What’s eating me?


Farmers Market

Farmers Market (Photo credit: tamaradulva)

I’ve hesitated writing this for a while, because you know I try to be positive, try to bring something of value here to Buddy Breathing, yet at the same time, anyone who has read BB for a while knows I also am equally committed to being authentic. So, to write a rant (even though Rick Mercer, the rant master, says that ranting is very Canadian and good for you!!) might be considered to be negative, or whiny, or complaining, or blogging with the purposes of dumping on poor folk who didn’t even have a chance to prepare for the mess… uhu. I’ve considered the Biblical truth around Peter’s vision;

Acts 10: 9-16 Peter’s Vision

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!”Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

Now I recognize the need to look at the whole context of these verses, and I readily admit I need to do more in-depth study, but I just wonder, how do these verses relate to my concerns about food? And, I have to admit after considering all of the above, I am proceeding with my premeditated rant and I’m not sorry about it (yet).

This rant started with a facebook posting last week, “What’s eating me?” and progressed through a day of considerations around food, local food, available food, what’s good food, what’s not good food, what should we really be eating, who says, who is telling the truth, why, why, why, why not, and arrived full circle back here to the “What’s eating me?” because at the end of the day I’m really just pissed off at a situation that I’m not entirely certain I can do anything about. Food. What we are eating that eats me up at the same time.

39/365: Giant Can of Nutritional Yeast 2/8/2010

39/365: Giant Can of Nutritional Yeast 2/8/2010 (Photo credit: @heylovedc)

So, to the grocery store I go, armed with idealism and simplistic goals of buying some food that I can prepare for my family that will be good for us. Sounds like a great place to start, doesn’t it? I mean who doesn’t want to eat healthfully, other than the times we give in to the cravings for salt or sugar or both, most of us want to put things into our bodies that will not only fuel the machine, but will taste good and not poison us in the process.

I’m not highly read up on all the facts around food… I readily admit this. I do need to investigate more, but part of me is wary of academic studies that glorify a food one year and vilify it the next. I’ve watched Food Inc, cheered for Jamie Oliver as he takes healthy eating to America, read the occasional article on the superfoods . My roots are rural, so maybe that’s why I’ve passionately believed in the benefits of whole foods over processed foods for many years. I’ve long stopped haunting the drive thru windows of fast food establishments, unless you include a Starbucks drip coffee from time to time.

I stay home, buy food, cook it, try new recipies, pay attention to what I buy, read the labels. Our family values include the benefit of eating family dinners at the same table for as many days a week as our schedules allow. That’s pretty often. I’ve let go of white bread, cut down on carb intake, increased my intake of water over drinking empty calories, gone from 2% to 1% milk after a rigorous taste testing exercise. I am a well intentioned “locavore”… meaning I believe in the benefits of eating fresh, locally grown produce in season. But as you know, I’m Canadian, half of our food needs fall in times when growing doesn’t happen locally

THE RANT PART…

I headed to the local Superstore grocery store with my ideals and biases, and came away crushed like a can of imported roma tomatoes. The new electronic shelf labels set me off… I don’t like them, they are small, they are confusing, they flash, they remind me I need to wear reading glasses. The fish… even those caught here in North American waters, were all farmed. Any frozen fish… was imported from waters I know even from my most basic understanding of geography to be sketchy and not to be trusted. Veggies and fruits, well, it appears the local packing house and the local S(t)uporstore are un-aquainted. Apples, pears, berries… from south of the border. Tomatoes… gassed and from further afield. So I headed to the rice section, looking for healthy non-white rice options… and then I remembered a news headline on one of the days when I was listening to the news, that announced a broad concern around tainted rice from Asia… hmmm… does that include India, I wondered? Definitely includes China and so after much searching I located a bag of rice, a brown paper bag that looked somewhat more grass roots to me, and it was from California. I’m happy to announce that California Brown Rice is quite nutty in flavour and I will buy it again. Meat… well, I’m still not over the E-Coli scare and a recent study suggesting red meat is guilty of producing all sorts of dietary ills. Dairy… butter, never margarine… don’t ask me why… it’s just a gut sense I have that naturally occurring rather than chemically produced oils are better for me. Eggs… consider cholesterol… milk… consider lactose intolerance of 2/3 of our family members and the cost of lactose free milk vs. regular milk… And on and on it went, from one food group to another to another, reading labels, considering issues, considering rumours of issues, and then on to the dietary restrictions around issues, and finally to the ORGANIC SECTION, in search of anything that might look better, feel safer, add some interest to a narrow selection of food that might or might not feed the family. In that section is where I really lost my mind I guess… in the NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT SECTION to be more precise. Because, in that section, on a bottle of Omega 3 vitamins, was where I read this in teeny tiny print… I don’t know… maybe 3 point text…

Contains acceptable levels of arsenic!!!!!!!

So, is that related to mercury in fish… I mean Omega 3 is fish oil, right? Oh my goodness!!!

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I didn’t know whether to stay or run or say something to someone, anyone who might care to know that our vitamins contain arsenic and that’s completely acceptable to whomever decides the acceptability of these things. And I guess I’m still in shock that my grocery trip clearly was such a personal indicator that our food industry is in a bad state. I really truly think it is. What do you think?

And, if things are as bad as they appear to be, why aren’t we jumping up and down and screaming loudly enough to change something about it?

My husband, whom I dearly love, says it’s a matter of cost.  It’s a matter of cost that it’s cheaper for someone to buy a Big Mac than it is to buy a healthy lunch of fruit and veggies. It’s a matter of cost that we have a 2 tier system of food in this country, that it costs more to buy righteous, healthy, Organic foodthan less healthy alternates. It’s a matter of cost… yes. Costing us our quality of life when we consider the root cause of disease and the impact on us and on our health care system. Yes, in the end, it is costing us our very lives. Well, isn’t it?

organic produce section at Berkeley Bowl

organic produce section at Berkeley Bowl (Photo credit: Librarian In Black)

I have no answers… so I guess that doesn’t make me part of the solution… yes, I know, I know. I DON’T WANT TO BE PART OF THE PROBLEM. Still I’m just little old me… one voice in a million crying out in the wilderness, “What are we eating?” What can we eat that is good for us? Can I afford to not eat good food? Am I slowly poisoning my family? Am I becoming obsessed over what the good Lord has deemed “clean” and taking my focus from things that are of much bigger consequence than what I put into my mouth?

So many questions… so much to learn… what to do, what to do???

Lesley-Anne

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Mid-week Random Ramble011


 

first miner out

Image by papayatreelimited via Flickr

 

1. October 12, 2010…The Chilean miners are slowly being brought to the surface. The first miner, Florencio Avalos, emerged after a 22 minute trip, from the 28 inch wide capsule, named the Phoenix, at 12:12 a.m., Chilean time. Avalos was chosen to be first because he is in the best health and would be best able to identify any problems; so far, there appear to be none. Incredible technology involved. 33 miracles in the making after being underground for over two months. The world watches in wonder…

2. In the thick of things is a place I want to be. I don’t want to be on the sidelines, or standing by waiting for something to happen. I want to take the gifts that God has, in his incredible generosity, given me, and use them for something more than myself… something bigger.

I want that for my blog too.  And with only 15 more hits, I will have been graced with 4000 visits to Buddy Breathing. That makes me catch my breath… thank you one and all… thank you so much.

I hope that of the 4000, there are some that can say Buddy Breathing changed the trajectory of their day, came alongside with a voice of empathy or understanding, made a difference somehow.

3. We just discovered a new restaurant (well, 3 years old, but new to us) on the side of Gordon Drive at Clement (Sorry for those of you who don’t live in Kelowna!)… Jimmy Ho’s… great service, tasty food, fast, healthy, reasonably priced you can order online to pick up! We were treated exceptionally by the owner, and although we won’t disclose what happened, the experience of working through a small problem is what will take us back there again! Just to experience true customer service along with yummy food!!!

4. For me, ‘Quiet Time’ or ‘Solitude’ or ‘Meditation’ all conjure up pictures of alone, silent, introspective, meaningful moments. My desire for these moments is to focus my thoughts toward God. Sometimes I sit and read my bible. Sometimes I walk and breathe deeply. Sometimes I have my hands in the kitchen sink and wash and pray. Sometimes I can go for days without remembering to include this spiritual discipline into my day. But, when I remember, and when I intentionally set aside time along the way, God meets me in the silence. Yesterday I tried to reinstate a time of silence, and struggled as the dog bounced, chewed, and squirmed beside me. Yet, even with that distraction, my attention was drawn to a verse that spoke to my heart about my personal journey and the character of God. So, I posted the verse on my Facebook profile, and turns out it spoke to others as well.

This is verse 11 and 12, from Psalm 139;

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

As I began to read and re-read this verse, I saw something of God’s character that was new and refreshing to me. It says that God sees dark and light the same way. While I go through times of darkness, depression, doubt, despair, God sees into that place and sees light. He sees me in that light. I often lose sight of him when I’m in dark places, but he NEVER loses sight of me. What a beautiful thought to mediate on throughout my day. What a beautiful verse to bring to mind next time I am in a dark place.

5. Parents of grade 12 students in British Columbia are familiar with “Grad Transition Plans”, and the angst created by this B.C. Ministry of Education requirement. Creating a plan for the future is often complicated, especially for some 17 year olds who live and think in the now. So, while our Grad combs through University calendars, discusses and considers various options, wraps his head around financial aspects, considers future lifestyles, pros and cons, we will try to support him in putting together a firm plan for not one, but two options, for his future. I can’t help but recognize that I never truly knew what I was meant to do in life until I was 40!!! I guess this exercise is just that… an exercise that promotes planning and thinking and ensuring that the kids that graduate in B.C. have some life skills in addition to a solid education. But I wonder, how many Grads will actually follow their plan?

6. Made an apple pie on Thanksgiving with some ‘Jonagold’ apples, gleaned with thanksgiving from the orchard behind our home. Each year I ask to glean what is left behind. And each year the answer is ‘yes’, and than I bake a pie for the owner in return for his generosity to us.

The pie was lovely, Graeme used the food processor to slice the huge apples into perfectly thin slices.  Because Jonagolds are an older variety of apple, which stays together rather than turning to mush, (like Macs do) the pie looked more amazing sliced than it did whole. This pie was for our dessert after a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. The pastry I made was a butter pastry, from The Canadian Living Cookbook, 1987, pg. 227. The pie recipe was from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky ‘Apple Cherry Crumble Pie’… without the cherries. It was wonderful, even if I do say so myself!

7. More of Malcolm’s photographic experiments… very cool and creative, Malcolm!

You are what you eat?


Food is a popular thing around my house. It’s summer, all the kids and their friends (mostly teenagers) are around, and when they are, they eat. I don’t mean three meals either, I mean they eat constantly. Barely an hour goes by without the sound of the fridge or cupboard doors opening and someone asking a food related question. Grocery shopping happens every couple of days, and I search through my messy recipe collection for another idea to stretch the food budget and make tasty and filling meals.

Today we are having burritos with the leftover ground beef that I made a few nights ago. Add a little cheese, green salsa, sour cream, fresh herbs from my small herb patch and voila… dinner! Perhaps a green salad to go with that, made from fresh local ingredients. But that will mean a trip to the fruit stand down the road… and we need milk again, and the cereal is getting low and before you know it, a trip to the grocery store is in full swing. Nuts, I was just there yesterday!

Perhaps it’s no surprise that food is on my brain these days… what to cook, what to buy, what we are eating. I lay awake at night considering ‘organic’ and ‘100 mile diet’ and how I might become a better food consultant and creative chef to our family. I wonder if we really are what we eat, or if my best educated efforts are good enough? And I think about a couple of untimely and unfair and shocking recent deaths in our family where it just didn’t seem to matter to either disease that our loved ones were eating healthfully and exercising and taking REALLY GOOD CARE care of themselves. They died. And then I wonder if all the focus on what we eat and how much we exercise is just another result of our OCD culture? Is it?

My favourite local fruit stand has recently obtained ‘Organic’ status. Great, I think. I already enjoy their bounty, and now I have another reason to find it good and healthy and good for us. But I wonder at what cost that designation will come? I’m about to pop over there now, so I’ll try to assess the prices and see if I can determine if it is more expensive this year than last year. I wonder?

Have you noticed that the grocery store chains have latched on to ‘Organic’ too… there are large organic and pricey sections now with a wider variety of items than every before. What does that mean for the rest of the food that is not organic? Is it bad for you? And then I can’t help by wonder why our Gov’t would allow non-healthy non-organic foods to be sold in the first place? It’s almost like you have to be wealthy to eat healthy… that can’t be right, can it?

Anyway, just sharing what I’m thinking at the moment on the topic of food. Let me know what you think.

Are you what you eat, or not?

Lesley-Anne (proud consumer of milk, butter, white bread, homemade jam, meat, fish, and lots of fruit and veggies etc. etc.)

Photo from HERE