Monday, March 29, 2010

I can eat all the sweets I want

It’s not that I need to believe that fruit is sweet; I want to think of sweets as fruit. In other words, I wish I craved oranges the way I occasionally crave a brownie or piece of chocolate. Michael Pollan tells us in Food Rules that nature packages sugar with fiber. It’s a mind bender to think that I can have all the sweets I want. If only I could believe that fruits are the definition of sweets. The fiber in fruit satisfies most appetites with a small portion. It’s cheaper to buy a candy bar than organic cherries. The expense of all the cherries I might want are a deterrent to gluttony.

This blog may be becoming a series of postings about how I cheat the Food Rules. We had company for dinner last Friday and I followed the rules to make an eggplant main dish, spinach salad, and cauliflower. For dessert, my husband bought ingredients to set up a sundae bar. Wouldn’t it have been rude and sanctimonious of me to skip the sundae bar after my hubby went through all that trouble? (Are you buying this?) So I topped my banana with ice cream and toppings and I did enjoy every bite. Pollan says I should break he rules—once in a while. As I finish this final week of concentrating on the rules, I think that is my challenge. How often is “once in a while?” I think that the less I eat white sugar the easier it will be to enjoy natural sugars. Is it possible that I can restrict some indulgences to find a peace and freedom in the foods the earth offers to me?

Whole Earth Discipline: an Ecopragmatist Manifesto, by Stewart Brand

Whole Earth Discipline: an Ecopragmatist Manifesto, by Stewart Brand

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Monday, March 15, 2010

The year-round gardener speaks

The year-round gardener speaks

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I'm a cheat and a wreck

Weeks into this quest--I'm a bit of a wreck. When Michael Pollan's FOOD RULES tells me to stay out of the grocery store as much as possible--Does he know someone might be reading this book in March in the Midwest. I'd love to go to the farmer's market. My community even has a new one,a bike ride away, opening this spring. But that's not helping me when even the spring asparagus harvest is months away. I did freeze and can some local foods from my garden and local sources. Ate it up, months ago. Note to self--freeze and can more this year. Invent the time to do this. Explore year-round gardenting.

Pollan also says to eat some foods that predigested by bacteria and fungi, but I haven't reconciled this rule with other rules.

Yogurt--love it. But It has some chemicals my grandmother wouldn't recognize. She never even ate yogurt. Sourdough bread: Yeah, try to find it without white flour Mr Pollan ( may I call you Mike?), I just don't know if I can find the time to figure out how to make yogurt with fruit that would satisfy.

So there's my excuse for some cheats. Yesterday, running late, I had about 30 seconds to throw together a sandwich. Right in front of the fridge door was a big hunk of salami made by a local family butcher. Local or not--there is no way to reconcile this fat and nitrate festival with the rules. One broken rule begets another, so I grabbed white sourdough bread because I have to keep my natural stuff in the freezer. Mike likes me to buy food that rots. No-preservative whole-grain bread sprouts and spread green spots faster than a spilt bottle of Rit green dye. Since my family has has opted out of my experiment, we have anti FOOD RULES food in the house.

On the go, I stopped in a park where other Wisconsinites froliced on this 47 degree sunny March day with frisbies, baseballs, and even some college-level canoodling, as if on a Carribian spring break. You must love the fortitude of Midwesterners.  I ate the sandwich and home filtered water downed in a few mintues, breaking rules about eating slowly. No time to do otherwise on this day.  About 2 hours later, my neck tightened and a hurt helmet materalized. By the time I got home, I had to turn down the lights and nap. So much for fortitude. Next time I eat my organic peanut butter on frozen whole grain and skip the headache. Or perhaps the headache was something else--spring pollen? No, that hasn't been a culprit in the past. I fear Pollan has made me unfit to handle a good Milwaukee sausage. .

Amy Lou, author Every Natural Fact

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What happens to weight in absense of no-fat butter spray, diet soda, and light products?

I spent the day yesterday at the Aldo Leopold Foundation. I did a bit of work for them and spent a lovely hour and a half with Nina Bradley Leopold.

She is the daughter of Aldo Leopold and lives near the storied shack of Sand County Almanac. Her house is surrounded by tall-grass prairie. She and her husband pioneered the reestablishment of this nearly extirpated landscape which had once dominated much of country from Illinois west to the Rockies.

She's not spending time trying to find a way to eat. She's been eating locally for decades. She lives in a natural setting nestled in between farms. She understands food as a community resource. In the forwaord to The Farm as Natural Habitat, she wrote of small-scale farmer as contributing "..  a lot to conservation and biodiversity, as well as putting food on our place each day."  We urban dwellers have to make an effort to find a farmer, even in an agricultural state like Wisconsin.

My struggles to follow Pollan's Food Rules stem from my artificial life. It still feels like a sacrifice to fill my metal bottle with filtered tab water and not add some artificially flavored dry mix. I still miss my diet cola. When I peel my local organic carrots and eat them raw--no problem. When I cook them, I had been in the habit of spraying a bit of butter spray. But with a list of chemicals grandma would not recognize, I instead use a tad of butter and consider that butter in my dietary intake.

Although the rules do build, once I started obeying the first few related to eating foods not chemical, and limiting sugar and processed flour, I found the rest of the rules are pithy ways of paying attention to my diet. Therefore, I'm likely only going to post on this once a week.

Dealing with the dishonesty in my relationship with food isn't all fun. Sure much of the food is wonderful, but I wanted to believe that my love for the natural world had influenced my relationship with food to a larger respect.

So how's it going without my artificial butter spray, diet soda, and light food products? Well, I'm a woman and as women know, things fluctuate, but I seem to have lost two pounds.

Who knew that “honesty is the best policy” also relates to food.

Beef and butterflies

Photo courtesy of Environmental Defense Fund Austin-area ranchers  and conservationists show beef and butterflies  can thrive...