I was attending a conference on local food production this week, and one of the speakers talked about how children have become disconnected from food. She described children in downtown Philadelphia who had no idea that peanuts came from a plant that grew in the ground or that milk actually came from cows.
It made me think about the many ways that people have become disconnected or distanced from reality. Just as processed foods keep us removed from the reality of farmers tilling the soil, credit cards keep us distanced from the reality of money flowing out the door; automatic payroll deposit does the same thing for money coming in.
Text messaging and email keep us distanced from friends. Why bother to walk down the hall and talk to someone if you can text them your question? Hair dyes and plastic surgery keep some folks distanced from the reality of aging. Junk food ads and jingles—especially the ones that stress the kind of “you deserve a break today”thinking—have brought about a disconnection between our mouths and our brains. Obesity is at the highest level it has ever been in this country, but it’s hard to make us realize our own role in making ourselves fat. It’s much easier to hope there is a new type of pill or surgery that will make the fat go away quickly.
News shows, with unending pictures of people fighting in Afghanistan or children starving in Somalia keep us distanced from the realities of war and human suffering. If everything fits into a YouTube video, which we can choose to watch or not to watch, it makes it easier for us also to choose not to think too hard about those things. I remember on September 11 having the disturbing realization that I was grateful to be able to turn off the TV picture of the towers falling—even while knowing that the people who lived or worked near the World Trade Center would never be able to turn off the picture in their heads. Continue reading Disconnection, Connection and the Local Food Movement
We had a great session last night, which I feel compelled to write about, even if at the risk of boring everyone to death with my weight program! We’re in “transition” now (like having a baby!), so we are transitioning back to “normal” eating (which, of course, has no relation to what we used to call “normal.”). A lot of us had fears that we might go completely off the wagon in this stage and suddenly rush out and wolf down an ice cream sundae, now that food is available to us. (It’s scary to give up the ease and security of opening a powdered drink every two to three hours!) But the instructor, the nutritionist for the program, had some great hints about how to manage this next phase. First of all, you plan ahead, so that you do conscious, thought-out eating, instead of impulse eating. So, for instance, you go to the grocery store on Sunday and purchase your mozarella sticks and lean chicken breasts, instead of hoping there will be something appropriate in the fridge for you to eat come Monday. Each day, you plan what meals you will need to prepare ahead of time and carry with you, what your snack will be, where you will get your 64 ounces of water, etc.
Secondly, and this is the part I like the best, you approach each meal (and each snack) with the 1-2-3 system, checking off three things to make sure you’re getting the balanced nutrition you need: 1) protein 2) carbs and 3) fat. If you start by asking yourself, “Where in this meal/snack will I get my 4 ounces of protein, 1-2 cups of good, unstarchy carbs, and 1 serving of fat?”, you’ll be able to handle whatever comes at you. I like the approach: it simplifies my life. It also keeps food solidly in its place as balanced nutrition instead of all the other dangerous things it can turn into, such as romance, fun, glamour, comfort, therapy, etc. It’s also beautifully uncomplicated, so I don’t have to be carrying around a calorie counter everywhere I go. The final part of the plan: remember portion control! I just need to remember to use a small plate and make sure that 2/3 of that plate is made up of fruits/veggies/whole grains and 1/3 is lean protein. I like it!
We also talked about low-calorie alternatives for delicious treats, such as mashed cauliflower with garlic and Greek yoghurt in place of mashed potatoes–but that’s a whole other subject.