Thursday, January 28, 2010

catching up

January has sort of been a miserable month in the way of posting hasn't it? I apologize for my absence. It has been a busy month getting back into the swing of things. School has ramped up for Charlie and work continues to keep me busy. All month we have been rotating between savoring the cozy, bitter cold days of winter, and quietly longing for spring and more sunshine. A few notes from the month as we near February:

- The Cohen brothers have done it again. A Serious Man is wonderful and not to be missed.

- Charlie and I were asked by a dear friend to join the Year of 52 Adventure Club. Each week we tackle an adventure and post our thoughts on the blog. The group has become a hit and was recently featured on WGN News and in the Tribune! It has been great to follow the adventures of the other participants and to also make our year a bit more exciting with some fun assignments. My February adventures include learning to play a song on the piano, baking a souffle, planning a wonderful surprise, and watching the last of the Ken Burns Jazz documentary.

- I really respect Michael Pollan and highly recommend his books, The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense Food. His new book, Food Rules looks great too. Pollan was on Oprah yesterday and I hope that her platform will allow his message to reach many more Americans.

I think his food rules are so accessible, so simple, and reach the heart of an important matter. After reading his books, I considered my own life and what changes I could make to ensure we were eating for our health and being mindful about our purchases. I think every family is different and can begin changing the way they eat in small ways. Rules we hold dear in our house:
  • Make time to eat - This means not eating in front of the television or on the run. It means sitting and enjoying food. I find I eat less and appreciate it more.
  • Focus your shopping on the perimeter of the store - This cuts out a lot of the crap we should be avoiding anyway.
  • If you can't make it yourself, then you probably don't need it - This is an easy one for me because I enjoy cooking. Last year, we made a list of the foods we eat and purchase most and decided we would attempt to make as many of the items as we could from scratch. This is not a hard task to undertake. It's cheaper, healthier, and tastier. It does take more time, but the trade off is worth it to me. This year I committed myself to baking our bread each week and it has been an extremely rewarding task. Michael Pollan has his own variation of this rule and says, "Make your own fast food." Making french fries from scratch? Sort of a pain to make. How often would you bother to actually make them? Probably not very frequently. Probably as frequently as you should be eating french fries.
  • Buy local, eat in season - If you're lucky enough to live in a city that has a co-op, take advantage. Chicago has many great options. Or shop your farmer's market. In the very least, pay attention to the labels on produce at your grocery store. Commit to buying things grown in your part of the country. To find a co-op in your area, click here.
  • If you eat meat, set high standards - We do not eat a lot of meat in our house. If we ate it often, I could understand the difficulty in justifying the extra cost of free-range, organic meat. But demand better. Set higher standards. I guarantee if everybody makes a point to purchase quality products, the big industrial farms will have to respond by adopting responsible farming practices and prices around the country will come down.
  • Try one new vegetable a month - Venture out of your comfort zone and expand your tastes.
  • Invest now, save later - Make better food choices now and save on hospital bills later.
  • Everything in moderation - In most cases I would rather enjoy a tiny bit of a full fat version of something rather than a heaping bowl of the low-cal stuff. I don't think we need to swear off life's pleasures, but there's no need to overdo it. A little bit goes a long way.
- We are working on plans for a little getaway in March and a road trip in August. I can't wait to get out of the city!

- great online to-do list solution

- Super Bowl recipes

Stay warm out there and enjoy the upcoming weekend!

1 comment:

Hula said...

We are very happy to have you and Charlie both!