Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Food Rules???

The book that changed my whole outlook on food and thus began my new food journey is called In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.  You can see him guest appear on many food documentaries, and he has written other related books, such as The Omnivore's Dilemma and his most recent, Food Rules.  

Pollan describes a culture that has become increasingly confused on what we're supposed to eat.  People in leadership that are supposed to be looking out for our general well-being (ex: Food and Drug Administration, USDA) have unknowingly (and possibly knowingly) made mistakes on telling the people what to eat and what to avoid.  We listen to them (because why wouldn't we?) and try to eat those extra omega-3's, whole grains, low-fat dairy...  We have broken food down into its parts and try to get healthy by taking supplements and getting more Vitamin C.  Pollan makes it clear that people have known what to eat for thousands of years, and a healthy human race has been the result (until recently with the industrialization of our food).  For example, did you know that the beautiful marriage of flavors between tomatoes and olive oil is no coincidence?  The characteristics of olive oil (fat) make the lycopene (powerful antioxidant) found in tomatoes more accessible to our bodies.

So why are we listening to people who might have less-than-perfect motives, and just look into our human heritage and classic food traditions?

Michael Pollan points out a phenomenon called the American Paradox:  the more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we become.  So what is going on?  Nutrition science has replaced common sense.  I think we need to just trust the senses that God has given us at birth (ex: "this tomato tastes great with olive oil!"), to eat what he has given us (plants from the earth), to use animals in a respectful way (healthy animals mean healthy meat and eggs), and to give back to the earth in order to sustain future generations of food eaters.  So...what does this look like?

Pollan lays out in his book Food Rules several "rules" or ways of eating that will help us as a nation get back on track in becoming healthy again.  And the first thing he says is: stop eating the western diet.  He mentions Dr. Denis Burkitt, an English doctor stationed in Africa during WWII, who gave many of the western diseases their name.  "The only way we are going to reduce disease", he said, "is to go backwards to the diet and lifestyle of our ancestors" (In Defense of Food, p.142).  Sounds easy enough in theory.  So instead of worrying so much about specific nutrients, we should simply avoid any food that has been processed and focus on filling our bodies with clean (organic), whole foods.  In this culture, though, exactly how easy is that?

I am ok with rules.  For the most part, I believe rules are there for a common good.  But when I saw that Pollan mentions 83 food rules I was a bit skeptical.  I thought I'd use this blog as a means to discuss the rules (one or more rules at a time) and come up with recipes and ways of living that would help me change my eating and grocery buying habits, and ultimately my health.  Feel free to take this journey with me, disagree with the rules, or take on the challenge of applying these rules to your own life.  I'd like to hear how it goes!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Little Golden Book baby shower

My baby brother is having a baby!

I have a memory of his tiny little hand wrapping around my finger as I led him around the house, learning how to walk.  I was 5 or 6.  And now in a few months he'll have his own little life to care for and love!
I have the best sis-in-laws!

Book plates and basket set out for books
My other sis-in-law and I had a blast planning this shower (probably our last for a long while), and went with a Golden Book theme as our sis-in-law has a great love for reading.  We wanted people to bring a book in place of a card to help start off their baby's book collection.  It was so fun to see what books people brought, many of which had a personal connection or memory attached to them.

We got many of our printables and inspiration off of this and this website, and went to Etsy for the library card invite.

Cupcakes adorned with book decorations

We thought the perfect locale for the shower would be a local Bed and Breakfast called the Rivertown Inn.  They named and decorated each of their rooms and suites based on famous authors such as Jane Austin and Oscar Wilde.

The Rivertown Inn

Browning Suite

The food was perfect for a summer afternoon... light salads and sandwiches.  The cupcakes (this time NOT homemade) were a classic vanilla and lemon.

We played a few fun games: one was to test knowledge of the names of classic children's books, and the other was a fun interactive poem read out loud, giving directions on passing a small wrapped gift to the ladies who fit the description given.  Because a lot of the ladies didn't know eachother, this was a fun icebreaker.

My very creative and talented sis-in-law came up with the idea of doing a candy bar as a gift for the guests to take home.  We adorned the little bags with Golden Book stickers and then they got filled with blue and yellow classic candies to take home.
Candy Bar

A banner was fabricated very easily out of old Golden Book pages.
Gift table

Antique and vintage toys decorated the space.

I had so much fun celebrating the upcoming new life to join our family!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My New Journey

Back in April I joined Pinterest (yeah!) and repinned some recipes for healthy unprocessed snacks.  Always looking for a way to decrease the amount of cheetos  my kids are eating, I scoured this website for ideas.  Lisa Leake decided she would eliminate all processed foods from her family's diet for 100 days and then blogged about it.  I read her blog and then started reading other blogs of people who were doing similar things.  Little did I know this casual browsing would turn into an obsession!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spaghetti for dessert?!? April Fool's!

If you don't have any tricks up your sleeve for April Fool's Day yet, have spaghetti for dessert!

Bake up some cupcakes (these are Martha Stewart's lemon cupcakes), then pipe some frosting on with a #5 tip if using a pastry bag to look like spaghetti. I added a little bit of cocoa powder and lemon food coloring to my frosting for the right color of cooked spaghetti.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ice cream cones in winter

Wanna know what I miss? Baking!! Easing back into it, as I've a few pounds to lose, but I can't stay away, so I won't. It's a love of mine: to create something beautiful, delicious, and fun out of normal ingredients and objects. To not only look at a final product, but to taste it too, and to give it to those I care about. That's the best part.

So, what do you do when God gives you 70 degree weather in March in Minnesota??

Make ice cream cone pops!