2 steps forward and 1 step back

17 04 2009

I ate like crap today. In the midst of my obsession with fresh, I took a break and ate a party time sausage in a tortilla, a peanut butter and jam sandwich (although the jam was made by yours truly) on white bread and a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Not exactly garden fresh kind of stuff. In fact, I didn’t eat a single vegetable today (which is pretty odd for me). I think some of it has to do with the fact that I didn’t work out today or yesterday. Yesterday I went to the gym with every intention of enjoying my Pilates and Zumba classes, but 15 minutes into Pilates, I realized that my allergies were not going to allow me the oxygen or the necessary equilibrium to finish. Today I just wasn’t very motivated. Whenever I take a break from the gym, my eating habits tend to regress. I don’t think that was the whole story, though. I checked out Harvest For Hope by Jane Goodall from the library today along with Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to reread. It feels very ironic to be poring over reading material about the gluttony of the American Way while I eat mint chocolate chip ice cream, but it feels a bit like Mardi Gras for me. I know that the more information I take in about our food sources and the effects that they have on our world (and our health), the more concerned I will become with it. I understand why most people don’t want to think about this kind of stuff. You can’t educate yourself and then ignore it. At some point, you have to act on that knowledge. I can foresee a point in the not so distant future when I won’t allow myself to indulge in convenience foods at the cost of my conscience. So for right now, it feels like that last guilty splurge before a long Lenten season. Even though my main concern is the health of my family, a part of me feels like a kid whose about to have my candy taken away.

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Change in Direction

10 04 2009

I know- I haven’t blogged in forever. This blog just didn’t really fit anymore. In fact, I thought about starting a brand spankin’ new one with a different name, but for the moment I’ll just post here.

My life has found a new focus lately. My family is still my main concern and I do still try to save money whenever I can, but I’m much more concerned with my health and the health of my family these days. It’s bordering on obsession, but I’m ok with that. Mostly just because I’m an obsessive kind of person and I’m used to it. This is not a new trend with me; its been building over time. I’ve worked out consistently for a year and half and I’ve been cooking most of our meals at home since before that. I had a nice square foot garden last year that produced a decent amount of fresh vegetables and herbs. I spent more time in the produce section of the grocery store than anywhere else, and I thought I was doing pretty well.

Recently I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I came across it at Barnes and Noble and it sounded interesting. A friend had read and raved over it, so I went to to the library and checked it out. I read it in two days and promptly began to annoy everyone in my life by telling them all about it insisting that they HAD to read it. (Didn’t I warn you that I get obsessive?)

It sounds very dramatic and cliche to say this book changed my life, so I won’t go that far, but it did make me think.  If you aren’t familiar with the book, its the true story of the journey the author and her family go through to attempt to eat only local food for a full year. Since then, I’ve paying more and more attention to where my food came from and just how fresh it was (or wasn’t). I’d love to say that I’m mostly motivated by my concern for the environment. That I just can’t stand the thought of eating a tomato from California that burned countless gallons of fossil fuels just to make it to my grocery store. I’d also love to say that my secondary conern is the small time farmer. How I couldn’t eat that well traveled tomato from the large corporate farm out of guilt, because I just knew I was helping put the little guy out of business.  These things do cross my mind, but I’m afraid to say that my main concern is how things taste and the nutrients that my family is getting. That tomato that traveled two weeks to get to me is not really fresh. It’s not breed to burst with flavor or high levels of Vitamin C and lycopene. It’s engineered to survive a two week truck ride and still look pretty when it gets to the store.  That’s not really what I’m looking for in food.

Since I’ve developed this awareness of the freshness of things, it has definitely crossed over into the slightly insane category. I find myself craving the freshest foods and then still wondering how I could get them even fresher.  My lunch today was a perfect example. I’ve been craving a really good panini for weeks now. My wonderful mother treated me to Panera the other day, which used to do the trick. Unfortunately, I was terribly disappointed. It wasn’t as fresh or as a flavorful as my flawed memory told me it should be. So I finally made my own today.  I roasted fresh zucchini and tomatoes and put them on fresh homemade honey wheat bread with fresh mozzarella and fresh basil and then I served the sandwich with fresh goats’ milk. Sounds pretty, um, fresh, huh? (Because if it doesn’t, I could try and throw that word in a few dozen more times!)  It was delicious. I finally had my craving satisfied, but the entire time I was enjoying it, I couldn’t help but think of all the ways it could be better. What if the goat’s milk had come from my goats?  What if the zucchini and tomatoes had come from my garden? (mine aren’t producing just yet) What if I had made the mozzarella cheese myself (from the goat’s milk)? This is just a small example. Every day, I think of a million things that taste would better or would just be cooler if I had produced them myself.

More on the obsession to come…