Friday, January 30, 2009

What's in that...Friday

There was an article on Huffington Post a few days ago on the eating habits of our new President and how it could affect the country of the seriously obese. Comments ranged from disgust over such a *trite* subject, vows to change from fast food eating habits, pleas from vegans to not eat meat to excuses for why not having a big purse for groceries has to mean ingesting food many in the world wouldn't give to a dog. Unless they just ate the dog...speaking of which...there is a wonderful book, written in 2005, called Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio. Check out the Time Article, parts 1 & 2, or buy the book; it's very interesting.

Food expenditure for one week : 155.54 British Pounds or $253.15
Favorite foods: avocado, mayonnaise sandwich, prawn cocktail,
chocolate fudge cake with cream

Here is one of the 'excuse' comments. Again, gentle readers, we're playing Hidden Pictures. See if you can find the 'based on what except being ignorant' excuses in the indignant rhetoric:

I disagree. You're not grocery shopping in the neighborhood I grew up in. I've been in both categories, poor and well off, and it is VERY difficult to eat healthy when you're poor. You have to buy the cheapest, fattiest cuts of meat (lean meat, even hamburger is very expensive). You buy fatty pot roasts rather than steak. Have you checked out the cost of salmon, trout, shrimp and other types of seafood. Cheap meat cuts, like fatty pork chops are dredged in flour and fried. The "cheapest" salad is iceberg lettuce, and an off brand (and saltier) dressing. Other salad greens are far more expensive. The cost of tomatoes and most "healthy" vegetables and fruit is prohibitive in the DC area. (unless you can grow these things you're out of luck.) Poor people must purchase the hamburger helper and spaghettio's type food which is full of salt, sugar, and loaded with carbohydrates. Other inexpensive foods like potatoes and rice, and even white beans and pasta, are loaded with starch. The least expensive beverages, iced tea (which is sweetened to a fair thee well), and Kool-Aid type drinks, are also loaded with teeth-decaying, diabetes inducing sugar. Were you ever forced to eat syrup or mayonnaise sandwiches? Or even worse sugar sandwiches (2 pieces of white, starchy bread sprinkled with sugar), so you didn't have to go to bed hungry? (in America?) I didn't think so.

Well, I think being forced to eat syrup or mayonnaise white bread sandwiches, unless the syrup or mayo is stolen from a restuarant in those little packets (and what about ketchup soup, HUH?? faker!) should be considered a form of torture. For the love of god, at least use whole wheat! However, as you can see in the above photo, for some it's a family delight and I don't see a chubby among them.

And sure, look for fatty roasts as opposed to a nice lean roast...hey, what's up with that? I thought that's why god made chickens. Let's see, fatty roast or dredged fried pork or a roasted chicken? Yep, that's a tough one! Oil & vinegar or a bottled-full-of-crap dressing for your iceberg lettuce? Man, how can I decide?? Joking aside, ignorance ain't bliss, it's expensive and nasty tasting too.

Here is another comment of a different persuasion. Now remember...if you are living on the sidewalk or in your car, this does not apply, but it could if you wanted it to. But that's a story for another day...

Oh nonsense. I was part of a 2 wage earner married couple until my spouse died when our children were still young. That certainly did not mean there was 'no energy or inclination to shop or cook.' There WAS a careful budgeting of energy and time, so that shopping, cooking, growing a vegetable garden and fruit trees were part of my children's education as well as nutrition. I worked full time in a stressful professional administrative position and had board positions and responsibilities as well. But my children sat down to home-cooked meals every night, and we shared our days and ideas and stories at dinner time. My children ate snacks prepared and ready for them after school. I baked bread weekly. They loved going into the garden and picking peas and cherry tomatoes and eating them right there. What we did not have: a television, designer clothes, expensive motorized toys. What I did not have: household help, a new car with payments, a gym membership - it was far more productive to kick the soccer ball around in the back yard and go down to the local walking trail and engage the kids in yard work. What the kids did have: music lessons, scout, 4-H and sports memberships and a parochial school education. I have: the great satisfaction that my children are all excellent cooks, devoted parents, hard working, successful in their professions. Before tossing those 'cannot' excuse stones, consider this: priorities are what you make them.
Ok, so she sounds like the Poster Mother of the Universe. But I wish I'd had her around. One comment said, veggies are too expensive unless you can grow your own. Well guess what? You CAN grow your own, if you get off your fanny (and don't live in a hermetically sealed cave).

Not so long ago and not so far away, there used to be what were called settlement houses. People joined together to be taught basic life skills, nutrition being among them. Also sewing, gardening, etc. The things people without much money and / or formal skills could do to make life healthy for themselves and their families. They weren't a perfect solution and some would argue that they were the pre-cursor of the welfare state (or the state of welfare) today. To me, at least, they were about educating people to feed, clothe and dignify themselves, which can't be a real bad thing.

Maybe instead of isolation (ashamed of the needs faced in the present day economy, ashamed of admitting we don't really know HOW to do something) we need to reach out to each other to solve some of the most elementary issues of being alive. Get five of your neighbors together and form a buying club or co-op (you don't know five neighbors...get brave and get to know them - knock on the door!). Split the cost of a Sam's or Costco card and buy your food in bulk. These stores carry everything from canned goods and fresh veggies, cheeses and milk to dry good such as toothpaste, shampoo, diapers and clothing. There are lots of other pooling and saving money on food groups out there as well (gee, have I mentioned this before?) The savings is big and well worth the time spent planning the shopping list. Maybe there is already one going on in your neighborhood. And it can be a lot of fun as well. Everyone has some gift to give and you may find one you didn't even know you have that someone will help you find while you're helping them...and yourself.

If the President being fit and eating healthy foods without being a fanatic about it generates healthier eating habits in this country, then where is the triteness? Overweight people, if you want to just get down to non-emotional issues, cost more to themselves along with the general public, in health issues alone. Read some insurance statistics if you don't believe me.

And that is your recipe for today. Maybe everything is hunky dory with you and you don't have to worry about the price of food. Maybe you're in the best shape of your life and nothing not organic ever passes your pristine lips. Well, then your part of the recipe is obvious, isn't it? You get to be the teacher. Now, get away from the computer and the television and go find some students and do your homework. Let me know how it goes.

No comments:

Post a Comment