Sunday, April 14, 2013

Everything is Connected

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” 
― Herman Melville    

I have been listening to a book titled In Defense of Food;  You may have read it, or heard of it. It's taken me a long time to get through it, from start to finish. I have started reading it a few times, but I am finally on the last chapters. It's the most recent chapter I listened to that I wanted to share. It's about how everything is connected.

I don't know why this is such a revolutionary concept for me. I know well, despite my often poor use of agency, the ripple effect our actions have on those around us- directly or indirectly. So, naturally, this makes sense. But, I think I had forgotten that in order to be a more conscientious consumer, a more thoughtful eater, better example, and a better person in general, the world demands my commitment to understanding my connection to the world. It's not just what I have to offer the world, but how it affects me, what I have to learn from it, and how I can share that with others.

On Saturday, I went running with some friends. The first thing I realized as we started running uphill, was that I should not have eaten that donut the day before! The second thing I realized was that every place I stepped left an impression on the ground; every branch I touched, or puddle I stepped in, left its mark on me. After going up the hill, which was windy and not very enjoyable, we started going downhill, and experienced a beautiful panoramic view of the mountains and trees. The long, arduous process of getting up to the top was all worth it as we came down the mountain. And I hope that in all experiences and moments in my life, I can enjoy both the climb, and the descent. Both had beautiful views; and both left its impact on me in a positive way. 

Anway, I try to make my food choices the healthiest and most natural that I possibly can- but I am learning that there is yet a higher level of concientiousness in consumerism. It's not just buying the apples and bananas- but understanding how those apples and bananas got there; logically, but mostly unnoticed, how our food is grown will largely determine it's nutritive value. The mass production of apples, or milk, or potatoes, means for us that we don't get quite the value from our food that we think we are getting. Nowadays we need to eat two, or three apples to get the same nutitional value of an apple grown in the 1950's. And so we do... I know I do. Unfortunately, sometimes I don't choose those apples. But I feel the need to consume those extra calories anyway. I am working on changing that. One of those ways is by working on my variety.

I saw a recipe posted on a blog for Bison Stew. At first, I was turned off. Ew, how could I even consider eating an animal we rarely even talk about?! But the more I think about it, the more I am understanding that this is just it- it is the conscientious addition of things we don't normally incorporate into our diet, that makes us more conscientious of the things we do eat so much of. Maybe, just maybe, by carefully adding something new to our diet, we will think about how it will affect the other things we eat. And this might be really cheesey, but all of this might get us thinking about how our choices will influence our childrens' choices, maybe our friends' choices, and even the community in which we live. 
And we might make a small difference in ways we never considered. "By small and simple means, are great things come to pass..." And that connection to the world will change us; and we will never be the same. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Personal Journey: Beginning Again

I have wanted to do this for a while now, so I decided to just sit down and hash out my thoughts right here and now... finally.

It has been a long time since I have posted anything, and I felt like my nutritional knowledge and ability waxes and wanes so frequently, that I don't know what to share, what to say. I was thinking about this the other day, and I realized that the value is not in what great knowledge I think I have to share, or what astounding research has developed, or whatever- I had forgotten that the purpose for this blog was to share things that I have learned, experiences I have that teach me something valuable, and a chance for me to hear and learn from you. I was too caught up in the "look at me" aspect, and not enough in the "what have I learned", and "what CAN I learn" element that makes this journey for me so inspiring and motivating.

So, I'm going to blog regularly, but keeping in mind that I may only be sharing opinions and feelings, not necessarily founded upon any solid research or facts cited. I will do my best to speak the truth though.
I would also love feedback, thoughts and opinions from whomever reads this, too. I have so much to learn. I know I can learn something from everyone, and I know that I am not the only person who could benefit from you sharing your experiences and thinkings. I would sincerely love and appreciate your presence and comraderie.

As a family we took a trip to Florida over Spring Break, to spend some time with Sam's family. We spent our time at a fantastic resort, and ironically spent much of our time eating. The food was incredible to say the least, and even the pickiest of eaters tried something new during the week- I mean, how could you not? I learned what Baba Ganouj was (it's delicious!), had a delicious salad with green beans, onions, cawliflower and bacon (yum!) that Grace was SO excited to re-make when we returned home (I'll share the recipe later), and enjoyed dessert EVERYDAY- yes, everyday. I was inspired by the variety of creative dishes, and I realized that it's not in the quantity, but QUALITY of healthy food we eat that's important. I have too often found myself mindless eating handfuls of candy, cookies, and chocolates, thinking that I'm enjoying them, or that I need them. I have decided (that's half the battle, right?) that that was the "old" me. The new me is going to think more, and enjoy more. As Mormons often say,"Pride cometh before the fall"- and it's true isn't it? One day in Florida, I thought I had finally reached the point where I could surround myself with temptation and be strong enough to resist because I had been physically satisfied by the enjoyable experience of eating... but psychologically, I was still the same, and I found myself eating more than I needed to, even when it wasn't dessert. I hadn't changed completely. It was the first step of many that I need to take... and I had forgotten that the process and journey are the most important part. Without them, there is no result.

So, this is where we begin again. Another step; another experience; another piece of valuable insight into who I am, and who I want to become. I guess then nutrition is not always about just food- but everything that we were, are and can become, and how we act with the knowledge that we are given. This is our journey.

A wonderful friend of mine has shared some great nutritional articles and news clips with me, so I thought I would share one with you- because we are leading by example, and teaching our children what's important to us... what do you want them to learn from you?


One Step at a Time

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier. Not that the nature of the thing has changed, but the power to do has increased." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson