Monday, July 26, 2010

Need to change our FQ--Food Quotient

It's been a few months since Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" was on television enlightening all of us about what our public schools are feeding our children every single day. It was also Jamie Oliver that pointed not only the schools, but the harried and brainwashed lives we parents buy into about jam-packed schedules and desire to feed our family, as well as ourselves, food that will soothes and comfort us.

We have are a society of 3 generations that grew up increasingly ingesting fast foods and having fewer and fewer home cooks. Our palates have increasingly become accustomed to smoother, greasier, cheesier, crispier, sweeter and more carbonated everything. We have had the invention and inundation of engineered foods, producing more and bigger things that were once completely healthy like vegetables, fruit, milk, cattle and poultry. Many would still argue their healthiness. I'm not arguing that point at all at this time. I'm not a militant vegan or vegetarian or stockholder on the beef council. I am simply a middle-aged wife and mother that enjoys cooking, eating and feeding my own small family. But after being hit, myself, suddenly with many food intolerances, I was unknowledgable and unprepared as to how to deal with it or cook for it. Fast foods and eating out, largely, came to a complete stop for us, as a family. Many, if not most restaurants have very little to offer someone like me. In researching, I learned that 1:130 are gluten-intolerant, if not an official Celiac, or one that cannot ingest wheat, rye or barley. Now, a large percentage of those 1:130 are also bothered by other foods/food groups. Now, no one expects restaurants to cater to everyone and all the different allergies. BUT, the first step would be to educate the food service industry about the new epidemics that are plaguing their customers. Educating chefs and staff is a start, but not only are professionals needing educating, the homecook needs a comeback along with new knowledge and confidence in providing foods for our families that are for health, not just comfort.

Where did alot of us that DO cook learn? Watching FoodNetwork, of course! The cornacopia of foods and ethnicities we've learned through the years have made this world and its food cultures a much smaller place as our palates have expanded and enjoyed truly great food. We all expect more from our dining experience. Now, with the explosion of obesity and diabetes in our country, I am looking to the FoodNetwork to step up and teach us what we need to modify our palates and how to put healthy moderation onto home tables again.

Now, FoodNetwork isn't to blame for the unhealthy conditions we have today, we DID forego exercise and the outdoors, choosing sedate activities such as video games, NetFlix and computers at the same time that processed and fast foods were becoming the norm. But what I'd like to see is the FoodNetwork have MULTIPLE programs geared to healthy cooking and programs for allergen-free cooking. Watching and experiencing explanations with the cooking educates very well. Home cooks would learn better ways and understand what we are eating for. Perhaps the stigma that is rampant amongst restaurant servers believing a gluten-free diet is only a trendy, Hollywood diet. Extended family of those that can no longer enjoy old family favorites at Thanksgiving will no longer believe we are only trying to be high maintenance or that "just a little won't hurt" really WILL hurt.

As much as I LOVE Paula Deen and want to eat absolutely everything she fixes, one show's worth of her "fixins" would kill me, as I'm one of the 1:130. I will still love watching "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives", watching all the wonderful fried, cheesy things that are "the BOMB!" And I will still tune in to other channels to watch never-ending contests of eating ginormous amounts of food in an hour. Its all fun and gastronomically enticing. But we need much more balance and Food Network sets the standards in teaching not only the basics of cooking, but what we should be eating and living.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

yet to come

I've never been a thin person. I've always struggled with my weight. Looking back, I wish I could struggle with the "weight" I thought I had 30 years ago again, but even then, I was considered heavy, according to social mores. That was back in the days of Twiggy or just after. I would have been one of the thin girls nowadays. But that fact only breaks my heart for the young girls of today. Even though they may view their weight differently than I did 30 yrs ago, I know they must have pain in their condition and only someone as old as I am can know the real health problems their weight will cause them at much earlier ages than they did my generation. But I've spent years trying to figure out just why food and exercise has been my weakness. I seem to be stuck on a perpetual "about to take the first step" but not actually doing it. And if I do, I soon stop. Why?

I was watching an a television show about people that had lost great amounts of weight and then gained it back again. They were saying they lost the weight for others, for the accolades and attention they got instead of just for themselves and I think if I do anything its maybe not BECAUSE of myself, but I would have to do it BY MYSELF. I was an only child and even though I had quite a few friends growing up, I was kept very close to home, so to speak. I was never allowed to go to camps or spend time with friends without having a reason, place and time frame. So even though I had the friends, they all had other friends they could spend more time with. I was encouraged to stay at home to commute to college for money-sake, so my tether was still fairly intact and friendships were severely limited during those years. I finally left home and lived on my own but financially, didn't make enough to enjoy many outings with friends, and again, spent alot of time on my own. Against all odds, I did meet a wonderful guy and married. He has always been a very work-oriented person, spending an average of 12 hours a day at his job and being on call much of the time through the years. I had a full-time job prior to having our son and then became a full-time stay-at-home mom. I often felt like I was parenting alone, even though my husband always tried to have his input and spend time as much as possible with our son. Probably as with alot of couples, parent-teacher conferences were mostly mine to handle. Homework and schooling was mine to handle. I wish I could say I did a better job but I did the best I could at the time.

I don't tell any of this to place blame on my husband at all. We both did what we felt was the right thing. He has always been a very responsible, hard-working man and by working hard, he shows his commitment to his family. I get that. I say all this to show why I might feel like most of my life has been spent on my own, alone. Perhaps because I have always been in this position, I have a warped sense of security in it. On the other hand, it has always caused me to have a place down inside myself somewhere that feels very alone, as if a big gray cloud hovers over me at all times. Now, I don't want to paint a picture of a depressed, woe-is-me person, because I'm not. I am a very blessed person and there's not a moment I don't know and believe that.

I don't believe I'm depressed. I'm just trying to understand myself and figure out what exactly is the block that keeps me unmotivated enough to lose my weight. Am I just lazy? I don't know. Perhaps. I used to be successful in my schooling and job. So, why do I seem to be such a failure at this? I know PART of my problem is being convinced I'll fail, so why start? But who am I going to be a failure to? Others? My mother? I'm 51 years old, I think my upbringing is an inadequate excuse anymore. A failure to myself? Am I so convinced I'm a failure of a person? I have had a few people in my past make me feel like a failure and I took each and every one of those too close to heart. Why? Why did I let a few people completely mold my own opinion of myself as a total failure? Whatever the reason....I head KNOWS I'm a capable person. I can do anything I want to do badly enough. Perhaps I don't want it badly enough? I don't think that's true because it seems my whole identity and thoughs are centered around me and my size.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Drowning in Stuff

I have reached a time of life where my tastes in surroundings has taken a fork away from that in which I was raised. My parents' generation seems to have gained their self-worth in those things in which they accumulated through the years. The bigger the house, the more things one has the more successful one was perceived. And I think how they were perceived by others was also where they gained their self-worth, because they were always comparing themselves with those around them, their neighbors and peers. Most people of that generation tended to shun the antiques of their own parents and grandparents for the new trends of traditional, Mediterranean and Modern.