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There were never any "good old days" — they are today, they are tomorrow
We need to think about food differently 
19th-Feb-2009 08:55 am
food, Bascove peaches
If food is well sourced and well prepared, I don’t think the word healthy needs to be brought into it. It’s healthy because it’s wholesome. That’s what we should focus on. You can buy a box of low-fat macaroni and cheese made with powdered nonsense. I’m not worried if I’m using four different cheeses and it’s high in fat. It’s real food. That’s what’s more important.
Tom Colicchio
20th-Feb-2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
I agree only partially. I think unwholesome food should be avoided because it's not nourishing physically or spiritually, but lots of "natural" things are also very bad for your health, like heroin and coyotes. That having been said, the occasional four-cheese pasta probably won't kill you if you don't eat the entire container and you don't do it every night. Americans typically have a problem with moderation, though (and I'm no exception).
22nd-Feb-2009 05:46 am (UTC)
He's talking about food, not drugs (heroin) or wildlife (coyotes). And he used the term "wholesome", not "natural". If you want to argue, argue with what he's actually saying, not with a strawman that's only vaguely related to what he said.

And as far as "eat the entire container"... I think you've missed his point. What he's saying is that if it comes in a container, UR DOIN IT RONG. If you're making it from scratch with flour, butter, milk, and cheese... well, that's real food. Eaten in moderation, balanced with a reasonable proportion of vegetables and accompanied with a healthful amount of movement and activity, there's nothing wrong with four-cheese mac & cheese.

As far as Americans having problems with moderation... I think Americans have problems with not enough movement. I don't have the citation handy, and spiritualmonkey is in a car on his way to Escondido so I can't ask him where this comes from, but sugar cane cutters eat 7000+ calories a day of pretty much pure sucrose from sugarcane, and they don't get fat and they don't develop diabetes. Why? Because they're working their asses off doing physical labor.

We need to get off our butts and start moving. You get enough physical activity, you can eat pretty much anything you want... assuming it's real food, not processed/refined/purified/hydrogenated crap.
22nd-Feb-2009 06:11 am (UTC)

I meant the container in which I store it after I prepare it from scratch. And I agree that if you get enough physical activity, you can eat whatever you want, but most of us have jobs that preclude getting enough physical activity to eat extremely rich foods in more than minuscule quantities. If I spent every moment outside of work exercising, sure, I could eat a whole pizza, but I'd rather do other things. And very few of the things I enjoy doing involve physical activity. I was never athletic as a child, and I'm not very coordinated, so doing things that work my body rather than my brain doesn't come at all naturally to me. I'm willing to accept that that's at best a bad habit and at worst a character flaw.

Personally, I'm not wired for moderation. If I have something really delicious, I'm going to eat a lot of it, probably to the point where I wish I'd never gone near it. And then a week later, I'll have complete amnesia about how that made me feel, and I'll do it again. I don't have a good relationship with food. Never have, probably never will.

American nutritional experts know that the Homer Simpsons who populate this country will never moderate their portions, exercise enough (or at all), or eat green vegetables, so they tell them to lay off the Alfredo sauce. A country that allows people to carry concealed handguns but throws people in jail for 20 years for puffing on a bong isn't a country that understands moderation.

23rd-Feb-2009 01:42 am (UTC)
The jobs we work at are killing us. The thing is, our employers aren't going to change that, so we need to make changes ourselves. That's in large part why the monkey and I are working towards changing what we do — I have got to get out of this desk job. Becoming a physical trainer and Egoscue-certified postural alignment specialist will probably mean I'll make less money (and that's considering I already am making something like 15-20% less than market value for my position, according to salary surveys), and I'm willing to take that cut, because the trade-off is worth it.

As far as not enjoying physical activity, I was anything but a jock as a child. Consistently chosen last for the team when teams got chosen — except when the answer was "um... we'll play one short instead". Consistently failed the President's Physical Fitness test when it rolled around every year. But I know that not moving is not a way that humans can live and thrive, so I've been working on finding ways of moving that I do enjoy.

As far as "eat less Alfredo sauce", part of the problem is that that isn't what we're told. When they were revising the nutritional guidelines, the people who drew them up wanted to say "eat less meat and dairy; eat more vegetables." But the meat & dairy arms of the industrial food complex are too powerful and managed to get the "eat less" part scrapped.

For the rest... Cheri Huber says "'But I've always been this way' is the worst possible reason for anything." Okay, that's how you've always been until now. That doesn't mean that's how you have to stay.

People want to be able to stay unconscious and keep doing the same things in the same way, but get different results. That's not going to happen. That's pretty much the definition of insanity.

Am I saying "suck it up and learn to be different because it's good for you"? Not exactly. What I'm saying is that people need to take responsibility for themselves, for their own health and their own wellbeing, because nobody else will do it for them. People need to start paying attention. You start paying attention, you start developing a more mindful orientation towards life, and things will change on their own, for the better.

If you (or anyone else) is interested in developing mindfulness in general, I recommend any of Cheri Huber's books. In particular, (Regardless of What You Were Taught to Believe) There is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate. There are not many things I can point to and say "This changed my life, and unequivocally for the better". This is one.

For mindfulness as it relates directly to food and eating, the book One Bowl: A Guide to Eating for Body and Spirit by Don Gerrard is good. (The Oakland Library has it.) Unfortunately, the website for the book is now owned by some domain sniper, but the old version is available on the Wayback Machine. (Note, you'll want to block the image "stonbk.jpg" (assuming you're running Adblock Plus or something like that), as it no longer is a tasteful image of a stoneware bowl, and is now a bright yellow background that says "CLICK HERE NOW!!!" Horrible.)
23rd-Feb-2009 02:36 am (UTC)

I'm not willing to change the job I do because I like it, but I can probably start to be more active outside of working hours. As for failing the President's Physical Fitness test, I don't recall ever even considering trying it. :-)

I'm not at all skilled at tennis, but I recall enjoying it as a teen, so maybe I'll go back to that. I believe Alameda has public tennis courts, and I could probably hire an instructor or find a partner without too much difficulty.

A lot of the negative attitudes I have come from my mother. Even though she's dead, I often hear her voice telling me I'm not good enough or can't do something or the thing I want to do is too dangerous or not suitable for "people like us." Fortunately I have a very supportive spouse who thinks I can do anything I set my mind to, so I've been trying to listen to her instead. Also, she's very much alive, which is a huge plus.

I would like to keep doing things the same way and get different results, but I'm fully aware that that's not going to happen, which is why I've been making a lot of positive changes in my life (piano lessons, spending less, eating better, saying what's on my mind).

I've ordered the Cheri Huber book that you recommended from Amazon. I'll let you know what I think when I read it. Thanks for the recommendation. I do want to learn to be more accepting of myself and realize that I'm not the only person with my problems.

23rd-Feb-2009 05:56 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm glad you ordered the book. I hope you find that what it says clicks with you.

If I may, this is from the introduction to The Depression Book: Depression as an Opportunity for Spiritual Growth:
There are many things in this book that go against what most of us have been conditioned to believe and think. When you read something that seems wrong or doesn't make sense, see if you can just slide it onto a back burner, remaining open to whatever truth there is in it. You might see it differently after you have been considering it for a while.

It is good to keep in mind that if the answers you already had were working for you, you wouldn't still be looking.
And one of Cheri's quotes that I have tattooed on my heart at this point: "Any time a voice is speaking to you that is not speaking with love and compassion, DO NOT LISTEN TO IT."
21st-Feb-2009 01:01 am (UTC)
I so crush on Tom Colicchio. I mean, no, not at the level where I crush on Jacques Pepin ** mini swoon **, but Tom is plenty hot.
22nd-Feb-2009 05:56 am (UTC)
Ya don't say? I might have to go search YouTube to see what's available. (The TV-free thing is great except for the occasional thing like this. Or Cesar Millan. Both "hubba hubba" and "yeah, any dog I have is going to be well-balanced and well-behaved, and get at least an hour of vigorous walking a day.")

Um, excuse me — Penelope is trying to climb the birdcage. Does Cesar deal with cats at all? No, I didn't think so. *sigh*

And I have got to get the monkey to write up his post about Jacques Pepin, so y'all will understand why the mention of Paramus, NJ, makes us crack up. (Have you ever tried his Oatmeal Breakfast Soup with Leeks & Bacon? So good.)
22nd-Feb-2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
Cesar does do cats! I saw him do an episode with a cat and dog in the same house where they were each contributing to a bad relationship. At the risk of raising him beyond human reality: he totally got the cat, too.

I love Jacques' shows. Encore with Claudine was sweet and really practical in that there were lots of recipes about using leftovers. The best croque monsieur recipe EVER was on that show, made from all of the dried up heels of cheese in the fridge. His shows with Julia Child, however, were like heaven for me. Doc got me their combined cookbook -- the one where each describes in text and pictures how s/he prepares a particular thing and why. So you can try both techniques/recipes and learn HEAPS in the process, further developing your own culinary signature.

:: swoon :: Plus Jacques just seems so NICE.

Like Cesar.

Though, I have to say, I challenge Cesar to train my beagle to leave food alone...
23rd-Feb-2009 01:49 am (UTC)
Oh, I think I remember that episode! "Dog must understand, dog is submissive to cat... Of course, cat is submissive to nobody." Or something like that. *grin*

The problem we have is that for some reason, our computer does not like the Dog Whisperer DVDs. At least a third of them, it just refuses to play. The monkey thinks we need to clean the lens. I dunno. I just want more Dog Whisperer...

Regarding Jacques seeming nice, I once met a cameraman who'd worked on one of his shows. He confirmed that the guy really is as nice and decent as he seems. And OMG did the crew on the show get to eat well after they were done shooting. I was so envious...
25th-Feb-2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
I love hearing that! The lines in his face seem like kindness and humor lines, not mean ones. And he doesn't do 'muppet mouth'. Maybe it's the fever (I have the flu), but I'm just really happy to know this.

It's probably also partly because I once met someone whose music and lyrics I admire SO MUCH -- only to find the few comments she made really disappointing (and, no, I won't say who it was because no one else needs that disappointment -- the music and lyrics are still amazing). Might've been an off day, but I'd rather not have met her than to have that memory in my brain.
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