Category Archives: Slow Food

There is a reason I love breakfast

There is a reason I love breakfast.

First of all, it has it’s own self-titled club, burrito, pizza and casserole. It’s the motivation for a whole genre of one-night only hotels. And, when done correctly, the good kinds of breakfasts can be the first few ingredients in the recipe for a perfect day.

Do you ever wonder why people celebrate milestones (birthdays, engagements, you name it) with a breakfast in bed? It’s because breakfast = happiness.

It has something to do with the crispy edges of an over-easy egg sitting atop a mound of buttered sourdough, sharp cheddar, delightfully savory sausage, and fresh tomato. Oh, and avocado, if you’re lucky.

Gosh. Merely typing out those words makes me salivate.

Also, yellow is undoubtedly the happiest color. My Mom always says the best meals are the most colorful ones, and she’s right. If I were an artist, I would paint the blue ceramic plates in our apartment with all those colors: the mismatched coffee mugs neighboring harmonious shades of yellow and orange in the forms of yolk and cheddar, the greens of the avocado, the unblemished white of the egg, and the shiny-est, reddest tomato, all with streams of morning light pouring in. I’d do this if only for the sake of thinking of nothing but breakfast for the whole time it took me to paint the thing.

See? Just look at all the color!

But, alas, breakfast is more than just a slice of savory pie sent right down from heaven. There’s much more to it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this. I mean, I love when apples are baked with sugar and butter, in any form, recipe or concoction, but I don’t think I’ve ever written about that. Mmmmm.

Anyway.

Breakfast is about light. It’s about Saturdays. It’s about laziness, and the sound of sizzling bacon and the flip of hash browns that prompt me to get out of bed. Finally.

Breakfast reminds me of how lucky I am.

I’m lucky that my apartment literally fills with light in the mornings. The kind of light that makes you want to get out, and seize the day and DO something. And the kind of light, that on a Saturday morning, makes you get out a broom because every nook and crannie and dust ball is lit up like a freakin spotlight.

Breakfast reminds me that I am so fortunate to have a beautiful apartment, fresh ingredients, the time to eat it, and that I’m able to pay for the good cage-free eggs – the kind with the super orange yolks that make everything so pretty.

But most of all, it makes me thankful for my wonderful chef: breakfast maker-hash brown browner-egg cooking-extraordinaire. There are few things in this world that make me happier than seeing Sam bounce around the kitchen on a Saturday morning. Well, there are few things that make me happier than seeing Sam happy on a Saturday morning. But, yeah, the breakfast part helps. I don’t think he’s missed making me a Saturday breakfast once the entire time we’ve been dating. Keeper. For sure.

But, you know what? None of that is the real reason I love breakfast.

I love it simply because it’s more delicious, savory and delightful than any other food group. After all, there are few meals in this world that can make you say, “I just burped… and it tasted awesome.”

And, if breakfast weren’t the best, then why would I have just eaten it for dinner?

Advertisements

Biking for fresh, local food

Last week's CSA loot- it was pretty funny trying to bike home with my bag that full!

Hello everyone!

I hope your summers are going well. ‘Tis the season for fresh zucchini and sweet tomatoes… so you know mine is. 🙂

Anyway, this September 11,  hundreds of Madison and Dane County residents, Sam, and I will bike 62 miles to raise money for the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition, a group that brings  fresh, organic food from local farms to low income families in the community.

I am really excited both for the cause and the ride (read: the food breaks). MACSAC does wonderful things in the name of creating a sustainable, local food system in Dane County… and that’s an issue I’m really excited to support.

Here are some links to learn more about it or bike yourself.

Finally, participants are urged to fundraise for the coalition, so if you support the cause, you should check out the links below and pitch in whatever you can. We’ll really appreciate it!

**If you want to donate to our ride, I would encourage you to check out this page!

Thanks!

Jenny (and Sam)

Tagged , , , ,

Review- Nathan Winters Ch. 3

A while back, a friendly eco-tweeter shared this on twitter:

Since I consider myself an organic farming advocate, it was mere minutes before I had this chapter sitting in my Inbox. Then, I looked into Nathan Winters’ website and twitter a little more, and found out that he’s a little more than “some random eco-tweeter.” You can read his bio here, but long story short, Winters set out in May 2009 to bike from Maine to Washington (yes, Washington state) in order to explore “complex food movements” and to get to know his fellow Americans. And he did it. (*Insert expressions of awe and jealousy here*)

Deciding at that point to save this for a day when I could give it the attention it needed, I filed the chapter under “Blog” on my computer, and there it sat… for about a month.

I’ll get into the specifics in a minute, but let’s just say I’m happy to have reopened it! Somebody find this guy a publisher!!

As I write this now, I’m trying to decide what it is about this chapter that I really like the most.

Perhaps it was the uncanny connection I have with Winters’ story. The chapter is about his stop at an organic dairy and produce farm in rural Maine, near a town near Skowhegan. Curiously, I’ve been in Skowhegan on my days off while working at Ol’ Ways Farm in nearby Solon, and his description of this family brought back fond memories of my time with “my” farmers, Scott and Gemma.

People in Maine are pretty awesome, it seems.

His description of the farmer’s gentle control of the cows while bringing them in to the barn or the way that everything stops (including eating) until milking chores are done were so familiar, careful, and respectful of the skill and dedication it takes to be a farmer – something that makes you wonder how many other qualities of farmers us city folks take for granted or are completely oblivious to. Winters depicted, as best you can in words, the beauty of Maine in the summer and feelings of inferiority to these people with such an unfamiliar but vitally important profession. Additionally, I saw eye to eye on his feelings of slight stupidity….  all those questions you have for farmers, but when they come out they just sound idiotic because they’re so obvious. Ohh righttt, bulls are required for making more calves! …etc, etc, until soon you feel like your entire education is useless when it comes to hands-on progress. But that’s a whole different matter.

So that part was definitely fun- the way in which his alienation with the daily goings-on at Dairyland Organic were juxtaposed to the description of the all-knowing (or close to it), gentle, rugged, and wise farmers.

Aside from the Maine-connection, I am also excited about this chapter because of the way Winters explains his experience as it relates to the larger political and social situation in the United States. He links his brief experience on the farm with some difficult topics and makes it not only enjoyable to read, but also important to read.

Winters painted the ironic picture of this family who is so dedicated to the organic and local so-called, “trendy” food choices, and yet can’t afford to buy those products (that they don’t grow themselves) for their own home.

Here is a quote from his host, Sarah, that particularly struck me:

“The reality of the situation is this: If everyone here in Skowhegan wanted to buy from us at the farmer’s market there wouldn’t be enough food to go around. We need to get more people to farm. Farming is extremely empowering. There haven’t been very many generations of Americans who have put their hands in the soil. In order to change our food system, we need to get to a point where one in three people are growing food. Not one in a thousand. We cannot get away from industrial agriculture until more people are growing food on a small scale. If people are concerned with where their food comes from, they should not only support their local farmers but they should simply grow their own food.”’

How true and simple, yet challenging, is this statement? Is it challenging? (I hope I soon find out.)

I could go on and on about this piece that I read from Winters. But,

a. I don’t want to give away the whole thing and,

b. I’ll do it no justice and,

c. bottom line: get to know a farmer!

I can’t wait to read the rest of his stories and I hope that I can do something so valuable in my lifetime. I can’t wait to see what he does with this knowledge he’s gained.

Well done, Nathan!

Tagged , , , , , ,

I had an article published!

It’s about the meat we eat. I think it’s really important – but you probably already know that about me if you read this blog.

Enjoy (and sorry for my long absence. I’m coming back… soon… with a vengeance!)

-Jenny

Make your meals meatless

Reducing the amount of meat in our diets can help our health and the environment.

By Jenny Lynes

The Green Room

|

Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010

Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2010

“Help stop violence?”

“Not today,” you said.

Gruesome images of upside-down, bloody, feces-stained cows litter animal rights and environmental literature. They’re on the pamphlets you’ve rejected on State Street, too.

It’s disconcerting to read studies about the negative effects of red meat and belching cows ruining the atmosphere, to be sure. Still, surprisingly little of it actually translates to a change when we’re standing in the lunch line. The answer to why most of us don’t oblige and cut down? Simple: Meat tastes good.

Though I won’t deny an occasional urge for my favorite sausage-filled breakfast sandwich, I’m proud of the changes I’ve made in cutting out meat to improve my health and help out the environment. So what did it take?

For me, it wasn’t until I left my urban home to work on a small family farm in Maine and asked the farmer what he thought about “industrial meat” that I realized how simple the choice really is. “I would never eat that shit,” he said. That pretty much settled it.

Don’t get me wrong––the farmer and I shared plenty of eggs (fresh from the coup) and bacon (formerly known as Napoleon the pig). But as I learned more about the implications of mass-produced, machinelike treatment of animals, I learned that most of the meat I’d been eating away from the farm was a product of a disgusting, unethical and dangerous industry that wreaks havoc on our land, water, air and health. Did you know that the chickens to be served at KFC are fed and raised in a manner that they reach physical maturity in just over one month? Count me out.

Let’s put animals aside, though, and first consider the implications for our own bodies. There was a time when eating meat was considered a treat. Now, it’s not unheard of to have it in three meals a day. Need protein, you say? Americans currently consume around 110 grams of it a day, which is roughly double the government’s recommended intake. In fact, new research has shown that high consumption of red and processed meat increases the risk of death from cancer and heart disease, as much as 50 percent among women. This type of diet also increases our chances for diabetes, and the rates have sharply increased since 1980 to prove it. Don’t worry too much though, there’s still time to prevent it simply by replacing some meat eating with plant-based foods.

Americans spend about $147 billion annually on preventable illnesses related to food choices: obesity, salmonella outbreaks, diabetes and heart complications. This, paired with astounding hormone influxes and antibiotic resistance thanks to the manner in which it is produced, results in a big headache for the health sector. All the while, the meat industry is encouraged to expand because of better sales than ever before.

While there are scary implications of mass-produced mystery meat (read: McDonald’s), it’s not that all meat is bad for you. But, we must consider if we want to support such practices and realize that we often do so at the expense of putting something healthier into our bodies.
Onto the environment. Since pigs, for one, produce about four times the amount of waste a human does, you can only imagine what happens with literally millions of pounds of feces created daily––it leaves the feedlots with a one-way ticket into our streams and rivers, polluting our air on its way. On top of this pollution, the industry contributes huge amounts of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, worsening global warming.

However, these are preventable problems. According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week, the effect would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads. While I have determined that the quality of industrial meat is unsatisfactory for my preferences, I realize that is personal. One thing that isn’t: our responsibility to be informed and choose to take steps to help preserve the resources on this planet for those who will come after us.

My overall-wearing, milking, chicken-feeding days have ended, and I’ve resumed my Madison residence for now, but I remain happy and confident with my decision to give up meat unless I know where and how it was raised.

While I don’t believe everyone has to take this step, I do think the message is clear––we need to change the way we eat. I propose that we all eat much, much less meat than we tend to currently. My challenge for Madison is to include it once every other day for now––but I think you’ll see, as I did, that a life with meat as a treat is surprisingly pleasing.

Jenny Lynes is a contributor to The Green Room. Please send all responses to opinion@dailycardinal.com

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Guest Post: Emily Nelson “Eating as a Political Act”

I had a few emails about one portion of my post last week and I asked Emily if she wouldn’t mind sharing her research concerning politics, lobbyists, fast food and personal choices! I have been meaning to research and write a post of my own on this topic, but Emily did such a great job that I’m happy to give her the floor on this one as it is a fascinating essay and way to present this information.

Emily and I welcome comments and questions!

—————————————–

As we all compared what we eat [in class last semester], it wasn’t the actual food choices that peaked my interest, but rather it was all the varying reasons WHY we ate what we did. Some people eat because of tradition, convenience, taste; some choose what to or what not to eat because of their religion, ethics or concern about the environment. But what if everyone saw eating as a political act?

This topic could be expounded upon at length and it can easily permeate a wide variety of issue areas from health care to the war in Iraq. I clearly cannot cover all of these topics in less than ten minutes but what I’d like to impart upon you all today is the way in which every single one of our individual consumption choices has an effect that goes beyond the pleasure we derive from it, or the time we save or the tradition we uphold. I realize that this has the potential to be an uneasy topic so I’d like to preface by saying that I’m not trying to preach to anyone or imply that any of your individual choices are bad, wrong, violent or unethical. I’m simply offering a perspective, a way of thinking that has influenced my food choices and me.

As I’d imagine we’d all agree that it’s fascinating to look behind the scenes of our food!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , ,

Green Books Campaign: The Love-Powered Diet

100bloggers

This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 100 bloggers are reviewing 100 great books printed in an environmentally friendly way. Our goal is to encourage publishers to get greener and readers to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books. This campaign is organized by Eco-Libris, a green company working to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.

Not expecting to take on a diet book as part of this campaign, I was pleasantly intrigued by the message of nutritionist and life coach Victoria Moran’s, “The Love Powered Diet: Eating for Freedom, Health and Joy.” The book is addressed to food addicts, who she defines as,

“any person of any body size who’s engaged in a longstanding battle with a knife and fork,”

as well as anyone who is interested in a more healthful, sustainable,  and happy life. Moran emphasizes the necessity for all readers to first love themselves in order to begin to see any effect from her diet or others, stating “It’s OK to feel beautiful right now. If you wait until you’re thin to feel beautiful, you may never get there.” Moran’s approach is to address how her diet-prone readers view both them self and food (as well as how they consume it) in order to “finally win the battle by giving up the fight.”

With the lose definition of ‘thin’ as, “having a body that serves you well so you can live freely without wishing you weighed less,” Moran supposes that if you love yourself enough, you’ll treat yourself as someone who is lovable, attractive, and thin by choosing the right foods and listening to your body. She gives witty, informed, socially concerned, and specific means to accomplish this coveted view of eating. And better yet, in doing so, readers learn to eat correctly for his or her body’s ideal weight, and eventually to achieve this goal.

Although it is a diet book, hers is not solely focused on food. This book also has a humanitarian and progressive message to correlate with her theme of love and new attitude toward food. Printing her book as part of the Green Press Initiative, publisher Lantern Books explains its commitment to the environment by not using fiber from ancient forests or any chlorine at the expense of printing slightly more expensive books. But the eco-focus of her book does not end there.

Overall, Moran presents a very sustainable and important notion of food. First, she stipulates that food is valuable and required hard human work to get it to whatever conditions it is in now for you to eat it, so be thankful. Next, that since it is about to become part of your physical body, you should be choosy about which foods (and how much, and how often) you decide to eat. Pay attention to labels and decide whether the avoidance of highly processed, high sodium, fat, and sugary foods are worth a few extra dollars and preparation minutes at meal times.

Her description of foods in the love-powered diet, the ones that make it so eating becomes less of a battle, and the ones who transform food addicts to someone approaches a food with a “take it or leave it” mentality, includes all the ingredients above: a healthy mind, approach, and plate.

This food, “is generous, delicious, and aesthetically pleasing.  It promotes high-level health as well as normal weight, it is economical and provides plenty for everybody, it respects all life, and is environmentally sustainable.”

Talk about setting the standards high! Thankfully, Moran gives detailed direction to make this description come to life and realizes that no one can achieve this without occasional mistake and exception. But, as she says, “a love-powered meal can be an effortless donation to a most deserving planet,” and that is certainly something for which to strive.

Throughout this semester, I have struggled to combine my “fooducation,” with my actual practice, AND with my view of what and how I should be eating in order to maintain or lose weight. This book tied together all three of these concerns, and because of this balance, has much to give. It is empowering, inspiring, and addresses much more about dieting than the desire to be thin, and has fundamentally changed my answers to the questions of what, how, and why I eat.

Image Credit: Susan Newman.

Tagged , , , , , ,

We can only go up from here- SO LET’S!

It seems that the more I learn about the environment, the more depressed I tend to become. The list of things in need of “fixing” on this planet (chemical waste, mistreatment of workers here and in third world countries, government catering to big corporations, extinction, deforestation, pollution, landfills, incineration) can be described in many ways, but “short” is not one. Each year hundreds of scientists, agencies, researchers, and notably, the IPCC (though that isn’t yearly), come out with a report stating how bad-off our planet is and how we can’t possibly afford for it to get any worse. And then it does. So, I read and read and read all day long about this trend and this perpetual “brokenness” of so many things and then, occasionally I get a breath of relief.

I remember that the name for this blog is true and is possible. I remember that the people I’m surrounded by and learning from are good people, and that there are others who are inherently good too. I remember that although we may not know the best source of renewable energy or the best way to convince Americans to stop over consuming (or even understand what that means), we do have many tools to get things started, increase the conversation, make changes to our lives and in the lives of those we love, and improve our happiness, relationships, health, and planet by doing so. As I explained in my post a few posts back, we all can make real, beneficial change when it comes to the environment.

Since I am new at this and don’t always have the answers, I often look toward others who might. Colin Beavan is one dude whose writing I love to read and who really knows how to take the edge off climate-related fears by replacing fear with action. (Although this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn. In fact, to understand the base of my concerns for tonight in particular, you could watch this INCREDIBLE video and have even more incentive to read the rest of this post).

Anyway, he, with the help of some smart people at his non-profit, The No Impact Project, have created a great way to educate, inspire and mobilize many individuals in a practical and easy possible way. While Beavan improved his life during a years’ worth of living at no impact (or as little as possible), he has created a way for us amateurs to do it for just one week. While I don’t usually recommend recipes I haven’t tried or lend cars I haven’t driven, I have kept up with Beavan’s blogs and learned about his ideas enough to know that he’s got some really good ideas. So, I’m gonna vouch for this one and hope that you’ll join me in my No Impact Week coming up next Sunday, October 18th as a great, non-partisan way to do what you can. I bring it up now since you’ll want to plan and learn more, and they recommend that you sign up, download (but not print) their How-to Manual (which can also give you a better idea of what the week will look like than the video) and get ready to make the best of your week.

They realize that we can’t all make every change (No compost? No bike? That’s ok), but they provide helpful suggestions to doing the best we can to contribute, and they have organized it in a manner that will be easy to follow and informative. They have also strongly advocated for the personal benefits one can gain (as Beavan did) during such a “carbon cleanse.” Of the project, Beavan said,

“We hope that after focusing for just over a week on how our daily habits impact the world around them, our readers will see the effect our actions have in a new light. It will be very interactive and social – and empowering.”

Read more here

Or, watch this short clip to learn what the week is about:

If that’s not motivation enough, or if you’re like me and want to learn more about Beavan’s other genius ideas, look around his site. Here were some pages I enjoyed:

Colin’s How-To’s

The Frequently Asked Questions, especially these:

5. How will taking these small steps have any real impact on climate change?
Every small behavior change you make or every political action you take adds to a growing wave of change and influences your community to get on the ball!  Read more here.

6. Do I have to be a hippie, activist, granola eater to participate in the experiment?
No.  And that stereotype is so passe’.”

Top ten Eco-lifestyle Changes

Story of Stuff

I hope you’ll join me in discovering these benefits together!

-Jenny

Tagged , , , ,

Madison’s “real food” System

This was a paper I turned in for my Food, Culture, and Society class. It’s longer than my usual posts, but it is an overview of what I’ve learned (and gained) from being a part of Madison’s amazing, developing, and transformative food culture.

Enjoy!

Jenny Lynes

Exercise 1

On September 27th, I found myself at the Madison Food for Thought Festival standing behind the sales table of the ‘Buy Fresh, Buy Local Café’ donned in a volunteer’s T-shirt handing out scones. Crowds of people walked past me toting canvas bags with bright red, yellow, and green produce poking out. They talked about petting the chickens, what Michael Pollan had said to them, and interesting new recipes they’d found that creatively included kale, zucchini, and lots (and lots) of tomatoes. As a stilt-walking farmer strolled past me, then stopped to take a picture with my literary role model, Michael Pollan, I had to take a moment.

How did I get here?

My history with local foods is a short one. In fact, just this spring I was a paying member in a weight loss program that encouraged my notion, as Michael Pollan describes, that eating at any one time does only one of two things: 1. Fixes my health, or, 2. Ruins my health. Paul Rozin calls this pleasure-voided idea of eating a personal and cultural “nightmare.” Wendell Berry calls these eaters “victims… passive, uncritical, and dependent.” M.F.K. Fisher describes this process as, “[eating with] a glum urge for food to fill us.” Saying, “we are ignorant of flavour. We are as a nation taste-blind.”

Putting these notions in my past, I spent time on a small family farm in Maine this summer where the farmer occasionally compared eating to sex. I knew that food could taste good, but this idea introduced me to the idea of pleasure in eating and began to prepare me for entering into the web of farmers, advocates, students, eaters, and community-makers by which I have been surrounded thus far this semester.

Through this essay, I would like to explain the Madison Food System and those involved with it through the lens of a ‘slow food baby’, or perhaps more accurately: a ‘real food baby’. I didn’t know it was possible, but this food I’ve been eating has taught me about myself. Despite a prior connection to and passion for the environment, Madison has taught me that Berry was right. “How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, the way the world is used.” On one of the first days of class, someone mentioned that Cargill would defend its practices by stating it’s just delivering what we want and what the market asks for. Although this town is not short many a “beer-and-pizzavore,” I wonder; if Cargill’s products were based off the Madison market demand, would America’s food system be the same? Would Cargill even exist?

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Slow Food in Madison

If Madison had a full name, I think it would be: Madison Slow-Food Wisconsin. (Well, maybe Madison Badger Football Slow-Food Wisconsin. Whatever.)

I became interested in food issues as a way to narrow my environmental focus last fall, but it wasn’t until this year that I realized just how impressive and involved the slow and local food movements are here. I now know how lucky I am to be surrounded by this and I will definitely gain plenty of ideas should I ever want to start similar programs in another city someday.

DSCN0763This morning I volunteered at the Food for Thought Festival where Michael Pollan also came to speak. I was only expecting a few people to stop by after the farmers’ market, so I was surprised when thousands of people stopped by to show support, learn, eat, and make community!

I got to meet many interesting people while I was working at the Buy Fresh, Buy Local cafe and then the info table. I EVEN got to break my no-meat fast with a brat from L’Etoile restaurant which told me all about the farm from which the meat came. It was so good. (SO. GOOD.)

Anyway, the morning made me excited about becoming more involved with food advocacy since it’s such a great way to play an important role in environmental issues and has an appeal to all types of people eating all types of foods. I’m hesitant to focus only on one “issue” group since I know I have a lot more to learn, but this has been really fun so far this year.

I’d love to go on, but I have to get to some homework, so I’ll let some pictures tell the story for themselves.

-Jenny

People learning about REAP and BFBL

People learning about REAP and BFBL

Had to love this after my soils test on Monday!

I had to love this after my soils test on Monday

The BFBL cafe tent where I was. SUCH good food!

The BFBL cafe tent where I was. SUCH good food!

Some local art (of food... surprise) with a view of the capitol

Some local art (of food... surprise) with a view of the capitol

The demonstration tent

The demonstration tent

DSCN0764

Thanks for the food, farmers!

Thanks for the food, farmers!

Pet the chickens!

Petting the chickens

Tons of produce at the Farmers' Market

Tons of produce at the Farmers' Market

My friend Adi buying apples

My friend Adi buying apples

Fall flowers

Fall flowers

Anyway, it was a great morning and congrats on a successful event to REAP Food Group!

Tagged , , ,

What [else] I Learned From Michael Pollan

Just when I start to think college is dumb and an overly-stressful waste of time (see post below), something cool usually happens and I change my mind.

Yesterday, as part of the Go Big Read program on campus, which brought in the book In Defense of Food this year, author Michael Pollan came to speak. College is cool.

While I have thoroughly enjoyed the two of his books that I have read (and hope to read more), I enjoyed listening to him and asking him questions almost as much. As Bill Cronon said in his introduction, Pollan is an, “able translator of complicated ideas,” and because of this, I have come to respect and admire his ability to do good and motivate change through his writing.

DSCN0759_2In his talk last night at the Kohl Center, he outlined a few main points of his book. He reintroduced the idea of the American Paradox – that we’re so concerned about our weight (more so than in many other countries), and yet we have the highest rates of obesity, heart problems and diabetes. In fact, since 1980 Americans have become 17 pounds heavier on average… as a result of our low-fat focused culture? He proposed that in order to change this paradox, we need to alter our whole ideology on food, and start eating food instead of the processed food-like substances that we see in our convenience and grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and sadly, on our shelves.

He gave an overview of how reductionist nutritional science is so difficult to study in humans, mentioned other aspects of our faulty research systems in food, how other cultures eat (e.g. stopping when they feel 80% full), and gave examples of our flawed system of seeing nutrients as either ‘satanic’ or ‘good’ (The idea that when we eat, we feel we are doing one of two things: ruining our health, or, improving our health). This was all very interesting and I highly recommend picking up his book to learn more.

What I was most interested in though, were his views of what better eating can do for our land and communities. His idea that our physical health is as much linked to the health of the soil, environment, economy, animal, and plant as it is to our actual bodies is so refreshing. If we all considered how we eat, where we shop, and how we prepare food to matter just as much as what we actually eat, we would be able to truly understand the idea of a Food Chain and would face many benefits to our lifestyles. When time and money were brought up as a critique, he said it was interesting because with as much as we complain about not having time to cook, the ratings on Food Network cooking shows are still so high. And though we can’t afford more expensive foods, we can afford to pay for our televisions, phones, and water; all of which are commodities that are also readily available for free. So, it is a matter of prioritizing and deciding not to skimp on our health in order to save time or money, and bringing back the idea of eating for pleasure, community, and identity, instead of just for nutrition or necessity.

This morning, I had a chance to meet with Pollan in a smaller setting to ask him questions. While my peers asked clarifying questions on his food talk, I asked him about his career as a writer, his education, and his process of writing on scientific issues as someone who is educated in English, not science. I am thrilled about what he said and am more encouraged to practice and improve my writing and establish my own expertise as a result.

Anyway, I have lots to do today and need to get going, but it was such a good experience to hear from him and I’m excited for what’s to come with this space and my career as a result!

-J

The crowd giving a standing ovation after his speech.

The crowd giving a standing ovation after his speech.

Tagged , ,