local cabbage and garlic bulbs

Some Thoughts on Food Babe vs. Gawker

30 Day Blogging Challenge, Food Philosophy

Today, Erik and I were talking about the Food Babe shenanigans that have been coming up online in the past couple of days and I had a couple things I wanted to say about them.  My apologies in advance should this post come off as a bit all over the place. While I’m not necessarily a giant Food Babe fan, I do think that she’s doing a service by getting people to question the food that they’re eating in ways that they might have otherwise not thought about. I did feel though that the author of the Gawker article handled their argument a bit poorly (their words came off as charged, hostile, and emotional) but they made some good points. The word “chemical” gets thrown around so willy-nilly, when truly, everything is made out of chemicals. Water is a chemical. I believe that we should question what we read and that everything should be taken with a grain of salt. No one’s words should be considered the be-all-and-end-all. We need to consume information from all sorts of different sources, so that we can make educated decisions. 

That being said, I can’t say that I’m without bias on the subject. Eating whole, local foods and avoiding processed foods are, from my personal experience, a huge part of achieving optimal health. But Erik asked me, “what do you mean by processed? Even picking fruit from a tree is a process.” So I did my best to explain myself: That I want to avoid processes that are going to decrease the nutritional value of a food or make a food worse for me. For instance, most packaged processed foods have tons of hidden sugar and sodium in them. These are flavourings that are very unlikely to have come from a health-friendly source, and inhibit your body’s ability to detect fullness. Instead, it just wants more and more sugar and salt. Another issue that I have with the conventional food industry is the monocropping of cash crops (corn, soy, wheat). Monocropping is just what it sounds like, the planting of just one kind of plant, often for miles and miles. This is a pretty big deal because by planting just one kind of crop in the same place year after year, the same nutrients get leached out of the soil rendering the product nutritionally deficient. This nutrient deficiency, combined with the lack of variety in their environment (variety = greater ability to withstand pests and disease) mean a greater need for corrective action like genetic modifications, and all the “-cide”s (pesticide, herbicide, fungicide) to keep the plants alive. I would much prefer to have my food from sources that aren’t in it for the money and truly care about their customers’ health and the quality of their food. 

The other thing with these cash crops is that, because they are so darn cheap (cash crops are subsidized by the government, so duh, they’re gonna be cheap) they’re used by the food industry to make into all sorts of ingredients. Corn for example, can be derived into a number of ingredients and thus goes by all sorts of names (many of which are food sweeteners) in your typical boxed, bagged, or packaged good. They include (but are not limited to): alpha tocopherol, ascorbic acid, baking powder, calcium stearate, caramel, cellulose, citric acid, citrus cloud emulsion, corn flour, corn oil, cornstarch, corn syrup, dextrin, destrose (glucose), diglycerides, ethylene, ethyl acetate, ethyl lactate, fibersol-2, fructose, fumaric acid, golden syrup, high fructose corn syrup, inositol, invert sugar, malt, maltodextrin, monoglycerides, monosodium glutamate (MSG), natural flavouring, polydextrose, saccharin, semolina, sorbic acid, sorbitol, starch, sucrose… 

These ingredients make their way into so many of our foods and this near constant consumption of corn products (this is just the beginning… soy and wheat sneak their way into much of our food too) or the overconsumption of any food can lead to sensitivities and allergies to that food. 

This is why I feel it’s so important to support your local, organic farmers. But again, you can’t take everything at face value. If you see them at the farmer’s market, get to know them. Ask them questions about their farming practices and do your own research. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I also very highly recommend reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, one of my absolute favourite books. 

Anyway, that’s my piece. Y’all have a good night. xx

Badakonasana/ cobbler pose

A Challenging Month

30 Day Blogging Challenge, Personal

Hihi, internet. It’s been a while, but I wanted to leave a little update. You know, stay in touch and stuff. Here are some fun things I’m hoping to spend some time on this month! 

Goal #1: Let go of perfectionism.

I’ve had a lot of trouble in the last few months finding focus and so here I am trying to find it. I’m always concerned with trying to find something “worth” writing about, and making sure I have workable photos, et cetera. In the interest of letting go of this stifling perfectionism, I decided to join a 30-day blog challenge to help keep me accountable and to hopefully become a better writer. And with that kind of pressure hanging over my shoulders, I can’t imagine there being enough time to obsess over putting together a perfect post by which I mean that I want to feel less self-conscious about what I’m putting out. If I stick to it, I can only imagine you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. I should probably also note that there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting your all into something and making it as good as it can be. But I specifically want to practice being more consistent which is why I’m allowing myself this flexibility. 

Goal #2: Become a better writer.

I’m also trying to do this thing where I write a thousand words a day, which was inspired by this article. They can be about anything that I feel like, but I have to do it regardless of how I feel. I’m already kind of feeling the strain of the “regardless of how I feel” caveat because I started one of these sessions while I was in bed yesterday morning and ended up falling back to sleep after 200 words (don’t worry, I finished the other 800 later). But other times, it feels great. The words just come pouring out of me, easy peasey. I’ve found, so far, that it’s much easier to do stream-of-consciousness writing than writing with a purpose. Again, it’s an exercise in accepting imperfection, because there truly is a lot of garbage with maybe a single good line or two sprinkled in. And learning to take the bad with the good. Discipline and overall writing ability are two areas that I’m really passionate about focusing right now. 

Goal #3: Find peace through structure.

Okay. So I’m doing yet ANOTHER challenge. On Instagram. Kino MacGregor and her cohorts are hosting a detox yoga challenge for the month of April, and, thus far, I’ve been pretty dilligent about making sure I’m posting my daily posture photo. It’s a lot to remember to do everyday, but I’ve always been the kind of person who thrives in a structured environment. I love checklists and schedules and calendars and probably most other things you can think of along that vein. And, you know, homework. And school. And school supplies. Paper. New notebooks. Unf.