Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to Stay Skinny

Now there is the "Skinny Girl" this and "Skinny Bitch" that and the "Skinny Italian" and the list goes on. The sociologist in me says healthy eating is related to class.

I can tell you my secret on staying thin. Several years ago, I started including a minimum of five fruits and vegetables a day. When I moved to Madison and had more local resources, my diet improved. For me, my vegetables and fruit intake does not include apple sauce, marinara with mushrooms, jelly and the sort. I also don't eat "Walmart" type produce where the strawberries look like they are on steroids. Most of my requirements are raw or close to it.

Here are some examples of what I put in my mouth every day:

-Raw peppers (yellow, green, red)
-2-3 clementines
-Organic Blueberries (they don't have to be organic. Just not sprayed).
-Organic Strawberries
-Steamed Chard
-Steamed Broccoli
-Raw Spinach
-Raw Mushrooms

These are just some examples. I eat the spinach out of the bag from the farmer who grew it. I don't dress it. I don't steam it. I just eat it. The same with the mushrooms. I just eat it out of the bag from the person who grew it. Who I met. The mushrooms have been transported from his farm to the stand where I have purchased it. It's quite simple. No sprays. No flights across an ocean.

I hate shopping for clothes. I would much rather wander an upscale grocery store. And I would much rather spend my money on good food for my body.

Many years ago, I babysat for a family whose three year old told me, "If you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't eat it." I totally agree.

My freezer has ice and fruit popsicles from when I had a sore throat. That is it. I don't even buy frozen food any more. Or canned food. It's just not fresh. I don't want that in my body.

So, I am thin and I have the fresh food and five fruits/vegetables intake a day. Of course, running 25-30 miles a week helps, too!

But here is another secret. I eat a lot of junk, too. Certain times of the month, I love a Dairy Queen blizzard. After miserable hangovers, I love a stuffed crust Pizza Hut pizza. I live in Wisconsin now, so cheese curds rock! But I just don't feel well eating that stuff all of the time.

I thank my friend for posting this article in the "Huffington Post" because this is what made me decide it is an appropriate topic to address. Even people who have the means to afford better quality (yet more expensive) food choose not to.

Madison being the healthy city that it is makes it easy for me. I don't know how I got here. My mom never liked "fake food." We never had margarine or fake sugars such as diet sodas and she always made everything from scratch. As good as Annie's frozen Mac & Cheese is, I just can't bring myself to eat it. And it's organic. It's just not fresh.

In the "Huffington Post" article, Joel Salatin, an American farmer is quoted, stating, "Most of us have a more intimate relationship with our hair cutter than we do with our farmer." This is an ironic statement for me because I do not have a hairdresser in Madison. However, I do have my favorite farmer stands.

I know I am a minority. Instead of spending your money on a pair of jeans for your expanding waist, how about buying some local fruits and vegetables and watching your waist shrink and your risk for heart disease decrease? Come on, Americans!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stop Photographing My Meal

Real food. Food obsession. Food blogs. Food Photographs. Long before I read the article in the NYT, I thought about writing about this craze. This thing with social media where people like to photograph their food and then upload it online.

There may be something self indulgent about it. But it has become a real epidemic. A big hipster trend. Not only am I going to go to my farmer's market and tweet and blog about it, but I will also blog and tweet about the CSA I belong to, what I prepared for dinner on my food blog and then, upload all of these colorful photos! (Or, if I want to be even cooler, I can do black and white photos).

So, I don't think there is anything wrong with the sharing of recipes and comments. That is how we all get new dishes, right? The food blogs are nice and helpful. It's the photographing that is a little strange from time to time.

I made a salad nicoise a few weeks ago. Asparagus, potatoes, lettuce, olives, lemon juice and olive oil, tomatoes - all real food. The next thing I know, I am putting it out on the counter and my dinner is being photographed by my friend. Can't we just eat it? Was my salad nicoise uploaded online and exploited? Without my permission?

I have discovered various meals I have ordered on various websites. The hipster movement seems to think it's just plain cool to photograph a real natural and colorful meal before digesting it. It's an art form. And a trend.

Sitting in a recent panel presented by the Social Media Club of Madison a blogger in the audience mentioned a wonderful blog she follows written by an attorney who has a food blog. I thought she was implying that it is something different or unique. Maybe I read her wrong I am not sure. But, a food blog seems to be the thing to do - I have thought about it many times. Viewers probably enjoy it immensely and it's a great tool - but it's not unique. (Ummm... have you heard of "Julie and Julia?" I am just saying).

So this every growing popularity is probably good for the economy. Just think - camera businesses make money selling special cameras. Hipsters like to make sure everyone knows that it is "organic and local," so the farmers are making money. And so are restaurants that are serving sustainable ingredients. It's a win-win.