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Food, Inc. (& more)

There’s always a high, a passion, when I, as a fat woman, find a diet book that makes me go, “Ah HA! That’s what’s been missing! I have The Key now. I am on my way to health and smaller-ness!” 

So, when I watched as people in Facebook viewed “Food, Inc.” and said things like, “I’ll never eat fast food again!” or “I’m boycotting anything Monsanto makes,” I, behind my computer screen, rolled my eyes and though, “Whatever.” 

Oprah, a couple of days ago, had a show called Food 101 that talked about Food, Inc., showing scenes and talking to Michael Pollan about his new book, “Food Rules.” I was riveted from the first moment. Also on the show was the chef who created Chipotle, Steve Ells. Chipotle is an extremely conscientious fast food restaurant that uses as many local and sustainable foods as possible. Chipotle’s success proves that fast can also mean quality. 

I saved the Oprah to show Sarah (who patiently watches anything I DVR for her to see) and before it was over, she said, “We’re watching that movie tonight.” It was already 11:00pm! 

So, I found the movie On Demand, paid the $4.99 to see it, and we settled in, not realizing we were about to change our lives. 

My mouth hung open throughout the whole movie. How could I not know these things? How could I not know that 80% of the hamburger I eat is washed in ammonia? How could I not know that only four companies owned our meat supply? How could I not know the bullies Monsanto has become, especially when it comes to the soybeans in our country (and others’)?

Monsanto, to me, was the sponsor of the 1970’s Disney World movie-in-the-round experience, Circle Vision 360. The pre-ride slide show imbedded Monsanto’s innovative ideas into our minds and demonstrated the extreme importance of making life easier around the world. Who knew they’d grow to be so monstrous as to sue a lowly soy farmer because their patented soy dust contaminated the farmer’s crops and he unwittingly had “Monsanto soybeans” growing in his dirt. How ridiculous can you get? Pretty ridiculous, apparently. 

I had no idea that our government agencies that oversee food production in our country were headed by former employees of those production companies. How could I not know this? Did I really have my head that far in the sand? 

Food, Inc. unveiled several different stories that they told better than I. Please, please see it if you haven’t already. 

Also because of Oprah’s show, I got hungry for Michael Pollan’s books, so went to Barnes & Noble (which I haven’t done in over a year) and picked up the Food Rules and also the Omnivore’s Dilemma. I zipped through Food Rules (it’s very short, but very powerful!) and am now beginning the other. 

I had to go to Costco yesterday; I usually pick up some chicken, burgers or other quickie meal, but needed to buy beer for Sarah’s poker game (or I wouldn’t have been there). 

When I walked in, it was as if I was seeing/hearing what was really in there for the first time. I could feel the very few companies snickering at all the “choices” they have offered us. I was overwhelmed by the amount of soy and corn everything had – and that still sits in my cupboard at home. I randomly grabbed an item and read the contents. 15 ingredients, several of which I needed to sound out? Probably not a good choice. Look at Velveeta, Cheetos, Ghirardelli Brownie mix… and we don’t even need to question the reality that Lucky Charms isn’t… what the heck have I eaten all these years? Where are all the freaky chemicals residing in my body? I considered buying some flour in bulk, but when I saw the “ConAgra” on every bag, I made a face at it and walked on. 

It’s probably too late to fix anything inside/under my skin, but snatching money and power back from the corporate giants is enough of a reason to change my eating style. 

After Costco, I went to Henry’s, a smaller Whole Foods here in San Diego. There, the giant shouting was much less. I heard whispers coming from the produce area, soft, but louder voices in the dairy aisle. Poking around, I still found the demon lurking behind packages and plastic covers. You’d think I wouldn’t be able to find any items with High Fructose Corn Syrup, but there were plenty. You’d think I wouldn’t find foods with 12 ingredients, including polysyllabic chemicals keeping them “fresh” for weeks at a time, but I did. So, while I was able to find a half gallon of raw milk that came from a grass fed, free-range, sustainable farm (for $6.50 I might add), the “good” foods were still few and far between.

This weekend, I will find a Farmer’s Market and see what that’s all about.

I realize I have the luxury of only buying food for two, that my midwifery schedule allows me great amounts of time to bake bread, cook wild rice and piece together elaborate recipes; but I haven’t done that. At all. I cook as if Sarah and I work 70 hour work weeks, lazily allowing these giant companies to lull me into a stupor of inactivity.

I used to cook. When I tried to tell Meghann I don’t know how to cook, that I will have to learn, she said, “Mom, you’re lying! You used to cook all the time.” And I thought, “Hey, I did, too, didn’t I.” I used to make all the bread for my family and several others, kneading it and everything. I used to make macaroni and cheese from scratch, brownies from scratch, lovely vegetarian dishes and delicious (nutritious!) snacks for the kids and adults in the family. Where did that end? Why is it so far away I even forgot I could cook!?

At Henry’s, I bought some organic baby lettuces (albeit, in a plastic box) and some organic carrots. For dinner, I made Sarah and I salads with those carrots, added tangerines, apples, a little bit of a steak we had leftover and topped it with organic salad dressing I also grabbed. We loved it. And didn’t feel like we were lumps of flesh that needed to sleep for an hour.

So, in preparation for our move, I gave away almost all of my natural foods cookbooks, ones I’d used for 20+ years. I moaned about that this morning and Sarah looked at me without pity and said, “You have the Internet. You didn’t have that 20 years ago. You will be fine without the cookbooks.” And she is right. Was I looking for another excuse to not prepare meals in a simpler manner? (Probable.) Was I looking to buy more books? (Probable.)

But, I have you all. I can grab tons of recipes from my readers, old favorites that require real ingredients, ones that don’t come with giant nametags on them.

This kind of eating doesn’t come with a specific weight loss as a goal. There is no measuring the waist-hip ratio to see if health is improving. There will be the lowering of the Glucophage, the increase in mobility, the lessening of the weight and inflammation on my joints, the brightening of my moods, the minimizing of my over-sleeping and the increase in my focus to work and write.

And all I have to do is what La Leche League has said for 30 years: Eat as close to the earth as possible. What’s taken me so long?

References (1)

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Reader Comments (30)

YAY!! told you that movie is life changing!
it's hard to look at food the same way ever again, and at least now when i do make a poor choice, at least its a CHOICE. i have the knowledge now to know what i am deciding.

and remember, dont let perfection get in the way, like everything, some is better than none. so dont feel bad if you slip a bit here and there, the key is IMPROVEMENT and KNOWLEDGE.


January 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdanielle

This is an awesome post. Right on! I adore Michael Pollan, ad try to live his philosophy asmuch as I can: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." I'm pretty good at the first and last now (though as you discovered at Costco, it's harder and harder to find things that truly qualify, isn't it?). The middle one is what I still struggle with, but I'm getting better.

Forgive the plug, but you did say you'd be using the interwebs as your cookbook. I have a food blog that I co-author with my birth mom: Fab Frugal Food We focus on being economical with as much unprocessed food as we can. Lots of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free fare too, though not exclusively so.

Also, Kalyn's Kitchen is a cornucopia of great healthy recipes. It has a low glycemic focus, but you could enjoy the recipes without ever even knowing that.

Anyway, just wanted to share those. Cheers!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDou-la-la

Food inc. WAS great. but Omnivore's Dilemma is fan-freakin-tastic.
It completely changed the way I think about the food I eat, and that I feed to my family. And seriously. I haven't eaten at McDonald's ONCE since I read it. Powerful stuff.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMorag

Oh, how I love the newly converted!!!! The joy. The excitement. The passion. There's something so invigorating about it. As you question where you've been you also told you used to know and do this. Your body remembers this and knows health. Either way, it takes effort to eat well now. What I hear is you speaking to the challenge of staying with what we know, and the monsters who create and love it that way.

After we ate dinner with you in San Diego Mariah and I agreed it was the last time we'd ever eat there. I've found that the general food and fast food is getting worse or something. My body just doesn't want it or tolerate it. My other daughter likes Chilis and we'd been there twice in the month before. We'd said no more then, but it's hard. As you are thinking about all of this in a new way ... let me ask .. how can we, in that situation, stick to our food choices? With a new friend, in a strange city? It was quite an effort to do so on the road, but we scoped out health food stores .... some, like one in Texas had one on the freeway, advertised. Had a prepared food counter. We NEED healthy options advertised on the freeways!! You DO have to already know aobut them to really find them. I found Sprouts in Phoenix ... awesome store ... not so upscale as Whole Foods which I think you really have to watch, as you pointed out. And Trader Joe is decent for in between ... processed food, but less, and less expensive.

Check out the "master lemon cleanse" ... google it and a million pages comes up. I did it last June ... no food for 14 days. I detoxed a lot. A lot of people do it before going on a more natural food diet. It seems impossible, but like a vaginal birth after a cesarean, you can prepare over time for the process.

enjoy your new foods!!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjanel

I've been aware of all this crap for years - I don't even know how many Monsanto protests I've been to - and I'm still fat, FWIW.

Anyway, I think Michael Pollan's penultimate book "in Defense of Food" is a must-read for midwives. Its definitely not his best book, but it really gets into why the reduction of food into Nutrition and Science has really made us sicker, not healthier. The take home message is the same: eat real food. But its a nice perspective shift, and helpful in how we approach eating and nutrition with our clients.

The Omnivores Dilemma is awesome. Michale Pollen's writing is really fun and accessible - for politically minded science writing ;)

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinsey K

Janel: I'm not traveling in the near future, so won't be able to tell you how hard it will be, but Sarah heads out in the morning to a week-long trip and stay in a tiny mid-west town that surely doesn't have a Whole Foods; it will be interesting to see how she does this week.

Sarah HATES fast food. Has always hated it. She takes a grill with her and a stockpile of food to grill and eat while she's gone. I always rolled my eyes, thinking she was just being a pita, causing the rest of us to suffer. Now, I look forward to the adventure of a trip carrying our food!

We have a pantry full of food we still have to get through; I want to get rid of it, but do I poison someone else instead of me? We can't afford to just throw food away or even give it to the homeless (how awful is that thought!?). So, I told Sarah we would do the best we could with adding fresh foods and minimizing the old foods, gradually making our way through the stored food. I also think, "Well, we aren't *buying* any more new food, feeding those Big 4, so that's a step in the right direction, too, right?

If someone wanted to go to Chili's today, while I am still in this newly-converted high, I might suggest we grab something at a local restaurant instead, or, is there a natural foods store close by that we can get a couple of things to picnic with? And, having Sarah as a role model, I would carry as much food with me as possible, re-stocking at every point.

Sorry I took you somewhere gross. I didn't mean to.

January 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Just jumping in on the breadr. I am a convert for "artisan bread in 5 minutes a day" It is really good bread method from a book that you make ahead and refrigerate and make a pound loaf at a time. No kneading. Go to Amazon and read about it. Love it!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

I've been thinking along these lines for several years, but now I'm curious! I'm going to go see the movie as soon as I can! Thanks!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiana J.

John Robbin's DIet for a New America (Oprah got sued after having him on her show) is what first opened my eyes to this a few years ago. We couldn't make the change overnight, either because of habits or money or time, but we started small. Change 1 or 2 things a weeks and slowly it will get easier.

I now live in Thailand with 4 small kids and EVERYTHING is contaminated and NOTHING is labeled. Super-scary where farmers don't know how to use pesticides so think more is better, etc. Thanks for posting this and reminding me to keep on trying.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMissionaryMidwifeMama

I'm sorry to say I haven't read any of Pollen's work, although I've seen some of his interviews, and read some other works, so I knew about Monsanto and such.

I do what I can, but, it seems futile at times.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill H.

It's really easy once the changes are incorporated, but there is the learning curve for a while. It helps to go a step at a time, pick one thing you refuse to do anymore such as buying conventional milk. My wife and I shop weekly at Farmer's Markets for fresh produce, raw nuts, sprouts and flowers which we always have gracing our home. I used to belong to a farm CSA for the convenience and lower prices, but I found I preferred trips to the Farmer's Market. We find it a lovely way to spend our Sundays together outside in the sunshine. I buy free-range chickens from the FM and belong to a grass-fed beef CSA, and once every month or two, we pick up our orders together with other families who refuse to buy grain-fed beef. Group buying helps keep costs way below Whole Foods. I trade with friends who are hunters to try to get a freezer full of buffalo every so often. I buy my eggs from free-ranging farmers who allow the chickens access to bugs which are necessary for them to produce eggs with adequate Omega-3s. I don't eat many packaged products, but those I do are usually purchased wholesale in groups via co-operative buying clubs since "health food stores" are so expensive. Costco isn't perfect, but they do have organic chickens most of the time, wild-caught salmon and sometimes organic turkeys. They also stock many frozen organic fruits, veggies and grains, and while we could quibble about purity of source all night long, I do appreciate having frozen available as backup if I should ever run out of fresh. I'm gluten-free, so we don't worry about bread most of the time, and I'm too busy and inept at baking to bake fresh, but another Farmer's Market has a vendor who sells organic gluten-free breads she home-bakes. It's common for us to patronize more than one FM in a week depending on our schedules since some vendors aren't at all markets. I buy meats on sale (mostly chicken) for my dog, and it's half the price of quality dog food--poor quality dog food is disgusting. So at first, it looks like buying local, organic and fresh is more expensive, it can be done much more cheaply than supporting places like Whole Foods. And it's a lot lot cheaper than medical costs for declining health in later years. You can do it.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVickii

Trying not to get overwhelmed, but what you do, Vickii, sounds adventurous! Someone in FB sent me to www.localharvest.org and I've been poking around there for awhile. Seems most Farmer's Markets are on Sunday, yes?

I can see this becoming a whole way of life! Thank goodness the kids are grown and I can research/learn without compromising their care. ;)

Thanks for the information... I *really* appreciate it!

January 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Barb -- I can totally relate to this post. When I moved to Atlanta for school, I stopped shopping at the grocery store and buy everything from the farmer's market. I'm lucky enough to have a great selection of super cheap organic produce as well as a ton of other items there. I try to eat as minimally processed crap as possible and I feel much better about my food intake. I haven't seen the movie or read the books, but maybe I'll check them out.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStudent Nurse Midwife

Another book you may look at getting from the library (if you're trying not to buy) is Nourishing Traditions. It's chock full of good information on good fats, bad fats, and busts apart many of the "healthy eating" myths we've been fed lo these many years. Also, it has some great recipes and lots of solid research to back up the notions - definitely worth the read.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Farmer's Markets are not usually on Sundays; we have one or more every day of the week in the County somewhere. We have checked out several due to rotating work schedules, but we happen to prefer Sundays in Hillcrest and Saturdays in Little Italy. Little Italy has a well-priced grassfred beef (and other meats) local vendor from whom you can also order bulk IIRC.

Overwhelm can easily occur with trying to make too many changes at once, and that will more often lead to giving the whole plan up, whatever it may be. For some people, sometimes it helps to not even eliminate something but rather to add, such as starting to check out local FM. What you purchase there will automatically replace some of what you may have purchased at a conventional grocery store that week, and each week, the list at the grocery store will get smaller, and before you realize it, you won't be needing that store much anymore. We rarely walk into a conventional grocery store because of buying bulk via cooperative buying clubs, CSAs, FM, but even those stores are carrying more and more products I use. Vons even carries coconut milk yogurt now! I do wish we'd take the time to create our own garden and raise our own chickens for eggs, but there is a limit we drew for ourselves in where we are at right now, and everyone has their limits at different points, and every step in the healthier direction matters.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVickii

Anna: Thanks first for the reminder to go to the library. Erg. Should have thought of that first, but now I need to commit to sharing these 2 books all over the place. Second, thanks for the recommendations! Noted.

Vickii: We have so much food in our pantry and freezer that will take time to go through, but before Sarah left this morning, we talked about adding, as you suggested, and decided at least one great salad a day.

Sarah doesn't like many veggies, but she thinks, after watching "Food, Inc." that it might be because of the pesticides on them. She's very sensitive to pesticides and thinks the aversions might come from that. So, she has promised to re-try new foods with an open mind. I promised to do the same.

After looking, I see there *are* FM on different days! That's great!

I have no skills at gardening... struggle to keep plants alive (of which we have zero), so doubt a garden is ever in my future, but it's nice to know others who *can* garden are willing to share their bounty.

January 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Food, Inc. changed our lives! I watched the whole film with my jaw hanging in awful amazement. We've had to completely rearrange our budget, but now buying groceries and cooking dinner is a totally rewarding and fulfilling experience!! We shop at Meijer, and there is a surprisingly huge selection of organic/free-range products. Milk, yogurt, produce--even chicken! Yes, it's more expensive, but we can already feel ourselves getting healthier after only a month. Kudos to you for watching it and making the decision to make changes in your life!

January 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Talk to your farmers at the farmers' markets. Even with organic, certain chemicals are allowed. If Sarah is sensitive, that could affect her. "Heritage" and "beyond organic" seem to be the buzz words for the farmers who think that the organic standards are too weak. A chemical-free farmer is going to have animals to do rotational grazing similar to what you will read about in The Omnivore's Delma.

I do not tollerate grains, so the blogs below reflect that. All the recipes that I've tried from them are great and they usually require minimal work or at least less work that making bread by hand like I used to before I gave up grains.

http://freetheanimal.com/ (this guy seems bitter, but his recipes are good!)
http://comfort-eaters-diet.blogspot.com/ (great grain-free muffins! but the recipes are European and you need to weigh everything. Still lots of good reading and summaries of medical research that you might like).

Another trick to internet cooking is to google the ingredients that you have in the pantry and see what comes up

February 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterApril

We started eating locally/organic about two years ago. I previously thought that eating organic was a waste of time and money, so had looked scornfully at the aisles of organic food in my local store. why pay more money for money for that? yes, i confess i was woefully uninformed.
However, both my husband and I are grandchildren of farmers. Thus we have a passion for small farms and for supporting local farms. We've been shopping at our local farmer's market for years and we get our eggs from a Mennonite farm. Then we found out about a local organic co-op. I wasn't too excited about the organic, but figured it couldn't hurt. Then we got our first box. I was not prepared for how much better the produce tasted. It was amazing! I had no idea that there was such a difference.
This year we've been part of a local foods buying club that offers conventional, organic and transitional produce, meats, baked goods, preserves,etc. Currently we're shopping at FMs, the buying club and getting a LOFT box as well as shopping at the grocery store. We can't afford to completely change our lifestyle, but we're making small changes. Each year I've been preserving more, little by little. I'm making bread as able, making my own stock and trying to eat a lot more vegetables.
It's a slow change and some weeks we eat way more junk than we should, but on the whole we're definitely making headway. It's all about the babysteps. Thanks so much for your post about food! :)

February 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteralittlebitograce

Hi, This is my first time posting on your blog, although I've been reading regularly. I'm so happy to hear about your new discovery! Pollan's books, as well as Michael Schmidt's case (here, in Canada) were absolute eye-openers for me, too. I've been researching, reading, and making changes ever since.

I would also suggest Nina Planck's books, Nourishing Traditions (a cookbook) Sally Fallon, the Weston A. Price website, and if you're really into it, the Panu (paleonu) blog.

Please read the labels even of the organic stuff. You can make delicious salad dressing yourself, and be sure to avoid the bad seed oils (highly processed, too high in Omega 6, and quickly go rancid). Use lots of good fats including butter, coconut oil, lard... especially if you can get them from good sources.

And mostly, ENJOY eating!

February 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatCreek

Nourishing Traditions, yay! I highly recommend Nourishing Traditions to my clients as a source for learning how to increase the healthy fats in their diets. Having been on this planet for almost 5 decades, I've noticed that it seems to take about 2 decades for a health fad to have repercussions in the population (of course it's more complicated than that). The 80s were the introduction and wide publicity of low-fat and fake sugar, and ta-da, 20 years later, our country is fatter, more tired, more insulin-resistant, sicker and with more learning disabilities than ever before. Low fat is killing a lot of people slowly, esp their brains.

I like most of what WAPF says, but I'm really dismayed at their stance on breastfeeding and homemade formulas. I don't think they do enough to promote breastfeeding and too much to discourage it in "unhealthy" moms. But overall, it's a good resource for those with discerning eyes.

February 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVickii

Our family has found that the best way to "eat close to the earth" is to join a CSA. Once I've plopped down my money for the CSA and committed to picking up a huge box of flesh veggies every week, it almost forces me to use them. I literally *have* to go right home, process the veggies (carefully pack them in my fridge or in bowls & baskets), and then *eat them*. I mean, I can't just sit there and look at them in my fridge, knowing that my local farmer sweated to grow them, and then let them go to waste. So it forces me to make the effort to cook the stuff. And if I don't know what to do with some new veggie, I look it up on the internet.

I mean, it's easy to make the goal of eating fresh locals foods, but it's also easy to backslide, especially when you see all those pre-packaged quick meals at the supermarket. If you do the CSA thing, it becomes so much easier.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

Y'all are *so* inspirational! Vickii, I love knowing what resources we have here in SD. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom!

Joining a CSA was recommended to me and I had to ask what that was. I feel like I am Alice in Wonderland, finding a whole world that existed right under my feet. Where have I been?!

I soaked and made beans yesterday. Someone recommended a bean recipe that I'm going to try with them. (Draining them, mashing half, mixing back together and dry frying or using "good" oil frying until crispy and then rolling into a tortilla. I've made my share of bean over the years (especially black beans for black beans and rice), but haven't ever tried something like that. They've always been put into a soup. I want to learn new recipes!

And thank goodness for the Internet for *that*, eh?

Thanks, thanks to everyone for the encouragement. Still on The Path; it's been 9 days now. :)

February 4, 2010 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Being in southern climate, can you follow the "100 mile" food guide? I've also heard to buy things that don't need ingredient labels.
As well, look into which foods are worth the extra cost to get organic--for some foods it doesn't make enough of a difference to justify the cost and buying local/in season is better.
Raw milk is illegal to sell here, but I could buy 4L of goat milk if I wanted. We don't need to worry about organic milk in Ontario to the same degree as growth hormones and antibiotics are not allowed.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTracyKM

Congrats, Barb. :)

Just take baby steps. As for ourselves, we can't afford to buy everything organic. But we do our best. When I quit working while I was pregnant with Audrey I dedicated myself to cooking at home for most meals. My palate has changed so much that these days eating out is...pretty gross, on the whole.

I weigh whether it's worth it to eat out & have something that is no where near as good as I could make it at home, but that I didn't have to cook it or clean up after it, or staying home and making it myself. Also, I've discovered how good I feel, now that I eat mostly fresh foods. Most noticed when I eat something highly processed, I'll feel yucky, moody, crappy & kinda all-around nasty to my fellow (wo)man.

Luckily, I enjoy cooking, so it's an easy answer these days. But in the beginning, I'm not gonna lie, it was *hard*! I was just so used to going out. In fact, when I first embarked on this journey of cooking at home most of the time, Paris said to me, "Mommy? What are you doing in the kitchen?" heh. These days they're both in there with me helping prep!

I'd recommend, as a new-comer...to reference Rachael Ray's site - she does simple recipes, that I think you'll really like. I DVR her show & get dinner ideas from what she prepares. I always change it up a little, but I often get the idea from her. I also play a little game with myself - trying to use pantry items for as long as I can, really clearing out what we've got on-hand before heading to the store.

Super easy, cheap, quick salad dressing: equal parts balsamic & olive oil, splash of Bragg's, splash of an emulsifier - people tend to use mustard, but I find that's too spicy for my kids, so I use tahini. Sometimes I'll add a splash of maple syrup or fruit preserves or...? I never buy salad dressing any more. The kids GOBBLE up their greens, they love it!

I go in and out of making bread. When I do make it we end up with a bunch of it (too much!), and it goes stale so quickly - it feels so wasteful to toss out so much bread. I can't freeze it all for other uses, it's a tough one for me. I need to work on halving bread recipes, I think. Perhaps it's my next baby step! ;-)

Welcome to the journey! There are a lot of us out there following the same path, just doing our best. Take comfort in that (as in, perhaps this world isn't going to hell in a hand basket!). :)

p.s. for the record, Sprouts & Henry's is the same.

February 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

The 100-mile limit could certainly be helpful, but a tad overwhelming at the moment. I went through an "organic OR local - what would you choose?" and the consensus (though not unanimous) was local. Still learning, it seems to me that buying at CSAs or Farmer's Markets would be how to accomplish that.

And, Alex, yes. Overwhelming. But, I am sticking to food at the moment. My mind can't even wrap around all the toilet paper, cleaning supplies, paint, furniture, medications, clothes and all those other hot button items many others are able to work through in their Simplify & Healthify living.

Going through the pantry. See, we shop(ped) at Costco and have a cupboard full of canned food. We can't afford to toss it or even donate it (and what's worse? Us eating it? Or throwing it into a landfill or giving "poison" to a food pantry patron? Wahhhh!), so what I (who's in charge of the kitchen) decided to do is use those foods as condiments, much as I am with meat and dairy. Fresh, whole foods will be the mainstay, adding little bits of what's left in the cupboard as often as is feasible.

Sarah has a thing for canned green beans; loves them. So, I figure I'll add a few to each of her salads and work our way through what's in there. Amusingly, it's going to take an act of the goddess to get her liking fresh green beans! But, as I said, her issue might really be pesticides and as we bring in cleaner food, she may very well like the new (for her) veggies.

There are so many foods I don't know... that I, even if I knew what they were, don't know what to do with them. You know how plants in the garden have a little pokie thing to tell you what they are? I need one of those for each thing I buy. I just cannot remember all the names of what I got last weekend, so looking up what to DO with them is all but impossible. Or I need a tour guide. Or a note pad (more likely to happen).

Thanks for the Rachel Ray hint. Meggie loves her.

Speaking of whom (Meghann, not Rachel Ray), she's promised to get "Food, Inc." this weekend and is buying "Food Rules" today. She is intrigued, sharing many of the same issues I have about poundage. Aimee has been eating much better than any of us for years; her body/health reflect that, too. Tristan eats pretty darned well now, too, but I don't think he's eating au natural as much as I want to do.

I came up with a solution for all the extra bread everyone keeps saying they have to throw away (you are far from alone in this concern); why can't we find someone to give it to? Someone at the kids' school, a homeless person, someone on a street corner, a friend. When I made bread all those years ago, there were several mamas in La Leche League who all shared bulk items (often cooked!) with each other. Sue was really great at chili? When she made a week's worth, she shared some with Peggy. When Peggy made lasagna, she gave a bit to Sue and, if there was enough, some to one of the soldiers in the barracks. When I made bread, I shared as many as our family couldn't eat or I could freeze. Maybe some of us here locally in San Diego could start something like this? Driving all over wouldn't be the most economical thing to do (time or gas-wise), but maybe in a 10-mile radius? 15? Just a thought.

Thanks so much for keeping me thinking. I added your Rachel Ray advice to my .doc I'm creating of great ideas for a beginner. *hugs*

February 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Long time lurker, first time commenter here! I am fortunate to have great farmer's markets in my area but will certainly be watching this movie.
I love you blog and find you to be a fabulous writer.

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

As you spend more time reading labels you'll be surprised how many things don't have tns of junk in them. Prego pasta sauce, for example. Trader Joe's or La brea bread. Dreyer's ic cream. Pillsbury even makes a refrigerated cookie dough with only real ingredients.

February 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

Yay! Very happy for you. I saw the movie The Future of Food years ago and it had the same impact. Haven't looked back since. Local, organic, pastured WAP. The way to go :-D

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermaria

Food, Inc. is such a great film. We just got it from the library and I was blown away, frustrated and scared all at the same time! I feel that I eat so well and am so careful about what we feed ourselves and our two kids. I was mad at the fact that we are consuming things that we have no control over like the corn of Monsanto! Thank goodness for seed savers and other farming communities that help us keep good seeds available.

March 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHomebirth Advocate

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