Friday, November 30, 2007

More on What to Eat

More interesting information from Michael Pollan's Unhappy Meals

The rules of thumb at the end are great, and good common sense for eating healthy.
Here are some of his suggestions:
  • Don't eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food (my personal favorite- easy to remember!)
  • Food products with health claims are probably not healthy
  • Look at the ingredients- Avoid if ingredients are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable c) more than five in number -- or have HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup)
  • Go to Farmers Markets- less processed foods and harvested and grown locally
  • Pay more, eat less- nutritional quality over quantity
  • Eat mostly vegetables, especially leafy ones
  • Study traditional cultures' eating habits- they are generally healthier than we are (If they weren't healthy, the cultures would not have survived)
  • Cook at home and grow your own food if you can
  • Eat more diverse species- you are more likely to get your nutritional needs

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yes, you too can make homemade gravy!

The recipe for my homemade gravy was very much in demand this Thanksgiving. Click the link below to see the article I wrote on my adventures in gravy making.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What to Eat?

One of my favorite authors, Michael Pollan, has explored many angles of the question 'What to Eat?' in his books and also his articles for the New York Times. His writings have opened my eyes to the reality of where my food comes from. 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' is a great read, interesting and informative, and I would highly recommend it.

Pollan's next book, which I am eagerly anticipating, will be “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.” Go to the authors website for a list of books and articles.

Here are some excerpts from my favorite articles:

'Weed It and Reap' (Published: November 4, 2007, New York Times)
"Americans have begun to ask why the farm bill is subsidizing high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils at a time when rates of diabetes and obesity among children are soaring, or why the farm bill is underwriting factory farming (with subsidized grain) when feedlot wastes are polluting the countryside and, all too often, the meat supply. For the first time, the public health community has raised its voice in support of overturning farm policies that subsidize precisely the wrong kind of calories (added fat and added sugar), helping to make Twinkies cheaper than carrots and Coca-Cola competitive with water. Also for the first time, the international development community has weighed in on the debate, arguing that subsidized American exports are hobbling cotton farmers in Nigeria and corn farmers in Mexico."
'You Are What You Grow' (Published: April 22, 2007, New York Times)
"A few years ago, an obesity researcher at the University of Washington named Adam Drewnowski ventured into the supermarket to solve a mystery. He wanted to figure out why it is that the most reliable predictor of obesity in America today is a person's wealth. For most of history, after all, the poor have typically suffered from a shortage of calories, not a surfeit. So how is it that today the people with the least amount of money to spend on food are the ones most likely to be overweight?

Drewnowski gave himself a hypothetical dollar to spend, using it to purchase as many calories as he possibly could. He discovered that he could buy the most calories per dollar in the middle aisles of the supermarket, among the towering canyons of processed food and soft drink. (In the typical American supermarket, the fresh foods--dairy, meat, fish and produce--line the perimeter walls, while the imperishable packaged goods dominate the center.) Drewnowski found that a dollar could buy 1,200 calories of cookies or potato chips but only 250 calories of carrots. Looking for something to wash down those chips, he discovered that his dollar bought 875 calories of soda but only 170 calories of orange juice."
'Unhappy Meals' (Published: January 28, 2007, New York Times)
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy. I hate to give away the game right here at the beginning of a long essay, and I confess that I'm tempted to complicate matters in the interest of keeping things going for a few thousand more words. I'll try to resist but will go ahead and add a couple more details to flesh out the advice. Like: A little meat won't kill you, though it's better approached as a side dish than as a main. And you're much better off eating whole fresh foods than processed food products. That's what I mean by the recommendation to eat ''food.'' Once, food was all you could eat, but today there are lots of other edible foodlike substances in the supermarket. These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if you're concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it's not really food, and food is what you want to eat."
'The Vegetable-Industrial Complex' (Published: October 15, 2006, New York Times)
"Wendell Berry once wrote that when we took animals off farms and put them onto feedlots, we had, in effect, taken an old solution--the one where crops feed animals and animals' waste feeds crops--and neatly divided it into two new problems: a fertility problem on the farm, and a pollution problem on the feedlot. Rather than return to that elegant solution, however, industrial agriculture came up with a technological fix for the first problem--chemical fertilizers on the farm. As yet, there is no good fix for the second problem, unless you count irradiation and Haccp plans and overcooking your burgers and, now, staying away from spinach. All of these solutions treat E. coli 0157:H7 as an unavoidable fact of life rather than what it is: a fact of industrial agriculture."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Touch of the Past

Why do we throw so much away?
When did we stop knowing where our food came from?
Why do we not know what we should eat to be healthy?
When did we as a society stop passing along the skills needed for self-sufficiency?

I want to learn these things again!
Join me as I learn how to:
  • grow, prepare and store real food
  • be more resourceful- reuse, recycle, and share
  • spend less, waste less, want less
  • and live more!

Friday, November 16, 2007


Welcome to my blog, my virtual journal, my ramblings on the things I find interesting. It's a big world, I trust there are people out there that take interest in the things that fascinate me.

I discovered the joys of blogging after setting up a blog for work, but found I had much more to say and share on many topics. I have never been successful at keeping a journal consistently, but the idea of being able to link to articles and sites I find interesting and add my photographs to illustrate my musings is very exciting.

This will be a blog about connecting with nature, delighting in the wild things of this world, and striving for a simpler healthy life.

To quote Aldo Leopold's first words in the Sand County Almanac:
"There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot."