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My freezer: snapshot of my diet


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Brian\'s little freezer.jpg


Yes, I should defrost the freezer, and, well, for that matter, buy a bigger one! But, for fun, this is what my freezer looks like these days. It's amazing how much of my diet it captures (except that the ratio of fruit to veggies in the image is higher than what I actually eat): a lot of beans (for protein), tons of zucchini and bell peppers, the occasional 20 calorie portion of fruit (I eat all of the orange except the seeds), lots of cruciferous vegetables (starting to wonder about the goitrogens, though), lots of avocados (buy too many? freeze!), and some salmon or sardines (barely visible in the jar with the red lid). And in the way back, not visible, I've even got a few jars of olive oil!

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This sounds a lot like mine, but I upgraded to a chest freezer! I buy packaged frozen veggies instead of freezing fresh ones. It helps sort out portions and is very convenient for quick cooking, or for some even thawing and eating raw, and I really like some of the stir-fry and mixed-vegetable blends. I've got containers of nuts, chia, flaxseed, and homemade pesto. When avocados are in season and on sale I buy a bunch, quarter and peel, and freeze in bags. Same with fruits, mainly bananas and berries. I also keep extra tortillas in the freezer.


Stuff I eat a lot of but don't keep in the freezer--beans, lentils, canned tomato paste, salsas, and other tomato products, olive oil, oats, and protein powder. Fresh foods tend to be potatoes, squash, apples and grapefruit (otherwise I prefer frozen fruit), and whatever veggies I stock the fridge with that week. This is probably 80-90% of my diet, with the rest coming from whatever foods seem good for a given week.







Edit: I think directly linking pics from Dropbox doesn't work so here are the links to open externally.


Pic 1

Pic 2

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This video is simple but explains the main reasons I value frozen foods, especially vegetables. Convenience in preparation and shopping frequency is a large factor, but I also like that frozen foods are quickly processed and frozen at the peak of ripeness, generally within 24 hours of harvest. Canning is similar but, among other issues with canning, I just prefer frozen vegetable taste and texture.



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Thanks for the pic, the video, and the explanation!


It's amazing how similar our diets are (I hadn't mentioned the items not in the picture, which also are similar to yours). The differences between us are because of recent changes: I (almost entirely) stopped eating grains, radically reduced nut intake, and stopped eating prepackaged frozen vegetables because I can't get organic ones here in Sweden. But you make (as does the video) points that remind me why I started buying frozen vegetables years ago. I sometimes think I overdo the concern about pesticide residue -- one of the many things I'm currently rethinking about my diet.


The point in the video about a key factor being whether or not you can shop for food every few days is critical. I, as it happens, can shop every 2-3 days, and without wasting much time, because I make it part of my exercise routine: I cycle to the store, shop, then cycling back, and then continue a bit on my exercycle.

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This video is simple but explains the main reasons I value frozen foods, especially vegetables. Convenience in preparation and shopping frequency is a large factor, but I also like that frozen foods are quickly processed and frozen at the peak of ripeness, generally within 24 hours of harvest.

Unfortunately, while freezing does seem to do a good job of retaining carotenoids and most vitamins (except folate and to a lesser extent C), the blanching process used in commercial frozen vegetables and fruits very substantially degrades phenolic compounds, and nearly wipes out bioavailable forms of isothiocyanates (ITCs, like sulforaphane), the main bioactive compounds in cruciferous vegetables (like that cauliflower in Brian's freezer, or the broccoli in the screenshot for James' video) because it denatures myrosinase, the enzyme required to break the glucosinolate precursors of ITCs (such as glucoraphanin) down into bioactive ITCs proper. As a result,


When volunteers consumed a soup made from a standard portion of fresh broccoli that was lightly cooked [it is not quite clear what 'lightly cooked' means -MR], sulforaphane conjugates appeared in plasma within 15 min and total conjugate levels peaked at 0.21 μM after 2 h (Fig 14A; Table 6). After peaking, plasma levels declined to very low levels (mean 0.5 nM) at 48 h. In contrast, when volunteers consumed a soup made from frozen broccoli that had been cooked in the same way, sulforaphane conjugates were not detected in plasma until 1 h after consumption of the soup, peaked much later at 6 h, and the maximal concentration achieved in plasma was substantially lower (0.016 vs 0.21 μM, p for difference <0.0001; Table 6).(1)

Other studies show that raw chopped broccoli has substantially more bioavailable ITCs than cooked (though these are generally cooked in the normal household way, which I wouldn't think is what they mean above by 'lightly'), so even this study underplays the losses suffered as one goes from raw to frozen.



Comparing fresh and processed fruits and vegetables as sources ofbioavailable phytochemicals (N05051)

P Kroon, W Hollands, G Brett, S Saha, B Teucher, P Needs, R Bennett, R


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Excellent info, as usual, Michael. I know of these limitations and wholly agree that relying on frozen produce is less optimal than from a fresh. My reasoning is related to my personal needs and preferences, namely 1) convenience with shopping, storing, and preparing means I eat far more frozen vegetables than I would fresh, 2) I do eat fresh raw produce along with the frozen, but generally can't comfortably digest a lot of raw produce so must thoroughly cook much of it, in which case frozen is the least of my nutrient-depleting concerns.


I also put a lot of value on what I don't consume in addition to what I do consume. In such a case, animals on CR eating chow with extra and various bioactive compounds vs. standard chow likely wouldn't fare significantly better (if at all) in a way that I'd consider fresh produce essential for the ON component of CRON. While I agree that a person should eat most produce as fresh and lightly cooked, and I do balance my own dietary planning in favor of as much fresh as possible, I wouldn't chastise frozen vegetable consumption if that's the current best practice. Again, excellent information, but I wouldn't want anyone reading this to feel like it's an all-or-nothing thing.

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Well, I was sent back to the woodshed (as musicians say), and because of various computer crashes I've suffered over the last few years, my notes are still in a state of partial chaos. I really need to research this more thoroughly, but based on my notes I remember in any event my somewhat tentative conclusion about cruciferous veggie storage and preparation: there are so many important criteria and so little solid research to go by that it's probably best to prepare cruciferous veggies in a variety of ways. It feels like a lazy conclusion, but that's where I left things in my researches.


But if I could eliminate one criterion, the goitrogenic effect of cruciferous vegetable consumption, I'd probably cook cruciferous veggies much less often, and possibly freeze them less often (here the criterion is mostly convenience though, but freezing does seem to reduce the goitrogens). I simply haven't had time to go through the research thoroughly enough to convince myself of what I SENSE is the case: that even at my level of consumption of cruciferous veggies (500-600 grams / day), there is essentially no risk of their causing any thyroid problems, even if consumed raw.


But I really need to go through the research more carefully. On my (long...) list.



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  • 1 year later...

When avocados are in season and on sale I buy a bunch, quarter and peel, and freeze in bags.


Ended up eating a not-quite-ripe avocado and got curious. Turns out, the fatty acid profile (and much else) changes dramatically depending both on time of harvest (later is "better": more oleic, less saturated, for ex.), and (though less dramatically) on degree of ripeness.






So late harvest, very ripe, would be best (unless you want a lot of mannoheptulose, that is).


- Brian

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Very interesting, Brian. The differences in fatty acid composition seemed not to change much, at least not worth consideration. I'm very surprised by the increase in total fat, vitamin E, and carotenoid concentrations over the year, with most values doubling between January and September!

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Yeah, I was surprised, too. Yet another reminder of how important it is to know more details about how the food we eat is produced. The U.S., by the way, is far ahead of most other countries in this regard.


We really need – in the U.S. and everywhere – organizations that aren't afraid of inquisitive consumers. In Sweden, I sometimes see, under "Country of origin" for avocados, "South Africa/California". Well, now I know the diff. between the Southern Hemisphere and the Northern is significant!


- Brian

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Here is a snapshot of my freezer (sorry its a little blurry).




The black looking bags on the top three shelves are frozen blackberries - about 60lbs worth that I harvested over the last month from a large patch near my house, froze and then vacuumed sealed.


On the right side of the top shelve are frozen 'starches' which I cook in big batches and then freeze. They include barley, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, black beans and basmati rice.


On the second self, in addition to the blackberries, are frozen blueberries, strawberries and sour cherries. I bought the blueberries in bulk at the peak of their season, for $0.99 / pint, and froze.


At the very bottom on the right is frozen, vacuumed-sealed corn on the cob from the CSA farm I subscribe too. They've had a bumper harvest this year, and corn freezes really well. I love corn on the cob slathered with ripe avocado (instead of butter) and sprinkled with curry powder (instead of salt).


At the bottom in the middle are nuts and seeds purchased from Nuts.com - walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, chia seads, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds (in shell) and hulled sunflower seeds.


At the bottom on the left is probably my very favorite fruit of all - durian, purchases at my local asian market. You haven't lived until you've tried durian. But be warned, durian is expensive and addictive  :).


Finally, below is a picture from my fridge, which I stocked up today with apples I picked from trees near my house (probably about 50lbs - to be shared over the next six months or so with my family). My neighborhood is built on what used to be an apple orchard, and there are still many apple trees growing wild all over the place. Since the trees are untended, usually the apples are small and gnarly, but this year due to the weather they are a nice medium size, crispy and red.





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Hi Dean!


I thought that you didn't eat grains.


-- Saul

A long time back I avoided grains and other starches, but for a few years I've been eating them, in decreasing amounts.


These days, I eat 125g per day (about 1/2 cup) of an equal mix of barley, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, black beans, basmati rice and sweet potatoes.


Plus I eat 1/3 of an ear of corn on the cob per day, which is also technically a grain.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Dean, can't wait to try durian. Will be back in the U.S. in a few weeks and will surely be able to find some! By the way, I finally got a separate freezer for use here in Sweden (over a year ago, actually). It was half off because of a slight scratch in the paint. It's already paid for itself, I'm pretty sure, because of bulk buying of sale items (even including the electricity costs).


Matsui m145cf12e


(In Swedish, but you'll get the idea, even without Google Translate.)


145 liters has been sufficient for this household of 1.



Some other specs (partly translated, otherwise obvious):


Defrosting  --  Manuell

Energiförbrukning  --  203 kW/year

Energy classification  --  A+

”star classification”  -- 4 stars

Infrysningskapacitet  --  9 kg/day

Klimatklass  --

How long it holds during elec. outage  --  18 hours

Sound level  --  42 dB


Dimensioner  -- Mått (BxHxD)  -- 726 × 825 × 562 mm

Vikt  --  31 kg

Volym  --  145 liter


I hadn't even thought about some of those factors, but they often matter. For ex., 42 dB might be too loud for someone living in a studio apt. It's fine for me in the room (kitchen) next to where I work, though.


- Brian

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