the environment. Even if these farms aren’t certified organic (since getting certified can be costly), it’s probably a better choice. Over the past 5 years of my food journey, I’ve learned that it’s a good idea to get to know your farmer and where you food comes from!
  3. Find a “heritage” turkey: What’s a heritage turkey? Heritage turkeys are what turkeys were before Big Ag started industrializing production with big, broad-breasted birds that are anything but natural. In fact, did you know that industrial turkeys can’t reproduce naturally, they can barely walk, and their narrow gene pool makes them very susceptible to disease? In contrast, heritage turkeys are from strong genetic stock, and they’re raised outdoors with plenty of grass and sunshine. If you’re interested, the Naragansett and Bourbon Red varieties are two great heritage turkey options. For my Thanksgiving this year we’re serving a Bourbon Red turkey from a local farm called Little Bend Heritage Farm (sorry, they’re already sold out of turkeys for 2014).
  4. Ditch the pre-basted turkey: To help you out I did some research and called the Butterball hotline to see if they have any non pre-basted options. Unfortunately what I learned wasn’t great news. First, all of their turkeys are pre-basted. For their regular (not “all-natural“) turkeys that means they’re injected with water, salt, spices, sodium phosphate, and modified food starch. As I discussed in my post about rotisserie chickens, the overuse of phosphates in our food is being linked to some serious health conditions. So I’d avoid these turkeys at all costs. Butterball’s so-called “all natural” turkeys skip the sodium phosphate and modified food starch additives, but they’re still industrialized birds, and they’ve been injected with water, salt, and spices. I realize we’re all in different circumstances and places on our real food journey, but if at all possible, I’d try to avoid these highly commercialized birds.

Finding a better bird, however, can be a bit of a challenge, especiallywith just a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. But if you’re interested here’s what I’d suggest: (more…)

In Let's Talk Turkey Bruce Bradley shares how to find a healthier turkey PLUS recipes on how to cook it perfectly!

Continue Reading Let’s Talk Turkey

Confessions of a Former Turkey Farmer

If you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, probably one of the most important decisions you can make for your Thanksgiving dinner is what kind of turkey you’re going to serve. Unfortunately many of the things we should know when buying our Thanksgiving turkeys have been hidden from us.

Do you know where your turkey comes from? Learn the dirty truth about the poultry business from a former turkey farmer!

A while back I had the chance to speak with a former turkey farmer, George “Buddy” Black, about his poultry business. To help shed some light on the importance of understanding where our food comes from, I wanted to share that conversation with you, and George graciously agreed. So let’s talk turkey!

Q: George, tell me a little about how you got into the farming business?

A: I was adopted into a rural farming family in the fertile river valley of Arkansas. I was raised on a small to mid-sized farm where all aspects of life were observed—from birth to death and everything in between. Over the years our family farm grew to several hundred acres, and we raised corn, wheat, soybeans, and cattle. Only later did we add a contract poultry and commercial dairy milking operation.

Q: How did you end up farming turkeys?

A: As we grew our farm, poultry farming seemed like the perfect fit for us. At first we raised chickens thinking not only could we use the chicken manure as fertilizer for our crops, but also use poultry farming to provide another profit stream. In 1990 we switched from raising chickens to turkey—the chicken business had already become very competitive, and we thought raising turkeys would be more profitable.

Q: How big was your farm?

A: Originally we had three chicken barns that we converted. Then we built an additional six, state-of-the-art turkey barns. Although this left us in HUGE debt, we were producing a minimum of 250,000-300,000 turkeys a year.

Q: How was poultry farming different than other forms of farming you’ve done?

A: As a contract poultry farmer you really don’t have ANY flexibility in your operation. Let me explain a little.

As independent farmers who raised beef, dairy and row crops the freedom was all ours. We had the flexibility to grow what we wanted and invest in the spots where we saw greater profit margins. We had the opportunity to work with nature and build our lives and our children’s lives. We had more of an upper hand on our business and where we wanted to invest—so year to year that might mean planting more corn and less wheat, or to expand or shrink our dairy—growing as we deemed acceptable, how, where and when we wanted.

Contract poultry was none of this. Corporate supplied the birds, feed, medications, and veterinary expertise, and by contract they received a constant supply of birds that were predictable in size, weight, health and harvest percentages. In exchange the farm received free fertilizer (from the poultry manure) and a minimum pay scale per bird plus bonuses if feed conversion, mortality, grade-ability were above the industry set standards. Theoretically we had the “freedom” to run the business as we pleased, but corporate really controlled most the variables, and when you signed up, you were locked into that company for 5 years. It’s frightening to look back now and see just how bound we were to the corporate ways. Yikes!

Q: When did you first realize your move into turkey farming might be a mistake?

(more…)

Do you know where your turkey comes from? Learn the dirty truth about the poultry business from a former turkey farmer!

Continue Reading Confessions of a Former Turkey Farmer

Recipe: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and Chicken Broth

It's about time we kick canned chicken noodle soup to the curbOne of the many businesses I ran while I worked in Big Food was Progresso Soup. At the time we positioned the brand as a more adult choice with bigger and better ingredients. Turning Campbell’s iconic, condensed soup can into a symbol for watery, kiddie soup was the strategy, and we closed the ads with the sell line with “It’s time to go Progresso”. While this marketing campaign was very successful, I think if we take a step back and look at the broader canned soup category, many of us may conclude it’s time to “kick the can” altogether and make the switch to homemade.

The reasons to ditch canned soup probably aren’t a big surprise to many of you, but here are several of my concerns: (more…)

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup is a great option to canned soup.

Continue Reading Recipe: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup and Chicken Broth

Deliciously Imperfect

Deliciously Imperfect means letting go of unrealistic standards for eating
Last week someone asked me, “How perfectly do I have to eat to be healthy?” Little did that person know perfection is a hot button of mine … something that I have a long, troubled history with. But it’s no wonder people are concerned—there’s a lot of scary junk in our food that’s doing who knows what to our bodies. But do you have to eat perfectly to live a healthier life?

To make things more complicated there’s lots of conflicting advice out there. I recently read an article by a registered dietician who said we were all missing the mark. He went on to proclaim dietary guidelines that suggest at least half our plates be filled with fruits and veggies fall short. Rather, since fruits are nature’s candy, we need to focus on eating more veggies. While I totally agree that eating more vegetables is vitally important, I’m not sure how constructive it is to blow up the bridge that fruits can provide to healthier eating. But alas, the author of this blog post is young, has no kids, and may not realize how life doesn’t always go as you plan.

As much as I’d like to think I have complete control over my life, that’s an illusion (and you can’t even imagine how true this statement is in this very moment). Regrettably too often I’ve made perfection the goal, and it never ends well. So especially when it comes to food, I’ve decided I need to let go of my perfectionism and embrace being “deliciously imperfect.”

I need to let go of my perfectionism and embrace being deliciously imperfect.

(more…)

Deliciously Imperfect means letting go of unrealistic standards for eating

Continue Reading Deliciously Imperfect

Hello Again!

Hello Again! I'm back to blogging!Hey, there. Bruce Bradley here. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but before I get back to blogging, I thought I’d share a little bit about what I’ve been up to, why I stopped actively blogging, why I’m coming back, and what you can expect from my blog going forward.

When I started this blog over three years ago, it was all about revealing the truth behind processed foods. I had just written my novel, FAT PROFITS, and it brought to life in an entertaining fashion many of the problems with the food industry. My hope was to use my blog to help punctuate those problems with some real life examples, and get the word out about my book. After all, as one of the only former “Big Food” marketers speaking out against processed foods, I have a really unique perspective to share.

But after blogging for almost two years, I was worn out. While I’m proud of the blog posts I wrote, I was drowning in gloom. Although it’s entirely possible to write non-stop about what’s wrong with our current food system, I finally figured out I’m not wired to work that way. I can’t thrive in a constantly negative world, and I was struggling. What came next, however, was totally unexpected—a series of experiences that have helped me rediscover my passion and a new way to go about sharing it!

(more…)

We wake up every day to inspire people to overcome this noisy food world...

Continue Reading Hello Again!

Sweetmyx: A New Sweetener That’s Sneaking Into Our Food

Sweetmyx is a new sweetener that food and beverage companies plan to sneak into our food. But is it safe?Reducing the amount of sugar in our diet undoubtedly improves our health. Reducing sugar intake could help people lose weight, have more hydrated skin and have a healthier mouth. Teeth are the first part of the body to come into contact with sugar, therefore taking the brunt of the sugar’s impact. This can have a detrimental impact on someone’s oral health, especially if oral cleaning isn’t as good as it could be. However, for the processed food industry, increased consumer concern over sugar is one of the top threats to their profits. After all food and beverage companies are highly dependent on sugar to make its products taste better and drive cravings that keep people coming back to buy more and more.

To address this challenge food and beverage companies have been on the hunt for a silver bullet to cure their sugar addiction. One company that Big Food has enlisted for support is Senomyx, an American biotech firm that creates additives that change how our food tastes and smells. By mapping the tongue and using its proprietary technology to understand what chemicals trigger our taste receptors, Senomyx has created a pipeline of artificial and natural additives that they hope will transform the foods we eat and drink. The question is, are these additives safe? And given the processed food industry’s track record, will we even know what’s being added into our food? (more…)

Sweetmyx is a new sweetener that food and beverage companies plan to sneak into our food. But is it safe?

Continue Reading Sweetmyx: A New Sweetener That’s Sneaking Into Our Food
Losing Faith: One Mom’s Frustration With Cause Marketing
Test caption for this image is not so good

Losing Faith: One Mom’s Frustration With Cause Marketing

Gotcha.001

What do you get when you mix big food and beverage companies with non-profit organizations that are desperate for cash? Yes, cause marketing (sigh!). If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably already heard me express concerns. And while the dastardly practice of linking health-related causes to unhealthy products is still quite active as this National Heart Month can attest, I’m optimistic that change is in the air.

“Why,” you may ask? More and more people are starting to speak up. In fact, when I researched my post about Pinkwashing last fall, I learned there are entire efforts like Think Before You Pink that are fighting to protect their cause from loosing relevancy at the hands of frivolous, misleading promotions. And when a mom recently wrote me about her family’s experience with food, health, and cause marketing, I couldn’t resist asking her to share her story. (more…)

Continue Reading Losing Faith: One Mom’s Frustration With Cause Marketing

Weight Loss Carpetbaggers

Weight Loss Can Be Challenging

Well they’re doing it again. When the New Year rolls around, Big Food companies start peddling their insane weight loss programs filled with leanwashed, “healthy” food options. It’s pretty ironic if you think about it–the very same processed food companies that mislead us into eating more and more empty calories then turn around and sell us even more processed foods that pretend to help us lose weight. Much like the carpetbaggers who went South for political and financial gain after the Civil War, these weight loss carpetbaggers don’t really solve any problems. They just profit from them. (more…)

Continue Reading Weight Loss Carpetbaggers

Another Big Food Head Fake

Food marketers like to portray their products as pure and simple when they really aren't

Last month Californians lost their fight to label GMOs with the defeat of Prop. 37. Thanks in large part to Big Food and Ag companies spending over $46 million on misleading and blatantly false advertising, consumers will remain in the dark about what’s really in their food.

But false and misleading advertising is nothing new to the food biz. As consumers have become more and more interested in simple, real foods, Big Food companies have become even more aggressive in refashioning their highly processed (hush, GMO-ridden) products into pure and pristine gems picked straight from nature’s fields. Nowhere is this advertising trend more evident than in the $10 billion U.S. cereal category where leaders Kellogg’s and General Mills are going head to head to claim the new high ground in food, simplicity. Let’s take a look at both of their advertisements: (more…)

Food marketers like to portray their products as pure and simple when they really aren't

Continue Reading Another Big Food Head Fake