I am what I eat, Part 2
So, for those of you who actually found Friday’s post interesting, read on. For those of you who want me to get off my d*** soapbox already, then…you’ll probably want to stop reading now–‘cos it’s about to get REAL.
Seriously, though, ever since I saw the film FOOD, INC., I’ve been on a crazy binge for any and all films, magazines, or books that can educate more on the current state of farming and food creation as well as the growing movement back to nature. (Those of you who left me recs on Friday: you have made me so happy. I can assure you I’ll be watching/reading.)
Because of my “findings” on this research binge, I have officially stopped shopping at the supermarket. My eating choices are no longer only about health (thought that’s still part of it), but also about doing what’s morally right. I simply cannot support an industry that has destroyed our farms, destroyed our diets, and trapped us in a obesity epidemic.
Just watch FOOD, INC. You’ll understand after. Once you know about how are farmers are trapped; how our slaughterhouse workers are burned through like matches; how the cattle, pork, and poultry are treated before slaughter; how far our food travels to even reach our grocery stores; or how terrifying GMOs (genetically modified organisms) really are; you won’t ever want to go to a grocery store again either.
Like I said in a comment last Friday, that film left me sobbing, and every time I think of it now, my stomach hitches painfully–and my resolve to do the right thing locks further in place. Have you read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair? It’s like that. Again. But possibly worse because the public turns a blind eye–but it’s not our fault.
In fact, I’d like a show of hands who grew up learning “Fat is bad” or “Carbs are unhealthy”. Yep–I bet it’s all of you. And how many of you STILL think this is true? It isn’t. Look at the Germans and the French, who eat full fat dairy/meat/etc. and tons of bread. Obesity is few and far between in those nations (though it’s definitely on the rise as the same “foods” that plague the USA are spreading there as well).
The great thing is that more and more people are starting to realize how messed up our food industry really is. There’s a nationwide paradaigm shift going on as films, books, and word of mouth spread this “back to our roots” movement. It is EASY to get healthy food if you’re willing to step outside your supermarket’s walls and just look.
Even better: it’s oftentimes cheaper.
For example, my husband and I average ~$40/week on fresh fruit/vegetables at our farmer’s market. We’ve started eating less meat (FORKS OVER KNIVES, people! O_O We used to eat a meat every night with dinner, but now we’re only having it 2-3 times/week), so we spend about $70/month. We buy it from our local butcher who gets all his hormone-free, antibiotic-free, grass-fed, free-range* products from local farms.
We used to spend ~$100/week on food. Now we’re spending closer to $60–and that’s EVERY MEAL. Breakfast, lunch, dinner is averaging at $1.5 per person per meal. There is no denying that’s cheaper than ye olde McDonald’s.
In addition to food, I’m also part of a CSA that lets me buy everything from soap to coffee to flour. We even get our PET FOOD from them, and it’s cheaper than the Royal Canin we usually feed our animals.
Best of all, though, is that all of our $$ goes DIRECTLY to the farmer, and we aren’t paying any sales tax. Huzzah!
It Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Now, I can hear people rolling their eyes at me and muttering, “Treehugger” under their breath. That’s fine. I used to be like you. I used to eat fast food and gorge on Oreos. I used to think cooking was an inconvenience and faster was better. I used to think weight mattered more than health.
Like I said on Friday, I grew up thinking that food came from a grocery store. I STILL know next to nothing about farming, vegetable varieties, seasonal produce, and so on (like, I had no IDEA there were so many varieties of peach. For the last 2 months, the Frenchman and I have gotten a new variety of peach every week. This week, we have Red Havens. I think they might be my favorite so far). But I’m learning. Slowly but surely, I’m learning.
What I Eat
So to finally answer the question that people emailed for in the first place, HERE is a list of what I eat in a day:
Snacks: fruit, granola, coffee (from a local brewery that works directly with a farm in Honduras. I cannot live without coffee, I’m afraid.)
Lunch: leftovers OR a sandwich (locally made parmesan wheat bread, hardboiled egg from an heirloom chicken, locally made cheese, farm-fresh lettuce, heirloom tomato)
Snacks: more fruit, yogurt with honey and nuts
Dinner: whatever we can conjure for a seasonal vegetable plus either a grain or small meat portion–so last night, we made cabbage rolls with a cajun style (locally, ethically raised) pork, celery, onion, and tomato filling. We still have a lot of fresh pork and cabbage, so we’ll make up somthing else tonight.
I can tell everyone is appalled at how complicated it sounds. Cooking on the fly every night? Peeling and cleaning and preparing fruit/vegetables/meat for every meal?
I totally feel you. I still hate wasting time for meals…except…I don’t see it as wasting time anymore. Somewhere in the last year, the girl who hated cooking and only followed recipes has become the girl who loves seeing what will come out of the pot tonight. The girl who hated taking time to cook now loves spending the time with her husband in the kitchen.
One thing we do ALWAYS do is make extra dinner–either so hubby can take it for lunch the next day or so we can freeze it for a later meal when we have no time. For example, last weekend, we made an ENORMOUS batch of vegetable lasagna (again, just using whatever ingredients we had on hand…which meant there was a ton of squash in this particular version). It was enough food for not only dinner on Sunday but also two more dinners, which are now frozen for later consumption.
Easy. Once you get in to the habit of it, very easy.
But even better than that, it’s delicious. And healthy. I have so much energy these days, I actually have to take a daily walk with my dogs just to get some of it out. (I’m like Rob Lowe on PARKS AND RECREATION!)
Well, this post has gone on long enough. Too long, probably, but I wanted to answer the question about what I eat…and that required tomes of backstory. My apologies. ♥
Now it’s you’re turn. You tell me: what do YOU eat for each meal? Do you (or can you) go to a local farmer’s market?
*Free-range means ACTUALLY free-range. Most free-range products simply mean the animal isn’t in a cage…but that doesn’t mean it actually has any space to move around.Oh goodenss, I’m getting sick just thinking about “free-range”.
August 13, 2012 @ 4:45 pm
Treehugger…yeah, I hear that one a LOT myself. lol Especially when my guy was in cloth diapers — whoa did I get some looks. 😉
Let me ask this though, when you shop farmers markets and the like, do you worry about finding produce that’s organic/no pesticides, that kind of thing? Because I’ve found that even though we do have a great farmer’s market, nothing is grown organically. At least not by these particular farmers, so I usually shop at our co-op instead, which…meh, it’s alright I guess, but it’s more expensive by a lot.
And I watched FORKS OVER KNIVES this weekend, and yeah. O.O for sure. I’m defnintely going to be cutting our meat/dairy consumption down if not out. (If I can get the kiddo eating more variety of veggies — that’s a chore in itself that must be tackled. Boy, at 5 they certainly take on their own ideas! He used to eat whatever veggies I put on his plate!)
August 13, 2012 @ 5:48 pm
Yeah, I have to ask everyone if it’s organic/non-GMO. I’m lucky in that our farmer’s market is ENORMOUS, so if one guy doesn’t have good corn, I move to the next…but, I’ve also found (or I *think*) that people lie. Is there a CSA in your area? (or is that what you mean by co-op?) This is where price CAN be a killer–if things cost more, then no one even has the option to be healthy. :-/
And yeah…I bet getting him to eat his veggies ain’t fun. I know I hated my veggies growing up, and we didn’t even have meat as an option (dinner was a battle every night). You might try reading ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE for some ideas on meals and where to get food. In that book, her daughter is young (not as young as Super Spawn, but still at an age we assume is a finicky eating age). There are recipes and also ideas on how to get your kid invovled in the eating/growing/cooking process (like, I am now going to attempt to make my own cheese. She makes it sound SO EASY).
Heck, right now, Seb is obsessed with growing avocados–like, he mothers over these two seedlings as if they were his children. You could always try growing a few veggies and see if that doesn’t get him interested…? I mean, granted Seb is 30 and Super Spawn is 5, but there’s definitely something FUN about growing your own food… Just an idea, at least. 🙂
August 13, 2012 @ 5:59 pm
I’ll definitely be reading that one next! I’m trying to make veggies a game — he’s really good about eating fruit — so I told him every week when we go shopping HE gets to pick one new veggie that we’re going to try together. Hopefully broadening both our horizons. 😉
I don’t know of any CSA’s in the area — but I haven’t researched that a ton either. The co-op is a store which as a shopper, you can buy a share of (for quite cheap) and have a say in the running of things. They offer the larger organic company foods (Annie’s and the like) as well as some locally grown organic fruit/veggies and milk, and homeopathics. Thing is the actual STORE is dangerous for kiddo because they sell nuts in bulk! Which he’s VERY allergic to, so I have to try to find a sitter just to go shopping there. 🙁
It’s a catch-22. But I’m going to look into CSA’s right now. 🙂
August 13, 2012 @ 8:24 pm
Ahhhh, I see what you mean by co-op. That’s….absolutely terrifying that Super Spawn can’t even go IN there. O_O
But that’s awesome about making a veggie game. Super clever (I will file it away for my own kids when the time comes) because there ARE so many veggies out there…so many I still haven’t tried. I think I might have to make my own game–haha. 🙂
August 13, 2012 @ 5:28 pm
Hi, just a bit of an alternative viewpoint on Food Inc. A list of omissions and wrong facts in the movie food inc, compiled by American Agri-Woman, in their opinion. Just a bit of balance:)
August 13, 2012 @ 5:39 pm
Thanks for the link, Tim!! Definitely something I’ll look over–closely. 🙂
August 13, 2012 @ 8:35 pm
So I read that all and while I definitely think some GREAT counterpoints are brought up, I think it’s a little fishy that the Farmers Feed Us site is at least partially sponsored by Monsanto… Am I wrong? (Maybe I’m misunderstanding the connection there–totally possible.)
August 13, 2012 @ 9:37 pm
Hmmm you lost me on the Farmers Feed US connection to American Agri-Woman. I’m still trawling through the piece, but I thought I’d just add it for a different viewpoint (since I didn’t think anybody else would)
I don’t even disagree with your views, and your German and French so that’s an automatic awesome, but I didn’t think anybody else would add a counterpoint.
Not to get slightly preachy, but any form of discussion strengthens any side and it’s good to have a little bit of conflict in an argumentXD
Although, if it is sponsored by Monsanto, the piece is still very well referenced, so I don’t think it’s propaganderish (probably biased, but no more than Food Inc)
August 13, 2012 @ 10:28 pm
And you are very right to add a counterpoint, Tim. Honestly, there is a LOT of good food for thought (haha, no pun intended) in that document. Plus, it’s a good reminder not to take everything I read at face value (I am SO guilty of that when it comes to documentaries!!!).
August 13, 2012 @ 6:06 pm
I hear the treehugger name a lot too, even from my boyfriend although he does mean it in an endearing way. I am by no means as good as you but I certainly have made a start. My new year’s resolution was to use only BUAV approved products, especially make-up and toiletries as I don’t believe an animal should have suffered just so I can feel a bit prettier. I’m lucky that here in the UK we have a company called The Co-operative a chain of supermarkets, department stalls, pharmacies, bank and smaller stalls which are run by their members. All of their own brand products are BUAV approved as well as a majority of them are also Vegan and Sustainable Washing. The whole company is run by a set of moral codes.
When it comes to the food I eat I always buy British produce (hate the idea of flying food from the other side of the world!) and if possible locally sourced. I am also trying to cut down on the amount of meat I eat. The meat I buy from The Co-operative is all free-range and locally produced. If I am out at a restaurant and cannot determine where the meat has come from I now tend to opt for a veggie option.
Loved hearing about your journey with food, it really gives me hope and inspiration thank you.
August 13, 2012 @ 8:14 pm
You’re like me! If I do go to a restaurant, I try to avoid the meat and pick a vegetable. And good for you for getting all BUAV products!! And wow–The Co-operative sounds FANTASTIC! I really hope something like that catches on elsewhere…and in the US, I think it eventually will. Eventually. :-/
August 13, 2012 @ 6:34 pm
I know this is super-specific, but I’m wondering if you make or buy your granola. I’m a huge fan of the fruit-yogurt-granola combo, but I’ve found that granola is the linchpin there when it comes to taste, and the only brand I’ve found that I love is too expensive to eat regularly. I feel like there’s some secret component I’m missing out on, even though the ingredients on granola are quite visible in addition to being on the label.
Anyway, thanks for these posts 🙂 Eating more…thoughtfully?…sounds like a wonderful idea.
August 13, 2012 @ 6:37 pm
Okay, I apparently do NOT get how to post comments on your blog! I’ve screwed up twice now! I thought putting in a picture would change the little owl icon, NOT include a huge, smushed version of my face below the comment! Eek! If you can delete that, I would be very grateful, because I can’t figure out how :-/
August 13, 2012 @ 8:13 pm
Haha–I couldn’t figure out how to remove the picture…so I deleted the comment and pasted it in your second comment. Total moderation fail…sorry!
As for granola, we have a place that makes it locally…it’s definitely expensive ($5/lb), but it’s worth it to me. I don’t use a whole lot each day, so we make it last the full week. But one thing I really enjoy doing instead of granola is crunch up walnuts and pecans. They add a nice crunch and a ton of flavor to my fruit/yogurt. 🙂
August 13, 2012 @ 8:04 pm
You’re lucky to have a CSA near you! We don’t. Well, I guess technically we do if you count the ones that are like 70 miles away, but I don’t. Because that’s far. For a while we had nothing except “farmer’s markets” that had no business calling themselves farmer’s markets because their produce was no different than what you’d get at a grocery store, and we relied on an organic buying club, but most of the stuff wasn’t local. Then finally someone started a real, working farm right in the middle of downtown Ft. Laud, and it’s been fantastic. It’s still nothing like what you get further up north, but it works for us. All the veggies are organic and grown on site, and eggs come from their chicken coops. There are a bunch of local breads and baked goods, although I still like to bake my own. We have nothing as far as a good, local coffee source, and I don’t know of any true butcher shops that aren’t super far away (and not scary). I wish we did.
One thing that is super fantastic about where I live is that we have access to a lot of great, sustainable local fish. And a lot of times we don’t even have to pay for it because we have very generous friends and family members who catch it fresh in the morning and bring it over for dinner. (That’s kinda been our deal with friends for a while–they catch it, we cook it. Works for me!) And if we are buying, it’s from a local fish shop that catches stuff in the morning and sells it in the afternoon. My daily diet is pretty similar to yours. I can’t live without yogurt and berries in the morning, and I usually do leftovers or some sort of sandwich or salad for lunch. Dinner is cobbled together out of whatever we have, or sometimes I’ll be proactive and try to make meal plans ahead of time.
August 13, 2012 @ 8:40 pm
Dude–this working farm sounds AWESOME. We actually just had something similar pop up where some local farmers took an old parking lot and turned it into a community farm. It’s AWESOME.
Re: Butchers–hahahahaha. I thought they were so scary when we moved to Germany. Since I was raised vegetarian, I REALLY didn’t like what I was looking at. But…Seb has managed to at least acclimate me to it.
And it amazes me how hard it is to find organic or even local produce in a farmers market. In my home town, my mom is convinced the farmers market is just local people buying cheap produce at a wholesaler and then selling it marked up on Saturday mornings. (But I’m also totally spoiled when it comes to my CSA/market now, so maybe it’s not fair for me to judge.)
Also: berries/fruit for breakfast is–I swear–the best way to have glowing skin. Every since I started eating it every day, my skin has been the best I have ever seen it. No zits, no longer dry/flaky, and I can tell a definite difference in how “glowy” it looks.
August 13, 2012 @ 8:10 pm
That breakfast looks YUMMY 😀 Hubby and I eat a lot of different things, sometimes fresh products, sometimes processed. Food is such a big part of my culture and my family. My hubby is still getting used to the fact that yes, in France, we might sit at the table for more than three hours, enjoying lunch or dinner, some good wine and a lot of talking 😛
August 13, 2012 @ 8:41 pm
Oh goodness, I’m still not used to the 3 hour meals in France!! I try SO hard to be patient with my hubby’s family, but honestly, it drives me NUTS–especially since I can barely follow what people are saying (my French is terrrrible). Being patient during French meals is definitely something I have to work on!! 🙂
August 14, 2012 @ 9:17 am
Haha 😀 My hubby doesn’t speak a lot of French either and I still hear regularly – especially during Birthdays and Christmas Eve dinner: “Why, but why?” 😀
August 13, 2012 @ 8:37 pm
I love you for posting all about this. I grew up in Southern California, and I don’t know if that’s the reason, but my parents and a lot of others I knew shopped at health food stores and shunned processed food. It was an underlying wisdom that I’m glad I learned early on.
I will say though, that through the years I have known many kids whose parents were crazy heath-nutty types 🙂 – strict and un-fun and weird about it to the nth degree. These kids were always the ones who went CRAZY at other kids’ houses eating sugar and junk because they felt so deprived and controlled, I guess. In a way that was me.. I wasn’t allowed much sugar, and once I hit the age to figure out how to buy it myself– watch out. I still have a huge weakness, even though I know better, of course.
But the consciousness of this new movement seems more enlightened and coming from a place of universal knowledge and openness. I like it. I have always shopped at Whole Foods and farmers markets– but I do still shop at the other markets sometimes, and I’d like to limit that more. If I do buy processed food I try to get the organic, Whole Foods chocolate chip cookies etc… it makes me feel better at least. It’s an interesting thing, trying to be balanced– wanting your family to eat healthy, but also not have your kid feel like they’re the only one at the birthday party not eating the cupcake.
I love the books, FRENCH WOMEN DON’T GET FAT and FRENCH WOMEN FOR ALL SEASONS by Mireille Guiliano. She addresses the same cultural issues you talked about– and has that same common sense philosophy of eating local and non-processed food. She’s funny too– calling the “healthy” boxed foods “American science experiments”! So true. My husband is Basque and a baker. His sourdough bread has three ingredients (though it is white flour but non-GMO) still- his bread is BREAD– from the sourdough to the French to the whole wheat and raisin walnut.
We always try our best to buy organic and we’ve had our own vegetable garden these last two summers, which has been a fun adventure with the kids. I don’t even really like tomatoes (or I thought I didn’t) until we grew our own and they were AMAZING! This post has inspired me to take it further– to work on my own sugar weakness and explore the go-local aspect more…thanks, Susan~~
August 13, 2012 @ 8:48 pm
Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES. About all of this. I was TOTALLY that kid denied sugar, and I went nuuuuuuts at birthday parties–gorging on cakes and eating the pizza like I was dying. My parents relaxed a lot by the time I reached high school, but by then, I equated health food with DISGUSTING and avoided it at all costs. It has taken me a long time to realize healthy *can* taste good.
And I read FRENCH WOMEN DON’T GET FAT right when I started dating Seb, and it was VERY eye-opening for me. I think living in Europe really helped me fully appreciate just how different our cultures are with regards to food.
Also: bread SHOULD only have a few ingredients. But I never realized that until I read IN DEFENSE OF FOOD…which is just tragic. For me. For American culture. I honestly don’t have a problem with refined sugars as long as I know it’s non-GMO and used for a PURPOSE. I will eat a French baguette alllll daaaay loooong with it’s fluffy white flour, but this “enriched flour” we have in America is not the same thing, you know?
(Dude, tell your hubby I want some of his bread. ;))
August 14, 2012 @ 5:18 am
Until I moved to study in the US, I had NO IDEA people didn’t always cook from scratch. I was over a friend’s house when she told me she wanted to make some cookies right before whipping out one of those tubes of frozen, pre-cut cookie dough. I just gave her this look like O_O and probably looked so dumb, but yknow.
I think there’s definitely something in preparing your own food, I just don’t like the idea of not knowing how what I’m eating was prepared. Paranoid, maybe. Still, I know soooo little about the food industry and I’m excited about watching/reading the things you recommended! 🙂
Have you seen that documentary about the man who ate McDonald’s for a whole month to see how it would affect his body?? Supersize Me, that’s what it’s called.
August 14, 2012 @ 5:07 pm
I’ve taken to eating quinoa and/or amaranth for breakfast!! I used to be a big granola girl, but it was hard for me to find a brand in Holland that wasn’t packed full of sugar. I think most people associate quinoa and amaranth with dinner/savory meals (usually you eat it as a side dish, or mixed into a salad), but if you add fresh fruits, nuts and honey to it, it makes for an awesome start to the day!!! Amaranth especially is packed full of calcium and iron.