Monday, August 20, 2012

Emotional Eating

I write this at an interesting time in my life. I am newly graduated from college with not one, but two bachelor degrees with well respected fields. I am all packed up to move from one small town to another with hope deep in my heart. So why am I so sad?

I have no attachment to my current house. I have a little to the town only because I spent the past four years of my life here and found myself at my own person rather than an awkward high schooler from Oregon. I learned to fend for myself, fight for myself and have started to learn how to fight for others. I am moving to Idaho for the promise of a better life, better company, and better job prospects.

Better is really the key word in that last phrase. "Better Job Prospects". In my town you are very limited to where you can work. In Idaho, there are many more. But let's face it, the economy has taken a toll everywhere. My issues are many and my solutions for my predicament are few. I have two college degrees. I have some experience, but not a terrible amount. I am willing to do just about anything. Right now I'm just trying to stay alive.

In the current job market, it's easier to make a living being a stripper than it is to be part of the health care system. I don't have waiting experience, therefore I can't be a waitress. I don't have janitorial experience, therefore I cannot be a janitor. What I do have is an education. I know I should feel lucky for that, and I do. But it makes me sick to my stomach that I cannot get a job in my fields because they either want a Master's degree or higher or such specific training that I am not qualified enough. Right now the only job hiring that does not require experience is being a stripper. Even then they want talented dancers (of which my clumsy self is not).

So I find myself searching the internet for hours and hours looking for a job that I may or may not be qualified for, and even if I feel I am qualified, the employer does not think so. I have applied to so many places I get confused when I get a rejection letter from somewhere I forgot I applied to.

Ok, enough self deprecation. Let's move on to how this relates to food.

Comfort food is fabulous. There's nothing I love more than a big bowl of creamy mac and cheese. In times like I have been dealing with the past few months, I am in constant want of something comforting. I can fully understand my body's want for all things pasta and cheese. I also know that unless I stop the constant cycle of comfort food becoming regular food, I'll be completely unable to get a job because I will be dead.

Eating for emotional responses is extremely dangerous. You may not die immediately from that Twinkie that feels so good after a break up. But after the forth, fifth, and tenth Twinkie, you may not feel so good. Let's go through the circle of emotional eating:

Step one: Something happens that causes you to feel stressed.
Step two: You decide to eat something comforting to make you feel a little better about your situation.
Step three: You feel better for about 5 minutes.
Step four: You then try on that new pair of jeans and discover they no longer fit.
Step five: You feel sad and in need of some comfort.
Step six: You go back to step two and repeat the entire circle again.

You're essentially throwing yourself into a vicious cycle of hating yourself. It's a very sad, dark and terrible place to be.

My suggestions:
- Keep comfort food to an absolute minimum. This doesn't mean say no all together, because then you'll crave it.
- Learn what a serving size is and only have one serving. You are only one person, don't eat for 5.
- Seek a healthy alternative like going for a run when you're mad or drawing when you're sad.
- Seek healthy comfort foods. My favorite is red bell peppers and hummus.

The biggest thing that I can't support enough is looking at yourself through a clean lens. You may not like what you see, but be honest with yourself and love yourself anyways.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

End of the Internship

Yesterday was my last technical day as an intern. I just wanted to say thank you to all of my awesome viewer that read my blogs. I was not expecting this much multinational love!

I will definitely keep the blog going, but I will change my focus a little bit. Because I'm not actually in a food bank, I can't really tell you want we have in it to do recipe days any more. But I can't assume some things based of seasonality. So I will try my best to keep feeding you all some recipes so you can feed yourselves.

I will start focusing more of food advocacy and nutritional health along with diet, exercise and other fun stuff like that. It should be fun and get pretty interesting.

I will have a blog every day or ever few days depending on how my schedule is and if I feel inspired. I haven't been feeling very inspired lately, to be honest. I've felt like my passion for food has become a chore in the past few weeks. So I hope that my fire comes back. I miss being so passionate about something I truly love.

For now, I leave you with some words or wisdom:
Eat well, drink well, be well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Food Fight Review

Today I wanted to look at food advocacy a little more. I thought by watching a popular documentary called Food Fight, I could see what is already out there and go from there.

While I was watching Food Wars, I realized a few things about the film.

1) It never really gave a lot of hard numbers.
2) It's a lot of opinions about food.
3) There was a lot of history behind the United States agricultural system.

I thought the film was a casual piece that went along with the book. I found this to be people in suits talking about food. I do not see this as a bad thing, necessarily, but I do think it does not fit my definition of a documentary. That definition being a film about a process of reality (an example being a film documenting the growth of a farm). I saw this as more of a long interview of people that were talked about in the book along with history of the US agricultural system.

The first thing I realized was the no hard numbers phenomenon. What numbers were given were in quotes by people in their interviews. It's more of a personal peeve of mine. I like numbers. I like charts. I like reading scientific studies for fun.

The second factor I found interesting was the fact there were a lot of opinions. Again, no hard facts. The people that were interviewed are considered to be well known for their food knowledge, but none of them study food. They are just food lovers. Don't get me wrong, I'm a food lover as well. But I guess I need more scientific material than the documentary was offering.

Third, the thing I enjoyed most, the documentary focused a great deal on the US agricultural movements from small agriculture, to big agriculture, to small farmer's markets. I thought it was great to see a history lesson about this because it is not taught is a part of high school curriculum. I was taught it in college in an Anthropology of Food class. I, personally, think it should be widely known knowledge how the food system works, not just for the college educated.

If I were to grade Food Fight, I would give it a B. It was easy to watch, and entertaining. I feel like it would be a great intro documentary for people to watch that are just getting started becoming more intrigued with the American Food system. Like I have said, it is more opinion and history than fact, but it is still enjoyable and worth watching if you do not know the history of Big Ag or do not know who Earl Butz is.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Seafood is from the Ocean, not Nebraska

As you read in my last blog, one of my opinions is to never expect fresh seafood after a certain amount of miles.

What in the world do I mean by that. Let's look at the logistics:

Seafood is from the ocean (duh). 
The ocean (either Atlantic of Pacific) is on the eastern and western boarders of the USA, respectively. 
To get seafood to places that are not touching ocean, you have to transport it by air, train or truck (more than likely truck).
Cost of gas is crazy in the US currently.
Getting stuff from the ocean to Nebraska is going to cost more than ocean to 25mi from the ocean. 
Getting it there "fresh" requires it to be frozen to, as the companies put it, "seal in the freshness". Which really means, "So it won't go rotten". But no guarantees. Who know how many times it's been thawed and refrozen?

Why don't I like to buy seafood if I'm only 200mi from an ocean then? 

My answer seems simple to me, but I'll explain it. My answer: because I don't know when it died. This goes for all of my meat. I like to know when my food died to I know how long it has been frozen, shipped, delivered and sitting on a shelf. With frozen shrimp, for example, I have no idea when it died and was processed. 

When I get my meat from a butcher or from a farmer who raises his or her own meat, I can ask when it died and see if I think it would be worth it. I can also ask if it was raised and killed in a humane way, if it was full of antibiotics, what it ate, and if was raised in my state. I think these are all very important questions that do make a difference when it comes to how the meat tastes.

I know you can’t do this with things like fresh seafood or wild game. But with that you can assume that it was not full of antibiotics or force fed corn.

To clarify, I have no issue with frozen meat. I think freezing is a great way to preserve things. But what I do have issue with is the amount of fuel and energy it takes to get seafood to places that seafood would not naturally be. 

I am a creature of eating things that would naturally grow in the environment around me. I don't eat things like Kobe beef, lobster, clams or papayas because they don't grow in the Northwestern US (or at least in my neck of the woods). They have to be imported, processed, and distributed. Also, in order for fruits to be ripe by the time they reach there, they are truck ripened instead of vine ripened. If you want quality, you have to skip the bananas and go for something in your area. I’ll have more about the topic of transporting food in blogs to come.

For now, I’d like to leave you with the question: Where did your food come from and how long did it take to get to your plate?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Blog of Topics to Come.

As I sit here, a week of no blogging, I have a few things I've been thinking about and I feel like this would be the place to put them out.

If you live over 200 miles from an ocean, don't expect your seafood to be fresh. It has been frozen.

Please, for the love of Pete, know how to cook what you want to cook. Or at least do some research first.

Only cook with wine you'd drink. If you don't drink wine, then don't cook with it. Same goes with beer.

Liquor that is "super premium" is NOT for mixing. If you don't like the taste of it neat, don't drink it.

Eat some variety.

Rule 5, but only if it's in season.

Food is more than fuel, it is to be enjoyed. Slow down!

All of these things will be explained more in the coming days. Think of this as a... Blog of Contents kind of a thing.

I'll be spending the next few days covering these rules and more. I'll be talking a lot about food advocacy more and even more into depth about my professional opinions about food and health.